Some questions worth answering

  • From all the knowledge and experience that has been gathered so far, what are the most important lessons or pieces of knowledge which a person should (actively/functionally) know in the present day? What is the best way to teach it? What is the best way to make that knowledge available to everyone?

  • How can we include the outcomes of moral philosophy in all our activities? How can we teach decision making based on an objective and easy to use ethical framework? How can we promote a worldwide culture of ethical thinking? How can we make ethics fashionable?

  • Most people find it difficult to acknowledge or relate to the figures and indicators which are normally used to explain poverty, inequality and private capital accumulation. How can the “mathematics of inequality” be developed and explained to promote awareness and responsibility, especially among the richest part of the population?

  • The current knowledge we have from environmental science about the impact of human activities does not really influence the way most people live their daily lives. How can we bridge this gap between knowing and doing?

  • Although we live in a globalised world, most people do not understand the historical and geopolitical dimension of the moment and place they were born, and in which they are now living. They also have difficulties understanding how their lives are connected to the lives of people in other parts of the world. How can we help individuals and collectives to understand their place on this earth and their role in shaping its future?

El Matallana



Nostalgia por lo no hecho y por lo no vivido
por aquella que un día quiso ser mi esposa y luego quiso ser mi enemiga

Nostalgia por el amiguito al que no le pudieron pagar más la escuela
aunque la escuela era barata, para los pobres

Nostalgia por aquel país de infancia y por aquel patriotismo infantil
cuando de verdad creía en una bandera porque me dejaban cantar a todo pulmón

Nostalgia por tantas vidas que sólo conocen la muerte y por tanta muerte hecha vida, para que algunos sigan escupiéndonos desde la cima

Nostalgia por la idea de felicidad que tenía cuando era infeliz, porque ahora que soy feliz tengo demasiadas opciones y el tiempo bien medido

Nostalgia por las vidas que definitivamente no pude salvar y por el pasado que no fue mi culpa, por la tristeza de quienes me dieron vida sin entender lo que estaban haciendo

Nostalgia por todas las amistades que se perdieron en el camino, por las hijas e hijos que nunca tuve, por los años que no pude estar al lado de mi hermano…

tal vez el único sentimiento verdadero y la única filosofía,
nostalgia por el mundo que ya sabemos que no es posible,
por un amor que no necesite esa palabra, por las palabras nunca dichas y los abrazos no dados que se transformaron en puños o lágrimas,
nostalgia por mi cuerpo que desaparece poco a poco, mi cuerpo que soy yo, nada más, más que nostalgia por eso mismo,
nostalgia por ti que me amas tanto ahora sabiendo que no sabes por cuánto tiempo, porque todos los tiempos de todas las cosas están bien medidos,
nostalgia por tantos lenguajes masacrados, tantas especies destruidas, por este planeta que se desvanece, entre tantas mentiras que se han vuelto verdades,
nostalgia por pensamientos diferentes a la triste idea de un sólo cuerpo, un sólo amor, una sola felicidad, una sola verdad, una sola religión, un sólo género, un sólo poder y una sola familia,
nostalgia porque la idea del otro bien podría ser otra,
nostalgia por las palabras de aquel tiempo,
por un mundo lleno de poesías,
por las florecitas que daba con amor a mi madre y por mi sonrisa de niño…

Nostalgias, querida,
siento nostalgias.

El Matallana

De ecos



Por supuesto que no guardo rencor

tengo suerte de haber podido ir más allá

de eso

casi que los veo con ternura

a pesar de la rabia

y la impotencia

porque el pasado poco cambia


Digamos que trato de entenderlos

de descifrar por qué hicieron lo que hicieron

¿Por qué tomaron esas decisiones?

¿Por qué ignoraron lo que ahora parece tan evidente?

No sé qué sentir

Su fracaso me ha hecho lo que soy

y sin su estupidez no hubiera hecho lo que he hecho

sólo tengo eso

la especulación es locura o dramatismo

y lo que no fue

no ha sido simplemente


¿Cuántas vidas tendré que vivir para reparar su daño?

¿Dónde comienza o termina mi pasado?

¿Cuáles son mis responsabilidades?


El presente se confunde entre el sueño y el deseo.

El pasado es una seca fuente de verdades.

Ojalá el futuro no sea remordimiento.


El Matallana



?Dónde está la fantasía?

