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December 16, 2018

9:42 PM

It is not just reading: it is meeting other minds

Several years ago, a good friend of mine, also an avid reading like myself, asked me, “How many books are you reading?” “Books”, in plural, because he shared and still shares that passion for reading several books at the same time.

Times are different now and books are no longer as popular as they used to be. Yet, they are an excellent tool to meet other minds. Reading is not just “skating over the page” (as Ortega y Gasset once warned). At its core, it is meeting other minds. 

Obviously, if you want to meet other minds, first you need to meet your own mind. And that’s one of the fascinating (and frequently forgotten) aspects of reading: it is an internal dialogue, a reflection about oneself, a moment of meditation oscillating between the conscious and the unconscious mind when, for just a moment, we become aware of ourselves. 

My passion for reading began before college, where I was reading several books per week and later, at the end of the studies, a book per day or so. 

In fact, my passion for reading began when I was a little boy and every weekend my father took me to a secondhand bookstore and bought me took books. I selected one and he selected the other one. I had to read both of them before getting two more used books the following week. (I still had many of those books.)

Later, when I was a teenager, I discovered the benefits of public libraries and I went every week to the library, borrowed two books for seven days, read them, returned them, and borrowed two new books for the next seven days. Before returning the books, I wrote a summary of each book. (I still have many of those handwritten notes.)

But, what’s the point of talking about my reading habits, as if they were of any importance? In fact, it is irrelevant to know how many books I read. What is relevant is to know that today’s readers are tomorrow’s leaders, as it has been said many times. The reason, according to numerous studies, is that reading causes the brain to prepare the person for the reality presented in the books. 

For example, just a few days ago, researchers at the University of Colorado at Boulder published a scientific report confirming what many people (Einstein included) already knew: imagination changes reality. In fact, according to those researchers, the brain doesn’t separate imagination from reality and needs to learn how to do it. 

So, how do we learn to distinguish imagination from reality, without canceling either of them and learning from both of them? It seems one of the answers is reading, because digital media doesn’t generate the internal dialogue books create. Again, when we read, we prepare ourselves for a new reality. 

I am not proposing going back to the past I am proposing meeting ourselves again for the first time in the context of a new future we can seldom imagine. 

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December 16, 2018

9:40 PM

No se trata de leer, sino de encontrarse con otras mentes

Ya pasaron varios años desde que un buen amigo mío, ávido lector como yo, me preguntó “¿Qué libros estás leyendo?”. “Libros”, en plural, porque él compartía y aún comparte esa pasión de leer varios libros a la vez. 

Las épocas han cambiado y los libros ya no son tan populares como alguna vez lo fueron, aun así, son una excelente herramienta para encontrarse con otras mentes. Y de eso se trata, no de “patinar sobre la página” (como decía Ortega y Gasset), sino de encontrarse con otras mentes.

Obviamente, para encontrarse con otras mentes uno debe primero encontrarse con la mente propia. Y ese es uno de los aspectos fascinantes (y quizá un poco olvidados) de la lectura: es diálogo interno, esa autorreflexión, ese momento de meditación que oscila entre lo consciente y lo inconsciente en el que, aunque sea por un momento, nos sentimos nosotros mismos y así lo sabemos.

Mi pasión por la lectura surgió mucho antes de llegar a la universidad, donde había que leer varios libros por semana y luego, al final de la carrera, un libro al día. 

De hecho, mi pasión por la lectura comenzó cuando, siendo niño pequeño, cada fin de semana mi padre me llevaba a una tienda de libros usados, me dejaba elegir uno y él elegía el otro, y entonces yo tenía una semana para leerlos antes de recibir los dos libros usados de la semana siguiente. (Todavía tengo muchos de esos libros.)

Luego, ya en la adolescencia, descubrí los beneficios de las bibliotecas públicas y entonces cada semana iba a la biblioteca, pedía prestados dos libros y, como sólo los prestaban por siete días, yo tenía que leerlos en ese tiempo y luego devolverlos antes de pedir prestados otros libros. Pero antes de devolver los libros, yo los resumía. (Todavía tengo muchas de esas notas.)

Pero ¿por qué estamos hablando de mis hábitos de lectura, como si a alguien le importasen? En realidad, no se trata de cuántos libros yo leo (eso es irrelevante), sino del hecho de que, como se ha dicho muchas veces, el lector de hoy es el líder del mañana. Y la razón, según numerosos estudios, es que el cerebro y la mente preparan al cuerpo para la realidad presentada en los libros.

