Anecdotes and Quotes
Ernesto H de Casas
I comment on these things (I hope appropriately) to contribute to that request for anecdotes and significant moments in the life of that very appealing/ person who is Silo. The text organization, or lack of it, is dictated by the reminiscences that come up as they wish. This is a matter, then, of transmitting the formidable capacity for communication that Mario Rodriguez (MR), Silo, had in his colloquial aspect; his enormous ability to transform any simple moment of daily life into a sublimely important lesson; with his characteristic certainty, vision, force, depth and histrionic style. Each of these moments was, strictly speaking, like he himself, an exceptional occurrence. I trust reading it will be of some benefit. Thank you to those who helped me in this work.
Ernesto (Tito) H. de Casas
Madrid, November 2010
- In the beginning we heard things like that he had had some special experiences as a child.
- They told us that MR, as a child (4-5 years old) would often climb up in a tree and remain sitting and then jump to another branch and so on; when they asked him what he was doing, he said: “I look, I search and… I find, then I look, I search, and… I find…”
- He said that:
- He began talking all at once when he was 4 years old, when he went to see a magic circus in Mar del Plata, when he saw the magician conjuring; he began to talk about the trick what he was doing. Y he mention: “And after that, I didn’t stop talking…
- In school they sometimes thought he wasn’t intelligent because he would say things like: 2+2 does not = 4, it is “equivalent” in any case. And currently the modern mathematicians say similar things.
- In Corfu, while we were in a boat rocking in the water, he told me that he had spent a whole summer sun bathing and playing on an air mattress in a swimming pool, every morning and afternoon. His family remembers that he would go in the morning and float, get out for lunch, go back again, and return at sundown. The same thing day after day… his family remembers that and he commented “what was I thinking…” (he would be 12 or 14 years old)
4 – About his adolescence, a friend and neighbor told me MR was very talkative, very friendly, and laughed a lot, or a great deal, that he had very elaborate opinions about current politics at a national and worldwide level, and other issues, but they never knew when he read the papers, or how he kept informed, because he was always with them. They often went walking to the slopes of the mountains behind the city of Mendoza, he set out walking fast, talking and laughing, sometimes they decided to stay and sleep in the open, or else went back, and they did this very often.
5 – Self defense
- He also told me about an unusual form of personal defense: one night some guys approached looking for a fight, and MR took a step sideways quickly and began moving his arms and laughing mockingly, gesticulating, and taken by the surprise, the puzzled fellows retreated.
- This reminds me of another episode, but in Rio (’80) after one of the general meetings. On a corner some suspicious looking guys approached, and before they could do anything, MR leapt backwards quickly and very athletically and began moving his hands. At this the guys were confused and retreated. Then he continued talking as if nothing had happened.
6 – Gymnastics.
- When I met him he was finishing his gymnastics phase. Sometimes he would be a judge for the young gymnasts and once he invited us to accompany him. In Canaries I he told us: “I did that for 15 years, the time it takes to train a champion.” We asked him if he was chosen for the national team to perform at the Olympics held in Tokyo then (1964), and he told us yes, because he was a champion in the Cuyo region on the horse (or vaulting horse), but then Argentina pulled out. Decades later (around 1987) I had the opportunity to visit the pavilion where they celebrated those games in Tokyo, where he would have participated; it was interesting to see the site and imagine that he could have participated there…”
- Another friend from Mendoza of the same age remembers that: when Rodriguez joined the inter-high school gymnastics team, they said: “we will have a hard time winning.”
8 – The student. MR was an excellent student throughout primary and secondary school (to the point that they offered him significant scholarships that he refused for lack of interest) and later at the University he distinguished himself as well. Many remember the day they gave a Philosophy exam where the theme was selected at random on the spot. The other students and many from other faculties were watching attentively through the window. The theme was “the Pre-Socratic thinkers” and he developed it excellently, as was to be expected, to the delight of his public and the admiration of the professors. Many people tell this story, but a journalist, who witnessed the event, spoke of it years later as an unusual event because of the enormous audience.
9 – Studies. He told us he studied Philosophy with a tutor at the age of 12, and also Italian, French, and music with his mother. His tutor at the time didn’t understand anything when he later on began his public activity. There was someone who remembered that “when we went partying on the weekends, he was there in the public library…” His fields of interest were broad, and he also had a laboratory in his house where he did experiments in chemistry, physics, biology and some astronomy.*
One day (in Chacras de Coria, 1974) before his father came to visit, he commented, “What was it I used to do, in the laboratory at home, with Kuasar** (also present) and others, something exploded… didn’t it? and afterwards we threw things, chairs and other things, through the window…” to which Don Rafael, his father, assented, saying, “Yes, you used to play a lot…”
* MR was interested in astronomical studies and with AC made a telescope (1968), polishing the lens himself, and commented to us that “the errors are compensated for with the repeated polishing.” Later he had the telescope at his house and finally connected it to the PC, leaving it turned on to see if it would capture objects of interest.
** This name originated when it was given to him in an affectionate way one day in the jungle in Jujuy (1967), when we had been looking for an alternative word for ‘coetaneo’(contemporary) – it was an exercise in ‘attentional search’ that we sometimes did. So after several hours we came up with that noun: ‘quasar’. But then we saw we couldn’t use it so we decided to give as a name to our well known friend, but with ‘K’ (within a way of working where we adopted other names, to see the habitual conditionings related with names, places, habits, etc.).
We did this exercise other times, attending for long hours, focusing on searching for a word. We also found the word “endoarea” that way. Also we use to do certain readings that had very long paragraphs and obliged you to be very attentive to follow the thread (such as “Tales of Beelzebub to his Grandson, G.I. Gurdjieff).
10 – Travels.
In the early days of the Movement he told us that he had had a motorcycle, when he was very young, that when he first tried it out he went up and down the main street of the city. Later he traveled to the north of Argentina. And another year he did a long journey to Panama, where he abandoned the motorcycle and returned by way of Colombia, where he met the ‘nadaists’*(nothingness supporters, come from the existentialist concept of nothingness). And we can mention he visit them again afterwards in the 80’ and he emphasizes then that support nothingness as step of negation it is fine, but after that it is time to beguine to build something valuable…
11 – First writings.
Back in Argentina, he wrote an article for a counterculture magazine called “Contemporary Echoes,” in Bs. Aires, in the ‘60s, where he wrote an article as a nadaist*, in which he affirmed: “…I don’t believe in a bearded God because he doesn’t shave” … That was the first published material I ready by MR.
Then we looked at his book “Imbeciles,” (self-published), which we didn’t understand, and he told us about that “that it had three levels of language, which was marked by the typeface used in printing…” One of its initial sentences would always be memorable: “Awaken Now Universe!” (he wrote that at age 20). Later, in that epoch, there was his Existential Ethics.** But he emphasized that those works didn’t have anything to do with our thinking, humanist thinking, that along with the History of the Twentieth Century, they are just earlier works, as are some stories and novel projects under pseudonyms. Today those are lost (as I found out in Jujuy in 1967). And like a brief script for a dodecaphonic opera, to be called Arcanos, (still in existence) about which he told us, “It was never completed because the one who was supposed to do the music didn’t do his part…”
* Decades later, in the 80′, he passed through that country and spoke again with some of those nadaists and commented: “Now we have to go on. At one stage it is good to negate, to destroy everything, but in other moments you have to build, the new arrives.” In addition, he said, “I don’t understand why they are always with the beer, with alcohol, because they relate it with being intellectual… It makes you free-associate, and that can’t be taken seriously.”
**Which we took to the Sorbonne in 1971, in France, for publication in their reviews, and after a year of waiting they answered ‘we cannot publish this because we don’t know what it is, if it’s philosophy, sociology, or what…’ – that was their excuse.
b – Characteristics. He had notable personal characteristics and abilities. In the beginning circulated the comment that “just as the Tibetans look for the next Lama by watching for physical characteristics, he had several special ones, like the length of his arms, thorax, etc.”
He always had a lot of energy and physical stamina. He was ambidextrous, he could write with both hands. On one occasion (Jujuy 1967) he wrote one sentence on the blackboard with one hand, and another with the other…
His gestures and his posture were distinctive. However on more than one occasion he told us, “I don’t believe it’s a good idea for people to imitate one, that’s not going to work…”
12 – Beginnings
a – When MR began at the School of Political and Social Sciences, he began commenting on what he would do, with simple ideas like “We have to do something big, things can’t stay this way” or “You have to go inside” – “Do internal training.” Then later we began participating in “The Thing.” “We have to be in the thing,” we would say. We started an initial group that was called a Study Group where we did studies about, for example, Logic. A series of brief notes remains from that time, intended for those who were interested so they could learn about different currents of thought in vogue, such as Marxism, Existentialism, Psychoanalysis*, Zen Buddhism, Phenomenology, and others, as I remember now.
b – They tell me that MR began commenting in the classroom on the professors’ presentations, things like “That’s not the way it is,” or “That’s different,” etc. and that he would later amplify on these themes during the break. This went on for some time until the first nucleus from the School of Political and Social Sciences was formed and those people got together with friends from the neighborhood and from his adolescence. This is the group I first met.
Shortly after that the first written text appeared where there were some lessons and exercises entitled Philosophy of the Point of View (in a notebook), with which they began to try to do different groups (from 1960-62, I believe).
*Regarding psychoanalysis he saw it as being about “the lies that people tell themselves.” But all this doesn’t solve anything in any important way, doesn’t cure anyone… We don’t need to use this conception.
c – At that time and later on, whenever MR engaged in a conversation he would frequently interject “Do you understand?” and he would repeat it, “I don’t know if you understand?” That reflected his concern about whether what he was proposing was fully understood. That he was making himself clear to us.
d – Later on, when we finished the retreat in the Jujuy jungle (April 67), when we had all our projects ahead of us, after going over them he said, “… and how are we going to do all this? Putting our heads into it, just putting our heads there…”
13 – My first meeting. People had told me so much about MR and the groups that I got interested and decided to meet them and participate. And they didn’t disappoint me. It was January, and I was only 14 years old. They invited me to a meeting at a big house in the area called Chacras. I got there in the evening, with other friends, and the first thing I saw was a series of newspapers displayed side by side down a long hallway, which intrigued me (later I found out that this was for the study of consistent themes in the news, such as generational issues, leaders, situations, conflicts, discoveries, etc). That was the origin of our guidelines about ‘doing our own studies, not just reading other people’. I went into the room and there were several people, MR in a blue blazer, tie and gray slacks, very active, setting up a home film projector with another friend. We began the meeting – doing a couple of exercises that the others obviously knew better than I did. The first was to “Comment on the other person,” the person beside you. So we sat in a circle and I had to talk and receive people’s comments. MR also participated, and he said “He wants me to tell him something, but I’m not going to!” With that powerful, serious, warm voice that seemed to say much more than those simple words – and that was his turn. That was the first time I heard him speak.
After that exercise came one about speaking coherently about an arbitrary topic that the others chose for you. We went around the circle again and when it came MR’s turn we gave him the topic of “Speaking about the back of a map” that was hanging on the wall – and this was where I saw his first masterly speech. Placing very well seated himself in a lordly way behind the desk, with surprising eloquence, he began, “Very well, we are going to talk about the issue: ‘what the back side of a map is, what the back of a map is not, and after that what the back of a map can be used for…”
And he developed the theme perfectly, without missing anything, with eloquence, truthfully, and we were stunned by everything that could be said about such a surreal theme. So we learned – something we would value highly later – that expository method that would allow us to speak on any theme at any moment: “What something is, what it is not, and what it is for, or what its function is.” (I beg you to consider that).
The next turn came and my friend, of my own age, had to talk about “the utility of the ring” (since he was wearing one), and he couldn’t say even a word and never came back to the meetings.
That experience gave me a lot to think about: a) it was clearly something worth getting acquainted with and b) how the participants had different reactions, which was very hard for me to understand (and still is today) – how some came and were interested, but there are also those who withdraw and are not interested (and even make objections)… Incredible!
Having heard him talk for the first time and being in his presence was without doubt an important event. Any meeting with him would always be that (whether with him as MR or S): a consequential event.
14 – Later I attended other meetings where we prepared other tasks, oriented to raising funds ours activities. But after a while they didn’t invite me – (something I found out afterwards, which was because I was so young…) until one day in the winter, around 1964, someone rang the bell at my parents’ home and my mother told me: “Look, it’s Rodriguez,” and there, surprisingly, was MR, ringing the bell, dressed casually in light colors. When I went out to meet him he said: “__Hi, now we can go on with the meetings, there’s someone else your age…” so then we could form a little group, etc. I was astonished, surprised by such painstaking attention, ‘a house call’ – maybe that’s why after that it always seemed to me a high priority to take care of others – even though I had already had several “personalized” meetings in my little town, on the plaza, in a snack bar or café, where I played as a child, but now I was reading about time, about cycles, about the opening of history and we were doing exercises with the attention, with observation, etc. Amazing!
15 – The first documents were extremely interesting. Very different from what I knew, apart from the already mentioned text – which also had no author, although it clearly had the flavor that it was “ours” – one appeared called Microcosms and Macrocosms, with succinct but very meaningful paragraphs, almost like aphorisms, numbered in threes, like “There exists an arc of time” or “There is a profound I and a peripheral I” (approx.) Later there was a text called “Determinism and chance” that developed one of those paragraphs. That anticipated by decades the theme of chance, necessity, etc.
