Pressenza marks five years since Silo, the Argentinean author, nonviolent revolutionary and spiritual guide, passed away on the 16th of September 2010 at his home in Mendoza, Argentina, with this tribute by our columnist, Javier Tolcachier.
Asked by a journalist back in 1994, “What would you like to appear in your epitaph?” Silo replied, “He was a good person, but a bad writer.”
Such a definition, while pointing out the essential, containing the habitual quota of irony and humour with which he used to delight his interlocutors, always seemed to us to be too humble. Testing other definitions, we could add: a wise guide, but also a profound thinker; a kind master, but also a formidable strategist; an activist like few others, but also a passionate mystic; an indomitable rebel, but also an acute analyst; an Initiate but also a social revolutionary.
And of course, to judge by the literary beauty and poetic plasticity that characterise his texts, we would underline that Silo was a magnificent writer, centred much more in the utility and rightness of his appreciations than in the external form. Just as he himself commented in a passage of his work: “Nor should you argue that you dislike my way of presenting things, for you do not speak thus of the peel when you like the fruit. I present things in the way I consider appropriate, not as might be desired by those who aspire to things remote from inner truth.”
And so we could continue to add definitions and none alone would fully describe the extraordinary personality of the one who founded the current known as New Humanism or Universalist Humanism and from whose spiritual and existential Message would emanate a profound possibility of liberation for human beings.
“If I speak to you without self-interest of what makes human beings happy and free, it is worth your while to try to comprehend,” explains one of the first passages of the Inner Look, the central text of Silo’s doctrine. And there is no doubt that we have tried and we will continue to try…
For this author, Silo’s teaching is essentially revolutionary. Revolutionary because it advocates for profound modification of psycho-social structures that make it difficult for human beings to fully develop free from pain and suffering.
Silo puts into question those inflexible structures, furthermore proposing experiences that allow every human being to leap over the abyss of nonmeaning in life.
“I will tell you the meaning of your life here: It is to humanise the earth. And what does it mean to humanise the earth? It is to surpass pain and suffering; it is to learn without limits; it is to love the reality you build.”
Although essentially existential, Silo’s teaching is necessarily transcendent. So it invites one to rebel against the apparent finality of death, affirming the possibility of a transcendent destiny for human beings, suggesting a coherent life between what one things, feels and does, surpassing indifference towards others, going towards others actively and with an attitude of solidarity.
His proclamations in the social and political field are revolutionary, expressed in the slogan that animates humanist action in more than one hundred countries of the planet: “Nothing above the human being, and no human being above any other.”
His conception of “what is human” is revolutionary and libertarian, separated from all naturalism and zoology, with Silo defining a human being as “an historical being whose mode of social action transforms its own nature.”
His ideas in the field of psychology are revolutionary, founding the human transformational capacity on the activity of one’s own consciousness, the spatiality of one’s representation, and the broadening of the temporal horizon: a human characteristic.
His epistemological proposal is revolutionary, developing a Method that emphasises the dynamic structure of all phenomena and in the essential significance of including one’s own look in order to fully comprehend what is being studied.
His spiritual message is revolutionary, rejecting dogmatic imposition and religious intolerance in order to open to the luminous experience present in the depths of every human being: a spirituality that drives forward the freedom of thought, the search for good knowledge, and, therefore, feeds freedom and diversity of interpretations regarding ‘the sacred’ and ‘immortality’.
His contributions in the field of mysticism are also revolutionary, putting at the disposition of any human being four initiatory disciplines in which inspiring experiences of different historical traditions are synthesised.
The image of the future that Silo proposes is revolutionary, placing different cultures not only in a scenario of mutual tolerance, but also in a convergence towards a Universal Human Nation in which each culture can contribute from their best historical accumulations.
Someone might ask themselves about the opportuneness and validity of such ideas and we should respond to this paradoxically. Paying attention to the needs, there is nothing more opportune than immediately opening a dialogue centred on Silo’s proposals. Nevertheless, focusing on his revolutionary hallmark, it’s possible that the changes to which we aspire can’t be only pondered from immediateness. Much less, by comprehending the universal relevance that they contain.
Cheers, dear Silo! We continue together in this elevated purpose of liberation, embracing the best of causes, the one which leads us to overcome violence and suffering in ourselves and in the social world, the one that moves us to undertake actions with others and for others, the one which moves us emotionally when we celebrate shared human advances.
Thanks, dear Master! There is no failure to defeat us, as rebellion and the search for freedom are the food for every humanist of the world.