VII. Constancy and tenacity

60.  The man that planted trees
61.  Tenacity
62.  The passiveness
63.  Expectations of failure
64.  To escape to the past or to the future
65.  Investing in the future
66.  Willfulness
67.  Illnesses of the will
68.  Living better with less
69.  Austerity and temperance
70.  The mirror of the desires

60.  The man that planted trees

Jean Giono wrote time ago a magnificent story on a curious personage that he knew in 1913 in an abandoned and deserted corner of the Provenza.  He was a 55 years old shepherd named Elzéard Bouffier.  He lived in a place where all the land appeared sterile and lean.  Around him extended a desolate place where some families under a very rigorous climate were living, in the middle of the poverty and of the conflicts caused by the continuous desire to escape from there. 

That man had been proposed to regenerate that barren land.  And he wanted to do it with an at the same time surprising and simple system: to plant trees, as many as he could.  He had sown already 100.000, of which had already germinated 20.000 more or less.  Of those, he expected to lose the half on account of the rodents and of the bad weather, but even thus they would remain 10.000 oak trees where before had nothing. 

Ten years after that first encounter, those oak trees were higher than a man and they formed a forest of eleven kilometers long for three kilometers of wide.  That persistent and conscientious shepherd had continued his plan with other vegetable species, and thus he planted beech trees, that were founded widespread so far away as the view could reach.  Also he had planted birches in all the valleys where he had founded sufficient humidity.  The transformation had been so gradual, that had come part of the environment without causing greater amazement.  Some hunters that rose to that place had noted it, but they attributed it to some whim of the nature. 

In 1935, the hills were covered with trees of more than seven meters of height.  When that man passed away, in 1947, he had lived 89 years and really those spots had changed a lot.  All was different, even the air.  Instead of the rough and dry winds, blew a smooth breeze loaded with the fragrances of the forest.  The houses had been restored.  There were young couples.  That place had become a place where it was pleasant to live.  In the sides of the mountains there were fields of barley and rye.  At the end of the narrow valley, the meadows began to become green again.  Instead of the ruins, now extended carefully attended fields.  The people of the low lands, where the land was expensive, had been installed there, bringing youngness, movement and spirit of adventure. 

"When I think -concluded the French writer- that a man alone having only his spiritual and physical resources, was capable to cause to create this land of Canaan in the desert, I convinced me that, in spite of all, the humanity is admirable; and when I consider the greatness of spirit and the kind of tenacity that implied to obtain this result, I get full of immense respect toward that old and illiterate peasant, that was capable to carry out a work worthy of God". 

A man plants trees and the whole region changes.  All we know people as this man that pass unnoticed but that, there where they are, the things tend to improve.  His presence instills optimism and desires to work.  They get recovered of misfortunes and of difficulties that discourage to others.  They possess a constructive defiance and their small or large efforts cause to rectify the course of the lives of the men. 

As it has been written by Alejandro Llano, there are things that do not have solution, and it costs us a great effort to accept them.  And there are other things that have solution, but we have convinced ourselves that they do not have.  Therefore, one of the reasons by which it costs us so much to change the things that do not go well is because we believe that we cannot change them.  It is necessary to have faith in which the man can be transformed and can change, so much himself as also to the environment that surrounds him.  Each one has to sow with constancy what he can contribute: his good humor, his patience, his diligence, his capacity to listen and to love.  It could be able to seem little thing, but these are elements that finish for doing fertile the driest lands. 

61. Tenacity

It is said that the white death -the death by freezing- is a sweet death: it comes with a species of drowsiness, full of pleasant sensations in which one feels, even, optimistic… and between two dreams escapes the soul.  That man, Guillaumet, knew it.  It would have cost nothing to him to let him self recline on the iced floor, not to raise again after a fall, to say: that is enough, all is finished! and not to try it again. 

The history is of Antoine of Saint Exupéry, in "Land of men", where he relates the adventure of a pilot whose airplane had crashed in the Andes and, after an incredible crossing, he appeared destroyed but alive, when everyone had lost the hope to find him. 

That man had lots of reasons to stop fighting for the survival.  He did not know the way back.  All the things indicated that almost with security that superhuman effort would be of no avail.  He was alone, lost, broken of blows, of fatigue, of exhaustion.  He was knocked down at every step by the storm, in a zone where it was told that:  "The Andes, in the winter, do not return the men". 

"I have done what I have been able to and I have no longer any hope.  Why to persist in this martyrdom?"  It would have sufficed to him to close the eyes to avoid the rocks, the ice and the snows.  And no longer there would be blows, neither falls, neither torn muscles, neither burning ice, neither that weight of the life that he had to drag so heavy. 

But Guillaumet thought about his woman, his children, his companions.  Who will be able to maintain the family that was waiting for him in some place of France if he decided to stop?  No, he could not fail to them.  They wanted him, they expected him.  What would have happened if they knew that he was still alive?  "If my woman believes that I live, she believes that I walk.  The companions believe that I walk.  All they have confidence in me, and I am a rabble if I don't walk."  When he felt again, he repeated those words.  When the legs refused to advance more; when all the bones of his body moaned numb by the cold and the exhaustion; when after descending he had to rise again, as in a never ending carousel, he repeated again the same refrain:  "If they believe that I live, they believe that I walk, and I am a rabble if I do not continue". 

When they founded him, his first phrase was like a summary of his extraordinary tenacity:  "What I did, I swear it to you, no animal would have done".  Saint Exupéry comments it thus in his work: is the noblest phrase that I know, a phrase that situates the man, which gives honor to him, that re-establishes the true hierarchies. 

When Guillaumet was exhausted and overwhelmed to know that it was almost impossible to find nobody in those mountains, he rejected the voice of the exhaustion that incited him to be thrown on the floor and to renounce.  The animal only bears the exhaustion when he is incited by basic impulses, like the fear; nevertheless, the man has multiplied the motives to be recovered and to endure: the values that influence in his conscience can be felt, as it happens to the animals, but also they can be thought.  When we feel them, only we experience their attraction or their repulsion; when we think them, we can see the valuable thing although almost we do not feel anything. 

What is innovative of the man, as indicates José Antonio Marina, is that he can govern his behavior by "thought" values, and not only by "felt" values.  If we only could accommodate our conduct to what we feel, we would not be able to speak of liberty, because we would not be able to direct freely our feelings.  In spite of the grievous protest of his muscles and that he only felt exhaustion, Guillaumet could think about other values, or to recover of his memory the lived values in other occasions, and to adjust to them his behavior.  Once more, the spiritual thing is introduced in the corporal thing, expands it and enriches it. 

62.  The passiveness

"Christine was amazed about how simple resulted suddenly the conversation with her.  Something trembled under her skin.  Who I am now, what is passing to me?  Why can I do suddenly all this?  With what ease I move, and even when always all they told me that I was stiff and clumsy?  And with what ease I speak, and I suppose that I do not say any ingenuousness, because this important gentleman listens to me with interest.  What happens?  Have the circumstances changed for me today, or is that I carried it all inside, and simply I lacked the value to take the plunge, was I always too much passive and frightened?  My mother told it to me.  Maybe it is not all so difficult, maybe the life is infinitely more tolerable than I believed, only one must have a little more of courage, to feel more secure, and the force comes then from unsuspected places." 

This reflection of the protagonist of a novel of Stefan Zweig recalls me, at the same time, another of Susana Tamaro about the passiveness.  The passiveness -assures the Italian writer- is one of the biggest poisons of our time.  One becomes passive at the moment in which he decides not to grow more, because he thinks that he should not go beyond.  It is as the rotation of an electric switch and, by rotating it, we close ourselves to the wealth that the life continuously is offering to us. 

The passiveness uses to arise of a phrase or of a thought that stops us in front of a new idea to attack.  Certainly, if for twenty years I never incline myself to collect something, when I arrive to the twentieth first year, the back no longer will bend.  Why does it not bend?  Simply, because for a long time we have said to it that it was useless to bend.  But it is the mind who decides that, not an inexorable destiny. 

There are people that arrive at an advanced age with the body and with the mind young, and not simply because they have been lucky with the health, but because they have carried out a prolonged interior work, they have known to feed the force of a spirit that has done them to live young during a long time.  They are people capable to bend their back, but, above all, to bend their thoughts.  Still they are capable of being amazed and of producing amazement.  Instead of judging from the passiveness, they know how to listen and how to put interest in the things.  They have cultivated with respect and attention their mind and their body; they have treated them with the dignity that they deserve. 

I insist on the importance of the diligence and the firmness because the heart of the man is a place in which many times the evil is imposed on the good precisely by passiveness.  The evil is simple, banal, and spontaneous.  It doesn't require effort neither opposition.  The evil is a shortcut.  The good, on the other hand, is a travel.  This travel is presented to us, at times, solitary, rough, difficult, and, from time to time, also no popular and full of falls.  Therefore, to do the good requires rejecting the superficiality of the conformism and the deceits of the prejudice.  The good is an extremely serious thing.  The kindness is a severe road and, in its severity, it needs of the force.  The kindness, like the love, requires force.  It requires values as the boldness, the patience and the wait.  The victory on the evil does not come walking in an idyllic evening by the beach of a sea in calm, but raising the mountains, avoiding brambles and briars, assuming risks.  Evil cannot be fought with evil, but neither with an empty rhetoric on good and the good feelings.  To do good does not suffice to have a good heart, also one must achieve -among others things- to temper the soul and the body in front of the onslaughts of the passiveness. 

63. Expectations of failure

We can imagine a convinced person about his uselessness for some task.  For example, he has been convinced that he is a bad student.  With that expectation of failure, what proportion of his personal resources will he be capable to mobilize? 

It seems obvious that most of his potential will remain inactive.  That person already has said to himself that he does not know that the knowledge to study has not been given to him, that he will never be able to be a brilliant student.  The worse aspect is that the problem is aggravated with its first consequence: if he begins the classes or the hours of study with those perspectives, what attitudes will he take?  Will they be vigorous, firm, positive, sure attitudes?  Will they reflect his true possibilities?  Most probably the answer is: no. 

When a person is convinced that he is going to fail, it is difficult for him to find motives to put a constant and intense effort.  He begins with some convictions that underline what he cannot do, and those convictions reinforce attitudes of passiveness, of staggering, of lack of firmness.  He will mobilize a very small part of his potentialities and personal resources.  What results will be derived from all this: for certain, some mediocre results.  And those mediocre results very possibly will reinforce his initial negative conviction, the bad appraisal that the person has, makes the things to end badly. That was the origin of the problem: I do not serve to study, and this will not change. 

This is a classical example of descending spiral, of vicious circle of wrong appraisal about oneself.  When one falls in this dynamic, the failure calls to failure.  Besides, over the years, by being greater the time that they have been deprived of the good experience of obtaining results, their conviction that they are incapable to reach good results goes enlarging each time more.  This carries them to do little or nothing in order to discover and to promote their own resources.  Rather, they use to seek the way to remain just as they are doing with the minimum possible effort. 

We now imagine now another person (or the same one, but with a different attitude).  He has illusion and hope.  He is convinced that he can cause to yield a lot more his talents.  I do not say that he believes to be what he is not, but that he believes that he can take more profit of what he is in reality.  What proportion of his resources will utilize that person?  It is doubtless that a lot greater.  What class of attitudes will he take?  The most probable is that he will be more courageous, surer, with greater energy.  He will be convinced that he will arrive further, and he will put more pledge to achieve it.  With that effort, he will produce, for certain, better results. 

It is an opposed dynamic to the vicious circle of the one that I explained before.  In this case, the advance calls to the advance (the same as before the failure called to the failure).  When there is faith and there is hope, each step ahead generates more faith and more hope, and encourages us to advance to a still higher step. 

But is that perhaps the people that think thus are not going to fail never?  Is it sufficient with being convinced of being able to reach something to reach it?  Is it not to confuse the illusion with the reality?  It is evident that those people will also fail many times, like everyone.  On the road of the personal improvement, that is the road toward the happiness, if someone thinks about a lineal advance and without any stumble, he knows very little about the human reality.  But not every stumble must be considered negative: it could be adequate to cite here that "who stumbles and does not fall, advances two steps". 

Our life, our personal history, or the history of the humanity, shows us numerous examples of how who maintains some firm and clear convictions enjoys always an interminable source of energy.  When, in each small or great daily battle, he leaves victorious, he is happy and he continues ahead; and when he fails, he removes the experience and continues also ahead putting all his illusion. 

It is clear that there are other cases, well different, of people that in their candor think that they can arrive to where they will never be able to arrive.  They are ingenuous men or women, more or less well-meaning, with better or worse intention, but, in any case, very far away from his personal reality and to the reality that surrounds them.  I am not referring to extreme cases, but to the current and normal people, that understand that the key of their life is not in which they have received or in which they have thought, but, rather, in the interpretation that they give to each day and in what they consequently do. 

64.  To escape to the past or to the future

There are who live chained to a failure or to an injury that, by doing so, would never stop of suppurate.  They are people that are embittered today because twenty years ago their mother didn't want them, or they could not study what they wanted, or their boyfriend betrayed them, or they lost unjustly their work, or whatever it could be.  They have not forgiven that old pain, and there they are, turning over their bitterness, been tortured with their errors and their grudges.  Martin Descalzo said of them: "they seem statues of salt that fail to live the present by so much looking backwards". 

There are others that also live centered in the past, but not by bitterness but by yearning.  I do not refer myself to the ones that are a little nostalgic and that like to take in account for their present decisions our history and our roots, but to those people who do not like the present but they neither have the necessary value to improve it and, therefore, they dedicate their few energies to regret the present situation and to sigh for other, supposedly better, passed times.  They do not realize that the world has got worse in some things but it has also improved in other things, and that it cannot be told that whichever passed time was better, and they should think if perhaps they think thus more by their bad memory that by their good perception of the reality.  Maybe the world has not got worse, but they are the ones that have aged and now there are others that rule the roost.  Besides, the present that we have is in good measure result of the past that they did.  And, if the past is condemned to be increasingly more passed, and the ones that live in it, with it will sink.  The past is useful in the measure that illuminates the present and feeds the future, in the measure in which it leaves to be past and becomes a driving force for the present and not in a sterile yearning. 

The ones that live chained to the past are used to be also intimidated by the future.  It has been more an error of the old age, but frequently it is seen in young people and it is really devastating.  It is a fear that paralyzes and consumes the people, like those spiders that first anesthetize and then immobilize their victims in order to devour them little by little. 

Others live conditioned by the future, because they postpone everything that costs them.  They don't dare to elude it directly and, therefore; they resort almost unconsciously to delay everything that they consider uphill.  They do not feel with spirits and immediately they leave it for another moment, which frequently never arrives.  They do not realize that to be discouraged is to flee the effort, and this is initially very comfortable but eventually causes exhaustion.  Their life is a continuous strategy of withdrawal and postponement.  With the first difficulty, they think about leaving it for this afternoon, or for this night, or for the weekend.  Every small project or aspiration immediately remains without being done until the next month, or for the holidays, or for the next year, with the false excuse that I will have more time and more liberty because I begin the career, or I finish it or I get married, or whatever would be.  Then goes arriving all that and there are new delays, new yielding, and one must expect again, perhaps the children to be older and no longer they need so many cares, or to the retirement, and so on until already they found themselves without energies and finally they understand that to leave the things for further on is almost always an extremely deceitful strategy. 

In a similar way, as how some consume marijuana or cocaine to elude for a time the reality of the life, thus flee to the past or to the future those that do not have the value to take with force the reins of the present.  They do not realize that it is necessary to do today what we have to do today, and that one must seek the happiness in attacking the present with a little of courage. 

65.  Investing in future

A man was lost in the desert.  He seemed condemned to die of thirst.  By luck, he arrived to an old rambling tumbledown cabin, without ceiling either window.  He prowled around a little until he founded a small shadow where he was able to accommodate and to be protected a little from the sun.  Looking in better, he distinguished in the cabin's interior an old bomb of water, quite oxidized.  He dragged to it, got the handle and began to pump, to pump with all his forces, but of there did not leave anything.  He was disappointed, he reclined himself against the wall plunged in a deep sadness.  Then he noted that by his side there was a bottle.  He cleaned the dust that covered it, and could read a message written on her:  "Utilize all the water that contains this bottle to feed the bomb of the well.  Later, please fill it again before going". 

