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Grafica e comunicazione

Blows to the head, tips, elections and lessons

Javier Cercas recently reminded me of Ramon Llull’s theory of gratuity (gift). According to the simple and seemingly paradoxical insight of the Catalan philosopher, in this life all that is not catastrophe is a gift. Cercas makes two practical examples: turn the key and the car starts: gift; we teach a lesson and someone listens: gift (Cercas is both the driver of car and a teacher, two subjects close to his heart). It is a pessimistic theory, of course. An optimist would ground his assumptions on the contrary; believing that we are here to be happy, therefore when the car starts and someone listens to us is only a tiny, indisputable given. Rather than a gift. For the optimist, to remain stranded or unheeded is an affront to the person, and grounds for feeling demoralized (going against the rights acquired from the outset). The pessimist, who thinks that we are here to avoid innumerable catastrophes, lives fundamentally calm in with his healthy humility. The optimist, basically full of himself and of his rights, will be perpetually restless, often demoralized and at risk of depression.

From this Llullian perspective of the gift, I began analyzing the recent parliamentary elections, trying to console myself, but ended up convincing myself that, although I previously expected a nice blow in the head especially in view of an absurd electoral law, I still suffered the blow. And it was pretty strong.

Prior to the election I informed myself of the agendas of the respective parties or movements (today it seems appropriate to make these distinctions), at least with respect to the salient points for me, ultimately deciding one thing: I could not vote for Beppe Grillo’s emerging Five Star Movement: a movement founded on the ideas of destruction, at least on paper (and besides, what else should one expect of those who consider “sending all politicians home” a kind of teleology?). Of the three main parties (movements), I of course also had to exclude, regardless of the agendas penned for the occasion, the one that has governed for nearly 8 out of 10 years in the last decade. Apart from the character of its leader, given that a vote in a democracy is (also) a way of judging what a government has accomplished, there was no doubt that I must evaluate alternatives. With two out of three excluded, I was therefore forced to go with the third.

I thought I was doing what is normal before each election, and what any reasonable citizen is reluctant to do, and I made a decision. I thought I had just done a basic equation that the majority of my compatriots would certainly have done by themselves. I drew an X and thought: “and now rule, in a number of years we'll see...”

Based on my experience, you can easily understand why the elections suffered bitter outcomes, and its overt ungovernable, like a blow on the head: my optimism during the occasion was pathetic, even moving. To expect the average Italian (or the majority of Italians) to read the electoral agendas and not consider them a waste paper and /or anchor policy to the facts and not the promises, to expect him (them) to think rationality rather than ideology... is more or less like expecting that in the morning your car not only starts on the first try, but that is magically always the latest model available on the world market, brand-new (and free). Mine was a vulgar insolence, I admit. And it is right that my optimism must now suffer and upset me about the fate of my country.

Recently, I have experienced events, of another sort; some I experienced as pure attacks (while always expecting the worst), others as gifts. Among the insults, I would include the jerks who publically accused Mario Cipollini of doping, an accusation later debunked with irrefutable facts. We responded indirectly to these accusations with an ad made simply and elegantly thanks only to a truly unparalleled product, which speaks for itself. Of the gifts, two jobs come to mind, particularly appealing because I worked for two beautiful people. The first was creating the new corporate identity and the new website of Guido restaurant in the town of Jesolo owned by Andrea Fasan (who works with great passion, sincerity and sensitivity). The second was the image of the legendary Granfondo 2013 of the legendary Eddy Merckx (who calls cyclists to rally in the lands of Verona).

Among the substantial and undeserved gifts received these days, I must recall my experience teaching for the Master of Italian Cuisine. There is little to say when you find yourself in front of bright, alert, educated, determined and strong-willed students who listen with painstaking care and critical spirit for 4 consecutive hours (3 times in two weeks for a total of 12 hours) to a guy eager to talk about philosophy, dialectics, ethics and aesthetics, beauty, creativity, art, poetry... and that one can’t not have confidence in the future, we must have hope. One can’t be optimistic. Oops, sorry: pessimistic.

12/03/2013 Filippo Maglione