**Death of an immortal (1)**
Silo’s death was made public. He was only 72, but his kidneys failed (a transplant had been suggested, which he refused) and he suffered from high blood pressure. But he refused all forms of care and treatment and did not want any of the solutions offered to extend his life. He said that life must be lived with quality or not at all.
Mario Rodríguez, *El Negro*, as he was known by his thousands of followers in the five continents, was a prolific and controversial writer, who provoked anger from International Communism, as well as capitalism and the most conservative Christianity. His proposals, collected in books, stories, press articles and hundreds of conferences around the world, form a real legacy of humanism which is becoming increasingly interesting to the new generations.
*“His teachings changed my life”*, says Graciela Rizzolo, a businesswoman linked to the world of fashion in Sitges, Barcelona and Buenos Aires. *“I will always be grateful to him”* – she adds – *and I think that his death is a loss not only on a personal level, but for all of humanity”*.
For years Graciela, like María Luisa B. in Barcelona, had been distant from the humanist movement which was inspired and led by Silo from the start of the 1970s, but both women recognise that his work is important and lasting.
*“In fact”* – emphasises María Luisa-, *“his death was a huge surprise to me as I had convinced myself that El Negro was immortal. He was one of those beings which come to life to help humanity with his messages. And some of his teachings have left their mark on me, like this statement from the book “Humanise Earth”. “You are not a shooting star, but a shining arrow flying towards the skies.”* She then mentioned another of the key texts in Silo’s literary collection, *“The Internal Landscape”* which, according to her, made a deep impression on her: *“Love the reality which you construct”*.
From Santiago de Chile, Gloria Mujica writes that Silo was her spiritual guide and her reference and that *“He had goodness and affection, helping me, through his teaching, with the physical separation when my eldest son travelled towards the Light”*. This is how she alludes to the death, in a domestic accident, of her son Mauricio.
In Spain, however, Silo’s ideas and proposals were viciously and stubbornly persecuted, to the extreme that the Chamber of Deputies issued a statement (which was later discredited) in which the Humanist Party was accused of being a dangerous sect. One of the instigators of the Parliamentary statement was the journalist and writer Pepe Rodríguez, who in his youth was part of Mario Rodríguez’s personal milieu.
The Argentinean author Lázaro Covadlo, who lives in Sant Pere de Rivas, who initially wrote under the name Eduardo, promoted Silo’s ideas in a book, now considered cult, entitled “Chronicles of the New Era”, which he later renounced.
Silo began his public journey on a historic day, the 4th of May 1969, when he gave a rousing speech to some 200 people in Punta de Vacas, a wild landscape in the Andes. *“The Healing of Suffering”*, now regarded as the ideological base for the Humanist Movement, shook up all left-wing political thinking at the time. Ideas about pain, suffering, violence, desire and pleasure were spread around the world (in Zambia there was a Government led by a president inspired by Silo’s Humanist principles) and they were developed and expanded in a copious literary production, which we will talk about next week.
**Death of an Immortal (2)**
**Silo and his last supper**
**In Berlin, meeting with various Nobel Peace Prize winners, the late humanist thinker and writer warned against poverty, hunger, violence and nuclear weapons.**
Tuesday the 28th of September. We are still not on strike but when they read this, it will have passed and we will be in another. Strikes are a constitutional right and rights are exercised or not, according to the occasion. This is why I will never understand why this paralysation of activities, which is not going to change anything (this is what we are already seeing) and which will make everything worse, had to happen. I think that much more would have been demonstrated – intelligence and value for example – if large unions had said that they would not hold any protest, because they had to support the recuperation and because all acts which weaken the Government make the right-wing stronger and, as you know, with the right-wing, what they say goes.
And what does all this have to do with the recent death of Mario Rodríguez Cobos, Silo, in his house in Mendoza, Argentina?
Firstly, this was the type of thing which Silo said and which annoyed politicians so much. *“I recognise the temporary triumph of anti-humanism”*, he declared in 1999 in Punta de Vacas, in the Andes, near the Argentinean border with Chile. His rejection of the idea of militant politics led him to abstain from all representation and he never appeared as a candidate for anything, despite gathering more than a million followers and sympathisers in almost 100 countries in five continents.
