Anecdotes – Second Series – Version 4
Collection of anecdotes from Mario Rodriguez Cobos, Silo, in his colloquial aspect. This is an informal document.
We have to revive God.
I want a god who listens to me and talks to me.
Not a dead echo of my acute silence.
(One of his first writings)
These are anecdotes that have been experienced or told or collected, with which we wish to highlight in his informal, almost everyday aspect Mario Rodriguez, Silo, whose well-aimed phrases and observations are of supreme clarity. I trust they will be useful.
Although this informal contribution can be viewed as a kind of audacity, it is simply an attempt to offer a kind of tribute to an exceptional being who has given so much, perhaps best expressed by a quote from Onfray in his book The Wisdom of Antiquity, when he tells us: “the anecdote is the royal road that leads to the epicenter of a current of thought.”
Incidentally, my gratitude to all the friends who have contributed to such important memories, and who have read over the drafts to improve the final text.
The work consists of a main text and five supplements: an updated biography, an interview, a musical reference, and two talks.
Ernesto H. de Casas
Mendoza, Argentina, July 2014
Mario Rodríguez, Silo, as a youth. (age 19)
Profile. One of the first known images of MRC. Charcoal drawing by his friend Orlando Pardo, a renowned local visual artist, around 1957. Where he clearly captures the temper, character and personality of MRC. Care of ALC.
Here we will consider multiple topics that various friends have commented about at different times. Thus its heterogeneity: it is organized neither chronologically nor thematically, but instead according to the linear course dictated by recovered moments.
- Different – (age 12)
a – Football/soccer – They say that when he was 12 his friends invited him to play football. He accepted and they came to get him, and he went along, but when they got to the place he told them “I’m a reserve player, I’ll play as a reserve player,”, and he stayed there on the sidelines. He sat down under a tree to read – things like Descartes, Kierkegaard, etc. His friends from that time said that without a doubt he was different. And they took care of him and loved him a lot, until now. As they say, “He was already showing that he was different and that he would be someone special.”
b- Test (age 14)
When MR was young, around 14, he used to ask his friends to come and meet him, sometimes at the public library where he often went to study. One friend waited to go at the end of the afternoon. When he arrived, MR showed him a psychology book he was reading with an illustration of a female figure. He asked him to look at it well and memorize it, insisting that he do this. Once he’d done it, MR asked him to close his eyes and asked him: “The woman, does she have her right leg crossed over her left, or vice versa?” He answered, “Left over right.” “Are you sure?” “Yes, of course, completely.” “Well, take a look now.” The drawing of the woman showed her body only from the waist up. See, he told him, that demonstrates how the “consciousness infers more than it perceives” and in this case it inferred the whole body. MR was illustrating to him how we don’t have to believe everything our senses or our consciousness tells us because there can be false data.
- Competing –
A friend says that once he had to make a contribution to some publication. MR had put in 30 pesos. The friend said, “I won’t put in less, I’ll put in another 30…” And then MR answered, “So you don’t want to put in less than me? Well, then I’ll put in 100 pesos, what do you say?” And the friend had to increase his contribution to 100…
Better not talk about going any higher, he concluded.
3- Historic Answer – (age 43)
Another friend tells us that during the period of the so-called “Mission of the ‘80s” (which was carried out in ’81; see Annex II bellow) MR gave some very interesting explanations, so that the team members would be well prepared. At a given moment he emphasized “the motor of history is ‘the rebellion against death’ ”… That “the European advances did not correspond only to the ‘Greek mentality’ etc. but that they happened from seeing themselves cornered by the Persians, and by other Asian invaders of their time. They had to come up with a response, and their response was of a ‘technical scientific’ nature. This continued in the following centuries all over Europe, up until our time…”
3-b This historic moment (approx.) –
This is an opportunity that can be taken advantage of or not.
It’s like an aperture that moves with the backdrop of the history of events. Facing it we have an archer with a single arrow, and he has to shoot it right through the bull’s-eye of that exact aperture, for it to penetrate and make a difference in History. If he doesn’t hit the bull’s-eye, if he loses the opportunity, he will not have participated in that historic moment… it will be necessary to wait a while, a long little while for the opportunity to present itself again…
4- Overcoming – (age 43)
The tour of this M-80 was from the south of Europe going first west, to later be rerouted through Asia and then back to Europe, and finally end in Paris. (See Annex II below) He made many cultural commentaries, about the Pythagoreans, the Parmenidians, Heraclitus, and how they were the originators of philosophy, etc. He also expounded on the Cumaean Sibyl, and so many other themes. Roles were distributed among the team members: one was the student, another the union member; there was the Maoist leftist, the educated Roman, the Hollywood model… the typical Hindu, etc. Even though they were all common people with the purpose of reaching the common people.
The issue at hand was simple: Europe had given a lot to the world, as had Asia, but they had been left very beaten and guilty; so it was necessary to help them convert that situation, and we would do that by proposing reconciliation and also suggesting a change of concept: exchanging guilt for responsibility.
The idea would be in this sentence: “…We have to help Europe. Here there are some painful situations with the past that produce a lot of guilt; we have to help them overcome guilt…”
In the talks that were given it was emphasized that one have an experience (of conversion) and talk about it to others; that’s where the phrase of that time came from: “…go and tell others what has happened to you on this extraordinary day” etc. In each city the same message was given, but with particular details of the place, and the event was held in a very well-known place.
5- One time in Berlin (around May 2010) –
Since MR had recommended that it would be good to have a Park in Berlin, he was asked why a park in that particular location and not some other German city.
He said clearly and with certainty that, “If we are able to help a strong reconciliation come about at that point (geographic) it will generate an advance all over Europe and all over the world; this will mean an important advance for humanity, to go on in good condition into the future.” (approx.) The conversation went on about what other points would help in that sense and without hesitating he said, “New York, without a doubt.” And he added, “If we looked at humanity as if it were a puppet, you could move it with two strings, one from Berlin and the other from New York. Why New York? Because all races are there, all nationalities, and it’s clearly not a specific country, but a place of convergence of cultures, races, etc.”
6- Seasonal celebration (2008) –
After the ceremony and the asking at a seasonal celebration that I attended on the outskirts of Mendoza, he gave everyone a heartfelt greeting, telling each person something meaningful like, “What you want will be fulfilled in the next few days.” (whether it was to achieve something, resolve something, leave a situation, etc.) He said it with warmth and conviction. And everyone began to see over the next few days how their particular situations were resolved.
At that time he asked for a friend who was not present and said we must remember him. Afterwards that friend said that at that moment he had been in another city and also did the same asking, thinking strongly of S. That was an interesting concomitance.
7- Unchoosing –
Another friend tells how once he met MR in the street and he invited him to a café, as he had so often done. Seeing him preoccupied, MR asked him what was happening with him and he told him he had several things happening, one of them being to form the group he had been planning, and he was working on it but he didn’t feel sure of achieving it. MR looked at him and said, “Perhaps you should keep in mind that choosing a path implies un-choosing others… you also have to un-choose many other things…” He understood that he had to let go of some other issues that he still had on his plate…
8-New people –
This complements another recommendation he recently made to someone who is forming a Community of the message. He recommended that he do so with new friends, and not resort to re-contacting old acquaintances who were into other things. On being asked why, he answered without hesitating, “__Because they ‘have already chosen’ and it’s useless to tug at them…” And so he was able to see that those acquaintances were actually into other things and better not insist…
They tell us MR visited an ex-member (in the 80s) when that person was isolated and not participating; this person had helped a lot in the early times, but at that point he wasn’t doing well. MR visited him at his home, but he didn’t respond well enough. Then MR commented: “__I gave him an opportunity, but he didn’t take advantage of it, so I’ve already done my part. From now on I won’t concern myself with him, it’s over.”
10- A first meeting – (age 24)
An old member from the very beginning (in the ‘60s) tells us that one day MR came to find him as he left his job at a bank. They began to walk, and suddenly MR asked him, “What is the meaning of life for you?” and he answered with a whole list of common responses – home, money, family, etc. And then MR asks him, “Aren’t you dissatisfied with your interests?” I don’t think so, he answers. “And tell me, then, what do you think of a change at the social level. Doesn’t it seem to you that lots of things could get better?” Yes, of course, says the friend telling the story. “__Well,” says MR, “__then we’ll see you at exactly 8 PM at that doorway,” pointing to a place they’d arrived at during this itinerant conversation (as was common with MR). That would be his first meeting.
11- Relationships –
About close personal relationships, he says they often come with these components:
1- a) intimate affection, b) enjoyment of being in intimate situations with the other person and c) sharing an ideal relating to the future.
