When I look back I think the world is perverse and life is no joke.
Life is short, it lasts only a moment.
The longer you live, the greater the suffering you go through. As soon as we begin to take a direction, to mature, it is already time to say goodbye to family and friends.
I think that life is, ultimately, an experience that is lived against evil, counteracting evil.
How you do it? By setting a series of principles.
In my case, the battle for what I have always considered right: equality. Precisely because the suffering of others is also ours and we are part of the world. In all cases, the result is always the same: in the end it disappears. Life is a breath. For this you have to learn to cross it in a decent way. Cultivate their own ideas, their own principles, which are like pillars, and carry them with us for the rest of life. This is the great challenge.
We are a bit like a house, we are born with a pre-established design: we grow one step at a time and we can also change, albeit only superficially. Like a house, we can then also be repaired, replacing a door, repainting the walls, but the most attentive will always find the original defects.
I feel saudade of the many passages of my life. Of the time of the college and then of the school of architecture, which in my day was the School of Architecture and Fine Arts. And then of the first loves, of the life that one led as a young man, drinking with friends, playing football, traveling. Above all friendship, which is the most important thing, a good to be preserved and cultivated.
At home we had the piano, and Vinícius de Moraes, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Ary Barroso, and that fantastic figure that is Chico Buarque came to visit us. When I saw him for the first time, Chico was a child because I was a friend of his father, the great historian Sergio Buarque de Hollanda: I designed a house for them, which however was not built, and it was a great regret. Jorge Amado was my friend, and so was Manuel Bandeira, an enormous poet. But how many friends! There is no one left!
Together with Darcy Ribeiro, an extraordinary man, and Leonel Brizola, we created the Cieps Popular Schools project, a work of which I am proud, although I think I could have done more for the people, for the people. Sometimes I think my mission has not been fulfilled!
All my friends ended up exiled because they were political opponents, Brizola stayed in France for a long time, like me. I lived in an apartment on Boulevard Raspail near Saint-Germain, and Paris welcomed me, I went to Jean-Paul Sartre, whom I have always admired and read. I was influenced by his thinking, his pessimism in the face of the pain and suffering of the world.
But I couldn’t stay away from here for too long, from the sea, from Copacabana: I can only live near the sea. I felt saudade from friends, from cariocas.
I was born here.
I remember that, when I returned from school – in short, I was a child – I ate and then immediately went out to play football on the street, until dinner time. The table was large, my grandparents sat at the head of the table, we, the younger ones, on one side and the uncles on the other. We have to imagine a large colonial house full of people and rules: we were six children and we had to sit at the table dressed in full clothes, jacket and cuffs.
I was studying in a religious college, strict, and when something was done wrong the fathers ordered us to write a hundred or two hundred times “I must not speak in class!”, And sometimes I was expelled, and so I went around, I went for a walk. I have always loved walking, walking by the sea, on the beach.
As a child I used to go all the way to Ipanema to see fishermen returning with full nets, women who went to buy fish at dawn, and fresh fish jumping out of their nets! What an impression! The sea has been my guide: I’ve always thought that a place to live is near the sea.
Of course, today I can’t move alone anymore, I always have to ask someone for help, even to go from here to there, and it’s not nice, it’s shit! But what can I do about it?
Taken from: Oscar Niemeyer, The world is unfair