Standing on the shoulders of giants
1. You are what you do with what you are (Jean Paul Sartre)
And what you donít want to be is a tongue twister like the one our friend Jean Paul suggests. Because you do what you can, and even if you can do better, because one can always do better, on top of the pressure we apply to all our actions we have the overhanging sharp presence of the sacred law of Newton: for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. So then, maybe itís better to just stay put and wait and see what happens, or not. Thatís the way things are: we engage in the most absurd activities, struggling to avoid the unavoidable while nothingness patiently yawns at our feet.
2. Self-consciousness brings together what the mind divides (Shunryu Suzuki)
We define ourselves like men or women, good or bad, rich or poor. Meanwhile, the individual and collective consciousness remains unchangeable, sexless, without categories or divisions. Consciousness is not how we define ourselves but what we are: something previous, above, below, after our mindsí conceptions. Consciousness is present in all the spaces generated among our thoughts. It accompanies us, accepts us always and never, but never abandons us.
3. Either you make money, or stories (Jorge Solari)
It is difficult to walk without an aim in mind. Itís almost impossible to carry out an action without thinking of the action that will follow. Yet everything that was significant in our lives has been an aim in itself, a path that doesnít need to have an end in view to be justified. Our life history is made up of things that are useless and priceless and if one were crazy enough to take them to the market nobody would give us a dime for them. Iím referring to that kiss, those embraces, those I love you we shared, the gift of our presence, the shoulder we lean on.
4. That episode of imagination we call reality (Fernando Pessoa)
Everything is kind of crazy. Everything is kind of weird. If we know for a fact that life is not a question to be answered but a mystery to be lived, then letís remember that we never lived this moment and never will live it again, that what we see is not what is outside but a reflection of what we are. This may all be the feverish imagination of God in a bad mood, or maybe not. In any case, letís celebrate that this episode of the imagination that we call reality gives us shelter in its bed of thorns and roses.
5. What I have to say is more important than what I am (Albert Camus)
The starting point is that we do not know who we are. Nor do we have a very clear notion of what we have to say. At least as far as Iím concerned, I usually find that I have nothing to say and in spite of it I declare and decree, lest a silence should ensue where others might convince me of my own unimportance. Perhaps speech is a defensive weapon of our scary identity. If it canít be helped let us speak then, but let us do so with an open heart and our gaze posed on what lies beyond, where words perish.
6. That which remains unconscious becomes destiny (Carl Gustav Jung)
Yes, itís true. What we do not accept as our own, those horrible characteristics that we donít recognize in ourselves, but see in others we hate, are emotions that weíve condemned to orphanhood. Poor feelings, like starving, terrified animals gradually turning into deformed monsters that arouse energies inside us. This misfortune drives us to wars and quagmires we would never in our sane mind resort to. Next time someone drives you crazy, repeat like a mantra: I am also him, I am also him, I am also him, in time to avoid that unpleasant heartburn in your chest.
7. The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao (Lao Tzu)
That which is sacred sheds its robes and smears itself in order to become thought. That which is spiritual floats in the air between us and is beyond our mindsí grasp. Sacred in a first approach is what asks us how is the sound of clapping with only one hand. In that life we choose not to live in, a life of subtlety, a life of sensations imperceptible to our senses, where there is no space for words. There are other worlds I can say nothing of. Nothing.
8. Donít hit me, Iím Giordano (Roberto Giordano)
Donít hit me, I am the ego. Donít hit me, I donít want to suffer. Donít hit me, whoever dares me will have to bear the consequences. As an ego I am an entity just like all the others, my first priority is my own survival, whatever it takes. Donít hit me, I am guilty, I am innocent, I am the cause of my causes and destiny of my destinies, but I donít care. Here am I, a childish, fanciful and lively ego in a relentless fight against death, pain, old age and decline.
9. So many people were missing that if another one was missing he wouldnít fit in (Macedonio FernŠndez)
Is your life too meaningful? Do you manage your leisure time like you drive your car along an avenue? Then youíre the one whoís missing, theyíre not waiting for you to declare that the party canít start all over again. Itís absurd to think one can befriend that existential confusion we avoid looking in the eye. They say life is understood backwards but lived forwards. Thatís not true, life is never understood, never, and the only way we can go forward is to go back until we meet our own shadow.
10. Dream different dreams while in the same bed (Chinese proverb)
Apparently a Chinese fellow didnít get along with his wife. Or else he tired of always having to eat rice. But the Chinese who invented that phrase hasnít met my wife. Clearly, she and I donít share the same dreams. My wife walks in her sleep, screams and kicks when she gets up in the middle of the night. But afterwards she remembers nothing. I show her the marks of her blows on my body and she assumes no responsibility. I believe Iíll end up murdered, a ďcrime passionelĒ where my wife will be prosecuted for her ghosts while I will resurrect to forever haunt her nightmares.