Farewell to Giacinto Damiani, a wise man who wanted to strengthen the culture of “his” Serra San Bruno

by Antonio Franzé – It’s with great pain that I’m about to say my last goodbye to a great man from Serra San Bruno, Giacinto Damiani, a man I liked to define as a “stubborn and enthusiastic dreamer”. He used his last strength until the last days of his intense life to pursue his dream, that of giving luster to the roots of his country, the roots that can be easily trusted to oblivion, often precisely from those who have drawn their life blood. Giacinto loved his country deeply, but his altruism, the desire to share this great feeling with others, pushed him to try in every way and by all means to preserve and improve its historical memory, looking for something original, something special, could attract attention not only from its people but the whole world.

Well, Giacinto had found something special, unique and irrevocable, something extraordinary, capable of giving prestige to his great country and lifting it from the cultural, social and economic torpor into which it for some time seemed irreparably fallen. was a matter of dusting off the virtues of a man, a famous countryman, one of the many Serresi stonemasons who with their art had contributed to making Serra San Bruno great, the only illiterate poet who ever existed, and that the same prestigious Encyclopedia Treccani had officially registered, Mastro Bruno Pelaggi. Its originality lay precisely in the freedom of speech. The fact that he was not entangled in the masks of a lexical and cultural formalism that flew too high to be understood and appreciated by his people, poor, humble and mostly illiterate, had allowed him to express himself freely by exploiting and refining his own language, a simple and understandable dialect language, which, accompanied by his wit, his wit, his ironic and often sarcastic wisdom, reached right to the listener’s heart and stomach. What value can a culture have a goal in itself, an elitist culture, salottiera, incapable of any benefit to a pure peasant civilization, what value can a culture close in the temple of knowledge and devoid of any connection with social reality, devoid of for any any useful and positive implications in people’s daily lives? Giacinto had been told Mastro Bruno was illiterate, but he was not an uneducated person. In fact, he was the healthy bearer of a fundamental culture “the universal culture, the culture of origin, the culture devoid of ideas but capable of creating unity, meritocracy, progress, self-irony, respect”, the culture that always should embody official culture, the fictitious, academic, which, if it were without it, would only contribute to the formation of “mean and potentially dangerous people”. It is for this reason that Giacinto immediately qualified Mastro Bruno as the forerunner of pragmatism, the philosophical movement founded in 1898 in America by Charles Sanders Peirce, according to which “a philosophical doctrine must be chosen taking into account its applicability to the life of the individual in society. that is, its ability to serve as a guide for man’s practical behavior in the moral, religious, scientific, and social spheres (every truth is a rule of action, a norm for future behavior). disciple, was not limited to trying to regain the excellence of Serra’s historical memory, he was not limited to looking only at the past, to praise his prestigious mentor, but with a child’s enthusiasm, despite his age and his long-term suffering, he tried with intelligence and stubbornness to make use of Mastro Bruno’s teachings and turn them into projects and hope for future generations; he committed himself with all his strength and resources, without ever asking anyone for anything, to revive his territory, all too often damaged and humiliated by politically poor leadership consisting of selfishness and dishonesty. He tried to demonstrate how Mastro Bruno’s thinking could still represent a valid basis for building a possible future today. The result of this persistent activity is certainly the “Aspro” project, dedicated to the prematurely deceased administrator of Gagliato, a project that had the ambition to create spiritual and naturalistic paths from the Ionian coasts to the Aspromont forests, to connect and improve all the prestigious existing religious structures, churches, shrines and monasteries and the extraordinary natural resources that our territory offers but which no one has ever managed to make sufficient use of. It was essential to create a network between all public and private entities, setting aside parochialism and stupid egoism, which had always represented the real brake on any possibility of development. Just as it is certain that division has always been our weakness, only union could be our real strength, Mastro Bruno Pelaggi docet. This project, sponsored through an international poetry competition, which had a truly worldwide resonance, was precisely aimed at intercepting the emerging and rapidly growing tourism sector, represented by trekking, beyond, of course, to the typically religious, on the path of Santiago de Compostela. Many mayors and institutional representatives had believed in this simple idea, but certainly ingenious and certainly winning, so much so that in Gagliato it was possible to establish a town of friendship between the municipalities of Nardodipace and Soverato, as a preamble to the establishment of a standing committee, who should have taken on the obligation to carry out this ambitious and attractive project. Giacinto’s dream will probably die with him, it will be difficult to find another man with his wit and his stubbornness, but we who accompanied him on this amazing journey, driven by his perseverance and enthusiasm, would like to thank him because, even if f .ex. a short time we dreamed with him, we drew on his source of boundless wisdom, we believed in his ideas, simple ideas, but able to nurture the hope that a future for our country is still possible.

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