- When there is a) affection, b) passion and c) a shared project
- Before we had heard that in a couple relationship it’s to be hoped that a) “one won’t be a heavy burden for the other to carry” and b) “ it’s about something more (interesting) than giving yourself a little pleasure and being less alone.”
12- About himself –
He was once asked, “But who are you?” (Alluding to what an exceptional person he was) and he answered, “I’m a human being like anyone else, the only thing is I’ve never stopped doing internal work… every day… I never forget myself.” Or the sentence might have been: “I’ve never let even one day pass in my life without doing internal work…”
13- Philosophy notes – (age 31)
It happened that an acquaintance of a friend – who told us this – says that his wife studied philosophy as a young woman, as one of the requirements of her course of study, with a professor who was well known in the province (Prof. Calderon Buchet) and who spoke from prepared notes on the different themes he was expounding on. One time she told the professor that it was the notes on Hegel that for her were the most exceptionally clear, understandable and easy to grasp, the best – about one of the most complex authors among German philosophers… The professor told her that yes, so they are, but he clarified that they weren’t his own, but those of a student, Mario Rodriguez, his best philosophy student ever; but that now “he’s gone to the mountains to talk to the rocks…” (Around ’69)
14- Age –
Someone commented to him that he believed that with age you get more and more sensitive, that emotional things reach you more fully. MR told him that, “That’s normal, what happens is that the shell you’ve been forming since your youth begins to fall away, the filter that kept those signals from reaching you disintegrates, and now everything reaches you more easily; which is felt as being more sensitive. This is natural, the carapace that shielded you from environmental stimuli keeps shrinking, and the stimuli get through more and more; but that is good,” he added, “because you get more sensitive, you see reality better.”ZZZZZZZZZ
15- Old documents – (age 52 or so)
We remember a conversation around 1990 at his house, when he mentions the old materials (of the Movement), and says (approx.), “__Every once in a while I see that there is some old document circulating. What’s that about? Why do you like to take them out every once in a while? If we have discarded them, they have been surpassed, improved upon, we want to discard them! They need to disappear! Is it from some kind of attachment? But this I’ve noticed, that you don’t throw them away, you keep them, you treasure them. Why? If we want to discard them…!” It should be emphasized that all the documents used until 1969 were discarded, leaving only the Healing of Suffering and the Inner Look as the first documents of his final literary work.
16- Scaffolding –
On another similar occasion he said that they had gone along introducing things as provisional, useful for one period of time, but not for others. They are like the scaffolding for a building, they put them everywhere to build the walls, the ceiling, and everything, but afterwards they take them down. He would say, “__You’re not going to leave the scaffolding up in the middle of the hall!” He insisted on that all the time: on throwing away documentation we had used at one time that was no longer appropriate. It was “scaffolding” that is dismantled and set aside after being used.
17-Web (age 35 & age 60)
About the texts, it was a long process in which he kept constantly making corrections to keep polishing the texts and leaving them well completed that will remain forever for the public. Someone remembers one of the first revisions to the Inner Look that he let some friends read for only 24 hours before the final printing… Even though there were no photocopy machines back then, he came to pick it up exactly the next day. In other words, he was with everything very thorough.
Later, around 2008, when the website silo.net was set up, he said it was good to leave it as a “__Faithful source” (not an “official site” – what is that?!”). Nor did he want it to be flashy and colorful and all that because we aren’t interested in that kind of public; he preferred something sober, serious.
18- Steps –
Once a friend had consulted him about what she could do, because every so often she had complications in her relationships or in different situations (nothing serious). He didn’t answer her immediately. Later, he told a common friend, “__X is having problems, but it’s because she acts impulsively, she wants to reach the end from the beginning, and doesn’t follow the intermediate steps. Everything has different steps to follow, like intermissions, different moments, facets; in short, a little process.” He often mentioned simple things like that to make the life of his friends and acquaintances easier.
19- Complicated –
A friend tells us that from the time she was very young she was in a complicated relationship. MR invited her for a walk in the park, and after going around a few times he was calling her by her nickname, and told her, “__Maybe this isn’t appropriate for you, take a good look, it’s complicated, and besides, your family is worried. Think carefully about it.” Year later events confirmed what he said, but at the moment she was very enraptured and wasn’t seeing clearly. He did, and told her.
20- A first meeting -. (Age 26)
Around 1966 the first meeting in Bs. Aires took place, after the first urban retreat of 4 months. It was in some neighborhood in the provincial area of Greater Buenos Aires. It was called “the meeting of the 50,” because that was the number of people that got together on that occasion, which I couldn’t participate in because of my age. It was held in an area far from the urban center in one of those enormous houses they have. Two friends remember it, they had to travel laboriously on slow buses and dilapidated trains, but they arrived. The meeting had begun, with the participants interchanging in every room in the house, when suddenly the lights all over the house began to dim until they went out, and only the main living room was well lit, and that’s where they finally held the meeting. MR, with technical help, had tinkered with the electricity to get that effect. Years later, he still remembers those who went this initial event.
21- Differences –
They tell me that not long ago, when they were calling different people from different origins to the communities, someone was talking, in his presence, about the differences that were arising among those who attended the meetings and get-togethers, sometimes with little in common. He said only one thing: “__That’s diversity, that’s precisely part of the diversity we have to take into account.” And that has been taken into account since then when different perspectives, different points of view arise, and in answer to the typical question, “But, why is that? /how can that be?” Well, now we know, it is because of diversity.
22- Correction – (age 50 or so)
Once, doing some reports in his office (at the end of the 80s), I told him how hard it was for me sometimes to transmit ideas to the team, and we weren’t even talking about correcting errors, especially with those who had groups. They give me the feeling that “they know everything” and you can’t say anything to them. Why is that? I asked him, and he said: “__And they don’t know, they clearly don’t know… it must be because of pride, yes, it’s because of excessive pride that they don’t want to accept it and don’t learn, so they never begin to learn and everything gets held up… And then, when will they begin?”
23- Building – (Age 27 or so)
- Recently we held an evening event at a characteristic Mendoza building, a construction from 1929 that has been described as having a “neo-plateresque façade, with columns engraved with mythical tales.” Well, a friend tells us that once, several decades ago, he was there with MR, who pointed out to him the symbols of Alchemy (the first explanations), going into detail on each one, commenting that there were other buildings with similar facades, saying ‘how did all this come to be here?’, and something similar about a nearby Masonic temple. The conversation went on till 6am.
- The same person remembers that on another of those walks, this time down San Lorenzo Street, MR stopped at one point, around number 500, and said, “__There was a building here, a house, where I was born. They tore it down and now they’ve built this hotel…”
A place I remembered, but a block before, was when we were once walking there in the beginning, around ’61, but that was a second house. That was because his family moved to another district and on returning to the capital of the province, settled, coincidentally, on the same street. It was in that neighborhood that MR began the activities, with friends from the neighborhood on one hand, acquaintances on the other, and contacts from the Faculty of Political Science, which is where many of us met him at that time.
24 – Inviting people –
Whenever we invited people to an event, we were careful not to forget anybody, in order not to offend anyone. However he would say to us, “__Someone’s always left out, that’s a law. We don’t need to get upset about it.”
25- Antecedents – (Age 29, age 68)
- a) Looking for possible antecedents of the message, we found a story from 1967 and something that I can contribute. Around that time MR proposed to a friend to initiate a call for more mystical type. And even announcing that afterward Silo would arise. There was a writing about someone named ‘John the Announcer’, very poetic. And it also proposed opening up centers celebrating daily meetings, in the evening, one of them in the city of Jujuy, for example, and another in Hüacalera, a little city in the north of Argentina that the Tropic of Capricorn passes through, where the idea was to open a center every evening, all week, that might attract a diverse public, like a tourist attraction. However that was never carried out.
At the end of the retreat in Jujuy in April of that year, we had a ceremony with a sort of hymn and between verses this phrase was repeated: “Only faith is important!” And the public would repeat it.
- b) In 2006, regarding the launching of the Message, he said, “__I already announced it.” “When?” I asked. “__In the ‘Declaration of Mexico’!” he answered clearly [The last part of Talk on the Meaning of Life, October 10, 1980- Silo’s talk CW1] It was then that he announced it. I have to check this out, I told myself, so I did. And I found this sentence: “For no reason will I evade my responsibility to express my truths, though they may seem doubtful to those who experience the provisional nature of life and the absurdity of death.”
