The power of love – the love of power … The need for genuine truth

I am sure many of you know it:
– apparently “one of these videos”, going viral … (sorry, it is youtube but you may manage – or look for “What Did I Do Is For Your Own Good」 – Shanghai Rainbow Chamber Singers”
Can make somebody who is working in third level education thinking …, about “towards what” are we teaching, and also thinking about the doctor and professor uncles and aunties …
There it is also said it would be about love … or something this way. And sure it is: love of people, love of the job and career in terms of “commitment” and “inner devotion”, what Max Weber had in mind when he speaks of personal calling (see e.g. in Economy and Society in the paragraph on Prophet versus Priest; and of course, when he looks as Politics as Vocation and Science as Vocation.
And this is surely something we – as students and teachers (i.e. eternal students) – have to emphasises: it is the love to truth. Something that means also the readiness to engage, eve if it possibly painful at times.
I was thinking about this the other day, when reading an article, dealing with Trump’s “real moves” now.
No, nobody can claim “But I did not know.” And we all have it remember

First they came for the Jews
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for the Communists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for me
and there was no one left
to speak out for me.

Last Sunday I spoke to a friend, also saying: yes, he is dangerous – but sometimes I think the many distractions we saw for instance as determining the recent Davos-Agenda are more dangerous, hiding the agenda  behind …, yes, exactly, behind words of love …..
And yes, harshness of Trump makes if too often forgetting what is behind some of those declarations, makes us forget that others standing the second row, calling for a new leadership. And it makes us equally easily forgetting or overlooking that it is still relevant to speak about
and how they work today, in the supposed of the open community, with the five rules of providing encyclopedic knowledge, written from a neutral point of view, (re)presenting free content – free to us, edit and distribute – offered by people who treat each other with respect and civility, without firm rules, and available where we find all the Wisdom of the Wide World — may be that, while I wrote on “New Princedoms“, I should have asked as well if these New Princedoms are also about repulsing women’s status on a new level.
Power and love is not only a topic for feminism (just some ideas are outlined here;  but .., yes, also for where we, the old and the young want to go together.
Anyway, all the best for the new year …, the year of rooster …, we have to give the bird some wings …!! And talk also about power again … – and the contradictions of hegemonic systems, systems where we can apparently only succeed by using those instruments against which we fight …

New Year – Nuovo Anno

(scroll for English version below)

Ogni mattino, quando mi risveglio ancora sotto la cappa del cielo, sento che per me è capodanno. 

Perciò odio questi capodanni a scadenza fissa che fanno della vita e dello spirito umano un’azienda commerciale col suo bravo consuntivo, e il suo bilancio e il preventivo per la nuova gestione. Essi fanno perdere il senso della continuità della vita e dello spirito. Si finisce per credere sul serio che tra anno e anno ci sia una soluzione di continuità e che incominci una novella istoria, e si fanno propositi e ci si pente degli spropositi, ecc. ecc. È un torto in genere delle date.

Dicono che la cronologia è l’ossatura della storia; e si può ammettere. Ma bisogna anche ammettere che ci sono quattro o cinque date fondamentali, che ogni persona per bene conserva conficcate nel cervello, che hanno giocato dei brutti tiri alla storia. Sono anch’essi capodanni. Il capodanno della storia romana, o del Medioevo, o dell’età moderna.

E sono diventati così invadenti e così fossilizzanti che ci sorprendiamo noi stessi a pensare talvolta che la vita in Italia sia incominciata nel 752, e che il 1490 0 il 1492 siano come montagne che l’umanità ha valicato di colpo ritrovandosi in un nuovo mondo, entrando in una nuova vita. Così la data diventa un ingombro, un parapetto che impedisce di vedere che la storia continua a svolgersi con la stessa linea fondamentale immutata, senza bruschi arresti, come quando al cinematografo si strappa il film e si ha un intervallo di luce abbarbagliante.

Perciò odio il capodanno. Voglio che ogni mattino sia per me un capodanno. Ogni giorno voglio fare i conti con me stesso, e rinnovarmi ogni giorno. Nessun giorno preventivato per il riposo. Le soste me le scelgo da me, quando mi sento ubriaco di vita intensa e voglio fare un tuffo nell’animalità per ritrarne nuovo vigore.

Nessun travettismo spirituale. Ogni ora della mia vita vorrei fosse nuova, pur riallacciandosi a quelle trascorse. Nessun giorno di tripudio a rime obbligate collettive, da spartire con tutti gli estranei che non mi interessano. Perché hanno tripudiato i nonni dei nostri nonni ecc., dovremmo anche noi sentire il bisogno del tripudio. Tutto ciò stomaca.

Aspetto il socialismo anche per questa ragione. Perché scaraventerà nell’immondezzaio tutte queste date che ormai non hanno più nessuna risonanza nel nostro spirito e, se ne creerà delle altre, saranno almeno le nostre, e non quelle che dobbiamo accettare senza beneficio d’inventario dai nostri sciocchissimi antenati.

Antonio Gramsci, 1 gennaio 1916, Avanti!, edizione torinese, rubrica Sotto la Mole

(taken from here)

Every morning, when I wake again under the pall of the sky, I feel that for me it is New Year’s day.

That’s why I hate these New Year’s that fall like fixed maturities, which turn life and human spirit into a commercial concern with its neat final balance, its outstanding amounts, its budget for the new management. They make us lose the continuity of life and spirit. You end up seriously thinking that between one year and the next there is a break, that a new history is beginning; you make resolutions, and you regret your irresolution, and so on, and so forth. This is generally what’s wrong with dates.

They say that chronology is the backbone of history. Fine. But we also need to accept that there are four or five fundamental dates that every good person keeps lodged in their brain, which have played bad tricks on history. They too are New Years’. The New Year’s of Roman history, or of the Middle Ages, or of the modern age.

And they have become so invasive and fossilising that we sometimes catch ourselves thinking that life in Italy began in 752, and that 1490 or 1492 are like mountains that humanity vaulted over, suddenly finding itself in a new world, coming into a new life. So the date becomes an obstacle, a parapet that stops us from seeing that history continues to unfold along the same fundamental unchanging line, without abrupt stops, like when at the cinema the film rips and there is an interval of dazzling light.

That’s why I hate New Year’s. I want every morning to be a new year’s for me. Every day I want to reckon with myself, and every day I want to renew myself. No day set aside for rest. I choose my pauses myself, when I feel drunk with the intensity of life and I want to plunge into animality to draw from it new vigour.

No spiritual time-serving. I would like every hour of my life to be new, though connected to the ones that have passed. No day of celebration with its mandatory collective rhythms, to share with all the strangers I don’t care about. Because our grandfathers’ grandfathers, and so on, celebrated, we too should feel the urge to celebrate. That is nauseating.

I await socialism for this reason too. Because it will hurl into the trash all of these dates which have no resonance in our spirit and, if it creates others, they will at least be our own, and not the ones we have to accept without reservations from our silly ancestors.

Antonio Gramsci, 1 January 1916, Avanti!, Turin Edition

Translated by Alberto Toscano

(Republished here)