The man unscrewed the cover and he saw that, really, it was full of water.  Full of water!  Suddenly, he was in front of a terrible dilemma: if he drunk the bottle, he would calm his thirst by a small time, but if he utilized it to feed that old and oxidized bomb, perhaps he would obtain fresh water from the fund of the well, and he would be able to take all the water that he wanted, and to fill his now empty bottle, but perhaps not, perhaps the bomb did not function and he would waste foolishly all the content being so much thirsty.  What should he do?  Should he bet on those little reliable instructions, written perhaps so much time ago? 

At the end, he summed up his courage and emptied the entire bottle in the bomb; he got the handle and began to pump.  The old machinery was grinding heavily.  The time passed and our man was increasingly more nervous.  The bomb continued with its dry squeaks.  Suddenly arose a little bit of water, that immediately became greater and, finally, it became a great spurt of crystalline and fresh water.  He drank anxiously, he filled its canteens and, at the end, he filled also the bottle for the next traveling man.  He took the small note and added:  "Believe me. It functions.  You have to throw all the water". 

This simple history recalls us a constantly present reality in the life of every person: any achievement supposes almost always to postpone a possible present gratification and to run the risk that the sacrifice turn out to be unproductive.  And although it is certain that good part of our efforts are unproductive, or at least they seem to be, it is also certain that when we tend to satisfy us with short-term satisfactions and we do not invest in better objectives for a longer period of time, it is easy then that we slide for the slope of the mediocrity or of the conformism.  Each day some opportunities are presented to us that can help us or that can open doors that conduct us to better situations.  And if you do not bet, if you do not invest in the future, it is sure that at the end you will have lost.  Because there are trains that are lost and then they pass again, but others do not. 

All we should sacrifice things of a lower order to achieve other things that are of an upper order.  We cannot get used to avoid those challenges.  There is people to which turns out to be difficult to think about the beyond, that use to leave the things for further on, and that makes his life to be a  disorganized life, of constant surrenders and abuses, a life that is barely controlled and that, at the end, does not carry to the desired port. 

The people that try to attack as soon as possible the costly duty feel psychologically more clearly, and the people that tend to delay it feel more disappointed and more frustrated.  To begin, from among the pending tasks, by the one that costs more, uses to be a way of proceeding that lightens the mind, that enlarges the efficacy of our efforts and that improves our quality of life.  The ones that always find motives to delay what cost them, are people that live tortuous slaveries, however how much they decorate it with appearances of happy spontaneity or of bohemian abandonment. 

66. Voluntarism

The voluntarism is an error in the education of the will.  It is not an excess of willpower, but an illness -among the many possible- of the will.  That illness, besides, affects to all of us in some facet or in some moment of our life.  Because, when we think about the voluntarism, perhaps we imagine a tense and stiff person, and certainly there are, and not few, but the voluntarism is something that, in one way or another, in some circumstance or in other, concerns to all of us. 

The voluntarism wants to resolve the things trusting too much in the effort of the will, speeding up, trying one's best, with a fund of pride more or less veiled, dazzled by a search of self-satisfaction by having done oneself the things for one same, without counting too much with the others. 

The voluntarism disturbs the lucidity, among others things because it carries to listen little, to be little receptive.  It carries to grasp excessively the own vision of the things.  To think that the things are like one sees them, without realizing up to what point the others contribute always with another perspective and they enrich with it our life. 

The voluntarism damages also the spontaneity, the simplicity, the naturalness.  It carries to try to solve the interior problems only by ourselves.  The voluntarist finds difficult to open his heart to the others.  He expects to be the one that, with his determination and his pledge, can leave the trench in which perhaps he has fallen.  The sad thing is that sometimes he does not realize that he has dug already a lot and that he can not leave the trench only by his own forces, or that, at least, he should had consider ridiculous not to have asked for aid. 

The voluntarist uses to be stiff, but insecure.  He tends to rely too much on norms and on criteria that can support his insecurity, applying them in a little stable way.  He considers the authority and the habitual obedience in the professional relations, the family, etc., in a little intelligent, little flexible and intransigent way. 

The voluntarist manages quite badly his own failures.  After them, he uses to take up again his habitual self-sacrificed fight, but also at times he is tired.  It is then when the dangerous fragility of the voluntarist´s motivation is declared.  It is easy for this person to sink and to fall perhaps in a big apathy, or to take refuge in victimism or in a useless defiance, or even he takes some other unexpected registrations and he arrive to extremes that surprise a lot to whom didn't know him truly. 

The voluntarist proposes himself sometimes little realistic goals, in his desire to excel and to arrive longer than he can cover.  He is favorable to the feelings of inferiority, fruit to the comparisons with the others that he makes constantly, in an exaggerated eagerness to stand out against others better gifted than him, which generates him a continuous reference to the frustration. 

The voluntarism, in addition to be an error in the education of the will, is also an error in the education of the feelings.  It could be able to say that the voluntarist is, curiously, quite sentimental.  He is a person whose main emotional motivation is the sense of the duty.  A person that tends too much to make use of the satisfaction or the relief that produce to him to comply with what he understands is his duty, with a rigorism not well integrated in a stable affectivity. 

The self-sacrifice and the eagerness to comply with the own duty are not bad, evidently.  And the voluntarist people use to be admirable in their self-sacrifice, in their domination over their inclinations.  And all these are fundamental elements to carry intelligently the reins of the own life.  Those people lack, and the question is essential, to learn to modulate theirs inclinations, to educate their whims, to form their character.  The sense of the duty is something very necessary.  But a good emotional education should seek as much as possible a synthesis among the self-sacrifice -because there are always things that cost- and the pleasure: what I have to do, I do it not simply to displeasure, because I should do it; but I try to do with pleasure, because I understand that it improves me and it will satisfy me more, although it costs to me. 

Thus, the great achievement of the emotional education is to obtain -as much as possible, I insist- the union between the desire and the duty.  Thus, besides, is reached a greater degree of liberty, because the happiness doesn't consist in doing what one wants, but in wanting what one should do.  Thus, the life will not be a continuous effort to go ahead based on the force of the will.  We will feel tied to the must, but not obliged, neither forced, neither coerced, because we will perceive the duty as an ideal that carries us to the fullness. 

67.  Illnesses of the will

We have spoken of the voluntarism, and now we continue with some other errors in the education of the will.  All they can be given of form more or less intense or permanent in any person without coming to suppose an important pathology. 

The impulsiveness is declared in diverse characteristics: tendency to change too much from an activity to another; tendency to act frequently before thinking; difficulty to organize the pending tasks; excessive need of supervision of what one does; difficulty for keeping the turn in the conversation or in any situation of group; tendency to raise the voice or to lose the control in front of something that contradicts us, etc. 

The tendencies of compulsive style, on the contrary, use to be reflexive and methodical, sometimes even accompanied by a strong interior debate.  For example, a person can feel the need to verify three times that the lights have been put off or that the key of the gas is closed or that the door of the street is not open.  Or he can feel the need to speak to her husband or to his wife several times a warning that he or she knows, because he or she has repeated fully already many times, but that he or she fails to remove out of the head.  Or feels envy, or jealous, or ill will toward something or toward someone for some motives that, when he or she analyze them, he or she understands that they are absurd. 

That person can perceive with plenty of clarity the lack of sense of those facts or attitudes, and even to try to be opposed to them, but at the end he prefers to yield to calm the anxiety of the doubt on if he has closed well the door, he has forgot to say or to do something, or whatever could be.  He sees how the not desired thoughts interfere, and, although he understands that they are inappropriate, the obsessive idea continues present.  They are occurrences that seem to perforate the thought and to be installed in it: some people are absorbed for an excessive critical sense that causes them to see all with bad eyes; other suffer a perfectionism that causes them to lose efficacy and practical sense; other fall in the constant rumination of what they have done or they are going to do, and that carries them to the resentment or to the exhaustion; etc. 

Those thoughts -worries, appetites, self-incriminations, complaints, analytic circles of no way out, etc. – can come to be like a discomfort that is not alleviated with any distraction, an anguish that impregnates all.  Any thing, even being not important, revokes the decision that we took of not consider again that matter and to accept it as it is.  When those pathologies are important they can become serious illnesses, like the ludopathy (compulsive gambling), kleptomania (pathological robbery), pyromania (pathological incendiary eagerness), prodigality (compulsive expense), etc. 

In the impulsive or compulsive tendencies, the will is found without capacity to stop the impulse, sometimes because it is not noted in time, other because it fails to get rid of its untimely occurrences.  On the other hand, there are other occasions in which the problem is exactly the contrary: the incapacity of the will to decide and to pass to the facts.  It is the case of people prisoners of the perplexity that never know what option to take.  Or that fluctuate constantly between an option and another.  Or that they have a lot of difficulties to maintain the already taken decisions, normally for lack of resistance to bear the ordinary frustrations of the life.  As it is natural, those capacities can also be hypertrophied, as it is the case of the obstinacy, in which the capacity to face the difficulty is exaggerated or badly directed. 

Many of those lacks of the will are related to the interior fears of the man.  The answer to those stimuli of the fear -affirms José Antonio Marina- does not arise in a mechanical form, as it is in the case of the animals, but the stimulus slows right down in the interior of the man and can be fought or promoted.  The attention may remain disturbed and can cost a lot of work to think about another thing, because the memory evokes time and again the situation, or other similar passed situations, but always it is impossible to strive in order to educate those interior starts. 

The will of each person is the result of all a long history of creation and of personal decisions.  We cannot come to have a full and direct control on it, but we can afford a certain guidance of it from our intelligence.  All we are tacked continuously by thoughts or spontaneous feelings of the most diverse kind, but one of the functions of our intelligence is precisely to control them. 

68.  To live better with less

Many times we get surprised of how our house goes little by little being filled of a multitude of things which utility is more than doubtful, that we have been buying without barely need them. 

Perhaps in a time they seemed very necessary.  For example, a machine that reduces a little the physical effort turns out to be immediately indispensable.  We take the elevator to rise or to descend one or two flats, or the car to travel through only some hundreds of meters, and, at the same time, frequently we propose to do a little more exercise or to practice all the weeks a while of sport. 

To be comfortable at home, is it necessary to pass to 25 degrees in winter and to 18 degrees in summer?  In how many houses it is almost necessary to be in undershirt in full winter, or to open the windows, because there is a suffocating heat?  And have we not caught a cold sometimes on account of the severities of the air conditioning in a café, an assembly hall or an airplane? 

The idea of consuming with a little more of sensibleness and of head, to carry a way of life a little simpler or, in short, to live better with less, is an idea that by fortune is being popularized in the American culture with the name of downshifting (it would be able to be translated as deceleration or simplification).  Starting from the principle that the money never will be able to fill the emotional needs and of that a well managed life comes given more by the quality of our relation with the others that by the things that we possess or we can possess, this cultural movement does not try only to reduce the consumption, but above all of making us to deepen in our relation with the things, in order to discover better ways to enjoy the life. 

Fed up already with the tyranny of the installment purchases, the mortgages and the anxiety by achieving a greater standard of living, many men and women begin to ask themselves if their quality of life would not improve by renouncing to the fever to gain more and more, and trying, on the other hand, to be centered in spending a little less or, better said, in spending better.  This tendency of the downshifting, which is extending also little by little in Europe, includes also the idea to extend the useful life of the things, to try to recycle them, to seek practical formulae to share the use of some of them with relatives or neighbors, etc.  In any case, there is always a common point: the money does not guarantee the quality of life as easily as it was first thought. 

In search of a new concept of austerity, the developers of this way of life sought the way to renounce to whims and superfluous expenses until they reduced their expenses in a twenty percent.  "The first thing that one must do -uses to affirm Vicki Robin, one of the most qualified representatives- is to ascertain the degree of satisfaction that the things produce to us, to distinguish a passing illusion of the true satisfaction.  With this formula, each one can detect the values that provide him welfare and to discover which ones can be ignored by him, and thus to reach step by step a new more satisfactory vital equilibrium." 

For example, in the education or in the family life, it is frequent that the parents, due to the lack of time for the emotional attention of their children, each time buy them more and more things, motivated at times by a certain feeling of guilt.  Nevertheless, to educate well can cost money -and perhaps the money has to be saved from other less necessary things-, but many times is exactly the badly employed money what damages the education.  Toth said that there are many talents that are lost for the lack of resources, but many more talents are lost in the soft comfort of the abundance.  There are not few number of parents that, by working so much until the extenuation and by reducing the number of children to be able thus to spend more and more money in them, they do that the misused money finishes damaging them. 

It is precise to prevent the risks of the consumerism in the family.  To obtain that the children know what costs to gain the money and they know how to administer it well.  We should avoid that they know the price about all but they do not know the value of anything. 

69. Austerity and temperance

Midas was a king that had more gold than any other man in the world, but it never seemed sufficient to him.  Always he desired to have more.  He spent the hours contemplating his treasures, and he recounted them time and again.  A day appeared an unknown personage, of shining white attire.  Midas became startled, but immediately they began to speak, and the king said to him that he never was satisfied with what he had and that he thought constantly in how to obtain still more.  "I would like that everything I touched were transformed into gold", concluded.  "¿Really do you want that, king Midas?"  "Of course", said him.  "Then, your desire will be fulfilled", the elf said before disappearing. 

The gift was granted to him, but the things did not go as the old monarch had dreamed.  Everything that he touched became gold, even the food and the beverage that he tried to carry to the mouth.  He was frightened, he took in his arms to his small daughter, and at the same moment, she was transformed into a golden statue.  His servants fled from him in order not to have the same destiny. 

Seeing that he became the richest man of the world and, at the same time, the most unfortunate and poor one of all, consumed by the hunger and the thirst, condemned to die bitterly, he understood his stupidity and began to cry.  "Are you happy, king Midas?" a voice was heard.  Turning round, he saw again to the elf and Midas responded:  "I am the most unfortunate man in the world!".  "But if you have what you more wanted", retorted the elf.  "Yes, but I have lost what in reality had more value."  The genius took pity of the poor monarch and he sent him to submerge in the water of a river, to be purified of his curse.  Thus he did and all returned to the normality.  From then, he never was seduced for the greed and the eagerness of wealth. 

The old story of the king Midas has been interpreted always as an instructive invitation to the temperance.  Only the one that lives with a certain austerity, without being enslaved for the desires of possessing and to hoard, is capable of enjoying really the things and to reach a lasting happiness. 

The family is perhaps the best environment to cultivate the sobriety and the temperance.  Educating in those values prompts to the man above the material appetites, does him clearer, more apt to understand other realities.  On the other hand, the intemperance ties the man to his own weakness.  Thus, who educates his children in a clumsy eagerness to satisfy all their desires, causes them a big damage.  It is a condescendence that can be born of the affection, but that also -and perhaps more often- is born of the selfishness, of the desire to be saved of the effort that supposes to educate well.  The dynamics of the consumerism is intrinsically insatiable. The people that fall in that error manage capricious and whimsical ways of life, and introduce them into a spiral of constant search of comfort.  They avoid the normal sufferings of the life, and they are found then weak and badly accustomed, with one of the most painful vital mortgages that can be suffered, because always they will do little, and that little will cost them a lot. 

Therefore I would dare to say that an excessively indulgent education, that facilitates the laziness and the intemperance -they are used to go united-, is one of the saddest forms to ruin the life of a person. 

Therefore I always see with sadness the signs of ostentation and of excess of comfort.  I suffer seeing how they lose the liberty that disappears just as begins the excess of goods.  The eagerness by the luxury carries with it a deprivation, an erroneous bet for the material things that leaves the people without defenses in front of the challenges of the life.  Therefore the tragedy of the king Midas is fully present in the existence of many men today.  When the attention is focused in the material things, one treats with less consideration to the people and falls in a wheel of yearnings and uneasiness that incite to the consumption and that disturbs the equilibrium of the spirit.  The more they have, the more they desire, and instead of being filled, is opened in them the emptiness.  Midas knew how to admit his error and how to abandon it.  In this we can imitate him. 

