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About cultural identity

Yesterday I entered a chat to know about a friend in Mexico, I heard bad news about hurricane Patricia where she lives, but there wasn’t luck… While I was waiting a guy from the south of Spain talked to me (I guess a guy) and he asked me, as I had told before that I’m Aymara, the following: “Please teach me about the magic Aymara people used to build Machu Picchu.”

Magic… I told him the truth: we used science. So he begun to ask me questions about my culture but every question was referred to magic and the age of Aquarius… After a long conversation to me was clear that he had a romantic idea about us and actually it’s not so different about what tourists think about us.

Here are some myths I have discovered around the years:

  • The poorer we are the happier we are and worthy of admiration.

False, money has nothing to do with happiness: if you are rich that doesn’t mean you cannot be happy, and if you are poor then that doesn’t mean you are going to be happy. To me happiness is a consequence when we experiment something we like, it’s not a reward. I think Christians have this sense of guilt about happiness that in the last books of bible likes to give as a reward to poor people and says to them that rich men cannot reach.

It’s not worthy of admiration because people so many times has no choice about being poor. I think a rich person that renounce to fortunes for a dream certainly is worthy of admiration because is a hard decision, but not a person that is it because has born in a poor context.

One of the horrible things about tourism (Europeans, Americans, National tourists) is the attraction they feel to photograph dirty children in the streets. Guess what: their parents don’t care their skins or wash them because they know tourists are going to pay money for that “authentic” postcard.

An ascetic deserves respect of all us, poverty just for the fact to be born poor: not.

  • We are forbidden to have gadgets except the ones used by your grandparents

Sometimes I read in travel blogs about the disappointing to see villagers with TV’s. Apparently we are authorized to use just old AM radios with the obligatory two fat batteries. Why we have to renounce to live in an interconnected world? I think if I use my laptop that doesn’t change the fact that I’m Aymara it just makes me an Aymara that uses a laptop. Is that so negative? This extends to malls and fast food enterprises too. I don’t understand that fear to McDonalds or stores, actually they help buying our native products and we go if we chose, in the end it just complete our culture. Since kid I remember Coke Cola sponsors our traditional parties.

  • Our monuments and music serves for meditation and spirituality

Everybody has right to their beliefs so I’m not against them. But I have noted several people that comes to:

  1. Consume drugs to get mystic travels. That’s a part of our culture but it was just a part, the same way I don’t believe that everybody in Europe reads tarot.
  2. Perform oriental meditation. It’s a new age deformation I guess, the beliefs of the Aquarius age.  I went three times to Machu Picchu and it seems I saw in each time a different person meditating. Sorry to say but Machu Picchu was more the palace of an Inca and apparently a place to extend the frontiers inside the jungle, in a certain way is like tourists could go to the White House to perform yoga… I think people forget the Inca Empire was as every other empire, we had ascetics, but also (equivalents of) teachers, historians, scientists, spies, diplomatics, businessmen, etcetera.
  3. New age and Aquarius age. those beliefs has nothing to do with us, our main constellation is the Chakana (known by you as Southern Cross) the Zodiac symbols are imported and has nothing to do with our sky and beliefs. Even more, that is used by people to get your dollars or euros (or soles as people from the capital likes that too as they imitate everybody that is fashion in Europe) because that’s what certain tourists want to live. Sadly that new age music and those theories were never part of us.
  4. Hear our music. Sadly after the Spanish invasion our music was lost, only the religious music survived, it’s similar to imagine a catastrophe in Europe and every masterpiece of Beethoven, Mozart et al had been lost and just had remain the “Amen” in churches.
  5. Try our traditional medicine. Actually in Peru there are two obsessions: try everything that ruins your health and try everything that recovers your health. So our traditional medicine is more a signal of our bad habits, if you walk around you are going to see people usually is so short and don’t have a culture of body care.
  • The culture only survives in the countryside

That’s so sad. It seems people think that if you live in a city you are already a westerner and if you don’t “act” like that then you should go “back” to the countryside. Sadly the evidence shows that we had always more cities than the ones founded by Spaniards, and the capital had several times the size of the European capitals.

  • We all are Indians .-.

