My Three Masters

Erasmo Calzadilla

Bicycles. Photo: Ihosvanny

This blog is starting to resemble a personal diary now.  Today, for example, I want to talk about my three masters, not those that I have, but the ones I’ve abandoned.  This assumes someone’s interested in reading about what I do with my spare time…

When I finished my enslavement in 2001, meaning my post-university social service obligation, I experienced the best moments of my romance with philosophy, history, literature, etc.  These subjects had nothing to do (seemingly) with my degree in pharmacy, but I got such pleasure from these that I had to explore them further, or else I felt like I’d gag.

Back then at my university they began to offer a Master’s in philosophy; so crazed with excitement I enrolled in that program.  Obstacles immediately appeared in my trying to simultaneously work and study for my Master’s; so without much grief I hung up the gloves to my nascent scientific career and I leaped into the void.

From that moment on I haven’t stopped falling (or ascending, according to another point of view).  Since the academic courses were in the daytime, to earn a living I began to work at night as a film projectionist.  Half-starving, I devoured books while the films rolled.

But what a fiasco; what naiveté on my part to think they would teach me philosophy at the University of Havana…  Of the professors I knew, I can count on one hand (and have three fingers left) the number who held their own interesting opinions, but even these teachers were more interested in flaunting their greatness than teaching others how to think.

During my two years of “incubation” (the time during which I prepared my thesis), I still seemed like a weather vane blowing in the wind: I would get excited by a topic one day and with another two months later.  I didn’t have an up-to-date bibliography; I didn’t have a PC for reading or writing, nor was there the Internet, etc., etc.  So I allowed the time to slip by and I never finished my thesis.  Nevertheless, I learned a great deal in that period and I enjoyed it.  I have no regrets.

A few years later it suddenly occurred to Fidel Castro to expand university instruction, so the usual mad rush got underway to satisfy his fantasy.  As there were not enough people who could teach the trashy “Philosophy and Society” course, and they were accepting anyone with the minimum training, I took advantage of my résumé to earn an additional 300 pesos a month.

As for the other two masters, I’ll write about them later on.

One thought on “My Three Masters

  • Looking forward to next installment….

Comments are closed.