My ideas started fermenting the day I encountered Magister, il mio maestro, 35 years ago.
It was a rainy day. Rome is so smelly when it rains. I went to a place where he delivered lectures, close to the Tiber, the sacred river of Rome. He was already very old, with long white hair and beard, eyes penetrating. Italy was all a huge debate in the roaring 1970’s (I am listening to Pink Floyd‘s Dark Side of the Moon to relive the feel of those days.)
Magister talked softly most of the time, the silence of the audience being absolute, even embarrassing at times. When he though got angry his voice was like thunder almost, eyes flashing.
I will never forget him. I was an ugly duckling when I met him. Not that he made a swan out of me, lol, but he taught me a lot, basically by having me understand that I had the means to be a free man by just making use of my mind and will.
I do not know if I was a good pupil.
I left family to find my fortune. Unfortunate are the young who never find maestri.
I won’t reveal his identity – not that he would mind, he being no more, his ashes scattered somewhere in this eternal city he loved so much. I adored him and I was not the only one to cry over his ashes. There are reasons for not revealing his identity.
What I can say is just repeating this: to him I really owe a lot.
Last but not least this love for knowledge, this curiosity or craving, I don’t know how to phrase it.
I mean, this cultural hedonism which tends to auto-organization and which in defiance of age is constantly growing instead of abandoning my soul (cultural = related to knowledge, as people in France, Germany or Italy mean it).
Plus, of course, I owe him this dialectic method and the notion of the writing-thinking connection.
Writing and Thinking
Writing, thinking, clarifying,
striving to sort out thoughts
in ways so “clear and ordinate”
This, many years ago, Magister counselled
for the good education of the mind.
writer, philosopher, educator…