16 – Books.
a – Something that made an impression on me happened when I was in bed with mumps (1963) and they brought me a little book, from the group, underlined and with notes by MR*, it was “Existentialism is a humanism” by JP Sartre (1946) and M. Heidegger’s “Letter on Humanism” in the same volume. There I saw for the first time that word “humanism,” which for me was a total revelation. Something inside me told me that we had to do with that. And that I liked it a lot.
When I could see MR personally, in 1963/64 I asked him if we had to do with that current of thinking, that it was very interesting (although I didn’t understand much) and he told me, “__It could be, it could be…” It was still very early.
– This was because he often gave away his books, which he had studied meticulously, like he told us, “I begin reading an author with all the respect in the world, I give him all possible credit, but… soon I begin to see things, to disagree, and I have to make observations, which I note on the same page.”
b – On the occasion of the first urban retreat – and the launching of our process – he gave away his library (for the second time) and dozens of his books, profusely annotated and underlined, were distributed, which of course we try hard to get and also ex-professors and classmates from the university.
- Incidentally, an author, Sartre, who would appear on other occasions in conversations, once he recommend his text on The Imagination and the Imaginary, and the Sketch of a Theory of the Emotions, alluding to the emotional consciousness, very important themes for us.
- Besides, in Mexico (1982) on a certain occasion, he talked to us about him as an author, saying, “Every book is in a different style, they even seem like different authors, this isn’t something very common, Sartre did it a little, with the essay, the novel… and it is that way to reach different sectors of the public…”
b – We also spoke of the crisis, to the point that we had a document that explained how to present the theme of the crisis, since the people couldn’t see it. When we asked him about this he said, “The people unfortunately don’t see much… we have to help them… and to be patient. Things will change” (and they did!) That was another of our slogans – “Change” – we are about change.
- He spoke often about the crisis and the end of this epoch, the concepts were: a – the institutions and values go on through inertia, not out of personal or social reality; b – they will fall and the references will fall, and hopefully worse references than the old ones will not arise… our work here, of offering an option, is very important; c – false solutions pop up like mushrooms, there is such a climate of “no exit” that the people join up with any trickster/, that is a risk; and d – the connotation of violence is tremendous, it won’t be long/won’t take much before people are throwing themselves off the balconies by the hundreds or killing each other… and many people don’t see that.
16 – Various things
a – Something it was hard for me to understand was about the people who participated at one time, but later their actions didn’t reflect that. I said something about that to him and he told me: “It happens that some people are fearful, and you can’t expect much from a fearful person…” And in other similar case he mention the ‘lack of intelligence in order to grasp our proposals’ And that’s the way it’s been for a long time…
b – In the years 65/66 there was many brief meetings in Mendoza, and on one occasion we told him that we didn’t understand certain aspects of the theory that we were studying in those days. Then he said we should think well, with ‘projection,’ not just for now, but with projection – he insisted on that. And he invited us to have a weekly chat with him at the café Euxco Xcoa (mean A Vasc Corner/). We did that for a couple of months, I think it was half way through the week, in the evening at about 7pm. And there three of us had the privilege of listening to him talk for an hour about the themes of that time, the Point of View, the cycles, the great cycles of history, the human being as responsible for himself and not as a mere accidental/unplanned phenomenon/ – something I wouldn’t be able to reproduce now, but I do remember two things clearly: a) One day he explained to us that the common man’s vision of things is like that of the fish, it’s “the vision of a fish,” who is submerged in the water and when somebody enter in the waters, he sees something that moves as if it is two separate things (the two legs); he can’t see the trunk of the person who is entering the water, so he doesn’t see the whole structure, the body. He always sees two things, separated but related, and that has led to the usual dualism, always seeing everything as two things…
- b) The muscular tonicity. This was an important chapter in the first exercises, included as a series, from the simplest to the most complex. But MR gave it a broad importance to the point perhaps considering of being at the basis of the paranormal phenomenon. However what is recommended was (and is) to count with the muscular tonicity as a disposition for grasping the other in the same “frequency” and mental direction, to communicate better with others, without much rationalization of the relationship.
– Another day the other two participants were absent, so he remained silent, waiting, and made only one comment, at the beginning, about the music that was playing: “That’s the Beatles,” he said. I don’t know, I said. “Yes, the Beatles – a little Buddhist those guys…” (Something I didn’t know – unpardonable) – and that was the end of that talk that evening; we sat across from each other for 40 or more eternal minutes, in silence. At the end he said, “Well, see you next time,” and he left with his agile gait, in his gray suit… leaving me to understand well that not coming, not attending, is not part of his way of being (let’s remember that the greeting ‘Nos vemos’ – see you later – is not used in those places, so it stands out in my mind very clearly).
– This happened again in Buenos Aires (1985) when we had agreed to meet at a certain place and the others didn’t arrive – we went to the café across the way to wait. And there he sat in silence for an eternal hour… until the rest arrived.
17 – First failure. a – The first international meeting took place in La Paz, Bolivia, around mid-1966. The first missions of diffusion had been started around South America in 1964 and this city was seen as the central point. We arrived by bus and train, we were waiting in the train station where MR and others arrived, he was wearing his gray suit and tie, and he told us, “How great, here we are, [look] where we have arrived now!” After that we had the planned meeting in the house of some friends from the area. But before that there had been other meetings where, it seemed, various difficulties appeared. So when those people came to the meeting, MR, who was orienting it, said the “Well if there are so many difficulties, it’s better if we let all this go and disband… and what do we tell the others? we have to tell them something, so let’s just tell them simply that ‘we have failed’” And that’s how the movement dissolved that first time.
The next day, at night, a couple of us were passing through the city center and we made out the silhouette of MR on a corner. We went up to him, he was trying to light his cigarette, and looking toward [another] corner he told us, “Tomorrow we’ll meet there, at that café on the first floor.” At the agreed time we were there, about 20 friends, sitting at a series of little tables arranged together. In front of each person there was a bottle of an orange soft drink… (the first time we saw that color). The meeting began and developed easily, everything was continuing, the Movement went ahead stronger than ever. We reorganize ourselves and returned to our cities with new projects.
Later on, we prepare and carry on the long non-urban retreat in the jungle of Jujuy (October of 1966). But was interrupted by the army and the police that came for an inspection; also due to some illness affect some member of the group. Nevertheless we were able continue from January to end of April 1967.
b – After that the urban groups continued and a long planned retreat started – the urban retreats had been in 1964 and 65 in Buenos Aires. Many are the works and projects that were done. One that marked the consistent trend was that of being attentive, in self-observation, for which they set up ‘alarms,’ that is, signals that reminded them of that level of attention. Some of those were tree trunks that we chopped down and planted upside down (when the police arrived on one occasion they machine-gunned them…). He told us that the thing of the alarms had a long history – “The little bells on the women’s sandals were not mere decoration, but a means of calling and maintaining attention; it was the same with other things that later degenerated into simple ornamentation…” (Jujuy 1967).
c – When that retreat ended in April of 1967 we planned to meet again in three years to see how we had carried out our tasks, our missions, our groups and so on – that would be in May of 1970. In the interim we would support the development of the Silo phenomenon, which began, as we know, in 1969.
d – The Demand/effort It should be emphasized that there was always a tone of demand/effort, of responsible performance. He defined it as a tone that was “firm but friendly.” When someone did a good job it was simply fine, “they chose to do that,” when someone pulled away, “we don’t need anyone.” When we showed too much consideration for our surroundings, for the established rules and all that, he told us “It’s not like that, we don’t delay in considerations, and we make our contributions”.
e – The uninvited. Talking about the behavior of someone who was somewhat unreliable (1988) he said, “It’s like the people who crash a party, have you seen that? The uninvited sneak-in and look like an invited person/They crash the party, but they haven’t been invited, they don’t have the conditions, so they behave any old way…”
f – Those that left (1985) always left an aftertaste of preoccupation, about which he would say, “But what’s the problem? If it’s normal, common, to do everything as a passing whim, without going deep, the odd ones are those who stay and do things!” He added, “What it’s important to look at is not whether they go or stay, but ‘what they leave behind’ – that is what is interesting to see.”
g – When someone who had been involved a long time (1986) in our activities decided to leave, it called the attention of those in the immediate environment and I was able to ask him about this, more than anything about what had brought them to that decision, he said, “it’s not very important – what matters is that they are true to themselves, to their own thing, that’s what counts.” To which he added, “But that’s true about all decisions, of course!” he told me emphatically, pointing to himself, “It’s always about oneself, coming to agreement with oneself… and if it’s to do things, better…”
h – Before, talking about the same issue – since to me it was inconceivable to distance myself from our work – I commented to him on a few cases and he told me (1972) “__So what is this? They are in the environment, with a ‘little life’ without a lot of meaning, they come here, things happen, they do things, hopefully important things, and then they go back to their ‘little life’ without more ado…”
18 – Short conversations
a – One day I accompanied him to his house, since I was lending him a small typewriter, since his had broken. He was wearing a blue suit and a dark red tie. We were talking about current events and he said “__Those people don’t fix anything, they don’t know,” alluding to people currently in office. And then I said that we were doing well in the Movement, which we could count on “a group of unconditionally committed people,” and he looked at me with a slight smile saying, “__And why do we want unconditionally committed people? What we need is for them to do something, to do things.” I left thinking pensively about what I could do to be part of that kind of people. It was 1974. Something that still seems valid.
b – In a similar situation, walking on the street after meeting by chance and talking about what we had to do. He asserted, “__It’s obvious, here, in these parts, we would build groups from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego (south tip of South America)…” and to my poorly disguised perplexity (because I was always thinking about how to do that, from this province…) he confirmed that “__ and over there,” pointing with his hand toward the east, “__we would build groups from Lisbon to Vladivostok.” That was that. (1963)
c – Now at the café on that corner that was a famous meeting place, for us by chance, I spent an afternoon around 1965 with a book he had given me in the same way I mentioned earlier. This time it was about Yoga, by same sort of Yogi, who didn’t impress me very much.* He saw me with this book and said thoughtfully, “__Soon we’ll go over there and tell them how things are…”
*Years later I learned that this author was an Englishman, one of those who travel and change their names and write books about Asian subjects. Something MR advised us about later, insisting on seeking out original sources in the literature and not substitutes.
d – Difficulties a) In the very beginning, once we knew that it was crucial to transmit to others and see what response they gave us, I commented, as we were walking with a good rhythm down a central street (1965) that ‘This looked a little difficult,’ to which he responded, quickly and with absolute certainty, “__Or very easy, it might become a fashion, for example. In a current, many things can happen.”
d – The Difficulties b) Once in the jungle of Jujuy, when we were doing our studies, the sum total of all the difficulties of simple daily life was obvious, about which he commented to us, “__We have to understand this, the consciousness advances with the difficulties, resolving them, not with easy things… of course, distinguishing this from simple inconveniences, it’s with the difficulties that the consciousness exercises itself, getting around them and resolving things. And if not, let’s look at History…”
e – On a certain occasion at a retreat in Rio de Janeiro (1986) sitting around a pool in warm weather, the theme of difficulties came up, to which he responded with astonishment, “__But to face this is an internal thing – “ pointing to his chest with one hand, “it comes from inside…” (the force). Meaning to say it is not a mere reaction to the stimulus.
f – The ‘Contras’ (the opposition). This was a theme it was really hard for me to understand, because we were beginning such a noble and interesting thing, and different characters show up saying really stupid things about us. For example: There was a well-known journalist at a press conference in Bs Aires, about the last forbidden public act at Plaza Once (1970) who in the midst of other respected journalists suddenly he asked to S : “Are you a fraud?” And he responds him, without batting an eyelid, “__Well, it’s as if someone asked you if you are an old lady from the XVI century…” The journalist didn’t say anything more.
- References. On a car trip (1988) when I was driving, the theme of references arose. He said, “__It isn’t something we invent, that’s the way the human consciousness works, looking for and giving references. Look right now how when you are driving, you keep looking for references, constantly looking on both sides and in the mirrors. Experimental psychology has studied that and they affirm that you make hundreds of comparisons with your eyes every minute…” To which I said, “__Yes, I realize that I look in the mirrors and to both sides a lot,” “__Of course,” he said, “because you already have self-observation incorporated, but ordinary people don’t realize it. And they are constantly looking for references. Imagine if they take the wrong references! they judge the distances wrong, etc. they easily can have accidents.”
- More than once he talked to us about the Kantian “categorical imperative” as a rule for knowing if something is right or not, especially in relationship to the whole. On one occasion (1974) someone had made an individual decision about tasks that were clearly general. He commented that, “Seen in isolation, that might be fine, it looks like a good thing to do, but if we think about ‘everyone doing that’ it’s clear that it is not possible. It’s always necessary to bring it to the whole and if it is clear that it fits the whole , then that’s fine, but if it only fits in isolated cases, then it’s not for everybody it is not valid for the whole…” So whenever there are doubts about things of the whole you can think about the situation like that, if everyone does it and it’s obvious that it can be done, it’s a good thing to do, but if not, it’s not a good idea…
- On another occasion, we were meeting in Bs Aires (1987) with a journalist from one of those low-quality publications, but the guy criticize as severely, he write about us in an arbitrary and uninformed way (as was almost always the case). The issue is that I said, “__I believe I could go see this character, that’s his address, and talk with him, why he’s doing that, what he is basing it on, etc…” To which MR said, “__Yes, it could be, and take the opportunity to ask him about his childhood, how he spent his childhood, if it was unhappy, if he had a lot of difficulties, and all that. Ask him to tell you about his childhood, that there we will find many interesting things,” and he was adamant about that.
