In the 4th century B.C, we thought that the Earth was the center of the Universe. Greek philosopher Aristotle, who was Plato´s disciple, defended the geocentric theory, wherein the Earth is sovereign, and its subjects are all the other celestial bodies, including the Sun.
In Venice, Italy, in the 17th century, Galilei Galileu introduced the heliocentric theory, in which the Sun is the center of the Universe. Galileu explained to the world that the Earth rotated around the Sun, and not the other way around, as was believed for such a long time. Galileu´s discovery was a very important landmark for the history of humanity and caused great turmoil in the scientific circles of the time. You may well imagine how revealing it must have been to know that our planet was not the protagonist of the Milky Way, nor had it ever been so. Today we live at ease with the knowledge that our planet rotates around its axis at some 1,700 kilometers an hour, and that the movement of the Earth around the Sun occurs at a speed of 107,000 kilometers an hour.
To us of the 21st century, this is no novelty within the realm of science, but in the small space of our day-to-day lives, there are still those who think we are the center of the universe. We are still confused by subjects of our egos and souls, and many a time do we live our lives with our hearts misunderstood and brimming over with wishes that very often are not met. Maybe we should educate our hearts and minds to free ourselves from the traps of our egos.
Educating our hearts is like educating our gaze so that we may appreciate what is beautiful, in a true opportunity to appropriate our human condition. We live in such a controversial and complex world that we sometimes allow ourselves to be persuaded by the fallacy of efficiency and by the urgency of contemporary life, with its rather forced restlessness that feeds simpleton and famished egos.
What´s the good of our living busy and tasked but without attending to the heart that inhabits our chests? Perhaps only human hearts are able to understand the wisdom of I Ching verses, or feel the compassion of Michelangelo´s Pietà, or, yet, understand the beauty of Franky Gehry´s work, or admire the grandness of dear Malala. So that we may appropriate our condition of being human, we must put our hearts ahead of everything else, as a guide that shows us the way to undertstand the world.
Human knowledge is extraordinary in many senses. We have discovered planets and moons, we can fly at 37,000 meters of altitude, and we have even photographed Mars. But how difficult it is to knock down secular dogmas that still exist but are no longer of any use to us. How little we use our hearts to transform the world around us, so filled with pitiful inequalities and overwhelming injustice!
We still have a long way to go towards preparing our hearts to exit our own private universe – so tiny and unimportant in the face of the great things of life. When we can look beyond ourselves, we will find good feelings all around us. Every now and again, the good feelings are somewhat dormant owing to our oversight in not taking care of our own heart. However, we are in good time to remember that it exists and that, indeed, it is our truest guide.
There is no place for an intemperate ego in a strong heart that accepts the uncertainties and surprises of life. Rather, a fertile soil is provided for a harmonious coexistence between feeling and reason. This harmony is shown in one´s respect for nature, in one´s admiration for equitable relationships, in one´s trust in open dialogue.
Our world needs more cuddling and more empathy between all persons, and I believe that the time we are here together on Earth is the time we were given to exercise compassion, friendship, and kindness.
Our life is an instant – so fleeting and little when compared to the magnitude of the universe – but it is all we have, and the sequences of such minute spaces of time are the stories of our lives. We can make a harmonious plot of sincere beauty out of these various instances and, thus, be closer to our hearts.
This article was originally published in Portuguese by Revista Nowmastê, February, 2016.
Translated into English by Angela Christine Charity