MY REVIEW OF NOT FOR SELF BY JOSEPH CACIBAUDA

The novel, Not for Self, is set in the American state of Illinois at the time of the mass emigration from Europe to the United States, at the beginning of the last century.

A few immigrants move from Sicily to Marion, Illinois, to work in the coalmines. The work is hard, dangerous, and harmful to health, but it is better than starving. One of these Sicilian immigrants, Jack Valenti, does not like the job in the coalmine. He opens a bar where he serves soft drinks and alcoholic beverages.

Business is very good for him, but before long, he runs into the law that prohibits the sale of alcohol in the United States of America. He starts bootlegging alcohol, but has not come to terms with the Ku Klux Klan, a secret society that leaves him no way out.

Joseph Cacibauda’s novel is compelling and well written. It is also an insight into the American history of that time.

Ettore Grillo, author of these books:

– November 2: The Day of the Dead in Sicily (English edition)

– A Hidden Sicilian History (English edition)

– The Vibrations of Words (English edition)

– Travels of the Mind (English edition)

– Una Storia Siciliana Nascosta (edizione in lingua italiana)

– Viaggi della Mente (edizione in lingua italiana)

http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

MY REVIEW OF ZORBA THE GREEK BY NIKOS KAZANTZATIS

The British writer, Evelyn Beatrice Hall once wrote: “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” The same goes for my review of Zorba the Greek by Nikos Kazantzatis. I say, “I do not agree with your book, Nikos Kazantzatis, but I respect you.”

The main character in his book is a Macedonian, named Zorba, who goes to the island of Crete with his boss to operate a lignite mine. They share the same hut, and Zorba tells him his life story, which is based on contempt for religions, priests, monks, and anything that sounds clerical. According to him, man should just enjoy life and live as if God did not exist.

My view is different: I cannot imagine the world and the universe devoid of God. For me God’s precepts are the only parameter to discriminate the good from the evil and live a good life. For me, Jesus is the lantern that illuminates the human beings’ way.

However, I respect Nikos Kazantzatis’s idea. On the other hand, something he says is right. Since we live in this world, we should enjoy worldly life as well.

Perhaps Buddha’s “Middle Way” is the best way to follow, for it avoids the extremes of the materialists and the spiritualists.

Ettore Grillo author of these books:

– November 2: The Day of the Dead in Sicily

– A Hidden Sicilian History

– The Vibrations of Words

– Travels of the Mind

http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

A KILLER IN A SICILIAN TOMB

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I arrived at the tomb of a man who, when he was sixteen years old, killed a boy of his same age with one punch. The killer’s name was Gerlando Sferrazzanetti. He remained in jail for fifteen years. During this time he learned painting. His oil paintings depicted sacred images and traditions of Enna: the procession in honor of Our Lady on July 2, the Good Friday procession, the Church of Valverde, and the like.

Seeing his photo on the altar in his tomb, I had a feeling that he must have been a good man, the murder aside. His feature were gentle and his eyes sweet.

An epitaph had been engraved on his marble niche:

As a rosebud becomes a rose,

And a seed becomes a tree,

So the soul grows and evolves

Up to the last stage, the light of love

This is an excerpt from November 2: The Day of the Dead in Sicily

Ettore Grillo author of these books:

November 2 The Day of the Dead in Sicily
– A Hidden Sicilian History
– The Vibrations of Words
– Travels of the Mind
http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

 

THE OLD SICILY

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My Christian name is Mario, my family name is Chiaramonte. I am light-skinned, about one meter and seventy centimeters tall. The color of my eyes is between green and light brown. I was born in Enna at a time when the old Sicily was still alive. It was the sunny island where some women knew the secret to rid children of their intestinal worms and of the evil eye, through arcane practices. It was the old Sicily where goats walked in the streets, and the shepherd milked them in front of the houses and sold milk to the housewives. What a fresh product it was! Apartments didn’t exist and people warmed up their houses by using braziers. Fruit and legumes had a natural taste, hens brooded their eggs,  ate wheat, bran and leftovers, and were free of scratching around. It was the old Sicily where fields were plowed by oxen, the wheat was reaped by farmers’ hands, mules and horses trampled the spikes in the threshing floor, the wind separated the chaff from the grains of wheat, the television had not been invented yet, and people gathered in the houses to chat about this and that. It was the old Sicily where people breathed unpolluted air, the water of the sea, lakes, and rivers was clean, and the words like plastic, pollution, climate changes, global warming, and hole in the ozone didn’t exist in dictionaries.