– At the beginning of the HP, regarding some elections, a TV commentator had said something like, “But who are these people, they want to get involved with us, they want to enter here… To which MR said, “That escaped her lips saying that, but it’s for sure how they feel, is the register they have, they see their space as divided up among those who are already there – where they are in-, and they don’t need anyone else, and then we show up, (laughter) of course they believe we want to invade them, entering in their space; but no, we want to do our things…”
- In fact one of those arguments was this: ‘and where do these people come from, what do they want, if everything is already invented, already said…’ To which MR said: “__It’s incredible. But how can they say that! If historical experience is precisely that, that it shows that changes always come, new things appear constantly, and now change is needed more than ever. They don’t read, they don’t study, they don’t know…” (a refrain that he would repeat on more than one occasion, in similar situations).
k – Sometime in the ‘90s when several news articles with groundless commentaries about him appeared, he commented, as we were walking fast through his city, “__The extraordinary thing about this is that they know me very well here, they see me sometimes daily, and they never ask me anything, never talk to me, nor do they try to confirm the news and such, it’s incredible… they give their opinion and that’s that.”
l – He also commented that “__It’s unfortunate that over the years we have never seen any interesting, high class criticism, everything very flat, always as if defending postures and values with no forethought… they don’t understand…”
19 – At El Mirador, Cordoba, Arg., when the first presentation on Crafts and Disciplines was made (July 1974-February 1975), there were several interesting brief conversations, some of which I summarize as follows:
- Thought acts launching itself toward the future, forward; it’s like a mountain climber, that goes with its rope and a hook and he throws it up ahead of him, it catches and then he can pull himself up on it. Thinking is the same, we throw it (our thinking) ahead of us and then we keep “pulling [ourselves up] on it” to advance… (making the gesture of pulling with his hands on a rope that is hooked higher up).
- Another day talking about ‘negative’ things, which there always are, he said that “__We don’t pay attention to this, [we make] a void, because this isn’t well understood, if you pay attention to it, apparently to correct it, it grows, it increases. So it’s worse. So nothing. We pay attention to the positive – so to speak – and for those who think with images in their heads, then we can draw little circles – one with the positive and one with the negative – and we make the positive grow and grow, we augment it, we accentuate it, up to the point that it ‘gobbles up’ the [negative] circle. That’s the way it is and not much more”…
Later on with those computer games with the little circles that eat each other, I’ve always remembered this simple scheme for amplifying the positive aspect (of whatever) until it includes the negative, something I think is still valid today as a modus operandi.
- Another conversation was about the simultaneity of History. There were travelers from the US and one of them was commenting on how it could be that a brief, much localized period of history could give rise to so many cowboy, western movies and novels, if it was only a brief period, why it was given such diffusion. He answered, “That had to do with territorial expansion, they were expanding, building trains and telegraph systems toward the Pacific, to be able to control – emphasizing that word – the territory, if not it’s as if that vast extensions do not really exist, wit out their control on it . The Russians were doing the same thing at that time, they were going through Siberia with trains also, conquering, and the telegraph, toward the other end, to control, obviously; those are ‘imperialist tendencies,’ the inclination to control.”
- On the same topic, I remember another talk during Canaries 1 (1979) with Salvatore, about the relationship with the east and Asian people, that we were beginning to have, and that we were surprised at their behavior. He said, “Of course, to the western head the eastern is complicated, very different, not so square, the west is always with its precise coordinates, (1) and this mental form it eludes them, it’s like the fish, it escapes from your hands… This issue goes to the root of the western mental form which is based on one thing: control, with a ‘k’, so to make it clear, the western person want to control everything, that is to conquer or to civilize, organize, etc. for them. It is to control, and if they cannot, they get destabilized, unstable, badly sometimes!”
- Right after he ended his address in Canaries 2 (1980) on the accuracy of the Buddhist perception, in which he talked of the theme of the mind, a few of us were asking questions or commenting, and I remember very vividly that he explained, “But the important thing here is the experience, the register one can have… that is why it is necessary to be able to depend on a ‘course of experience/experiential course’ * in these fields…” (this refer to not to look for isolated registers-experiences, is better a line of then, aiming to higher results)
- On another occasion he emphasized that the west, the western, were basically the European, that the others (North, Central and South Americans were not so clearly westerners, since a mixture of factors are in their basis)
- Realization, falling into account. During a meeting, before the retreats of 1975, I asked him, ‘How does one realize, fall into account of something?’ “Good question,” he said, “It is through the intersection of the times of consciousness, the axis of the past intersects the axis of the future and the present and there is an act of consciousness…”
* In another occasion he explain regarding special or deep experiences, how interesting are the cases when the subject is familiar with this phenomenon, contrary when there is lack of familiarity this registers-experiences are harder to be obtained.
- Contradiction. a – One afternoon, perhaps in the autumn in the ‘70s, on a holiday, I went to the city center, as I had so often, looking for something… Walking through the central streets, I saw in a restaurant MR and Ana on a corner (the same street where he would later have his office). Comfortably seated, as if finishing lunch. I approached and they invited me to sit down, and we exchanged a few words; until at one point he said, “A coffee?” Sure, we said, and he specified, “Here or somewhere else?” To which we did not answer, so we sat there in silence, motionless (to me it seemed like the natural thing would be to stay there, but as we learned later, he didn’t follow the habitual route.) Then he exclaimed, “See?! it’s obvious that when there is contradiction, there is immobility,” and he rose decisively, asked for the bill, and gestured for us to go to another café, to have the necessary coffee, but standing up. We had learned that you get out of contradiction – or staying between the yes and the no (between a simple ‘to go or to stay’) because of indecision – by making a [sudden] move with energy (ours) toward a new direction. Something vigorous.
b – A similar situation took place years later in Corfu, when as the days passed with the different meetings there were brief recesses to study what had been said. That was how we learned that at the movie theater in the city they were showing a German movie about mythology and [other] amazing things. I had the unfortunate idea that some of us might go to the movies, since it had to do with the ‘study of images,’ without checking to see if there was a meeting that night. And there was one. Then MR saw us from a balcony and said to me: “__And what are you going to do?” To which I replied, making a gesture with both hands, ‘There we are, caught between one thing and another.’ And he answered, “__As it should be…” giving us to understand that we had to resolve the situation. Making the proper decision. That’s where it stopped; of course we went to the meeting. But the point is that he took advantage of that situation to consider the theme of decisions between different options, and since contradiction is created, you have to prioritize well, and in real life, not just in theory…
c – Regarding the same subject. During a last conversation (2006) I commented/consulted him about whether the most important aspect of our work might be this thing of ‘unity and contradiction,’ to avoid contradiction. “__Yes, certainly,” he answered, “but also the evolutionary thing…” He gestured with his hand in an upward direction.
- a – Certainly the events of 1969 mark a before and an after in our Movement. Silo became Silo and everything was public and international. There are many things to tell about, but I will mention only a couple. We started in 68, with the idea that MR was moving to the mountain, the rural (non-urban) zone; there it was difficult to get the land, but with my team we located it. Then it was procured and he would go there to live for a while in January. On Dec. 31, 1968, at midnight we met at the big house, the old house from my first meeting, and we left around 2 in the morning, with a truck, a jeep and a couple of vehicles. We arrived at the site before dawn and began to unload the things, which were many because we were bringing everything necessary for building a small house on the lower slopes of the Andes. We worked there quite hard (as he said “you have to put the motor functions to use”) and we even had to utilize a horse and cart for moving everything from the flat area to the rivers. There MR stayed with two friends to would help him in the installation, they stayed 15 days. We returned with the clear sensation of having begun something very special and different.
b – The talk under the vine tree. MR stayed all that summer at Punta de Vacas, but he would leave occasionally for safety reasons. One day, maybe in February, a friend and a neighbor, L., came to find me in my place, something very unusual from his part, with a short comment: “__Come, let’s go to my house home…” So I went it was a block away. When we got there, he had me go to the patio, covered by the typical Mendocino arbor – kind of high in-house vineyard -, and as I suspected, there was MR. He was dressed in light colors, smiling, he greeted me, and after a simple “__Here we are…” he began speaking slowly, in a serious, tempered voice, deliberately but without stopping. I simply let myself be drawn into it, I listened attentively, even though today I have no idea what the talk was about… it was something enjoyable, interesting, as the evening passed. When the sun was already setting behind that arbor, L. came to find him and with a laconic “__Now we are going” the whole thing ended; it was like a magic, meaningful and beautiful long lasting moment, but I’ve forgotten the content. We left in a little car for the city. When all of a sudden, after a few kilometers, we got a flat tire, and all the traffic began to slow dawn and go around us with the car stopped because of that. MR swiftly got out of the car, quickly asked L for tools, a jack, spare tire, etc., and so between the two of them they changed the tire in no time. And then we resumed our trip as if ‘nothing had happened.’ We took him to another house where he would spend the night, before going back to the mountain.
c – When the years had passed, we talked about those events of 69 and he was adamant that “__That really happened, they can’t deny it, it happened. It’s a real milestone.”
d – The duck. Around 1990 on a certain occasion we passed in his car near the house with the arbor that I mentioned before. I commented to him that I had always been curious and wanted to ask him how it was possible that those friends from that time, who had even stayed with him on the mountain, were no longer participating, what had happened in their heads… He told me simply, “__Nothing, it’s the thing of the duck, haven’t you seen how the duck can put his head under the water and not get wet? It has a kind of oil on its feathers that doesn’t let the water in. This is the same, they are there but they ‘don’t put their heads right’ so they don’t absorb anything…” So I told myself. “__ See the water doesn’t get them wet…”
That wasn’t the case with others who took maximum advantage of what was done during that intense year and helped with the unfolding that the Movement carried out afterwards.
d – The forking in the road. Little by little new friends replace the earlier members; a change was taking place in the staging of the Movement. Some from the first moments left and others entered, with a whole change of focus. This called my attention, perhaps I [would have] believed that this was ‘lifelong and for everyone dedication.’ But that’s not the way things are. On one occasion we were driving in his car and the subject came up, and he commented, “__Of course at a certain point the roads divide, like right here, another road opens off the one we were driving on, separates, the roads split… That’s what happens. Besides, a person has to be responsible to himself, with his things” – and here he pointed to his chest. I connect that comment with another, that “__You don’t have to look to see if they are going or staying, but rather what they do and what they leave, and from there others take up the work, and every-thing’s fine.”
I can highlight that this kind of thing remained within the chapter of ‘looking to the side’: if you look to the side you see all the things that are happening to other people, instead of being attentive to your own work. So everything is a question of looks, from the beginning.
- Structure and process. The ideas of structure and process where very present during the 80s and 90s, even before. We had ‘structural thinking.’ He commented about that: “__Everything happens in structure, there are multiple factors that are part of a phenomenon. This thing of ‘cause and effect’ cannot be, it simply cannot be; there is not one cause and one effect of something, there is a multiplicity of factors; if there’s something that cannot be it is this story of “cause and effect.”
- On planes he was very careful, he entered and checked out where the emergency exits were and always sat in the last seats, because in accidents ‘the ones who survive are those who sit in the rear.’ He was very cautious person, he likes to anticipate to possible problems and avoid them. On one occasion he talked to us of “Murphy’s Law,” which had been formulated precisely by an aeronautical engineer. But it was on another trip that we developed it as ‘Whatever can go wrong, will go wrong,” which in reality was a precautionary measure, not pessimistic, because if it is assumed that everything is fine, a little error can get complicated later.
- On a flight with a friend, who told us that on the same flight there was a foreign passenger, very ostentatious, with a huge hat, smoking a cigar (1985), about whom, and because of the expression on his face, he commented, “__Of course this way anything can happen, the flight attendant can come and say ‘there’s smoke, something’s smoking!’” And indeed, after takeoff, the flight attendant and the loudspeakers say “Don’t worry; there is smoke in the cabin…” To which, astonished by the prediction, the friend tells us he doesn’t know if it was a dream, a hyper-reality, or what had happened.
Then he asks MR haw he can be able o see this kind of things, he mention: “__Looking at his face, the face tell us everything…”
24 – Myths. In the 90s on one occasion at his house he commented that he was beginning a study on the most well-known, general myths, and he emphasized that “If those images are still there, there’s a reason for it, it’s that they are still important.” Then he explained that “In myths you can see historical evolution, is in the age of mud, of pottery, when the myths arise, when they say ‘a man was made of mud’ – they must have made some kind of little doll – and later when they give more consistency to the mud by adding straw, so then they come out with ‘we will make the woman out of a rib of…”
He said that they were translations of what was happening to them at the time, and about the scholars on the subject he pointed out that the problem “is that ‘they don’t put themselves in the other’s shoes,’ they don’t put themselves in the place of the people who were there 5, 6, 10,000 years ago, they speak from the present looking backwards, and that doesn’t work, if you put yourself in the place of those people you understand the mythical and historical thing much better.”
25 – On ‘abandoning the overcoat’: the body. This was a theme he was talking about very much at the beginning – ‘at some point you have to abandon the overcoat. The body.’ And of course when you are 20 you don’t think about that… but he did.
a – In Manila, maybe around 1980, at a restaurant, when he was visiting, I commented to him about remembering something about that phrase – today so resonant – that “Someday it will be necessary to abandon the overcoat,” a metaphor about leaving the body when you die – something I had heard from the beginning. I asked him what that was, and he said, “__Well, at some moment you get bored with all this, and what are you going to wait for, the latest electronic gadget, the latest news? You’ve already done your things, so then you depart, and doing that you abandons everything, even your shoes…” A whole mystery, that from the beginning he spoke of that as of something voluntary – you leave the body, you leave something and depart – referring to the finitude of life, and that you would have to take on (I believe).
