About Silo. Article II, from “Silo Speaks”

07.07.2014 - Ernesto H. De Casas

About Silo. Article II, from “Silo Speaks”
(Image by Archive Photo)

This article is available in Spanish and  Portugués

Continuing with the proposed articles about Silo’s Works, mentioned in the prologue of the recently published new edition of Silo Speaks by Leon Alado Editions in Spain, we can now present the following writings, precisely with the intention of bringing Silo to the readers.

During the visit to Asia, along with a group of friends coming from different areas of the world, I had the fortune to be at the two presentations that were done at that time. One was in Colombo, Sri Lanka’s capital city (ex Ceilan), where Silo, besides giving a public speech, had a conversation with members of the Buddhist’s Sangha and later, was also in  Chawpatty Beach, at the doors of Bombay (today’s Mumbay). This was a unique experience due to the agglomeration of people that come to the installations that afternoon, orderly and attentively, with total disposition to participate in that act.

We gradually arrived at Colombo from diverse places in the world and were pleasantly impressed by the tropical climate and that ancient people, always smiling and friendly. I can relate a very small and revealing incident. It happened that as soon as we landed at the airport from Japan,we asked the car driver to take us to a money exchange place; we were coming fromTokio and the Japanese custom dictates to have local current as soon as possible. As we were waiting at the bank’s counter, suddenly the driver, who was a humble young man,acting also as our translator, without any preambles asked:“What is more important to you (as foreigners)? He said so looking at the Japanese women with us, they, hesitant, answered: “Well, we don’t know for sure… maybe money is the most important. Yes, that…Inmediatly the young man laughs and comments to all present at the bank, in Sinhala language and all break out laughing… He tells us then “Here it is not like that, the more important thing, is religion, whichever is the one professed by each person, Buddhist, Hindi, Christian…, that is the most important; and we all get along” That was our introduction to that country, which put to trial the subject of priorities.

Our Siloist’s friend of that place had organized various activities. A central act, visits to different organizations and also a visit to the Prime Minister who welcome Silo and had an exchange about diverse themes. At the end of this meeting, Silo recommended to pay attention to the violence (given that at the time, in a part of the country there was a lot of violent activity by the secessionist guerrilla). The Prime Minister answered that that, it was not the problem; that the country was Buddhist and very pacific. However, a time later was a tremendous attack in the Capital against that country’s President with fatal consequences.  Once again Silo was not heard in very precise circumstances. (Let us remember that during his first dissertation in Mendoza in 1969, he was told that there was no violence in Argentina; that the violence was in Vietnam… Very soon after words,street upheavals happened as never seen before (with the newspapers headliners of the “Mendozazo” in reference to the grave conflict that was unleashed).

The exchange between Silo and the members of the Buddhist’s Shanga of Sri Lanka in 1981 was very fluid. He manifest that his message was simple and directed to the day- to- day of the people, recognizing his own limitations and underlying the importance to “… jump over his own problems to direct himself to others”

Here it is the nucleus of his message: to direct oneself to others. Based on the premises that “to give is better than to receive” And he emphasized in the idea “…that every act that ends in oneself,f generates contradiction and suffering… and in the idea “…that the actions that end in others are the only ones capable to overcome our own suffering”. And “…that enclosure, that individualism, the return ofthe actions only to oneself, are producing a total disintegrationin today’s man… there is only one action that allows the human being to break from contradiction and permanent suffering. This is the moral act in which the human being contributes by his actions to the overcoming of suffering in others. [1]

The conversation will continue. At another time the importance of the guide will be highlighted, in front of one monk’s commentary –With that of one helping others, isn’t there the risk of the “the blind helping the blind?”. To which Silo explained that even if blind, other senses will be there with which to help the traveler in his journey.

Later we attended the act whichwas translated to English, Singhala and Tamil,in a covered facility located in a lively and noisy zone of the country’s capitalthat is Buddhist by antonomasia. All this was a preview of what was to occur in our next visit stop: India.

We arrived to Bombay from Colombo and already there were lots of friend from diverse areas that preceded us. The team in charge of the act had been working full time in a number of chores, installations, sound, dissemination, press’srelease invitation and alike. For dissemination something original was done: an aerostatic balloon was launched, close to the beach, showing the phrase “Come to Silo’s talk”.