Repiten la vida

que otros quieren que repitan

Y tratan de convencerme

con sueños que son ajenos

no de ellos

ni bellos

una espiral sin sentido

que no causa vértigo

sino somnolencia

o ligera hipnosis


Me preguntan sobre poesía

como si un poema fuera una cosa de esas

que llevan en los bolsillos

u otra de las banderas que les recuerdan su valía

sin valor

y sin substancia


Se miran a los espejos todo el día

porque las aguas cristalinas quedan demasiado lejos

o les asustan

o ya no existen


Yo siento que mi alma desaparece porque nadie la nombra

me pierdo en un bosque de voces que nada dicen

que giran perpetuamente

alimentando un monstruo antiguo

que nos devora inclementemente


Los mares de este mundo me rodean

soy libre de vez en cuando

cuando las nubes blancas se levantan

sobre el azul horizonte


Su honesta sonrisa me miente

yo quiero creerle

y creer en ti fantasía

en una vida sin futuros o pasados

en un instante que me pertenece


Vámonos pronto amada

corazón de melón


nada nos espera ya en su nada

sólo nuestra vida



El Matallana

Are you really autonomous?


The attainment of autonomy is manifested by the release or recovery of three capacities: awareness, spontaneity and intimacy.


Awareness means the capacity to see a coffeepot and hear the birds sing in one’s own way, and not the way one was taught. It may be assumed on good grounds that seeing and hearing have a different quality for infants than for grownups (1), and that they are more aesthetic and less intellectual in the first’ years of life. A little boy sees and hears birds with delight. Then the “good father” comes along and feels he should “share” the experience and help his son “develop.” He says: “That’s a jay, and this is a sparrow.” The moment the little boy is concerned with which is a jay and which is a sparrow, he can no longer see the birds or hear them sing. He has to see and hear them the way his father wants him to. Father has good reasons on his side, since few people can afford to go through life listening to the birds sing, and the sooner the little boy starts his “education” the better. Maybe he will be an ornithologist when he grows up. A few people, however, can still see and hear in the old way. But most of the members of the human race have lost the capacity to be painters, poets or musicians, and are not left the option of seeing and hearing directly even if they can afford to; they must get it secondhand. The recovery of this ability is called here “awareness.” Physiologically awareness is eidetic perception, allied to eidetic imagery (2). Perhaps there is also eidetic perception, at least in certain individuals, in the spheres of taste, smell and kinesthesia, giving us the artists in those fields: chefs, perfumers and dancers, whose eternal problem is to find audiences capable of appreciating their products.

Awareness requires living in the here and now, and not in the elsewhere, the past or the future. A good illustration of possibilities, in American life, is driving to work in the morning in a hurry. The decisive question is: “Where is the mind when the body is here?” and there are three common cases.

1. The man whose chief preoccupation is being on time is the one who is furthest out. With his body at the wheel of his car, his mind is at the door of his office, and he is oblivious to his immediate surroundings except insofar as they are obstacles to the moment when his soma will catch up with his psyche. This is the Jerk, whose chief concern is how it will look to the boss. If he is late, he will take pains to arrive out of breath. The compliant Child is in command, and his game is “Look How Hard I’ve Tried.” While he is driving, he is almost completely lacking in autonomy, and as a human being he is in essence more dead than alive. It is quite possible that this is the most favorable condition for the development of hypertension or coronary disease.

2. The Sulk, on the other hand, is not so much concerned with arriving on time as in collecting excuses for being late. Mishaps, badly timed lights and poor driving or stupidity on the part of others fit well into his scheme and are secretly welcomed as contributions to his rebellious Child or righteous Parent game of “Look What They Made Me Do.” He, too, is oblivious to his surroundings except as they subscribe to his game, so that he is only half alive. His body is in his car, but his mind is out searching for blemishes and injustices.

3. Less common is the “natural driver,” the man to whom driving a car is a congenial science and art. As he makes his way swiftly and skillfully through the traffic, he is at one with his vehicle. He, too, is oblivious of his surroundings except as they offer scope for the craftsmanship which is its own reward, but he is very much aware of himself and the machine which he controls so well, and to that extent he is alive. Such driving is formally an Adult pastime from which his Child and Parent may also derive satisfaction.

4. The fourth case is the person who is aware, and who will not hurry because he is living in the present moment with the environment which is here: the sky and the trees as well as the feeling of motion. To hurry is to neglect that environment and to be conscious only of something that is still out of sight down the road, or of mere obstacles, or solely of oneself. A Chinese man started to get into a local subway train, when his Caucasian companion pointed out that they could save twenty minutes by taking an express, which they did. When they got off at Central Park, the Chinese man sat down on a bench, much to his friend’s surprise. “Well,” explained the former, “since we saved twenty minutes, we can afford to sit here that long and enjoy our surroundings.” The aware person is alive because he knows how he feels, where he is and when it is. He knows that after he dies the trees will still be there, but he will not be there to look at them again, so he wants to see them now with as much poignancy as possible.


Spontaneity means option, the freedom to choose and express one’s feelings from the assortment available (Parent feelings, Adult Feelings and Child feelings). It means liberation, liberation from the compulsion to play games and have only the feelings one was taught to have.


