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In this moment, society is stuck in a traffic jam that has become unconscionable because cities have become unconscionable. Maybe we should stop thinking aboutfacundo cabral___ how to change our ideas and start over.

We have no more great myths to follow, no ideologies. We ought to be communicating with each other, human to human, because this is the era of the individual. This is why Internet will augment our quality of life; the macro will bow to the dominion of the micro.

This means that from here on, there will be no TV, politics or family with the power to extinguish the sacred flame of the soul where intelligence has lived forever, nourished for centuries by the universe.

Those who are asking, move forward. Those who don’t ask will stay where they are. They will die because life is movement; everything is recreated in every instant. For this reason, you must be attentive.

For one woman, you miss the rest; for one house, you miss the world around the corner, missing oceans and river, dolphins, whales, salmon, sharks. For one family, one ideology, one religion, you lose architects, Egyptologists, poets, philosophers, shamans, anthropologists, prophets, thousands of ways of seeing the spirit and the stars.

The orchids of Colombia, Bacon, Giacometti, Nietzsche, the Gulf of Aqaba, Alexandria, Tokyo, Homer’s Greece so beloved by Lawrence Durrell; Guanajuato, where I fell in love with Catherine Valetzka, although I never had the opportunity to tell her so.

Chichicastenango where a dance put my skeleton to rights; Paris where Rilke was seen to wake in beauty every morning alongside Rodin; the Roman Tratévere where Fellini directed his characters; where the Moses of Michelangelo is sick of tourists who asphyxiate him in San Pietrenvincoli, the only place left to him.

London, Berlin, Brussels, Prague where romantic writers held up an idea of happiness so exalted that it could never be reached; and so they felt hopeless with the sadness that excites, pain that’s enjoyed like the singers of flamenco and tango.

Madrid, where Lupe lives always at the precipice of thought but never falls; Miami, the bridge that connects Latins to Saxons; the desert of Sonora where I met Erich Fromm who said that Suzuki was a Buddhist Zen because he had experimented, and that authenticity made him difficult to read because Zen doesn’t give rational, satisfactory answers, but certainly the books of the intellectual west explain things more easily, although he had not experimented with them.

Do not idolize anything or anyone, because to idolize is to lose one’s independence, and this is conflict, a sure sickness. How easy it is to lose what was gained without force, as do the poor who don’t enjoy what little they have left.

The grand step is to move away from egotism that compromises you, that enslaves you to so many extremes, to interior freedom. From there you can reach peace, and peace brings plenitude to your life. It enriches you.

The ultimate saviours are doubters, but they don’t affect the teachings of Buddha or sicken the Bible. The teachings of Buddha are not weakened because one doesn’t believe in reincarnation, nor does the Bible die because it’s confronted by a more realistic view of Earth’s history and the evolution of man.

How innocent it is to think of a society without delinquents, still anything would be better if we propose it. The good intentions of the universe do not suffice; life is what it is, not what we would like it to be.

True faith begins working in oneself when one believes in oneself, and when you are firmly planted within yourself, all that you see becomes animated; then we know reality and from there, we can comprehend more.

Then we save ourselves from deception; we know that behind a mask there will always be another one; we also see the purity in nakedness, the liberties in jazz, and the rictus of dictators. To accept reality is to free oneself from delusions; then truth arranges that we live abundantly.

Don’t delude yourself; no one will delude you. Know with firmness like Buddha, like Jesus, like Espinoza, like Einstein, like Ford, firm but open to the world, attentive to the proposals of life.

Speak of virtues, but do not silence truths. You will never regret having become animated, and you will never forgive yourself for not doing it; besides, you have nothing to lose because not even one of your ears is your doing. And don’t worry about the future because at the end of your life it’s not the mountain summit that awaits you but the peace in the valley.

You will not be held accountable to anyone if you do no harm to anyone, and no one has to explain anything. You don’t have to exhaust yourself in vain efforts to convince and please; what’s important is that you’re convinced and you like what you’re doing. And if you have a grand dream, then you must be willing to realize it, because only the grand achieve the grand.

If you study superficially, you will learn superficially. If you live by half measures, you will only know half of life. If your head is divided, you will see a divided world. If you work because you have to, you will be a worrier, an unfortunate; if you’re afraid, you will not know love that is courageous.

You’re not depressed, you are distracted…

from the present where life is happening, for example, sunrises and sunsets, seagulls, condors, eagles, doves and swallows. The mountains, valleys, rivers and seas; sport, art, agriculture, architecture, the jungles, macaws, monkeys, tigers, lions, crocodiles, elephants, streams; human beings of all colours. The illusory time that pushes you and the eternity that allows you to change course and begin again in every instant.

You’re not depressed, you are distracted from the marvels going on around you, from births to crops, from revolutions to concerts, from football championships to interplanetary travel.

You’re not depressed from something that happened, but distracted from all that is happening now.

I have come to remind you that we are all a part of the grandest enterprise, humanity, that constructs, heals, sows, cleanses, sings and dances. God is waiting for mankind to become a child again, to receive Him to His breast.

You are not depressed, you are distracted.

© Facundo Cabral, 2008
Translated from the Spanish by Elaine Stirling, 2012