I have spent some months re-reading García Márquez. I began this past March out of convenience: confined to our home in rural Ourense, and with a personal library frozen in time, drawing from those classics that saved my life for so many years seemed like a good plan.
The thing is that I did what I always do—annotate phrases, save references, and imagine ideas. And so, in the context of the marriage between Fermina Daza and Juvenal Urbino in Love in the Time of Cholera, I stumbled on the sentence that, for me, can also define this historical moment in which we live: “If they had learned something together was that wisdom comes to us when it can no longer do any good.”
And then I thought that, in times like these, if we can all agree on something is that we will manage to finally adapt ourselves to this new way of life when we have to learn a new way of living. Now that it seemed as if we had everything under control, and even though we already knew that there would be outbreaks, here we are: we have gotten ahead of expectations, practicing that collective memory loss that defines us so well and welcoming the second wave of this global pandemic.
It is likely that in this case, wisdom will also come too late because if it is a direct consequence of experience, we will never be able to learn to live with what is about to arrive. And I try to imagine the next two years when we will all worry about our daily existence and survival and when we should not forget to worry about others as well; and if, as García Márquez wrote, “wisdom comes to us when it can no longer do any good,” I want to believe that something good will come out of the process of learning to live with uncertainty, though it may simply be to not settle…