Almost more than with the volcano, I am fascinated with volcanologists. None are volcanic. The guild is admirably impassive. The distance with their object of study, the renunciation of all mimesis, brutally differentiates them from our political scientists, those scientists of partisan argumentation. If volcanologists had the same relationship with volcanoes that political scientists had with politics, they would be throwing fire from their mouths like fakirs.
Among all of them, a volcanologist spoke shortly after the eruption with a coldness and a parsimony that seemed Juan Rulfo in the interview of Soler Serrano. You had to get the sentences out with a corkscrew. His answers were short but accurate, and a silence always lingered until the next question that was loaded with disturbing lava: that transparent lava from the voids on TV.
Among the things he said, the best was this: “It was manual. The volcano has done what it had to do.” Here the satisfaction of the specialist with the lack of predictability of his subject is appreciated. The volcano obedient to what the volcanologist had studied. The volcano, after all, following what volcanoes have always done.
Another volcanologist said a simile that won me over: “What comes out is like the head of a cycling peloton, it is not known how many are coming after.” That relationship between cyclists and mountains, even if they are volcanoes. In the Giro, Vesuvius was climbed, which was beautiful. He also said: “Lava moves at the pace of a person.” And I imagined a fire pet; giant, naturally, and ruthless to its master.
I do not forget the victims, those people who have lost everything, like those who had to leave their town because it was flooded by a swamp. This time it has been a burning swamp, and no time to move. What happens is that reality is unbearably multiple. The devastation is compatible with the show. The end of the world as a work of art, titled a book Argullol.
We will all lose everything one day, and the Earth will lose the human being. And the universe will lose Earth. Perhaps the impassiveness of volcanologists is due to this long-time gaze, in which they already give everything for lost.