26- Tests – Age 30)
Afterwards, I think around ’68, we did what was called the “cult experiment,” which was to have meetings – we did them in the garage of a house – with some lamps and some sentences to read aloud. We repeated the sounds MIN, CEN, COM, representing the colors blue, yellow, and red, trying to activate the intellectual, emotional, and motor centers. We must have done it for a couple of months approximately. And that was where the test stopped. Before that MR and another friend had visited many cults in the province – except the Catholic – to study, observe, how they moved, how they brought people together, what they were doing, etc.
27-Getting distracted – (age 50+)
In the restaurant we used to go to from time to time, at that time (in the ‘90s) the water comes and takes our orders, MR looks at him and says, “__He’s going to get it wrong,” and he repeats it – “__He’s going to get it wrong.” When he brings the food, indeed, one or two orders were screwed up. Then he mentions: “__I said so, he got it wrong, that’s how they are, they get distracted, and they aren’t completely in theme…” (So, we asked ourselves: how did he see that ahead of time – through some gesture/facial expression?)
28-Errands – (Age 35)
One day (in the ‘70s) I had the opportunity to accompany him on an errand. We went in my car. He was attentively observing how I was driving and the street and the other vehicles. He told me where we had to go and so we arrived at a service station. He got out and I waited in the car. He spoke to one of the employees, in a familiar way, he waited a bit, and the guy came back. He gave something to MR, who put it in his pocket. When he got in the car again he said, “__Ready, he has filled the order. Now we have to bring another order.” (Later I learned that it was liquid antifreeze that he made and brought to those places.)
29- On another occasion –
On another occasion, in the city center, I saw him in the evening on the same corner as that famous café where we used to meet, and he suggested that I accompany him. We quickly went into a nearby pharmacy. He spoke with the employee at the counter, briefly. He returned, he said something, always with agile movements. Then she called him. She gave him something. He took it and we left, talking, certainly about some current social situation… (He had taken an order for ethyl alcohol, which is expended in pharmacies, something it was produced in the family factory).
30 – Book – (Age 33)
When I visited him around 1971 about my possible trip to Spain, the book Silo and Liberation had just been published. He liked how it had come out, and said, holding it up in one hand, “__Here it is. It’s like a philosophy of life!” It was the first time I heard that expression. – Later I learned that it is a kind of philosophy, from the late nineteenth century and was the first time the word ‘life’ was mention in philosophy…
31- (Age 35 or so)
Once, in the ‘70s, alluding to the treatment of animals, he said, “__The Indians don’t punish their horses to tame them, they use caresses. To tame them, they don’t resort to beatings and blows, but stroke them and speak to them…”
32- Near his house we once saw a mare with her foal and he said, “__Those guys stand up right away and walk and do everything – but a human being of the same age can’t do anything… they have slow development.”
33- First contacts (age 23+) Sometimes he was busy, studying, but other times he said he had to do “some advertising/publicity work.” Without giving it much importance.
34- HP – (age 45 or so)
When the HP began to catch on and was ready to participate in alliances with other parties, he did it with great reservations and looked very closely at it. Until at one point he pulled the HP out of those alliances, when they were in the government. I heard him say: “__They start out in one direction and later go in another and ‘they want to make us disappear!’ They want us to lose our identity, to stop working the way we do our things, and fuse with them. No sir! Nothing like that. We go, and into something else. And they will say, ‘Oh, it doesn’t matter…’ Yes, yes, it does matter, we are going! Better go on alone!”
35- Also years later he emphasized the need to ‘strengthen humanism’ “__Because there is going to be a lot of unrest and social explosions and the people will get mobilized, but it’s important for all that not to be violent, they say so and if they are humanists they also say so; if not, we don’t know what they will come up with later one.
36 – (Age 40+)
A judge, who had once accused us of something petty, said, along with the local police, “Here the movement has ended!” (?) And that wasn’t what happened. The years passed, and that judge later had certain problems, and we said jokingly, “That’s for messing with us!” in a vindictive tone. But he explained that that wasn’t the case at all, “__Those are troubles they themselves have, they alone, and it’s because of their own disorder, or mess, that things begin to go badly for them,” not for any other reason. So we don’t have to do anything about it, far from it…
37- In recent times, he recommended that we have meetings with local people, with the authorities, journalists, whoever, and in order to carry out things we would need to do, that we “call on our ‘common humanity,’ not on anything else. On what we have in common.” This is an excellent criterion. Something like ‘look for the human in yourself and in the other person,’ but at the level of how you treat people in order to implement things… very, very interesting indeed.
- Talent – (age 9, – 19)
An acquaintance of his from primary school tells us that he was very talented as a writer, and already in 4th grade the teachers would invite pupils from other classrooms when MR was going to read some composition about some scholarly subject.
Something similar also happened at the University that people gathered at the windows to listen to his [oral] exams. The time when he was going to take a philosophy exam, everyone was waiting to see what he would have to talk on, and he got the theme of the “Pre-Socratic.” He was sensational, they assure us.
39- Detainees – (Age 35)
In the Devoto prison, in Bs Aires, during the famous mass arrests at the interrupted event at Casa Suiza (Suisse House), certainly about a humanist theme. There were several in the same cell, along with others [not from the movement] and MR began to talk with some who had committed an assault, who were violent. He asked them about those themes and they didn’t know much. He said later that “they aren’t very well informed and much less up to date.” Later he asked them about their feelings, their fears and the lives lost in the attacks… at which they remained silent
40- Priorities –
We once had an important meeting and one of the participants told us he couldn’t attend because he had to go to an outside meeting with members of a well-known institution. MR said, “__That’s fine, but our meeting is our priority. If someone can’t come, they should review their priorities. If they are prioritizing an outside meeting, no matter how important it seems, it’s not our meeting… I believe he should review his priorities, and what’s more important, ‘how’ to prioritize, how they set their priorities.”
41- (Age 27)
The retreat in Tigre, Bs Aires, was held around ’65 and MR decided to visit. He went with a friend who tells us that on the bus trip, an undependable bus line of that time that took more than 20 hours to arrive, he thought they would be talking the whole way, but MR decided to sleep, and that’s the way he did the whole trip…
42- Preliminaries – (age 33)
I had the good luck to be around during the prelimary times of the material discipline process; around ’71 at a School retreat where S was sketching out the steps of the discipline and two friends were doing them, always trying to “discover” the correct procedures. There were hits and misses, but as the days passed they kept moving forward, and to my surprise and perhaps everyone’s, they ended up with gold in the test tube and were able to prepare the powder of projection, Wonderful!
43- History and nature – (age 32)
Once when I was visiting the city I met MR (’70) downtown and I was commenting to him about the memory, how it saw people and little by little began to recognize some, even though they were older, you kept recognizing their features… He looked at the people around and said, “__Of course, some have history but others just have only nature, they would be the joy of Xavier Zubiri…”
That made me wonders. I had to inform myself about this concepts, and the reference turned out to be to the historicists’ observation that animals, vegetation, etc. only have nature, for them there is no passage of time in the way [human] individuals or groups experience it, or very minimal perhaps. They have their vital cycles, but without history, in the human sense. And that contemporary Spanish philosopher studied that theme.
44- Effects (age 45 or so)
There was a time, in the ‘80s, when MR was illustrating the topic of effects for us, the way they talked about the “greenhouse effect” for example in the media. We looked at other “effects” that were very useful for understanding things.
For example, “the slippers effect” which alluded to when someone lost their activist energy and settled down comfortably and lackadaisically at home, without being active. Or the “flat tire effect,” which alluded to when there was a problem and there was no need to make a big deal out of it, because it’s like when you have a flat tire and all you need to do is change it and keep going…
Or the “cosmonaut effect” because of that image of when someone gets lost in space, alluding to when someone gets disconnected from our activities and disappears…
or the “domestic spider web effect” which is when someone gets entangled in the nets of his secondary personal affairs and doesn’t know how to prioritize or how to take perspective and it’s hard for him to get out of it and keep going forward.
The “loose tile effect” alludes to people we can’t depend on because they are unstable. Also the “making a void effect,” which consisted of ignoring the noises generated in groups so that this noises do not continue, and making it clear that they aren’t our themes (like the belief that just talking about one’s problems makes them better…). And so on…
45- (age 15-16)
An acquaintance of MR says that as an adolescent he was at a costume party with MR in Mendoza. There were various costumes, and MR came as a Roman soldier. In the middle of the party he recited a poem on the subject from Shakespeare (perhaps Coriolanus or Caesar) – TLR], and everyone was amazed.
46- (age 15?)
