Seven Sayings From Mafalda to Reflect Upon

Seven Sayings From Mafalda to Reflect Upon

Last update: 19 November, 2021

Mafalda is a creation of Joaquín Salvador Lavado, the Argentine cartoonist who was also known as Quino. She’s a cartoon figure of a girl concerned about humanity. Mafalda’s vignettes, exquisitely drawn by their creator, provide numerous teachings that are sometimes camouflaged behind the comic meaning and at others behind the innocence of a girl. In this article, we share some very special phrases from Mafalda.

However, we can’t start without first telling you that Mafalda has become so important and popular that there are two cartoon series dedicated to her. There’s even a book that includes all her cartoon strips. Perhaps you’re even one of the lucky ones with this book on your bookshelf?

A modern life

“Could it be that this modern life has more of the modern than life?”

This is one of Mafalda’s first eye-opening phrases that refers to something that’s all too present in society today. Indeed, as we move forward, we modernize, but are we aware that we’re also losing ourselves? We need to ask ourselves, is what we gain worth what we’re losing?

There’s little doubt that new technologies have made our lives easier. However, the current obsessions with fashion and body image have meant we’ve ended up with lives in which material objects are updated at a frightening speed, motivating us to focus all our efforts on acquiring them. In fact, we might say that the modern world is full of artificial needs, making us somewhat artificial as well.

Image representing the phrases of Mafalda

It seems we know all about modernization but what about life? It would appear that having a showcase so full of offers has made many of us lose sight of the essentials. In fact, we’ve stopped valuing the basics. Instead, we aspire to what allows us to stand out or be on trend. This is modern life.

Work to live, live to work

“Working for a living is fine, but why does that life that you earn have to be wasted in working for a living?”

This is an eternal dilemma. Do we work to live or live to work? We can’t deny that money is necessary. However, what’s the price we pay for acquiring that money? Indeed, many people seem to be willing to work longer and longer hours provided their income increases, even if they don’t really need it.

This is unrecoverable energy and time. Earning a living working and then wasting it on the same thing is nonsense. It’s a paradox. It makes us feel like slaves, and we only get the negative effects.

Let our instincts emerge

“From time to time you should take your instinct out for a walk”.

Do we really know what instinct is? This third of Mafalda’s phrases refers to this ‘sense’ that we’ve forgotten because we’ve relegated it in favor of reason. Therefore, when it speaks to us, we often feel too awkward to use it.

However, rationalizing doesn’t always get us on the right track. For instance, we might make a decision based on reasoning while our instincts scream at us that it’s not a good idea. What should we do? We should weigh up both options.

In fact, we need to remember that sometimes, our instinct works as an alarm bell, and heeding it can save us from a situation that might harm us.

Mafalda screaming

A world full of people

“It seems that, in this world, the population gets bigger and bigger but there are fewer people”

What Mafalda means here is that there’s less and less solidarity, affection, and understanding among us. Furthermore, we’re becoming colder and colder with a pronounced tendency to imitate robots.

We hide our feelings, making it difficult for others to empathize with us. Similarly, we find it difficult to empathize with others. The time we spend looking at a screen has increased considerably. However, the time we spend looking at others has decreased. Mafalda is giving us a wake-up call here. We need to try and recover our humanity, the one that the vast majority of us have forgotten.

People who hold you back

“Your life will go forward when you separate yourself from the people who hold you back”.

This phrase urges us to reflect on the people with whom we interact. Those people who we introduce into our lives, assigning them different labels like ‘friend’, ‘partner’, ‘boss’, etc.

There are many people with whom we have toxic relationships for one reason or another. People who don’t allow us to move forward, who pose a burden, who limit us and deprive us of our freedom. It’s important that we learn to sever these kinds of relationships. Indeed, from time to time, we have to prune them, like plants, so that they regenerate and new ones can appear.

Concern for the passing years

“What do the years matter? What really matters is to realize that, ultimately, the best age in life is being alive”.

In this modern society, there’s something in life today that we face with an ever-impending sense of doom. It’s the racking up of more birthdays. The approaching of the moment when our hearts will eventually stop beating. As a matter of fact, death is still a taboo subject and only tends to become less so when we have to face it ourselves, when a loved one dies, for instance. Then, we have to face our own emotions. Furthermore, when we sense that our own end is approaching, we’ll have to write our own last lines.

However, it seems that we live our lives turning our backs on our own finiteness. Indeed, we make plans as if we were immortal. We put death to one side, instead of looking it straight in the eye. Furthermore, we do this, not realizing that what we’re actually doing is turning our back on life.

Time is running out. That’s because we ignore the idea that tomorrow, to do what we want to do now, is only a possibility.

Mafalda on a bench

Do you dare to smile?

“Start the day with a smile and you’ll see how much fun it is being different”.

This last of Mafalda’s phrases reminds us how pessimistic and negative we are. Indeed, how many people that you meet on the street, at work, or at a family gathering are friendly or smile at you? Probably not too many. Nevertheless, you’ll find plenty who complain about everything, believe they’re victims of everything or are simply bitter.

How about we follow Mafalda’s example and smile and be different? Forget for a moment trying to imitate others in order to fit in. Remember how a smile can cheer up even those who are having a bad day. In fact, we should smile whenever we can. Because we’ll have plenty of opportunities not to do it when we feel sad ourselves or want to cry.

These phrases by Mafalda not only allow us to open our eyes but also ask us to reflect. Indeed, sometimes we don’t realize it, but we live on automatic pilot. This prevents us from being aware of even the most obvious things. However, thanks to these sayings by Mafalda, perhaps we can start to wake up.

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