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Manuel Casado, Full Professor. Institute for Culture and Society. University of Navarra


Mon, 15 Apr 2019 10:40:00 +0000 Published in ABC

A falling tree makes more noise than a growing forest, says an anonymous saying. I think it contains a great truth. I hope we know how to discover it every day. We are not realists when we ignore the good things in life. I am referring to the most immediate and prosaic: the gift of the lives of others, the treasure of time, the miracle of nature, the charm of things. To be able to celebrate color and form with our eyes. We do not do justice to reality when we are in a hurry and breathless, anxious and impatient zappers, bulimic of novelties (Lipovetsky).

As Luis Ventoso recently recalled, in the world of information the saying "good news is not news", good news, bad news reigns. Hence, we live besieged by bad news: crimes, accidents, betrayals and breakups, which screens and loudspeakers shout them on the spot, expropriating our attention and annulling the calm space where astonishment springs up, where we can weigh the fust of things. But couldn't we do more to escape from the dictatorship of verbiage and pantaloons, so as not to live like drug addicts of the raging news: of what no one remembers the next day?

Fortunately, it is always in our power to stop this vicious circle and make way for a more peaceful and harmonious, more beautiful and more intense existence. It is a matter of giving ourselves our own rules and escaping from those imposed on us by the invasive offers of the market. Couldn't we be more imaginative and creative, and less gregarious, when it comes to programming our leisure time?

I am of the old opinion of generating spaces of silence and slowness if we want to savor the flavor of the world and of life, taking time to discover it and make it discover to the youngest, from childhood. Reading is one of those spaces, but not the only one; walking, contemplation of nature, landscape, museums, relaxed conversation, games, etc. Experts say -I cannot attest to it- that a certain "boredom" enhances creativity. But I can attest that the perpetual buzzing of the TV and the daze of social networks dry out the neurons.

Without this attitude of listening, the most noble and real things in life go unnoticed: the daily sacrifices of parents for their children; the punctual fulfillment of the tasks of official document to make things work; the care with which unknown people are attended to in so many services; the patience with which tasks that perhaps no one appreciates are done; and the wide world of the teaching or humanitarian professions, lacking in glitter and loudspeakers.

I return to the beginning: "A falling tree makes more noise than a growing forest". But to hear the rumor of the forest that grows, that is, the healthy and throbbing of life, that which does not creak or squeak; to be able to hear it, it is necessary, I insist, silence and calm. The poet says it best: "If we were ever silent/ as the trees, the clouds/ and the stones are silent, the trees, the clouds and the stones would be heard. [...]/ It is enough to be silent, to let the world sing/ and hear its fleeting voice to understand it" (Constantino Molina). However, alas, news is written about sudden events, not about gradual changes. Do we have the patience to wait?

With this attitude of listening, apparently indolent and good-natured, perhaps one day we will realize that we have contributed more to the world than with anxious and compulsive activism. "It is not the executioners who write history, it is not Goebbels or Molotov, but the honest people; to them belongs the last word [...] Good also exists! not only evil and the devil and stupidity. Evil is more energetic, it can act like lightning, like the Blitzkrieg; good, on the other hand, likes, disconcertingly strange, to delay. [...] But good returns, calmly, without haste" (Adam Zagajevski).

With this intimate conviction, perhaps we should savor that prayer of the Mass that says: "It is right and necessary, it is our duty and our salvation, to thank you always and everywhere, Lord". In this way we would do more justice to reality. We would be more realistic and less catastrophic. In the midst of the pimpampun of politics, the contemplation of the mysteries of Holy Week and Easter offers us a good opportunity to purify our vision and to rectify, if necessary, our point of view.