They say that when he was very young he had his chemistry lab at home, and the back of the house (San Lorenzo Street, address number approx. 500) he called different friends in the neighborhood and told them, “__I’ve prepared a liquid.” Then he appeared, crossing the back area, with a test tube, and after saying something about it, he let a drop fall from it, which produced an explosion…
A friend consulted him about some biographical problems, to which MR told her it was difficult to give the best answer, especially because others were involved, but he said she could proceed in stages: “__Do it this way for 6 months, for example, and see if it gets better” or “__do such and such for 3 months”… In other words in a set time period you keep checking and defining things and the conflicts don’t go on forever…
48- Talking while standing in line –
They say that MR liked to talk with people when he had to do an errand and stand in line. Then he would talk with whoever he was standing near. He said, “__People like to talk about themselves, especially when you listen to them!”
49- Once, they say, he listened carefully to a lady, as they were standing in line for some reason, talking about how to make a certain kind of strawberry shortcake. In great detail, even knowing he wouldn’t make it… The lady was undoubtedly charmed.
Someone said that once at a barbecue MR asked a friend of ours why she had come dressed the way she had – It was festive type, large. Surprised, she asked him, “What, isn’t it appropriate?” He answered, “__It’s just that it’s possible to catch fire from the barbecue – any spark can set you on fire. We always want to take precautions…” (approx.)
On another occasion, in an interview the journalist asks important books he has read. To her surprise, he said, “__Well, I used to read ‘the Watchmaker Monkey’, it’s very entertaining, I read it as a child. There’s always something nice in a book, there are always interesting books.” (approx.) (The book mentioned is a very entertaining and widespread book of cartoons/comic book for children.)
He made many observations over the years, and in general, one can always keep them in mind.
52 – During activities
“__Sometimes there are friends who get more altered the more active they get, and give mistaken answers; that’s not good…” Something to consider.
53- (age 31 or so)
On one occasion, at a question from the press about something to mention of his youth, he said, “__It was when I had a home chemistry laboratory (as an adolescent) that I learned to keep things in order.”
54- There’s also the time he told, recommend, a close friend to “__Put your papers (documents) in order, so as you do not have your papers / documents so messy “.Pointing out, “__And what if something happens to you? Who will clean up this mess of papers?” The friend organized all his things. This shows how he minded his friends
55- A friend says that he was planning a meeting, when he was giving some rather complicated explanations, and he said, “__Ah, if only we could make X an organized person! How good that would be…”
56- Clarification –
He told us, “__Going to or arriving at (a place), is not convoking. Going is fine, of course, that’s the least you can do! But what we really want, what we are interested in, is bringing people together…”
57- Stupidities –
Sometimes use to say: “__There are some things that not only are neither interesting nor intelligent, they are simply stupid. Best to drop them/ignore them”.
58- A friend tells him he won’t be able to attend a meeting because it’s too hard to get there. He says, “__Ah, don’t worry, no problem, don’t feel bad about it, not mortify … If you can, fine, if not, also fine. But definitely don’t feel bad (mortify) about it.”
59 – Strict – (age 32 or so)
In one situation (around 1970) when people were being admitted to the inner circles of the Movement, he asked two friends who were very critical to postpone their entrance and try again in a year. To someone else he asked him to leave, “__For having been negative for so many years.” Since sometimes with complicated people it’s better to take some distance for a while. And being negative is inconsistent with our project.
The first “dissidents” (if we can call them that) appeared; then it would happen again, on 3 or 4 occasions in the history [of the movement], which MR considered “part of the process.” It’s common for people to participate, to agree and then disagree, leave, etc. He stated: “__What is difficult is the permanence and constancy/stability that many have, based on which we can build. (approx.)
In similar cases he mentioned often happens that ‘__Paths diverge …’
61- Another time he made a critical comment about “forming cliques”. That happens when few people getting together and differentiating from the whole, something that’s seldom or never appropriate. Someone remembers him also emphasizing, “__If you want to destroy a group, ‘start groups within groups,’ and pretty soon nothing will remain.” What is very far from our spirit of the whole”. He reiterated this on other occasions: “__If you want a group to die, ‘start groups within groups.’ For sure this group will end badly, it never fails: when you start groups within groups, everything falls apart…”
62- When there were criticisms by someone from the press, the media, the authorities, he often said, “__What happened is that they are silly…” and he explained in what way (always highlighting the intelligence or lack thereof of the person). He often made a gesture bringing two fingers to his forehead, as if saying “a lack of…” (This comes from the adage that when someone is not smart ‘does not have an ounce of sense’- in Spanish tow finger of forehead, literary)
63- Often when there were degrading rumors about our meetings and someone asked, Is it true that you do this or that in your meetings or retreats…? He suggested we could answer, “__Yes, we do that, but we’re NOT going to invite you!”
64– Even though what he usually responded to the criticisms, etc., was, “__It’s not interesting. We don’t see criticisms with level; they’re all usually very insignificant…”
65 – On the other hand, when we found an interesting comment, he might say, “That is very intelligent, they’re making interesting observations.”
66 – (age 40+) At the time of the Mission of the ’80 –
About the proposal, he once said in front of some who were present at that time, something like, “__Of course, certainly some people aren’t going to like our proposals… Well, let them try not taking it into account, to see how it goes? That’s all, what more? Let them see how it goes without what we are recommending. If they don’t like [our proposal], they shouldn’t consider it, and you’ll see how they do…” and he would gesticulate as if to say, “__It’s obvious.” This is a very interesting way to confirm his teaching.
Once he also alluded to the importance of the “contact”: “__If we say ‘invite,’ it’s like a little arrow that goes out toward the other person, which is fine; but when we say ‘contact,’ we understand that like a little arrow from us toward the other, and from the other toward us – and that’s the way the contact is made. This is much better. Very interesting.”
También una vez hizo alusión de la importancia del “contacto”, “-Si nosotros decimos, ‘invitar’, es como una flechita que sale hacia el otro, que está bien, pero cuando decimos ‘contacto’
67 – Imitations
He often told us, “__It wouldn’t be a good idea to imitate me. Not good at all.” He insisted more than once that to imitate him was not interesting. This observation came because the temptation to do that was great, given the relevant characteristics of his way of being. But for someone else to adopt his gestures, posture, tone of voice, way of dressing and all that obviously wouldn’t produce good results.
68 – Style –
He always emphasized that our style of doing things should be “firm but kind/friendly.” That is, being firm with our proposals, our positions, etc. But, above all, always friendly and kind, with the people. About that, he one day added, that when there were problems we should be “__Tough, firm, determined to resolve them, but with the people, very kind/friendly.”
69 – To keep problems from overwhelming us, he recommended, I remember in the context of the Message, “__Confront them as challenges,” a challenge always has that incitement to give an answer, different from a problem or difficulty that sometimes can be felt to be crushing. But perhaps we also often heard him say, “__I’m not going to let this bother me.” Or also, facing some setback, he would affirm, “__It doesn’t even remotely affect me.”
70- An image
Once he told us that someone had once thanked him for something he’d done for that person. He said, “__I certainly didn’t do much. There was some image in your head that was creating conflict, and you, when you made an effort, had some understanding. That image dissolved, was converted, and so you registered a change, relief; but it wasn’t I or anything external, it was you who changed that image…”
71 – In a similar situation, where a friend felt that there had been some tension with him, and so, having a coffee together, he was able to explain this to MR – to which MR, with an expression of surprise, looks at him, smiles, and says, “__It could be, I don’t remember, but we’re friends, right?!” And so the whole misunderstanding was resolved, and our friend went happily on his way. On various occasions he mentioned “forgetting” as something positive, especially in relationship to resolving/making a void to conflicts.
72 – In a similar case, a friend told him she believed there had been a misunderstanding between them, and she wanted to apologize. He said, “__What? I don’t remember. I forgot if something happened I already forgot…” So, nothing to worry about.
73- Thinking – (age 50 or so)
In Milan, during the final years of the USSR, the humanists who made contact with the pacifist organization allied with Gorbachov expressed the desire to do things together, to consider the possibility. They responded that they “had to think about it” (this in the context that they had expounded on Neo Humanism and later on New Thinking).
– About which, when he heard, MR commented, “__Well let them do so, but we have already thought about it…”
74– A childhood friend tells us that: a) “He was the only one who got along with everyone at school, in the neighborhood, with everyone else.” b) “He could have been whatever he wanted – a businessman, a writer, a leader, a professor, whatever he wanted – but he wanted to be Silo, he chose that.”
75- Around 1968 (age 30) at his house, when someone spoke to him about the style of certain literature that was occultist, obscurantist, sensationalist, etc., he said, “__They work on the dark side of the mind… we work on the opposite side.”