Sure?, not, really, Are you sure .-.? I was reading  this tittle “Aymara Indian Perspectives on Development in the Andes” of course I think it seems a valuable text and in our culture we never get offended if things are with good intention but I’M NOT AN INDIAN. I’m an Aymara and nothing more. The same way you’re a French or German. Let’s try what happens if I write:

“After a travel to Europe it’s a shame that French Indians have lost their identity, I saw several young men using jeans and loafers, even is sad the damage Peru has made to their culture because they use our potatoes instead of their local native cuisine; after that I saw German Indians and with such a pity I have to say that they’re a fake culture, victims of cell phones, credit cards and others modern inventions they aren’t anymore a real culture but a group without identity. Goethe would cry to see his culture ruined by the modern world, I feel cheated because I wanted to find real culture and not people with TV’s in their bedrooms.”

  • What books say about us is the truth

Bad news: actually the things you believe to know about us is an image given to Europeans so they could understand something of our thoughts. Inversely we couldn’t understand their gods that were three and one at the same time and that lack of happiness. In our beliefs there aren’t equivalents of Thor, Yahve, Odin, et al, also there aren’t demons. Spaniards thought our Supay was the demon but it was just the way we called the nature when it was stronger.

The myth of creation that Spaniards read also are versions because they couldn’t accept a world without Jesus or where the woman has the same value as the man and could be general or high leader if she was capable.

  • We are like kids

I’ve seen several times that thought, there is no equalitarian principle. If people among us commit a crime sometimes people from the capital don’t apply the law saying it was because our philosophy (LMAO!) and also tourists justify the violence in our society as if we shouldn’t follow the same rules. Once a German blogger friend said me that I couldn’t judge my culture, I don’t know why he can judge his culture, perhaps it’s this myth of the good savage and that nonsense of traditions.

What I try to say

Our tradition is the innovation. Get stuck in the past is for narrow minded people. I studied the history of our civilizations and they developed innovating and evolving, never following traditions because that means being stubborn in don’t change despite the advance of thoughts and knowledge, we cannot ignore the world.

We are like everybody: we grew up seeing Dragon Ball; wishing our classmates would be as sexy as Kylie Minogue :P, watching Hollywood and Bollywood movies; appreciating well made shoes; wanting to practice Kung fu; playing football… I don’t know, sometimes it seems we are only allowed to be poor and dance with a smile for tourists. I’m happy that tourists find ugly my city.

(Post-Data: the photograph is a metallic fountain in the plaza of Tacna city, made by the studio of Eiffel)

About numbers and sex

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(Caution, the following text can contain language or opinions that could be offensive. If you are sensible to sexuality please don’t continue)

NUMBERS IN BLOGGER

I ran a blog before, in blogger. Actually if I consider that this is not a blog but a diary then I could say that that was my only blog in life. The thematic was exclusively about my sexual learning and experience. I just did ten posts but the visits reached almost ten thousand visitors; but I noticed I couldn’t write well and frequently about the theme so I closed it. I think things to exist should be the best, I didn’t want to write half way articles. But I saved the number of visits and decided to use it as an indicator to compare with the other side in WordPress. I said to myself that the day I would reach the same number of visitors then I would write it.

So far after a bit more of five hundred (500) posts I have reached the same number of views in comparison to the ten (10) posts I needed previously. That number just means that sex is a more interesting theme to the netizens, and that’s okay, besides I didn’t do anything with the purpose to get readers or visitors. Sure I could just hide that fact but one of my compromises to every reader in this page is not satisfaction or happiness, just the truth and honesty, being a diary sometimes it’s funny and others is sad, sometimes it’s about an absent lady; sometimes thoughts and memories.

I was not supposed to be here in WordPress. I had a space associated to my Hotmail account, but, as so many things, Microsoft decided to drop out our spaces and we suddenly appeared here, with writers, poets, painters, photographers, etcetera; in this public and open place. My writings and photographs were supposed to be just for intimate friends. But my stubbornness said that I shouldn’t hide myself just because a company decided so. So I just published just to have a funny routine, then followers and likes appeared. Something a bit strange. In any case I’m not going to turn this blog in a sexual one, if I’d write (publicly) again about it then I’d open a new WordPress blog.

