In 1905, the year before his Nobel Prize, “the father of modern neuroscience” Santiago Ramón y Cajal became more outspoken about his socialist views. Perhaps this was because of the brief rule of the liberal party in Spain, led by Segismundo Moret, who would offer Cajal the position of Minister of Public Instruction (the famous scientist declined). After twenty years, Cajal released a collection of short stories called Cuentos de vacaciones, which has been translated by Emory University scholar Laura Otis as Vacation Stories. Some of the characters depict greedy characters who torment others. Indeed, Cajal expressed a hatred for people who sought only capital, the lazy aristocracy. In his preface to a book called Super-Organic Evolution: Nature and the Social Order, written by the philosopher Enrique Lluria (who also wrote “Humanity of the Future”) and re-published by Forgotten Books, which brings hard-to-find original books from before 1923 back into print at reasonable prices, Cajal talks about how far humankind has strayed from evolutionary laws. The world is unjust, and only the brain, through its discoveries in science, can return us to equilibrium. His vision is prescient. As always, he is at his best when describing the brain:
Our mind is nourished on waves gathered from all parts of the cosmos, and its principal mission consists in classifying, combining, and reflecting them, with reference to their origin. Perceptions, ideas, the spoken word, even muscular contraction, what are they, in their ultimate analysis, but palpitations of heat, of light, of chemical energy, of electricity, etc., transformed, refined, and converted into other palpitations more subtle and spiritual? Like a lens of singular virtue and power, our nervous system gathers all the noises and minute tremblings in the world, in order to concentrate them, now in the splendid form of an idea, now in the flame of will and of passion.