CESAR BRANA, A CULTURAL CENTER IN ANTIGUA ( GUATEMALA)

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CESAR BRANA, A CULTURAL CENTER IN ANTIGUA (GUATEMALA)

As soon as I arrived in Antigua, I looked for a music school to practice the piano.

It is not easy to find a piano in Antigua. Their traditional instrument is the marimba, played with two small sticks.

Since I am not used to giving up, after many attempts to find a music school, at last I came across the Cultural Center Cesar Bragna.

It is housed inside a building with many rooms and a theater. In each room a particular subject is taught: languages, piano, painting, theater, cooking, violin, marimba, psychology, and so on.

The Center is open to everybody. I enrolled for piano lessons with a teacher who, although young, is very competent on the subject. A natural friendship arose between us.

Looking around the Center, I saw people of all ages and from all walks of life studying marimba, violin, painting, and English.

I wonder why in my hometown there is not a center like this.

My thoughts are with the elderly and those with mental problems. These last are at the mercy of psychiatrists who give them drugs. This way, they reach an equilibrium. But, the medicine can cure just the symptoms of the mental disease, not its cause. Once one stops taking pills, the disorder reappears.

Are psychiatrists able to administer the pill of painting? Of theater? Of friendship? The pill of love?

I don’t think so! It is much easier to give a medicine.

If in my town there were a Center like Cesar Brana, how many old people and social misfits could socialize!

Is art, music, friendship, and love more effective than psychiatric treatment? I think so!

Ettore Grillo, author of these books:

– A Hidden Sicilian History

– The Vibrations of Words

– Travels of the Mind

www.sbpra.com/ettoregrillo

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SOMEWHERE, MY LOVE

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SOMEWHERE, MY LOVE

When I lived with Sebastiano on the estate in Pollicarini, the farmhand took care of the she-asses that he co-owned with my family. We didn’t have to worry about the condition of the animals, and the farmer looked after them as if they were his family members. He curried them often. You could see their good health from the brilliance of their coats.

Whenever he took one of the she-asses out from the stable, they both brayed, pawed the ground, and got restless. They couldn’t endure being parted. Later on, after they were reunited, they showed their happiness by smelling each other.

Was that love? Why shouldn’t it be considered love? Love for friends or partners belongs to the nature of all creatures. It can be considered a gift of nature. There is no difference between animals and human beings when it comes to love.

In some species love is stronger than humans. There are many animals that are monogamous. The pre-eminent monogamous species is the emperor penguin, but there are many other birds and a few mammals with strong dispositions to love. The mandarin ducks, also called loving birds, have only one union in their life. When one of the mates dies, the other won’t accept another partner and remains alone for the rest of its life.

The logical corollary of what I expounded on above is that the love we have for our children, our friends, and our relatives doesn’t add any merit to our being, because the feelings we express don’t depend upon our free will and heart. We just instinctively express a kind of love that is not dissimilar to that of animals.

Real love is different—it is unconditional and universal. It goes beyond a couple’s love. It has nothing to do with the group, family, or clan one belongs to. Human love is usually on mutual terms: “I’ll love you if you love me.” Even parental love, which is the strongest, is subject to reciprocity. If a child is disrespectful or aggressive against their parents, they stop loving their child to the point that they can throw their child out of their home. The same happens in the animal kingdom, where the mother loves her cubs until they start competing with her. In that case, separation is inevitable…

Excerpt from A Hidden Sicilian History

Ettore Grillo, author of these books:

– A Hidden Sicilian History

– The Vibrations of Words

– Travels of the Mind

www.sbpra.com/ettoregrillo