The school in the field against the new nihilism

When dealing with certain topics, such as the – meritoriously raised by this newspaper – about youth violence in Naples, the risk is to create speeches that, the bigger they appear, the less they are able to influence reality, and the possibility of change the. reality. In fact, there is no question of opposing two alternative models: the “repressive” and the “pedagogical”. But rather to jointly take note of an extraordinary situation and put everything in place that can serve to cope with this extraordinary nature that Vittorio Del Tufo rightly invoked from these columns.

I am thinking, so to speak, of a Marshall Plan for Youth Deviation, which deals with a capillarity and an overall vision that has not been achieved so far, and which takes into account all the components at stake: social, economic, psychological, cultural, legal. Synergistic action is needed to tackle the problem at different levels: ensuring decisions, timely action and certainty of judgment; support all forms of voluntary work in the neighborhood, associations that are committed to hosting children at risk; increase the presence of social workers and psychological aids in the area; combat bureaucratic inertia and gain influence with tools that can seriously deal with the scourge of school dropouts. In fact, proclamations and funding are not enough: it is also necessary to check the actual impact of the projects.

But all these things have been said over and over again. More than demanding them now, we can not. Perhaps there is still a lack of a clear awareness of the evil to be fought. Otherwise, misjudgments would not be made, as is still the case, for example by attributing the responsibility for TV series or stair music to the situation. Books, songs, movies and TV series capture the spirit of the times, they do not create it. And the point is precisely this: Are we really sure that we know the spirit of the times in which our young people live? I was talking about the Marshall Plan. In post-war Italy, the diagnosis was easy: there was a ruined country, in ruins that needed to be rebuilt, a productive substance to put back together, social relations that needed to be strengthened. We do not see the physical rubble today, but there are intangible rubble. We face young people in crisis in a society in crisis. And violence is only a concrete manifestation of this crisis, the explosion of something that has been denied. And what was denied to these young people?

The possibility of living in a complex reality, rather than in a “one-dimensional” universe, that is, the frustrating and competitive dimension of utilitarianism, of the “everything and now” principle, which has left the new generations helpless to the existential nihilism and narcissism “Social”. If we do not take this consciousness as our starting point, we will not be able to understand the young discomfort that is attacking us, and we will not be able to plan to stem it. Therefore, a massive and urgent effort can only place the school at the center. A school that knows how to offer an educational alternative by virtue of the logic of the “gift” as the basis of a civilization, as the French anthropologist Marcel Mauss mentioned in a basic essay from the beginning of the twentieth century.

A school, that is, capable of confining itself as a real and non-virtual space for giving and receiving, as a real and non-virtual place of reciprocity and exchange, where human relations come before skills. Giving the other person (your time, your experience and knowledge, your questions and your listening) must be the prerequisite for this cultural education to start in school. Not in a good sense, but in a concrete sense. It is a challenge for teachers that should be valued as it deserves. And not only that. For only with contributions from everyone – civil society, local institutions, state, prefecture, volunteer work, local health authorities, public and private associations, the political world – can we rebuild from the rubble the future that we adults have denied our children.

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