70.  The mirror of the desires

Who has not escaped from the imagination of thinking to be the protagonist of a spectacular adventure, in which stand out with own light the qualities that we more desire to have? 

It is true that without desires there are not projects and that without projects there are not achievements.  The desires expand our interior world, they transcend it, and they give life to it.  They are important, evidently.  But we should take in account that they don't become hypertrophied and they finish being a mechanism of evasion, because to open the imagination of the desires is for many people an authentic design drug that submerges them in a sad dependence. 

It is well reflected in a dialogue between Harry Potter and the wise magician Dumbledore.  Harry has discovered a surprising mirror, the mirror of Oesed (the word "OESED", put in front a mirror, reads itself "DESIRE").  When Harry looks in that mirror, he sees himself accompanied by his parents, the ones that he never came to know. 

Harry arrives for third consecutive day to the room of the mirror.  Dumbledore explains him about how the mirror shows the deepest and desperate desire from our heart:  "For you, that never you knew your family, to see them surrounding you (…).  Nevertheless, Harry, this mirror will not give us the knowledge or the truth.  There are men that have been consumed in front of this, fascinated for which they have seen.  Or they have driven crazy, by not knowing if what it showed to them is real or even possible". 

Every person lives situations that he desires to prolong or ones that he aspires to abandon as soon as possible.  There are many things that invite us to take refuge in the ideal world of our imagination.  It is true that to be evaded in dreams provides a certain relief, but we know that there are not lasting, and when we run again into the stubborn reality we note immediately that it was not a good solution.  To be enclosed in an imaginary world is an easy task, because any physical legality puts bonds to our imagination, and we feel completely free, but it is a fictitious liberty, an illusion that goes back as we advance, a marvelous sophistry that maintains us during a time in flight but that we do not know where it will let us drop. 

All we have free entrances to that life of fantasy, full of color but unreal.  To escape of it, to flee out of the reality, gives us not knowledge neither gives us truth, but a greater frustration.  Therefore Dumbledore gives a last counsel to Harry:  "And if some time you cross the mirror, you should be prepared.  It is not good to let the dreams to drag neither to forget the real life, you recall it". 

When the people are left to drag for the dreams, their imagination becomes a torrent of desires and ideas with which they try to evade the reality that displeases them.  Occasionally they open the eyes and they see that the effort is interposed on the road toward any achievement, and that annoys them and causes them to return to the hot refuge of their interior world.  They become passive people with asleep will and dispersed look. 

The peace and the dynamism are not spontaneous fruits, but fruits of the effort by conquering the interior disorder, fruit of sorting out our head and our heart, and that is not something that comes after the fight, but more well stems from the fact of being fighting, of taking care habitually in not allow us to be devoured for so many occasions of self fraud that are presented to us each day. 

One must not forget to live the real life.  The world is a succession of opportunities that parade in front of the eyes of tired men.  A life that becomes full of illusion and of sense in the measure that one discovers how much important can he be for the others, how much he can help them, the illusion that we provide to their life, to their real life. 

VIII. The risk of the addiction

71.  The myth of Sísifo
72.  Inadvertent addictions
73.  The lion and the gazelle
74.  The avoidability of the disaster
75.  Addictions and love
76.  Love and liberty

71.  The myth of Sísifo

Sísifo is one of the most interesting personages of the Greek mythology.  Winner of the Death, unconditional lover of the life, Sísifo deceived to the Gods by escaping from hell and because of it he was condemned by Zeus to a cruel punishment lasting the whole eternity: he should raise by hand a great stone to a summit of the underworld.  But each time that the unfortunate arrived to the top, the rock escaped from his hands and rolled down for the slope.  He had not another remedy that to descend and restart his effort, knowing that he would never be crowned by the success. 

This indefinitely restarted fight, in an eternal rotation of nightmare, symbolizes the absurd of a search without hope.  The figure of Sísifo has been evoked always as paradigm of an exhausting and discouraging task.  Albert Camus devoted to him one of his works, in which he imagines the man as a happy Sísifo, that, in the middle of the aridity and the monotony of his everyday life, he glimpses that his existence is not neither more neither less absurd than other, but a quite normal life like any other.  Camus proposed the figure of a cold man that knows such supposed absurd of the life and searches every kind of pleasures that can give something of happiness to his existence.  That figure exercised a notable fascination for the generations that came after World War II, and still today, more than half century after it is an image that beats inside the heart of many that seek with anxiety in the pleasure a little of heat that make the temperature of their lives to rise. 

Frequently, the anxiety of the pleasure has been adorned with a romantic halo, as if it was a gallant that seeks in successive hugs a difficult encounter with the love.  I think that the reality is enough more prosaic.  The anxiety of the pleasure is, rather, a sad man that has understood the sterility of his search, but that he does not want to change of road.  Knowing that he cannot be satisfied for the "quality", devotes him to the "quantity", to a chain of epidermal and fast enjoyments.  They are affections and passions that lack of lyricism, and there are in them a nudist coldness that almost reduces their eagerness to the animal's instinct.  They recall the punishment of Sísifo.  They restart without truce a play that they know vain, destined to a constant failure.  They have intended to deceive the nature, like Sísifo tried with the Gods of the Olympus, and the punishment always arrives.  Who has permitted the anxious search of the pleasure be established in his interior, and permits the deterioration of the ethical demands of the nature, sooner or later finds himself as Sísifo, fighting with bravery in an exhausting task and driven to despair.  What at the beginning he had imagined as a paradise, as a constant happiness based on the free enjoyment of the pleasures, has finished in a painful deception.  The promised festival results a deceit, and appears implacable the stubborn reality, the evil that has been installed, that has become strong inside himself.  He thought himself lover of many things, and he discovers that to satisfy his selfishness has finished being his greater worry. 

The egotist founds himself a day, sooner or later, with the torment of knowing himself not capable to love and not capable to be loved.  The pleasure occupies too much his mind, his interests.  It carries him to act in a way that, then, being alone with him, shames him deeply.  He understands then the deceit that has been slip in his heart, hidden after the shadow of some pleasures that he had wanted to see as inoffensive and even as good.  Some seek then refuge in greater pleasures, or that contribute in some way to bring some novelty respect to the tedium in which they have fallen, but they fail again, because the selfishness is a voracious animal that cannot be left to grow in our heart because then it devours us inside.  Instead of the innocence, of the charming and delicious place that our eyes had seen and desired, a horizon appears like that of Sísifo, with lack of hope, sordid, in which never disappears a voice that says us that we have made a mistake. 

To all of us passes a little the same as to Sísifo, in greater or smaller measure, in some field of our life: with the eagerness to possess, or to figure or to be able; or with the refuge in the laziness, the lust, the alcohol, or whatever it be.  But there is, by fortune, a difference.  Sísifo could not abandon his absurd and inexhaustible repetition.  We, on the other hand, can open the eyes to the reality and decide to change.  Besides, we can ask for aid.  And aid to God, if we are believers. 

72. Inadvertent addictions

Who never has experienced the irresistible eagerness to do zapping during hours and hours, or to be hooked to the videogames during very long sessions, incapable to be subtracted from them, does not know still of the seductions and the sorceries of the screen.  There are always occurring many things, many more than in our own life, and such is the hypnosis that can produce to us that we finish burning us as insects around a light bulb.  It does not liberate of the burden neither of the routine, but at least converts them in a kind of lukewarm men and narcotizes us a little. 

With the multiplicity of television channels, the portable receivers, the pocket consoles and even the amazing services of the mobile telephones, all this can finish being each time more easily a full-day profession.  Its magic retains us, unfolds authentic displays of inventiveness to attract our attention, and it is like a permanent promise of diversion that replaces all the others, that makes all other things useless, troublesome, and annoying. 

When one has expended many hours in front of the screen, the mind floats from an object to another, seduced by thousand of occurrences that grasp it without retaining it, in a delicious inconsistency that transforms us into vagabonds, of a program to another, of a channel to another, of a play to another.  Thus is this pathology: we hook us because we are there with it, so available and attractive, and, once we are hooked, we are capable of swallowing any thing with an indulgence without limits.  And when we awake of that slow hemorrhage of oneself by the eyes, with the head saturated of images, music, special effects and dazzling impressions, one experiences a curious sensation of solitude and devastation, besides a serious difficulty to accept the reality of which we have managed to evade for a time. 

Nevertheless, even the most addicted man knows well that later the real life is waiting him, and that is his great drama.  Therefore, to this consumerism we do not reproach only its naivety or its superficiality, but above all the breach of his promises, to not take care totally of us, to leave us in the lurch in the last moment. 

But even being very erroneous and disappointing so many times, perhaps we return to this hypnosis as to the easiest slope.  In spite of the final distaste, well known of other times, the addict falls again, incapable to be unhooked.  Therefore, for some, the major act of value -at times superhuman- is to put out the screen that absorbs completely his mind. 

Perhaps this is a good example of the disappointing consequences of the excess of comfort or of the eagerness to consume, of the lack of control over oneself.  Perhaps it is that we intend the quadrature of the circle: to be accommodated people, drowsy by the comforts and, at the same time, active people, implied, awake.  There is no doubt that the material relief is a great progress of the history, but it has its evil effects against which it is precise to be alerted.  And it seems that to be prevented against the excess of comfort is like a taboo that very few dare to touch.  The excess of comfort tends to ignore the ideals and to reduce considerably the environment of our worries. 

The danger of the consumerism is not so much the waste as the voracity with which it seizes the individual and reduces him to its will.  Its gluttony tends to devour ideals, beliefs, ethics, culture, story, and even its own criticism: and that is the supreme irony of the consumerism, to cause to believe that it has disappeared when there is not any environment that can resist to its contamination. 

The solution?  To maintain that avidity under control, to protect the spaces that we see that it tries to hoard in our life.  And, in those other in which it has already gained us, to think that our proximity to the abyss of the addiction -be it serious or not- can at least to have helped us to note its risks and thus to understand the need to finish that career. 

73.  The lion and the gazelle

"You can imagine the scene…" said carefully Fred Smith, at the start of a conference in Tennessee (US) some years ago. 

"Place yourselves in the African savannah, on the Victoria's Lake banks, for example. 

"A gazelle awakes in the morning, with the exit of the sun, and thinks:  "Today I have to run more than the fastest of the lions, if I do not want to finish devoured by one of them." 

"Few kilometers from there, a lion awakes also, and initiates his day thinking:  "If I do not want to die of hunger, today I have to run at least a little more than the slowest of the gazelles". 

Smith makes a longer pause, and, addressing himself to the auditory, concludes: 

"I do not know if the role of each one of you in your life is now that of the lion or that of the gazelle.  But, in any case, please, ¡run!" 

Even when at that time Smith was referring to the phenomenon of the competence in the financial markets, we can apply that image to the effort for the personal improvement of the character.  In the life of any person happens something similar.  It can seem to us that the circumstances in which we live are hard, even cruel, as those of the African savannah in which it is necessary always to be running if we want to eat and not to be eaten. 

In front of that situation, as real as the real life, we can devote us to think about the reason of our situation, or in the cause of everything that happens to us, or in other things.  And surely they will be positive reflections.  But what we cannot do, while, is to stop running. 

It is precise to seek synergies, and to surpass the unnecessarily competitive approaches, certainly, but that does not remove the fact that the life supposes a permanent challenge, that demands an effort and a constant demand.  In fact, most of the human failures are caused by a hasty cancellation of the effort; because one admits too soon that he is not capable of resolving a problem or that the problem does not have any solution. 

It is convenient to think with depth on the important things. It is something truly decisive.  But what we cannot do is to dedicate placidly to think about them and to stop running.  We can not stop putting effort in the things.  One must try hard, wake up, run.  We must do this, both if we think to be in the role of the lion (fighting for reaching an objective), as if we see us, rather, in the position of the gazelle (trying to avoid a disaster).  The life is thus, we have to accept it. 

It would neither be exact to say that the life is a simple and exhausting race, since what imports is not, simply, to go faster or to gain more time.  What imports is our capacity to succeed in the target.  But there are moments of long races, in which all the things seems very difficult, and we can become very tired and we can become discouraged.  There are occasions in which we note the wear of a continued effort in determined direction, and the temptation that awaits us is very simple: to stop running.  When this happens, we should think that, like the lion or as the gazelle, it is precise to continue running if we want to survive.  In that, the life is not going to change.  All right, better said: it will change if we stop, because that will be the principle of the end. 

To forge with success the own character is not an easy neither a fast task.  Nevertheless, it is possible and accessible to anyone, and, above all, it is decisive for the result of our existence.  It is precise to center our life in principles and wise values, but later one must cultivate with patience that good seed, without fainting.  One must enter with decision in those dark and comfortable zones of our life, where our errors and weaknesses seek protection, to pull up from there the weeds and to achieve that they do not gain power in our life.  If we attack that task with pledge, constancy and sportsmanship, in little time we will be surprised of the result. 

74. The avoidability of the disaster

George, as almost all the ones that have passed through that torture, began for curiosity, to know what would the drug was, in what consisted, what he was able to feel.  Also because it seemed to him necessary to be affirmed in the group of friends in which he was and because it was fashionable in the environment in which he moved.  He came from a badly structured family, he felt frustrated by many things.  He was longing for new experiences that caused him to feel free, to forget so much pain. 

The case is that George did not have lack of information on the destruction that the drugs cause in a person.  "But how is it possible for you to fall in the drug if you knew that it was going to promote your ruin?" his old friends asked him now.  He had a lot of time to think about it, during those eternal months of rehabilitation, and he explains it with a lot of clarity:  "It is very simple.  With the drug you can evade.  You don't like the society and you want to leave it, or to create a different one that does not be like that or, simply, to escape from it in a fantastic way". 

"The passage through the drugs is, besides, a rite, a mystery, something that allows you to put away the suffering and the pain, to banish momentarily the feelings of failure and of frustration that have sunken you".  

"You know it, you know that it is your ruin, but you close the eyes, you look to another side.  Although in another level, it seems what passes to all those that want to stop smoking and they do not obtain it, or that they are not capable of follow a diet and they fail with it time and again, even when they know that their weakness goes ruining their health". 

"The drug is like an artificial paradise.  When you take drugs, you think: there is nothing that interests me, all is the same to me, and all leaves me indifferent.  In a normal state I see the things just as they are; once doped, I see them as I wanted them to be.  To fall in the drugs is not a question, normally, of lack of information, because the main problem are not properly the drugs, but the environment that introduces you in the drug, the frustration that carries you to take refuge in them.  And it seems that the persons that have the power in the society, who impose the fashions and the ways of life, who control the main mass media, do not have just understood it" 

Fortunately, now George seems already a serene person and without interior deterioration, but inside he passes for some tremendous fights.  It is very hard to see how, inside one same, the drug has become an owner fanatic and devouring, in a dictator that resists losing its control. It resists returning the liberty that it has stolen, it does not want to renounce to the unconditional submission that it had achieved over you.  The impulse to continue consuming is no longer as irresistible as it was before, but still it maintains enough power.  It appears always, seductive, each time those unexpectedly difficult moments, complex situations or adverse events come. 

George is a great conversationalist, and a person to which these years of forging in his exit of the drug have made him someone admirable.  The pity is that the great majority fail to leave from it.  He is a fortunate man, although a great part of that fortune is, as always, daughter of his effort and his tenacity.  George is an example of the avoidability of the disaster, independent of how low one already can be found or can be considered.  If the human decadence were unavoidable, it would not be worthwhile neither to speak of it, but what interests us is precisely to speak about its avoidability, of the possibility to be saved from those imminent threats but that they have not yet been fulfilled. To speak about the self demand, of doing what one should do, although it would be with modest resources.  I have an unlimited faith in the modest people that do everything that they are able to do. 

75. Addictions and love

George is a person to which four years of combat in his purpose to abandon the drug have made someone admirable.  One of those fortunate men that have managed to avoid the disaster that seemed unavoidable.  Now is a reflexive, profound man.  Always, when he is explaining his painful experience, he says how a moment arrives, very quickly, in which the addict to drugs seeks the drug with anxiety, at the same time that he hates it, by the addiction that the drug has created in him. 