He tackled the theme later on as such at a retreat (1985) at the request of Salvatore, quoting Heidegger.
b – On another occasion, without being able to stop laughing, he talked about the images that come up about one’s own death, about where they will bury you, standing up, laying down, or which way, about where you end up; that it’s better to fling the ashes to the wind, but they believe that they themselves, will evaporate, that they will dissipate.. “__There are people,” he would say, “__who can’t even talk about the subject, in this society with so much self-censorship, they don’t dare to talk of this theme… and is important to be able to talk, to move the images about it” –1970+
c – On another occasion, the owner of a well-known restaurant told him, “When I go…”, pointing upward, and he told him “__or downward…” or some such thing, he quickly said, “__Of course, a primitive mind like that doesn’t know how to place itself with regards to its own death, it’s easier to think about others dying; but with oneself, it is very is very complicated” and he gesticulated with his hand… Primitive? I thought Seeing a gentleman in a necktie in the middle of the 20th century, is at least a modern person. I recognize that I didn’t understand why one should speak of this. That one is a bit coward for these issues.
d – And another time, when we were telling him how difficult this thing of taking on the finitude of things, he said, “__And what do you want? Eternity? Here?” And in fact normally one seems not to want to reach that moment, neither to be in any life planning (to be immortal); however, it will come, better be prepared…
e – Another time I told him someone close had suffered the sudden death of their father that fortunately he had arrived on time to read him some paragraphs of the Inner Look and to talk. But when his father died he saw how his father was not in that body… and was like that. Then he said to me, “__Certainly he is no longer there.” Very clear. When he said it that way, it sounded like he had gone somewhere else, with a great deal of certainty… And with that, you get it out of your head that the person ‘just disappeared’…
f – It was clearer when some parents told him about the sudden death of their son in a fateful accident (1996). To which he told them, “Well, maybe now he will be able to find his path, the one he was looking for…” with complete certainty.
26 – About thought: (Corfu) a – When we were doing our summaries and syntheses in the patio, he commented, “__There are different ways of thinking; a very common one is linear, like you are following a continuous line, directed toward the object, sometimes too direct, without much context. Then there is a delirious way of thinking that makes zigzag lines, getting farther away and nearer, and approaching and sometimes not arriving at the object. Those are not our ways of thinking; we go around, approaching as if drawing a spiral, collecting a lot of information, a lot of experience with the environment, with the object, elaborating our thinking. Neither something reactive nor anything dilettante. Paying attention to the priorities That is our way, in a spiral, by going around, making detours (not straightforward).”
b – However, he presented (Corfu) the real contribution to the theme of thought in that brief text, “Fundamentals of Thought.” He had some notes and one evening he called JH telling him “__J, let’s go (indicating to take the typewriter) we are going to make History, let’s make a final copy of this.” And there I was present to witness that dictation. Later he would say, “__We say that we have assumptions, we say that, others don’t say it, they just present it…” He would make the same comment about Psychology where we said “__It might be an interpretation, but we say that, not like others who present it as ‘reality.’” On another occasion when we commented to him about how interesting the Psychology we were studying was, so broad and all that, he stated, “__Yes, and that is because it is an enormous turn of the thought:” Of those Fundamentals the principle we used the most was ‘There is no being without manifestation,’ which led us to look for the register of thinking, because if not the thinking fly away, and the phenomenon escapes from us. He told us, “__Certainly a mental calculation, like 2×2=4, has its register, and that is why we know that if we say 5, it’s wrong.”
A calculation, like 2×2=4, has its register, and that is why we know that if we say 5, it’s wrong.”
27 – How we will do it. Regarding how we will do our project, I remember two comments far apart in time.
a – How will we do it? With the word. The well said, opportune word,* in the appropriate context, can mobilize people significantly. “If we say fire, just anywhere, nothing happens, but if we say it in a dark movie theater, it can set off a stampede… words mobilize people.” (Canaries 1)
*He was telling us that “a well-spoken truth is a good thing, but a ‘timely truth’ is doubly true.”
b – On the occasion of inaugurating some offices in downtown Bs Aires for a candidacy/list of candidates for the Humanist Party, in 1989, after reading part of one of his stories on the PC (Communist Party), the question again came up, How will we do it? How will we mobilize people? Well, he told us: “__We take care of the necessities. People have different needs, not only the well-known physical needs, they have internal needs, need for meaning, also for recognition, for participation, emotional needs and deeper needs… We can generate contents, attitudes, and environments where the response to those needs can be found.”
28 – Other Comments
a – Talking about History, I commented to him (on arriving in Corfu) that it looks like suddenly, in a certain place, some guys appear, then a crowd, they make a village, it develops, they do things, they leave tracks and disappear… is that the way it is? And he said, “More or less, it’s more complex than that, but what is for sure is that here we are due to the contributions of others and a lot more people than before. We are the only species distributed everywhere… it seems his consciousness took a little leap in a given moment and we have the present people – pointing to those present around us – because if not, without that leap, perhaps not even this would exist now, probably there wouldn’t be anything…” So it boiled down to something having happened in the heads of the species, and evolutionary leap, and not in the different events.
b – The big I. Later, when many friends had arrived, we took a little walk to a café a ways away, in silence – something that had happened other times and it was difficult for me to understand, it was a walk toward some place, in silence… when we sat down and ordered coffee and joked about the passersby, we were always very conscientious and dressed as if from an earlier era… he began to talk about the I. He said something like, “Sure, there are those who show off a big important I, with a big figurehead (that he interpreted as someone with a lot of personality) but I say to myself, for that there would have to be something outstanding, that was very obvious, very noticeable, very prominent. For example if someone had their middle finger very long, let’s say twice as long as all the other fingers, on one hand, obviously he could speak of himself as remarkable. Because it would be well-founded and obvious. But if there’s nothing obvious, nothing remarkable, then why on earth such a big I?”
This became evident when he was very careful with this, always speaking of “one” in reference to himself, or of “we,” and seldom or never putting on airs. I don’t remember him saying “I…” (of course in Spanish language we can talk without saying I and is understandable the speech)
In copresence one saw in these conversations that he kept in mind that anything that was spoken about, one would immediately tell it to someone, to the others, so it was necessary to evaluate whether it was good to say it, or to shut up (which he later explained as ‘noise in the circuit’). Perhaps that is why I never told the story of this lesson that we might call ‘the finger and the I’ … This took place in the context of ‘too much I, or I’s’ is a problem for working together – the theme wasn’t even seen as related to the profound.
c – Speaking of copresences and regarding that very concept, when we asked him what else could be said about it, in a study group sitting in one of the patios at the house in Corfu, someone carelessly tossed out the butt of a cigarette, to which he said, “__Look what you’ve done, you threw away the butt without looking. Why? because that place is in your co-presence, and besides there’s nothing to stop you from doing such a thing, so you can throw it away tranquilly. That’s the way we act with thousands of things, assuming things; well, that is the co-presence, or at least part of what we call ‘fields of co-presence’ around the ‘field of attention’”… (things that are around the focus of attention are ‘copresence’, and what is in the focus is ‘presence’).
d – That was how we saw empirically how the theme of the attention was, precisely in developing [the idea of] the field of attention, and all around was everything else, co-presently, in space and time, so we knew that, for example, the rest of the patio would still be there for quite some time, and in that way was in our co-presence… Simple and surprising.
e – Another conversation happened in downtown Kerkira, in Corfu, where we drove to get provisions. With the Greek atmosphere and the theme of knowledge I commented to him that I saw that there were certain ‘activities of the intellect.’ “Like what?” he asked me. I told him that the intellect can tend toward certain fixed activities: a) describing, b) interpreting and c) explaining. Can that be? I asked. He answered, “It could be, and it could be that there are other jobs that the head does.” I said, is it that this is connected to the other point we were talking about before, of the importance, for the head, of comprehension, that it does everything in order to comprehend… and I saw that there was a previous step, that of understanding. To which he said, “Ah! these are very interesting themes! but yes, that’s the general idea…” (we were in the middle of the street…) This was brief but memorable for me, so that those aforementioned steps remained clear to me as principle tasks of the work of the intellect (description, interpretation, explanation, understanding, comprehension).
f – Speaking of all this, on another occasion in the same city and period, when we got out of the car – just having arrived – I saw on the sign with the street name (in Greek) that after the supposed name there was the ending “odoz.” Then he said, “__Look, they still have that ‘odoz,’” that is in the word ‘method’(método, metod) – ‘met-odoz’ (method), something like ‘to go down the path of thinking…’” Simple.
Also on hearing the sounds of the Greek language he pointed out that the sound of the Z (like th) “certainly comes from here, this comes from here…”
- Feeling special. Someone commented about himself ‘I believe I am special, I am a very difficult person. People don’t understand me, to which MR responded, laughing, “__Oh yes? and so then what can be said about me, for that matter…”
– The personal imprint. He said to us that the friends will not do the activities mechanically, it won’t be something mechanical, but each one will put their own imprint (personal touch, stile – aprox.-) and in feeling it as their own thing, this will come easily. “__For example this friend – referring to a friend in Sri Lanka – does it with that enthusiasm because he feels it as his own thing, and he gives it his own imprint, and it’s very good that way; otherwise, it would be something rather flat” (1981).
29 – Other interesting comments, (1986), in Mendoza, when we went one time in his car and were talking about working with people, that it couldn’t be a mere formality, “And,” he was saying, “__Here is the thing of the time, it can be like an intense time, or a lax time, like letting oneself be; in fact people do that thing of passing time… Ours, on the other hand, is an intense thing; each thing we do is crucial… not a conventionality, certainly that’s the way it is…” And that was this conception – than I never heard of before – of the intense time and the lax time.
a – In another comment speaking of different behaviors, sometimes erratic, he said very emphatically, “__Yes but the important thing is the mental direction, that first, then the little body follows…”
A concept that would be so important to apply in everything, but was hard to understand, that’s why sometimes things seemed very strict on occasion and that is because it is appropriate to channel the mental direction well from the beginning, since later on it was very complicated to redirect …
b – The theme of thinking/thought was a recurring theme. One time he stressed the importance of being ahead of things when something is about to happen, better be ahead, not just sitting there, waiting for things to happen by themselves, but anticipating things. “Ours is anticipatory thought, we go to the acts, we go early, we don’t sit expecting things [to happen], we don’t wait for them…”
c – One time a traveler from the north of the country arrived, and was talking about the things that they were doing there, certainly very enthusiastic, to which MR mentioned some details and she responded smoothly. Suddenly he asked her, “__And you, how are you?”; a bit amazed (pleasantly), she answered ‘Very fine, wonderful.’ Then he clarified, “__It’s that it’s good to know how the person who tells us about things is doing.”
d – Concerning his visit to the US (East Coast, around 1982) when he returned a couple of interesting comments were: To a journalist, on what he thought of the country, he said briefly, “__I had never seen so many poor people,” (this because they had brought him to see New York neighborhoods that showed those realities). To a friend about the broad avenues and their buildings, “__It’s like here with our Andes mountain range, enormous heights, shocking, there they are buildings, but the sensation is similar.”
e – On the occasion of being in the garden at the entrance to his house (1986), suddenly I realized that there was a tree in the middle of an entrance garden, an enormous elm, and I told him, and this tree? It’s so big, I hadn’t noticed it. And he answered, “__It’s been here quite a long time, and yes, trees grow, they grow more than people…” I said to myself, ‘again, the lack of attention.’
30 – On teachings. a – Around 1968 friends who had started the Movt. in other places were coming to visit to Mendoza. On a certain occasion some travelers came who asked him some rather strange questions; for example, concerning the theory of escape (fugue) that he had explained in our first materials* they were asking if our very own things might not also be an escape. To which MR explained – I believe not very pleased – “…Our things are proposed ‘in good faith,’ if that’s not true, things don’t work; you have to see which are not in good faith; if there is bad faith, we won’t understand each other. In that case, what this person proposes can’t be applied to the Movt. How could we be an escape?!, we ourselves, who propose the contrary, consciousness of self. There’s something that doesn’t fit in this question”…
In that instance we learned that our things cannot be seen in a twisted way, because that produces the contrary (something we would frequently see later in the press).