76- Mixing –
Mixing things of different kinds is not always appropriate. He often said, “__Check it out, mixing venal blood with arterial blood doesn’t work, it’s a disaster! Careful of mixing things that don’t go together…” It’s very inappropriate.
77- On a certain occasion a friend had asked him about an important decision he had to make about his life. MR responded with silence. Which he thought meant he had to wait, that some response would come later. So it was that on another occasion, speaking as if in general, he said, “__For making decisions, the thing of priorities are fundamental. You have to have them very clear, to distinguish what is first, what is second or third. But besides that, it’s not that what is second or third isn’t important – it is! But, according to its rank. That’s why, if ‘I have to fix the water heater,’ it will have to be fixed. It won’t influence the other priorities, but you have to pay attention to the order. So it’s highly recommended to have ones things in correct order.”
78– Trip (age 38)
In 1976, at the end of Corfu, he had been thinking of visiting a couple of cities. He stayed with some friends in one city, and with others in the other – first Cairo, Egypt, and then Istanbul, capital of Turkey. Always with this eagerness to be immersed in other cultures, to capture the pulse of those places, to do “cultural rescue”* and see how we might bring [our work] there.
* This was something very important to him, rescue very positive things from other cultures, so that they continue (values, teachings etc.)
79- (age 38)
Later on he went to Madrid and after a meeting he invited us to go see a movie, which was a nice surprise. It was called “Galileo” and it was his story, whom we later saw as key part in the study Approximation to historical Humanism. Years later in the ‘80s, Salvatore read some word in homage to him at the church* where his tomb is in Florence, but only on the steps outside, since they wouldn’t let us enter.
* Basilica of Santa Croce in Florence
80- (age 48 or so) When they had the meeting in which he introduced Humanism and I couldn’t attend because of traveling, he made the gesture of sending us the tapes with a traveler and that way we could hear the whole presentation of the theme: our humanism around 1983.
81- Movies. There are other cases of movies in Madrid, where he went alone to the cinema and told us he saw a Woody Allen movie that talked about the “meaning of life.” “__These filmmakers sometimes anticipate where the people are thinking, feeling and it comes out some time later, they are like ‘seismographers of the internal,’ in their way, and they capture/understand important things…”
82- Movies 2 (age 38 or so) Also when we were on our way to Corfu, we were getting on the boat in Brindisi, in the south of Italy, we had several hours to wait, and after walking around the city, where we went into a cheese and cold-cuts shop, and came out eating cheese, we went to the cinema to see a 2nd class movie about Dracula, in Italian, and he laughed at “__The tomato sauce, but interesting that the bad guy comes out at night and it turns out he dissolves in daylight! What is that? An interesting allegory, at any rate, when ‘you see clearly,’ evil melts away…” (approx.)
Other themes spoken of in passing
83 – On today’s world (2006-10) – (age 70)
Looking at the Middle East, especially Israel, things might change because the US might pull out of there, which is what they are doing in other cases. And since the thing of the powerful Jewish lobbies and economic influence in the US isn’t a sure thing, that might leave Israel a loose cannon, like what happened in the case of the Roman Empire with General Titus (70 AD) who realized that it wasn’t worth investing so much to maintain that colony and that brought about the fall and the diaspora we know of; except that now Israel has the atomic bomb and so does Iran, which could complicate things. Besides that there are factions in both countries that are very interested in having things explode, with the consequences that would bring.
84 – (age 70)
In the US “the good boy” (the current US President) is doing what he can, it’s a little like the USSR where Perestroika was born, and the military did not accentuate the conflicts. Here in the US something similar is happening, but the military are cooling things down in different areas, which make everything more moderate. There’s a notable difference between this attitude in the military and other layers of the population which is not the case.
85- (age 70)
In Europe something strange is happening, they are in a strange “bard” (intermediate state), where things are happening like the French kicking out the gypsies, or the Swiss prohibiting minarets, in other words some watch-maker-bankers are prohibiting minarets… and other things like where a strange situation can be seen. On top of that there are spineless politicians who move just with surveys/polls and so don’t solve anything.
The cases of China and India that everybody talks so much about, in reality they are still very busy with their own internal affairs, so for now they can’t move toward the outside as much as might be believed.
86- (age 70)
Latin America is unstable. On one hand there is social progress, but on the other three’s an arms buildup, and increasing disagreements. Since in the past military experiences [in the region] haven’t been of the magnitude of other places with millions of deaths, there’s no memory [of that kind of thing] and the mistake could be made of getting emboldened in a warlike direction, so it’s unstable.
There are also the curious protests of Fidel C. who it seems is speaking in another way, he’s getting more intelligent with age… so when they ask him if he is thinking of spreading his system to other countries, he answers candidly, “but if it doesn’t even work for us…” – in other words, there are signs of another way of thinking.
87- Do things (age 70) (2010)
- a) Once told us: “__Today, there are those who act. Those who act are here.” If they don’t act… (it’s like they are not) *
- b) On another occasion, when he say goodbye in a park (for the same date) greeted raising his arm and said, “_till next time, but let’s do things, – let’s get things done. And, he turned back, face to the friends-and repeated: ‘__above all, let’s do things”.*
* At this stage it highlights the idea that participate in our things is ‘do things’ not only be passively
88- (Age 70)
On how a drop of mercury can illustrate a future moment, he pressed on it with his hand, and hundreds of little drops scattered. That’s the way it is: “__Now, hundreds of Parks! (That is, differentiation.) Each one doing things”.
89- Lending a hand – (age 35 or so)
In the ‘70s he lent a hand to a friend of his to leave the country because of the dangers of the dictatorship. She recalls that MR told her, “__You have to go… Let’s talk in the next few days.” Do you think so? she asked. This was because the secret police had gone to her house intimidating her family in the dictatorship days. Apparently, for being a ‘leftist.’
Days later, he told her, “__Well, we’ve got your ticket, to Paris, where there are friends who will lend you a hand, but before that you’ll pass through the Canaries, where I will be. I’ll meet you and that way you’ll begin to familiarize yourself with Europe, through the friendly part.”
And so she arrived at Las Palmas, we met her, we looked after her, and he made the curious comment that she was changing her way of dressing, because she often dressed in black, and MR had told her, “__Change the colors you’re wearing because then…” ‘It’s an influence?’ she asked him, and he said, “__Of course. You think black, you feel black, and everything dark… betters other colors!”
She continued on to Paris, where friends helped her get settled, and then she brought her children there and lived there for many years before returning.
90- Talking – (age 35 or so)
When I went to visit him (in the ‘70s) to coordinate the trip to Spain that I would be making to continue what the previous traveler had started on the previous trip in ’69 (to whom he himself wrote a long letter to tell him about the events of that year with the public appearance of Silo) he talked about different themes without getting to the subject of the trip. Of course the international situation at that time was on the table. What must have been my expression when at one point he said, “__I’m talking to you about what I consider interesting, why talk about anything else? What was I going to talk to you about, rentals* Of course not!”
This stayed with me a long time, the ability to propose important topics of conversation to one’s interlocutor, for that person not to be the one who leads the conversation, often without direction. So it was that I left for Spain by boat, a crossing that took 17 days, to continue what had been begun, and it was a very fertile year, to talk about another time.
* Regarding everyday things of little importance
91- By the Arm – (age 69)
At the celebration at Punta de Vacas Park in May 2007, S was standing near the hall, kindly greeting all of us who kept arriving walking. When I saw him, I greeted him, shaking hands, saying “How are you, here we are!” (Since I came from elsewhere) and he says something like ‘__Fine…’ It was a brief moment because other friends were coming to greet him; in this case it was a young woman. Moving me to one side, he took me gently by the arm with his right hand, but he didn’t let me go, while he was greeting her. It gave me a special sensation and feeling, a kind of drowsiness, a very pleasant tingling, and I stood there without a care… those were moments that seemed eternal…
Years later, talking with a friend about “access to the profound,” he told me about a similar situation, when he said goodbye to S in the same place, in the parking lot, when he took him by the arm in a similar way, and stayed that way while they talked a little. This friend had the same sensations I experienced and he interpreted it as a passage of the force, perhaps light, or a “casual” laying on of hands, which serves him as a register of “entrance” in his Ascesis work.
I told myself, “and I didn’t even realize!” We have that too.
This simply illustrates how he was in contact with the Force (his own force, let’s say) all the time. This has a lot to do with the difference in the way he thought and everything else.
92- Encounters in the Park –
- a) A messenger friend tells us that one time, at La Reja Park, when he saw her he made a kind of bow and greeted her saying “__Alleluia, Alleluia!” And that day he promised her that he would go to Mar del Plata, lowering his sunglasses and looking her in the eyes.
