I couldn't live without mentors.


I couldn't live without mentors. I say it in a way that I should call “generous plural”, because they are always very few. Life cannot be generous in teachers. If they were easy to find, they would lose their enormous value. The good turns out to be painfully scarce. That's why I remember every conversation I've ever had with my mentors. I think of all this for three reasons: one, when a few years ago some presumed friends proposed something dishonest to me, I went to seek advice, sad and dismayed, from my then mentor; I told him that I couldn't understand why there were fake people, so deeply sick with greed. My mentor, Mr. Olivar, told me that there are wrong people. People who have not had what they should have enjoyed, perhaps in their childhood; and that they were probably looking for satisfaction in the wrong places, those that offer an inordinate desire for power or inadequate ways of earning money.

Two. I am reminded of the conversation between Primo Levi, upon returning from Auschwitz, with a surviving friend, a Jew from Thessaloniki, Mordo Nahum, who explained to Levi: “Being without shoes is a very serious offense. When there is a war, you have to think about two things: firstly, about the shoes, and, secondly, about the food; and not the other way around, as people think; because if you have shoes you can go out and look for food, and the opposite is not true”. "But the war is over," Levi objected, and thought it was over, as many did during those months of truce. "War is always," replied Mordo Nahum.

Three. One of the most revealing moments in The Narrow Road to the Deep North, by Richard Flanagan, is when a man who has lived through absolute suffering, years later as a father, takes special care of his children –something incomprehensible to them– because "he was trying to warn them of the horrors that this unforgiving world reserved for the unwary, the foolish and the inexperienced."

It's good for me to read. I have had personal mentors and, in other cases, books. Works like Levi's or Flanagan's prevent me from becoming a sucker. Mentors and books sustain me, planting the confidence and hope with which we will possibly stay afloat.