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.***


john heasley said...

What amazes me is that these protests are happening, these political changes are happening and this is the first I have heard of it, I thought I was a news junkie and aware of most things, obviously wrong again, I must get a more world news balance from somewhere, well done for protesting.

The Wee Italian Chick said...

Thanks John! I am so pleased you even bothered to read it. That's the issue: it is not that you don't try to get information, but the problem is that the mass media cannot be trusted any longer!! They write what they want, how they want to and, most of the time, they are not exactly biased either. Tomorrow it is estimated that over 200.000 of us will be protesting in Rome..check us out!!!

Tanya Heasley said...

I rely on John to tell me the news both nationally and internationally because I'm quite ignorant, but it seems the British media is also ignorant as we would never have found out about what you guys are doing in Roma today if it weren't for blogging.

I'm not actually ignorant to the news of the world, I'm more cautious of their backdoor manipulation. It's not actually news, it's second hand interpretation of first hand information. I like to make up my own mind about things, but due to geography I'm unable to truly experiance what really is going on out there in the world and so I have to rely on the corrupt media to inform me, if and when they can be bothered.

I try to stay openminded about everything, although the danger in that is I'll end up sitting on the fence, not having an opinion or taking sides. And it's the opinions that you guys have that are causing you to take sides and act. Hope it goes well!!!

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