* Concerning the theory of fugue/escape, the current moment is pathetic in that regard. There he explained (1963) in a theme like Magic and escape, how at difficult moments in history the consciousness was putting itself in that position and escaping from stimuli, ‘like the snail who withdraws into his shell when he encounters some obstacle’… and was giving a magical response. Those notes ended with ‘Soon the world will be completely magic,’ in the sense that forms of escape like entertainment and the classical forms using drugs, alcohol, etc. would multiply. Besides, we study in several occasion how the human mind growth accepting and resolving difficulties.
b – And so various things like that came (misconceptions). For example there are those who were inserting other themes, including other exercises, in our work. MR would say, “… Sure, there’s freedom, but it’s not our work. Where do they get these things? Where have they learned them?” Adding, “… fortunately people have little permanence, so nothing pernicious will come of it in the long run.”
c – But the most important question was when we were seeing true atrocities in the environment – that was a time of dictatorships – to which he always told us, “…Well the system is doing that, we have nothing to do with that, we are not responsible for any of that, if we could we would do things much better; they don’t consult us, certainly we would do things differently! So we have little to worry about and much less should we get distressed.” That was hard to incorporate because the normal thing was at least to worry, but if it was in someone else’s hands, what could we do, what can the average citizen do, who is always dismayed.
d – Nationalities. On one occasion there was a conversation over coffee, in the morning, where the theme of nationalities came up, since with our travels the ‘landscapes’ of each country came to the fore, which some exaggerated, and to my surprise he asked me, “__Why, do you consider yourself very much of your country?” ‘No, not at all,’ I said, ‘ but I don’t believe we should stress the thing of the countries. I believe’ – it was 1974, we didn’t yet know anything about universalism – ‘the Movt has to be something bigger, common…’ “Exactly, that’s what we aspire to, because this thing of the countries and cultures is like a varnish they put on and isn’t about the essential. People are all the same. Besides there are cases that have no depth at all, but are more like something secondary; but no, we don’t pay attention to the ‘varnish,’ it seems to me irrelevant…”
e – Change. In a New Year’s gathering with different people, at one point the difficulties of the countries came up, about how it complicates the personal life, in working and so on. To which he commented, “__Yes, sure, but if they didn’t have to work, what would they do, what meaning would they give their lives? They would have to propose a lot of things. The same with these problems, they will have to propose change, even though the people don’t tend to change until they can’t put up with the situation any longer. It doesn’t happen gradually, but instead when they can’t take it anymore, they propose changes…”
f – An idea that another time – regarding totalitarian regimes – he expressed this way: “__It’s hard for them to change, they believe they’ve to yield, others try to twist their arm, but because of the force of circumstances – or the empire of circumstances – they will have to change, or rather disappear. Look at the east block that was said to be monolithic, and nevertheless fell…”
g – Lowering expectations. A friend and neighbor told me about his recent encounter with MR (1995) concerning personal issues, when he mentioned his relationship difficulties, and MR was very clear: “__Relationships? Here? Very difficult. Very complicated. Besides, since there is so much disorientation, people are very confused and don’t trust at all, not even their own shadow. So it’s not your problem, it’s something general…” Then he added, “__In these times you have to take a look at your own expectations, and you have to lower them, really lower them,” and he put his hand near the floor, “more and more down, that’s the only way to get a little understanding…”
31 – On studying. On one occasion when we were studying themes (about the crafts) he told us that when a theme is interesting we have to a) look for all the available information, b) then relate the data in the way that seems best, because you can’t go into a theme without considering the existing information and c) it’s always a good idea to go to primary sources,
not to commentators, to third parties (secondary, indirect sources)…
32 – About Silo. a) – The first time I ever heard this name was when he commented, at the camp/ in Jujuy, in the beginning of 1967; suddenly, one evening, he said, “__A. knows where the term is in the Bible,” and so we looked for it in the beginning of the book, in a verse in Deuteronomy, I believe, it said, ‘__and he tied the donkey (ass) to the vine… and Silo will arrive (sometimes with a final h) and the people will congregate around him.’ Over the following days we looked in different bibles, catholic, protestant, etc. and in only one version was it mentioned in this way, and in other it was omitted, and in the Esperanto version (a language we were trying to learn in those days) it said, “…and the peacemaker will arrive” etc. That was how this term arose on our horizon that name. But we didn’t go back to the biblical reference ever again. Later, at the end of the retreat, around March 1967, he commented, “__While the groups are developing, the teams, we will concern ourselves with the ‘Silo phenomenon.’”*
b – This was a very interesting period, certainly intense. One thing that happened was that the police would visit us once in awhile,- as a continuation of the firs impact in October of the previous year that really harass us/ – a captain always visited us and spoke with MR taking long walks through the jungle on the nearby roads. One day someone came to find him, sent by the captain, and he hurried away, returning much later. We learned then that the captain had tried to kill himself, shooting himself in the stomach, apparently because his wife had left him… MR comforted him.
* In later conversations we remembered the silos (big depot towers) at the port of Bs Aires, where such storage capacity clearly related to that name: wisdom stored up to be applied when needed.
c – The journalist. Many journalists came to the 1969 event, with one of them we struck up a good relationship and we gave him an early interview, in which some of us were present. It was nice to see the fluency with which it developed. Some of the questions were: ‘Do you have something written down that you will say on May 4?’ He answered: “__No, I think I can improvise,” “I understand that you had a relationship with a certain ancient school, did that last long, and how was it? He responded, “__Well, It was brief and intense.” Why do you decided to give a public speech? “__Well, a group of friends and I saw that the moment had come to address the public, after a long phase that was more internal. So someone could be like a spokesperson. When the question arose of who wanted to do it, I said I would do it with great pleasure. And here I am.” After that the conversation went on in another tone to deal with the current dictatorship and if they would dare to stop the act. Something that didn’t happen with that public act, but did happen later on.
33 – Violence. a – In Bs Aires (1988) after a meeting we went to eat at a restaurant in the center and there was a lot of interchange, about how parties and movements were disappearing from the social scene…and the ones in power got fixed in their easy chairs. There were comments about the sad epoch of the dictatorship, and I believe, not very opportunely, we joked about how those people would make decisions. One person, after breakfast, decided to ‘disappear’ this, that and the other person in the afternoon, another mess, etc. – to which MR said categorically, “__People don’t suppose to be killed.” The impact of that short sentence was so strong that I have a vivid memory of the moment, in which we remained mute, immobile. Pensive.
b – On another occasion he said, looking at the neighborhood near his house, that of course “__The people are calm, peaceful, look at these neighborhoods, they are totally calm, violence doesn’t even occur to them, in general. But suddenly, in certain extreme situations, smack!, they can do something crazy – how can that be?” From which I gathered that one should be attentive regarding this issue.
c – However he gave the clearest image at the time of the fall of the Shah of Iran, when Jomeini took power declaring mainly, ‘this regime is illegal’ and they carried out a religious revolution, but with violence, and “__There has never been a revolution anywhere in the world without violence, non-violent revolution is pending. There have been two great revolutions in this century (the XX) – in Russia, in Cuba-, and now this one in Iran, and very violent. But there still hasn’t been a nonviolent one, because where is it written that violence is a requisite of revolution? They’re very well may be conditions for a nonviolent revolution…”
34 – Humor. Without doubt his strong sense of humor was one of his special characteristics, even though it wasn’t always understood, because it was his singular way of configuring things, but it was an effective antidote against the sorrow that always ruled in the environment. On one occasion that really stands out, he gave a show of his impressive gifts in histrionics and interpretation. a – We were in the jungle in Jujuy (67), the temperature was almost 40 degrees centigrade, around a very rustic little table in the patio where we studied Biology* in the evenings, and in the face of that overwhelming climate he saw that the best thing was to move on to a more animated situation, and so little by little we looked at funny things about cells and tissues. We had never thought the adventures of some cells could be so hilarious. Everything depends on the point of view.
*With the book by Weiss. Very pedagogical, biology was the best science for studying life and its foundations.
b – On another occasion we deliberately set ourselves to remembering and commenting on movies, one at a time, in a circle, and when it came his turn, we split our sides laughing. He commented not only on one, but on many movies, most of them well known, and reminded us of gestures/expressions, actors’ faces, situations, and he kept parading before us all the famous people there had been and would be and if anyone added anything, that set off another chain of scenes that he related to us with an comical way of putting things that was unique and unparalleled. This went on until it began to get dark.
c – Concerning movies, at the beginning, in the 60s, after some weekend meetings, we went to the movie theater late at night, something common there, and once I didn’t go in with the group because there were only front row/first class seats, MR insisted that I enter, and told me “__You will like it, there are little trumpets, chariots, everything!” because it was about the Romans.
d – Cheese. On the way to Corfu, in Brindisi, after arriving by train in the morning, we had to wait for the ferry that went to the Greek island from Italy. So we went through the town and saw several stores, in a given shopping-window there were big pieces of cheese and many kinds, I mention something ‘like ‘what incredible’ so he enter the shop, I follow him, and he order, in Italian, a couple of cheese kinds, he invite me, and we ate cheese. Afterward, as we passed by the neighborhood cinema he thought it would be interesting go in: they were showing a Dracula movie, in Italian… (later we learned about this thing of the myths and its transferences, from one scenery to other and theirs reinventions, etc.)
e – One day we went to my house to get something, he went in while I looked for the object and suggested a coffee, he looked at the poster on the wall. It was a tropical scene with palm trees, each, sky, sun. Then he said, looking at it, “__We open it up and everything enter here, the water, the sand, the palm trees, everything arrives in the living room… (laughter)”. In other words, what was on the poster was becoming reality and entering the room, as if through a window… Incredible.
c – One day at his house (1984) he was laughing expansively, when I told him about some problems in the groups, in which participation had fallen off, and he said, “__Of course that happens, that happens, it happened many friends, to so and so and so and so, and have you seen the face they pulled? (laughter) – what faces!…” After that I didn’t want to see my expression for anything in the world. His laughter was so expansive and in contrast with my climate, it seemed like the walls were going to collapse…
d – About this thing of laughing, we must clarify that he gave it its importance, because he commented (1968) that it allowed you to take a certain ‘distance from the thing you were laughing at’ and he reminded us about Nietzsche’s Zarathustra, “Superior men, learn to laugh.” (and this it is mentioned in the public harangue of 1969 as “__ learn to laugh, and learn to love) How interesting, isn’t it? Learn to laugh…
Regarding which, he once mentioned – 1998 – that “__Sometimes I tell about things – that happen in the environment – and since I say it in Andalusian (some amusing way of saying things) and they die laughing, but they don’t believe me, simply it’s all true!”)
35 – Curiosities
There are curious moments, and India lends itself very well with unusual anecdotes (1982 approx)
a – I remember that on one occasion, going up in an elevator, he suddenly said, “__What do you feel when you go up in an elevator with God?” Without further comments, (probably refer to the notion that in India divinity is everywhere, even in an elevator).
b – When we were crossing a very busy four-lane street, two lanes in each direction, on our way to a meeting, we had to cross it in two stages. We arrived in the middle, where there was an island. We waited there until the traffic diminished so we could cross to the other side. At that moment an individual crossed coming toward us, in very poor condition, with that characteristic long cloth covering, and when he arrived in the middle beside us, to our surprise he opened his legs and urinated right there, in the middle of the street, in full view… To which he said, “He doesn’t care about a thing, and go his way totally placid…”
36 – Payments. I hardly remember MR making any allusion to this theme, but I can mention these occasions:
a – In the ‘60s I found myself with MR on two very ordinary daily life occasions. One time we were in Mendoza, right downtown. He was going into a pharmacy, and he suggested I accompany him. He went in and gave a shop assistant a slip of paper, while moving about with agility, looking at different things, until the individual returned, giving him something and saying thank you… He told me they had ordered some ethyl alcohol, which they carried. It was in the family factory that they produced this product. And here he was collecting the due payment.
b – On another occasion I had my car and he told me, “If you have wheels you can take me to collect some payment . I have to go to a couple of gas station.” We went there and I waited for him while he got out, talked and laugh with the manager and picked up something. On that occasion he had charged for the liquid antifreeze he produced and provided to them.
a – Years later, in the ‘90s, at one moment in a meeting, I mentioned something to him about possible ways of doing the financial campaign and how to do it, to which he responded categorically, “__As you know, I am metaphysically reluctant to deal with things about money.” With a facial expression and gesturing as if to say, let’s change the subject. Which was difficult to understand because it is considered the main daily theme par excellence, but if we got into that it produced ‘a black hole that sucks everything in’ as he would say on another occasion.
b – He did explain once about the ‘economization’ of the culture, as if everything happens there according to that economical vision of things, and that’s not the way it is, no way – they talk about ‘the economic sciences’ and it’s the least scientific thing there is, since it’s absolutely variable and psychological. It depends on the people’s faith in those values, on the con-fidence – which comes from confide, with faith, in Latin – that confidence declines and values fall apart. He told us.
e – This comes – he said – from Roman times when along with the goddess Juno there was this ‘Moneta,’ that Juno was more important, and this ‘moneta’ was something secondary; so the prayers went to the first, but they paid some attention to this Juno-Moneta (moneta was also a pseudonym), but it was something secondary, not primary!
f – On another occasion we were visiting a vineyard, and we were having one of those conversations where the changing prices of things with time came up. He gave a long explanation about how the economy had done better and better (speculation) in medieval Italy, when the citizens in the north offered travelers going south a guarantee of payment if they would take their merchandise… and the best things is that even given their initial doubt about what was promised, it began working. Because there were a lot of robberies on those roads, so you had to ‘protect yourself from all those dangers’; of course always taking their share, the famous interest… The curious thing is that today, 500 years or more after that, we are still doing the same, offering credit, credit cards, a thousand ways to protect oneself from the dangers of the environment. So the system of fear surrounding the citizenry is an important factor. And so they get in debt and later it’s impossible to pay it off. That’s why we say ‘No credit!’ It was 1989.
g – Later he added, “To be able to paying back credit card has the same guarantees and security measures that it’s like winning the lottery. It is not advisable to use it, since it is not certain if we can cancel the payment, and there we stay in-chained to it…”
h – Speaking of this, when there was an a tremendous economic crisis in Argentina in the 80’s and 90’s, with continual devaluation of the currency and all that, on one occasion when we were visiting him in his office, he suddenly said, “… and this is nothing, wait till it happens in the USA; that will be something, ..very complicated!” and he put his hand to his head, ‘…lines in the supermarket, banks closing, no fuel, homeless people that will be tremendous…” (let’s consider now the 2010 events).
