15 years ago the screenwriter Rafael Azcona died and there is not a week that one does not miss the after-meal where the issues of the moment were discussed without zeal. Despite his age, Azcona was young in mind. He was not seduced by that reactionary embrace that everything was getting worse, since he was convinced that the world was progressing in improvements although the horror was always more visible. He scolded you if with the inconsistency of the young you missed the past that you had not known. It helped him to remember the rigor of the cassocks, the martial authoritarianism, the hierarchy of power, and the sour taste of permanent defeat that he knew after the Civil War. He liked to remember the cartoon of the New Yorker in which two Paleolithic men chatted at the door of the cave. One celebrated the time in which they lived because there were no traffic jams, no pollution, no office, no taxes. The other, on the other hand, shrugged his shoulders and admitted the truth: life expectancy did not reach 35 years. Well, Azcona wrote films in which men withdrew from the world, paired up with inflatable dolls, locked themselves in the bathroom or invited the poor to dinner to ease their consciences for a while. That is to say, he dealt with issues that are absolutely topical today. He predicted the internet with that anchorite who threw messages down the toilet and the incapacity in the face of frustration with that old man who murdered his loved ones to have the paralyzed car that others enjoyed.
To give an example, this week we have discussed a lot about the letter that some technology experts have written to the governments demanding a stoppage of the advances in the development of artificial intelligence. And we have also debated, with the moderation that characterizes us, about the so-called surrogates and children on request. The summary of both issues could be the same as that of the referendum ban on electric scooters in Paris: human beings are afraid of ourselves, because without regulation we can become monstrous. Among other things because we feel like we are on board a Titanic that has set sail a long time ago and doesn’t seem to know how to reach any safe port. And because no matter how hyperconnected and surrounded by people, information or data we are, we still feel terrifyingly alone. We look for company because of that atavistic fear of loneliness, but we suspect that everything bad that happens to us is from leaving home or from saying yes.
In that contradiction lies the great comedy of life. Childhood, lived as a fear of submission and lack of autonomy, ends up becoming, over time, the paradise we long for. The company, which embitters and overwhelms us, becomes, when we lose it, the center of our remembrance. We do not find the meaning of life for the simple reason that it is right under our noses. Too obvious, too close. We are incapable of living together without judging, without threatening, without appropriating everything within our reach.
Thus, between catastrophes and authentic botch jobs, the most notorious of which we perpetrate to reaffirm our individual and group identity, there would appear a few moments in which, astonished, we would lean out to look at the world and exclaim to ourselves: life, what a splendor. And not so often: life, what nonsense.