Philosophy and life
Beyond my academic specialization, I have broader philosophical interests, both at the theoretical and at the practical level.
In political philosophy, I am interested in the development of social libertarian perspectives, considering respect for human rights and liberties the necessary basis of any principle of justice. At the practical level, I support non-government organizations (like Amnesty International) that actively defend people’s rights and liberties.
At a more general level, I share the idea that our views of the world, life and the human condition should be based more on rational and scientific analysis, integrating the contributions of modern physics, biology, and social sciences like economics.
I do not subscribe to any supernatural beliefs, and I am not into organized religion. Besides myths, beliefs and any pretense of religious authority, though, from a freethinking perspective I still find valuable existential teachings in many spiritual traditions (Buddhist, Jewish, Christian). I myself am a practicing Zen student.
I have a strong connection to nature, in particular those special places called mountains. I climbed some, and I like to walk or sit by them. While I enjoy social life, I really feel at home when I spend time in a little cabin surrounded by wooded slopes. I support the preservation of natural environments.
I love music. Listening (classical, jazz) and playing (even humming to myself). I studied classic guitar in my youth, then after many inactive years I began playing the alto sax. Here are some of my past activities in the field:
Vilna Kabarett An original klezmer band with a repertoire of yiddish songs. At its fullest, it included violin, accordion, clarinet, alto sax, guitar, bucket bass and a singer. For a few years we performed at several venues in the Barcelona area, some festivals and weddings, and a scenic concert on the Plaça de la Catedral’s steps for the closing of the 2003 Jewish Film Festival. In 2012 the Barcelona Institute for Jewish Music brought us together again for a special concert.
Groove Juice A funky jazz band going from Miles Davis and Herbie Hancock to James Brown and our own original music. Two horns (tenor and alto sax), harmonica, keyboards, guitar, bass and drums. For at least five years we were a regular resident band at the Harlem Jazz Club in Barcelona (recently listed by Down Beat among the top 60 jazz clubs in the world…).
I also had a limited but very interesting acting experience with the twelve x twelve theatre company directed by James Attridge:
(2002) Ghetto, a musical drama by Joshua Sobol about the Vilna Jewish ghetto theatre during the Nazi occupation of Lithuania. I was a musician playing live music on stage (that was the inspiration for the Vilna Kabarett band).
(2003) The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, a play by Peter Brook and M.H. Estienne based on neurologist Oliver Sacks’ books. I was one of six actors playing many characters, from doctors to patients struggling to make sense of their debilitating brain conditions. It was performed first in English and then in Spanish. A deep and rewarding tour de force.
And I even played a small part in a movie:
(2005) Musikanten, by Franco Battiato, where I was the doctor at Beethoven’s death bed. Though it didn’t lead to a Hollywood career, I enjoyed being on the set and I even had the pleasure of watching myself on screen at the Venice Film Festival premiere of the movie.