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Fraudulent Fertilisation

Episode 56

Ricardo Ludovico Gulminelli
Smaller text sizeDefault text sizeBigger text size Add to my bookshelf epub mobi Permalink Ebook MapMar del Plata, Bosque Peralta Ramos

“I don’t know, I’m not very convinced. Anyway, it’s very difficult to mobilise oneself in sentimental questions with theoretical approaches. Deep feelings always arise, even when they oppose our logic.”

“You’re not wrong there, doctor. But I repeat that this has an explanation in our own bankruptcies. I partly agree with what you’ve said. Few Argentineans of our generation could be that flexible. If they tried without being convinced, the results would be catastrophic. Unstoppable impulses, violence, intolerance would emerge. A man cannot pretend, hide what he feels over a long time, without becoming ill or exploding. Especially when the behaviour in question is very important. Mental concentration is required to overcome the ideas sown during childhood, it’s an elaborate process of taking consciousness.”

“But, doctor, in that case, does everything you said before serve no purpose? Can’t it be put into practice?”

“No, it’s not like that at all. I accept that we belong to a polluted, transitionary class, but the truth can be reached. Cultural conditionings are tyrannical, when we don’t listen to them it causes serious emotional disorders. To accept this as the truth is one thing, but it’s an entirely different matter if, despite this conviction, we persist in transmitting to our children the same errors that our parents engraved on us in letters of fire. That would be seriously wrong...”

“Psychoanalysis has worked well in this aspect, Burán. It has shown that prohibitions and threats made during childhood are harmful. Much more so if they impose archaic rules of life on the child.”

“It’s complex, Rocío. As if cultural conditionings weren’t enough, we carry others in our genes, the history of our species. We must overcome atavistic principles, many of which make no sense nowadays. Scientists like Konrad Lorenz or the socio-biologist Wilson have shown this is undisputable. But we’re not set in everything, just influenced, we can exercise our freedom.”

The attractive lawyer smiled.

“All right, but are we or are we not traditional?”

“Not in my case, at least not completely. If you look at it objectively, you’ll see that it’s healthy to approach things with sincerity whenever possible. Fortunately, I can do it at this point in my life. In a way, I’ve overcome this problem. It doesn’t worry me too much; now I can confront a love affair more realistically. Right from the outset, I establish parameters that are more or less flexible, very subtle bonds, always voluntary. I don’t want a slave by my side, or a serf. I want a companion who thinks, who disputes my opinions, who doubts, who has her private territories, and who also loves me very much, who gives me a lot of affection. A woman who is with me because she wants to be, and who, when she changes her mind, if she wants to, goes away. I don’t see how one can enjoy the company of someone who has no choice, or who doesn’t have the freedom to exercise it. Do you understand, Rocío?”

“I agree with a lot of what you’re saying, but it’s not that simple, is it? To confront things like that requires a great deal of maturity. It’s almost unthinkable that this could happen between couples who get married very young.”

“I repeat, Rocío, it’s a matter of education, nothing else. It wouldn’t worry me if my daughter, before getting married, had the experience of living with a young man, as long as they don’t have children. When there are children, things change, you shouldn’t mess with that... Now then, if I accustomed her from her first steps to this concept, she could choose, without unconscious pressures. On the other hand, if I gave her a Calvinist education, instilling the concept of sin, terrorising her with religion, it’s clear that, being young, she’s not going to have the chance to think freely. She would be conditioned to dogmas that have been imposed on her from an early age. When she’s matured, perhaps, with great effort, she would manage to see reality. Normally when this happens, it’s too late; lamentable errors have already been made.”

OK,” said Rocío, “but don’t you think such a rationalist conception could hurt the feeling of love?”

“Rocío, you say the word ‘rationalist’ as if you didn’t like it. Don’t forget that earlier on I said that affection was the most important thing, above all else. Love is a wonderful feeling; without it we would be solitary castaways. It allows us to become one, makes us strong before the idea of death, shelters us from the inclemency of life. We have a mutual need for each other, we are social beings. As civilised people, love is necessary for us to channel our sexual impulses. One cannot really have lived without experiencing it. In my case, for example, before meeting Alicia, I was depressed; thanks to her, my world changed almost automatically. It’s miraculous; how could I not experience it? Sincerely, Rocío, everything I say is intended to give love the privileged position it deserves.”

OK,” she said, “but you must admit that it has no foundation in reason. It can’t be manipulated theoretically; something always slips through our hands.”

“I accept that, together with war and religion, it forms part of a trilogy of irrationalities, but unlike the other two, love is not anti-rational. One could perfectly well conclude, from the point of view of pure thought, that it is a beneficial sentiment. More than any other, it gives the human being dignity and happiness. You can’t say the same about war, which attacks life and degrades the individual. Or about religion, which restricts freedom of ideas, establishing sins, imposing prohibitions, demanding compliance with dogmas.”

“It’s clear that you’re not a model Christian... This conversation would have been impossible for me ten years ago. At that time I would have been unable to accept your atheism.”

“I’m honest, I can’t state that God exists; of course I have doubts, I can’t deny it. How many people say they are believers but ask the same questions? We’re back to hypocrisy...”

“Well, Doctor, there’s no doubt you could be called rational.”

“Many men call themselves rational, Rocío; but it’s not usually the case. A useful example is the energetic and efficient executive who leaves affection, his family, his own spiritual richness to one side, simply for material reasons. He lives from commitment to commitment, turning everything into an obsession. It’s clear he’s not behaving intelligently or using his reason. The absurd behaviour of contemporary man is so generalised it goes unnoticed.”

“I see it often,” she said. “It’s incredible how people behave in an uncivilised manner in developed communities. They leave essential things to one side. I think one of the most painful consequences of the lack of love is not just unhappiness, but also resentment. I’ve always been scared of becoming one of those embittered old maids, who become cruel, who die of envy when faced with the happiness of others.”

“Rocío, if you remain single, I’m sure of one thing, it’ll be because you’ve chosen to... You’re a very interesting woman. Forgive me for speaking like this, but for someone like you, it can’t be easy to find a partner. It’s logical that your demands are greater than normal, and in our society there aren’t many specimens on a par with you, in any sense. In Mar del Plata it’s common for women from thirty to forty years old to be alone; there simply aren’t the appropriate men for them. It’s also true that, sometimes, this is exacerbated by many women’s fear of losing their individuality. As if they could make it prosper by shutting it up in a glass box. This fear is very great, but absolutely erroneous. To sum up, Rocío, I think it would be lamentable for you to shut off the possibility of enriching contacts. Don’t be afraid of having your world invaded, demolish the walls that isolate you.”

“I swear, Burán, that it seems unreal to be talking about this intimate subject so naturally. I’m glad to be able to do it, I admit you’re right, I’ve taken a long time to realise. Perhaps I have isolated myself to a certain extent, but you can be sure I’m making a big effort to correct my mistake.”

“I’m flattered that you trust me, Rocío, thank you.”

“Now that we’re touching on such personal matters,” she said, “can I ask a question to satisfy my curiosity?”

Translation: Peter Miller (© 2002)
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Copyright ©Ricardo Ludovico Gulminelli, 1990
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Date of publicationSeptember 2002
Collection RSSGlobal Fiction
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