Por ejemplo, hace solamente pocos días, expertos de la Universidad de Colorado en Boulder publicaron un estudio científico en el que confirman algo que muchos (incluyendo Einstein) ya sabían: la imaginación cambia la realidad. De hecho, el cerebro parece no distinguir entre imaginación y realidad y debe aprender a hacerlo, según los investigadores de esa universidad.

¿Cómo aprendemos a distinguir entre imaginación y realidad sin anular ni la una ni la otra y aprendiendo tanto de una como de la otra? Según parece, los medios digitales (videos, películas) no ofrecen esa posibilidad, porque no generan el mismo diálogo interno que genera la lectura de libros. 

No se trata de volver al pasado, sino de reencontrarnos con nosotros mismos en un nuevo futuro. 

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December 9, 2018

8:40 PM

How come “Captain America” always knows when I will be at a certain street?

Because of my work, several times a week I travel from east to west through the city where I live, always following the same direction and the same street, but seldom at the same time. Yet, regardless of the time of my trip, “Captain America” is always there. I have no idea how he knows my schedule. 

I call him “Captain America” because he is a young man who, while walking to his job, carries a backpack similar to Captain America’s shield. Nothing odd about that. What is odd is that I see that man walking west on the same block at 8 am or 11 am, or at any other time I happen to drive by that block. 

How this “Captain America” knows at what time he needs to leave his home to be at the place and time where I will see it? Who shares my schedule with him? 

There is, of course, an easy explanation: there is more than one “Captain America’ walking the streets of my city, all of them leaving the same place a few minutes after one another to follow the same street to go a certain place, like buses or trains leaving their stations. However, because I only see on “Captain America” at a time, I think there is only one, even if there are many.

Some people will say that it is just a trivial coincidence. However, I must say I see “Captain America” on different days and at different times, always at the same place and always walking west. And that happens so frequently that it looks like more than just a “coincidence”. How many coincidences should happen to stop being just a coincidence? 

Some people may say it is just an illusion. It could well be. But were “Captain America” a mere illusion, he wouldn’t surely stop at the traffic light waiting for the light to turn green before crossing the street. 

There are many other explanations. I like to think that perhaps this “Captain America” is really an otherworldly android, brought here by intelligent aliens to study human behavior. I assume the android keeps a record of how many humans notice his presence while driving in heavy traffic. 

But perhaps the most attractive alternative is to realize that I am the one creating my own “Captain America” reality. Let me share this story. 

Many years ago, when my children were still young, we were watching a soccer match and every time I left the room to do something else my team scored. The situation happened a few times, so my children were sure that it was me, not the players, the real reasons for the goals. 

Obviously, I am not that naïve as to think that my actions cause a soccer team to score several goals or that a worker with a Captain American backpack changes his schedule, so I can see it during my commute. However, there should a mysterious force at play beyond just “illusion” and “coincidence”.  

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December 9, 2018

8:39 PM

¿Cómo sabe el “Capitán América” a qué hora voy a pasar por cierta calle?

Por cuestiones de trabajo, varias veces por semana debo recorrer de mañana la ciudad de este a oeste, y, aunque siempre por la misma calle, no siempre en el mismo horario. Sin embargo, sin importar a qué hora paso por esa calle, el “Capitán América” siempre está allí. Y yo no sé cómo el conoce mis horarios. 

Lo llamo “Capitán América” porque es un muchacho que, caminando claramente camino a su trabajo, lleva en su espalda una mochila con el conocido escudo del conocido superhéroe. Eso no es lo extraño. Lo extraño es que siempre veo a ese muchacho caminando por el mismo lugar y en la misma dirección, aunque yo recorra esa calle a las 8 de la mañana o tres horas después.

¿Cómo sabe este Capitán América a qué hora él debe salir de su casa para que cuando yo pase él esté precisamente allí, caminado a un costado de la calle? ¿Quién le pasa la información de mi horario de salida? ¿Cómo adquiere esa información?

Otra alternativa es que no es un solo y único “Capitán América” caminando junto a la calle, sino varios, que salen continuamente del mismo lugar cada cierta cantidad de minutos para dirigirse al mismo lugar en una cierta dirección, como autobuses o trenes saliendo de las estaciones. Pero como yo veo uno a la vez, creo que es uno solo, cuando en realidad son varios. 