She responded, “Yes, of course you will come visit us… (approx.)” Then he made an expression of surprise and went on… He didn’t negate it, he gave me the feeling that he was agreeing [she said].
- b) Another time, in the same park, the same friend remembers that when she met him walking S gave her his hand, took her hand and put it on his chest, over his heart, and stayed there for some time quietly, without talking. She trembled…
- Another friend recalls that once she was helping at the Park when the hall wasn’t yet finished, they had plastic-coated the floor and the idea was that no one should enter until it was dry. She stood at the entrance to tell anyone who came, when she saw Silo coming, walking with other people, and she had to tell him, much to her regret, “Excuse me but you can’t go in.” He looked at her behind his glasses, smiled and asked, “Why?” She explained and he listened, hugged her, and as he was leaving, turned part way around and told her, “__See here we have the guardian of the hidden city…” She felt very lucky.
The Parks –
93- When the land for the first parks was beginning to materialize, he said, “__From now on we will only speak in our places, places that are ours, not theirs…” And so it was that the following talks were held only at the Parks, which little by little began to be configured as such, as has been documented in “Silo in the Open Air” and in the introduction to Psychology Notes IV.
94- So they’re not forgotten –
When I visited some parks where various friends had built little weekend houses in the vicinity, I asked where the idea had come from. They answered, “__Very simple – S told us. He said “__it would be good if some people could go to live in the vicinity of the Parks ‘so they aren’t forgotten’…”
95- Letting go –
They tell us what he said in response to a question about a situation in which it was already felt that nothing could be done. “__At some point you have to let go things, because always holding on means tension. When you let go, you relax, and things fall into place around that distension, and not around the tension.”
95b. a-The system. They asked: “¿S. how do you manage to always interpret everything and synthesize what we are feeling? How do you do it?”
He answered, “__It’s easy. The system goes one way, we go the opposite. If the system goes south, we go north, and vice versa… The problem would be if the system really changed and decided to be Nonviolent – [laughter] – then we would have to reconsider. But fortunately that’s not going to happen. The system is essentially Violent. In general, where there is tension, we relax, and where there is relaxation, we get tense. Always the opposite to the system: war-peace, problems-solutions, if not, we’d be stuck, self in close, in the same thing”.
b- About this thing of “the system” they say that when he was studying in the University and he left, he would say that “__Since I’m anti-system, I can’t receive titles/degrees from the system” even when he was an outstanding student and of notable qualifications.
96- Consulting the people directly – age 48 or so)
At the time when we were talking about Direct Democracy and consulting the people, many had resistances and said, “it’s too complicated too many people, etc.” But MR said, “__There are weekly lotteries where you check off some numbers and you know the results at the end of the same week. In the same way, we could consult the people, they’d simply respond Yes or No – after the question you have two boxes, for Yes and No. The person would mark one of those two boxes that that’s that. At the end of the week you’d know the results. Very easy. Later you’d see if it’s binding* or not, etc. But technically it’s possible. You have to see if people want to do it. The people could be consulted every week! And without a doubt a lot of people would participate. It’s feasible to implement.” (approx.)
* If is linked to any applicable laws, regulations, etc.
97- Departing – (age 65 or so)
a – When a friend died, someone asked MR about survival/life after death. And he said (approx.), “__The functions of life have ceased in her body, so she isn’t suffering any pain. Her ‘I’ can’t remain either, so she isn’t experiencing any suffering. After death, there’s no possibility of pain or suffering. Evolution after death can only be of an energetic and spiritual nature. Death liberates us from the restrictions/conditioning of being human.”
b – They say that when the first caretaker of Punta de Vacas Park said, at one point, that he didn’t want anyone to lock the door when they went to the bathroom in the little house. He insisted on that. “__Why?” asked MR. He said, “__Because they might die and then they’d be locked inside, and then what? What do we do?” “__What’s that!?” said S, adding, “__If someone dies, they die, that is all, NOTHING really happens.” “__Such a fuss, over death! (he repeats) “__If someone dies, they die…”
98- A friend says she once asked him if he knew when he was going to die. S laughed a lot and said, “__That’s a very good question!” Then she asked him, “Why don’t you stay with us longer?” He said (approx.), “__Well, it’s just that the human being is so slow, so slow – it takes them a long time to advance and realize [things], to change! On top of that, they think they are intelligent, very intelligent – now they believe that because they can make computers so they are the maximum, and they can communicate better, can communicate… One gets tired of all that, tired of waiting for a change, but the human being is very slow…”
99- At a dinner with friends – (2010)
He talked about “killer pizzas” (an allusion to indigestible meals) – he had already said that Buddha, died after an indigestible meal made of pork, and mention Buda said ‘My work is finished’. He spoke repeatedly about departing, about goodbye/with killer sausages and uses this theme as a way of anticipating/advancing events. Actually we are told the dinner with friend and the ‘killer pizzas’ was his last diner…
100- Ages –
Around the table, in PdevP, he says, “__How old are all of us here?” One says 60, others 65, others 58, etc. He says, “__Some older, some younger, but we’re all going to die! Sooner or later we are all going to die. Everyone here is going to die. And others too! And I’m going to die, maybe sooner, but everyone here will too! And so what is going to happen with this place? It’s going to be empty! How can that be, empty, with nobody here…” (And those who were there – says the teller – had a shock on seeing that that place they loved so much would later end up empty, without continuity…) Something to think about, continuity of our process…
101 – And he added, “__So we see that we are an average of 50-some years, it should go down to 40, for example, to give continuity to the School, for this to continue…”
102- Forcing things
On one accasion he says, “__There are those who doing askings they force things a bit for someone to stay alive, for them to get better and all that. And how do they know what is best for that person? We have to ask for ‘the best for the person,’ not for what we want to have happen. We need to confirm that the asking is done from ‘a wellspring of joy’ and that we ask the best for that person, for them to decide what is best… Ask the best for the other person.” This he affirms categorically.
103- Let people go. Besides that, he added, “__We have to let people go when they are dying, because ‘they have things to do.’ We mustn’t hold onto them, we mustn’t cling to them, those who have to die ‘have things to do, they have to do their things…’”
104-Reconciling – (2007) (age 69)
During the Days of Reflection when he spoke about reconciliation, friends remember that he emphasized reconciling ‘with those who are present and those who are absent,’ as something important, and with those who are absent it’s clear that you have to make a different kind of effort.
We already knew how important it was to reconcile before dying, because a friend had asked on her deathbed what she should do. “__Profound reconciliation” was his answer, and that’s how she spent her last moments.
105 –A quick death –
A friend felt out of sorts one weekend, and at the beginning of the week he died. MR said, “__Very good, that’s the way it’s done, you feel bad on Sunday and you die on Monday. Enough already, you die and that’s that. Very good, no hanging around, and keeping everybody on tenterhooks” etc.
106- He also added, “_In cases when someone is dying and people are asking for them for a long time, for them to get better, for this and that, what is that of keeping people on tenterhooks about you? No, none of that. When the time comes to die, quick is best.”
107- His death –
|As we mention already, he use to anticipate his departure in various ways and different situations saying things like, “__I’m not here for long” or “__In two years I’m going” or “__These are goodbye meals,” .
On one of such occasion, referring to one of his favorite themes, the possibilities for the future, he said (approx.),
“__So around the end of the next decade (from 2018 to 2020), a window is going to open in the system where anything could happen, there will be a possibility… but it will be necessary to be there, to give a signal, of course (he says)… but what’s happening is that I no longer have enough energy to get there, so we are going to try to speed everything up… because I won’t be make it to that point.”
108-And he would pass away, as we know, in September 2010, at home in the presence of his family and some friends where in the adjoining living room
(See the “Last talk,” Annex I below.)
109-In January and March 2014 we went twice with visitors from abroad to the café that S often went to, the last time we talked with the waiter who often waited on him. A nice young man who told us (approx.), “__Yes we know him very well, he often came, in the morning or afternoon, sometimes with his wife and sons; he’d ask for juice, coffee, pastries… he read the paper, talked, sometimes with us too. The day he passes a way we were all very sad.
He was a very good person. A friend and I wrote a note from all of us and took it to the local newspaper to have it published.”
110 The End – (2000 approx.) (age 60)
And she asked him, “And what will happen afterwards?” and he told her, “__RIVERS OF PEOPLE will come…”
Annex I– Last Talk with Silo in Mendoza – informal summary
V1.3, revised May 2013
Draft translation Trudi R, May 2013
This is my summary of what I heard from travelers who visited Silo on the 16th and 17t h of September in Mendoza1) – what I understood and retained. For this reason it is approximate and certainly contains inaccuracies, but considering the occasion it is extremely interesting, especially the parts in bold. Here once again we see Silo as always, lucid and, occupied with the most diverse and important themes, and letting us know his thoughts.