At the arrival in the hotel where we stayed, there was a press conference, with a translator, to whom Silo responded widely. Some of the titles of the published press articles said:“Silo, the Argentinean philosopherin Bombay”…

While the preparations were on the way, installing chairs, dais, microphones and speakers, Silo visited the place appreciating the niceness of the bystanders and chatted with some of them by means of an interpreter.

The personal invitations and one or another press announcement did the rest to have an impressive amount of people attending which filled the place

The day of the act, the public came early in advance and in an orderly fashion to the beach; a soft breeze blew until dusk when it became windy accompanying Silo’s voice transmitted in four idioms: Spanish, English, Hindi and Gujarati. Anthologicaljourney!!!

6. In Sri Lanka.  Silo arrives to the far Asia, where the great teachings were originated and this is the land of the most orthodox Buddhism. Serving a large historical cycle, your proposal is now universalized. World is already something. In a talk with Buddhist monks will highlight the importance of the moral force in running and solidarity of the act, with acts of conduct launched to reach others, such as the valid action. I think it is noteworthy that in any other place Silo was received with the layout and kindness first by the authorities of the country and then by these people manifestly religious. It is a very nice touch. Completing a great historical cycle, his proposal is now universalized. It is now something worldwide. In a talk with Buddhist monks he highlighted the importance of the moral force that is set in motion and the acts of solidarity, with acts of conduct launched to reach others, as a valid action. I think it is noteworthy that in any other place Silo was received with the disposition and kindness, first by the authorities of the country and then by these people manifestly religious. Important detail!.

7. In Bombay, India. While the preparations were on the way, installing chairs, dais, microphones and speakers, Silo at ease, visited the place appreciating the niceness of the bystanders. The mouth to mouth invitation and a couple of announcements in the press did the rest. Our eyes were widen in awe before the thousands of participants that came to listen to that man, that in contrast with other travelers that come in search… he was going to talk about his certainties, delving into crucial themes, such as the dehumanization of the Earth. He told us: “Good is all that betters life. Bad is all that which opposes life. Good is that which binds the people. Bad is all that unbinds. Good is all that affirms: “There is still future”. Bad is to say “There is no future nor meaning in life”. Good is give to the people faith in themselves. Bad is the fanaticism that opposes life “. That moving speech ended, late into the night, when he proposed experiencingthe conversion of the meaning in life and communicating it to all, with _I would like to repeat these phrases: “Go to your parents, your mate, colleagues, friends and enemies and tell them with an open heart: ‘Something big and new has happened today in me’ and then explain to them this message of reconciliation.”

8. About the human. We are still in the eighties; back in Buenos Aires where there is a center of studies about his thinking, in which he also participates. When consulted, he exposes his vision on what is the human:something inherent in its humanist approach that will lead, precisely, to the New Humanism. Based on these explanations we do this exercise: ” …I feel the human in me, I feel the human in you”.

9. The religiosity in the world today. Now the “Casa Suiza” (SuizHouse), in the capital city of Buenos Aires, recognized center for meetings and conferences, crowded by an audience eager to listen to Silo, whohas not made an expositionfor a few years and will address a topic that is very near to him: Religiosity. The presenter makes a review through the previous presentations, highlighting the hostilities suffered and how have been circumvented until able to reach this point in that it is once again possible to lecture in public. With erudition, alludes to the topic, clarifies that his it is not a scientific approach. Emphasizes that a new religiosity has emerged in the world today with a rebellious overtone, that will cause modifications in the traditional formulas and in most aspects. It is certainly, an expression of the sacred in our time. This are topics that he continue to address in the following decades.

In finishing with this thematic point, let me relate it with a phrase that we knew of his early writings, when as a young man already outlined his thinking:

We must resurrect God.

I want a God that listens and speaks to me. Not a dead echo of my acute silence.[ 2].

Other topics in future articles.


[1] See: Comentariesto Silo’s Message. Personal experiences related with The Valid Action. From Karen Rohn. www.silosmessage.netwww.elmensajedesilo.net

[2] One of Silo’sfirst known written phrases out of a short novel, where the term ‘resurrect’ can be better understood as ‘rebirth, a return to the manifestation of the human spirit already rebelling before any apparent defeat, as were posed in various pessimist ideologies of the XIX and XX centuries.

Categories: Humanism and Spirituality, South America

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