Friday, October 31

Freedom to Learn

Epictetus once wrote in his "Discourses" that 'we must not believe the many, who say that only free people ought to be educated, but we should rather believe the philosophers who say that only the educated are free'. The best of my academic background up to two years ago has formally majored in the field of the humanities. To be perfectly honest, I find much greater pleasure in discovering about the human body and science than reading volumes of literature and philosophy. However, I have always been brought up to respect and revere the knowledge of those who came before me, the valuable lessons that history can teach us and to the wisdom of the ancients. Around about 400 B.C., the historian Tucidides first wrote about the lessons that are to be learnt from history which, as later on Giambattista Vico reinforced, repeats itself. I have always believed that notion to be true.. unlike most Italian politicians! I find myself rather disgusted by the state of our parliament which seems to represent us Italians less and less. We have come a long way since the 1970's..the days when Italians begun to make their voices heard protesting and fighting through the weapons of free speech their dissent on civil rights, education, equality. By the 1980's my parents' generation had obtained for us everything we would have ever needed and more: a stable, prospering economy, highly bureaucratic yet perfectly efficient free public health,educational and legal systems..and the luring presence of private broadcasting. Under the false illusion of colour TV, increasingly shorter skirts and mind-numbing programs..Silvio Berlusconi begun his crusade for personal gain though corruption, delusion, politics and privatization. I am not here to make of him the "Antichrist" but imagine living in a country governed by, as an American television put it, "one man combines the political powers of President Bush, the media influence of Rupert Murdoch and the wealth and ambition of Ross Perot and Steve Forbes" (If you have about 30 minutes to spare and the necessary empathy to find out more about the devastation that is taking place in my beloved homeland, please to follow the link above and spread the word around!!!!) A new law was just approved yesterday on Italian education (from primary to University and Research) which risks to dangerously undermine our educational system by making university into elite privatized factories for the wealthy, making our country poorer and poorer and less knowledgeable which in my opinion implies making it easier for unscrupulous leaders to subdue the masses. Let us keep our freedom to learn.

***The pictures in this post were taken by me this week at the protests where thousands of intellectuals, students, teachers, professors, researchers and common people alike have been demonstrating apolitically against the newly approved 133 law. We are currently awaiting the possibility of an abrogative referendum.***

Wednesday, October 8

The Bionic Woman

On the way back from a delightful evening at the cinema with friends, we laughed away and discussed about life, how it's changed us, what we have become. So it seemed that us 20 something girls have gone from dreamy-eyed, romantics to seemingly cold-hearted, pragmatics..some sort of bionic women!

I have grown cynical.

All this makes me wonder whether I was always this way, or something along the way changed me into being like this.
Was I always as independent and non-conformist, was I conditioned somewhere down the line into becoming a little princess, dreaming of wearing a white meringue dress, giggling at banal cheesy chick flick movie lines and expecting that same cinematographic behaviour in my own relationships? I remember a phase of my life where I would be watching pop girls’ films, long for a tall, blue eyed "Prince Charming", becoming a Betty Crocker style mother, a perfect wife, an exquisite chef and hostess, condescending with wistful eyes to my lover’s desires.. not too far behind down memory lane, however, there is me skinny brown eyed self-confident tomboy, who loves climbing up trees and demands to be taught how to read and write aged 4… who enjoys solitude, nature, beauty and adventure…who wants to graduate as her top ambition…who is not afraid of competition nor spiders or sleeping in the dark alone… who is unafraid of thinking and acting outside of a box, but is fearful of becoming a stereotype, of being stuck in a box.
I think the wild little girl with grass stains on her knees, uncombed hair and lively eyes is back and she is happy and feels so free to be herself again…too bad that now some people would like her back onto being a little princess. Now the question is: would men of our time be able to deal with all this? I wish I could be the kind of girl who loves conventionally, who, when you give her a flower, doesn't laugh in your face and actually appreciates that you took her out on a romantic dinner, who could love a traditionalist man as well as he deserves to be loved… Am I unable to commit? Am I just scared of taking the plunge again? Or is this just the way things are meant to be for now? God, am I a cynic?