The journalist and the philosopher

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The journalist and the philosopher are both engaged in study. Journalists are trained to look at the world around them. They describe it, and they see its sins. And they become righteous.

Philosophers are trained to look at the world inside them, to forget their surroundings. They discover this world with fear and trembling. When they turn their gaze toward the world around them, they see in it the manifestation of their own sins. And they may become merciful.

Or maybe not.

Nursing students and being human

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Ready to fly. Photo Andrei

There is always a very humbling experience when I participate in a graduation or a pinning ceremony. This is not because I feel that I may have contributed in any way to the development of these students. In fact, I have not–and this is not modesty. The emotion that comes from these ceremonies has to do with something else: I have been a witness to a process of giving birth to beauty. And I emphasize: a witness. Of course, my colleagues and I (and I include here all colleagues, from faculty, to student services, to administration, to people working in all areas of the college) were there: we had lectures, graded papers, got angry at times, rejoiced at other times, but we still were only witnesses. Active witnesses, but witnesses. Beauty was already present in these students. We may have checked the status of the pregnancy at times, helped them in one way or another, but the beauty in them was growing without our doing. The students who graduate have been through many things. There were times when they may have considered to give it up. But they went on, faithful to the beauty that they knew they had within themselves.

Life truly is a miracle. We often believe we have much power over it, but, fortunately for us, there are moments when we realize that life takes place beyond ourselves. Such a moment is a pinning ceremony, like the one in which I participated today: during it, students thank the ones who have been together with them in their journey–their witnesses. It is an exercise in giving thanks well. Eucharistia.

All of these students will become nurses. This means that they will give themselves to others so that they could bring them back to health, to beauty. If we respond to the suffering of another with our presence, our own suffering gains in dignity, because we become what we are, human beings.

To be a nurse is to be a birthgiver of beauty, and it is moving and humbling to witness it. In fact, to be a nurse, to live life in giving oneself to another, is what it is to be human. It is a fight against loneliness and for living in communion.

 Can you imagine what it means for a philosopher to witness a notion incarnated?

Free style geometry or the happiness of soccer

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If death catches me on the soccer field, people can say that I died happy. I am fascinated with this sport, and I always lose myself in this activity–I become one with the happening, those people running geometrically but freely with a ball between two goals. I just got home from one game, and I barely breathe. I had taken an almost two months break from it-various things kept me away from the pitch–and, at my age, such break is felt in every cell of my body after a game. Still, the beauty of soccer–really, football for me–is bewildering.

It may well be that, beyond the pleasure of participating into an activity, what fascinates me is the free-style geometrical beauty of the sport. In soccer, everything is about triangles–I really wonder how come the sport seems to have been invented by the English and not by the Ancient Greeks or the Egyptians, the masters of geometry. 11 people–or 6, 7, or 8 in our old-boy games–move permanently (or to their abilities) to form triangles. Even if someone dribbles with the ball, he does it for nothing unless he is connected, at least potentially, with two other players from his team, in an imaginary triangle that, in its turn, is attached to some other triangles. After all, in a full team of 11 players, I can form 45 triangles at the same time (I let the mathematically inclined readers check my calculations). Can you imagine having 45 triangles in one’s mind while the points of these triangles are always in movement? And the beauty of it is that the 45 triangles themselves develop at every moment, because the players move, elongating or shortening the sides of the triangle. If one could always be aware of one’s triangles, one would truly be a genius on the field. And perhaps the best players of the world are so because of their capacities to form several free-style triangles at the same time in their minds.

Soccer is a game of constellations–it may be the reason why I feel I am in heaven when I play it. And if you think that the opposing team forms its own constellations, every player being at the same time part of 45 triangles (45 constellations), soccer becomes the world itself.  A geometrical heaven of free-constellations-triangles.

The thirds, nameless people for whom there is no song

Immigrant on Earth

Many may be familiar with Taylor Swift’s song Style (I included a video of it below). I have listened to it many times, but it was only this morning that it made me wonder about something: how would “the other girl” feel when listening to it? I do not assume that the song is about real life; I just imagine how this conversation would sound in the third person’s ears.

There’s something very human in these verses: a mutual acceptance based on the understanding that we are made of the same stuff. The girl in the song says, “I heard that you’ve been out and about with some other girl.” The guy confesses: “What you heard is true, but I can’t stop thinking about you.” Nothing special, young people sorting out their relationship. But then the girl replies, “I’ve been there, too, a few times.”

Now there is something quite…

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