Far from Socrates

  • Italiano
Liu Xiaobo

“All what is real is rational,” wrote Hegel. If he were alive today he still would say this? I doubt it. Let’s look around us: in this present there is little or nothing of rational. Among Brexit, American elections, Europe unable to manage the migration phenomenon and to promote human development, the obscene brawl on our constitutional reform (not to talk about Islamic terrorism and the situation in Hungary, Turkey, Syria and Libya), it is hard to imagine a more disturbing picture. And more the tones go up more the level goes down.

Violence – not just verbal – and provocation are the only common denominator. We are touching the deepest abysses. Just think of the words that the institutional summit of a big region has addressed the President of the Anti-Mafia Commission. Unacceptable. Unjustifiable. Intolerable. A sign of the times? Yes unfortunately. But what kind of times are those who send these signs? Bad, unfortunately. For everyone.

More than rational: this really is crazy. And we, instead of trying to cure it, we let ourselves be infected by his madness. And in doing so we multiply it and we spread. What happened to Socrates? I wonder. Where are values, wisdom, civic sense, foresight, responsibility, compassion? Socrates is dead. If we do not hurry to raise its flag and waved it high on the horizon of consciousness, we will face a devastating apocalypse of “allagainst-all.” What, above all, lack of Socrates is humility.

“knowing of not knowing”, which obliges us to ask ourselves who we are? Where  we want to go? How do we get there? But, above all, humility which makes us understand that either we are saved together or we die together. Our presumption, however, blind us. Elites – class executives, bureaucracies, intellectuals, opinion leaders – they do not know anything, but they think they know everything. And we think the same thing: even more. Never in history have we had so many sources and information, but never we have been so blind and deaf. The reality is a mad kaleidoscope that never stops and does not produce intelligible images. it escapes from us, we can say. We believe to be above all. Humility, then, means to go down into reality.

Observe it, touch it, live it. Listen. Who does not listen can not comprehend. And who does not understand does not know. We do not know anything and we think we know everything. And every day the reality denies us: no one predicted the Brexit and only one commentator had predicted the victory of Trump. In this delirium, there is only one watchword: “I do not care!”. Italian expression that we know too well. “I care.” “I care”, “I want”, “I care about your problem” “counting on me.” These are not the words of Churchill, Mandela, Kennedy, neither Obama, but just a Florentine priest, Don Lorenzo Milani. He wrote on the door of his micro-school Barbiana, in the mid 60s. We have to start from there, if we want to shape reality and not let us deform from it. So we must do it now. Soon we will not have the consciousness of what must be done. Nor the capacity to do it.

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