As may be expected of a blog, it is an ongoing affair. For the moment, we publish here three types of texts that suit the definition of a blog.
- in English: texts that Touché and Guy post with a certain regularity at LinkedIn.
- in Portuguese: contributions of Touché to Brasil com Z, a blog by expat Brazilians about the countries they emigrated to. The cooperation stopped some time ago, but Touché's texts are still interesting.
- in Portuguese, Dutch, English and even French: whenever we travel, we send newsletters to friends in several countries. At first, these messages appeared only in Portuguese, later a Dutch version was added, and in 2016 we were crazy enough to add a French and an English newsletter during our stays in New Zealand/Australia and Costa Rica. We will progressively post some of these travelogues, going back in time.
Note: the latest post is at the top. Use the menu at right or scroll down for older messages.
Touché at LinkedIn in 2019
Dear Malena and Svante,
At this moment in history when we are lost in the chaos we created, much has been said and falsely demonstrated to prove that nothing is as bad as it may seem, bla bla, a voice speaks loud and clear, fresh as water from a natural source.
You two have all the reasons to be very proud of your daughter! Her fragility is the strength no-one can deny. Her voice and shy way of speaking do not let anyone pretend they hear nothing. At such a young age, your girl has been discussing deep and grave matters with the knowledge and wisdom that come from those who speak from the heart. Yes, you have a very special kid, there.
Now, I wonder what it is like to be parents of a genius. How are you coping with the fact that your teenager is not one of a million enjoying the possible fun of being an adolescent but a world famous lady, who abdicated her right to those pleasures in order to help all of us stay alive?
I wonder how was the day when your little girl started questioning about ‘adult’ matters, and even more, the day when she decided to start an unprecedented strike… how was it? Did she say ‘hi mommy and daddy, today I am not going to school because I am going to start changing the world’? Most probably not. Most probably neither of you ever considered the possibility that this was what it is now. How was that for you when you saw her sitting all alone in front of a building that symbolizes high power, just by herself, that skinny and lovely girl, that daughter of yours?
Did you try to convince her to go home? Did you stay there with her? What about the other members of the family? Were they worried? Did you go on with your usual lives while she was there, sitting next to her backpack, having a simple sign at her side? How did she come home after hours of lonely protest? How did you two react to the comments about her strike from people you know?
And then… one day there was a reporter. And then… there is mass media. And then your little daughter became famous, an example to other youngsters who are asking what is this world they are receiving as heritage, a leader for those who were hopeless, a… threat for those who are used to fool people and remain unpunished. I wonder: how is it for you to be parents of a world famous ‘climate activist’? Probably some big part of your privacy has disappeared. Maybe you were not prepared for the many calls from newspapers, tv channels, invitations for lectures that keep flooding your letterbox.
I wonder if you ever imagined your baby would become an adult at such young age. What about yourselves, have you ever imagined being the parents of a world leader? I don’t think so. Anyway, now this is your life and I want to express my admiration for you, who brought up such a special human being. This must not be easy. I confess: if Greta were my daughter I would not be able to have a single night’s sleep, I would be worried all the time.
Please accept my deep compliments for being the parents you are. I sincerely hope Greta will keep on marching toward the fantastic new horizon she has opened to all of us and that her words will be heard and followed.
As Greta, I also do not believe in words that are not backed up by actions. I sincerely hope everyone will take action.
My sincere respect to you and my deep admiration for Greta.
written on Fur, Denmark, on January 31st, 2019
One of the serious contradictions of our time regards the way we discuss idleness, not because the term requires much linguistic knowledge to be explained, but due to the controversial aspects contained in it. However, no matter how strongly favorable someone can refer to being idle there is no doubt about the negative connotation usually attributed to this concept. Maybe some analysis can help find out why this is so and why this should – or not – remain so. Hopefully it should NOT.
In Old English, ‘idleness’ meant ‘vanity, frivolity, emptiness, vain existence’, and certainly none of those synonyms appeal to good comments. Definitely the ‘state of being unoccupied, doing no work’ does not describe the ideal conditions for societies and groups which should be using their time to produce. Being defined as ‘idle’ is not exactly a compliment. Etymology dictionaries mention the adjective ‘idel’ (empty, vain, worthless) as originated from Proto-West Germanic ‘idla’ which is also source of Old Saxon ‘idal’, Old Frisian ‘idel’, Old Dutch ‘idil’, Old High German ‘ital’, German ‘eitel’, and none of those words are positive.
In English some new labels have been ‘glued’ to the first definitions and ‘idle’ became also a way to describe someone who is not employed or doing work, evidently indicating that this is not the best social behavior. ‘Lazy’ and ‘slothful’ are also other moral judgements that became part of the adjective ‘idle’. In late 15th century the verb ‘idle’ became used as ‘make vain or worthless’ and in modern times, in 1916, it was first recorded as ‘run slowly and steadily without transmitting power’ (as a motor). Not nice, at all.
With all these bad historical records it is very improbable that someone will declare him/herself idle and even worse praise idleness as his/her favorite way of spending time. However as many other fossilized ideas the idle state demands to be reviewed as it becomes more and more evident that without idleness creativity is not possible. The simple question is: how can somebody dive and fly in the world of imaginings if rush and pressure is all there is around? Practical examples are easy to find in all fields of art, but not only there. In any work place there is room for idleness as the possibility to find solutions for problems that seem insolvable and generate so much stress just because those who have to make things work have their minds occupied by the need to solve those failures as soon as possible.
It is only when we do not have to think that we can… think. As it is only when we do not have to dance that our bodies flow in the great swings of life. Idleness means quality of life. And tranquility to experience it without the fear caused by criticism and rejection. Being idle gives us the opportunity to find new questions to old answers, new melodies to repetitive sounds, new movements to paralyzed minds.
Yeah. Maybe it is not so bad to run slowly and steadily without power after all. People are no motors! Long live idleness, folks!
"Far from idleness being the root of all evil, it is rather the only true good."– Søren A. Kierkegaard
"Idleness is not doing nothing. Idleness is being free to do anything."– Floyd J. Dell