Understanding. It requires hard work in direct contact with our realities. Enjoying the full pleasure of it. Once upon a time – at my age everything is once upon a time – I became friends with Alain Touraine, young colleague at the Sorbonne. He took me to the Louvre Museum. It’s the Praxis, he was learning me.
Look at this Rembrandt. What do you see? I tried to make some intelligent remarks. Well, he said after some time. Your observations tell me something about you, but nothing about this picture. If you allow me to generalize, you use this painting as a mirror, may be this whole world is a mirror of yourself. Lets look again. Lets get closer. A close as possible. Find out what he’s doing. Study the variety of his brushstrokes. Where he applies a very crude and brutal brush, where a stroke full of tenderness. How many reds does he need, and where? Little dots of pure white and interaction between the lights of day and the shadows of night.
It took me several years, may be many, before I learned to apply this way of understanding realites around me, social, cultural, and material. My way of living. I had to wait for my seventies, before I came to realize that this was how my father and grandfather lived. Unaware of all this philosophy of Praxis. It sounds absurd, but they never handed over any Wisdoms of Life to there children. Not that I know of, today. They were wise men, thats for sure. I learned about their Mastership in understanding, not by noting their opinions – they had lots of them – but by closely observing the praxis of their way of living, the eagerness of their interest in the doings of ohers.
Dear Mina, now that you’re eighteen, enjoy all those years you have in front of you. Years of Learning, years of increasing competence in Understanding. Enjoy!