I learned to identify the simulators after reading Simulation in the Struggle for Life, the formidable essay by the Argentine philosopher José Ingenieros. Turning 60 this year, I have come to the hasty conviction that, in the Cuba of those times, similar imposters were not anything but simple counterrevolutionaries.

Wearing a mask for an excessively prolonged period can result in a person identifying with the mask more strongly than with their own face.  So those “irreconcilable enemies of the revolution,” masked with their militia uniforms, behind an extremist position, always agreeing and applauding without cease, finally come to a point where they crack up inside.  The mask begins by eating their face and ends by devouring them totally.  They are converted.

On a great number of occasions converts arrive at this condition through violence. Simply recall the epoch of the inquisition or the way in which African slaves took to Catholicism.  Perhaps this is why many converts keep the stigma of their former idolatry well hidden; they simulate obedience so well they manage to make it appear as an authentic faith; they may come to form a valiant army, efficient and ruthless, but they never earn the full confidence of their feudal lords.

It is this type that sooner or later appear on the long list of those taken for traitors.  In reality, they never were traitors (to themselves) when they joined the impetuous train of the revolution, without conviction, from fear, from an understandable need to survive through pure opportunism.  I don’t include here the naïve who believed everything, that is to say, I don’t include myself.

In the times we live in, on the eve of so many changes, one begins to envision a certain cracking of the makeup, the odd deterioration in the old masks of the simulators.  Touching on the naïve believers today the noble assignment is to understand them.  It will have to be done until, pleased with themselves, they finally return to being themselves.  With what we’ve learned in all these years, perhaps we can manage to make simulation no longer be a part of our everyday life.