Quizá se trata, dirán algunos, de una mera coincidencia sin importancia. Pero en ese caso debo decir que el avistamiento del “Capitán América” en distintos días y a distintas horas, pero siempre en la misma calle y caminando en la misma dirección, ocurre con tanta frecuencia y precisión como para dejar de llamarlo “coincidencia”. 

O quizá, dirán otros, sea sólo una ilusión. Pero si el “Capitán América” fuese una ilusión, no esperaría a que cambie la luz del semáforo para cruzar la calle. 

Existen otras varias explicaciones. Una de las que más me atrae es que este “Capitán América” es en realidad un androide usado por seres inteligentes de otro planeta para estudiar la conducta de los humanos, llevando un registro de cuántos humanos notan la presencia del “Capitán América” al conducir por una transitada calle. 

Pero quizá haya que tener en cuenta otra alternativa, la de asumir que yo mismo estoy creando esa realidad. Permítaseme explicarlo con un ejemplo. 

Hace ya muchos años, cuando mis hijos eran pequeños, sucedió que, al mirar un partido de fútbol por televisión, cada vez que yo dejaba de mirar para hacer otras cosas, mi equipo favorito marcaba un gol. Tanto fue así, que mis hijos llegaron a creer que era yo, no los jugadores, el causante de los goles.

Obviamente, no soy tan ingenuo como para creer que mis acciones tienen efectos como lograr anotaciones para un equipo de futbol y modificar el horario de un trabajador para que yo pueda verlo portando su mochila de Capitán América. Pero alguna misteriosa conexión debe existir, porque “que las hay, las hay”. 

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December 2, 2018

9:33 PM

Orwell’s dystopian world is now painfully obsolete


I recently found in the latest issue of a well-known academic journal a interesting argument: the best way to end the discrimination and exploitation of certain groups is to expand discrimination and exploitation to every group, without exclusions or distinctions. 

Given the fact that the article was published by a serious and highly respected journal, and that the author of the article holds a high position in a national organization, there are no doubts the article is not meant to be a joke. Perhaps that’s why it is son interesting and even dangerous. 

Let me put it this way: the author of the argument acknowledges that discrimination and abuse have happened throughout history and are happening even today. Yet, the solution to end with both discrimination and abuse is thought to be to extend discrimination and abuse to include those groups that are not yet impacted but those two social ills. 

Perhaps I am too naïve or too poorly informed. And I certainly lack the academic sophistication needed to understand the argument presented above. I thought the best way to end discrimination was to end it, not to expand it. But perhaps, when faced with the reality of a Utopian goal, the best strategy is to adopt the attitude of “If you can beat them, join them.”

In other words, the argument seems to suggest that if we expand an unacceptable social behavior to impact not just one group but the whole community (perhaps even the global community), then that behavior becomes “normal” and “acceptable” because every could potentially be impacted by that behavior. 

But, is that a valid argument? For example, could we end slavery by turning not just a group, but everybody into slaves? Or, perhaps closer to the intention of the argument mentioned above, should we eliminate slavery making it possible for any person, regardless of who he/she is, could become a slave? 

And, if so, why should we stop there? Perhaps we can create a society where not only everybody is a slave, but were people unknowingly slave themselves, and, assuming they are still free, they exploit themselves and call that “personal development”. 

The bad news is that it is already happening. During a speech in Barcelona last February, philosopher Byung-Chul Han argued that we live in a society where each person exploits himself/herself, is afraid of the “other” (whoever that “other” may be), and lives in the “hell” of trying to be different so they can be like everybody else. 

According to Han, “Today a person exploits themselves believing they are fulfilling themselves”. We are so narcissistic that we can’t even accept ourselves. 

Perhaps, then, the absurd argument of ending discrimination expanding discrimination may not be that absurd at all, not because it is valid, but because we have internalized discrimination and abuse to the point that we discriminate and abuse ourselves to a level never anticipated by Orwell in his 1984.

What a strange world is a world where even grotesque Utopias are obsolete!

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December 2, 2018

9:33 PM

La utopía de Orwell ya quedó grotescamente obsoleta

Recientemente leí en una revista académica especializada un interesante argumento: la solución para terminar con la discriminación y la explotación de ciertos grupos de personas sería discriminar y explotar a todos por igual, sin hacer distinción entre grupo alguno.

Dado que la persona que publicó ese argumento lo hizo en una revista de sólido prestigio y se desempeña en un alto cargo que una organización nacional, no caben dudas de que el argumento fue presentado con toda seriedad. Y eso mismo lo hace más interesante y hasta peligroso.