Silo died that night with Ana L and his eldest son Alejandro R. In the adjoining living room accompanied 3 friends.
– Tito dC, Madrid, October 2010-
“The Barbershop Chat”
They called it that because it took place for some 15 or 20 minutes before going into the barbershop on the morning of Sept. 16, at a little café in his town. He would pass on that same night…
He began by talking about the people who live there, in that place, those who would be the “original” people (the natives or locals), and those who came from outside, who would be the “foreigners.” Both have their own characteristics, the first being slower, not as sharp, and the second always being in a hurry, going around looking angry, “baring their teeth…” There’s always that tension between the original people and the foreigners.
Then he went on to emphasize that one of the most interesting things that has happened in t
the last 30-40 years is what has become known as Cultural Anthropology. This is something that was started by authors like C.G. Jung, M. Elide, Frazer, Malinowski, etc. Although they are involved other sciences, their observations don’t really belong to those sciences, but belong instead to this field of knowledge. They make way for Cultural Anthropology, even though they work in other disciplines such as psychology, social anthropology, the history of religions, they are really doing Cultural Anthropology. They also touch on Social Psychology.
At times there are currents in history that are like “vibrations” that occur, and some connect with them, and then there is a lessening of self-censorship and also of censorship. Something like this happened in Ptolemaic Alexandria(Egypt) in their epoch, when active thought was at its peak, with imagination and without censorship or self-censorship, until the first Christians arrived with their dogmatisms and wasted everything, and Hypanthia fell and Cyril took over (later St. Cyril) – in 376-444 of our era. Then everyone left the city, something that will be common in other places – he emphasizes that this thing of cities being vacated down through History has not been sufficiently researched – and when the social atmosphere becomes unfavorable to thinking, people leave. So all those active, interesting people move to Byzantium, and the interesting “current” of thought, shall we say, moves and continues developing full steam ahead in those centuries. To later disappear, when the city falls with the
arrival of the Turks, and then reappears with the Florentine Renaissance. There we have Neo-Platonism, which arrives around the 7th/8th century as “occultism.” That’s the last we see of that thinking, from whose waters drank thinkers of the stature of Newton and Leibniz, who were occultists and alchemists (something the Universities almost never mention, they censor it), so, they were very broad-minded and not at all self-censorship. These thinkers are open to what there is in the world, they are alert and the moment something interesting arises, they focus on it and investigate it and develop it.
There are others, like Thomas of Aquinas who (besides being a fat beer drinker) takes Aristotle, turns him around and appropriates him… What is that?? Even though, he does have a very decent treatise on Alchemy. Then Descartes comes along (the swordsman with a mustache) who champions the whole thing of reason, etc.
So on one hand we have this current, this vibration, that appears in different places and moves around, and on the other we have the problem of the language used by those who wrote interesting things but in a complex way that almost nobody understands. Like the case of E. Kant, who offers some interesting ideas but in an extremely complicated language. The case of Husserl is very notorious since he almost invents his own language, a complex language with those long phrases between dashes, to the point that there are something like 50,000 pages in the Husserl Archives at the Institute of Philosophy at the Catholic University of Louvain that have yet to be translated and published.
The thinkers I mentioned in what would be Cultural Anthropology communicate among themselves, and escape the censorship of the time, something others can’t do, even at the universities (Freud can’t budge an inch from the established order) so in that current we see non-censorship, the imaginative. Which is what we would like to have happen in our parks, for there to be a good atmosphere, for people to be at ease and be able to do their things well. We also understand that the Parks have to do with being places for psychological recomposition…
There will be meetings later on about our things with some very general recommendations, about the theme of the Ascesis, so people can do their internal work well. So there are not many significant developments.
The theme of the Parks and their importance was considered at the beginning and is the main thing about this stage but everything still isn’t understood about what we’re thinking about the autonomy and decentralization of the Parks…
Annex II- A Letter on the Mission of the 80s
This is a personal account by Saki (isahak Benudin) who was an integral member of the team that accompanied Silo in that major tour of several countries in Asia and Europe in 1981.
It is presented as a letter told to friends who worked together in his native Philippines in the late 70s.
Dear Norma and Puchi,
Here it is–a personal account or, better still, a footnote to the experience with el Mayor de los Poetas and the team during the Mission of the 80s in 1981. At Uspallata and Punta de Vacas early this year, it was heartwarming to see genuine interest in that event, and to see friends old and new in such great form in a place that was a dream in 1981. ‘One day we will build a place with a certain form where people go in and quite magically when they go out they transform,’ he said at a breakfast table in Vico Equense, south of Naples, in the summer of 1981. ‘Are you talking of something physical?’ I asked. He looked at me, smiled, and drank his orange juice.
The Mission’s link to Punta de Vacas is quite direct. He said so explicitly in his Bombay talk, ‘In a small rural village at the foot of the highest mountains of the West, in faraway South America, we gave our first message.’ The global dimension of the Mission of the 80s was also clear. And so, perhaps it can serve as an added inspiration to your current project of retracing and reliving his historical transnational route in South America, where he was denied La Arenga Prohibida. Concomitantly, at the La Belle Idée park last year, our friends began to commemorate Silo’s Mission of the 80s intervention at La Mutualité at the Latin Quarter in Paris, a week after the talks on the Chowpatty beach in Bombay.
Regarding the inside story of my participation in that mission, I think I covered the essential points in those meetings with the group of messengers in Uspallata, and the exchanges I did with Danny, Puchi and Federico. So in this letter, I’ll try to give additional comments and appreciations. We did varied things, big and small, in his constant presence, and with the copresence of contributing something historical and important.
Looks like a wheel. The team’s main role was to accompany him in delivering his message, 12 years after Punta de Vacas.
In the first public act in Madrid on September 21, 1981, he referred to it, “Sometime ago I was asked, ‘Why don’t you explain your thinking?’ And so I explained. Later, others said, ‘You don’t have the right to explain your thinking.’ So I kept silent. Twelve years passed, and once again I was asked, ‘Why don’t you explain your thinking?’ So once more I will speak, knowing beforehand that again I will be told, ‘You do not have the right to explain your thinking.’”
In his talk in Bombay on November 1st, he repeated the link, ‘Twelve years of silence have passed, and now we are speaking once again, and thousands upon thousands of people on the different continents of the Earth are listening to what we say.’
And of course, as we all know, twelve years represented a wheel. “Put in visual images, if we view it from above, the process is circular—it looks like a wheel; if we view it from the side, we realize it is a spiral in motion that grows at every turn.” (Sri Lanka talk)
History’s path. It started in the south of Europe, south of Naples, ancient Greek city (Magna Grecian), where he summoned some his friends from ‘different continents of the Earth’: Asia (B. Aiyappa, S. Binudin), Europe (S. Pulleda, P. Gudjonsson), America (N. Myers, D. Zuckerbrot). Actually, this team composed of people with a certain experience and history in the Movement was a later development. Before that, he had thought of training a Brahmin from the East to deliver the message (we saw one in white kurta studying Canary I, Psychology II, in 1978), because transcendental messages came from the East, from an Asian, an Indian, a Brahmin—that was somehow embedded in the recesses of our collective memory. Unfortunately, it didn’t work. So, entered the dragon, the team.
Before coming to Naples, we were given a bibliographic list to study, on psychology and comparative religion, such as Trevor Ling’s History of Religions East and West and Mueller’s Psychology. In his invitation, he also painted a mission of great historical importance and consequence. So we expected it to be very tough, and we wanted it, and approached the task, prepared to dive into the deep. “We can’t fail,” said Salvatore repeatedly when we set off from Rome in July 1981, after visiting Basilica San Clemente and visiting the underground Mithraism temple on top of which the Christian cathedral was built and reflecting on the image at the top of the altar that seemed to represent the union of light and darkness. ‘No, we won’t fail,’ I said.
And so we were there, south of Naples, ancient Greek city state, near Cumae, famous for its Sibyl, prophetess of Apollo, which we later visited, but we saw different niches, showing that, contrary to the Roman State press (Virgil, Aeneid VI), there were many prophetesses presiding over the Apollonian oracle at Cumae. Further south of the hotel at Vico Equense where we trained was Velia (ancient Greek name, Elea or Hyele), home of Parmenides, who, along with Heraclitus of Ephesus, founded Western philosophy and laid the foundation of the Western civilization. On the eastern coast was Croton, home of the Pythagorean School. And Naples itself was a center for alchemy, as evinced by the Alchemical Chapel of Sansevero, which we also visited. And nearby was Pompeii, where frescoes depicting scenes from the Dionysian mysteries stood, next to a wine-press. The region attracted Wagner, who stayed and completed his Parsifal, the story of Percival and the Holy Grail.