George has meditated a lot on the love, on the desire, on the addictions.  He says that from the phenomenon of the drug addiction many useful ideas for the emotional life of the people may be extracted.  It has seemed to me very interesting.  I am going to try to explain it. 

From love can grow up many things: desires, thoughts, and acts.  But all this that is born of the love is not the love itself.  What we love is really what is desired by us, it is true.  But also we desire many things that we do not love, things that really turn out to be indifferent to us.  It is very dangerous to identify desire and love.  To desire a good wine is not to love it.  To desire the drug is not to love it.  To desire sexually a person is not to love her. 

George thinks also in the primary origin of his problem: a broken family.  He asks himself about the reason of the alarming growth of the conjugal breaks, of the large crisis of so many families that, at the same time, they use to produce so much damage in the people that suffer them.  Because the advances of the present society are marvelous, it is certain.  But what kind of contradiction is this, that, after to have reached so a notable standard of living, the man has remained so deprived of resources at the moment of tacking a serene and ordinate life, without bloody breaks in the daily contact.  Why so many situations of failure and so many scars?  What happens in the western world that two of each three marriages fail? 

It is interesting to think on the nature of the love.  If the love were simply a feeling, that goes and comes like it wants, that begins and finishes independently of our liberty, it would be as a simple blind emotion that seizes us and in front of which we can do nothing.  But, according to that criterion, the love would be like a momentary exaltation that simply carries us to satisfy our desires, as a pleasant hobby, centered and governed primarily by the sexual desire and the pleasure, and that sooner or later decays. 

The love, more than a feeling, is also and above all an act of the will, that is the faculty qualified to elect, to reject, to modulate the own activity, to be governed by oneself, to be directed toward something determined, to love with some lasting roots.  The love is commitment, not a simple desire neither a simple natural inclination, although both things are included in the love.  In the wine cellars of our personality, as if it were a matter of a good wine, it uses to take shape that noble feeling of delivery and of donation of oneself that is the love.  But a donation that has to be total, because the union of the love requires sharing the entire project of the life.  The love cannot be a purely epidermal traffic, centered on feelings that, in their root, are rather egotistical.  The key to enter and to persevere in the conjugal love is the pleasant sacrifice towards the beloved person.  When the difficulty arrives, the test, that always appears sooner or later. The love, if it is true and faithful, unites more, aids to surpass those reefs and becomes reinforced.  The fidelity belongs to the real condition of the love.  Without it, the love would be a simple sentimental act, submitted to the wobble of the emotionality and that lasts only until the capacity to support each other is reached. This way to understand it has brought many conjugal failures. 

76.  Love and liberty

"When I knew her, she was 16 years old.  We were presented in a party, by someone that said to be my friend.  It was a love at first sight.  She drove me crazy. 

"Our love arrived to a point in which I couldn't manage to live without her.  But it was a prohibited love.  My parents did not accept her.  I was expelled out of the school and we begin to find us secretly.  But then I was not capable to endure the situation any more. I went crazy.  I wanted her, but I didn't have her.  I could not endure that they set me apart of her.  I loved her: I destroyed the car, I broke all inside my house and almost I killed my sister.  I was mad, I needed her. 

"Today I am 39 years old; I am interned in a hospital, I am useless and I am going to die abandoned by my parents, by my friends and by her. 

"Its name?: cocaine.  To her I owe my love, my life, my destruction and my death." 

This narration, attributed to Freddie Mercury a short time before dying of AIDS, speaks with quickness on the risks of the addiction to the drugs.  And the addictions remit us to the loss of interior liberty, one of the big themes of our time that encloses innumerable paradoxes. 

The desire of liberty that there is inside the heart of the man prompts him to transfer the limits inside which he feels as enclosed.  We want to enlarge our capability to transform the reality.  But that anxiety of liberty does not always find the way to be carried out.  There are occasions in which objective external circumstances are presented that press us, and that we want and we should try to change, but there are other occasions in which we feel deceived and we blame on what surrounds us when the problem (and the solution) are inside us.  It is our heart who is prisoner of its selfishness and its fears, the one that should change, the one that should confront the hardness of the life, the one that should conquer its interior liberty and not to consent to flee the reality and to take refuge in the fantasy or in the victimism. 

One of the paradoxes of the interior liberty is -in expression of Jacques Philippe- that to be free is also to accept what has not been elected.  The man declares the greatness of his liberty when he transforms the reality, but also when he accepts the reality that day after day comes given to him.  To accept the personal limitations, the own fragility, the situations and frustrations that the life imposes to us, are ways of growing our own interior liberty, because in that personal environment we can come to be a lot more owners of our reactions and, therefore, more free. 

The more we depend on being as intelligent or powerful or attractive, as that great genius of the television, or as that fashionable multimillionaire, or like the last top-model of the moment, more difficult will result to us to find the necessary relaxed acceptance of our reality, that should go united to a firm decision of improving it.  The true interior liberty has a lot of relation with surpassing the numerous "limitative beliefs" that could have been installed in our mind (never I will leave this …, I will not be capable of …, always I will be thus …, I am incapable of doing such thing…), that are not acceptance of our limitations but, rather, fruit of our injuries, of our fears and of our lack of confidence in ourselves. 

The drugs are a problem, but they are, before and above all, a bad solution to a prior problem.  And something similar happens with other lighter forms of escapism.  When we hide in virtual refuges to elude the reality that costs us so much to confront, we are deceiving us.  The liberty is unfailingly connected with the truth.  Therefore one must lose the fear to be put face to face set against the truth and to accept its messages and its raises, always perceptible in the heart of the man that desires them and search them. 

IX. Victimism’s risk

77.  The inner dialogue
78.  The spiral of the complaint
79.  The comfort of the rout
80.  The rhetoric of the self-considered victims
81.  The temptation of the innocence
82.  The sound barrier

77. The interior dialogue

Every man is a social being, open to the others.  For any person, the others are an important part of his life.  His full fulfillment as person is unfailingly connected with others, because all we know that the happiness depends in a big part of the quality of our relation with those that compose our social, professional and family environment. 

Nevertheless, it cannot be forgotten that the man does not only relate to the others, but also with himself: he maintains a frequent conversation in his own private inner privacy, a dialogue that is produced of spontaneous form with occasion of the diverse experiences or personal reflections that every man does continuously. 

And that interior dialogue can be sterile or fertile, destructive or constructive, obsessive or serene.  It will depend on how it is stated, of the class of person that one is.  If one has a healthy and well cultivated interior world, that dialogue will be enlightening, because it will provide light to interpret the reality and it will be occasion of very valuable considerations.  If a person, on the contrary, possesses a dark and impoverished interior world, the dialogue that he will establish with himself will be converted, frequently, in an obsessive repetition of problems, referred to small disruptive incidents of the everyday life: in those cases, as Miguel Angel Martí has written, the interior world finishes being a laboratory where the data that arrive at it are integrated, and becomes a rifled disk, that repeats obsessively what with more intensity has scratched ultimately our affectivity. 

The relation with one self improves according to the degree of maturity reached by each person.  The appraisals that a mature person does -so much on his own reality as well as on the alien one- use to be realistic appraisals, because he has learned not to fall easily in those ingenuous idealizations that, when are not complied, produce disillusionment.  The mature man knows not to dramatize in front of the obstacles that he finds carrying out himself in any of the projects that he proposes to do.  His interior dialogue uses to be serene and objective, so that neither himself neither the others use to cause to him surprises that can disconcert him.  He maintains a relation with himself that is at the same time warm and demanding.  Rarely does he create interior conflicts, because he knows to settle his worries looking for the adequate solution.  He has confidence in himself and, if sometimes he makes mistakes, he does not get depressed neither he loses his interior equilibrium. 

In the immature people, on the other hand, that interior dialogue that we speak uses to become a source of problems: by not valuing the things in their just measure -to himself, to the others, to all the reality that surrounds him-, frequently his thoughts create to him false expectations that, when are not complied, cause interior conflicts and difficulties for his relation with the others. 

A mature and stable person tends to look at the own life and that of the others always with affection.  He contemplates all the reality that surrounds him with desire of interior enrichment, because who sees with affection discovers always somewhat good in the object of his vision.  The man that dilates and enriches his interior of that way, expands and enriches his love and his knowledge, becomes more optimistic, happier, more human, more close to the reality, so much to that of the men as to that of the things. 

78. The spiral of the complaint

Often perhaps, we discover us complaining about small refusals, about lacks of consideration or about carelessness of the others.  We observe in our interior that murmur, that moan, that lament that grows and grows even when we do not want it.  And we see that, the more we take refuge in it, the worse we feel; the more we analyze it, more reasons appear that make us to continue complaining; the more deeply we enter those reasons, more complicated they become. 

This is the complaint of a heart that feels that he never receives what corresponds to him.  The aforesaid complaint is expressed through thousand of ways, but that always finishes creating a sensation of bitterness and of deception. 

There is an enormous and dark power in that vehement interior complaint.  Each time that a person lets himself to be seduced by those ideas, he entangles himself a little more in a spiral of endless refusal.  The condemnation to others, and the condemnation to oneself, grows more and more.  He enters into the labyrinth of his own discontent, until that, at the end, he can consider to be the most misunderstood person, rejected and despised of the world. 

Besides, to complain is often counterproductive.  When we regret of something with the hope to inspire grief and thus to receive a satisfaction, the result is, frequently, the opposite of what we try to obtain.  The habitual complaint conducts to more refusal, because it is exhausting to live together with someone that tends to the victimism, or that in all he sees slights and contempt, or that he expects from the others -or from the life in general- what usually cannot be required.  The root of that frustration consists many times in the person perceiving himself self-disappointed, and it is difficult to give an answer to his complaints because, deep down, he rejects to himself. 

Once the complaint becomes strong in someone -in his interior, or in his exterior attitude-, that person loses the spontaneity to the extent that the happiness that he observes in others tends to evoke in him a feeling of sadness and even of grudge.  In front of the happiness of the others, immediately he begins to suspect.  Happiness and resentment cannot coexist: when there is resentment, the happiness, instead of inviting to the happiness, originates a greater refusal. 

That attitude of complaint is still more serious when it goes in association with a constant reference to the own virtue, to the supposed own positive values:  "I do this, and that, and here I am working, worrying me about that, trying that another, and on the other hand he, or she, while, they are unconcerned, they laze about, they go for their own objectives, they are either way". 

As it has been written by Henri J. M. Nouwen, these are complaints and susceptibilities that seem to be mysteriously connected with praiseworthy attitudes in oneself.  All a pathological style of thought that despairs enormously to whom suffers it.  Just when he wants to speak or to act since the more worthy and most altruistic attitude, he founds himself trapped by feelings of wrath or of rancor.  The more disinterested he intends to be, the more is he obsessed by the fact that others don't value what he does.  The more he tries to do as much as possible, the more he asks himself why the others do not do the same things that he does.  The more generous he wants to be, the more he feels envy for the ones that are abandoned in the selfishness. 

When one falls in that spiral of criticism and of reproach, all spontaneity is lost.  The resentment blocks the perception, declares envy, he becomes constantly indignant because it is not given to him what, according to him, he deserves.  All becomes suspicious, calculated, and full of second intentions.  The most minimum movement demands a countermovement.  The most minimum comment must be analyzed; the most insignificant gesture must be evaluated.  The life becomes a strategy of wrongs and demands.  In the bottom of all appears constantly a subject full of resentment and of complaint. 

Which is the solution to this?  Perhaps the best thing to do is to make an effort in giving more capacity to enter into oneself's confidence and into oneself's gratitude.  We know that gratitude and resentment cannot coexist.  The discipline of the gratitude is an explicit effort by receiving with happiness and serenity what happen to us.  The gratitude implies a constant election.  I can elect to be grateful although my emotions and primary feelings were impregnated of pain.  It is surprising the quantity of times in which we can opt for the gratitude instead of by the complaint.  There is a Estonian's saying related to this:  "The one that is not grateful in the little thing, will neither be in the big thing".  The small acts of gratitude make the person to be grateful.  Above all because, little by little, they cause us to see that, if we look at the things with perspective, at the end we realize that all results to be for our profit. 

79. The comfort of the defeat

The victimist uses to be a human model of little vitality, dominated by his fondness to be withdrawn a little of the life.  A mentality that -as it has been indicated by Pascal Bruckner- makes that all the difficulties of the men's life, even the most ordinary, become matter for discussion.  The victimist observes himself with a soft and tolerant indulgence, tends to escape from his true responsibility, and uses to finish paying a high price by representing his role as of being mistreated habitually. 

The victimist spreads with enormous intensity something that would be able to be called as culture of the complaint, a mentality that -in a more or less direct way- tries to convince us that we are some unfortunate that, in our candor, we do not have conscience of up to what point it is pulling our legs. 

The success of the victimist's speech comes from his unverifiable character.  It is not easy to confirm his thesis, but neither to contradict them.  It is an attitude that induces to a morbid eagerness for discovering trivial wrongs, by being felt discriminated or mistreated, by attributing to exterior instances all the bad thing that happens to us or that can happen to us. 

And as this mentality does not always manage to reach the objectives that he desires so much, it conducts, at the same time, with facility to the desperation, to the whimpering, to the vain conformism in front of the misfortune.  And instead of fighting for improving the things, instead of putting enthusiasm, those people compete in the exhibition of their misfortunes, in describing with horror their sufferings. 

The culture of the complaint tends to enlarge the minimum adversity and to transform it into some form of victimism.  A strange passion arises by appearing like the victim, by denouncing as evil the conduct of the others.  For the people that fall in this attitude, everything that is done to them is intolerable, while their own errors or defects are only simple subtleties without importance that would be a lack of touch to indicate. 

There are basically two ways to treat an emotional, familiar, professional failure or whichever other type of failure.  The first one is to assume the own fault and to jump to the conclusions that can carry us to learn of that error.  The second is to be always ready to blame to the others, to seek bravely external responsibilities of our misfortune.  Of the first form we can acquire experience to surpass that failure; of the second, we prepare us to fall again easily in it, blaming again to the others and eluding a healthy exam of our responsibilities. 

When a person tends to think that almost never he is guilty of his failures, he enters in a spiral of difficult exit.  A spiral that annuls the capacity of beating that has always enlarged to the man and that has permitted to fight to domesticate his defects; a vicious circle that submerges him in the conformism of the recurrent complaint, in which he solidly is.  The victimization is the resource of the frightened that prefers to become object of compassion instead of confronting with decision what frightens him.  . 

80.  The rhetoric of the victimism

To try to eliminate the suffering at any cost signifies almost always to aggravate it, because to the extent that we flee out of him, it goes gaining ground.  There is a curious fatalism in that obsessive allergy to the most minimum pain (not very different of the passive and fool resignation in front of the misfortune), because, even when it is logical and sensible to avoid the useless suffering, there is a vital difficulty inherent in our condition of men, a dose of risk and of hardness without which the human existence cannot be developed with fullness. 

I want with this to say that our misfortunes, our small shipwrecks, even our worse enemies, help us to harden, they oblige us to activate in our interior deposits of dynamism, of courage, of unsuspected abilities.  The fortitude of the character of a person, his value, has much relation with the quantity of difficulties that this person is capable to accept without succumbing.  The obstacles and the difficulties invite him to do the things better. They prompt him to elevate above the fear and the pusillanimity. 

A life developed in the middle of difficulties uses to produce richer personalities than the ones that have been formed in the comfort or in the abundance.  It is not that one has to desire the misery or the annoyance, but it is dangerous to carry a life too much commode or to be too much soft in front of the own pains or to be enclosed in the role of victim. 

To say that one suffers a lot when, objectively, he is barely suffering implies to remain disarmed before entering the battle, to become oneself incapable of confronting a true suffering.  The ones that tend to think thus need to leave the error by feeding thoughts that stimulate their interior energy, that generate happiness and enthusiasm.  They have the need to cultivate the liveliness, the dynamism, a serene courage. 

