Nicanor Parra and the new nomads

Angel Marroquin

With the arrival of unexpected and radical events such as Covid 19, the war in Ukraine, and the increasing cost of living, some of the ideas we had about ourselves and what we need have had the opportunity to be questioned and changed. Forever.

We, the rooted inhabitants of cities and towns, see how everything we thought was immutable is destroyed in a second after the fall of a bomb or the disastrous evolution of a disease. Everything tells us that we are not immune to misfortunes and that these seem to be around the corner. Long-term mortgages seem like a dodgy business these days.

Thus, new lifestyles have emerged and have become commonplace for many people. Have a bag of groceries and necessities ready by the door, buy only things that can last a long time, live frugally, change your diet, invest time with family and friends, live in small alternative communities, etc. These practices typical of nomadic cultures are today adopted under slogans such as “living with what is essential”, perhaps due to this new awareness that “anyone might need to escape in the middle of the night leaving everything behind”.

However, there is something that is quickly forgotten, and that is the fact that each nomad must be very aware of each new thing that they acquire: these things can become an unwanted weight when the road is long.

What things to carry? What are things better to get rid of? How to learn to detach?

All these questions that haunt us today were thought by the old Epictetus, who recommended kissing the wife and children in the morning with the certainty that it could be the last time.

That is what a nomad would actually do: not try to improve his life by reducing their belongings but write them all off beforehand.

But, what kind of life is that that can be lived considering lost what has been earned with so much difficulty?

Perhaps, as the Chilean poet Nicanor Parra said, the only way to live life nowadays is to “milk the cow and then throw the milk in their face.”

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