A ver si nos entendemos: a la vez que se reconoce la existencia de discriminación y de abuso de ciertos grupos, tanto a la largo de la historia como en el presente, el autor de este argumento sostiene que para eliminar ese flagelo social habría que expandir esa discriminación y abuso a todos los otros grupos aún no abusado ni explotados. 

Sinceramente, quizá por mi ingenuidad y mi carencia de sofisticación académica, yo pensaba que la mejor manera de terminar con la discriminación era terminar con ella, no expandirla. Pero quizá ante la utopía de lograr esa meta, aparentemente la alternativa es adoptar la postura de “si no puedes con ellos, únete a ellos”. 

En otras palabras, si “normalizamos” y expandimos una conducta inaceptable para que afecte no sólo a un grupo sino a toda la comunidad (quizá incluso a nivel global), entonces esa conducta se vuelve aceptable porque ahora todos somos o podemos ser igualmente afectados por tal conducta.

Pero ¿es ese un argumento válido? Por ejemplo, ¿podemos eliminar la esclavitud esclavizando no sólo a un grupo de personas, sino a todas? O, quizá más cercano al argumento académico antes mencionado, ¿podemos eliminar la esclavitud si cualquier persona, sin importar de qué grupo sea, puede convertirse en esclavo? 

¿Y por qué detenerse solamente en eso? Podríamos, por ejemplo, pensar en una sociedad en la que no solamente cualquier persona puede ser esclavizada, sino también en la que las personas, sin saberlo, se esclavizan a sí mismas (aunque creyéndose libres) y se explotan a sí mismas (aunque a eso lo llaman “realización personal”).

Tengo malas noticias: eso es exactamente lo que ya está sucediendo. En un discurso en Barcelona en febrero de 2018, el filósofo Byung-Chul Han argumentó que vivimos precisamente en una sociedad en la que cada uno se explota a sí mismo, tiene miedo del otro (cualquiera que el otro sea) y vive en el “infierno” en el que todos quieren ser lo que no son para poder ser “iguales” a los otros. 

Según Han, “las personas hoy se explotan a sí mismas creyendo que así se están realizando”. 

Quizá entonces el ridículo argumento de terminar con la discriminación expandiéndola y haciéndola universal no sea tan ridículo porque, lamentablemente, tanto ya hemos internalizado esa discriminación y abuso que nos discriminamos y explotamos a nosotros mismos a un nivel que ni siquiera Orwell pudo imaginar en su 1984.

¡Qué mundo raro aquel en el que las grotescas utopías se vuelven obsoletas!

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November 25, 2018

9:24 PM

Today’s imagination is tomorrow’s reality

It is becoming increasingly clearer to me that the future will not be, but already is. And if we do not see it, it is not because it has not arrived yet, but because we have not taken our imagination to the necessary level of development to see the future and, in that way, allow the future to emerge in the present.

Perhaps Einstein was right in saying that imagination was more powerful than knowledge, because knowledge is limited, but imagination is not. In fact, it is said that Einstein would have characterized the imagination as "the preview of life’s future attractions".

In other words, today's imagination, expressed for example in art and science fiction among other fields, is a preview of a future that is already here and that always was here, but that we do not see because of the low level of our imagination.

How do we know that we have a low level of imagination? Because we solve everything by means of a conflict. Whether it is a football match, a march of immigrants, a protest by retirees, or an unexpected lane change on the highway, we resolve everything with violence, with confrontations, and even with brutality.

A different kind world is so far from our imagination that when we imagine it we think it is something already lost and unrecoverable (like Paradise), something beyond our reach and this planet (like Heaven), or even a simple delirium (like the numerous Utopias presented throughout history.)

And then, with our lack of imagination, we feed the social field of negativity that sees everything as a disjunctive (us vs. them), everything is solved by means of the destruction of the other (or at least they try to destroy the other), and every problem is blamed on a newly found scapegoat, without nobody ever taking responsibility.

The monster within us, the reptilian brain, the shadow (as Jung said) then emerges from within us and shows its unpleasant face in all kinds of unpleasant actions. But perhaps the most unpleasant action of all is to keep us locked in the circle of the present without allowing us any access to the future.

It is true that many of those who in the past had the audacity to imagine a different future paid a high price for publicly expressing their imagination. But it is also true that those imaginative minds created a new future, even if they did not see it. Or, rather, they saw it before other people did, but not together with the other people who needed years or centuries to see it.