I – “Some people need to feel secure, and if they don’t have bills in their wallet , or pocket, that they can touch, they feel insecure…” (1966)
j – Origins of funds. He mentioned (1974) the importance of the origins of money. It was the time when we were acquiring a site as a center of work and it was purchased with a collection from the members, and he said, “__We would not accept external donations and especially from doubtful origins. The ill-gotten gains are not good for us, the origins of the funds is not indifferent for us.”
k – Recommendation. An explicit recommendation that he made to us dating from April 1967. “Economy: relative independence.” This refer to make our economy without to get stuck o chain-in excessively, in the way we don’t have free energy for our activities.
37 – The vision of reality
a – A recurring theme was that people believe they see reality as it is. Once in the Canaries I it was mentioned something about a recent trip to Asia and he said, “__Sure, people believe they are seeing reality, things, with crystal clear vision,” – pointing to his eyes – “and they don’t know; they talk about illusion and they don’t know where it is, if it is in the eyes or in the things, or is going around there (the illusion)”
b – Another thing is about the human mind as insecure. He often said at the beginning (1960) that “The human mind is often fragile and deceitful, it deforms things and forgets…”
b – Otro es el de la mente humana como insegura. Solía decir al principio que “__La mente humana
suele ser frágil y tramposa, deforma las cosas y olvida…”
c – Also, and very important, at his house, talking about some comments from third parties, he interrupted the conversation to say, “__They don’t see things like we do, we see mental mechanisms”…
38 – Women
a – On one occasion we were taking him to the airport in Bs Aires. On turning a corner we saw some posters on the wall by a woman, a well-known artist, and he said, “There is it, with that profession (theater) , but that sometimes says interesting things. Sure, they only look at the ‘bodywork’, not at the brain. That’s the way women and the boys are, like cars, the same inside, but with different bodywork. With the same nervous system but completely different on the outside.”
b – Bags. One day in the airport at Barajas (2001) he said, seeing the women with their bags, “__Always the same, with those bags, that’s the way they started, in the time of the caves, with a container where they put berries, seeds, vegetables, to feed their offspring. And it’s still today the same. They also discovered fire, it was the women, not the guys who did it. They do more things, a lot of things…”
39 – Beliefs.
a – Sometimes, when someone would say something that didn’t make much sense, he would tell them: “__You believe too many things…” – That thing of ‘believing too many or too few things’ was a whole theme to consider in the beginning ( the 60 decade).
b – At a meeting at his house, around ’74, we were talking about beliefs with reference to the vision of Ortega y Gasset about it, and he said, “__But we don’t see them like anchors to the past, but as a tension with the future” – making a gesture with both hands closed, one over the other – “that pulls (the future) and beliefs vary.”
c – Relationships. He considered relationships (1970) as a link to something important, “__Friendship is for doing things. If you can’t do things, what friendship are we talking about? And we don’t have to subordinate our ideals, our principles to habitual friendships of little interest; that is a very common error,” he said.
d – In the beginning (1960 -70) he used the expression ‘ball and chain’ – that canon ball chained to the ankle of old-time convicts to keep them from moving. He said we shouldn’t have ball-and-chains – that is things that stop people from going ahead – not as friendships nor in our affections, they don’t get us anywhere. “Drop the ball and chain”, was the expression.
e – Conditionings. We asked him about this thing of conditioning(s), something that put conditions to us, whether it was important to depend on it. “Yes, Krishnamurti talked about that. Sure, there’s a whole structure that gets us in condition, but we see that more like developing ones inner Force. It’s funny, also he’s the one who says ‘there are no Masters,’ And who says that? He does. So? Where does that leave us?”
40 – The affections. On one occasion (1997) when I was in a big emotional predicament, after listening attentively to complaints – which embarrassed me – and making see my own personal landscape how influence the subject, on crossing the street he told me, “__But this is an statistical case– you aren’t going to remain just a statistical number, aren’t you?”
We kept walking and on entering the house we were staying in, in the hall, he turned around and said, “__But this thing of the affections is important, we have to pay attention to them, well…” Sure, I said, I will. And he added, “__Yes you have to pay attention to it, and here, right around you, close by” ( that is to say, not with fare o distant relationships).
- On another occasion (1987) he had said that this thing of the affections can’t be just ‘to feel less alone and give oneself a little pleasure’ – it means a lot more…
- He also clarified (1988) that what was important in a couple “is that they can do their catharses and their transferences, their processes…”
- Later, talking about breakups (1997) he added, “__It’s fine after all, that these things happen, and one gets stronger.” And after that, “__The future remains, you have to see, and ‘there’s no telling, there’s no telling” – which I understood as ‘what does the future have in store for us’…
41 – Problems.
a – Once in relation to some problems that came up (88) he said, “__I was studying some questions of logic and there were these interruptions, so we had to do something about it.”So I have had to cancel, for a while those studies…” Later: “__I was developing a computer program to write haiku, when these interruptions came, so I had to suspend my work, but later I continued with the computer-generated haiku poems.”
b – Around 2000 in the airport, his flight was canceled and it affected a lot of people, and he said, “This is how ‘fields of worry are produced – so it’s better to be far from those fields.” It was an invitation to ‘distance yourself from the focus of worry and not be taken’ by it.
c – The false solutions that appear in the environment always concern us because they dazzle people (1996) and he commented, “__Of course, one comes down and another takes its place; we’ve seen several of these false solutions, and others reappear, they are inexhaustible, it’s like the head of Medusa or Hydra* with her serpents, you cut one and others grow, and that’s because they work with reveries, on the side of the reveries, which is multiplicative… but we focus on our own things.”
d – When I had certain problems (1986) and talk to him about them, he told me in the middle of the conversation, “__The important thing is that you don’t leave an (adverse) image of that in your head, if you do it will be a problematic. So get that image out of your head. One has to review the images one has in one’s head that stay in the head, you can’t leave it without reviewing it. When you least expect it, it goes off.”
The theme of ‘the image’ is a fundamental theme in his approach to things. At times he would tell us that intellectual rigidity was not advantageous, you had to have flexibility of images (1990 and 2008). In Bombay at a meeting (1981) we were talking about illnesses and things than diminish ones physical condition, but – he said – “__The chemistry is always doing its thing, but for sure there’s an image that, once formed, sets off the process.”
e – Confrontation. In a meeting (1998) looking at the different problems in the environment, he tersely said, “Sure, and there are those who confront, the confrontational ones, the angry ones, uyuyuy with that crowd, what they create a big problem. Far be it from us to confront… we go around, proposing options, no clashes, well, with our ways of doing things”.
f – This happened with those who presented themselves as opposed to us, whom we called ‘the contra,’ after which it often happened that after a certain time ‘they were no longer around,’ they had disappeared. He said that “__This is not due to our merit, or anyone’s, just their own chaos, their own problems, weaken them and finally they disappear, but others can come… the important thing is not to confront, it gets us out of theme.”
This was the approach to the “system” in general, and to “the (possible) enemy” in particular, that it’s not interesting to do anything, because it will fall by its own weight, through its own contradictions. The thing is to make our contribution, not to neglect that.
42 – Taking charge.
a – In 2006 regarding the presentation of the Message, in a restaurant in Madrid, I asked him, with others, what was the idea of the Message, and he said categorically: “For the people to take charge of it!”
b – Later, on the same occasion, he said that “This is more or less, more or less” – gesturing with his hand – “what is needed now, what will be useful now.” (about the Message).
c – I also ask, in other moment of the conversation about what we can do before entering the field of Discipline, as an introduction. He answer quickly and clear: “__The Path, yes work with The Path, that is it” .( from The Message)
d- On another occasion, when we were relating if the Message have to do with the religious or the spiritual, he said, “ It has more to do with the spiritual. Religions have to do with the gods. We don’t. How could we!”
43 – Getting your head straight.
a – One of the last conversations I had with him was in November of 2006 when I was going to have surgery, and on interchanging with him he stressed “__Getting your head straight, especially at these times. It would be a shame if, just because one didn’t get ones head straight at a time like this, things didn’t turn out well. You have to get your head straight.”
b – This was the colloquial synthesis of paying attention to what to do with your images, your mental direction, etc.
44 – Self-censorship. The first time I became aware of this term it was in some notes, I don’t remember about what, but it alluded to something it is not being good for us.
a – When I had the opportunity I asked him and he simply said, “__Self-censorship is limiting, it’s the ‘no’ we say to ourselves, instead of opening ourselves to other possibilities. Of paying attention to our inner experience.” (98)
b – On another occasion (2010), referring to the great moments in history, such as Alexandria, Byzantium, the Renaissance, etc. , and even individuals who have done important things, he emphasized that “__They are specifically characterized by boldness of thought, without self-censorship, and if there is no external censorship, even better! That’s what we want.”
I also remember these quotes, spoken at different times and on different occasions, about different issues in a brief way.
a- Experience. “__It’s not good to deny oneself experience, it’s not good to improvise either, anything is experience, but one shouldn’t keep oneself from experiencing interesting things.” (1972)
b – The mystic view. “__The mystic sees other things than everyone else don’t see.” (1990)
c- Climates and tensions. “__One has to work on ones (emotional) climates and tensions, furthermore, one can’t let them go out into the environment, reaching other people, just like that.” (1986)
d- Regarding appropriate treatment of others: “__What is this, what he want, to instrumentalize the other person? In the sense of treating them like an object”. (1995)
d – Possession (Canaries I) “__ Possession is well understood, has a clear register, almost tactile; Instead, desire is more insubstantial”.
e- Not reactive. “__We are not reactive, we are intentional. We are not reacting to conditions, but are intending things, a little independently of the immediate.” (1970)
f- Experiential. “__We go to the experience, with a rather singular term: experiential, the experiential. We aren’t speculative, that thing of Speculative Philosophy, has little to do with us.” (1986)
g- Mental opening:“__We are for the opening, the opening of thinking, the opening of the human being to the world, and so whatever is limiting does not fly with us.” (1983)
h- The future: “The past no longer exists, the present is escaping, there is only the future, we always tend toward the future, and we pay attention to the future.”
i- The environment: “__We have spoken of the close relationship between ‘the individual and his environment.’ They talk about the ‘genius of Mozart,’ but we would like to see him in this century but in Bolivia… and perhaps he it wouldn’t work the same way.”
j- On longevity as such, extending the human life span, “__We aren’t so interested in how to extend the ‘useful life’ of a person, with high performance, in respect to extending old-age, just for the sake of doing it. Besides, let’s imagine, if people lived 400 years, the changes there would be, there are many things they wouldn’t be able to stand…” (1974)
k -On the concept of ‘sin’ (1967) he told us, “__That can be seen as ‘psychological errors.’”
l – On guilt. “Guilt is not good, it is cultural (1967), it stays anchored to the past, to situations, and we see it more from the angle of responsibility. To be responsible is more interesting.”
m – Emotional consciousness. a – “It is a very special zone of consciousness and it has a lot of force if it is channeled well. Hopefully our people can manage this ‘emotional consciousness’ well.” (1980)
n – Everything emotional is very important, and one has to learn to handle it well, he told us that “__It is something that happens between people, it’s a communication, when someone cries, or laughs, etc. he transmits something to others. But with objects it is different; for example, for an object, let’s say a door, no matter how much someone cries or laughs, ‘the door won’t open!’” (1975)
o – Regarding how leaders arise in the system and how they constantly are replaced, he commented: “__There’s a finger for every ring,’ that is, conditions are created, and there are people who from a young age already are moving toward hat direction, in that sense; and there are many doing that, there are replacements, etc.; there are people who get interested in that at a very young age. And of course, some of them get there. It’s statistical. The system has its mechanics, it too has its ‘activists,’ and some of them very virulent…” (Mendoza, 1990).
p – Helping (1985). Once when a friend had gone through a difficult family situation, and he told us, “__We have to help, but well, help him do a good transference on the theme, and integration; something well-done. It’s not about just giving him a few simple pats on the back.”
q – Once in a restaurant (1978) seeing a person, young, at a nearby table, he observed: “__ she isn’t breathing well, she doesn’t know how to breathe. She’ll have a lot of problems in the future because of this not breathing well…”
r – Regarding the bad things that happen when one is in crisis or in a bad moment,(1996) he said, “__One has to see if one likes being in those climates, taking delight in that climate, if not, he gets out of there fast.”
s – About locales: “__A good locale would be a place one feels good being in it, that can be said when a locale is good; one has a good register, feels at home in that place.” (Mendoza 1990)
t – Arrests. On an occasion when there had been some of our people arrested (1973) he said: “It’s a difficult situation, but they have ‘resources, they can call on resources’ to confront the situation, they are not as devoid of resources as everyone else.” Referring to it is something very good to be able to use personal work tools in critical situations.
u – On this theme, from the very beginning, he would comment that people have a tremendous sense of orphan hood in these field, a total lack of resources, feeling unprotected, indefensible and, of course, many ‘drown in a glass of water.’
v – Internal work. Toward 2006 he mention “__ what we do is give (make) recommendations, good things to people, so they ‘can do their internal work well.’
w -Talking about Christianity 1) one time (1962) he said, “__It’s somehow Feuerbach mention, who talked about ‘the negation of the self (the ‘sinful’ I and all that) and the affirmation of the other (God Almighty, etc.)” to which I responded ‘Would we see it more as the affirmation of affirmation, with this thing of affirming the individual and his interiority?’ He said something like “__Yes, that’s the idea more or less…”
2) Later (1987): “To really comprehend fully this theme, one should also study the five volumes of “The Criminal History of Christianity, “ by a German writer.
3) Also, “__Sure, and about this Christ it’s unknown if he really existed. That data does something in the head, but really it’s unknown. The Romans, who even took a census of how many hens they had in the colonies, don’t mention him at all, not even once…”
x – We arrived at Corfu (1975) in the morning on the ferry, and the idea was to go to a Realtor immediately and look for a house to rent – my presence was owing to my ability to speak English, which might help. The first one we found was in a central plaza, and we immediately established a fluent communication, because MR spoke Italian quite well, so everything went forward in that language and we quickly found the house that would shelter us for the coming months.
Y – In a meeting that took place in Italy, in Lombardy (1996), when we arrived they asked all of us for our passports. 1) At the end of the three days retreat they gave back all the documents, except one, MR’s; which seemed something unusual to me, and I commented, “So they can’t find your passport?” To which he quickly and categorically replied, “__No, but I guarantee you it doesn’t affect me in the least.” That stuck in my mind, because the idea that these little daily episodes ‘don’t’ affect one’ is important, especially to someone whom everything affects…
2) The retreat was very interesting. MR went during the day to see ‘the only nearby church that had a mural in which Lucifer appeared, something apparently uncommon. Later at night he spoke of different themes and at the end, in a low voice, he brought the conversation to something very simple: to ‘find the best of oneself’ and bring it to others, and to find the best of others in them (the opposite of the most common habit of always looking at the other through the ‘critical lens’).
3) That reminded me of a much earlier observations (in the ‘70s) when we were talking about someone and some criticism came up, and he commented, “__Yes, it may be so, but he is not only that, he is much more than that…”. Or on meeting someone for a coffee, the situation wasn’t only limited to that, to the meeting and the coffee, but that “__ to be with someone it is much more than that.”
z- At the end of 1967 I had to do my military service and coincidentally, the hospital where I went to get my leave was opposite his house, so that sometimes I paid him a visit, on which occasion we talked precisely about the military, the martial. He commented about ‘how they worked with gestures, postures, marches, salutes, etc., and everything leads to ‘obedience.’ To salute, repeatedly, is to obey the command of the other. Later everything is very ceremonial, with objects, like the flag, the batons, the weapons, themselves.’ This helped me to take perspective, because it was a whole atmosphere that was foreign to me, unfamiliar. However, he said that in organizing a bit of ‘martial touch’ isn’t a bad idea, it strengthens order.
a – On another occasion at the time of the dictatorships and repressions he talked about ‘__why they were doing that, if it’s not necessary, what is the need of it.’ And he talked about how ‘__scaring people, making the population fearful is an old tactic, from the time of the Assyrians people have been doing this thing of instilling fear. It’s not very intelligent.’
– Another about it comment was “__What they will do when they ‘realize’ what they are doing…”
b- On another occasion we were talking about the growing difficulties that were being produced in the environment and how they affected us. Regarding which he commented (1990), “__For sure they affect our needs, and when you can’t fulfill your needs, it’s a problem, there’s going to be trouble for sure, there’s a reason needs are needs, you can’t neglect them…”
c- In 1970 I moved to Bs Aires, and talking about how to survive in a new environment, he got up and went to a cupboard in his house and came back with a vessel (a jar) and gave it to me, and said “__Look, try this, maybe you can sell this product there.” It was olive paste, for spreading (from the family factory). This gesture of clear support overwhelmed me and I don’t remember having heard that language on any other occasion.
d- Corrections are an important matter to take care of in collective activities, so he was always making observations to us, at any moment, so we could correct ourselves, improve our behavior, not so much for the perfection of the individual as for the better functioning of the group.
1 – On one occasion (1989) he pointed out to me that ‘__of course, these things about a person, have to do with their character, their way of being, but you have to work them so they fit well in the group, which is what we want to work.’
2 – He commented (1981) “__Sometimes we tell someone things suddenly, and the other feels like a bucket of cold water has been thrown in their face,” with a gesture of bringing his hand toward his face, “something overwhelming them, but that’s the only way, because there’s no other way to make them realize…”
3 – A clear example of this happened one time when I was able to visit him in his office in Mendoza, I was trying to talk about some issues, but I had barely begun the conversation when he said, “…yes, but it’s that such and such is happening to you…” I couldn’t say a word, because I hadn’t expected him to refer to that issue. I suppose that when you have to correct something the best thing is for them to remind you of it out of the blue.
4 – In the middle of a meeting he often made those corrective comments, or when we were doing ‘general evaluations’ he would lead us to see the look with which we were considering the subject, for example when we made observations about others, “that’s from the look-to-the-side,” not very appropriate, because it is neglecting looking the own activity.
5 – But what really made him indignant, or as he would say ‘righteous indignation’ (1967), was when someone would believe things of the system, as if they could be taken advantage of; there Troy was burning, since one could see a wrong mental direction, that was ‘crooked,’ twisted, that went in another direction.
6 – Another way of dealing with this thing of the corrections and the realizations was when we would be talking about some project, in a certain amount of detail and breadth, until the reverie and the lack of feasibility became evident, and he would say, “__One listens attentively to the enthusiastic account, but, after a while, it seems to me that it’s something that can’t happen, can’t be done, what one would hope is that the listener sees, realize it, and applies a little criterion of reality, my friend!”
7 – He made an interesting observation on this same subject (1990) when we were driving in his car, and he said, “__Climates aren’t managed, something invades you all of a sudden, a gland does its thing and boom! a climate at your door; or else, always from the immediate environment, someone else dumps a climate on one, but one has resources, one can manage the climates and doesn’t have to let others impose climates from outside. But then what do we do with the TV? It’s constantly invading us…”
– he had already told us that you have to teach young people to watch TV, so they can distinguish the lies of the system from a young age…
e – the criterion of reality with other people was important, on one occasion he was answering some phone calls (1975) from people who were asking for something, and when they said who they were, he told me categorically, “__Don’t kid yourself, with these guys we won’t go anywhere,” (clearly they weren’t dependable).
F -Line of work.
1 – One time we went to meet a friend when he got off work (1965) at his bank. When the people were coming out, with a displeased expression, he said, “__I don’t say people shouldn’t work, but not like this. Working like that doesn’t fly “.
1 – This thing of work as something you suffer (1969) comes from the Biblical ideology, he would say about it, “__ ‘To work by the sweat of your brow,’ – and why?” he said, “__Why does it have to be precisely with ‘the sweat’? – it could be some other way, more joyful, if that were the case…”
1 – On the theme of the attention on a certain occasion he talked about the accidents that happen to us when we are distracted, “__If we look in our biography at some critical time, that has dramatic charge, but if we will see that with more attention, for sure we can confirm it had to do with some distraction, that later it took on another dimension; but we get distracted and right away we have problems… This thing of being attentive is no small thing.”
2 – At the end of one of the annual meetings, in Madrid, I believe in 1999, we went to a big elegant restaurant to celebrate his birthday. I went up to the table and I told them about a little experience with the guide, that appeared to me as a very resonant voice, and said, “The voice said to me, ‘Hi, you, watch out for distractions!’ I thought he was going to tell me something more mystical.” He told me, “__That guide knows…” I added that I thought he would tell me something more mystical, and he responded, “__That’s what there is.”
h- Celebrations. About his birthday, he didn’t want celebrations; someone would always greet him and he responded warmly. In the above situation I attempted something common, to sing those well-known songs, but it didn’t seem opportune. At any rate I sang that one that goes “For he’s a jolly good fellow, for he’s a jolly good fellow, and always will be…” There were some smiles. It gave a festive tone, but it wasn’t something to continue. It seems that we still didn’t know (or don’t know) how to have our own celebrations.
h- During the time when I took charge of a function he recommended to me, “You have to know very well what oxen are pulling your plow…”Alluding to the people one can count on. And it turned out very appropriate. (1984)
i- Regarding work with distant geographic points, he recommended taking care of the nearest possible, illustrating his point by saying, “They eye of the master swells the riches.” (1984)
j- On causes (around 1974) he recommended
1-Los causes.“Pay attention to the lost causes, it is not interesting; it looks easy when we look for good themes for action and many come up with those ‘lost causes’ that don’t get us anywhere…”
2- And also attention to what we can call like a “Short Humanism.” One can want to be very well-considered some times, but we end up short and don’t arrive where we want to.
3- In 67 – sometimes we want to solve something, “__and it’s a little like having a short blanket, if you cover your feet you’re uncovered above, if you cover yourself above, your feet get cold, so better get a new blanket that’s more complete… one has to decide… the ones do better who decide on a new and big blanket and that’s that, no mending.”
k- Difficulties. He use to affirm “__It’s with difficulties that you grow, it’s overcoming the difficulties that you advance, we’re not talking about mere inconveniences; so difficulties are welcome, they always appear in the path” (1967)
l- Another field of observations was the aspects that elevate fashionable currents – he would say, “__So many greedy people, they always want things and more things, one can’t be so greedy!” Or “__They are capricious, often they have sort of ‘capricious of instant desires” and with that they believe they are something important, they want tings and if don’t come out immediately, they have a tantrum…” (1985), referring to runaway consumerism.
m- When there were problems, use to say: “__Of course there are arguments, there are always arguments, but the point is to see how much energy gets wasted on them, if one realized how much energy was wasted on them, one wouldn’t have them, I’m sure…”
– Later we had the maximum of those confrontations in which ‘he who retreats first is best…’
n- Tragic. On the occasion of an episode with tragic consequences, he said (1975) “__If they had waited a little, just a little…” ( implying that will not append).That was when someone who had gotten into the movement (1975) threw himself from the fourth floor in Bs Aires. This was a singer who had had a certain renown and was nice, he had a song that seemed to refer to one of us, it said, “__I am a simple man, I have a coffee and a smoke a cigarette.” So it was made clear to us that in those moments of dramatic thoughts ‘you have to wait, don’t hurry to do anything.’
o- When we were going to do an operative of going door to door (86) he told us, “__And what should you do then? Before anything breathe deeply. Then wait for the door to open so that that person has an extraordinary experience because of what we tell them.”
p- By regular mail. The most formal communication around 1960/70 was sometimes by regular mail. We had PO boxes. In Mendoza we had one. One time to convoke the first general meeting in Bs. Aires the letter of invitation began, “We are being taught to be intentional…” (this mean at least no to be merely re-active before stimuli).
Something that very much stuck in my mind. Sometime later I was able to converse with him about this to which he commented, “__Of course we are not reactive, we aren’t dependent on others, on their half-baked ideas, something more was needed, we put intention into our things…” (meaning instead reacting before circumstance, we work with our own projects.) So the letter was about an invitation to participate in our first general meeting, held in Bs Aires, and it was called ‘The Meeting of the 50’ due to the amount of participants (1964).
– Regarding which, in another talk (1992) that he gave, he said, “It’s not a matter of leaving the intentionality like something hanging in a hanger, something you put on sometimes or take off, no, and it is something we apply constantly…”
q- Telegram: Close to March of 69 we got a telegram asking us to go to PdV to prepare a public act. We got there and met at a hostel that is no longer there. There he was, dressed in gray, very dynamic, and he told us about his plan of ‘beginning to say our things in public,’ and the preparations for the famous talk of May 4, 1969 began.
r- Around 1962 the first ‘contra’ comments began to arise, something that surprised me tremendously. He commented, “__That’s the way it is, any little thing that destabilizes the established, they become contras, they don’t even know why… and always with irrelevant things… and that lack of freedom is always apparent!” …while he was rapidly climbing the stairs in his blue blazer…
s- Perfectionism (70) He said that “__We aren’t perfectionists, since that causes inhibition. There are those who want everything perfect and tilt the balance toward criticism, and even the hypercritical come out (!), but none of that is the case, the important thing is to do things, and from there you keep getting better… We know that what is not good is precisely to do nothing, anything else is always good and gets better.”
t- Words. He told us that obviously words are important (1999), but that they are just that, words. Sometimes they transmit weighty meanings, but sometimes they are only words and we shouldn’t get frightened of words, there are some that impose respect, others nothing…
u- The young people – Around 2000 he told us many things regarding the youth, among others, “Now the young people have a situation that is very different from that of former generations when they were in dialectic with their parents, over and over again in confrontations. Now it’s the reverse, the parents support the kids; the issue is that they get confused when they want to unfold their intentionality in the world; but there are only two problems to consider: securing resources, and the dangers. There are fewer resources available and there are more dangers, everything else is very secondary. So that is where we must help, in clarification, in support…”
v- Epoché* – In a meeting of the HP in BsAires (1988), in the central locale, where I had come to try to resolve some personal problems – as he could seen by my face – as soon as he saw me arrive, in front of some 20 people attendees, he told me, “By my name, Epoché, Epoché!” He was suggesting I try to leave aside (in suspension, between parentheses), that climate of preoccupation I was carrying with me, especially in a meeting, that is, not to bring it to the meeting. Something not very easy to achieve.
* Regarding the phenomenology procedure of leaving aside aspects less important of the studied phenomenon.
w- Retreat. In 69 we did the four month retreat in the south of Chile, in Tolten, in a house on the river, a beautiful landscape. It was near a village of very kind people and our next door neighbor was a German farmer, Mr. Müller, and there was a village of indigenous Mapuches (who wouldn’t cross the river at night). We had to cross the river in a boat with a strong current sometimes, each time we went to the town. When I told MR this he told me, “__Interesting, you will have good memories afterwards, you will have learned things.” I add to this anecdote something singular: we were suspicious from day one, young people going on retreat is suspicious, as the doctor from the hospital and the village priest confirmed to me, with whom we frequently spoke. He told us, ‘You are suspicious because you are doing an ascesis…’ ‘What?’ we asked, we didn’t know that word. He said that we were doing practices, we said yes, exercises, readings, studies, that’s it, that’s what is suspicious! He confirmed that.
