THIS DANGEROUS UNIVERSE

By William Markiewicz

All those harmful things hanging over our heads; tobacco, alcohol, allergy causing plants and animals... Escaping them is easy or difficult depending on our nature and/or our surroundings. Some people are more resistant than others or even immune to tobacco and alcohol as well as to allergy causing agents present in nature. Those people could be called "archaic" because they are in tune with our ancestors who didn't know how bad those things are. Alcohol, tobacco and other stimulants or relaxants, for human and even animal use, have existed since the dawn of time. It's true that diet and exercise help us to live longer and keep us more fit than our ancestors were. Still we've definitely lost some of their stamina. We are becoming sensitive to substances that were never irritants in the past so we react by eliminating from our lives all those elements that our immune system is supposed to fight. We deprive the immune system of its duties which sensitizes us even farther. If we continue in this way, people in the future wont be able to go out without masks and plants and animals will remain in vivariums, separated from viewers by sealed windows.

I heard on the French broadcast "Radio-Canada" an interview with a Brazilian artist-philosopher-psychologist established in Quebec. I couldn't catch his name because the French speakers on Radio Canada usually speed through the finishing sentences on the program, so if you didn't listen from the beginning you may not know to whom or to what you were listening. This artist thinks that in the Western World each of us is so preoccupied with security that we forget other aspects of life. "...We live ascetically the time given to us between the cradle and the old folks home..." Egocentrism has taken from us the notion of friendship and family and fear keeps us away from "salt and pepper", from any extremes where the risks and rewards are greater.

Years ago in Spain I read an essay in the daily press entitled, "The Philosophy of Beyond Measure." Nota bene I don't know any other daily press where philosophical essays abound as in the Spanish press. Perhaps because with their dictatorship they were not free to write about politics and now it remains as a style. If I don't remember the content of this extremely interesting topic, I remember the conclusion. The author said that we, of the Greek, Roman, and Judeo-Christian cultural background, cannot escape the measured way of life. Only a philosopher coming from the effervescent tropics might reveal to us the deep meaning of 'beyond measure.' It looks like this Brazilian Quebecker has taken on the job.


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