Maybe it's time to let our imagination fly again, not as an easy escapism from current reality or to deny our undeniable problems, but as a way to activate or reactivate the social field of positivity that, although almost empty of energy, it is reactivated with every good intention, every drop of hope, every sigh of faith.

Maybe we should reimagine our imagination before the unimaginable happens.

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November 25, 2018

9:23 PM

La imaginación del presente es la realidad del futuro

Cada vez me queda más claro que el futuro no será, sino que ya es. Y si no lo vemos no es porque todavía no llegó, sino porque no hemos llevado nuestra imaginación hasta el necesario nivel de desarrollo como para ver el futuro y, de esa manera, permitir que el futuro emerja en el presente. 

Quizá Einstein estaba en lo correcto al decir que la imaginación era más poderosa que el conocimiento, porque el conocimiento es limitado, pero la imaginación no lo es. De hecho, se dice que Einstein habría caracterizado a la imaginación como “el anticipo de las cosas por venir”.

Dicho de otro modo, la imaginación de hoy, expresada por ejemplo en el arte y en la ciencia ficción entre otros campos, es un anticipo de un futuro que ya está aquí y que siempre lo estuvo, pero que no vemos por el escaso nivel de nuestra imaginación.

¿Cómo sabemos que tenemos un escaso nivel de imaginación? Porque todo lo resolvemos por medio de un conflicto. Sea que se trate de un encuentro de futbol, de una marcha de inmigrantes, de una protesta de jubilados, o una maniobra inesperada en la carretera, todo lo resolvemos con violencia, con enfrentamientos, y hasta con brutalidad. 

Un mundo distinto está tan lejos de nuestra imaginación que cuando lo imaginamos creemos que se trata de algo ya perdido e irrecuperable (como el paraíso), algo más allá de nuestro alcance y de este planeta (como el cielo), o incluso un simple delirio (como las numerosas utopías presentadas a lo largo de la historia.)

Y entonces, con nuestra falta de imaginación alimentamos el campo social de la negatividad que todo lo ve como una disyuntiva (nosotros contra ellos), todo lo resuelve por medio de la destrucción del otro (o por lo menos eso intenta), y todo lo adjudica a algún chivo expiatorio, sin jamás asumir la responsabilidad propia.

El monstruo dentro de nosotros, el cerebro reptiliano, la sombra (como decía Jung) emerge entonces desde adentro de nosotros y muestra su desagradable rostro en todo tipo de acciones desagradables. Pero quizá la acción más desagradable de todas sea la de mantenernos encerrados en el círculo del presente sin permitirnos el acceso al futuro.

Es verdad que muchos de aquellos que en el pasado tuvieron la audacia de imaginarse un futuro distinto pagaron un alto precio por expresar públicamente su imaginación. Pero también es verdad que aquellas imaginativas mentes crearon un nuevo futuro, incluso si ellos no llegaron a verlo. O, mejor dicho, lo vieron antes que las otras personas, pero no junto con ellas. 

Quizá sea hora de dejar que la imaginación vuele otra vez, no como un fácil escapismo de la realidad actual ni para negar los problemas actuales, sino como una manera de activar o de reactivar el campo social de la positividad que, aunque casi apagado, se alimenta con cada buena intensión, cada gota de esperanza, cada suspiro de fe. 

Quizá debamos reimaginarnos la imaginación antes de que ocurra lo inimaginable. 

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November 18, 2018

9:42 PM

Bitter narcissism distorts the present and stops the future

The well-known myth of Narcissus –told, among others, by Ovid in his Metamorphosis– says that Narcissus, seeing his own image reflected on the still waters of a pond, decided to die thirsty to avoid distorting the image, his image, on the water. As it happens will all myths, Narcissus reveals psychological truths relevant even today.

In fact, it is safe to say that many of us, like Narcissus, are unable to see reality and we only see our own image projected unto reality. Then, we are so attached to that image that we reject anything that could distorted. At that moment, we begin to play our own mental games to keep intact our self-image.

In the renowned masterwork of Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol (1843), when the main character, Scrooge, is about to meet the second of the three ghosts visiting him, he assumes, in spite of seeing darkness all around him, that it is still noon, not midnight, and that there is something wrong with the sun.