To the victimist's rhetoric, that tends to be exhausted by only explaining itself, one must respond seeking reasonable solutions, feasible alternatives.  And for that one must begin by expressing the difficulties in terms that admit our overcoming.  Because one of the first effects of the tedious insistence on the own problems are that they impede us to distinguish well among what we can change and what is outside of our reach: in the victimist's obsession, all the adversities lived as an unappealable sentence of a dark destiny. 

The man becomes important when he does not remain fortified inside himself, but he is impelled in something that carries him to surpass himself.  When he yields in front of the exhalations of the conformism, he goes down; when he takes refuge in the selfishness, he goes down also.  If he is obsessed for being protected against every minimum opposition, he will be finished finding himself with a vital fragility that drowns him and overwhelms him. 

81.  The temptation of the innocence

We have said that there are, basically, two ways to undertake an emotional, familial, professional or whichever failure.  The first one is to assume the own fault and to jump to conclusions that can carry us to learn valuable things of that misfortune.  The second one is to blame to the others and to seek with despair external heads responsible of our misfortune.  The first form serves to acquire experience to surpass the failure; with the second one it is easy to fall again in the failure and to blame again to other, instead of doing a healthy exam of our responsibilities. 

The victimist's style use to be connected with negative feelings such as the envy, the jealousy and the grudge.  They tend to be legitimized in name of passed misfortunes. They protect themselves with all the present sufferings or with the past sufferings, and with that they assume a kind of immunity patent with which they justify their attitude.  That memory of the passed misfortunes constitutes for them an endless reserve of resentments.  And, if someone reproaches it, maybe they admit that their attitude is not very exemplary, but they assure that their passed sufferings justify that "light incorrectness". 

Another of their characteristic notes is the sensitivity, which causes them to react with agitation in front of any criticism.  In all, they see evil intentions.  The smaller objection immediately is considered as an offense.  Everywhere they see hostility, conspiracies and contempt.  In the most extreme cases, they feel satanized by all the people (curious paradox that of the satanized satanizer) and afflicted with a surprising megalomania. They fall in the syndrome of the conspiracy or of the plot, so much in its aggressive version as in the opposite one, of renunciation and passiveness (why to do nothing if a so powerful force is plotting such things against me or against us). 

It is frequent that they wrap their attacks in a cloak of guilelessness, because they assure that the unique thing that they do is to defend them.  Their ideas are refutable with difficulty, because they turn around whichever argument transforming it into a test of the omnipotence or of the subtlety of the offenders.  And as the revenge induces with facility to similar reactions in the others, they feel also innocent victims of an aggression, the poison of the victimism is inoculated in the others with the fight, and goes being extending more and more when each new step of the resentment rises: how much reason we had in suspecting that he was a scoundrel.  A victimist mimicry is produced, that confers to both parts in conflict the same eternal impression of being unjustly mistreated. 

When passed sufferings are invoked to justify attitudes that, however how much are they adorned, they transmit the stench of the resentment and of the desire of revenge. The most sensible procedure is to distrust those people that seek to be charged of arguments for repeat, as soon as they can, the same actions that they regret to have suffered. 

To have in mind the pains of the past can be enricheful, but that memory can be corrupted if it is allowed to be impregnated of the grudge.  When the memory carries us to reopen injuries of the past, seeking perhaps to legitimize a dark desire of compensation, then the memory becomes slave of the wrong, it becomes a power that revives the tensions, it irritates the animosity and it reconstructs the past and it rewrites it accumulating each time new motives to its favor. 

If the people or the families or the countries dedicate themselves to ruminate into their respective pains, it will be difficult that they live in peace and agreement.  When someone stirs morbidly in the past, always he can find prejudices to allege, reasons to disinter the war-axe of the violence, the contempt or the lack of solidarity.  Always there are motives to not surpass the reciprocal disagreements, but, if we want to live in good tuning with the others, we should draw a line on our ancient dissensions of long ago and to allow that the past bury those failures.  It consists not only to forget simply, but to forgive and to learn to avoid that those errors could be repeated, to be opposed with firmness to them.  The pardon is what leaves free passage to who do not desire to change on their shoulders with the terrible weight of the old resentments. 

82.  The barrier of sound

The pilot Chuck Yeager initiated the era of the supersonic flights in October 14, 1947, when he broke the famous sound barrier, that "invisible wall of bricks" that so puzzled maintained to the scientific community of the time. 

By then, some investigators assured to have sure scientific data by which that barrier should be impenetrable.  Others said that, when the airplane reached the speed Mach 1, it would suffer a tremendous impact in their fuselage and would exploit.  Did neither lack in the middle of that debate who ventured as possible things to happen leaps backwards in the time and other surprising and unpredictable effects. 

The case was that the historic day of 1947, Yeager reached with his airplane Bell Aviation X-1 the speed of 1.126 kilometers per hour (Mach 1.06).  There were diverse doubts and controversies on if he had truly surpassed that speed, but three weeks later he reached Mach 1.35, and six years later he arrived to Mach 2.44, producing that the myth of that impenetrable barrier finally disappeared. 

In his autobiography, Yeager wrote:  "That day of 1947, the faster I went, the smoother the flight was.  When the indicator indicated Mach 0.965, the needle began to vibrate, and shortly after it jumped in the scale above Mach 1.  I believed that I was seeing visions!  I found me flying at a supersonic speed and that went so smoothly that my grandmother had been able to go seated there behind having lemonade". 

"It was then when I understood -continued Yeager- that the true barrier was not in the sound neither in the sky, but in our head, in our way to present the things." 

In our daily life, at times, it can happen to us something similar.  We have put in our head many barriers to our personal improvement, and it seems to us that to surpass them is somewhat impossible, or at least that it would suppose to us a tremendous effort or it would embitter us the existence: something similar to what happened fifty years ago to whom spoke of the mysterious sound barrier. 

Nevertheless, to surpass the barrier of our defects or our limitations is something that, without being easy -as it was not easy to surpass that sound barrier-, is not neither so difficult.  And above all, that, when we achieve it, it is probable that, as happened to Yeager that historic day, we find a new dimension of the life, perhaps stranger for us, and that results a lot more satisfactory and gratifying of what we could imagine. 

The road of the virtue and of the values is a road that remains hidden for many people that see it as somewhat cold, boring or sad, when, in reality, it is a seductive, interesting and happy road.  We put an example.  To work or to do always as minimum as possible, or to show oneself egotist and unsolidary with the companions, is the approach that governs the life of quite enough people.  Some of them perhaps think that to work with pledge and illusion, or thinking about the others, is a utopian approach, an inaccessible dream, an ideal for ingenuous.  Other perhaps say that it is really a very pretty desire, but they see it as somewhat distant and exhausting; or that it would suppose to them such an effort that it does not compensate to them neither to try it; or that they have tried it but they have had a lack of will.  Others will say that they have also tried it, but because of (put here what it proceeds), now they already pass from all.  And, in almost all the cases, they seem to ignore that they same are the main damaged with that attitude. 

That famous debate of over fifty years ago is repeated frequently in the daily life of many people.  Perhaps the best in this case is to abandon the fatalism and to cross that barrier and to see what happens. 

X. Pride and egocentrism

83.  Arrogance I? 
84.  Escaping from oneself
85.  The spiral of the grudge
86.  The sense of fault
87.  The risk of the self-deception
88.  The control of the wrath
89.  The satisfaction of the desires
90.  A new code

83.  Proud I? 

A writer goes walking through the street and he meets a friend.  They greet each other and they begin to chat.  During more than half an hour, the writer speaks his friend about himself, without stopping either an instant.  Suddenly he stops a moment, has a pause and says:  "Good, already we have spoken enough of me.  Now we speak of you:  What do you think about my last novel?" 

This is a funny example of conceited attitude, of a quite simple vanity.  In fact, the majority of the vices are also quite simple.  But, on the other hand, the pride uses to declare under quite more complex forms than those of that fatuous writer.  The pride tends to be presented in a twisted form; it sneaks through the most surprising cracks of the man's life, under extremely diverse appearances.  The pride knows well that, if it shows its face, its aspect is revolting, and therefore one of its more habitual strategies is to hide its face, to be in disguise.  It enters secretly inside another apparently positive attitude, which always remains contaminated. 

Sometimes it disguises of wisdom, of what we would be able to call as an "intellectual pride" that is based on an appearance of severity that is not another thing that arrogant pride. 

Other times it disguises of coherence, and does the people to change their principles instead of daring to change their immoral conduct.  As they do not live like they think, they finish thinking as they live.  The pride impedes them to see that the coherence in the error never can transform the evil into the good. 

Also it can be disguised as a strong eagerness to do justice, when, in the bottom, what moves them is a feeling of spite and of revenge.  The hate has put inside them the hatred inside and, instead of doing an effort in order to forgive; they intend to calm their anxiety with revenge and resentment. 

There are occasions in which the pride is disguised of eagerness to defend the truth, of an arrogant and contracted orthodoxy, which subjugates to the others; or of an eagerness to manifest it all, to judge it all and to want to have firm opinion above all.  All those attitudes use to have their origin in that simple and foolish pride of whom believes to be the exclusive possessor of the truth.  Instead of serving really to the truth, they are served of it -of a shadow of it-, and they finish being puppets of their own vanity, of their eagerness to opposite or to be considered a winner in any discussion. 

At times it disguises itself of an apparent spirit of service, that seems at first sight very self-sacrificing, and that even perhaps it is, but that hides a curious and resentful victimism.  They are those that do the things, but with air of victim ("I am the unique one that does something"), or regretting of what do the others ("see these on the other hand …"). 

It can also be disguised of generosity, of that ostentatious generosity that helps humiliating, looking down one's nose at the others, underestimating.  Or it disguises itself of eagerness to teach or eagerness to advise, typical of people plenty of sufficiency, that are put to itself as an example, that speak in paternalistic tone, with air of superiority.  Or it covers itself of air of dignity, when it is not another thing that susceptibility, to feel offended by foolishnesses, by unreal or by groundless jealousy. 

Is that then that the pride is behind all?  At least we know that it will try to be.  The same as the perfect and total health doesn't exist; we can neither eliminate completely the pride.  But we can detect it and gain advantage. 

And how to detect it, if it hides under so many appearances?  The pride will many times deceive us, and we will not see its face, hidden of diverse ways, but many times we do see it clearly.  If we are capable of being receptive, of listening at the constructive criticism, it will be for us much easier to unmask it. 

The problem is that one has to be humble to accept the criticism.  The pride uses to self armor-plating in a vicious circle of satisfied egocentrism, and it doesn't permits anybody to call it for its true name.  When it becomes strong doing so, the defenselessness is such that the simplest manifestations of the pride go growing: the sickly sensitivity, the continuous speaking about one self, the arrogant and conceited attitudes, the vanity and affectation in the gestures and in the way of speaking, the deep decline when perceiving the own weaknesses, etc. 
One must break that vicious circle.  To gain ground to the pride is of vital importance to have a healthy psychology, for maintaining a cordial relation with the people, to not feel offended by foolishnesses, to not harm the others, for almost everything.  Therefore one must fear about the pride, to fight seriously against it.  It is a fight that takes the impulse from the recognition of the error.  An always difficult knowledge, because the error is disguised of thousands of ways, and even takes forces of its apparent routs, but it is possible the knowledge of it, if there is a pledge by our side and we seek a little aid in the others. 

84. To escape from oneself

 "The Gentleman of the Oxidized Armor" is a surprising best-seller of Robert Fisher that has been sold for millions in the United States and that in Spain has had more than forty editions.  It is a story of adult fantasy, whose protagonist is an exemplary medieval gentleman that, "when he was not fighting in a battle, killing dragons or rescuing damsels, he was busy probing his armor and admiring its shine".  The success of the book consists in that it symbolizes our ascent by the mountain of the life and does certain observations on the human conduct. 

Our gentleman was lover to such an extent of his armor that he began to wear it to have dinner and, often, to sleep.  After a time, he did not longer have the inconvenience to remove it for nothing. 

His woman was each time more fed of being not able to see the face of her husband and to sleep badly because of the metallic noise of the armor. 

The situation came to be so unsustainable for the unhappy family that our gentleman decided finally to remove the armor.  It is then when he discovers that, after so much time locked in it, it is totally blocked and he cannot remove it from him.  He goes then in search of the magician Merlin that shows him a steep and narrow path as the only solution to be freed of that curious confinement.  He decides to take that path immediately, because he realizes that, if he doesn't throw it soon, he may change soon his opinion. 

He has to surpass diverse tests.  In one of them he verifies that he had barely gained the affection of his son, and that causes him to cry bitterly.  The surprise arrives the following morning, when he sees that the armor has become oxidized as a result of the tears and part of it has been disengaged and has fallen.  His crying had begun to free him. 

Further on, with occasion of other tries, he notices that during years he had not wanted to admit the things that he did badly.  He had preferred always to blame to the others.  He had behaved in an ungrateful way with his woman and with his son.  He had been very unjust.  The tears slipped by their cheeks each time with more profusion.  He needed his woman and his son, but he barely had loved them.  In the bottom, he self evaluated very badly and that caused him to behave also badly, with the aim to gain thus the consideration of the others, and therefore he turned out to be proud and arrogant.  He had worn an invisible armor between him and his true way to be, and it was imprisoning him.  An armor that "has been there during so much time -told him Merlin- that at the end had become visible and permanent". 

He remembered all the things of his life when he had blamed his mother, his father, his teachers, his woman, his son and his friends and to all the others.  For the first time in many years, he contemplated his life with clarity, without judging and without excuses.  In that instant, he accepted all his responsibility.  From that moment, he would never blame anymore to nothing neither to nobody about their own errors.  The recognition that he was the cause of his problems, and not the victim, gave him a new sensation of power and control.  He was no longer afraid.  An unknown sensation of calm came unexpectedly to him.  "Almost I die for the tears that I hadn't spill yet", he thought. 

All we use to put barriers in our life, in front of the others, and a day we realize that we are trapped after those barriers and turns out to be difficult for us to abandon them.  Therefore, the wisdom consists, in good measure, in knowing the sufficient about oneself as to know when and how one has been trapped.  Otherwise, the power and the control will be weaker day after day, and the ability to be deceived, will become stronger day by day.  We will seek the fault in the others, feeding a pride that little will be able to help us, and perhaps we will fight against all and everybody in order not to fight against ourselves. 

Our gentleman had to remove the armor to face really the truth on his life.  They had said it to him many times, but he had always rejected that idea as an offense, taking the truth as an insult.  And while he did not recognize his errors and cried for them, he did not manage to get freed of the retreat to which he had been self submitting. 

Finding loopholes when one does not want to look inside is the easiest thing in the world.  There always are exterior blames and it is needed a lot of courage to accept that the responsibility is ours.  But that is the only way to advance, although it is always an uphill travel.  As the protagonist of that Susanna Tamaro's novel said: "each time that, when you grow up, you want to convert the wrong things into true things, you must recall that the first revolution that one must carry out is inside one self, the first one and the most important one.  To fight for an idea without having an idea of oneself is one of the most dangerous things than can be done". 

85.  The spiral of the grudge

Stefan Zweig tells in his biography the sad and fleeting history of Ernst Lissauer, a German writer of the times of the First World War. 

Lissauer was a man of enormous erudition.  Nobody dominated better the German lyric than him.  Also he was a deep expert about the music and possessed a great talent for the art.  When the war exploded, he wanted to be enlisted as volunteer but he was not admitted due to his age and to his lack of health.  In the middle of that patriotic fervor against the countries that now were enemies, he was quickly dragged by the atmosphere of military exaltation favored from the machinery of publicity of the Berlin's Wilhelmstrasse.  The feeling that the English were the main cause of that war was expressed by Lissauer in the famous "Song of hatred to England", a poem in fourteen expressive, concise, and hard verses that elevated the hatred toward that country to the condition of an oath of eternal animosity.  Those verses fell like a bomb in an ammunition dump.  Soon became evident the facility to provoke with the hatred to a whole country.  The poem traveled through Germany being on everyone's lips. The emperor granted Lissauer with the cross of the Red Eagle, all the newspapers published it. It was represented in the theaters, the teachers rode it to the children in the schools, the officials sent the soldiers to form up and they recited it, until everyone finished learning by memory that litany of the hatred.  Overnight, Ernst Lissauer knew the most ardent fame than a poet could obtain in that epoch.  A fame that, certainly, finished for burning him as the robe of Neso, because as soon as the war finished, all they endeavored for being freed of the fault that corresponded in that enmity and they signaled Lissauer as the great developer of that senseless hysteria of hatred that in 1914 all they had shared.  He was exiled, all they returned him the back and he died in the oblivion, as a tragic victim of that wave of injustice that once had supported him, and then had sunk him without remedy. 

