Last year the sale of printed books fell considerably while the number of persons who read e-books rises; that means we’ll live in a world dominated by e-books?

The nostalgic of printed books may worry that he will be deprived of what he considers as a special object. A printed book is not just a pile of paper sheets; it is a treasure because it contains the thought and experience of its author. There are readers who underline and highlight the passages which are important.

Last year I happened to travel in Australia. I came across the Christian movement named Born Again. They were very kind to me and allowed me to take part in their meetings. All of them had their personal Bible which they kept in a leather case. There was a lady of Sicilian origin close to me. When she opened her Bible, I was stunned on seeing she had underlined almost all lines. Furthermore, she inserted sheets that contained her personal reflections. I admired that lady who really loved her book. If she had an e-book, would the same have been done? Of course not!

While I am in India, I gave a copy of The Vibrations of Words to my piano teacher. After a few days, she showed me the book. I was surprised at seeing that she highlighted many paragraphs with a violet pencil.

“Do you like my book?” I asked.

“I like it very much.” She answered with a pleased tone.

Personally, I am not against e-books because they are useful and simple means to read everywhere. We can enjoy reading books very easily.

Every book is precious whatever shape it can take. Nevertheless, the main task of books both printed and electronic is to give information, knowledge, pleasure, and so on. A good book delights the reader’s mind and elevates his soul. But books cannot be assimilated to a shelter. There are people who flee from life and take refuge in books. If reading books is just escape from life, even a good book cannot be helpful.

Ettore Grillo author of The Vibrations of Words



  The latest news tells what happened in a restaurant of Houston. A family of four asked to have dinner at a distance from the table where another family with a disabled child was dining, and addressed the waiter with a few pungent words.

“Disabled persons should eat in special places when they enter a restaurant!”

On hearing those words, the waiter refused to serve those customers who finally were compelled to leave.

The news spread quite soon and the restaurant was praised by host of people due to waiter’s behavior.

My voice is dissenting.

What happened in that restaurant is quite common. People, even though they don’t express their feeling openly, tend to remove every hindrance to their comfort. In the case I am dealing with, the family who asked to dine at a distance from the disabled kid wanted to enjoy dinner without being bothered.

This is called “intolerance” and it happens in every field of life. Above all, intolerance is present in religions and it is called “fundamentalism”. Each religion claims to be the only way that leads to heaven, and considers those who have a different creed as infidels.

I don’t want to either praise or backbite that waiter; I just want to tell what I would have done if I were in his shoes. Well, I would have served the family who said unkind things to the kid with Down syndrome. In fact, a waiter’s duty who deals with the public is to show impartiality and tolerance towards all customers, putting aside his personal opinion.

Every opinion deserves to be expressed, even though it offends one’s personal feelings. At the top of human values there is freedom of speech and thought.  If I were that waiter, I would not have taken stance for or against this or that family; otherwise, I would have been as intolerant as those people whose intolerance I wanted to punish.

Intolerance cannot be fought by intolerance.

The true tolerant person shows love, respect and impartiality to everybody, even to intolerant persons.

Ettore Grillo author of The Vibrations of Words


   A study coming from the University of Liverpool claims reading Shakespeare and similar writers is more helpful than so called self-help books.

In my opinion all books are self-help. In my life I have read hundreds of books and can claim no book was useless to me. In fact, whoever writes a book wants to express what he harbors in his heart and mind. Knowing other people’s feelings and thoughts through ordinary books can just benefit the reader as much as self-help books.

Many times mental ailments and misconduct are caused by ignorance and error. Reading whatever book can only broaden one’s mind. Our learning springs not only from great renowned writers and poets but also from nameless writers who strive to express what they feel and know.

A friend of mine used to buy books from a bookstall by chance. According to him, the book chosen randomly made him open up new horizons in his mind and prevented him from confining himself to read books that fell within his range of interests.

Once I stumbled across a book written by a young actor who had suffered from OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder). After reading that book, I could learn many forms of OCD. One of them attracted me. There was a rich girl who could not avoid getting back to the toilet hundreds of times to check if she had flushed it.

Obviously, not all books have good contents; nevertheless, this doesn’t mean that we should avoid reading them. Even from a bad book we can excerpt knowledge. Reading books with both bad and good contents help us to learn that people are not same, and books are expression of different points of view that we should respect even though we don’t agree to.

Ettore Grillo author of Travels of the Mind and The Vibrations of Words


   Two forty-five-year-old Belgian twins were born deaf. For all their life they worked as cobblers. Recently they became almost blind. They could not bear their condition to be both deaf and blind; therefore, they went to the hospital and asked a doctor to make them die.

The doctor established that their life condition was unbearable, and gave them a lethal injection.

In Belgium where this tragedy happened, there is a law which allows a doctor to practice euthanasia if he judges that the person who asks it cannot bear his life.

