THE NOBLEMEN DISCUSS THE NATURE OF LOVE

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In The old Club of the Noblemen, lawyer Giovanni got up from his armchair and turned to Alberto.
“You are an old dreamer, Alberto! Youngsters look for pure and everlasting love, not old men like you! The love between a man and a woman doesn’t exist at all. It is just illusion. What happens between them is just sexual attraction. Many people think they have found their ideal partner. But then, being attracted by someone else, either younger or more beautiful, they end up leaving the former lover to join the new one! Love is not stable. It exists only in our dreams. True love should last forever. But what we call love vanishes sooner or later, and we move from one partner to another. Often, when a relationship ends, what seemed to be a great love turns into hatred. How many lovers swore eternal love first, and then it becomes eternal hatred! Is this love? I don’t think so! For me, love is just hormonal compatibility.”
“Sometimes,” said Uncle Salvatore, “love is more than hormonal attraction. It is also affection. First, we are attracted by the partner’s shape, but gradually, our love grows more and more. I don’t think that only affection or only sex exists. Love is a mixture of affection and sex. In human love, we need both of them.”
“What is love for you?” Mario asked Uncle Salvatore.
“For me, love is like two wings of an eagle.”
“What kind of answer is that?” said Judge Cangemi.
“An eagle can’t fly with only one wing, so unilateral love is not possible. Love needs two living beings who exchange their love each other. If only one person loves and the other is indifferent, love is not possible. Altruistic and unselfish love is platonic. Every love is a mixture of altruism and egoism. If love is only altruism, it is not love. It is like asking an eagle to fly with only one wing. It can’t do that. But with two wings, it can soar so high that no other birds can reach it. Love is like that, it requires two beings who love each other. I don’t believe in unreciprocated love. It is useless and a waste of energy.”
“There are some kinds of unilateral love!” said old Judge Cangemi, raising his index finger to give much solemnity to his assertion. “Try and imagine the love of Jesus for humankind. It is a typical example of unilateral love. Jesus loved human beings, and his love was repaid with flagellation, mockery, and crucifixion.”
“Objection!” said lawyer Giovanni, irritated and sure of himself. “Jesus’s love was altruistic, not unilateral. It was reciprocated and deeply returned. Think of the apostles or the women who cried desperately at the foot of the cross, or the many Christians who were martyred under Jesus’s name. If Jesus’s love had not been repaid, his death would have been nonsense. However, I don’t want to talk about mystic love, but about the love which happens between a man and a woman — conventional love. I want to know why almost always a man falls in love with a beautiful and pretty woman, not with an ugly one. Why is external appearance so important? Love should concern the soul, but it involves the body, the shape of the body. Why?”
“I can give you the proper answer,” said Lorenzo, the classic literature teacher. “In ancient Greece, love was called ‘the smile of life’ and beauty ‘the smile of the earth.’ Both smiles were embodied by Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of beauty. She was born from the sea foam. Her beauty enchanted the gods of Olympus. We human beings are allured by the harmony of the forms like the ancient pagan gods. We don’t like ugliness. We are reluctant to fall in love with an ugly woman. But beauty and grace are not enough for the birth of love. It needs something more. Lovers should open their hearts to each other and enjoy staying together. If they can do so, they feel natural and comfortable. This feeling goes beyond physical appearance or sex. If you look for your partner only for sex, that is not love. It is the basis of love to feel joyful and grateful when you stay close to your beloved.
“In Greek mythology, Eros, Aphrodite’s son, symbolizes love. He embodies changeable, blind, and irrational love. Eros is blindfolded and winged. He shoots arrows into the hearts of humans to make them fall in love.
“The mystery of love is contained in the myth of Eros and Psyche. Psyche was a very beautiful girl. Eros fell in love with her. In the nighttime, he met her in a house in the middle of the forest, without ever revealing his appearance. ‘If you don’t see me,’ said Eros, ‘our love will last; otherwise, it will vanish like snow in the hot sun.’ But, Psyche couldn’t resist the temptation of seeing her lover. So, one night, while Eros was sleeping, she saw the extraordinary beauty of her man in the light of an oil lamp. Yet, a drop of hot oil from the lamp fell on Eros’s shoulder. Suddenly, he woke up and disappeared. Psyche
couldn’t see him anymore! The meaning of the myth is clear. You can’t understand love or observe it too closely. If you try to know what love is, it will vanish. You just have to live love without ever asking what it is. Love is a mystery! Just live the mystery!”
“For me,” said Mario, “there must be something rational in love. Someone says that love is an art that can be learned and understood.”
“I don’t think so,” replied Lorenzo. “If love were an art to be learned, lovers would have realized how to make their love last forever. Yet, it is not like that. Almost all loves end up extinguishing sooner or later, like fire that flames at first, but with time burns out.
“Someone thinks that it is possible to use some techniques to make a person fall in love. I don’t think so. Love is attraction and feeling. I think no technique can make a person love somebody. The biggest mistake one can make is to consider love as a safe haven to live happily and serenely for all life. Love is unstable!
“However things are, it is certain that you can’t buy love. Even the rich and the potent can’t buy it with their money and power. So, love is the peak of justice because it doesn’t make any distinction between the rich and the poor, the weak and the potent.”
“Nevertheless, I will keep traveling and looking for my ideal soul mate. I won’t give up, even if I can’t find her until the end of my life. I will always cherish in my mind the hope
that somewhere I will find a woman who suits me. Someday, my eternal love will appear to me definitely,” Alberto said sincerely.
“Don’t search for love outside yourself! You won’t find it!” said Judge Cangemi. “Love is a state of your being! If you become love, everything is love. If you are not love, you can’t find love outside. To find the real eternal love is illusion! You’d better try to become love yourself!”
“I agree with Judge Cangemi,” concluded Uncle Salvatore. “Yes, love is important in our life, but I think the most important journey is to search after the immortal soul and the source of our frail but precious life.”
For about fifteen minutes, the lounge of The old Club of the Noblemen fell silent. No one had any intention of standing up. The theme ‘love’ had stirred up their buried emotions.
They were all old men. Many years had gone by since the first date with the loved girlfriend, the first kiss to her. But, time couldn’t wither their hearts. Love has no age. It is timeless and boundless. Love is the source of life in the universe.
The keeper of the club came near the small group of members.
“Sorry to disturb you all. It’s time to close,” he said with
submissive voice.
“Yes, let’s go home!” said Uncle Salvatore.
Everybody stood up and headed for the exit of the club. The keeper lowered the shutter. The last part of the day was painted with a conversation about love. Tomorrow, another story of life would be continued.

