Right from the beginning of my “scientific career”, I carried alongside another profession as a State Civil Police Officer. I’ve always had an adventurous spirit and I wanted to do some good to society. Since I had never been inclined for charity work, I thought that I could do some good by shooting bad people instead. Here, in Rio, I knew that wouldn’t be too difficult.
In fact, with daily combat all around the city, I quickly realised that either I became the best out there or dying wouldn’t be an improbable event. I set out to amass all the local tactical courses one could have and even the best international ones too — like SWAT School. I became a Special Operations Police Officer and the leader of a team of fascinating young combatants. Together with them, I have dodged bullets for many years (not all of them) and done my share for a society that couldn’t care less about us. Along the way, I have compromised my soul in many ways, risking my life and the well-being of my family countless times. I have produced more funerals than I should, probably both beneath the eyes of the gods and men, but I have also attended to much more funerals than I wanted to. I sure have accomplished many missions and enjoyed great victories along the way, but it’s not the victories that mould your life — it is that one bitter inexorable defeat.
I have always been a belligerent fool, facing combat like a fighter who yearns for his black belt and roughs up dan after dan as he challenges any and everyone; like a climber who ascends ever more exposed routes until the rope is as useless as a souvenir; like a surfer who drops ever bigger waves until no one has the guts to follow him to the peak. Oh, how awesome it felt to be invincible! How nice it was to be in control.
But that’s the one thing you don’t have in combat — or in life.
One sly unseen upper-cut hits your chin, and the light flees from your eyes like a rat runs from a feline, even before you hit the ground with a loud thud. One small slip with your right foot cascades into a reverberating imbalance that makes your body explode from the rock-face, and you watch yourself in disbelief plunging into the abyss. One little bump in the raging water-slope sets you diving headfirst, but instead of piercing the water towards the cold embrace of the sea, you are first let lying on its surface, vulnerable and scared like a cockroach on its back, just to be dragged upwards and then relentlessly pounded down on the sharp reefs bellow; there you are left breathless, bleeding, as more and more waves parade over you and make sure you will stay there for good.
When the gods wrought havoc to my life, I was unprepared. I lacked the character I thought I had. People say I did good. I say that whatever I did, I did because of the weakness within.
This is the moment I have decided to educate myself. People have repeatedly advised me to go look for a shrink or a cult to help dealing with my questions. I choose a harder path — the path of Philosophy.