This history is a good example of what happens when some cause the drum of the hatred to redouble.  The grudge generates more grudge and, if it is not stopped, quick becomes an unstoppable wave that causes the most impartial ears to resound, and the most stable hearts to tremble.  On that occasion there were a few that had enough forces and sufficient lucidity to escape from that vicious circle of hatred and aggression that seemed was going to absorb all.  They were some few people that were not left to carry for the own credulity of the grudge, that managed to surpass the clumsy and simple idea that the truth and the justice are always of the own side.  And they were few because, unfortunately, to blow in favor of what disconnects, uses to be easier and tempting that the opposite. 

Nietzsche considered the mercy and the pardon as the loophole of the weak.  Nevertheless, more pledge and more fortresses are needed to forgive that to be left to carry for the grudge and the desires of revenge.  One needs more moral size and more intelligence to discover the good things that there are in the others that to be obsessed with what we do not like of them.  It is better and more meritorious to throw out of the good things that there are in each one instead of exasperating them with our arrogance.  The history of the humanity shows in a tragic form the bitter fruits of all those occasions in which the feelings of violence, intolerance, pride and lack of solidarity among the men were promoted and exalted.

The resentment carries the people to feel hurt and not to forget.  Many times, that resentment becomes sickly and becomes a hypersensitivity to feel mistreated, and that conviction is revived time and again by the imagination, like a washing machine, impeding to forget, deforming the reality and conducting to the obsession.  Another times, there are momentary explosions that immediately leave the bitter flavor of the distaste of the own words, as soon as the spirits of the first enthusiasm evaporates. 

There are people that anywhere the conflicts are -are they large or small- tend to be relaxed, and they are at the end surpassed or resolved.  But there are many others that exacerbate them and make them chronic.  In front of the resentment, the solution is the pardon and the effort to surpass the offenses.  To become accustomed to be a conciliatory person requires some stronger psychological power, but this is at the reach of everybody, and it is worthy to make an effort to acquire it. 

86.  The sense of fault

The Danish writer Henrik Stangerup presents in his novel "The man that wanted to be guilty" an interesting reflection about the sense of fault.  The protagonist, Torben, has committed a crime and intends in vain that the responsible for the justice in the society in which he lives recognized it as it was.  Nevertheless, they tell him that his act has not been a murder, but a regrettable accident caused by the circumstances.  They assure him that it has come forced by the society, which is the unique truly guilty.  They treat him as to an unbalanced, victim of an absurd culpability complex.  Immediately they intend to leave him free and they try to cause him to forget every memory about his woman. 

But he knows that he has killed his woman in an access of rage and drunkenness, he feels guilty and he wants to pay for it.  Along the novel, the protagonist will go driving crazy with the truth, overwhelmed by the expropriation that they have done of the bases of his personal responsibility, while he tries without success to probe that he is guilty of that death. 

The message of the book is clear: if in any human collectivity the sense of fault or the notion of evil is lost, it finishes not been able to speak about the good any more.  The true good cannot exist if the existence of evil is not understood.  And the culpability of the person needs to be compensated by the same person properly.  For Torben, the only way to resolve his problem is managing to be forgiven and, as the dead woman no longer can do it, he searches something that can repair his fault: while it doesn't obtain it, he feels annulled as a person. 

In our familial, professional or social life it can happen to us, saving the distances, something similar.  Any person commits errors that produce damage in those that surround him and in him too, and all this uses to bring a sense of fault.  If we intend to ignore the reality of that damage that we have produced, or we tried to project without reason our fault on the others, then we would cause us a new damage, and more serious, to ourselves, because we do not put remedy to that evil, but we ignore it or we hide from it. 

The feeling of fault by something that we have done badly is like a warning, the same as it is, for example, the physical pain, that notifies us that something in our body does not go well.  It is natural and positive to feel guilt for what we did badly.  If we have done erroneously, the logical thing is that on account of it we feel bad, or even very bad.  Then we should not permit that the memory and the imagination revive it continuously, but the solution isn't to ignore it and to pile up soil on top of it.  It is precise to recognize and to understand the error, and to utilize the will to emerge with greater force from the passed experience. 

If one experiences properly the fault, the first reaction is the search of pardon and the intent to pay attention to the possible reparation that the damage caused.  Later, when one has already been forgiven and one has done every reasonable and possible thing to compensate that fault, is when one feels a true relief and is easier to forget. 

The offense is like an injury, and the pardon is the first step on the way of its healing, that can be long.  The pardon is not a shortcut to reach the happiness, but a long path that one must travel through.  Therefore, when some people say they do not regret anything of what they have done and that if they would be born again, they would do everything equally as they did before, they show to be little conscious of the errors that they have accumulated along their life.  If they do not notify them, if they do not feel guilty of all those abuses and they do not seek the way to repair the damage that they have caused, they are immersed in a serious process of self-deception that will have some day a bitter wake-up. 

87. The risk of the self-deception

His biographers say that, before his suicide at Berlin's Chancellery on April the 30th, 1945, Adolf Hitler was suffering a gradual process of escaping the reality, a constant need of self-deception and of receiving favorable news.  Above all from the entrance of the U.S. in the war, Hitler was entering each time more in a world of fiction created by himself.  It is doubtless that he possessed a prodigious intelligence, but he preferred to be deceived, and his deceit carried him to abandon the reality in a surprising way.  In fact, in the middle of that month of April 1945, when the tanks of the soviet marshal Zhukov were already a few kilometers away of Brandenburg's gate, Hitler repeated shouting to his staff inside his subterranean refuge, that the Russians would suffer a bloody rout in front of the doors of Berlin. 

Historians as Hugh Trevor-Roper and Ian Kershaw have analyzed with detail how the process by which he was poisoned by his triumphs, finished abandoning every sign of diplomacy and intelligence.  It does not seem possible that the work of the Nazi publicity had modified in such a way Hitler's data to the extreme to cause him to believe that his routs were victories.  But the indisputable fact is that, five days before his death, surrounded by operating maps increasingly more unreal, he enumerated with great security to his generals the improbable tricks that caused him to expect a final victory. 

The reading of those historic testimonies – more than fifty years have already passed and there are sufficient and well contrasted documents that have done possible to know what happened- offers us an extreme and amazing example of the way in which a man can become enclosed in his own world, until being transferred completely to the kingdom of the imagination.  That sad and tragic episode of the history of the 20th century was born marked by the self-deception to deny the existence of upper moral principles that limited the power and the pursuit of his objectives, and can serve us to stop an instant and to speak of that great danger of the self-deception, that, in diverse measure, is awaiting to all of us in small things of the ordinary life of each day. 

The man, when has been beaten by the adversity, feels frequently the temptation to flee.  Nevertheless, any life is governable if there is not a constant effort by being connected to the reality, if one does not remain in guard against the lie, or in front of the seduction of the fantasy when it is presented as a narcotic to elude the reality that costs us to accept. 

The temptation of the unreal thing is constant, and constant should be for us the fight against it.  Otherwise, at the moment to decide what one must do, we will not confront courageously to the reality of the things to calibrate their true convenience, but we will fall in some kind of escapism, of flight of the reality or of ourselves.  The escapist seeks ways to escape from the problems.  He does not resolve them, he avoids them.  In last term, he has fear of the reality.  And, if the problem does not disappear, it will be he who disappears. 

The self-deception can be presented in many various forms.  There are people, for example, that fall in it because they need continuous demonstrations of compliment and approval.  Their sensibility to the flatter, to the continuous "you have the reason" without having it, causes them to unfold around slave people. At the end, the relation between them may probably cause everybody to get crazy. There are difficult to disillusion people, because they require to the others that they follow the herd, that the others lye to them, and they finish for entangling to the others in their own lies.  They are easy prey of the sycophants that handle them to his own, and, although at times they are conscious and become aware that they are victims of a farce, it does not use to be enough for them to leave. 

The truth, and especially the moral truth, should not be received as an arbitrary limitation to the freedom of the persons, but, on the contrary, like a liberating light that permits to give a good orientation to the own decisions.  To receive the truth carries to the man to his fullest development.  On the other hand, to elude the truth or to refuse to accept it causes a damage to himself and, almost always, also to the others.  The truth is our better and wiser friend, always arranged and desirous to respond in our aid.  It is certain that, at times, the truth is not declared in a clear way, but we should do our best so that the lack of clarity only is given in our thought, because we have not yet made the necessary effort in the search of the truth. 

88. The control of the wrath

When someone receives an offence, or something that seems to him an insult, if he is a person with no capability of self control, it is easy that it seemed increasingly more offensive to him, because his memory and his imagination stimulate inside him a great fire by turning an idea over in his mind over what has happened. 

The passion of the wrath has an enormous destructive force.  The wrath causes many irreparable tragedies.  There are many persons that, by an instant of rage, have ruined a project, a friendship, a family.  Therefore it is convenient that before the fire take shape, we extinguish the embers of the irritation without giving time the fire to spread. 

The wrath is like an impetuous animal that we should have well grasped of the reins.  If each one of us recalls some occasion in which, feeling an impulse of rage, we have restrained us, and another moment in which we have left us to drag for it, comparing both episodes we will be able easily to make interesting conclusions.  It suffices to think about how we have felt after having dominated the wrath and how we have felt if sometimes we have been dominated by it.  When this case happens, we experience immediately sorrow and shame, although nobody directs to us any reproach. 

It suffices to contemplate serenely in others a sudden attack of wrath to grasp a little the clumsiness that it supposes.  A person dominated by the annoyance is as blind and drunken by the fury.  When the wrath revolves and agitates a man, it is difficult that his acts become previously oriented by the reason.  And when that person returns to himself he torments again recalling what he did, the damage that he had produced, the spectacle that he gave.  He thinks about the persons that were present, in those people in whose presence he then perhaps did not repair, but that now causes him a restless sensation to recall.  And even more or less friends, he feels in front of them deeply ashamed. 

The wrath uses to have as cause a frustration caused by the blockade of the desires or of the expectations that are defrauded for the action of another person, whose attitude we perceive as aggressive.  It is certain that we can get irritated for anything, but we feel the true wrath in front of actions in which we appreciate a voluntary hostility from another person. 

As it has been indicated by José Antonio Marina, the emotional and physical state in which we find influences us in this matter in an important form.  It is well known how the alcohol predisposes to the fury, the same as the fatigue or any type of excitement.  Also the strong or continuous noises, the hurry or the very repetitive situations cause similar effects.  In cases of accumulation of diverse addends, one can feel furious and not to know really why. 

And why some people is so sociable and they laugh and they joke, and others are bad-tempered, shy and sad; and some are irritable, violent and irate, while others are indolent, irresolute and timid?  Without doubt there are biological reasons, but they have been completed, enlarged or mitigated by the education and by the personal learning: also the wrath or the calm can be learned. 

Many people maintain an aggressive conduct or attitude because it seems to them to find in it a source of personal pride.  In the aggressive cultures, the individuals use to be proud of their crashes of violence, because they think that these crashes provide them authority and recognition.  Therefore it is a pity that in some environments those aggressive models are so much valued, that confuse the capacity to surpass obstacles with a species of absurd need to mistreat to the others. 

The aggressive conducts are learned, sometimes, by reward.  Sadly, in many cases happens that the aggressive conducts result rewarded.  For example, a boy learns immediately if to cry, to stamp one's feet with rage or to become annoyed are efficient media to obtain what they are proposed to; and, if that is repeated habitually, it is doubtless for that girl or that boy the learning of the control of the wrath will be really difficult, and that, educating him thus, we made to him or to her a big harm. 

89.  The satisfaction of the desires

"He had devoured everything that he had been able to, like a fond of sweets' boy, until the nausea.  But after the satiety came the deception and the apathy.  A day he began to feel an intense resentment, not against me or against the world, but because he had realized that in the life nobody can be abandoned to his desires and to leave unpunished." 

Thus describes Sándor Márai in one of his novels the phenomenon that, to my judgment, is in the root of the majority of the problems of coexistence among the people.  Our selfishness, that always is present, undermining our nature, demands continuously the satisfaction of its desires.  And those desires interfere with the desires of the others.  If we do not keep in mind the differences with those desires of the others, if there is not a firm purpose of respect and of aid, the contact finishes being a fight between the pretensions of the others.  The friendship or the love can cause to coincide initially the desires, but after sometime tends to separate them, and that makes difficult the coexistence if there is not an effort to surpass the selfishness. 

As it has been written by Jacques Philippe, the first thing is to understand that, in the sufferings that we produce to the others, we haven't to see systematically the bad will in them (just as we use to do habitually).  When some problems between two persons arise, it is frequent that both are hurried to do moral appraisals the one of the other, when what are in the bottom of the question are misunderstandings or difficulties of communication. 

The majority of the people have a quite different character of the one that have the people with whom they relate.  We have different ways to see the things, different sensibilities, and also do neither coincide in each moment our state of spirit or our sense of humor.  Some people are very fond of the order, and the smaller maladjustment burdens them, while to others what causes them asphyxiation is the environment too much organized and thoughtful.  The lovers of the order use to feel knocked down by the ones that go out leaving all by any place, while the people of contrary temperament are annoyed when they are required a perfect order.  And immediately the intentions are judged, because all we tend to praise what coincides with our inclinations and our way to be, and to criticize what we don't like.  Therefore, if we don't moderate our own desires and we keep in mind whatever thing that separates us, it is easy to finish converting the human coexistence in a fight between the defenders of the order and the defenders of the liberty, between the followers of the exactness and those of the flexibility, the lovers of the calm and the lovers of the agitation, the early risers and the night owls, the talkative and the taciturn, and so on. 

If we get accustomed to satisfy too much our desires and to try to impose them on the others, the result will be the frustration, so much by the insatiability of the spiral of the own desires as by the conflicts that will be produced with the desires of who surround us.  Therefore, if we feel displeased habitually with the others, we should seek the root in the displeasure with ourselves.  It is a difficult task, that obliges us to relativize a little our intelligence, to know how to renounce to that "pride to be right" that so often impedes us to tune positively with the others.  It is a matter of renunciation that sometimes costs terribly but that helps us to live better together with the others and to leave our narrow-mindedness to open us to the others.  Besides, all we know the happiness that we feel when we conquer our own selfishness and we serve to the others, we provide them happiness or consolation. 

90.  A new key

I remember the case of a student that since the beginning of the course produced to me a quite evil impression.  His attitude was habitually negative, even quite much defiant.  It seemed as if every moment he had to verify to where was disposed the professor to permit his small provocations.  Also he had difficulties with his companions, among which he was quite unpopular. 

His mood and his behavior in class arrived to produce me a bit of irritation.  After a few days of the school year, I decided to vary the order that continued in my interviews with the new students to speak with him as soon as possible.  To the first occasion, I called him.  We sit down and I asked him how founded himself in his new class. 

The first minutes were, in his side, of a complete silence, only interrupted by some stingy monosyllables.  Although I endeavored myself for showing confidence, seeking the motive of his disinterest and his difficulties of relation with his companions, barely I received any answer from him. 

I passed to ask him more personal things, about his parents, about the atmosphere in his house.  Little by little, he was allowing me to note that, in reality, he wanted to speak, but he founded himself inside a barrier.  Finally, and without abandoning that arrogant tone that seemed so proper of him, he answered me:  "That how go the things in my house? Very bad, terrible.  You loose the desire for all.  You see everything very easy, it is evident.  But how would be the case if you see if your mother sick in bed since two years ago and your father returned home drunk the half of the days?  You would be all right, I suppose.  But, I regret it; I'm not able to face it". 