This is an excerpt from Travels of the Mind
Ettore Grillo, author of these books:
– A Hidden Sicilian History
– The Vibrations of Words
– Travels of the Mind
http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

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TRAVELS OF THE MIND (second edition)

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Mindful Travel Book Inspires Personal Growth & Happiness

World traveler Ettore Grillo remembers a special conversation at a noblemen’s club in Sicily, where members relate their travel stories. He records their talks, and the result is Travels of the Mind, a mind-expanding book with travel tips, stories, and deep conversations.

Adding his own travel experiences, the author’s Travels of the Mind becomes a spiritual inner journey as well as a self-help book. These discussions are helpful for getting over anxiety, depression, and personality disorders. The author overcame his own anxiety and panic attacks by undertaking meditation and travel, and by opening his heart to God.

Travel along to such widespread places as Tanzania, Medugorje, London, Paravati (Calabria), Rome, Paris, Tokyo, New York, and small towns in Germany and Switzerland. But travel is not the only thing discussed. The men speak openly of love, spirituality, mind, life, and death. They debate the biggest puzzles of life: What is love, can people control their minds, and is there life after death?

About the Author: Ettore Grillo is a retired criminal attorney from Enna, Sicily, who spends his time writing and traveling. This is the second edition of his first book. He calls himself a citizen of the world. “All people are my friends, whatever race and social class they belong to.” He adds that “readers can see something of themselves in the pages of this unique book.” See his blog at ettoregrillo.wordpress.com.

“This book goes where no other travel book has gone before. Full of philosophy, meaningful discussions, as well as travel tips for the discerning traveler. Travels of the Mind is not only fascinating, but journeys deep into cultures around the world. Don’t leave home without it!” said Robert Fletcher, CEO of Strategic Book Publishing and Rights Agency.

http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

 

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

http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

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…

This is an excerpt from A Hidden Sicilian History

Ettore Grillo, author of these books:

– A Hidden Sicilian History

– The Vibrations of Words

– Travels of the Mind

http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo