English Version | The Innocence Issue: Editor's Letter
There is something special and precious about it, and it has to do with innocence. A baby reminds us that we all experience that pure state early in life, and that's something all human beings have in common.
“Whoever blushes is already guilty; true innocence is ashamed of nothing." - Jean-Jacques Rousseau
© Branislav Simoncik
I don't know how long mine lasted... In fact, nobody knows... After all, true innocence is that which is not even aware of itself, but I recognize it as something that disarms me, that lowers any defense, like a sweet memory of something distant: when I'm next to a baby, in the pure gaze of my dog, or when I look at someone sleeping, abandoned in a deep sleep... Because then, even the worst villain is a pure portrait of defenseless innocence. Fernando Pessoa said: “Everything that sleeps is a child again. Perhaps because in sleep one cannot do harm, and if one is not aware of life, the greatest criminal, the most closed egoist, is sacred, by a natural magic, while he sleeps. Between killing someone who sleeps and killing a child, I don’t know if there is much difference.”
The innocent, consensual magic that emanates from a baby generates a sense of wonder, perhaps for its recent arrival from an unknown and divine place. There is an element of mystery surrounding birth and the expectation of the future. Out of nowhere, a tiny, new and unique being enters the world like a blank canvas, where the colors and textures of life are yet to be shown. There is something special and precious about it, and it has to do with innocence. A baby reminds us that we all experience that pure state early in life, and that's something all human beings have in common. Newborns have no agenda, they are not aware of games or manipulation, they just want to let us know if they are hungry, tired or uncomfortable. They are the personification of trust, which allows us to love without pretensions, promises or defenses. We are attracted by the beginning and the newness of life, by dreams and by all the open possibilities.
Childlike innocence finds joy in the simplest things, discovers magic in things most of us find obvious or even invisible. Innocence trusts that everything will be alright. Innocence shows us that perpetual fear and worry are not part of our original selves. Innocence may disappear, but deep inside it remains guarded, as if waiting indefinitely for a peace sign, a white flag, like a truce of hope that we all seek in this troubled world. Indeed, the white canvas continues to underpin our lives, and our childhood hope never quite disappears. In most cases it is under lock and key, as a means of survival, in an overly hostile world, and it is something that we can choose at any time, it is something that at any time we can rediscover and embrace. If the price of wisdom is innocence, then as we become wiser we become, sadly, less innocent. But as we age, it may be possible for us to find the wisdom that takes us back to innocence, probably as a natural evolution and preparation, as we approach the return to the unknown and divine place from which we came. And we are once again touched by that innocent enchantment, which allows us to see again the good that exists in others, in ourselves and the magic in the world.
Translated from the original on Vogue Portugal's The Innocence Issue, published February 2023.Full story and credits on the print issue.