sábado, 16 de junho de 2007
Gentleness: Gentileza, Delicadeza, Ternura, Doçura, Cortesia, Empatia, e Simpatia
Gentleness is an English word that describes a significant quality of Brazilian culture that I have not found in other cultures. And yet, there is no single word in Brazilian Portuguese that describes this quality so well as the single English word "gentleness." Yesterday, I spent some time consulting with a learned Brazilian friend about this quality that permeates her culture, and she was unable to describe it with single Portuguese words. Our English word "gentleness" is embued with everything that I wish to say, but I should also add the characteristics of "tenderness" and "sweetness." You see, for these qualities to find expression between two people, even complete strangers, a more intimate degree of interaction is required. One must add a personal touch, and this requires that one risk giving a bit of oneself. Here in Brazil, there really is no risk involved because this quality of personal exchange is reciprocated naturally. Of course, I am speaking from the interior of Bahia -- things may be different in a large city like São Paulo. But, generally, wherever I have been in Brazil, there is an affinity for gentleness. If you are a gentle person and you smile openly and directly into the eyes of a Brazilian, even the most hardened and avaricious will often respond with a degree of softness.