This is a story inside a story inside a story inside a story. And i am so sorry. You have to read it till the end, to get it all…enjoy!
Every story begins with ourselves. Even when we are listening to another telling us their story, we are surrounded by our interpretation of their story. The only thing we can comprehend is our own imagination, our thoughts. Maybe your story starts like this: You look at your smartphone. You have read a text, found and used a QR code, and now you are interested to see what kind of story it is. And at the same time the other stories of your life are pushing into your consciousness and struggling for attention. So it is important to assess whether you want to stay with this story or rather switch to the next one. You scroll a bit to estimate how much effort it will take to read this text. At the same time, you think about how smart this text is to read. You keep reading.
Stop. Sit down. Touch the paper. Think about it. Wait a minute. Isn’t it time to ask for forgiveness. Just now. Isn’t it time to reach out to someone you haven’t heard from in a while. Isn’t it time to show your greatness by asking forgiveness and submitting to judgment. Is repentance, very concretely, in dialogue with the other, the beginning of healing. Isn’t it a relief nurtured by the love you unintentionally receive.
My message has been typed 60 times on an old mechanical typewriter. Each keystroke was triggered by a finger hitting the keys. With monotonous sound, the pain became a constant companion. The back tensed. And yet the act of penance was a liberating one. Nothing makes us more human than our moral compass. Nothing makes us more vulnerable to abuse when this compass is tampered with. Now it is your turn.
Self-criticism is also part of self-empowerment. Unlike propaganda, it is not directed against humanity, but an inner voice of morality, to give us light in the darkness of our own world.
Isn’t it a great gift to be asked for forgiveness. Isn’t it a sign of friendship, of humility. Isn’t it also a sign of appreciation?
Write your message. Put in the envelope, seal it. Address him. Send it. Free yourself.
Perhaps you are in a large room with many people. Perhaps you are alone and holding a black box in your hands. Maybe you’re already sitting in front of a piece of paper and thinking about who you’re going to write a message to. You may already be wrestling with the words you will choose to ask for forgiveness. You may already feel reluctance to devote yourself to one thing right now. You keep reading.
You look at a message from an artist. He wrote on a piece of paper with an old mechanical typewriter. Each stroke of the letters is triggered by a hard press on one of the keys on the keyboard. A deflection sets the lever in rapid motion. The letter hits a ribbon. And takes some color with it onto the paper. The metal dips slightly into the hard rubber roller. It stays attached to the paper long enough for the color to set. The finger gives up from the keyboard. The lever swings back. He releases a lever that holds a gear that is under tension. A stretch is released like clockwork. The gear wheel rotates a few millimeters further. It moves the carriage with roller and paper, creates space for the next letter. The stop is not exact. Sometimes the letter is very small, the pressure high. Each letter in the text on the paper becomes unique. Never again will there be a message that is the same. May it be the same letters, may it be the same arrangement. This work cannot be repeated. And so is this moment when you fly over these lines with your attention. You keep reading.
The world is full of messages. They all want attention. “Overnewsed and underinformed” is the technocratic face of the totalitarian oligarchy. Do you still have friends when you’re offline? What does it mean in times of comprehensive digitization of everyday life to take a pen, write down a message physically, deliver this message in an analogue way in a real world. What does it mean for a recipient who is exposed to a permanent digital flow of messages when he receives a letter. What is that, a message in a bottle from the old days? Does all this remind you of your childhood, or of your grandparents’ childhood? What is stopping you from reading further? Why are you still here. You keep reading.
Enrique Pérez y Escrich was born in 1829 in Valencia. Escrich died at age 68 in Madrid in the year 1897. Escrich also known as Carlos Peña-Rubia and Tello was a Spanish writer and playwright, considered one of the Spanish masters of the nineteenth-century serial. He began in journalism and in comic, musical and historical theater. E wrote the satirical zarzuela ¡Viva las cadenas! (1879), written in collaboration with the composer José Rogel. Pérez Escrich’s work had a long history in the 19th century, but also in the first third of the 20th century, when in the 1920s the printing press of El Mercantil Valenciano decided to reprint almost all of his novels.
One of his books is entitled “El pan de los pobres (The Bread of the Poor)”. It deals with the challenges of new generations in their long march through the institutions of a society not to lose the youthful vigor they need to push through necessary innovations.
The book was lying next to other works in a rubbish dump in a Spanish village, some pages were missing. It was found around 1990. Since then it has been stored in the CASAdelDRAGON fund.
From time to time it is brought out and some pages are taken out. These then serve as material in collages and other objects. And so it is now. You hold a paper in your hand with the silhouette of two monks. One is made from a page of this book. And she is reminiscent of Escrich, of his time, of his life and his experience in Spanish society in the 19th century. The other silhouette of the monk is from a contemporary scholarly journal that is critical of the science of recent years. She criticizes the consequences of the economization and politilization of science. She gives the impression that things were better in the past. That’s wrong.
What is the difference between love for sale and science for sale? What is the requested product, service, who is paying for what and whom, and who is the target. The consequences of a value-accumulating competitive society that has thrown any moral compass overboard to achieve its goals are grandiose and global. The expulsion from paradise is a frequently used image to describe the guilt that is inseparable from the search for knowledge. But guilt is something ambivalent. If it is used externally by third parties, it is a weapon in the struggle for power. If it is a concept within one’s own world of thoughts, it is a tool and companion to locate the compass of one’s own morality. Assignment of blame is to be rejected. Acceptance of guilt remains a personal undertaking in dialogue with oneself.
The power that can grow from this is limitless like love. When asking for forgiveness comes out into the outside world, it creates space for forgiveness. That is not to be expected. It can be granted. This form is the highest expression of appreciation towards the other, submitting to his judgement.
The monk as a form of existence in a complex world is a symbol of contemplation, calm, meditation. When the outside becomes one with the inside, peace returns. Communication, both internal and external, is key. You keep reading.
And you know, this message you are going to write will give your life a new direction. It’s your story. It was always just your own story.