X – Then the relationship with the farmer couldn’t have been better. He told us he was reading ‘the Book’ (the Bible) and knew everything one should know. And it was the time of the trip to the moon (1969), about which he was convinced that ‘they didn’t really go to the moon, everything was a stage set, like in the movies – that the Germans, in the ‘30s, had wanted to go to the sun, and did they go? no, they didn’t go, so this is the same… he use to say’. When I related this singular observation to MR, he told me laughing, “__But no, if it’s very easy, what happens is that since the rockets aim upward, it seems like they have to go very high, but in reality, they make them go down, they shoot them downward; they wait till the moon is below the earth, and they shoot the rocket onto it… it’s very easy (laughter) – he may understand that…” What a thing…
y – Geometric progression. Walking through the city of Mza, one day he was telling us (1987) that contact and communication can go in geometric progression, not necessarily one by one; for example, he said, “When one person greets others two, he shakes hands twice, when each one of these people does the same, each one greets others two, that’s four handshakes, and when these do the same each one goes on to 8 and so on to 16, 32, etc. It can be seen as a progressive increase. And this is just with a greeting, another kind of communication can do the same or more…”
z- Neither euphoria nor depression. When we began our political activities, especially participating in elections, it produced a great wave of emotions, expectations, hopes and disappointments which it was necessary to manage, and he told us, “__For us, neither euphoria nor depression…” (1987)
a’- When people tried to consult him about too many things and details, he made us see that many tasks were delegated and one had to take responsibility for them, and manage ones climates of uneasiness (anxieties) (1991)
b’- With the hands. On the occasion of going to meet with some writers and poets of the province (1961) he told us, “__This is good, but one also needs to ‘do things with the hands…’”
c’- Free association. Speaking of some intellectuals with whom he had been talking (1986) he said, “__I don’t know why intellectual conversation is always associated with beer, right away they start with the beer and then the free mental association starts, so the conversations have no coherence.”
d’- Pendulum. On many occasions regarding things that happened in the environment that lasted a long time he would comment that this would soon end, that ‘the pendulum is coming’, that is, the cycle would end and something else would come. This happened clearly with the dictatorship of Franco and in Corfu (1976) he insisted that ‘now the pendulum is coming,’ something that happened at the end of the period. But at that moment there was a change of government in another country, with the resulting relief, and he said, “__Here the pendulum did come, and that stage is over,” adding, there is a proverb:“_When a monk dies there’s one more portion…”
e’- Popular sayings. Also when some official’s term ended that in another stage had been hostile to us, he applied that saying, “Every pig has his Saint Martin” – because of the Spanish celebration of doing the slaughter around the date of that Saint’s day-. Meaning to say that everyone’s time comes, and we don’t need to worry about that nor encourage any kind of revenge. He said about this, “Many end up badly because of their own disorders/contradictions, not because anyone does anything to them – much less us! – but because of their own disarray, they do so many weird things that finally they end up with problems too.” Also and with a shorter expression he often said, “__Where they give they take” – that is, when someone, a person or an institution, behaves in a complicated way, in the long run his stage/his time ends, but without anyone doing anything to him about that.
E”- He had already emphasized before to us (1968) that Nietzchean thing of “__Let us save man from revenge,” noting “__It is very intelligent this thing of not getting into revenge, because among other things it enchains you, and you don’t have freedom if you do that…” freedom to carry out other more interesting tasks, is the idea.
f’- The anecdotal. He use to affirm:“__We prefer think in terms of process, not in the isolated case or the anecdotal; the anecdote is not very interesting, unless it is an indicator of process.” (1975).
g’- The idea flies. In an annual meeting we were trying to implement a certain plan (1992), and there were many different points of view; so I went up and commented to him that perhaps we wouldn’t be able to carry it out totally. The next day, at the end of the meetings, he commented briefly to me, “__Do you see, it was possible to do it, the important thing is that ‘the idea flies’… and not only among us,” “In the environment?” I asked, and he responded, “__Of course, above all in the environment!”
h’ – The circumstances. Someone was asking about those dictatorial regimes (2004) that still remain, how long they will continue, how the process would be… “__It’s certainly embarrassing, and serious for the people who are suffering, but they will definitely fall, because of the ‘empire of circumstances,’ they will fall…”
i’ – Being in theme. When we were studying the theme of attention, distinguishing between different aspects, he kept insisting, “One is into what one is into. Not to get off the subject (To be in the theme, no distractions)”.
j’- The future as the priority. On more than one occasion he told us when referring to something from the past that had to be improved (1986): “__The past has already passed, it’s not necessary to keep looking back at it, and the present is now, but it’s already passing too… what is certain is that we are going toward the future, the consciousness operates that way with the ‘future as the priority.’” So we always had to be ready to do things in the future (the ‘future primacy’ is the expression (everything we do is in function of the future, always with a tension towards the next event, next time.
k’- Dreams. In a brief reference to dreams (2004) he said, “Dreams, nocturnal dreams, are like discard process, discards of the consciousness, they can be seen that way…”
l’- In one of the last conversations I had with him (2006) I consulted him a little about what was the most recommended thing to do in the environment, given the variety of possibilities we had, and he mentioned an image that he had mentioned previously, that now we have ‘two wings, on one side the Movement, on the other the Message,’ and he told me, “…and the people will see, the people will see. Let the people do what they want!” In other words, he told me, one has to choose…
m’- Little halls. At La Reja on one occasion (2000) I told him that I was going to Madrid, to a little hall near my house. He said, “That’s the best, for it to be near, not many blocks or streets away…”
n’- The Asking. On another occasion I told him I had been thinking it would be good to have something like a prayer (or something equivalent), something you do every day, and he had just proposed the asking, and he said, “Well you don’t’ have a prayer, but you do have now the asking.”
o’- The Path. Regarding the work before the Disciplines (2006) I consulted him about what we could before going into that, and he responded, smiling a lot, “The ‘little’ path… there are those phrases to keep in mind, in the Path. Yes we can work very well with the Path.”
p’- All is well. In Mza (2004) I was interpreting for a friend from the US who was consulting him, and talking about the most innovative wireless connections that could be established for our communications, and he responded, “__Yes, of course, we are into that there, we’re interested in that and if it can be done, perfect, and if it can’t be installed, also perfect! In other words, whether or not it can be installed, perfect! All is well…” So, in that way we have a framework for every project y try to carry out, without any upside-down.
q’- Attention: He told us that managing the attention was fundamental (1985) and proposed being attentive regarding oneself and what one did in the environment most of the time, ‘taking energy away from the reveries’, he synthesized: “__Starting in the morning, you hardly brush your teeth and you’re already in attention!”
r’- More attention. Reiterating about this, on the occasion of going by train to a retreat in Bs Aires (1989) he took advantage of the time and was talking about the importance of attention in our work, it allows us, besides elevating the tone of the consciousness, to see the opportunities that present themselves that can escape the naked eye (inattentive) and gave the example that “__You can’t have the attention fluctuating, jumping from here to there. What’s this thing of having ‘dog-like attention?’. The kind of attention a dog has, have you seen how they sniff everything and jump from one thing to another? That attention doesn’t serve us, we are interested in being able to focus the attention and keep it focused…”
s’- Thinking with (without) images: One evening, seated in that armchair made of a tree trunk (1967) in the retreat in the jungle of Jujuy, he suddenly made this comment: “__You certainly think with images, normally one thinks with images, right?” Surprised, we said, “And you don’t?” “No, I don’t,” he said, smiling, “And how do you think?” we asked him. “I don’t know,” he said, “in some way or other/in any way, but not with images…”
t’- Clarification: This work we do, he told us (1988) we should do it with the whole population, a) “__Maybe throwing a huge quantity of materials of clarification out of airplanes, the ones we use, so they can reach the whole population.” And b) “These retreats we do, we should do them for the whole population, like workshops for everybody, at least annually, everyone doing retreats, getting to know their things, seeing their lives, finding meaning…. because if not, how does a person’s life go on, year after year accumulating troubles and problems? They don’t have a moment to clear up their minds…”
u’- The young colt/. We were walking down the street by his house, which goes between vineyards (today it’s called the ‘Agricultural Corridor’) and there suddenly appeared a very young colt trotting and he commented, “__Look at that, it must be very young little horse and it’s already trotting and going all around perfectly well, at the same age a child, a person, isn’t doing those things yet, in comparison it takes a long time to develop well in the environment.”
v’- The contract. He said (1988) that we can understand the relationship with others as a sort of contract to be fulfilled, especially when there is a certain formality involved – “If the other does fulfills it so do I, if the other stops fulfilling it, then I’m no longer obliged to fulfill it and I can do other things then. Sometimes ‘I do things that could be a bit odd to the other’…, but it is because the other has already broken the contract.”
w’- Mental mechanisms. In his office (1987) talking one day about different attitudes people have toward things, he commented, firmly, “__Yes, but they don’t see it like we do, we see mental mechanisms, in those attitudes there are mechanisms, mental directions that are deterministic and that’s what you have to grasp…”
x’- Studies. He was saying, recommending (1993) that whenever one gets interested in something worth studying, “__You have to review very well beforehand everything there is that is related to it, at a minimum you have to study everything relevant about the particular [thing]. You can’t go around with gaps [of knowledge] or discovering ‘little things’ about in the progress of the research.”
y’ – Manifest centers. When doing some morphological studies (1975) to clearly define the manifest center of the portico of a classical church, where there were two options because of the characteristics of the design, my study companion and I decided to ‘cover’ one of the centers to see which was enhanced more, which one became more evident, doing that with each one until we could decide which was the exact manifest center. When we told him about this, he said, “__Very good this recourse of ‘covering’ something to see what is enhanced, the same can be done with various things…”
z’ – The religious sentiment. Doing these morphological studies of the different religious forms, we were considering the theme of comparative religions (1975), regarding which he had made reference to the ‘religious sentiment’ – something I was unaware of. At one point I was able to ask him about the importance of the fact that there is a sentiment of this kind, it’s understood that other things arise around it, and he said, “Of course, if there weren’t such a sentiment, they wouldn’t have taken advantage of it, you can’t take advantage of something that isn’t there. And since it’s there, they take advantage of it…” This confirmed the existence of the religious sentiment – he approached it from the problematic side, from how factions and institutions abuse this sentiment for their own ends.
a”- Unfairness. On one occasion a friend was taking care of some formalities and was having difficulties, quite unfair. Meeting MR by chance in the street (1988) she was able to interchange with him about the subject, and he recommended, “__With this kind of things, we need acting strongly in the environment as social action, not letting them ‘get away with their stuff,’ advancing with ‘public denunciation of the injustice’ and no getting downhearted, nor getting self-destructive, completely the contrary: firm action in the environment.” We kept this recommendation very much in mind since it helped us both in personal things and in actions of the Mvt.
b”- Situations. On a certain occasion of finding myself in difficulties and consulting him (1983) he told me that these things “Seem like personal things, but really they are ‘psychic situations’ and are also like ‘physical’ situations, and because of this they are difficult to resolve…”
c”- Speaking badly : about this he said (2006)“It’s tremendously negative for people; go figure, if one person speaks badly of another, and that person about someone else, and if they find out and speak badly of others, a long chain of saying bad things about others keeps growing, and creates a very bad atmosphere, where other inappropriate behavior arises, which in turn creates a wave of complications and so on…”
d”- Taking care of things. One time (1991) I was going through a complicated moment and I have to emphasize that MR went out of his way to send me, through a traveler, a common friend, a series of commentaries just in case they would help me. He began the conversation telling me that ‘he saw me worried’ and said, “It’s not worth it to be worried, not to worry, you have to take care of things, act out, get busy, sometimes one gets overconfident, take things for granted, lets things be and the problems keep going and don’t get solved by themselves, and on top of that there are moments when they accelerate, they get complicated quickly, therefore you have to get busy, be in charge and solve them…”
e”- Courage. Along this same line, one time when various difficulties and complications appeared (1992) he commented that “It’s no good to let these complications overcome us, get beyond us; you have to catch them on time, maybe one needs ‘a certain emotional courage’ to face things on time…”
f”- Representations. When we were beginning to study (1975) the themes of psychology, he commented that the point of representations had been insufficiently studied, that the perceptions had been emphasized, to which I added, ‘Exactly, there’s the Phenomenology of perception” and he said, “__Right, all that about the perception, but what is really interesting is what the consciousness does with these perceptions, when it develops and formulates its representations and what those representations provoke…”, to which I said, ‘so someone should do ‘the phenomenology of representation’ and he said, “Exactly!”
g”- Testimony: One day (1988) he said he had been talking with the shoeshine man, “__He began to tell me about something that had happened in his life, it was very important and he told me about it very enthusiastically, something recent, he said it in a very communicative way, he was really happy with his experience, his emotion was contagious. In other words, he was giving testimony about what he had experienced. That was why he was so effusive and wanted to communicate it.” And he added, “__That is something we have to do more often, give testimony about our interesting experiences, ‘to encourage others’ in the same line…”
h”- Finishing: I want to tell you that I have just (2011) had a dream about N, dressed in light colors with his hands raised as if waving in greeting, and he says something like “everything for the good of the whole”… and I am overcome with a very good emotion.
And also, how he lets us know he is well where he is…
Postscript: In the beginning he told us (1959-63) “You have to go inside”, and, finally, he would say, “And this thing of reaching the profound, now it’s better understood…” adding, “that it’s behind the eyes.” (2006).
–for the good of the whole.
Ernesto (Tito) H. de Casas, Madrid, November 2010
(draft translation – Trudi Richards- 2011)