It seems that in future the range of the law will include euthanasia for children and insane people.

In the case above described, the petitioners for euthanasia were the persons who wanted to die, while in Italy and USA, two ladies who were fed artificially were put to death legally respectively under the request of their father and husband.

What happened in Belgium, Italy and USA is due to misconception about suffering. According to someone, suffering of the body involves suffering of the soul. I don’t think so.

When I was a volunteer to help disabled people in England, I looked after a young man who was paralyzed completely. He was able to move only his eyes. He was forced to lie on the stretcher. I still remember his name. He was Neil.

At that time, I volunteered in an organization called Vitalise at Skylarks in Nottingham. When I had to feed Neil, I asked the nurse how to do that.

“You have to feed Neil as if he were a little bird,” the nurse answered. “When he wants to say yes, he lifts his eyes, and when he wants to say no, he lowers them.”

So did I. I fed Neil as if he were a little bird. At the beginning, the mouthful was too big and he had some difficulties to swallow, but little by little, I learned how to feed him. Looking at Neil’s eyes, I could notice that he was happy at that moment. He couldn’t smile because even his lips were paralyzed, but his eyes radiated joy.

If some of Neil’s family members wanted to give Neil euthanasia, alleging that he was suffering and he had better die, I would have shielded Neil with my body.

Suffering is basic for Christians.

Emblematic case of suffering is given by Jobs. In the Bible it is said that Jobs lost all his children and goods. He suffered from all kinds of disease and his skin became purulent. Nevertheless, he kept living.

Another emblematic case is given by Saint Bernadette who suffered very much during her life and to whom Our Lady promised happiness after death.

A great saint called Saint Therese of Lisieux is another emblem of suffering. She was proclaimed a doctor of the Church and patron saint of the missions.

Saint Francis of Assisi and Saint Pius suffered because of the stigmata.

For Christians suffering is a mystery. If it happens to someone to suffer, he has to accept his condition. Jesus is an example of acceptance of suffering.

According to Buddhists, suffering is caused by negative Karma. The term Karma indicates the result of the actions performed previously in this life or in the past lives. It is necessary to accept suffering and expiate negative Karma in this life; otherwise, the person will experience negative Karmain the next life.

Atheists and materialists who are for euthanasia will find my argument ridiculous. But who knows? They might be right and I respect their point of view. But if they were in doubt, they would refraining from giving euthanasia, following the old Latin saying in dubio pro reo which means “if you are not sure, opt for the accused person.” Hence, if you are not sure, opt for life not for death and give another chance for life to the person who is about to die by euthanasia.


Ettore Grillo author of Travels of the Mind and The Vibrations of Words


   The news says that a deaf person was signing with another man but a passerby mistook it for gang sign. Therefore, to prevent a probable crime, he attacked the deaf person and stabbed him many times.

How many times we misinterpret reality!

According to Hindu religion, we human beings do not experience reality as it is; rather we consider as reality what is mere projection of our mind. Hindus use the term Maya to indicate “illusion”.

What happened to the stabber, who mistook the deaf person for a gangster, can happen to any of us. How many times we are self-confident about reality! But later we recognize that our self-confidence was wrong and reality was different from our judgment. With hindsight we would have acted in a different way.

Besides of “illusion”, we are victims of our “delusions”. In Italian, a corresponding term to indicate such a word does not exist. Therefore, we have to use a phrase to express the same meaning. We paraphrase “delusion” as wrong mental perspective. It is like a distorted mirror that reflects distorted reality.

Sometimes innocents are sent into jail and even to the electric chair due to misunderstanding of reality.

Personally I am suspicious of persons who are too much self-confident. Maybe they don’t know that reality is covered with Maya’s veil!

Ettore Grillo author of Travels of the Mind and The Vibrations of Words


Walking in the streets of Pune in India, I noticed a few peculiar things.
The small shops open every day. The New Year Day, Sunday and other holidays don’t exist for them. The small shopkeepers open their shops in the morning and close at night. They work for almost twelve hours non-stop. Many vendors use their carts to sell bananas and other kinds of fruit or vegetables. To them holidays are luxuries they cannot afford. These people are like lions in African savanna; everyday they have to hunt prey, otherwise they will starve.
In the street I saw a barber who set up his business in the sidewalk. His equipment was just a chair, a comb and scissors. At that moment he was cutting a customer’s hair.
While I was strolling, I stopped to watch a young man who set up his repair shop in the sidewalk. With a few tools he fixed bikes. He had a knack of his work, because he fixed the bikes very well and soon.
Besides these people I have mentioned above, there are many beggars in India. Whenever I come across beggars in the street, I ask myself whether it is correct to give them a little money or not. Why don’t they work like others? Anyway this is life. We are not the same. Sometimes it is better not to think much, giving up using our mind for a while and opening our heart.
Ettore Grillo author of Travels of the Mind and The Vibrations of Words