It's not about the complexity of the shadows, it's all about the simplicity of the message.
(81 easy steps)

Monday, August 31, 2009

It ends tonight

"It ends tonight," said Neo with confidence. It did end, because it was up to him. When reaching a finish line depends solely on you, you can say with confidence "it ends tonight," even as a metaphor, if you will.
It's easy to say it, but even when the end and the night and you come closer, there's still a decision to be made, there's still an end to be determined. Not everybody is capable of setting a realistic goal.
When reaching a finish line depends not solely on you, you can ask the world if it will really end tonight: the world will probably say "no." Give it a second thought, why should you ask the world about the realness of your goals? Why should anyone determine your ends? Why shouldn't it end tonight, a rainy night, if you have the strength?
It will end tonight, as I say it, as you read it, because of the confidence caused by the things we can start when we learn how to finish.

La definición de locura

El descenso tiene forma de espiral, de acuerdo con los que dicen que lo han visto. También el ascenso lo tiene. El camino de salida es infinito y conmovedor, el camino de entrada es infinito y atroz, si acaso alguno de los dos existe.
No sólo se trata de no hacer lo que muchos, muchos hacen, se trata también de hacer lo que nadie se atreve a hacer y que, además, para los demás, no sirve de nada. Es flexibilidad peligrosa, pero también es intolerancia; encontrarle generalidades a las desarticulaciones de quienes tienen suficiente valor para no aceptar que les digan qué hacer.
No hay espacio para los valores universales, muchas veces; la ética es una estatua imaginaria, muchas veces; el orden es un ejemplo irrelevante, muchas veces. Saber diferente —de sabor y de conocimiento—, ya sea desde adentro (demasiada consciencia, demasiada introspección) o desde afuera (demasiada comparación, demasiada estructura). Y todo parte de un juicio. ¿Cómo se ponen de acuerdo? No sé cómo, pero lo hacen. Al azar, probablemente, a lo loco.
Queremos un mundo ordenado que llegue naturalmente a sus últimos días. Si ya para muchos lo que es producto de los seres humanos es artificial, lo que es producto de la locura lo es todavía más, es el extremo de lo artificial que pierde casi cualquier utilidad; pero cuando lo artificial se repite demasiado se vuelve natural: naturalmente, no se repite tanto como para ser natural. Hay gente en sintonía con diferentes frecuencias; la de ellos es la más despreciable, salvo contadas y geniales excepciones (y aun así, puede que se aprecie la capacidad más que la convivencia, de menos la prolongada).
Se trata de una definición marginal, ajena, pero que todos entienden y utilizan con maestría. La gente loca está tan loca como su sociedad quiera catalogarlo, de ahí viene la definición, que nunca será satisfactoria, pero es que había que llamarle de alguna forma.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Comfort zone

Don't you move, reader. Now that you are trapped here, reading this, I kindly ask you not to move. You're about to enter to a comfort zone. As soon as you leave, you will be able to find your own and to find out that even if you try to leave it, you will be leaving it in favor of a better one.
Hedonism is its name, but it is only used as a label; it's true nature is human's free will (if it's your decision to believe in it). When the things we do to get satisfied start happening a lot, it is because of the habit of comfort (one of those few habits we come to the world equipped with). But then there's the decision between remaining biological or getting more human (in the social, metaphorical way): satisfaction as the immediate tool that serves the purpose of destroying future goals, or as the unachievable ideal that builds facts with the material dreams are made of.
Human behavior has two ends that form an eternal spiral. The biological end keeps us alive, the social end makes us want to be alive.
These two ends meet when we leave a comfort zone. Why would someone want to leave the place she is best fitted to? Because the social human finds himself in an eternal quest for making the best better, because the biological human is an ever consuming machine, and because the social and the biological human are the same human, so they apply biological rules to their society and social rules to their biology.
The most important thing about leaving a comfort zone is not the finding of a new one, but the tension brought about by the change, and the activation thus produced.
Sit down, get up, do stuff you usually don't do; be satisfied with what you do, but do never feel permanently comfortable, because you'll soon start feeling tense.

(...)

