J. M. Briceño Guerrero
A message to somebody
who hasn't yet been born
Rafael Gallardo and Dafny Giannitsopulos

What has been the most important discovery of your life?

  The tradition of knowledge, to discover that since very ancient times some people have thought the life, have felt it and have done a work that transmits as heritage to the new generations a knowledge; this is my greatest discovery, that there is a linage of thinkers, poets and fine artists that left a heritage, a legacy.
    Since the moment I discovered it, I felt myself inherited by the Universe, inherited with an immense fortune, and it seemed to me as if I was a privileged, that I belonged to a noble family, the Human family, and it bothered me that this huge inheritance were abandoned, deprecated; and it seemed to me that keeping such a thing the up coming generations would have the same privilege than me.  Some how my profession as a Professor has to do with the continuation of that tradition, and if it were possible, my highest pride would be to enrich it with some new contribution.

    The origin of my interest is the need to understand my own country, my own people, and myself, those cultural discrepancies among us, the same order from the ancient mysteries that said "get to know yourself," and I found that it involves to know the world where one has been culturally formed; then I saw that it was important to get to know the cultural situation of Hispano-America, which is my closest environment as cultural reference,  and I saw the whole presence of what is called 'The Occidental'.  There is no doubt that 'the occidental', in the Occidental Europe sense -of which we are inheritors-, has as a foundation the ancient Greek culture, regarding the philosophy and the letters; and Rome in regard of the social organization, the state,  legislation, and the quest for a worldwide-centralized universal state.  And concerning to religion, the root is Hebrew, because the Christianity originally was a Jew sect that had many fortunes outside of the Jewish people, and then, through the Roman Empire, became a religion of state, expanding over the world, together with the European expansion.
    But we have to understand that these three roots are mounted over the traditions of peoples that were not Greeks,  Romans or Hebrews: Celtics, Gauls, Germans, Iberians; so many peoples that were there with their own traditions, and that penetration by Rome's Empire, together with the Greek tradition, and that Christian tradition, did not die; they are still alive and emerge as an important  factor.  This factor is the one that gets complicated in America.
    When Europe expanded toward America, in America there was also this substrate of peoples and powerful cultures, some of them with  great importance, now a days not well measured, so our belonging to the occidental world seems to be enriched  by this participation of the African and Aboriginal of America and by certain characteristics of our history.
Then, one discovers, as a contrast, those enormous oriental cultures of the Hindus, Chinese, Tibetans, Japanese; and one discovers that there was a different orientation, a quest different to that one that has been following the occidental world, in its official circle, in such a manner that  it represents a distance and a a feeling of strangeness and difference.
    But as soon as I started to deepen in the hidden traditions of the occidental culture, I found other traditions that, once known, are the same as oriental traditions.  When one studies the Pre-Socratics, for instance, study the middle edge alchemy's traditions, and then, more specifically in the Renaissance, the doctrines that can be learned from the Templars, one achieve to understand that it is the same tradition than the Hindus and Tibetans with a different language, in such a way that occidental culture had and has masters that are at the same levels of the oriental masters, and we can easily understand that the problem of the differences is generated at other levels, the level unfolding toward the social, technological, judiciary, bureaucratic, politic; the difference is there, but not in the levels of Parmenides, Heraclites, Plato, and poets like Homer where I don't think there exist a bottom line distance with the Hinduism's traditions, with Buddha nor Lao Tzu and these linage of Zen masters from Japan.

    The magic's occidental tradition is the same than the oriental; they have the same roots.  We are accustomed to the sciences and technology of the latest centuries, to the scientific method, and it is admirable, has good results.  It seems to me a great and noble commitment of the occidental world that can be very positive to the human kind, even if, in fact, it hasn't been so in all the cases: it has a terrible dark side that places us at the edge of the planet's destruction.
    The magic is, in certain form, other way to do science and other way to do technology, perhaps more connected with the intimacy, with the inner human being, with one's spiritual values.  Of course, it has also degradations like the witchery and black magic, in the bad sense of the word, but also it is not a despicable thing, because those who originally were called witches were priestesses of religions forbidden by the Christianity's imposition, and the devil and all that, were conceptions of God disfigured and caricaturized by a religion that became official and unfortunately allied with the Empire in such a manner that it lost its apostolic value in exchange for political and economical power.
    Despite of the deviations than happen at a low level, the magic is a very high way of science, of nature's knowledge, of knowledge of the human being and the power to be able of acting over oneself and over the circumstances.
    There is a lot to learn about magic.

