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Somebody wrote an academic paper and quoted me

For several years now, I have subscribed to a site of academic publications and every time a new study is published on a subject of my interest, I receive a notification. But the notification I received last week was different because it was not a specific subject, but a name: mine.

According to the notice, a researcher in South America had written or quoted "Francisco Miraval." I must confess that at first, I was really confused. After all, who could have any interest in writing about me or quoting something I have said?

But then I reflected that I have been sharing my thoughts for many years (in fact, decades) and that perhaps someone, for reasons unknown to me, found in that pile of nonsense something of interest, perhaps because it strengthened an idea presented in his monograph or maybe because it contradicted that idea.

In other words, it would not be the first time that, when using me as an example, someone uses me as an example of what not to do, think, say, or believe. Be that as it may, someone had written an academic research paper and my name appeared in that document. I decided, then, to see the details.

It didn't take me long to discover that the research was indeed focused on what Francisco Miraval had said and done, but not me. The paper was about a lawyer of that name who lived in Spain in the 14th century. (Perhaps my ancestor, but I don't know.)

Then I discovered something else and, I think, something of greater importance: I had fallen into the trap of allowing my ego being played with, of my vanity being encouraged, of my self-deception being perpetuated as if I were an important person. 

In short, I saw my name and thought that the paper was about me, as if I were the only one with that name (which I share with my father and my grandfather) or as if I were unique. And I did not like that discovery because it revealed to me that, no matter how many years one dedicates to philosophy and meditation, everything can be lost in a moment of vanity.

And it is no excuse to say that we live in an era of exaltation of vanity, of exacerbated "Likes", of "Wake me up when I am a celebrity." If we cannot see that deceit and that illusion, if the simple fact that someone uses our name makes us believe we are important, then we are doomed to live trapped in out addiction to narcissism.

That is why, although I do not know the author of the study on "Francisco Miraval", I thank her at a distance and without her knowing of my gratitude because she wrote about "the other" Francisco Miraval, the historical, so influential that 700 years later people still talk about him.

I, for my part, received another lesson on how close stupidity is to wisdom. So close, they always go together.

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