Do move now, reader. Leave your comfort zone.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Sobre el miedo a las alturas

Dejé de subir, pues. Sé que hay quienes no dejan de subir. Tal vez no miren nunca hacia abajo.
Sucede que, cuando se da cuenta de lo alto que está (sin saber siquiera cuántos escalones ha subido) se le ocurre la escandalosa idea de voltear para abajo. Mala, absurda y escandalosa idea. Mala: se asusta, le da miedo no saber cómo bajar. Absurda: si ya ha subido tanto, si ya está solo hasta arriba, dependiendo de sí, ¿qué necesidad de ver hacia abajo?, ¿qué necesidad hay ahora de recordar? Se imagina que el miedo a subir es, en realidad, miedo a caer. Escandalosa: todo se ve muy pequeño, lejano, casi ajeno; "y yo aquí arriba", piensa, "qué escandalo". Pero es él quien resulta lejano, casi ajeno. Asustado, ceñido a un recuerdo, piensa en un futuro escandaloso.
Yo, alejado, soñando en tercera persona una realidad de primera, miré hacia abajo. Yo, en primera persona, viviendo, al recordar, una realidad ajena, tuve miedo.
Después, cuando desperté, me di cuenta de que todo estaba empezando. Si las cosas terminan es para darle lugar a las cosas que empiezan. Todo estaba bien, como siempre; porque hasta cuando lo más extraño sucede, no hay más remedio que decir: "todo está bien".
Cerré los ojos, viendo hacia abajo de inicio esta vez. Fue entonces cuando comencé a subir.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Fallen hero

Social problems are soluble among people: the more people around a common problem, the less responsibility each one has to take. There where a social problem can be found, only a hero can undo the dissolution and manage the resulting concentrate.
Some people like heroes because they free them from being responsible. Heroes can handle all the responsibility, heroes let people fail, heroes' true heroism is the psychological relief they bestow on people's incongruity.
It wouldn't be easy when he touched the ground. He wouldn't brake anything more than all his followers' dreams and hopes. His were already broken.
It wasn't easy to be a hero, he knew. All that responsibility, all the compromises, all the pressure. One single mistake and everybody would forget all his achievements, he knew. But he wasn't born with the need to achieve, he wasn't even the one to realize what he was capable of. It was they who made him believe that he could make them believe. He just wanted to forget about himself, he couldn't believe in them anymore. One single flaw, that's all it takes for a hero to fall.
A mistake, a voluntary flaw followed by a thousand more. He did it on purpose, that's what made it all worse. A hero can only stand up once he knows how the floor tastes. He wanted to taste the floor, he wanted to fall, he wanted to be more like them, but he had no hero to handle his own broken congruity.
He fell. He wasn't supposed to, but he did. Only a few would, long after the tragedy happened, keep his glorious times on their memories; most would forget him quickly, and some would hate him forever. That's what heroes are for, because some people feel relieved when they have someone to hate, when they have someone to forget, or when they have someone's glorious times to keep in their memories.
He wondered whether the future was an invention or a traced path. It didn't matter. He would wait for the appropriate time to raise, if that path was to be walked, if that future was to be invented. The only way to raise, he knew, was to fall, so he did.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Creyó que sabía

Ya sabía qué resultado arrojarían los dados, pero igual los lanzó. "No es el resultado", pensó, "es el momento durante el que viajan en el aire". En el aire, sin embargo, durante el vuelo que tomó su imaginación percutiéndole las creencias —perdón, las sabidurías—, cambió de parecer.
Hizo como que no sabía, hizo como que nunca supo, y no supo —perdón, no creyó— lo que pasó cuando los dados dejaron de rodar.
Ya sabía qué resultado arrojarían los dados, pues cuando alguien cree con demasiada firmeza en algo, es lo mismo que decir que lo sabe, aunque no lo sepa. Cuando, al final, los dados no arrojaron lo que —ahora sí— creyó que arrojarían, se dio cuenta del error. Fue sólo cuando dejaron de rodar que dejó de creer, fue sólo entonces cuando supo.
Después los volvió a lanzar y, aunque ya no supo, "nunca dejó de creer". Fue una historia de éxito, ya sabía.
La historia me la contó mucho después de haber jugado, por lo que no puedo estar seguro de que me haya dicho la verdad. Ocurre siempre que la suerte se platica después de que ocurre. Aquellos que la piensan o, ya en el colmo de la osadía, la dicen antes de que suceda, están, en realidad, tirando demasiados dados.
Es una fuerza extraña la que hace que generalmente las historias de éxito se cuenten en primera persona y las de fracaso, en tercera.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Bubble skin

A skin delimits insides and outsides, and sets a reference point for something to be distinguished form everything else. The world we live in has a skin—a bubble skin—made of gas. But it isn't what it's made of what matters, not even what it does (it enables our living); what matters the most about our world's bubble skin is its meaning.
It gives life a meaning. Not life as a biological phenomenon, but life as a metaphor of movement and will. What is alive, after all? Something moving at its own will, in an independent fashion. But, is there really something that depends only on its own? Although there might be several degrees of freedom, I think nothing can absolutely depend on its own, I think that everything we know depends on interaction.
It would be a nonsensical argument to say that our world is outside and our universe—everything but our world—is inside; a small, perhaps insignificant, outside, and a big, perhaps infinite, inside. It makes sense, nevertheless, to say that we can enter the universe if we get through our bubble skin, that the skin of our universe as we know it is our bubble skin. It would also make sense to say that we could enter the real world if we could only get through our human skin, but we can't, so it doesn't make sense.
We can't, then, get outside our skin—not as a complete, willing being, anyway. Still, some things inside us whose will, even if unknown, may exist, are able to travel inside and outside the human skin. Those things make possible for different worlds to interact; after all, everything in this universe with a skin (maybe this universe itself) is a world on its own.
Life is an spectacular phenomenon that happens among an infinite number of scales. In the same sense that sounds, actions, odors, and the like travel form one human to another to make social interaction possible; we, as humans, are looking for our world to interact with other worlds inside this big, perhaps infinite, universe.
And so it happens that our cells, through their bubble skin, make life possible. And so it happens that humans, through their human skin, give life a meaning. And so it happens that our world, through its bubble skin, makes it possible for life to be a meaningful metaphor.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

