Ever since I was a child I have always been amazed by classical cultures (language, literature, philosophy, etc.) Obsessed by Monteiro Lobato´s “The Ranch of the Yellow Woodpecker”, and by Monica and her gang (comics by Maurício de Souza), at the age of nine I could describe with details and in the right order, Hercules´ 12 Trials, the Greek goddesses and gods, their attribute, personalities and Latin counterparts. I use to talk of Aspasia and Pericles, Pheidias and Socrates, as if they were children´s characters like Narizinho and Pedrinho, Monica and Cebolinha, the Beauty and the Beast, Mickey and Minnie.

“How does this connect to that?”

The taste for classical cultures that I developed as a child got so rooted that rather than pursuing the medical career for which I had been preparing for years, I decided instead to major in Classics and Philosophy. My passion for languages, dead and alive, inspired by “Emília´s Grammar”, led me to Montreal, Canada, where the cultural salad inside and outside the classroom felt like a “Tower of Babel” theme park in city scale.

“How do your studies in Canada relate to your life in Brazil, and vice-versa, and versa-vice?”

I am often asked, in Brazil and in Canada, within and without the academic setting, what my studies have to do with my life, or with life in general; whether my education in Brazil prepared me adequately for my life in Canada; whether my theoretical studies in philosophy or
Latin has any bearing on current reality. “But you always seemed so intelligent, how come you´re still in school?”, intelligent and accomplished non-academics ask me. Within academia, the expectation was often quite the opposite: “But you´re such a promising scholar, what do you mean you have a life?”

I must confess that I could never quite see the contradiction, but I used to think that there was something wrong with me, since I had the greatest respect for the people in each of these areas, academic or not, Brazilian or not. Since these were all essential components of my life, and I refused to give up on any them, I gradually started to compartimentalise my life. In this way I wouldn´t be too strident: in the theoretical work, I would avoid making reference to practicalities; in practical settings, I would avoid theoretical blah, blah, blah. In Canada, I would hardly ever betray my Brazilian origins, whereas on vacations in Brazil I´d avoid bragging about life in Canada.

But since one can never be completely neutral, I avoided talking too much. Since one can never be 100% this with no trace of that, I got dimmer and dimmer, in such a way that I was almost invisible, even to myself. Not a good feeling, that of self-invisibility.

Interplexa et Internexa

Perplexed, I asked myself: “Self, who are you?” The only answer that Myself gave me was a list of things I´m excited about, of people that are part of my life: My Self emerged in the intersection and interaction of all these people and things.

This is what this blog is about: a connecting point between things and people, ideas and experiences, country´s and languages, writers and readers, entities prima facie unrelated,
but which all belong to My Esterical Self. This blog is a combination of Augustinian Confessions, Cartesian Meditations, Emília´s Memoirs (such a modest choice of company!), Dear Diary, Platonic dialogue, Socratic agora, internet forum, clip album and other esterical chimeras without order or method, but all interconnected.

So it is then that Agora still means something – right now. Stay tuned!

P.S. The original idea was to have this blog in two parallel columns: one in Portuguese, one in English, so that my circle of readers in Brazil and in Canada could interact. But it didn´t quite work, so I created two separate pages (the system prevails once more, with its knack for separation!): in English and But let us not allow the system to impose a segregation here too: please feel more than welcome to check both pages, and to leave a comment in whichever language. Stay connected!


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