It was a perfect environment for the preparation of the mission, and he planned and designed all this. But on the first day, he came to us—we were seated in a circle with our pen and paper, prepared to surpass our limits—and said, ‘With fear nothing can be planned.’ And he left. D. Zuckerbrot thought that the first days were the hardest part of our mission: to do nothing, to decompress, to relax, and to be empty.
And so we began to see, to see where we were. We were figures in a landscape, on a steep mountain overlooking the Mediterranean sea which, on a clear cloudless day, merges with the azure sky, without a trace of a horizon, so that the cliff, the mountain might as well be suspended, in limbo. Surreal. We were in an old region in Europe that flowered during the Hellenistic age. We were in a region which lies at the root of Western civilization.
He explained how the current of great thoughts and movements moved. They started from the south and then went northwards, and from the east to the west. We followed that route: Madrid, Barcelona, Frankfurt (in a book fair where he signed and later gave a talk to our friends in Europe), Milan, Copenhagen, Reykjavik; Sri Lanka, India, Paris. We followed the paths paved by our spiritual ancestors. We crossed the Earth.
The context: psychosocial crisis. In one of the days when he began talking extensively, he opened the atlas and pointed at the region in the Near East and Middle East where big movements erupted. We were asked to imagine and talk about the kind of psychosocial crises the peoples were experiencing at the time, in those crossroads of cultures and civilizations between East and West, in those regions where spiritual movements rose.
And moving towards the present, he pointed out the element of guilt that ravaged a continent that in the past had given so much in the fields of science and technology, partly developed as responses against the invasions and blockages of the routes towards Asia. ‘They ruled the waters of the oceans and flew faster than the wind, and they crossed the mountains. And in voices of the storm and with light brighter than the sun, they demonstrated their power.’
However, after the world wars and domestic wars, anticolonial revolutions, internecine wars, dictatorships, invasions, suicides, drug addiction, alcoholism, bombings, death reared its ugly head; guilt haunted civilizations. “For the first time in history, let us stop looking for people to blame. Everyone is responsible for what they have done, but no one is to blame for what has happened. If only with this universal judgment we could declare, ‘No one is to blame,’ and with this establish a moral obligation that every human being reconcile with their past.”
Who we were. Certainly we were ordinary people, but we were with Silo who had also insisted on his ordinariness, for rhetorical reasons and to lay the mental conditions for the message to be communicated. In 1969 in Punta de Vacas, he said, ‘If you have come to listen to a man who it is thought transmits wisdom, you have mistaken your way…. You are listening to man who does not know the laws governing the Universe, who is not privy to the laws of History, who is ignorant of the relationships that govern the peoples of the world.’ And in 1981 in Bombay he said, ‘And in the cynical West some people ask: How can it be that people listen to you, since you do not promise anyone wealth or happiness…. You are not a teacher or a great master, but simply a man like other men….’’
Our roles. In the public acts, with the team surrounding him, we were seen as a group, albeit diverse, each member adopting easily identifiable roles in the environment, according to their tendencies. In relation to him, we were protectors; we surrounded him, so, for example, journalists had to pass through us, different continents of the world, to gain access to el Mayor de los Poetas. That made them even more eager to reach him.
The messages we delivered—on fear, violence, meaninglessness, nihilism, faith, changing direction—led to the nucleus of his talk. Brief versions of these talks are in the Indian archives of F. Garcia, but of course you were there in Bombay on November 1, 1981, in that great public act amidst a tempest. (I have attached a pdf of the talks.)
Nothing new, the timeless and universal. This seemed to me a direct attack on the cult of the new, related to consumerism, a particle spinning around the nucleus of the myth of money. At the same time, it was an affirmation of the timelessness and the universality of the message, the heart of which was the golden rule, rescued from all cultures and civilizations, sacred and profane.
The engine of history is the rebellion against death. “What energy has moved all this activity, what engine has propelled the human being through history, if not rebellion against death?”
Although the central theme was clear, the copresence of other subjects was there. There were other themes he talked about on different occasions and in different places. As for the technical, practical themes, he gave a master class on rhetoric and mnemonics, among others.
A master class on rhetoric. Introduce the theme through images, which, unlike abstractions, mobilize: “In a small rural village at the foot of the highest mountains of the West, in faraway South America, we gave our first message.” (Bombay talk). Identify the person you are talking to: “Oh, brothers and sisters of Asia…” (Bombay) Identify yourself: “I said nothing new on that first occasion; I’ll say nothing new today.” (Madrid) Identify and counter resistances to your proposal: “So once more I will speak, knowing beforehand that again I will be told: ‘You do not have the right to explain your thinking.’” (Madrid) Present your proposal with images: “I will offer my answer in images that can reach the heart of every individual. After an immense period of time had passed, human life began to flower on this planet…. There was a time to be born, a time to laugh, a time to suffer, and a time to die.” (Madrid) Call to action: “If the direction of your life has not changed, you need to change it. If it has already changed, then you need to strengthen this new direction.” Call for immediate action: “Accompany me in a free, courageous and profound act that is also a commitment to reconciliation. Go to your parents, your loved ones, your companion; go to your friends and your enemies alike, and tell them with an open heart, ‘Something great and new has happened in me today,’ and explain to them this message of reconciliation.”
Mnemonics. If you must learn things by heart, e.g., your speech, use mnemonics (memory techniques), which ironically the world has forgotten. That is, drink from the river Mnemosyne, ancient Orphic goddess of memory with whom Zeus slept for nine consecutive nights, birthing the nine Muses in art, poetry, literature, among others.
Great mountain chain of the East. He always referred to himself as someone from the East. “And what do we say today from India, the throbbing heart of the world, from India whose spiritual reserves have been a teaching and an answer for a world whose mind is sick? We say: ‘Treat others as you want them to treat you.’” And in the ceremony of the Order, in our search for the Greatest of Poets, when the guardians of the threshold demanded where we saw the Master, killed by a black bull, inebriated women, a brother or a traitor, we referred to his location with a double circular gesture, pointing to the great mountain chain of the East.
Myth. If we were to relate this to myths, in the sense evoked in his prefatory lines…
This is what appeared as a sign fixed in eternal time, capable of disrupting laws and order, and feeble reason. That which mortals desired, this the gods made—that which the gods spoke through human beings.
…it would not be too hard to go deep into and see things from that frequency and vantage point.
Certainly it would not be farfetched to talk about a time when there was a gathering of inner gods, surrounded by and in communion not only with their fellow inner gods but with the spirit of the age that is in their presence and the ages that are in their copresence, guided by the Greatest of Poets, drawing inspiration from a region where, for example, echoed the poetic voice of Parmenides who talked of the rounded truth of Being in the 5th Century BC, the same spherical form we use when we experience the Passage of the Force, mi Fuerza que no es mia, – The Force it is not mine- according to the gnostic prayer in Minor Poetics.
That is not hard to feel because that was in the copresence for many months, and many times it was present when together you came face to face with visual and tactile reminders, las cosas,-the things- that conjured the presence of great humans, deified or not: from the prophetesses to the völva (seeress in the Voluspa of the Norse, Petur’s ancestors).
And from the East, in the land of the Buddha, in a dialogue with his brother from the Himalayas’ twin mountain chain, the Cordillera, he said, “There are the teachings and we respect them as they are.” And later he said, “I also understand that when human beings truly need to surpass mental suffering, they will have to appeal to understandings that rend the veil of Maya, that penetrate illusion. But the straight path is one that immediately begins immediately before us—it is the one we walk in compassion, in helping others to overcome pain.” (Sri Lanka talk)
A week later, on November 1st 1981, in the land of Gandhi, whose historical presence could be felt as he led satyagrahis in 1930 to find salt on Chowpatty beach, challenging the brutal might of an empire from the West that boasted of a sun that would never set, amidst storm clouds and violent winds, in the land of Shiva the storm god, the auspicious one, the destroyer and the transformer, whose lingam lined the entrance to the bare stage on the shore, the Greatest of Poets confided and lamented to India’s sons and daughters, “Oh, brothers and sisters of Asia, they do not understand the voice that speaks from heart to heart!”
Un abrazo afectuoso,
an affectionate hug
Paris, March 3, 2013
 Michel Onfray Hurtado (Argentan, France, January 1, 1959) is a contemporary French philosopher, writer, professor.