"Knowledge beyond the limits of a single discipline"

Dávila Galiza, Brazil


As a tradition, we ask the students for a self-assessment at the conclusion of their academic stint. Davila Galiza, a Brazilian and already a Law graduate, followed a personalized path as a guest student in Sophia for six months. Having returned to Brazil, she is now completing her Ph.D. Degree in Human Rights, Citizenship and Public Policies at the Federal University of Paraiba.


"The experience at Sophia University Institute has been so strong and intense that I will bring it with me as a steering compass and guide. I can say that in the past, I had the feeling of being a kind of "puppet" who needed energy to move forward.  Sophia has impressed in me a new "energy" with respect to all the facets of my life, not only at a disciplinary and professional level but also in the human, spiritual and cultural aspects in the broadest sense.


To use a metaphor, studying nowadays means immersing myself in deeper knowledge that goes beyond the limits of a single discipline - to understand why, and to absorb many important ideas that I have taken from philosophy, theology and politics. Now my interest in study is more active and critical, and directed towards an articulated and interdisciplinary knowledge, so I can converse with the authors of the texts. What do they want to express? Do I share it? And what do I think? These are questions that I have learned to ask myself.  In each word there is something more. I have discovered that the dimension of the "active intellect" is much more than passive knowledge, just as Aristotle affirmed.


There are countless times during a lesson that I have perceived a kind of encounter with ‘knowledge wisdom’ that I believe I cannot explain in words. But it has opened up a whole new realm to the possibility of understanding. And the changes and concrete reflections of this knowledge on many aspects of my life have come as a natural consequence. It’s because of this that I can say I will remain forever a “Sophiana.”


I keep in my heart the beauty of relationships that I have built with so many people, not superficially but through a deep rapport and with full of fraternal transparency. As an example, when I meet someone who stops to simply ask me, "how are you?" which is a daily reciprocal greeting, behind this question there is the desire to understand how I really felt, how my thesis was going, etc... This little question constituted, in fact, a ’stopping’ in order to enter into the world of the other, to his sorrows or joys. What has happened is that a real dialogue has started. In Sophia, I really found a climate of attention to and interest in the other, between fellow students and between students and academic staff.


Even in living together with people from other countries and cultures has been very enriching. How many things have I learned? I have learned especially the value of respect and the capacity to love the other's culture just as I do mine.

Before my return to Brazil, inside the classroom on my last day in Sophia, I was inspired by the Gospel parable of the talents, in order to dialogue. I immediately felt that this was the word meant for me at that moment. I could not imitate the action of the official who, out of fear, had hidden his only one talent. Rather, it's up to me to multiply the talents I have received.
I could also make reference to the myth of the cave narrated by Plato.  Now I am able to look toward a new horizon of light and I can also point this out to many friends who still limit themselves to looking at just some projections on the wall, thinking that they would be real. It’s 'a gift that I have received, making me first of all thank God. What I feel now along with many other young people and with the not-so-young people is, above all, the desire to change my piece of the world."

Text: Mario Agostino

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