Don Quixote as a homo culturalis
The author makes Don Quixote a patron of today’s theory of culture — which increasingly draws on an etymological understanding of culture — in order to demonstrate how the modern, hegemonic notion of culture can be undermined through him. We can pass from the Ciceronian metaphor of culture as cultivation of the spirit to the quixotic practising of values, the most important among them is freedom — the basis of man’s second birth in culture. Don Quixote as a model of homo culturalis is the subject who creates himself and builds his own authenticity in axiocentric madness. This authenticity is expressed by: “I know who I am.” A reflection on the quixotic “cultivation of the spirit” leads to a definition of quixotism as the maximum level of culturing the individual. The article ends with a presentation of the figure and work of the Spanish humanist Juan Luis Vives, who restored the term cultura animi, forgotten in the Middle Ages, to the reflection on human nature, thus giving an impulse to reflection on culture becoming independent in modern European thought.