EXPERIENCES AS A SEXUAL BLOGGER

Without giving so many details I wrote about my own experiences, (the same as here, the drawings, photographs and words are mine, the most I did was to share some youtube links) and my conclusions. That blog also had photographs I had taken respecting the privacy, they were more innuendos. I educated myself (as I did with, among other things, English language, CAD drawing or photography) about the ways to live better the sex side of our life. I don’t see sex as something merely biologic but also a cultural an artistic phenomena (what we call eroticism) so I wrote with the idea to give information, not to provoke morbidness. For what it’s worth some of my conclusions were, limiting what I can say because this is not an adult only diary:

  • In the shared place of a bed there aren’t titles, money, houses, lands, clothes, books; nothing. Just a man and a woman.
  • Is important to be clean and healthy. A gentleman cannot eat onions the same day is going to be with a lady, the body has to be clean and even the act to get naked has to show an order.
  • Lips are important to say the correct words and with hands and skin are important to touch the special places in the map of a woman. Know that map.
  • Routine is enemy of sex.
  • Every woman is different so every one wants different times or intensities. To discover the key to free a woman about inhibitions is part of the previous games.
  • To dance, more than porn, is useful because nothing kills more the passion than make mechanic movements. Sex has to flow exactly like a dance. It’s a way to understand to the other without words.
  • Always there are mistakes, never ask pardon for them. Learn from it and do it better the next time.
  • To have so much money until it’s not more a preoccupation or to have so little money until it’s not more a preoccupation makes a more relaxed context for sex.
  • Never stop if your partner is going to get the climax,
  • A man can be, with control and practice, multiorgasmic as well. I remember some nights with a friend, we could be united five or six times continued.
  • We, men, can fake orgasms too ;-)
  • If you cannot understand to your partner then is better to stop to see themselves. Not everybody is meant to match.
  • Usually younger women in their early twenties don’t allow themselves to enjoy completely because they are worried with their bodies or to satisfy their partners. Women in their forties have a more relaxed attitude so are more free to enjoy.
  • Women have different points of views about sex according to their religious, cultural, economic or social precedence. Also coming from a big city makes a difference.
  • You cannot be shy. You cannot feel guilt for your body or your actions.
  • Porn is staged, it’s a reference but it’s not realistic.
  • Kamasutra is useful combined with a healthy life. It’s more than a recipe.
  • Size matters to ladies, but there is a limit in which they don’t feel comfortable.
  • The end is not the end. Be kind and tell her some words, caress her skin, help her with her shoes.
  • Sex is one of the few occasions when eyes don’t lie.

There is an absent word and that is love. Love is more complicated, flesh from another kind of animal.

Tomorrow this space continues as always.

Venustas, Utilitas

The lyf so short, the craft so long to lerne(1)

 GEOFFREY CHAUCER

pinceladaSeveral civilizations about the beauty, for example relative to the craft of Architecture (2), have argued reasonably that its essence is bonded to utility. I have, reasonably, preferred to doubt. I don’t find any utility in to listen a melody or choose the silence, to see a sunset, to feel the taste of apple lipstick in other lips, to palpate a stone wall, to glimpse a forgotten silhouette, to understand a mathematical axiom, to evoke an absence, or to remember the rubbish when trying an orange. Inevitably, fatally, it should be something more.

The notion about utility or functionality explain partially the concept of beauty: the unsatisfied function communicated by the part (a faulty lock, an incomplete keyboard, a missing leg) would contaminate the whole of ugliness(3). As consequence the use, and the time given to that use, would be the measurements to quantify the beauty. Under that premise the arts, blind to any utility, ignore the beauty. Even Architecture is vain if we admit that a hole in the ground or a rustic fabric upon our heads is enough to live and survive. But we see a Doric column, a Latin inscription, a familiar face and we cannot avoid to intuit a message, a memory located in the nostalgia; the suspicion of something that wants to reach an ideal. In both cases the object perceived (artificial as a theatre piece or natural as an eclipse) is tensioned itself to the point to almost come near to a state we suspect it can fully be itself. A state that we cannot express completely because is expressed in the perceived object but we liked to say and usually is simply invoked as beauty. But is still truth that functional and useful objects seems to us naturally beautiful. Then it has to be a common property in utilitarian objects and the apparently not utilitarian ones that take part of the elusive and abstract idea of beauty.

