The first traces of mythical-religious thought are, according to some authors, from 200,000 years ago: circles of bear skulls in a Swiss cave. In Jericho there are remains of sacred places from 7,000 years before Christ. This human constant is evident today, due to the decline of religions, which fills everything with substitutes and triggers the gregarious drive, the followers. At the same time that they focus on themselves, people pour their spirituality into a team, into a country, into Instagram, into the defense of an idea —it is usually one— and they are seen to be hungry for certainties, for lyricism, for elevation. , that life is something more. In general, as long as he doesn’t read, he does whatever. This summer I witnessed one of these collective catharsis by chance, on the Barcelona-Civitavecchia ferry, the port of Rome.
An inoffensive message, already disturbing, was heard over the public address after boarding at midnight: “Hello family!”. That someone could consider me his family filled me with fear. They summoned an organized group for the welcome. I fell asleep thinking that he wasn’t going with me, but it was directly my concern: they were going with me. When I went up to the deck bar for breakfast the next day, they were already in action. They had occupied a wide area, and this in terms of space, because the musical noise extended for several sea miles and perhaps affected the reproduction of sperm whales. There were about 200 people doing a gymnastic dance at a pounding rhythm, under the orders of some monitors on a stage, wearing phosphorescent clothing. Many suffered from a certain chronic arrhythmia and I would leave them as impossible, but they applied themselves sweating under a scorching sun on the metal sheet of the bridge. It was hell on earth, well, at sea, and they had paid for it. They were there all day. They have not given me a more monumental tabarra in my life, the trip lasts almost a day. Now, it was worth seeing. It looked like a Sorrentino movie, although they were all Spanish, and one of those cruel scenes of theirs, with unlikely characters, that show what a society we have.
I didn’t know what that was and, as always when that happens to me, it was “an event”. Zumba, they explained to me. Followers from all over Spain gathered for a weekend. I was left with a phrase that they told me: “Zero inhibitions”. How much I missed at that moment the inhibitions, cutting back a little, and not so much display. On that journey I like to sit near the truck drivers’ circles, to hear their stories. But they were also nullified and, unable to speak, they watched in amazement over a beer. I fantasized about the high priest throwing himself overboard in a moment of delirium and everyone following him. I talked to some and they were nice, but there are people alone who do scary things en masse. They started at 10.00 and joined the hours with different masters of ceremonies until 20.30, stopping only to eat.
The rest of us passengers instinctively huddled in the stern, scared. The noise was less audible and we contemplated with melancholy the wake of the ship in the sea, like misfits. We looked at the path we had made, avoiding thinking about the one that remained to us. The incredible thing was discovering that the initiates of zumba made a trip to nowhere: one day they went to Italy and when they arrived they did not get off the ship —the one who wanted to visit Civitavecchia, which, in short, you can die without seeing it—. They would party on board until dawn and come back the next day, doing the same thing. A deep sadness came over me. I thought it was a good metaphor for something current, meaningless, but I’m not sure what, a bit of everything.
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