The substantial work of the priest and writer Pablo d’Ors (Madrid, 1963) has now been grouped into trilogies on the happy initiative of the Galaxia Gutenberg label. Each trilogy makes up an entire narrative cupboard.
Along with Failure and Illusion, the Silence trilogy is made up of El olvido de si, the successful booklet Biography of Silence (150,000 copies sold) and The Desert Lover, which is the novel that has just been reissued within the aforementioned branch dedicated to emptying, to the ecstasy of nothingness.
The story that Pavel, the Czech character in the novel, tells about himself is perhaps our own story, that of contemporary man. It cannot even be denied that it could be the story, conveniently encrypted, of Pablo d’Ors himself. By pure chance Pavel will meet a peculiar association called Friends of the Desert , which meets in a center called the Hoggar, located on the border mark between Austria and the Czech Republic. Hesitant but attracted at the same time, Pavel will start little by little in the deep knowledge of the desert.
After two unsuccessful trips to the deserts of Morocco and Algeria, the fullness of the desert overwhelms him on his third attempt. Pavel ends up installed in a kind of hermitage, in Beni Abbes, in the overwhelming region of the Algerian High Atlas, where the chromatic sand (red, yellow, orange) favors the most absolute rapture and a sensation of triumphant ethics: the nothingness that fills everything. It is here, in the magnitude of the desert, where the landscape is encrypted as an extension of the soul. The changing dunes, crossed by lines, by undulations, by mirages, are shown as the metaphor of infinity.
In the magnitude of the desert, the landscape is encrypted as the extension and undulation of the soul
“I love the desert – her lover tells us – because it is the place of absolute possibility: the place where the horizon has the breadth that man deserves and needs to”. In Beni Abbes Pavel becomes sedentary right in the homeland of the nomads. In Tuareg wisdom it is said that God invented the desert so that men could find themselves. In this search, beyond religious creeds, silence imposes its emptiness, which is precisely the nourishment of the soul. The hunger for nothingness is acquired in the ecumenical silence of the desert. Who does not know the desert does not know what silence is, says an Arab proverb.
From the window of his little house, located in a village in Beni Abbes, the observer of the sand draws day after day, just at dawn, the changing faces of the desert. And at the same time, while his experience takes its vital rennet, he will write the notes that will end up in the form of a novel, which is the text that is initially offered to the reader. Curiously, Pavel’s landscape drawings will spread graphically over the calligraphy itself, to the point that the written notes become wider on the paper, from margin to margin, as a natural imitation of the horizontality of the desert.
The friend of the desert refers to the diptych of reality and fiction. Originally written in 2009, the novel anticipates the life and work of who will be the protagonist of El olvido de si (2013), the title that closes –as we have said– his trilogy on silence. Thanks to the lectures given at the Friends of the Desert Association, Pavel became acquainted with the figure of the Frenchman Charles de Foucauld (1858-1916), a soldier, geographer, lexicographer and explorer of dissipated youth, who over the years would end up becoming a contemplative mystic , trapped not despite the doubts of its radicality.
It is no coincidence that Pavel ends his story in the High Atlas, precisely in the extreme region where many years before Charles de Foucauld had retired in real life with ascetic will (not only in Beni Abbes, but also in Tamanresset and on the peaks of the Assekrem). All of it is the terrible and magical region of the Hoggar, a place that gives its name to the center where the Friends of the Desert held their retreats for initiates.
The most widely read know that Pablo d’Ors has turned his book into a kind of reality. For some time now, he has been teaching meditation retreats with his association Amigos del Desierto. Between the human need for dispossession and the Christian strain (Eastern Christian hesychasm, the teachings of the Hungarian Jesuit Franzs Jalic), Amigos del Desierto arouses the interest of all those who, religious or not,seeks emptying, stillness, motionless bliss. Say it like this: silence .
d’Ors himself has said that “silence is the secular name of God.” A certain Catholic orthodoxy does not like the mysticism of silence at all, since it understands it as an empty container, as another form of egocentrism. Be that as it may (the controversy goes beyond the intention of this article), what we do agree on is what the writer maintains as a result of the success of his Biography of Silence. “Noise is the main terrorism today.”

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