El tren nunca llegará a la meta

El tren nunca llegará a la meta porque no tiene ninguna. Es un ejercicio, nada más. Regalo a quien lea lo que pasa justo ahora, lo que ya no pasará, lo que mientras lea, habrá ocurrido desde el interior de mi cráneo hasta la pantalla de una computadora en Madrid, si tengo la suerte de que algún lector de allá lea algo de lo que escribo con estos dedos sucios de salchichas con catsup y salsa. Las digresiones, ésas son las que más ocurren, pues permiten pensar en otra cosa mientras otra cosa piensa en nosotros; en nosotros (pues a veces me concibo como muchos adentro de una sola cabeza) pensaba cuando se me ocurrió, iba a bordo de un camión, pero bien pudo haber sido un tren. Es un ejercicio, es un tren —pero en realidad fue un camión— el que sale de mis manos, de mis dedos grasientos, de mis brazos cansados, de todos esos asientos (los que vi mientras pensaba en un tren de pensamiento al viajar en algo que se mueve, como un tren, como un camión, como cualquier cosa que no vaya muy lento).
El tren del pensamiento puede dejarse flotar, y aunque esto ponga en riesgo la integridad pensamental de un querido lector, pone en felicidad la capacidad de observar cómo las palabras se forman sin exigir nada, ni siquiera una mínima corrección que les diga: "hey, palabras, ¿a dónde van con tanta prisa?". La prisa la lleva el lector, si alguien es un lector de unas palabras —como éstas—, pero bien puede ser el caso que sólo se trate de un tren, de un tren sin meta, de unos dedos que ya mancharon las teclas. Todo por una idea, gestada en un camión, que bien pudo haber sido un tren, que no se detiene, que cada vez va más rápido, como ahora. El tren sigue, sin meta, el lector se cansa (es por ahora cuando dice: "¿a dónde va todo esto?" y es ahora cuando le contesto: "a ninguna parte, a donde quieras llegar").

Monday, August 10, 2009

Everyone else

We're all human, after all; we're social animals that give our lives meaning mostly through social interaction. What people do, how and why they do it. A natural trend keeps us alert about what happens to others—to important, interesting others, at least. The better we can describe someone's behavior, the better we know that someone (even if we spend hundreds of hours reading magazines containing details about famous people's life to achieve such a goal). But not everybody has the same interests; importance parameters, then, are as variable as the type of eyebrows among humans.
Some keep a close eye on what happens to everyone but themselves. What everyone else is doing, that's what matters. "That's so like him," she once said confidently, and then she kept on explaining detailed aspects of his ways. When I asked her if she was a close friend of him, she confessed that she knew him from a course they had taken together six months ago, and that they usually didn't meet more than once a month. Can you know that much about someone you have seen about six times in your life? Either she had an astounding capability of knowing people thoroughly in a very short time, or she was an everyone elser—those who fill in the blanks about every single unknown behavioral feature as soon as they know someone new.
After I knew her (I must have talked with her no more than three times in my life), I started wondering about the way we can gain confidence talking about everyone else when we lack confidence in ourselves, about the way we can be overconfident and talk to everyone else only about ourselves, and about the way we can get to know ourselves confidently when we're able to listen to what everyone else says.
Now I talk about her, as if I had got to know her well. Maybe everyone elsers are actually extrovert insiders—those able to describe, whether by choice or by accident, their own ways. Perhaps most features—physical or psychological—to which we put so much attention when we interact with people, are those which we, to some extent, can find in ourselves. Not everything we see in everyone else, nevertheless, has to do with us; not everything we hear from them, smell in them, feel or think about them is us.
At the end of the day, everyone else will continue doing what they want to, whether I (we, you) like it or not. We (you, I), then, can do whatever we want to, sometimes they'll like it and sometimes they won't, but you (I, we) shouldn't care that much. Let's do our stuff, neither I, you, nor we are them—I am me, we are we, and you are you. What do you do? How and why do you do it? Everyone else is outside, but remember: you are too.