Being isolated from the Italian reality put things into a different perspective, allow you to keep less news with more time to digest and think about.
It happened a few days ago I learned of the death of Umberto Eco, one of the greatest Italian tinker of our age. He was a great writer, a great thinker, a truly free spirit.
The first thing I did when I knew about his death was to feel a great sorrow, in a moment my country needs desperately to turn back to its origin loving culture and what culture means, losing such a man was a great loss.
I used to write to my daughter every day, and force her to do the same. No matter what just the silliest thing, but I want her to learn to be committed and to use an old way of communication such writing (although with email).
After the new, instead of writing the usual nonsense we love to share one to another, I asked my daughter, 12, to read the letter Eco wrote to his nephew just to make her understand the importance of living, learning, knowing and remembering.
I am trying, not sure with how much success, to rise her with a critical eye on reality, trying to give her the tools to understand where things come from and just not see the moment but live it, knowing and understanding why things are what they are.
The letter was all I am trying to teach my daughter, but with way better words and meanings. But I am not Umberto, and have not a blink of his incredible knowledge.
But I remember when I was younger I did not understand the need to learn things and memorize them, I got the reason growing old, when I understood that my experience (therefore my memories) are the metric to analyze the world. And probably now I say I should have memorized more.
The Eco sad news move something on me so I was started reading back some interviews with Eco and it make me think, what is the meaning of our lives? memories.
At the end it is memories that shape our life, and growing old we will add memories that will be the reason we lived for.
How we shape those memories is our job, we can build them good or bad, silly or deep. But it is all up to us. but to make memories we have to live them, somehow.
Reading, travelling, doing things. and those memories are the building blocks of what we are and will be. To make memories we need to understand what we see and what we do.
I have the vision of my daughter when she was ready born, a wonderful ugly conhead. So small and so a great responsibility with the lightest wight.
I remember when we discovered my wife was pregnant, I were in the kitchen when she told me the result of the test, i was shaking.
And I remember the teenage friends and our nightly talk about politics or music.
I remember the good and bad part of the job, and the people I worked with.
I remember my mistakes (this is why I write on management so much)
I remember what I would have liked to know at work (This is why I write on technology so much)
I remember that I fall in love with Japan looking at anime and manga, and then going deeper into that country history and culture, alas not language, shame on me, so I have had to enjoy Banana Yoshimoto only in italian, I am sure loosing so much (with all the respect for the translator).
I remember my first trip in USA, where all was not, at the end, so big but not all food was Mc Donald.
I remember how was wide opening to discover back my latin heritage (thanks Rika), and starting to understand the good (and bad) of the spanish speaking world.
I remember how was incredibly rewarding to read and understand Joice, Tolkien, Agatha Christie, Conan Doyle in the original language, see what only the original language can gives you. I can see Holmes home, as well as Miss Marple smile looking out of her windows. Are part of my life.
I remember how was amazing to open my life to the spanish language, writers, music and culture (I could not have understood and appreciate Orozco or Frida Kalo without knowing that culture, see, watch, talk, smell, listen, breath that culture).
I usually say to my daughter that if you know more you will find more things to enjoy. Reading is a wondeful way to find new wonderful things. Studying history and, also, its implications gives you the ability to look at the world with different eyes, so understanding different cultures, languages, foods and so on.
I disagree with the ones that claim that ignorance is a best way to happiness, ignorance is the easiest way, easy path is never (or seldom) the best path. And I disagree with the ones that for fear close themself in a shell wasting their life in useless fears, and ultimately I disagree that to preserve its own identity you have to close to the different, stranger and new.
So different from the world we are shaping for our sons. A world of people with no memory of the past is doomed to live the same errors again and again, isn’t it? Isn’t what we see everyday? Do we still care (or humanity have ever cared about) historical memory?
C’è poi la memoria storica, quella che non riguarda i fatti della tua vita o le cose che hai letto, ma quello che è accaduto prima che tu nascessi.
Then there is the historical memory, one that isn’t about the facts of your life or things you’ve read, but what happened before you were born.
Life is a learning path, and memories are the foundations of this learning. without memory of the past we can not build good memory for the future, unless we like to live in a lie (but so many did it, isn’t it?).
There is more truth in a novel than in any political speech, there is more truth in a joke than in any serious comment. Probably this is the reason why novelists, writers and comedians have, usually, the sharpen vision of our world; they have to work with memory for a living.
The moment we stop making memories, for us and for the others, we just stop living.
La memoria è un muscolo come quelli delle gambe, se non lo eserciti si avvizzisce e tu diventi (dal punto di vista mentale) diversamente abile e cioè (parliamoci chiaro) un idiota. E inoltre, siccome per tutti c’è il rischio che quando si diventa vecchi ci venga l’Alzheimer, uno dei modi di evitare questo spiacevole incidente è di esercitare sempre la memoria.
The memory is a muscle like those of the legs, if not used fades and you become disabled (mentally) and therefore (let’s face it) an idiot. And also, since for all there is a risk that when we get old we get Alzheimer, one of the ways to avoid this unfortunate incident is to exercise more and memory.
How many times I have seen people that stopped to use their “brain” muscle, close to learn and understand (hope you can appreciate the difference between know and understand, although the first is a mandatory step to the second).
I hope to have more human beings like Umberto Eco, that was so proud and joyful to play with memories, and I hope my daughter will learn something from that letter.
May be when she will be my age….
She will try to write the same post, just better.
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