THE NATURAL

We lived in wonderful times. We were surrounded by great expectations. Not even a vivid imagination could lead us to suspect what was going to happen the following day. Demian's attention was focused in getting to know himself, because all roads appeared to lead in that direction.

That afternoon, on Jimmy's advice, Demian had gone to see a movie called The Natural, starring Robert Redford. It was the story of a baseball player with an extraordinary natural talent for the game. Life had taken him on paths that impeded him from being able to demonstrate his natural talent. At the end of his sporting life, he was allowed a glimpse of his internal life and what he could have been. The way in which that film visually displayed that inner strength, that natural talent, was by using the power of nature: storms and specifically the powerful effect of lightning. He recommended the film so strongly that I decided to go and see it the next day

I loved it. I found elements in common with Demian's life. If I had to display in pictures his interior strength I would have had to use that same lightning and thunder. That evening we talked excitedly about the movie. It soon started to rain heavily; we heard the rain falling on the window.

"What a coincidence. Would you believe it if we had a storm?"

I had hardly finished the sentence when an enormous clap of thunder was heard. At that very moment a wonderful storm started up. I paled and looked at him. He concentrated for a minute and told me that behind that storm that took one's breath away was the figure of Kant as if he were providing it in Demian's honor. At that moment I thought that he was getting too much praise, that Demian had still not demonstrated any achievements. Nevertheless all that "praise" did not go to his head because he had a very accurate sense of self-awareness.

"Don't think that I'm the most intelligent person in the world," he said to me.

"No?" I thought he was.

"Not at all. In this world there are people much more intelligent than I am, because who wants to be extremely intelligent? The intelligence gene is the same one as the mad gene… I've got other strengths."

It was a wonderful time, unique in every sense and maybe now, in the present day, it is possible to understand those enormous expectations and blessings, that "good life."

KANT, FINALLY

Regarding Kant, I don't remember anything else of importance. It was a given that when it came to philosophy he was Demian's teacher and that Kant's philosophy was of great importance. We did not speak of philosophy; I was not the slightest bit curious. Nevertheless, Demian dedicated himself to its study with enormous diligence. Wherever his eyes fell he appeared to find clues. I remember how he spoke of mythology as symbols of realities and I remember it because of the dislike that I felt for the idea of those strange gods with human defects, as I saw it.

Years later the question came to me as if it were an old memory.

"What happened to Kant, who was so important to you at the beginning? I've not heard of him since."

To my surprise he said that behind Kant there was nothing of value, that he had not brought forward any new ideas since he had copied his philosophy from the Greeks.

Already in that first year Demian used to say that man had lost the ability to access the world of ideas, and the terrible consequences that derived from it. I related his comments on Kant to this.