THE WORD AND PEACE
Author Antonio Bascones
Translated into English by Silvana Gordillo González
If there is something I have always defended is the power of the spoken word as a medium to achieve peace. People can have contrasting or even contradictory ideas, but they are never against each another. The word always acts as a balm, as a perfume that unites individuals. This human capacity to communicate through language is fundamental to express emotions and feelings. This technique has always been used as a healing method to help those who are ill. This capacity for empathy, of affiliation among people, is the best way to establish a relationship. Conversation is the connecting link between families, friends, strangers and acquaintances.
In famous gatherings held in cafes, where dialogue reigned through reflective speech with writers and humanist, this intense relationship among people was built.
In the quality of the word and of the gathering, the transmission of knowledge embodies nature, and in this way the dialogue and gathering serve the master to emanate their lore. A brain that cannot be projected through the mouth and the spoken word is useless, as Blas de Otero said «they deprive me of bread and word», which indicates the most intimate and personal human expression; the master cannot escape these rules.
“If I were offered wisdom on the condition that I keep it to myself without communicating it to anyone, I would not want it,” said Lucio Anneo Séneca. That is what the word is for: to transmit knowledge, and through it, achieve peace.
All of us, at our own level, should do it. Conversation is the most sacred thing in people, and we should try to stimulate and enhance it. Human relationships pivot, to a great extent, on the spoken word.
There are three things in life that go away and never come back: words, time and opportunities. The spoken word, the arrow thrown and the missed opportunity would give another view on things.
The word can, at times, be based on the concept of authority in the sense of autoritas, where moral values impregnated with integrity will provide example in a framework of age, seniority and experience. With autoritas, we flee authoritarianism, in which power is possessed without authority; those who exercise it lack the ability to do so. A clear example is the dictator who believes that only with his word he can exercise power. If his word is not accompanied with values, it is useless. It does not convince, it just defeats.
With thoughtful and prudent speech, knowledge is transmitted and can be conveyed anywhere. It is not necessary to do it at a specific place; the Greeks combined the athenaeum with walks and gatherings.
«I have begged you to come and see me, so we can have an exchange of views,» said Hippocrates to his guests. This is what a gathering is, with its positive effects on the intellect and the body. If you add to this gathering the moral value of their lore, then you have the master, not the simple intellectual, who is essential.
There is a quote from Martin Luther King that when I read it, it astonished me, and it goes like this: «Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter.» The spoken word is the protagonist in this assertion.
The cultured person does not remain silent, affirms, says, presents and discusses. The person tries to find solutions to the problems because no one finds a solution if they do not look for it. Nobody finds what they are looking for, this is an unquestionable axiom. And, to find a remedy to the problem it is not only necessary to search but also to speak.
I therefore understand that without using the word properly, we will not reach the point where transmission is effective. The university is the magic place, where transmission takes place, and therefore we must, with all our strength, defend, support and enhance it. In this transmission of lore, we, the university community, have a great responsibility, and we will be able to influence in the change of attitudes by giving positive responses to the great problems of society.
Dr. Bascones is the President of the Royal Academy of Doctors of Spain. He is a Doctor of Medicine, Doctor of Stomatology, and holds a Bachelors degree in Biological Sciences. He has taught several courses at Universidad Complutense de Madrid, University of Pennsilvania, la Universidad de Córdoba (Argentina), among others. He has also worked as the President of the College of Dentists and Stomatologists of the First Region (12 years), President of the Spanish Society of Oral Medicine (8 years), Vicepresident of the Spanish Society of Periodontics (4 years). Additionally, he is the author of 36 books, 14 book chapters, and 400 journal articles. He has presented his work in more than 400 academic events, director of three journals, and several research projects. Director of more than 50 doctoral theses, all of them cum laude by unanimity.