The utility, again, is determined by the satisfaction of a necessity; but it’s not necessarily true, not completely. Satisfy a necessity doesn’t mean satisfy the lack of the things we haven’t, because at the beginning the humanity hadn’t neither the music, nor religion (but it had the faith), nor the writing. Deep inside we know that what is not owned is not needed: it’s desired (desire that to the Buddhism is the origin of suffering). That that doesn’t exist, according to Louis Kahn, is that which leads us to the expression of beauty that lies in the desire to express and that creates for us new necessities: the mountain that we venerate doesn’t need us to exist; but for the mere fact to exist it creates in us the need to see it because it justify our existence; we desire that beauty that doesn’t require us but without which we couldn’t live anymore. The primary necessities (to eat, survive to the environment) are extensive to every living being; the secondary ones are humans. They are the difference between merely to exist from to live; to exist and to know that oneself exists (4). Then the desire would be the shared origin that brings the idea of beauty; it should be an uniform and constant idea. But in not few occasions what is beautiful to a person it’s not for other one; and what is commonly beauty for a group de persons it’s not for the same reason for every one of that group. Not even in one only person the beauty is constant but it changes across the time. So it’s not enough that the object or subject enter in contact with the human desire, that generates the necessity, to be considered beautiful. It must to be, besides a common property in the object, a determinant characteristic in the subject.

According to Chomsky (5), to write a text, let’s say Venustas, Utilitas, is not a way of communication; the communication and expression are elusive ideals to the language. We write for the simple reason that we need to write. It’s a necessity of personal expression. The necessity that at the beginning (primary) is shared for every living being; next it belongs to the specie (fueled by the desire), and at the end it is intimate and personal. The contact of everyone with the object perceived beauty is the contact of one with oneself; in this level is when we perceive less what it is and instead we perceive what we want to feel. The object or subject is beautiful because that is a characteristic of the self, therefore perhaps it induce or inspire us to love such an object or such a person. As many things it’s just a point of view of the observer. To se a specific look of dark eyes or a specific tint of a sunrise  in a certain way is to see all the sunrises and all the looks that have been and will be; and also is to see for first time a sunrise or a specific look that never have been and never will be another the same never more. These properties are akin too to the objects or situations we create and find in dreams (although they’re not always beauty). Borges understood that the meeting of the subject with the contemplated object (6) sometimes generate an emotion translated in a wonderful mystery that couldn’t be yet explain, mystery that we call beauty; beauty that in turn is a confession of something we don’t understand but we have faith about its existence; beauty that in the end is an evasion of the language, one of several words to not say ignorance. The complexity rely in discover the unknown element of the beauty, that elusive complexity that probably for being so close to the essence of our specie can’t be defined by recent and artificial means as are the words. Perhaps that explains why I can’t explain that I like a particular smile in special…

Inevitable, fatally, it should be something more.

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(1)Chaucer upon a writing of Hippocrates: ars longa; vita brevis. Quote by Borges in Introducción a la Literatura Inglesa.

(2) Beauty as a human concept. We don’t know how it would be the beauty for other intelligences. Pure shapes as the Moon or the Mount Fuji, or pure colors as the found in a rose are pleasant to us for its immediacy. Other intelligences as dolphins could be more sensible to more complicated shapes and for that more probable to find pleasant shapes that our minds would perceive as chaotic.

(3) Ugliness that could originate from the need that we feel to close an unfinished circle. Ugliness that also born from the broken routines. Poe in his essay On Imagination would say that the matters that work and blend the imagination are the Beauty and the Deformity. 

(4) The idea sketched by Heraclitus (fragments LXXXII and LXXXIII) about the hierarchized beauty as found in animals, mankind and, at last, in Gods probably configured Plato’s theory exposed in the dialogues Symposium and Phaedrus where love discovers successive levels of beauty till the archetype, ultimate idea that is bonded with the idea of Eternity.

(5) Entrevista con Noam Chomsky, Revolución en la lingüística. editorial Salvat Barcelona, 1973.

(6) Borges used to quote to Angelus Silesius: Die Rose ist ohne warum; sie blühet weil sie blühet (The Rose is without a ‘wherefor; she blooms because she blooms) and also to Whistler: Art happens. Although beautiful thoughts Borges would like to prefer (some time) that to reach the beauty is indispensable a tenacious conspiracy of several why so that the rose be the rose.

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Epilogue:

Ok, Are you still there? XD, if the answer is yes then this is an essay I wrote in Spanish in November of 2006. I though it would be nice to publish it to English. The society from I come is quite utilitarian so in a certain way this is a rebel yell against the need for an explanation for everything and the current opposition to anything whose one motivation is just hedonism ;-)