About

Dante's dark forest

Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita / mi ritrovai per una selva oscura, / ché la diritta via era smarrita.
“Midway upon the journey of our life / I found myself within a dark forest, / for the straight road had been lost.”
(Divine Comedy, Canto 1, lines 1-3)

I am a state police officer in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, but I have always seen myself as a combatant. I believe the difference will become blatant as this site develops. Combat is much more than shootouts in favelas; the combatant, much more than just a policeman.

I am not talking about one’s tactical abilities or operational unit. I am a Falcon from CORE, a Skull from BOPE, and SWAT. I don’t lack any courses. But I have already learned in real life that what actually distinguishes one policeman from the other is if he is a combatant or not. Nothing else. You can work all day in a chair buried under a pile of files and reports and be a combatant. You can wear black, be all pumped up, tattooed, show off a bunch of badges in your uniform and be a coward. What matters is when the going gets tough. And, believe me, it does get tough.

Yes, I will talk about combat here, but much more about History and Philosophy. Interior combat today is way more important. That is what actually sifts the wheat from the chaff; the common man from the combatant. All we need is to look outside and want to see. Only a stupid hypocrite believes we can improve Rio’s situation (or the World’s) without any scum dying. Killing is a part of it. But only the ignorant thinks only killing solves anything. I say History and Philosophy do.

When we are lost in a dark wood, what can we do? Dante had Virgil to show him the way, but we are not that lucky. At most, we have a torch in hand. All we can do is first light up the path we have taken, and only then try to find a new one ahead. The light is Philosophy: the use of Reason to integrate all knowledge in search of the fundamental facts and values of man’s life. The path taken is History: life actually lived so far, with all its horrors and lessons. Without either one, we spend our life amidst white clouds, little more than animals satisfied with the immediate and the banal.

We thrive to solve the world’s problems with wars or altruism, but we forget the easier and most efficacious path:

Raise a moral child and you are doing the best you can.

If everyone else does like you, the world is solved in one single generation. Simple as that. But we let the education of our children in the hands of “Society”, “God”, or the nearest progressive school — we let our education to lapse into oblivion.

This site is I, “midway upon the journey of our life”, committing to educate myself. Only then will I be able to educate my daughter. This site is a new combat front I open in life. I will keep operating in the favelas, but I will become a philosopher — a philosopher-combatant.

My hope is a greater one, though. That is why the name of this site is in the plural. It would be good that you could join me in this journey. After all, the world will need your child too.

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