Autobiographical Reflections:


Today I perceive clearly that a final turning point occurred in my work when I was about 65. First, at that time I enunciated the idea that action and experience is the essential characteristic of living beings and can be understood in terms of the overall evolution of the Universe, so I reached the basis of what I can normally theorize; second, I found in nutrition the governing thread that allowed me to organize into a system the stubs of theory that I had been drawing up in various biological fields in my years of maturity. Obviously, I now have to work against the clock to convert the varied but converging work of the last twenty-five years into a theoretical unit, and for some years I have been committed to this final effort.

Walking in Madrid with the journalist Vicente Verdú. 1978

I still find some satisfaction and fulfillment in my scientific work and receive the echo of generosity that I need in order to continue. In fact, my work is much more productive today than it was ten or fifteen years ago, no doubt because, although my physical ability has declined, the greater integration of experience has a favourable effect on the result. In fact, my productivity keeps rising and I hope it will last as long as is necessary. In any case it is encouraging that the effort to realize oneself in thought, in the human way, offers this compensation, although it is uncertain and unstable, like everything human, like anything biological.

But I will end with a shovelful of soil. My work in the period of maturity was much more directed toward myself and in this sense it was very rewarding. I passionately wanted to get to the root of the problems that nature placed before me; as if I were to be eternal (such is the form of madness of the scientist), I tried to take on the task of all mankind. Today I am irrevocably constrained within limits that I will not overcome, nor will I see how others overcome them. Now my lifelong task, much less exciting than the previous one, is to take to their maximum level of plausibility and coherence the body of specific problems with which I have been, and am still, confronted. This work is sometimes satisfactory, it fills gaps and, sometimes, with the discovery of known truths, it provides a comforting (but always relative and ephemeral) certainty. It is insufferably slow, with its own tempo that I cannot force despite my haste. Above all, it is no longer a creative enjoyment but rather a duty to justify that past enjoyment, to return my debt to society in the form of viable work whenever I can.

Faustino Cordón

Note by FIBE: It should be taken into account that this autobiography was written in 1981 before Cordón wrote Part Two of the Treatise on the cell and his definitive concept of the living being.

Faustino Cordón: Biólogo Evolucionista by Herederos de Faustino Cordón, licensed under a Creative Commons Reconocimiento-NoComercial-CompartirIgual 4.0 Internacional License. Licencia de Creative Commons