Secondly, when writing in advance risks are taken and things are written which are later disproved by reality. In my yard… last week I commented that none of the major European newspapers had reported the news of the death of this thinker, who if he had been born in Tibet, the Himalayas, India or Africa would have been acclaimed as a guru. Some readers have written to me to say that I have not been very careful with this statement as both El País and La Vanguardia dedicated obituaries to him in their editions on Tuesday 22nd and Wednesday 23rd of September, almost a week after his death. But I ask you if an obituary is news? These same days, all the newspapers, radio and television were filled with news of the death of José Antonio Labordeta (who, of course, deserved it) which did not prevent obituaries of the Aragonese singer songwriter and politician continuing to appear some days later.
Silo deserves this and more because his work – his words, his thoughts- continue to grow like a seed sown in fertile land. His followers, or successors, will make the world a more human and healthier place.
Silo preached against violence and talked of spirituality and when, in November last year (2009), he met with some of the most influential Nobel Peace Prize winners in Berlin, he warned against hunger in the world, called to fight against poverty and championed for the abolition of nuclear weapons. In January this year in Punta de Vacas he greeted the arrival of a global march for peace, against violence and for disarmament.
Some people criticise that his acts and affirmations sink into the work and figure of Jesus Christ. In fact Silo also had a Last Supper with those closest to him the night before his death, and he left a message which his widow will reveal in time. But, as a third world priest said “How much better would the world be if we imitated Jesus and were guided by his example!” Next week I hope to be able to relay some of the messages which I receive after commenting on the death of this immortal.
**Death of an Immortal (3)**
**The Danger of Writing about Silo**
**To be objective independent and true you only require your conscience to guide you; lacking any kind of affiliation and not being submitted to any other discipline which is not the truth…**
Never before in my life as a journalist have I had to defend myself as much as after having written a few articles about the death of Mario Rodríguez Cobos, Silo, the founder of the Humanist Party.
But to some of my readers I seem “too enthusiastic”, spreading Silo’s ideas and, for others I am a “paid messenger” who claims “with no modesty” to spread the ideas of “a visionary like Silo who dared to establish the bases for a new catechism and ceremonial rituals for saying goodbye to the dead”.
When I see these messages I cannot get the idea out of my head that for some deep (not to mention dark) reason there are those who write like this. I realise that they do not understand the type of journalism which I do, and are used to the type of reporters that we see and read every day. Yesterday, without saying more (and which is now on all of the social networking sites, including YouTube), the ineffable Jordi González (Tele5) got mad and lost control with the chatterboxes who make up the “La Noria” team.
I have never been politically active in the Humanist Party (something I am not proud of) just as I have never been politically active among socialists, communists, Christian Democrats or conservatives. I have done this (not being politically active) as I am aware that my situation as a professional journalist requires this. To be objective, independent and true you only need your conscience to guide you, there is no need for any affiliation or to submit to any discipline other than the truth, although this truth may not be your own, sometimes distorted by subjective considerations.
In my already extensive career as “Social Communicator” I have interviewed war criminals, weapons traffickers, pimps and even dictators: Stroessner of Paraguay; García Meza of Bolivia; Massera of Argentina; Pinochet of Chile; Aznar of Spain (he led us into an unjustified war with severe consequences) and I attended one of Sátrapa Fujimori’s last speeches as a re-election candidate to become President Peru. I have also been alongside famous names like Pope John Paul the Second who, in Mexico, I offered my right arm to help him exit an awkward situation in the Palafoxiano Seminary in Puebla. Nobody accused me of being a supporter of tyranny or a spokesman for the Pontiff.
Writing about Silo has brought me closer to uncompromised journalism and to my daughter Giselle and her mother (my ex-wife) Gloria, whom I did not understand or support when they chose to follow this great thinker and writer who called to *“Humanise the Earth”*.
Silo is no longer but his words continue flowing in the affection and respect shown by his followers and I will make no sharp comments except that I agree his message is from the future. Read this brief extract from one of his books, *“The Internal Landscape”*, and ask yourself if a visionary could have generated more truth and feeling: *“Let us look at the relationship you establish with your external landscape. It may be that you consider all objects, people, values, and affections as things presented for you to choose among and devour according to your own particular appetites. It is likely that this centripetal vision of the world denotes a contraction that reaches from your thoughts to your muscles. (…) From your thoughts to your muscles, everything has been taught to contract, not to let go. Hence, even when you act with generosity, calculation motivates your apparent disinterestedness. Everything enters and nothing leaves, and from your thoughts down to your muscles everything becomes intoxicated. And having contaminated all those around you, how can you later reproach them for their “ingratitude” toward you?”* (Translation of Humanizar la Tierra. Ed. Plaza y Janés, pgs., 99 and 100. May 1989).
*The three notes that comprise this article where written for El Eco de Sitges*
*Translation by Kirsty Cumming*