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TONALESTATE 2012: One Way, engaged lives

27 Luglio 2012 Nessun Commento

This year in the Italian Alps at the heart of the “Passo del Tonale”, arrives the experience from the “Company”, a short vacation involving people from various parts of the world in which the most surprising thing is the human encounter between students, university students, young professionals, families, volunteers, leaders of associations, local people and anyone who wants to participate.

A value of such a “Company” that meets in the mountains during this summer vacation is to put you in the midst of a cultural, ideological and operational context. The days of Tonalestate (the name comes from the fusion between the place and the season where this event takes place) are dedicated to the encounter with personalities deeply compromised with their social, cultural, religious and political context. It is an operative workshop where you can ask questions and seek answers to additional questions that might open up, in a way in which they are neither manipulated by the dominant mentality nor aiming for definitely and simplistic answers and without pretending to close a speech.

This year, in Tonalestate the theme that will be discuss is: One Way, engaged lives.

In order to illustrate the theme, let’s just start by the title and the subtitle.

“One Way” (“only way” and also “one way”) refers to a history that has marked the lives of many people. It is the name of a movement that originated in Italy in the sixties, then spread in Europe, Asia and Latin America. The essential value is to contribute in building a more just and peaceful world. This could be possible, especially by moving without clichés, uniformity or imitations which prevent us to give a real value to every person, every group, and every genuine effort aimed to the service of men and their journey on earth.

“Engaged Lives” it is very provocative subtitle, if we think of our time, where everyone is constantly led to think only of themselves. There are many ways in which one can dedicate his life: a wife who takes care of her sick husband for years, one who decides to leave home, mother and father, children and spouse, to take upon himself and share the injustice, poverty and the misery of those it encounters, one who is devoted to work or to the daily study with patience, precision and without anxiety of profit, and one who is willing to put at risk its own security for the truth and justice.

Tonalestate wants to get into the concrete of this dedication. To “Who and what, did you dedicated and do you dedicate your own life?”. This will be the simple and inevitable question, which it will be given to personalities who wish to participate in this year Tonalestate.

Plato places the statement accompanying the poster of Tonalestate, into the mouth of his teacher in the Socrates Apology, and it is proposed in the fine translation by Manara Valgimigli: “A life that does not face “cotali” (similar) research is not worthy of being lived. “If one wills, the word “cotali” limits the concept of “research”:It is not  in fact, a search of whatever, but a search on to “whom, to what and why” we dedicate our own life.

Socrates, a man of questions (unlike his pupil Plato, who was a man of answers) was defined by Pythia as “the wisest man in the world”, an oracle that Socrates did not accept with closed eyes. Socrates discovered that the oracle was right after many conversations with politicians, poets and artists. He lived, then, loving wisdom (because he knew he knew nothing) and examining himself and others to get to the truth and to this he dedicated his life. A life that was full, free from any manipulation that made him so capable of loving and at the same time a dangerous citizen to the eyes of the powerful people of his time.

As we know the same thing happens today, if it is not the physical death decreed to the wise ones, we have no hesitation in decreeing death to the living ones, by the indifference with which it is treated, the slander with which it is silenced, the subtle but serious misunderstanding in which is trapped; often left in misery, often destitute, injured and abandoned.

And apart from this man, Socrates, who is the basis of Western culture, a wise man so little imitated by today’s intellectuals, Tonalestate presents another figure, that of Don Quixote, a character created by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, a ‘fundamental piece of work for the European culture, El ingenioso Hidalgo Don Quijote de la Mancha, an extraordinary work of art, now sadly out of fashion, and so contrary to that idea of personal self-improvement so inculcated in everything that goes from TV, books, magazines and newspapers.

A Don Quijote (here represented in a tiny drawing by Honoré Daumier, dated around 1850, and now exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum in New York) that will be increasingly overwhelmed by his tragically innocent ability to see reality with eyes too different from those of all the others. Who will dare to despise him? Only a certain earthiness to which we have become accustomed by this century, it can make seem unnecessary the anxiety, the unsolvable uncertainty, the madness of the mad knight. A mad knight which indicates the basic problem of existence; one who makes the decision to start walking and to become Don Quijote de la Mancha by accepting disappointment, failure, ridicule and deception, while at the same time dignifying everything that surrounds him. It is a striking design, these two men – a hidalgo and a servant – alone and together, they walk on the open road. We see that Daumier represents Don Quixote as a graceful and elegant arrow directed to heaven and of Sancho Panza emphasizes the art of following a noble knight, and as the gospel says: one who does not have on earth, where to rest his head.  The design transmits the idea of a path that already places you in eternity.  The design conveys the strong idea of an infinite, open space, without sights, mountains, stars, flowers, sea, houses, individuals or other things.

Is it possibly a place on earth like this?

Therefore, in the companionship of Socrates, and of Don Quixote and his faithful squire Sancho Panza, the Tonalestate will dialogue (in the midst of the “Company’s summer vacation) with its counterparts with the only restraint of expressing their own beliefs  in which they truly conduct their life’s, without deceive nor deceiving. It will be with the innocent eye of one who knows that you become worthy of happiness by ennobling, challenging and forgiving the people around you.

We can do it with the courage of knowing to never resign ourselves to an already made up life. We can do it with the hope of knowing, that it’s possible on earth to be sincerely close to one another in order to get nearer to the authentic truth.

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