This is an excerpt from November 2: The Day of the Dead in Sicily

Ettore Grillo author of these books:

November 2 The Day of the Dead in Sicily
– A Hidden Sicilian History
– The Vibrations of Words
-Travels of the Mind
http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

TWO WAYS TO LIVE LIFE

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There are two ways to live our lives. One is to be content with little, remain confined to one’s own birthplace, and lead a peaceful life. The other is to get out of one’s friendly environment and venture into the unknown for the sake of knowledge and exploration. Opting for one way instead of the other doesn’t depend on one’s merit, but on the inner psychological makeup. As for me, if I didn’t suffer from a pathological anxiety and fear of death, I would never have started my journey around the world in search of a solution to the issue.
My mother always used to repeat that neither bad weather nor good weather lasts long. It was a good lesson, and now the bad weather in Rishikesh seemed to be an allegory of life, which passes through sunshine and storms. Sometimes it flows smoothly and sometimes stormy, but it is worth living to the fullest.

This is an excerpt from A Hidden Sicilian History by Ettore Grillo
Ettore Grillo, author of these books:
– A Hidden Sicilian History
– The Vibrations of Words
-Travels of the Mind
http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

CROSSING THE HIMALAYAS BY BUS

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There is a mountain pass from Manali to Lee. It is the highest pass in the world  at 5,500 meters above sea level. It is difficult to breathe at that altitude. You have to drink a lot of water. There are also no toilets on the road, so the bus stops from time to time along the way.
“Our bus broke down, and we were given the option of spending the night in a marquee at an altitude of around four thousand meters or continuing our way with another bus that had a few vacant seats. I opted for continuing my journey, because I couldn’t endure the altitude. I was very dizzy and had the feeling that I would collapse at any moment.
“The bus travelled on a vast plateau. No roads or paths were visible, but the driver seemed to know the way very well. I never imagined that there were such vast tablelands in the Himalayas. It was almost like a lunar landscape. The soil was dry, and needles and rocks emerged from the ground here and there—no trees, not a blade of grass. I had the sensation of having landed on another deserted planet in our solar system. Apparently, the monsoons can’t overcome the mountain range. Nevertheless, now and then I spotted some isolated green areas.”
“How is it possible that there are only patches that are green with trees? I asked a person sitting next to me.”
“It is like an oasis in the desert. Somehow there is water underneath the ground. The city of Lee is just an oasis. It doesn’t rain there much, but the area is rich in underground water, he answered.”
“We reached the maximum altitude of the pass and I felt relieved,” the woman continued. “From then on the bus would go downhill. The worst had passed, and gradually  I started breathing normally.”

This is an excerpt from A Hidden Sicilian History by Ettore Grillo
Ettore Grillo, author of these books:
– A Hidden Sicilian History
– The Vibrations of Words
-Travels of the Mind
http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

 

WHAT IS THE GOAL OF LIFE?

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I remember talking once about an existential subject with one of the workers at my father’s company, who looked well educated.
“What is the goal of your life?” I asked.
“I have given up trying to find a goal in life, otherwise I get lost,” he answered. “I pursue small goals like planning an enjoyable vacation, or saving money to buy a gift for my girlfriend. These are my little aims, and have nothing to do with metaphysical speculations.”
Who knows if the worker was right! As for me, I cannot live without asking myself the why of things. It is probably because of my conditioning from my philosophy teacher.

“I’ll fail you, Vincenzino, unless you start to ask yourself why everything exists and happens. You have to ask yourself why the earth is round, why the moon orbits the earth, and why the planets orbit the sun. If you are on the bus, you have to ask yourself why it is moving. In other words, you have to find an answer to everything that happens.”