Intimacy means the spontaneous, game-free candidness of an aware person, the liberation of the eidetically perceptive, uncorrupted Child in all its naïveté living in the here and now. It can be shown experimentally (3) that eidetic perception evokes affection, and that candidness mobilizes positive feelings, so that there is even such a thing as “one-sided intimacy” – a phenomenon well known, although not by that name, to professional seducers, who are able to capture their partners without becoming involved themselves. This they do by encouraging the other person to look at them directly and to talk freely, while the male or female seducer makes only a well-guarded pretense of reciprocating.

Because intimacy is essentially a function of the natural Child (although expressed in a matrix of psychological and social complications), it tends to turn out well if not disturbed by the intervention of games. Usually the adaptation to Parental influences is what spoils it, and most unfortunately this is almost a universal occurrence. But before, unless and until they are corrupted, most infants seem to be loving (4), and that is the essential nature of intimacy, as shown experimentally.


  1. Berne, E. “Primal Images & Primal Judgment.” Psychiatric Quarterly. 29: 634-658, 1955.
  2. Jaensch, E. R. Eidetic Imagery. Harcourt, Brace & Company, New York, 1930.
  3. These experiments are still in the pilot stage at the San Francisco Social Psychiatry Seminars. The effective experimental use of transactional analysis requires special training and experience, just as the effective experimental use of chromatography or infrared spectrophotometry does. Distinguishing a game from a pastime is no easier than distinguishing a star from a planet. See Berne, E. “The Intimacy Experiment.” Transactional Analysis Bulletin. 3: 113, 1964. “More About Intimacy.” Ibid. 3: 125, 1964.
  4. Some infants are corrupted or starved very early (marasmus, some colics) and never have a chance to exercise this capacity.


* Adapted from: Eric Berne M.D. (1910-1970). Games People Play – The Psychology of Human Relationships (1964). Chapter 16, page 158.

We and They

Father and Mother, and Me,

Sister and Auntie say

All the people like us are We,

And every one else is They.

And They live over the sea,

While We live over the way,

But-would you believe it? – They look upon We

As only a sort of They!


We eat pork and beef

With cow-horn-handled knives.

They who gobble Their rice off a leaf,

Are horrified out of Their lives;

While they who live up a tree,

And feast on grubs and clay,

(Isn’t it scandalous? ) look upon We

As a simply disgusting They!


We shoot birds with a gun.

They stick lions with spears.

Their full-dress is un-.

We dress up to Our ears.

They like Their friends for tea.

We like Our friends to stay;

And, after all that, They look upon We

As an utterly ignorant They!


We eat kitcheny food.

We have doors that latch.

They drink milk or blood,

Under an open thatch.

We have Doctors to fee.

They have Wizards to pay.

And (impudent heathen!) They look upon We

As a quite impossible They!


All good people agree,

And all good people say,

All nice people, like Us, are We

And every one else is They:

But if you cross over the sea,

Instead of over the way,

You may end by (think of it!) looking on We

As only a sort of They!


Joseph Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936)

Alberto Caeiro’s way

A. Caeiro’s way

The invisible hand of the wind

skirts over the grasses

When it lets go,

jumping between the green intervals

crimson poppies

yellow daisies together

and some other blue flowers

that you couldn’t see straightaway


I don’t have whom to love

nor life that I want

nor death that I steal

Through me

like through the grasses

a wind that only bends them

to let them be what they were


Also through me

a desire uselessly blows

the stems of my intentions

the flowers of what I imagine

and everything turns to what it was

with nothing that takes place.


Non-official translation from the original in Portuguese: “A mão invisível do vento…(À la manière de A. Caeiro)”, Ricardo Reis (Fernando Pessoa, 1888-1935).

If you want to read the Spanish version of this poem, follow this link:


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Pupila mortal – Mortal pupil



No es el lugar

soy yo y mis múltiples duelos

mis agazapados, sordos deseos

y el más oscuro anhelo

del abismo más allá de nuestros cuerpos

en la pupila mortal que observa el miedo

o la oscuridad voraz que engulle el tiempo.


It is not the place

it is me and my multiple griefs

my crouching, deaf desires

and the most obscure longing

for the abyss beyond our bodies

in the mortal pupil observing fear

or the voracious darkness swallowing time.


El Matallana

Our kiss



I know they also told you

about fear

and hate

us being excluded

from their feast

from our fate

from our fading eternity


You learned very well how to hide

and eventually forgot

that longing

for truth

and denied

a lovely place in our smile

where our life is our destiny


Our kiss is the kiss

from that time

when first two were really surprised

finding darkness, sadness

and light

beyond one’s cage of body or mind

caressing chaos with synergy


El Matallana

Flowers and love



There were flowers

before I thought about flowers

when I went back to valleys and gardens

all was already long gone


There was love

before I knew about love

when I understood what had happened

I found myself on my own


El Matallana