He continued speaking, at the beginning with certain temper, but some few phrases later he came down, his voice was broken and he began to cry.  Once broken the ice, the boy abandoned that false attitude of pride and of distance that he was using as defense, and he opened his heart completely.  Little by little he was relating the family's drama in which he was immersed and that caused him to live in that state of anguish and of agitation.  The illness, the alcohol and the economic difficulties had rarefied the environment in his house to levels difficult to imagine.  Being fourteen years old, he was carrying already on his shoulders an unfortunate load of enormously frustrating personal experiences. 

It is not difficult to imagine what I felt at that time.  My vision of that boy had changed completely in only some seconds.  Suddenly, I saw the things otherwise, I thought of him otherwise, and later on I treated him in another way.  I had to do no effort to make that change, I had not to force minimally my attitude either my conduct: simply, my heart had been invaded by his pain, and without effort flowed feelings of sympathy and affection.  All had changed in a moment. 

I then recalled me of that saying from Graham Greene, that, if we want to be able to know the true motive of all, we would have compassion even of the stars.  And I thought that many of the problems that we have along the life use to be problems of understanding and of relation with the others. They frequently have their root in that: we do not endeavor enough to understand the people. 

When I hear to say that the youths do not have heart, or that they don't have already the respect that they once had, I always think that -as it has been written by Susanna Tamaro- the heart continues being the same as always, only that perhaps now there is a little less of hypocrisy.  The youths are not egotists naturally, in the same way as the old are not naturally wise.  Comprehension and superficiality are not a simple question of years, but of the road that each one of us travels in his life. 

There is an Indian adage that says thus:  "Before judging a person, you have to walk during three moons in his shoes".  Viewed from outside, many lives seem wrong, irrational, crazy.  While we maintain us outside them, it is easy to understand badly to the people.  Only being inside, only walking three moons in their shoes we can understand their motivations, their feelings, what makes that a person acts in a way instead of doing it in another.  The comprehension is born of the humility, not of the pride of the knowledge. 

XI. Reflection and renewal

91.  Resistance to be renewed
92.  The power of the language
93.  The sorrow of reading
94.  Capacity of admiration
95.  Coherence and proximity
96.  To take risk to loose
97.  A head well furnished
98.  The true culture
99.  Eagerness to learn
100.  The tacit knowledge

91. Resistance to be renewed

Always calls the attention that at the beginning of the 21st century a fable continues being a good example for us, but the bestseller "Who has carried out my cheese?" seems to show that it is thus.  The story of this fable is starred by two little mice and two little men that lived in a labyrinth and that depended on the cheese to be fed.  They had discovered a full stay of cheese, and they lived there very happy since years ago.  But a good day they founded that the cheese had been depleted. 

The reaction of each one of the personages was different.  Some of them continued seeking for the cheese in the same place, although it was evident that there already didn't remain anything, but they persisted in the idea: "Here has been always the cheese", and in: "We have done it always such way", so that at no time they contemplated the possibility to change their old customs.  Others, that had noted time ago that the cheese was finishing, had already worried about seeking in other places of the labyrinth and by the moment, they were enjoying more varied and better cheeses.  And the ones that were not thoughtful were the ones that at the end admitted their error. 

I do not intend to explain now the complete story, but this simple and ingenious fable can help us to understand that the majority of the things of the life are variable and that the formulae that served in their moment can remain obsolete further on.  The cheese represents any of the things that we want to reach.  The labyrinth is the real world, with danger and in unknown zones, dead ends, dark intricacies, and also rooms full of cheese, some of better quality and others of worse quality.  Each one has his own idea about what the cheese is and about where to seek for it.  If we find it, almost always we become fond of him, and if we lose it or someone remove it out from us, the experience uses to result traumatic. 

Each one of us accumulates during his life a whole series of customs, of ways to do and of practical experiences that determine a style to work and to live.  A good day we can find out that all those routines don't function well any more, and that they must change.  This can happen because there has been an important change (in the work, in the family life, in the health, in the friendship, or in whichever thing), and we have to adapt us to the new situation.  Also it can be because, simply, we notice that we were carrying a wrong line, and our cheese is not good.  Then we can feel us angry or frustrated, but we also can understand that the intelligent life supposes changes, as it happened to those personages that suddenly founded themselves without the same old cheese, and some of them knew how to be adapted to the new situation and others did not. 

With this I don't mean that all in the life is changing permanently, neither that we should change our principles in front of  all the new circumstances, because exactly what causes us to be able to get adapted to the changes is to have a firm basis on which we rely on.  But not all in the life are principles.  There are things that we have always done, that perhaps we had never thought about changing, but someday we should be brave enough and decide to change it. 

This requires a certain sense of adventure, an eagerness to be renewed, to take charge of the complexity of the world in which we live, and of which we have its keys.  The ones that know how to adapt to the changes use to be those that are interested in the people, in the culture, in the history, in all.  They know well how to scan the horizon.  They put questions, they ask and they feel interested.  They listen with attention and they try to learn of all, without labeling the experiences by their successes or by their errors in the past.  They rediscover to the people each time that they meet with them.  They perceive new shines in the old faces.  They are flexible and autonomous.  They do not fear to introduce new factors that improve their life, although this requires a true effort from them and although they see in their environment others that underestimate those values. 

To know how to be adapted to the changes requires a dynamism that is proper of the ones that are constant and patient; of those that listen with interest and exercise his mind reading, observing and writing; of those who try to reflect in depth and, if they have faith, those that dedicate time to deepen in it and to do that it impregnates exactly and deeply their lives. 

It is evident that all this requires time, but it is a very well invested time.  There are all a series of small daily victories that can change the course of a life.  When a person dedicates time to his education, he incorporates to his life all a style to undertake the things that changes completely the final result. 

92. The power of the language

 Mercedes Salisachs relates in one of her latest novels the story of Lucy, an eleven-year-old girl, orphan, that after a risky infancy is thrown to the adventure to learn to read. 

"The certain thing is that to the extent that Lucy went entering in the world of arts, all what surrounded her seemed to be dilated, resulting more comprehensive and luminous. 

"Also she asked herself new questions.  What was the sky?  Why where there so many stars?  In what the rain consisted?  And to the extent that she went introducing herself in the comprehension of the signs, something incited her to understand also what those signs meant. 

"Suddenly all went changed in the mind of the girl: all had a motive.  The more insignificant thing (as a blinking, or a gesture, or any manners) were no longer somewhat unsubstantial that floated in the air.  They had a meaning that could be expressed in a paper in the shape of name. 

"Besides it could be written: all, even things that many didn't know how to explain, the writing explained it.  It was a stimulating sensation." 

Reading opens us the door to a new world.  A world in which all is expanded and illuminated. Where we have access to the best things that have been ever thought and lived along the history.  The word deciphers us the image, enriches what we see. It helps us to expand our vision of the world, of the others and of ourselves. 

Reading permits us to live other lives, to put us in the place of the others.  It causes us also to see through the others' eyes, to pass to the mind of many different people without stopping being ourselves. 

To read (with skill and right choice, of course) helps us to think with more liberty and less stereotypes.  It makes us freer.  It widens our mind and it confers us a critical sense that causes us to leave the narrowness that enslave us.  As it has been written by Alejandro Llano, a person that begins to read quality books begins to abandon the well disciplined rows of the consumption's dictations. He is taking a step forward toward the free air of the prominence in which one takes the reins of his own life. 

Reading facilitates us to communicate with the others.  It facilitates themes of conversation, capacity of expression, abilities to undertake the problems.  Perhaps we feel at times the burden of "I know it, but I do not know how to explain it well", and that indicates a still confused thought, not sufficiently distilled by the reading. 

To know the reality of the things requires an interior wealth that turns out to be difficult without a previous wealth of language.  Also, at times, the communication among the people fails because, to one or to the other -or to both-, turns out to be difficult to express themselves.  The poverty of language is very connected with the poverty of concepts, and to a poor knowledge of the reality.  If a person handles a much reduced vocabulary, it is easy that he fails to discern well what is happening to him; neither has he known how to translate it into words.  He will perceive his interior perhaps as a disconcerting bunch of tensions, that cause him to feel better or worse, but he fails to understand well what is what he feels.  He founds himself lost and confused between harassments and anxieties that he does not know how he can deactivate. 

We should not disdain the power of the language.  It is not an accessory, neither only a formal question.  As it has been written by José Antonio Marina, the word makes the feeling navigable, and this is thus because most of what we know, we know it "in words".  Therefore, to manage to express well in words what we feel uses to be a great step toward the clarification of what happens to us.  This is a decisive advance to know the heart of the man, to know his heart and to learn to live together with him, trying to improve it. 

The people that disdains the value of reading, easily live with a large deficit of self-knowledge that leave uncultivated and unproductive a good part of their talent, and even it wastes the talent of the others, as it happens with the unskilled drivers, that are a danger for themselves and for the rest of drivers. 

Perhaps the worst enemy of reading is to see it as somewhat costly, little pleasing, as another more duty than one must comply.  Therefore it is so important to realize that to read is an excellent way to relax and to enjoy, and that is a true pity that some persons never come to discover it. 

93.  The sorrow of reading

"I read a lot.  But with the reading only you obtain something if you are capable of putting something yours in which you are reading.  I mean that only you really take advantage of what you read if you approach to the book with a willing spirit to wound and to be wounded in the sorrow of the reading. To argue, to convince and to be convinced, and as soon as you have been enriched with what you have learned, to employ it in building something in your life or in your work". 

"A day I realized that in reality I didn't put anything in my readings.  I read as the one that is in a foreign city and in order to pass the time, he takes refuge in a museum, to contemplate with an educated indifference the exposed objects.  Almost I read for sense of the duty: a new book has appeared that is in mouth of all, one must read it.  Or well: this classical work I haven't read it yet, therefore, my culture turns out to be incomplete and I feel the need to fill that gap." 

This personage of a novel of Sándor Márai invites us to be brave in our reflections, for thus acquire, with occasion of the reading, more coherence and interior depth.  Living with desires of being quizzed for which we observe, we listen or we read is perhaps one of the things that more contribute to remove the man of the first strata of the life, that more prompt him above the simple inertia of the behaviors of his environment, that prevent him in front of a docile setting in the "fashionable" ways to act. 

It is certain that one can have greater or smaller natural facility to deepen, according to the form of being of each one, but the depth of spirit is something that is able and should excavate each one, observing, listening, reading, reflecting: thus depth is acquired, a better comprehension of the reality is achieved, we do us more human, more worried about living close to the truth and to the goodness. 

That interior depth will go growing to the extent that we go managing to assimilate the experiences that day by day we accumulate and that cause us to change little by little.  To whom that sensibility lacks, his superficial character does not permit him to think, it causes him to believe that the surest thing is to leave the things as they are and not to complicate his life. 

It is important to put illusion in the things, to create an ideal for the life, to propose seriously to leave something of trace to our step, not to comply with the routine, with the easy thing, with these things that we can reach barely without effort.  That non-conformism is typical of the spirit that has not yet succumbed in front of that paralyzing conformism (disguised of realism, of having the feet in the land and some other topics) that so much affects to whom has lost already the coolness of the youth.  In order not to lose our freshness of spirit, it is vital to enrich our private education, to maintain the capacity to believe, the capacity of amazement, the illusion in the ideals. 

Because there are oppressions that come from outside, but there is an oppression that is born in the interior, of the own conformism, and that is the most fearsome one.  The major degree of decadence is always in oneself.  Although the environment always infects, each person has the more valuable things in his interior, and he should manage to impose his capacity to distinguish and to elect his own road. 

At times, some people say that they no longer believe in anything, and they tell it in an arrogant and sufficient way.  They think perhaps that saying that they remain very well, because still remain some environments in which the lack of principles and of beliefs is founded something funny, but it is more probable that those people dare not to leave their selfishness, simply. 

94. Capacity of admiration

As it has been written by Miguel Angel Martí, every man, by the mere fact to be it, feels called to question him and to question the reality that surrounds him; and without admiration, his life becomes somewhat dull, it finishes losing sense. 

It is not the life who teaches, what really teaches is the reading that we do of it.  It is not sufficient to see the things, it is necessary to look at them well to discover that something new. That they always carry with themselves, and it is necessary to have a young spirit and a well cultivated sensibility to maintain the spirit receptive to those winks with which the reality surprises us continuously. 

Also it is vital for us to learn the way to get admired about the people.  It isn't a matter of confusing the admiration with the candor, neither of having an idiotic vision of the life.  It is a matter of seeing with good eyes to the people.  If we manage to put a little more emphasis in the positive aspects of each person, we will have the opportunity to admire them, and with it, we will do them and we will do us a lot of good. 

And what obstacles should we surpass to admire a person that we already know?  The first obstacle is the habit, which incapacitates -if one is not resisted to it- to see in the other person any different thing of those that we already know: the answers are guessed. A determined attitude is supposed, we take for granted certain behaviors, it is not contemplated the possibility that the other can change and can act in a different form of what we had predicted. We don't give any chance to the people's improvement.  Another important obstacle is the tendency to undervalue the people; or to put before always their passed facts to the present ones, and to have more in account what they were that what they are; or to put attention in first place and to recall more the negative aspects that the positive ones. 

The routine is the great destroyer of our life.  Only who is a youth in spirit will gain the battle to the life's exhaustion.  The man should be on guard against the disenchantment, the habit and the routine, and in that exercise the illusion to live is very important.  The life in some occasions is declared to us as happy and amusing, but in many other we must be who, with our interior resources, give a positive sense to what in a first moment it doesn't has. 

Who is capable to initiate each day with a new vision, reality manages to do the miracle of being surprised in front of things that are for him very habitual, but they don't stop declaring themselves as recently used for the first time.  Our life can be compared to whom reads a passage of a novel in which a street is described; the reader remains admired by its beauty, but after a little time, he realizes that the street, that he had so much liked, is very similar to that of him, that up till then had passed inadvertent to him. 

With too much facility the things are taken for granted, and it should be the other way round; the reverse: not to leave never to be asked for about our routine world.  The life should be crossed by some eyes that know how to discover in what already is known a new and hopeful view.  All this interior wealth is not improvised, but it is reached after a lot of difficulties and a long journey, but once conquered it, perfumes with its fragrance all the human existence. 

The self-esteem, so much forgotten by many and so badly interpreted by others, is another important aspect for the admiration.  To have pride of oneself is not the objective of the self-esteem.  But of course it is to be thankful towards the own life.  The one that thanks the others enjoys with the grateful reality.  Who smiles to the life, the life finishes smiling him.  The happiness is not in enjoying special situations, but the key is inside us.  This is necessary to repeat it time and again, because we tend to seek the happiness out of us and, independently of how many the efforts were, it will be not found, by the simple fact that it is not there. 

95.  Coherence and proximity

"I would like that my parents, and also yourself, knew how to be positioned more to my level" (the one that emphasized those words with seriousness but with ease was Daniel, a seventeenth years old reflexive and resolved student, at the beginning of the first tutor session of the course). 

"It bothers me that the adults speak always with so much security, that they adopt always the position of experts in everything.  I tell it to you from the beginning and not with the aim to offend, of course.  I would like that the adults descend a little their pedestal, that they should not direct themselves to the young people, always giving orders or counseling. 

"I ask only that they listen to us occasionally, that they admit at least than also we can have intelligent ideas that they consider us in a plan of certain equality that they speak with us more frankly.  Although may be it doesn't seem it, we put attention in them, more than what they believe.  I would like that their reflections were not always as concealed counsels, and that they would try to take in account a little more about what really happens to us." 

That conversation with Daniel recalled me what Roman Guardini wrote:  "The most efficient factor to educate is how the educator is; the second, what he does; the third, what he says".  The counsels that are given are important, or the things that are sent, but long before is what it is done, the models that are presented, the things that we value, how some and others relate among themselves.  And there are people that in this are authentic experts, while others, on the contrary, are a true disaster. 

The way in which they are treated by their parents and educators (be it with a strict discipline or with a notable disorder, with excess of control or with indifference, of cordial or of abrupt way, confident or distrustful, etc.) has some lasting and deep consequences in their education and in their emotional life, that they grasp with great sharpness even in the most subtle manifestations. 

