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.