That’s what we do: we create our own stories to validate our own reality. Even more, we believe and accept those stories, even if they are fantastically absurd, as the best explanation to whatever is happening.

In the case of Scrooge, he decided the sun was no longer shining. But we can forgive him, because he is just a character in a book. Yet, the so-called Scrooge disorder, also known as bitter narcissism, probably affects a higher percentage of the population today than whatever that percentage was during the 19th century.

For example, a few days ago, several hours after normal business hours, a woman called me and, almost in desperation, asked me to talk with his teenage son “as soon as possible” because the son was “causing problems”.

A short conversation with the mother revealed that the “problems” his son had were his desire of going to college in another state and to study a career his mother thought was not prestigious or lucrative enough for his son.

For her, his son was wrong. In reality, in making his own decisions, the son was agitating the waters of the pond, thus dissipating the image of the “controlling mother” the mother wanted desperately to keep, instead of accepting she was entering a new time of her life.

And then there is the case of somebody who, after learning of new research about how expectations about pain activate different parts of the brain, he simply said, “My grandmother already knew that.” No, she didn’t.

That’s an answer I frequently receive from those who use they “grandmother” (or the “church”, or whatever else they decide to use) as a shield to protect themselves from reality.

But we pay the price for clinching to our narcissistic self-image: we stop our future. As Scrooge said, “Ghost of the Future! I fear you more than any specter I have seen”. He was right: you can’t be a bitter narcissistic and at the same time build a future.  

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November 18, 2018

9:41 PM

El narcisismo amargado distorsiona el presente y detiene el futuro

El conocido mito de Narciso, contado, entre otros, por Ovidio en su Metamorfosis, dice que Narciso, al verse reflejado en el agua de un estanque, prefirió morirse de sed antes de perturbar el agua, es decir, antes de perturbar su propia imagen. Como todo mito, el de Narciso revela verdades psicológicas aún vigentes.

De hecho, podemos decir que muchos de nosotros, como Narciso, no vemos la realidad, sino sólo nuestra propia imagen proyectada en la realidad y tanto nos aferramos a esa imagen que no queremos que se distorsione ni que la realidad interfiera con esa imagen. Por eso, comenzamos a jugar todo tipo de juegos mentales para mantener nuestra imagen intacta.

En la conocida obra de Charles Dickens Un cuento de Navidad (1843), cuando el personaje principal, Scrooge, está a punto de recibir la visita del segundo fantasma, Scrooge se niega a aceptar que la hora de ese encuentro se acerca y, a pesar de ver las tinieblas a su alrededor, asume que todavía es el mediodía, no la medianoche, pero que algo le pasó al sol.

Así hacemos nosotros: inventamos historias que se ajusten a nuestra realidad y luego, sin importar cuán fantásticas sean esas historias, las creemos y las aceptamos como las mejores explicaciones de lo que está sucediendo.

En el caso de Scrooge, fue creer que el sol había dejado de brillar. Pero se lo puede perdonar porque, después de todo, es sólo un personaje de ficción. Pero el llamado síndrome de Scrooge, o narcisismo amargado, es real y quizá afecte hoy a un porcentaje mayor de personas del que afectaba a mediados del siglo 19.

Por ejemplo, recientemente y fuera de horario normal de recibir llamados, recibí el llamado de una madre que casi en desesperación me pidió que yo hablase lo antes posible con su hijo adolescente porque el hijo le estaba causando problemas.

Una corta conversación con la madre permitió descubrir que los “problemas” de su hijo consistían en que el muchacho quería ir a estudiar a una universidad fuera del estado y había elegido una carrera que ella consideraba que no era la mejor para su hijo.

Para ella, el hijo estaba equivocado. En realidad, el hijo, con sus decisiones propias, le había agitado las aguas del estanque (ser madre controladora) en el que ella veía la imagen de ella misma la que se aferraba.

Y luego está el caso de alguien de, al enterarse de un descubrimiento sobre cómo el cerebro procesa el dolor según las expectativas que alguien tenga sobre el dolor, se limitó a decir “Eso ya lo decía mi abuela”, una respuesta que recibo con frecuencia de aquellos que usan a la “abuela” (o lo que sea) como “escudo” para que no se distorsione su realidad.

Pero aferrarse a esa imagen tiene su precio, el de cerrarse al futuro. Como bien decía Scrooge: “Fantasma del futuro: te temo más que a cualquier otro espectro”. Y con razón, porque se puede ser un narcisista amargado y proyectarse al futuro.  

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