Some adults, for example, ignore habitually the feelings of their children or of their students, by considering them something of little importance, and with that attitude they waste excellent opportunities to educate them.  Others are more conscious of their own feelings, but their interest uses to be reduced to resolve the routine problems that are presented, and rarely do they intervene in an intelligent way to give a solution that goes to the root of the problem.  Others, of more authoritarian and impatient character, use to be disapprovers, prone to elevate the tone of voice in front of the smaller misfortune, and they disqualify them quickly, with what is difficult that they achieve the climate of confidence that requires a correct education of the feelings. 

The children that proceed of too cold or careless environments develop with more facility defeatist attitudes in front of the life.  If the parents or professors are always pessimistic or bad-tempered, or simply are distant people or without barely vital objectives, it will be difficult that they connect with the feelings of the boys, and the emotional learning will be inevitably deficient.  If they are unforeseeable, and some times they are too demanding and other too condescending; or if the reproach or the approval can be presented indistinctly at any moment and place, depending on if the head hurts them or not, or if that night they have slept well or badly, or their team of soccer has wont or lost the last match, of that way is created in the son a deep feeling of impotence, of uselessness to do the things well, since the consequences will be predictable with difficulty. 

There are, fortunately, many people that take very seriously the feelings of their children or of their students, and they try to know them well and to take advantage of their emotional problems to educate them.  They endeavor to create a channel of confidence that facilitates the confidence and the relief.  And they know how to speak in that plan of equality to which had referred Daniel: they realize that the simple flow of the words can alleviate already a lot to the suffering hearts of whom suffers, because to externalize the feelings and to speak on them with someone that is willing to listen and to understand, is always of great educational value.  To declare the own feelings in a confident conversation is always an excellent sentimental medicine. 

96.  To take risk to lose

Not long ago Ignacio Sánchez Camera showed his anxiety in front of the progression of a new group -or perhaps not so new- of false heroes, very keen to embrace causes that are not longer necessary to defend, or when no longer exists the smallest risk when doing it.  They sacrifice for the fashionable topics, they give their life and their estate for what does not cost anything: neither in the life neither in the professional career.  It is the Puppet Theater's heroism, because they bet always in favor of the winning horse. 

It is the case of a hero that is a fighter of earned causes, that rows laboriously in favor of the current ideas, pretends tears and sweat, exhibits wrongs and routs, but never pays the smaller personal tribute in defending what he defends.  Of the loser adopts the esthetic, worthy and depressed.  Of the winner takes the letters and the tricks.  He combines the esthetics of the rout and the account of results of the victory.  And as in many environments the exhibition of the wrong and of the complain uses to be the best road toward the victory, he utilizes real or pretended wrongs to obtain advantage, to do well. 

In front of that appalling exhibition, it is a question of good taste to prefer to whom defends what is not fashionable, to whom has the value to go crosscurrent, to whom knows to say: "no" when all the others cede and dares to say "yes" when nobody dares to give the first step. 

Many people have authentic terror about feeling alone; they feel a species of horror vacui that paralyzes them.  It is certain that to disagree always by system is pathetic, but to look at askance to both sides before being positioned, for thus never to leave the row, that is not another thing that cowardice.  Everyone who wants to have their own ideas, or to exercise some type of leadership, or to remove any thing ahead, should assume that in some moments he will have to be alone.  It is an inevitable weight that we all, in a way or another, should carry on our shoulders.  A carrier that wouldn't feel the load of the track, that wouldn't get tired, it is sure that is hidden the shoulders, that are the others who are carrying really the weight. 

One is able to slide for the life without being delivered energetically to it.  Not being exposed to the failures, to the errors, to the deceptions, to the adverse chances, to the pain.  They are -in expression of Julián Marías- timid forms of suicide, of negation of the life.  Frequently it is a matter of a species of vital avarice, of incapacity to give.  Other times, is an immoderate eagerness of security, of fear to be exposed to risk.  Or a life dominated by the laziness, by the avoidance of the exhaustion and of the effort. 

There are extremely modest lives as for their gifts -physical, intellectual, of social position, etc. -, but that are splendid by the intensity and the delivery with which they live, in spite of the limitation of their resources.  And there are evident examples otherwise: rich, admirably gifted lives in possibilities, whose execution shows a poverty bordering to the misery.  To live without risk, without commitment, without illusion: a sad panorama of persons who have "died" in life. 

To live is to accept risks.  It does not matter if we lose a battle if we are well situated.  Having hope is also to have the risk to fail.  But a little one must risk, because the largest risk in the life is not to take any risks.  The ones that do not risk anything, they do not do anything, they are chained by their fears, are slaves of them, they have lost their liberty.  As Kierkegaard said: "to take risk is to lose foot during a time, but not to take risks is to lose the life completely". 

97. A well furnished head

With the knowledge, understood as a serious commitment of search of the truth, big benefits will come always to the man. 

The ignorance, on the contrary, is almost always in the origin of the authoritarian behaviors, of the absurd conflicts, of the foolish condemnations, of the insults and of the aggressions.  Above all when it is a matter of a not recognized ignorance, since, as Socrates indicated, "the worse thing of the ignorant is not that he doesn't know, but that he doesn't knows that he doesn't know". 

The ignorance is always simple, drastic in its affirmations, very easy to trivialize, with no fun to nuances of meanings or explanations.  Therefore, to gain ground to the ignorance improving the education is one of the large challenges for the life of any society, of any institution, of any family, of any person. 

As it has been indicated by the professor Ibáñez Martin, a good education requires in the first place an assembly of know-how that permits us to improve qualitatively our existence.  It isn't a matter of storing data, is not a simple encyclopedism, but to achieve an assembly of well structured knowledge: some extensive know-how about the own professional specialty, next to a universal desire of having a minimum of initiation to another knowledge. 

In second place, it is necessary to seek for the education of the judgment: of that judgment that in science signifies critical spirit and method, that in art is called "taste" and that in the practical life is translated in discernment and lucidity. 

Next to that education in the knowledge and in the judgment, it is precise to add, in third place, the exercise of the social and individual virtues, as well as the cultivation of other human dimensions, because we know well that, to live with success, the knowledge does not suffice, because the honest men are not identified simply with the ones that know ethics, since one must put in practice what he knows from the theory. 

The education should carry the man to deepen in his knowledge and in his identification with his nature.  Thus he will have a better vision of what is opportune for him and for the society, and a stimulus to give the best of him. 

The education should awake in the deeper part of the man's heart, an attraction toward the values.  The man should discover the life as a project that starts a platform that he has not chosen, but that it will go by the course that we mark, since as Ortega said: "the life has been given to us, but it hasn't been given made to us". 

The education must have influence on our practical life.  It should carry us to deepen in that
 -calling it in some way- basic philosophy that interests to all because we all desire to find answer to the deepest questions, that is asked frequently by the sense of his life and of his liberty.  An education that permits the man to solve the difficulties of his ordinary life.  An education that permits the man to understand the general lines of the main problems of his time. 

98. The true culture

The life of a man without culture is like a plain desert.  The culture facilitates us to interpret in a truly key the reality of the world that surrounds us.  With the culture we can clear up a little that mystery that each man is.  The culture enriches the man, carries him to deepen in his roots and in his history.  The culture puts us on the trail of our past, causes us to value what our career on the surface of the earth has been -ours personal and that of all the history of the humanity- and pushes us -if is true culture- toward the truth and, after it, toward the liberty. 

But the culture of a man is not itself unforeseen.  To come to have a deep thought, some wise appraisals, some clear principles, some rich references, it is necessary to devote to it a lot of time and effort. 

Be cultured, besides, is not simply to know many things, but, rather, to have a coherent explanation, and in a truly key, of what the man is and what is the world that surrounds him.  What is important is not to have much knowledge, but that this knowledge gives a wise answer to our problems and to the ones of the people that surrounds us.  Because, otherwise, what service makes to us the fact of having much knowledge, if then it turns out to be fragmentary and contradictory. If I do not know at all the truth that it can have in it?  It cannot be forgotten that, without a criterion about the truth, the multiplicity of acquired knowledges will cause a simple and vulgar erudition and not a true culture. 

In order to have a culture, to go advancing in that fight to be cultivated each day a little more, the man must have at least a minimum definite personal project.  Each one should seek a personal synthesis of his interests and needs in this sense, and he will contribute thus to forge consciously his own personality and his attitude in front of the life, and must be strong enough to surpass the seductive mediocrity of those subcultures -superficial, anonymous, massified- that at times seem that they want to impose to us, with a subtle and stubborn persistence, and against which it is necessary to oppose an authentic search of the culture, of a culture that really serve us to apprehend the reality, to live in it and to know what we should do. 

The true culture must serve to interpret correctly the life, to do it more human, to discover its more genuine possibilities and to aim at its more authentic aspirations.  The man is not exhausted in his biology, but he has an interior world: he can be wise or ignorant, cultivated or rough, full of lights or covered with shadows, tidy or chaotic, coherent or illogical, he can seek the truth or to survive as he is able to in the sordid world of the error, the ignorance or the lie. 

It is a matter of cultivate the own interior world, knowing besides that the world has always its consequent reflection in the outer part of each person.  And not only the character, but even in the external bearing, like the look, the gestures, the face, the same tone of the voice, all that, is qualified, revitalized and influenced by the own personal mood, by the own way to be, that is born from the deeper part of the man and where is presented to the man the exciting opportunity to be cultivated, to be projected, to be self done. 

A good way to improve the own character is to enrich the own interior world.  Thus, the part of that interior world that will go later to the exterior side will seem to him the most profitable task that he has ever undertaken. 

99. Eagerness to learn

As José Antonio Marina has written, we can never be sure of what another person sees.  Although we can follow with attention his sight, we cannot guess the landscape that he is seeing.  We coincide with him in the basic level, of course.  Both of us may be seeing apparently the same thing, but we ignore the level where the perception of the other is installed.  A same field is not the same one, for example, for the sight of a painter and for that of a person that goes hunting.  Each one of them receives different perceptions.  It is not only that they see the same things and then they interpret them in a different way, but the perception of each one is filtered by the value and the meaning that it has for him.  A clear example is the written language: it costs us a lot to look at a text without reading it; if we understand that language, we do not see some strange scribbles, but the intelligent sight resists to be stopped in those signs, and goes beyond: does not see, but reads, receives inevitably an elaborated perception, and his attention displaces itself according to the meaning of what he goes seeing. 

The men, in the daily life, submit the reality to a continuous interrogation. From the sagacity of our questions will depend the interest of the answers and our possibilities to enrich us with them. 

To the man with eagerness to learn happens the same thing that to the boy, that each time is more demanding at the moment of accepting an answer.  The boy repeats time and again the same questions:  What is this? Why is it like it is? What it does? Why does it what it does? etc., but not always the same answers are worthy for him.  According to some Branderburg and Boyd's studies, the children between four and eight years formulate in a normal dialogue an average of 33 questions per hour (without doubt, a good stimulus for the family's intelligence and, at times, almost a torture).  Besides, the same question will not signify the same thing in the diverse moments of his life.  There is a phase in which the question "what is this?" becomes answered with the name of the thing.  Further on, nevertheless, it will be necessary to give more explanations, because the boy expects more, he needs more, and he will repeat again the same questions, but then the question that must be satisfied by the answer will be much deeper. 

Through his observation, his reflection and his questions, the man learns since he is very young to look and to understand the world that surrounds him.  It is surprising, for example, the ability shown already by a two months old baby that follows with his sight his mother's sight to see what she sees.  There is a clear interest, since the first months of life, by learning, by asking, by appropriate the world of the others. 

Perhaps therefore, one of the most efficient educational pledges is to teach how to ask, to teach to formulate possibilities, to fill those holes that the nature opens in the interior of the people and that demand to be fulfilled.  The insensitivity, the incapacity to relate to what is a little deep, is one of the most bitter sources of unhappiness, because the people refuse any appearance of true singularity, because squanders all a fortune of possibilities that are presented to us continuously.  The insensitive people affirm that all that doesn't mind to them, that they are already well as they are, but when a day they will awake and they will understand it, and they will see what they have lost, they will regret it truly. 

It would be a pity that after some years that natural and spontaneous childlike desire to learn would finish.  Every man should endeavor in maintaining by life that noble and fertile desire of being enriched with the contributions of the others.  A desire that carries us not to be satisfied with explanations that, sometime ago, perhaps seemed sufficient to us.  A desire that impedes us to lose the capacity to amaze us, that moves us away of the danger to become conformists and insensitive.  A desire that prompts us to deepen in the things, that requires us to improve our sensibility, our capacity of discernment.  Maybe we think that this capacity barely can grow already in us, but perhaps it will not be thus.  We can learn to discern better.  We can enrich our perceptive plans.  We can gain in sensibility.  We owe. 

100.  The tacit knowledge

I have read an Ikujiro Nonaka's article that seems to me of high value for who have interest in the education.  It explains the story of the responsible for the development of a new product in the "Matsushita Electric Company", in Osaka.  They tried to create a bakery of low price and reduced the size, so that it could serve for domestic use.  They carried sometime working in that project but they did not achieve that the bakery kneaded the bread correctly.  In spite of all the trials, the bark of the bread burned too much while the interior remained almost without cooking.  They analyzed all exhaustively and even they compared kneaded loaves of bread with X-rays plates made by the machine and others elaborated by professional bakers, but they failed to solve the problem. 

Finally they had a creative idea.  The "Osaka International Hotel" had fame to manufacture the best bread in town.  One of the project's members was trained during months with the hotel's leader of the bakers and he studied his technique of kneading.  After many trials and errors, he managed to establish the specifications of the product.  Thanks to the inclusion of some special ribbings in the interior of the machine, he managed to reproduce perfectly the technique of manipulation of the mass that was used in the bakery of the prestigious hotel.  The result was an unprecedented success of sales for the new electrical appliance. 

The starting point of that advance was a tacit knowledge that possessed the leader of bakers: a very personal knowledge, acquired after years of experience, that did not respond to a theoretical but to a practical reflection, and that turned out to be very difficult to express formally and to communicate to others. 

The investigator worked during months to acquire that tacit knowledge of the leader of bakers, by means of the observation, the imitation and the practice.  That is to say, he assimilated the knowledge.  That assimilation is the same one of the apprentice that acquires the know-how of the expert, but it is still quite a limited form of transmission of the knowledge, because normally neither one neither the other have a systematic perception on the knowledge, neither did they have the knowledge in a explicit form. Therefore, the knowledge can not be learnt by others that have not been there during all that time.  Nevertheless, when the investigator managed to express formally the bases of his tacit knowledge about the elaboration of the bread and it became an explicit knowledge, then he could share it with his team of development and to transmit it later to many other people. 

All these ideas, taken from the businesses' world, are easily transferable to other environments.  All we know, for example, people that possess a great capacity to work in team, to know well to the others, to understand them, to gain their confidence, to help them in which they truly need.  Or people that know how to create a positive environment of work and illusion to the rest of the team.  Or that know to manage without seeming almost that they manage, they know to correct without humiliating, to maintain the authority without being authoritarian, to be rigorous without being stiff.  Or people that, in spite of the years, are understood perfectly by the young people.  Or that know how to educate well their children, or to their students, putting at the same time demand and affection, constancy and flexibility. 

How do they achieve it?  Many times we don't know it -neither themselves-.  Therefore, to take advantage of what others have already discovered and tested with success, we must have interest in  transforming the tacit knowledge -ours or that of the others- in a more easily transmissible, more explicit knowledge. 

It is necessary to enlarge our capacity of observation.  To put attention on how do the things the ones that better do them, and to reflect then on how we can learn of them.  In the business, the same as in the individual person, in the family, or in any organization, there should be a constant worry by systematic understanding, and to express with force and communicative clarity all the ideas and intuitions of who possess interesting qualities to put at the disposal of the others. 

It is said that we live in a changing and dynamic society, that plant each day new challenges and problems of growing complexity, in which many solutions of yesterday remain obsolete today and no longer serve to solve the new situations.  Putting the personal knowledge at the disposal of the others is a task of enormous importance to avoid the stagnation or the ineffectiveness.  It is a way to promote the necessary renewal, to avoid the loose of orientation and the confusion.  And that effort should be for all of us, not only a task deserved to some experts.