junho 26, 2014

«Naquele tempo, disse Jesus aos seus discípulos: «Se Me amardes, guardareis os meus mandamentos. E Eu pedirei ao Pai, que vos dará outro Paráclito, para estar sempre convosco. Ele é o Espírito da verdade, que o mundo não pode receber, porque não O vê nem O conhece, mas que vós conheceis, porque habita convosco e está em vós. Não vos deixarei orfãos: voltarei para junto de vós. Daqui a pouco o mundo já não Me verá, mas vós ver-Me-eis, porque Eu vivo e vós vivereis. Nesse dia reconhecereis que Eu estou no Pai e que vós estais em Mim e Eu em vós. Se alguém aceita os meus mandamentos e os cumpre, esse realmente Me ama. E quem Me ama será amado por meu Pai e Eu amá-lo-ei e manifestar-Me-ei a ele.» (Jo 14, 15-21)

junho 21, 2014



Flat as the table
It’s placed on.
Nothing moves beneath it
and it seeks no outlet.
Above – my human breath
creates no stirring air
and leaves its total surface

Its plains, valleys are always green,
uplands, mountains are yellow and brown,
while seas, oceans remain a kindly blue
beside the tattered shores.

Everything here is small, near accessible.
I can press volcanoes with my fingertip,
stroke the poles without thick mittens,
I can with a simple glance
encompass every desert
with the river lying just beside it.
A few trees stand for ancient forests,
you couldn’t lose your way among them.

In the east and west,
above and below the equator –
quiet like pins dropping,
and in every black pinprick
people keep on living.
Mass graves and sudden ruins
are out of the picture.

Nations’ borders are barely visible
as if they wavered – to be or not.
I like maps, because they lie.
Because they give no access to the vicious truth.
Because great-heartedly, good-naturedly
they spread before me a world
not of this world.

Wislawa Szymborska, in ‘The New Yorker, April 14, 2014
(translated from the Polish, by Clare Cavanagh)

junho 19, 2014

As horas que emolduram, com um brando
lavor o doce olhar em que se habita,
hão-de tiranizá-lo, desfeando
o que de sublimarem tinham dita.
O tempo sem descanso leva o verão
ao terrível inverno e os mistura:
a seiva com geada, a folha ao chão,
nudez geral e neve em formusura.
Não destilasse o verão algum proveito,
líquido prisioneiro em vidro posto,
passava co’a beleza o seu efeito:
nem ele nem lembrança de seu gosto.
      No inverno, destilada e só fragrância,
      a flor, perdida a forma, é só substância. 


Shakespeare, Sonetos, trad.
Vasco Graça-Moura, Bertrand, 2002, p.21

junho 12, 2014

The closing of american mind

«There is one thing a professor can be absolutely certain of: almost every student entering the university believes, or says he believes, that truth is relative. If this belief is put to the test, one can count on the students' reaction: they will be uncomprehending. That anyone should regard the proposition as not self-evident astonishes them, as though he were calling into question 2 + 2 = 4 . These are things you don't think about. The students' backgrounds are as various as America can provide. Some are religious, some atheists; some are to the Left, some to the Right; some intend to be scientists, some humanists or professionals or businessmen; some are poor, some rich. They are unified only in their relativism and in their allegiance to equality. And the two are related in a moral intention.

The relativity of truth is not a theoretical insight but a moral postulate, the condition of a free society, or so they see it. They have all been equipped with this framework early on, and it is the modern replacement for the inalienable natural rights that used to be the traditional American grounds for a free society. That it is a moral issue for students is revealed by the character of their response when challenged—a combination of disbelief and indignation: "Are you an absolutist?," the only alternative they know, uttered in the same tone as "Are you a monarchist?" or "Do you really believe in witches?" This latter leads into the indignation, for someone who believes in witches might well be a witchhunter or a Salem judge.

The danger they have been taught to fear from absolutism is not error but intolerance. Relativism is necessary to openness; and this is the virtue, the only virtue, which all primary education for more than fifty years has dedicated itself to inculcating. Openness and the relativism that makes it the only plausible stance in the face of various claims to truth and various ways of life and kinds of human beings —is the great insight of our times. The true believer is the real danger.

The study of history and of culture teaches that all the world was mad in the past; men always thought they were right, and that led to wars, persecutions, slavery, xenophobia, racism, and chauvinism. The point is not to correct the mistakes and really be right; rather it is not to think you are right at all.»  

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