Someone died of truth

Veronica Berenice

… while we defend our experience of the world – by rejecting the other and the truth they represent –  we reject ourselves and the free possibility of learning from those around us.

Human beings are gifted with a magical memory, capable of forgetting negative experiences and romanticising recollections by reinterpreting them in the light of their own retrospective deductions. In other words, if two years ago Maria did not get the mark she hoped for in a written exam, today she will look back on her exam pervaded by the narratives that she has, unintentionally, created. She may, for example, have quarrelled with her best friend the night before, suffered the loss of her grandmother months prior and no longer found much stimulus from her studies. 

The posthumous realisation that she was going through a change at that point in time now allows us to see the failure of the exam as something perfectly obvious. Maria has moved to Paris where she works as deputy director of a company that exports cheese; she is now quite far away from studying psychology and from that same exam in Dynamic Psychology in which she received her disappointing mark, she has now built up a new network of friends.

It was only after graduating that she realised that her nature was much more inclined towards an office job that would allow her to nurture her own passions in her free time. At aperitifs with friends today, Maria inevitably mentions her unsatisfactory exam, questioning in retrospect much of her life at that time and probably over the years that clinging to that recollection has faded.ì

On the basis of this, even in La Livella’s articles, if we were to question our readers, each would have different nuances and probably by taking the most extreme sides of our span, we would find ourselves hearing very different interpretations of the same article. Whatever relationship we have with our neighbours, it would be preferable to keep in mind both the mnemonic variation from past experiences and the inevitable impressions and prejudices of the present. Proof of this are Trump’s opponents who today find themselves – at least the most intellectually honest ones – also giving positive judgments on his actions. The same can be said for Berlusconi’s supporters who, despite everything, are still so today; or Merkel’s voters, who even a few years ago were perplexed by her statements on the Lgbtq+ milieu.

Therefore, in everyday life, even those of us who pay particular attention to social dynamics lose patience when we meet people who are excessively uptight and unable to recognise the greatest of human truths: Truth itself does not exist. I will immediately stop pawing scientists and dedicated jurists: it is not my intention to determine that the proposition ‘Truth does not exist’ is in itself a truth that can be applied to milieus where formality and strictness are necessary – but insufficient to constitute systems that claim to be universal. In fact, the subject matter focuses on the details, on the tiny living space of each and every one of us, continually crossed by the relationship with the other. The other from oneself, like us, is immersed in their own particular experiences and their own specific times of understanding what is occurring within and outside themselves.

 At least our very small lives – be they filled with black swans or filtered by mediocrity – should not matter to the observer. What should matter is having our integrity in order, because what leads to xenophobia, on any scale, is the fear of infection. Fear of infection means that people see their acquaintances, or even just the people walking around their city, as their own representation to the rest of the world. Tell me who you hang out with and I will tell you who you are, in pop culture this is a truth that is passed on and I find myself in an ideological sense (the applications of an ideology do not always adhere to the ideology itself) in agreement with it.

 In a more practical sense, however, one has to admit that resolute personalities could either likely be at Queen Elizabeth’s table, or sitting on the bare ends of the Earth and have the same ambition before them: discovery.

A friend of La Livella who usually argues that discovery is the deepest pleasure of being human, and I find myself defending that thesis, at least with respect to the contact we have with others.

In applying the astronaut’s point of view I would beg everyone not to stand tall as pillars in the temple of Ego, because while we defend our experience of the world – by rejecting the other and the truth they represent –  we reject ourselves and the free possibility of learning from those around us.

Other than ourselves – by pure chance? – who is the creator of everything on Earth: there is no car without an engineer, there is no tango without two dancers, there is no painting without an artist, and artists are usually humanly not at all what we would like them to be.

So given the unreliability of the memory of each and every one of us, having multiplied the possibility of judgement and rationalised that perhaps free will is far more complex than we believe it to be, I wonder whether – rather than becoming entrenched in the morality of good and evil (I still want to speak to humans) – we should not leave room for a trial: in our daily experience grow a little healthy Christian piety [1] within us and actually embrace the possibility of all of us being hand in hand with ignorance.

[1] Even though piety in the Christian sense is primarily an attribute of the believer’s relationship with God, it also predisposes them to an attitude of gentleness and respect towards their neighbour as a reflection of feeling like sons of the same father. John Paul II: Angelus of 28 May 1989.

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