‘Life is to plow.’ A reflection on struggle, success and the impermanence of both

‘Just like the bad things, the beautiful things are temporary too.’

Roberto Olivera was raised in poverty in southern California, where he worked the tomato fields alongside his mother and abusive stepfather, migrant workers from Mexico. Now in his 60s, financially successful and with a family of his own, Olivera has grown to understand the meaning behind his mother’s frequent refrain: ‘La vida es sufrir’ (‘Life is suffering’). With an understated melancholy, Field Song pairs Olivera’s poignant reflections with views of southern California’s agricultural landscapes, presenting hardship as both temporary and timeless.

Director: Brad BischoffProducer: Alex HidalgoDirector of Photography: Casey Bohrnell

Support Aeon

‘Aeon provides me with high-quality, stimulating and unique content, and this deserves my support.’

Neda M, Australia, Friend of Aeon

Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview.

But we can’t do it without you.

Support Aeon

Idea/Mental Health

To be resilient, face tragedy with humour and flexibility

Steven Southwick Dennis Charney

Essay/Meaning & the Good Life

On coincidence

Lightning can strike twice and people do call just when you’re thinking of them – but are such coincidences meaningful?

Cody Delistraty

Video/Self-Improvement

Self-restraint goes hand in hand with the good life. Can brain science help us get a grip?

5 minutes

Essay/Spirituality

Does meditation work?

It’s hailed as the panacea for everything from cancer to war. Does research into its efficacy meet scientific standards?

Ute Kreplin

Video/Cognition & Intelligence

Leaping from firing neurons to human behaviour is tempting, but it’s a perilous gap

3 minutes

Idea/Illness & Disease

How validating their distorted memories helps people with dementia

Lisa Bortolotti