That 4th of May 1969 was an unprecedented day without a doubt. Everything had been prepared, back in the city and in the place itself so Silo could give his first public address, and with a gathering facing the imposed restraints by the then dictatorship. People arrived from various Argentine provinces and Chilean cities as well as some locals to the place. It was not easy, but Silo was adamant he would make his contribution known to the public.

By E.H. de Casas, Humanist, Mendoza, May 2016

It was a sunny day; we arrived in private cars and buses, we were all eager to hear him in that mountainous landscape next to the highway. A subtle emotion emerged within people. The poles with orange pennants marked the place where he would speak. We gathered around in calm; in that silence that can only be produced by the mountains and their magnificence, a gentle wind swayed the pennants. It was noon.

A previous speaker (the Master of Ceremonies) read the preceding speeches made that year by Silo, such as the “Isla Negra Dialogues” speech delivered by the Pacific Ocean of the Chilean coast. Hearing those speeches prepared us for the form, the tone and the language that would be used in the main speech yet to come.

And what did Silo say then?

In synthesis, with a poetic style and addressing those who were attentively listening, encouraging them to take into account his proposals, he would clearly explain who he was (and who he was not), followed by a reference to life’s more important knowledge (the “real wisdom”); which he explained is a question of personal experience, very personal and intimate, which contributes to our self-clarification.

He emphasised that life’s most important concern lies in the comprehension of human suffering and how to overcome it.

This is, as I understand it, the very substance of his proposal, the overcoming of the major difficulties. It is as if he presented the overcoming of suffering and the use of nonviolence in all its forms as a framework to explain everything else. In time, he would introduce New Humanism from a psycho-social context and Silo’s Message from a spiritual and profound change outlook.

That day, with a deep and resonant voice, word over word impinged upon us, interlacing into sentences, each one more important than the previous, and let’s put it this way, without the addition of anything secondary or superfluous he would outline the profile of an essential message. Further and as confirmation of the words was his great determination to express and communicate his views, hence revealing an individual with exemplary strength, energy and with such resolution that left us without any doubts.

Over the passage of time, we feel that that day, almost five decades ago, is as current today as it was then, and as it will be tomorrow. All the more relevant in fact, if we take into account the tremendous events happening in our times. Where precisely, the increase of violence, and the increase of suffering, seem to be default conditions, which mark an uncertain future, seldom experienced in previous epochs. People fear for their own personal integrity and the search for valid signals never stops. Perhaps we can take advantage of this worldwide shake-up to focus at last on what is truly important and engenders meaning.

The following excerpt from the harangue often plays back in our minds: “These, then, are the great enemies of humanity: fear of sickness, fear of poverty, fear of death, fear of loneliness. ….. Notice how that violence always stems from desire. The more violent a person is, the more gross are that person’s desires.”

Today, we observe many violent people, in diverse fields, with inadmissible desires relentlessly imposing their aberrant appetites onto others.

In another paragraph he tells and suggests: “Only inner faith and inner meditation can end the violence in you, in others, and in the world around you. All the other doors are false and do not lead away from this violence. This world is on the verge of exploding with no way to end the violence! Do not choose false doors”.

Just so, Silo provides us with guidelines to avoid confusion: “No” to false solutions, “Yes” to internal faith, “Yes” to those reflections which lead, together with others, to surpass the situation within which we find ourselves – in truth!

Surrounded by so many complications, yet, despite that, to be greatly thankful and to communicate this worthy proposal to others, a proposal as authentic as it is solid.

To take leave on this May anniversary with Silo’s final inspiration in that talk: “Carry peace within you, and carry it to others…. To you, my brother and sister, I cast this hope – this hope of joy, this hope of love – so that you elevate your heart and elevate your spirit, and so that you do not forget to elevate your body”.

So it is, deep within ourselves, deep within each one and all of us, where those hopes reside as a never-to-be extinguished flame which drives our best purposes – we appeal to that flame.

Translated from Spanish by Decler