The Somontano Monkey Dyslepsis


The Somontano Monkey Dyslepsis – A project by Heen Martínez



“The mind is a chaos of delight” – Charles Darwin


Sifting through the dregs of knowledge I have accumulated and somehow managed to hold on to, I recently came across a memory in which I am a monkey. This monkey lives, or lived, in the village of Colungo, in an area of Aragón called Somontano de Barbastro. As far as I am aware of, my present persona has never visited this village, but I am familiar with the region, increasingly famous for its excellent wines.


In the memory which I recall, this  me-monkey is a balanced sage, not naturally given to mischievous pranks, but not averse to standard simian memes which could include snatching bananas, hurriedly bounding up trees and jumping up and down while shrieking obscenities, etc., but for the most part, I (for this monkey is me, whether I can be it or not) seem to spend most of my time absorbed in meditation, reflecting on the pain of existence, and occasionally conversing with equally wise beings, humans and otherwise, or participating in what Zen Buddhists call “mondo”: question-and-answer sessions where the answer is as interrogative as the question.


The Somontano Monkey is heavily influenced by the work of Miguel de Unamuno, the great Spanish philosopher, whose transparent pessimism becomes practically a leitmotiv for the Monkey. Unamuno tried all his life to make sense of what he called the “Basque condition”, and it would appear that the Monkey has more than a working knowledge of the Basque language, because I can clearly recall conversing in euskera with a group of pilgrims from Bilbao, who may have been humans or badgers – my memory is not clear on this. Perhaps the Monkey originally hailed from the Basque country; there is no way of knowing.


Like Socrates, the Monkey left no written work. All that remains of his legacy are the thoughts that somehow pervaded my psyche when I became him, or when his soul migrated into me. I am not his messenger, his disciple or his interlocutor. I am the Somontano Monkey.


The mission I have decided to embark on in these pages is to share the Monkey’s sagacity, which is and isn’t my own. It is mine in that I am the Somontano Monkey, but is not mine in that the Somontano Monkey is not me.


Welcome to Colungo. To be continued …..








On dyslepsis:


On Colungo:


On Unamuno:


On Somontano wines:


On migration of monkey souls:






One response to this post.

  1. Posted by juanlu on May 26, 2008 at 8:06 pm

    Interesting reference to Somontano wines. I would recommend you Viñas del Vero (Merlot).


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