An anecdote that took place during the presidency of Alfonsín in Argentina (1983-89):
I was talking all night with a friend from Mendoza (it was the structural moment of the Councils), about themes as diverse as, for example, why the Group Delegates weren’t able to activate themselves structurally; about Alfonsín and also about the situation in the country in general.
The next day we flew to Mendoza for a barbecue organized by another friend, who had also invited Negro so that he could personally meet his little son. Which certainly happened.
This is where Silo developed a theme about the Argentine landscape of formation, among other preliminary matters. An extraordinary thing happened: he answered all the concerns my friend and I had spoken of the night before at my apartment in Belgrano, in the capital city, more than 1000 kilometers from Mendoza!
We were stirred by the strange situation. It was as if Negro had been there with us, listening to our conversation…
Silo began by taking a long detour before getting to the theme that concerns us. He spoke of Chascomus and of how this traditional Buenos Aires city had influenced Alfonsín in his later behavior. Then he began to praise the way the churches organized the laws in ancient times, and talked about how we Argentines make fun of everything without having made any significant contribution to universal culture. He talked about Rattín in the 1966 World Cup, how when he was thrown out in Wembley, he sat down on the red rug in the Queen’s palace and spit, gesturing obscenely at her. Of course the next day the British papers gave the incident the headline “ANIMALS.”
He said that at the center of their landscape the Europeans have a monster, the Minotaur, and that after struggling and struggling to get to the depths of their inner labyrinth, they tried to win the last battle against the mythical animal. The Argentines, on the other hand, after numerous battles to arrive at the nucleus of their being, found… nothing… Only a kind of “inner void,” an “inner nothingness.” So they went crazy, falling into nihilism and destroying everything they had so laboriously built.
He gave the example of the Malvinas, where after the Argentines take the islands without a single English casualty, the United Nations proposes a dialog. And what do the military say? “Let the prince come to us!” In other words, they “kick the chessboard” and submerge the country in an insane military adventure…
He also talked about Borges. He said that Borges described this situation of nihilism to perfection in his story, “The Garden of Forking Paths,” where in the center of the labyrinth there is nothing, or nothingness, which is the same.
In short, this talk by Negro remained strongly engraved in my memory. I remember that he also spoke of “necrophilia,” of our compatriots’ love of death, and gave the historic examples of the quartering of the body of Lavalle, the theft of the body of Eva Peron, the disappearance of the General’s hands, etc.
All this has been very useful to me every time I’ve been “tempted” to throw out something built with great effort. Also when a loved one has died, and one can fall into the “abyss” and “kick the chessboard” and destroy everything. I learned that in moments of grief and loss, one must not change anything, because one is not motivated by appropriate reasons. It’s advice that I often gave (if it is valid to give advice…), but that was never taken into account. Unfortunately, I could see the unnecessary suffering and damage caused by not reflecting thoroughly on this theme.