Thursday, May 12, 2022

Letters To A Spanish Youngster CCXLI

Letters To A Spanish Youngster CCXLI


Your Honor of the great fire in the heart,

L'amour, la tendresse, la gratitude que j'ai pour toi,* dear human but also archangelical being, are so big that sometimes I feel "desamparé... sans direction"*.

I remember well my anguish every day after losing sight of You when You were at my company's headquarters, high priestess... The writer said*:

Chaque foi que je te quitte, j'ai une angoisse et un tremblement au fond du coeur. Où es-tu ? Où es-tu, mon amour ? Tu m'attends, n'est-ce pas, comme je t'aatends, avec la même forte et longue fidélité, avec crainte et certitude.

[Every time that I leave you, I have an anguish and feel a tremor at the bottom of my heart. Where are you ? Where are you, my love ? You are waiting for me, aren't you, as I am waiting for you, with the same strong and consistent loyalty, with fear and certainty.]

At times, Tout cela est stupide et n'a aucun sens* (all is stupid and have no sense), dear master and absolute governor. To lose You, to have no access to Your grace, Your Grace, is really unfortunate and hurtful. If only You could write to me! [Vous] ne peux pas savoir le bonheur que m'apporte la chère écriture.* (You cannot know the happiness that the dear writing provides me with.)

You, mystical person of the highest qualities, are so high in the hierarchy of human beings, that I cannot say, as the writer said, "avec toutes nos différences, nous sommes si semblables, si fraternels et si complices (au beau sense du mot)"*. On the contrary, we are really different, and very distant in the cosmic order.

Even with this belief, is it possible que nou pouissons enfin nous appuyer l'un sur l'autre, vraiment ! Il me semble qu'alors il n'y aurait pas de limite à mes forces. Et, pour tout ce que je veux faire, j'ai besoin de forces sans limites (we may finally be able to lean on each other, really! It seems to me that then there would be no limit to my strength. And, for everything I want to do, I need strength with no limits.)*

After re-reading this last paragraph, I think it is applicable to me what Camus wrote, who said to his beloved*:

Tu vois, je suis un incorrigible imbécile. [You see, I am an incorrigible idiot],


My person of the ҉ incomprehensibly wonderful members, incapable of being grasped with the mind, hard even to look on ҉ ,** despite the years already passed I cannot forget Your divine voice, graceful movements, & treatment of the others.

Of course the memories fade :-( , and have no longer Your sacred words and laughter in a part of my brain from which to recall them with ease, but even so, I feel at times I am right next to that secret temple where encapsulated in gold we Your sad followers could find the vibrations of air that You uttered so much time ago. :-)

Your spiritual attributes were so magical, Your Honor, that at times it seems to me that just with a bit more effort I could recover those air waves stored in the hidden shrine and hear Your voice again, as if time didn't pass.

But what I am saying? Obviously je suis désorienté, bizarrement inapte, incapable de rien faire (I'm disoriented, unfit in an indescribable way, unable to do anything)*. In great part is my not having Your light in my life.

In other part, I am sure that endogenous reasons would make me suffer all the same, even if having everything I needed or wanted. Even if You paid attention to me, my frail nature would be the source of sufferings.


In the human nature department, I wanted to share with You, my lord, these newspieces... Beyond what is diffcult to know and needs lots of work (learning about our hospital surviving rates for surgery and illnesses), we focus in the easy to process, things like how warm are the nurses, or having hotel-like rooms†:

Abstract: Consumer-driven health care is often heralded as a new quality paradigm in medicine. However, patients-as-consumers face difficulties in judging the quality of their medical treatment. With a sample of 3,000 U.S. hospitals, we find that neither medical quality nor patient survival rates have much impact on patient satisfaction with their hospital. In contrast, patients are very sensitive to the “room and board” aspects of care that are highly visible. Quiet rooms have a larger impact on patient satisfaction than medical quality, and communication with nurses affects satisfaction far more than the hospital-level risk of dying. Hospitality experiences create a halo effect of patient goodwill, while medical excellence and patient safety do not. Moreover, when hospitals face greater competition from other hospitals, patient satisfaction is higher but medical quality is lower. Consumer-driven health care creates pressures for hospitals to be more like hotels. These findings lend broader insight into unintended consequences of marketization.