    What makes the people to achieve its highest dignity is the Art.
    It seems to me that the worst disgrace that might happen to a country is not to have poets.  I think, for instance that Portugal remains being a nation because of (Luís Vaz de) Camoes (1524-1580), and that Greece, even if it were physically erased from Earth, would continue living because of its thinkers, its poets, and it seems to me a disgrace the fact that in Venezuela the artists allow to be seduced by politicians, politicians that are not statists like Pericles, for example.  I am adherent of the idea that the artist keep distance  from this process, that finds him/herself, that finds his/her own language, own ways to communicate with the people, the manner to bring it to everybody else, because we are doing in a sense of inheritance:
    We are inheritors of the Humanity's great tradition, of all the poets, wise men and fine artists that there have been, because we are men and women and this inheritance belongs to us; but also belongs to us to be ancestors, specially in these countries.  It belongs to us to be ancestors, that there is communication among us, because we are all going to die.  There is a collective environment that forms a continuous spiritual, and right there we should sow our seeds, our best seeds, because surely we have seeds pure enough.  We have to choose the most noble and sacred of ourselves  and plant it.  And, how could we do it without a comprehension, first, of our finitude, and second, a feeling of tenderness and fraternity?
    It is good to cultivate what Nietzsche used to call 'love for the distant': we have been taught about the 'love for thy neighbor', that has resulted in a hypocrite attitude, because not always one has good relationship with the neighbor, the one closer; instead one feels fenced by the  neighbor, like harassed.
    The love to the distant deploys very strong bridges, the love for those that have died or are living in other countries and are cultivating things in other cities; and I see the love for the distant that hasn't yet been born, and it seems to me highest glory that a message from us remains, after having understood the traditions, having assimilated them, having lived and felt, and to achieve to transmit a message that be receiver by someone that hasn't yet been born.  There, the value is not only the permanency of the name, despite that it is important,  but the continuation of the human kind's nobleness, the continuation of something marvelous; and I think that the individual glory cannot be other than this,  that there be the possibility of transcending the egoistic and low interests toward  achievements, creations, ideas, works of beauty, that could be received with love by somebody, as well as we have received the message from the Masters.
    For instance, how is it possible that appear in Mérida some graffiti with poems by Sappho, if Sappho lived before Christ, in the 5th. or 7th. century, and since 25 or 26 centuries still survives a poem, a thing so fragile, a conjugation of words:

"The land of plenty garlands
multiplies its colors"

     And who supports it?  No one government has built it, not any political party.  It holds up by its own strength.  I discover it as I was teaching some poems by Alceus  (c 630 BC) to a youngster.  I was teaching him about the metrics, the long and short spellings, how to pronounce them; teaching so happy of doing so, I could see that a poem is eternal if somebody likes it and tells it to someone else, and this one to another one...
    Now see: If in a given moment a political party supports a poet, but the poet is bad, he/she would survive while the political party remains supporting and doing propaganda.  But the true permanency of a work, its true test, is that it flies alone, that one enjoys it.
     Now a days, despite of all difficulties, wars, arsons, destructions, priesthoods disappeared, academies and libraries set afire, all the violence that is capable the human being, we can, nevertheless, say a poem by Alceus; how the poetry survives!


    I think that the battle develops in the interior of each human being, because I have seen, regarding the collective acts, the institutions, the organized powers, have an insane attitude!
    How is it possible that after having gathered an amount of atomic bombs, enough to blast the whole planet Earth, still they are making atomic bombs?  From a rationalistic, logical point of view, it is a dementia, a form of insanity specially self-destructive, irrational in a scholar sense, like a pupil that make mistakes when resolving additions and subtractions.
    Nevertheless, I believe that there is some sort of beginning of some kind of shy form  of disarmament.  We don't have to despair.  Even if we don't have individually the possibility to decide, the hope for peace and health is not useless.