COMMENT The Capital of Culture and the Capital of Hope – The Gulf 24

On the opening day of the Capital of Culture Procida, a large space was left to a young Campania philosopher who discussed the challenging theme of hope. For an eighteen-year-old, it is easy to talk about hope, to have a life ahead, but when a reflection is too easy, one can fall into the temptation to the obvious and banal. It’s much harder to talk about Hope when you’re old, and especially when you’ve been through better times than the present. From the ancient Greeks to the Latins, many have focused on this theme. For Aeschylus, it was Prometheus’ fault that he had instilled in man the “blind hopes.” For Sophocles, hope was “caressing dreams.” For Pindar, one had to talk about “fatuous hopes”. Seneca limited himself to living daily “without hope and without fear.” Marcus Aurelius also recommended “letting go of empty hopes and taking care of oneself”. Thucydides was a little more optimistic: “Hope is a” rationally based prediction. “The most optimistic of all was Euripides, the only one who exhorted people to live and nurture hope. in the search for the promised land, at the center of human interests.

A magnificent historical-philosophical-literary excursion to these passages is described in the book (from 2019) by Claudio Magris, entitled “At the praise of the man who hopes and works for a future that will come true”. In 2018, on 18 October, the European Society of Philosophy in Warsaw held an important international conference on the theme of “Hope”. The eighteen-year-old philosopher who appeared in Procida could most likely not have known about it since he was only 14 years old at the time. To return to the Greeks, why were they so pessimistic about hope (Elpis for the Greeks)? The reason is that Man lives according to his destiny (moira) subject to Fate (Tyche) and Necessity (Ananke). If man tries to escape from predestination, he commits a profit (Hybris). Modern man has mixed the elements of pessimism and optimism about hope, in fact Leopardi defines it as “pleasant deception”, but also adds “I live therefore I hope”. A ‘600 philosopher whom I especially love, Baruch Spinoza, regards hope as “an incomplete joy” and puts it on the same level as fear. The latter is based on something that could happen and that could harm us, but we do not know if it will happen. Likewise, Hope is the possibility that a favorable event will take place, but for which we have no certainty. On this indecision between fear and hope, Spinoza believes that religions and political leaders play to influence and manipulate men.

Baruch Spinoza

Splendid is the essay by psychiatrist Eugenio Borgna entitled “Hope and Despair” (from 2020). When Spinoza had equated Hope and Fear, Borgna sets two scales: Hope and the antithesis of Desperation, the “half-sister” as he defines her. Borgna worked for years at Novara’s asylum in contact with hundreds of serious psychiatric patients, but he realizes that hope and despair not only concern serious patients but concern all of humanity, so in an attempt to give or reproduce. a meaning with life, traditional medicines and treatments are not enough as for the seriously ill. It is necessary to remember and follow all the paths of literature, philosophy, poetry to dig out human concerns and find a way out. And so he quotes Leopardi and Cesare Pavese. Of the latter, he quotes the beautiful poem “Death will come, and he will have your eyes” and tries to understand the causes of the suicide, whereupon he concludes that it remains an elusive mystery; we will never know whether – in solitude – there could have been various events that could have changed the outcome of the poet-author’s anguish and despair. Borgna concludes that we can and must hope, yes he adds that we can “learn” to hope, as a form of knowledge of human complexity. Here’s what an “old man” might say differently than a very young philosopher. The appeals to politicians, to the institutions, as the eighteen-year-old philosopher did in Procida so that they do not lower the hopes of young people and give them sufficient space for a just confirmation in life, represent a partial vision of existence.

From Procida, the capital of culture, rather than raising the cry for “give us space” (legitimate), an anthem for knowledge, for the complexity of life, for the duality of man: hell and heaven, war and peace, angel and demon. As the absurd invasion and destruction of Ukraine shows. As shown, in our small way, the social dissolution that this island experiences (see the incomprehensible episode of violence in the nightclub Casamicciola), on which we make the mistake of projecting (the stranger, the unintentional stranger) the lack of social cohesion, as in the place hits all of us islanders. We have completely learned to understand the complexity of life, where the duality of man cannot always be distinguished and separated, and often present itself in the form of an insoluble tangle. In order to free oneself in the labyrinth of this psyche, however, one must trace back all the paths of the cultural history of the world: However, there is everything that is needed to nurture Hope, a possible inspiration, even necessary for human existence. It is in this light that the experiences from Procida Capital of Culture must be read. It is in this light that in order to raise the cultural tone of the Procida Capitale, to “capitalize” the Speranza legacy, before erecting extras on stilts or pianos suspended in the air, it would have been better to anchor oneself in the culture developed over the centuries in our bay. It is a pity for Riitano and for the municipal administration of Procida not to have made room for cultural expressions such as the Procida Film Festival invented by Fabrizio Borgogna, supported by Michelangelo Messina, patron of the Ischia Festival of Film Places; it is a pity not to have accepted 4 proposals from the Raffaele Mirelli Philosophy Festival in Ischia; it is a shame not to have accepted the proposal of the TIFEO Cultural Association of Ischia for a theatrical-musical representation at the Palazzo D’Avalos, on the historical-literary history, taken from the story VI of the 5th day of Boccaccio’s Decameron, re. the love story between Restituta Bulgaro from Ischia and Giovanni da Procida. Proposal for “zero euro” paid by the municipality of Procida and without one euro of the 15 million provided by the region of Campania. Before we talk about Innovation (“Innovation Village Award and Procida 4Innovation is scheduled for next October) it would have been better to talk about the islands’ common cultural history and the Flegrean area, and it would have been better than for” The Greeks before the Greeks remembered to involve Pitecusa, the first Euboic colony in Italy. But the mayors of the island of Ischia are at least as guilty of this as Procida and the Campania region. Let us remember Pandora’s box, from which all the evils of the world were freed, and remained at the bottom only Hope. And as with Pandora’s box, in this historic moment a cap has been put back that holds hope captive. Only culture and the lesson of the past will be able to lift that cork and release hope.


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