The second paper, summarized here, tells us that demagogues do not mobilize the unconvinced, but coordinate the already prone to resort to violence‡:

Abstract: Large-scale mobilization is often accompanied by the emergence of demagogic leaders and the circulation of unverified rumors, especially if the mobilization happens in support of violent or disruptive projects. In those circumstances, researchers and commentators frequently explain the mobilization as a result of mass manipulation. Against this view, evolutionary psychologists have provided evidence that human psychology contains mechanisms for avoiding manipulation and new studies suggest that political manipulation attempts are, in general, ineffective. Instead, we can understand decisions to follow demagogic leaders and circulate fringe rumors as attempts to solve a social problem inherent to mobilization processes: The coordination problem. Essentially, these decisions reflect attempts to align the attention of individuals already disposed for conflict.

To close this letter, friend of the beautiful, and the honest, and of what is good, I wish to show You some of what Don Denis of Portugal wrote to his lady. Just a common case of unrequited love֍:

Prazmi a mí, senhor, de morrer,                   [Pláceme a mí, senhor, morir,

e prazm’ ende por vosso mal,                       y pláceme también por vuestro mal,

ca sei que sentiredes qual                            que sé que sentiréis tal

mingua vós, pois ei de fazer,                        mengua vos (pues así lo haré),

ca non perde pouco senhor                          porque no pierde poco la senhor                                      

quando perde tal servidor                             cuando pierde tal servidor

qual perdedes en me perder.                       como el que vos perdéis al perderme.

E con mia mort’ ei eu prazer,                       Y con mi muerte tengo yo placer,                                        

porque sei que vos farei tal                           porque sé que a vos haré tal                                     

mingua qual fez omen leal,                           mengua, como la de un hombre leal,

o máis que podia seer                                  todo lo más que se puede ser

a quen ama, pois morto for,                          por quien se ama, hasta la muerte,

e fostes vós mui sabedor                              porque supisteis vos 

d’ eu por vós atal mort’ aver.                         que yo por vos tal muerte tendría.

E pero que ei de sofrer                                 Y ya que he de sufrir

a morte mui descomunal                              una muerte tan descomunal,

con mia mort’ oimais non m’ én cal,             con mi muerte desde hoy nada me importará,

por quanto vos quero dizer                           y por eso os quiero decir

ca meu serviç’ e meu amor                           que mi servicio y mi amor

seravos d’ escusar peior                               serán a vos de excusar peor

que a min d’ escusar viver.                           que a mí de excusar vivir.

E certo podedes saber                                 Y ciertamente, podéis saber

que pero s’ o meu tempo sal                        que ya que mi tiempo se acaba

per morte, non á ja i al                                  por la muerte, y ya nada importa,

que me non quer’ end’ eu doer,                    y no me quiero de ello doler,

porque a vós farei maior                               porque a vos haré mayor

mingua que fez Nostro Senhor                     mengua que la que hizo Nuestro Señor

de vassal’ a senhor prender.                        cuando a este vasallo arrancó de su senhor.]

(senhor = the lady)

Rien, rien n'a plus de sens pour moi, Your Honor... Je ne sais plus vivre.* Yours faithfully

a. r. ante Su Señoría



* Albert Camus & Maria Casarès's Correspondance. Paris: Gallimard, 2017. Page 109; 109; 103; 97; 96; 92; 92; 92; 89; 98.

** enūma eliš ("When Above," or "The Marduk Exaltation Poem," or "The Babylonian Creation Epic"), tablet I, adapted from the ETANA webpage, digital version at

Patients as Consumers in the Market for Medicine: The Halo Effect of Hospitality. Cristobal Young, Xinxiang Chen. Social Forces, soaa007, February 13 2020,

The Evolutionary Psychology of Mass Mobilization: How Disinformation and Demagogues Coordinate Rather Than Manipulate. Michael Bang Petersen. Current Opinion in Psychology, February 20 2020.


Violent mobilization is often attributed to manipulation from, for example, demagogues.

The human mind contains psychological defenses against manipulation, also in politics.

Mass mobilization requires that the attention of group members is coordinated.

Demagogues and disinformation can be explained as tools for achieving coordination.

Mobilized individuals are predisposed for conflict rather than manipulated into conflict.

֍ Adapted from María Gimena del Rio Riande's Cantigas del rey Don Denis. In "Un libro oscuro. 105 poemas negros". Buenos Aires: Bajo la luna, 2012.

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