Life without Love is Meaningless – José Mujica

“The world is not just about business and the economy. You should have room to develop love… You don’t have to live in a hurry. You don’t have to rush. Please enjoy the joy of life little-by-little every day. Don’t drown in greed… Turn that passion into love. For friends, children and loved ones. Because life without love is meaningless.” -Jose Mujica

This is a speech by José Mujica, given during a Japanese high school entrance ceremony, on April 5, 2017. An English translation is shared below. His excellent HUMAN Interview (with English subtitles) can be found here. The 40th former president of Uruguay, Jose Mujica was known as the “poorest president in the world.” During his presidency, he did not live in the luxurious presidential palace, but donated most of his salary to live on a suburban farm.

“Young people, let me thank you from the far south corner on the other side of the globe. It was a great experience to visit Japan and get a glimpse of its history.

You are now at the beginning of your life. Remember, humans are social animals that live in groups. We can’t live alone. That is why humans have built civilizations. Civilization is the greatest legacy left by our predecessors.

Education gives us hints. It is a hint to receive the civilization built by the ancestors and the seeds that have been sown. Now it’s our turn to mature through education and leave some seeds behind. For the future of the earth and future generations..

Life is accompanied by a fight against one’s ego. You need an ego to protect yourself and your loved ones, but don’t forget, that humans need society and cannot live without others. And remember… that the miracle of living is the greatest happiness. Life must be cherished and protected.

Live as hard as you can every day. The beauty of life does not fade even with pain and trials. Living is the accumulation of falling, standing up, and moving forward. Living is also a struggle for freedom. It’s not as explosive as the French Revolution, we need a more instinctive and modest freedom. In other words, you are free to spend a certain amount of time in your life, as you like. 

The world is not just about business and the economy. You should have room to develop love. For loved ones and friends. You don’t have to live in a hurry. You don’t have to rush. Please enjoy the joy of life little-by-little every day. Don’t drown in greed. People are born naked and die naked. Turn that passion into love. For friends, children and loved ones. Because life without love is meaningless.

On the other hand, we are under pressure from the market. The market drives us to buy things one after another. And takes away our time. You don’t pay for money. It’s the precious time in your life that is spent to make that money.

So be sensible and modest and don’t think only about money. That way you won’t lose your free time in life. This idea is also found in some ancient Greek maxims, from around the 6th century BC. “Nothing in excess” (don’t ask for too much).

History gives us many hints. There must be lessons to look back on in Japanese history. This is because your country, which has been around since ancient times, has a lot of wisdom and unique history. The trouble is that human beings have difficulty learning even if they are told directly. Wisdom is something that you must actually experience to finally learn.

Japan is a very modern and technologically advanced country. But robots don’t have the emotions of humans. That is why you should spend your school life and your time meaningfully. The important thing is to learn how to learn. As we get older, we learn a lot.

Every day I realize it. No matter how much I learn, I have more to learn. There is a limit to what you can learn in your lifetime. Unfortunately, human life is limited, but love is unlimited. Therefore, I want to spread this to the world.

Human abilities aren’t just about building huge buildings, going to the moon, diving into the bottom of the deep ocean, and manipulating genes. The world can be changed if we are more deeply aware of it and help each other. 

No matter how difficult it may be, we can build a better world, a world without hatred and war.  To do so, remove severe poverty from the world. And stop wasting things. These problems are the result of repeated wasteful spending without knowing what humans really need to be doing.

In the world, as much as $ 2 million per minute is spent on military spending. Yet, Africa’s hunger is neglected, saying it has no money. It is a shameful behavior, such as abandoning Africa, the birthplace of humankind. So, everyone, please study hard and use that knowledge for humankind. Not just for yourself, but for everyone.

Thank you and hug from the Southern land.”

About Christopher Chase

Co-creator and Admin of the Facebook pages "Tao & Zen" "Art of Learning" & "Creative Systems Thinking." Majored in Studio Art at SUNY, Oneonta. Graduated in 1993 from the Child & Adolescent Development program at Stanford University's School of Education. Since 1994, have been teaching at Seinan Gakuin University, in Fukuoka, Japan.
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9 Responses to Life without Love is Meaningless – José Mujica

  1. Barbara S says:

    Christopher, you don’t look old enough… just graduated, on that pic 🙂

  2. Barbara S says:

    that essay is precious; here in the UK, I keep getting sight of these inward-looking messages ‘all we need is family…’ her’s an antidote. Thanks.

  3. FA says:

    Hi Chris

    I don’t know if you remember me. I used to be called “Floating Abu”. I just wanted to say I’m very sorry for anything in the past where I may have hurt. You were always very kind and I really appreciate it. I’m truly sorry. I hope you’re doing well.

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