This is an excerpt from A Hidden Sicilian History by Ettore Grillo
Ettore Grillo, author of these books:
– A Hidden Sicilian History
– The Vibrations of Words
-Travels of the Mind
http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

MY REVIEW OF EGYPTIAN MYTHS AND MYSTERIES BY RUDOLF STEINER

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I used to be a lawyer for thirty-seven years. Every time I faced a case, I took care of supporting my thesis with evidence.
Egyptian Myths and Mysteries by Rudolf Steiner turned upside down my mindset. In fact, the author gives no evidence of what he claims. But, it doesn’t entail that what he writes is pure fantasy.
According to Rudolf Steiner, there was a time when the earth, the moon and the sun were one single mass. Then, the earth and the moon separated from the sun, and finally the moon separated from the earth.
During the evolutive process, man underwent a progressive transformation. He became materialistic and his soul was about to die. To prevent the death of the human soul, Jesus came to the earth and saved humanity through his sacrifice.
I heard about Rudolf Steiner when I was a member of an esoteric group long ago. My brethren considered him a great writer. They said that one must be an initiate to know the occult and esoteric truths. Who knows, they might be right.
I enjoyed reading Rudolf Steiner’s Egyptian Myths and Mysteries. It was easy to read and broadened the horizons of my mind.

Ettore Grillo, author of these books:
– A Hidden Sicilian History
– The Vibrations of Words
-Travels of the Mind

http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

WHAT IS LOVE?

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When I lived with Sebastiano on the estate in Pollicarini, the farmhand took care of the she-asses that he co-owned with my family. We didn’t have to worry about the condition of the animals, and the farmer looked after them as if they were his family members. He curried them often. You could see their good health from the brilliance of their coats.
Whenever he took one of the she-asses out from the stable, they both brayed, pawed the ground, and got restless. They couldn’t endure being parted. Later on, after they were reunited, they showed their happiness by smelling each other.
Was that love? Why shouldn’t it be considered love? Love for friends or partners belongs to the nature of all creatures. It can be considered a gift of nature. There is no difference between animals and human beings when it comes to love.
In some species love is stronger than humans. There are many animals that are monogamous. The pre-eminent monogamous species is the emperor penguin, but there are many other birds and a few mammals with strong dispositions to love. The mandarin ducks, also called loving birds, have only one union in their life. When one of the mates dies, the other won’t accept a different partner and remains alone for the rest of its life.
The logical corollary of what I expounded on above is that the love we have for our children, our friends, and our relatives doesn’t add any merit to our being, because the feelings we express don’t depend upon our free will and heart. We just instinctively express a kind of love that is not dissimilar to that of animals.
Real love is different…

This is an excerpt from A Hidden Sicilian History by Ettore Grillo
Ettore Grillo, author of these books:
– A Hidden Sicilian History
– The Vibrations of Words
-Travels of the Mind
http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

THE BORDERS OF THE SKY

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“What is that long line of clouds in the sky?” I asked.
“Those are not clouds, Vincenzino. It is Saint James’s Ladder, also called the Milky Way. Through it souls go up and down. They come from faraway stars, stay on the earth for a
while, and then migrate towards new lands in the sky, always passing through Saint James’s Ladder.”
“Where are the sky boundaries, Sebastiano?”
“There are no boundaries in the sky. It is infinite, with neither beginning nor end.”
“That’s impossible! I cannot imagine anything without a limit. Everything has a boundary. For instance, our estate borders other neighboring properties.”
“If you are convinced that there is a border in the sky, tell me what there is beyond the border, Vincenzino.”
“Another universe, of course!”
“And where is the border of the second universe? And that of the third and so forth? As you see, we cannot find the last border, and we cannot understand the universe because our minds are limited. It is like trying to teach our dogs to read. You’ll never succeed.”
“When was the universe created, Sebastiano?”
“According to some scientists, it seems that the universe is expanding; in fact, both stars and planets run away from a center. In other words, there was a time when all the matter of the universe was concentrated in only one spot—like a storehouse where bricks are packed. Then suddenly the storehouse exploded and the bricks were cast into the space. They started moving in different directions and are still moving.”
“Who made the storehouse explode?”
“I don’t know, Vincenzino. Christians say that it was God who did it. Atheists, who are people that don’t believe in God, think that the explosion happened naturally.”
“What was there before the explosion? Has the storehouse always existed or was it made by someone?”
“I am not able to answer your question, Vincenzino, but I am sure that when you become an adult you’ll study this subject and find the answer. Now, it is the time to go to bed.”
“Do you know, Sebastiano, where all those souls are going that you say come up and down through Saint James’s Ladder?”

This is an excerpt from A Hidden Sicilian History by Ettore Grillo
Ettore Grillo, author of these books:
– A Hidden Sicilian History
– The Vibrations of Words
-Travels of the Mind
http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo