“This flowerbed that makes us so fierce” (Dante)


Journeys to the moon, space stations, or cosmic bombardments, these are the exceptional events that remind us we are but guests, along with billions of other living, on this planet Earth. We spin around the Earth’s axis as it spins around the sun, which spins around the heart of a galaxy that follows its own path through a universe (or multiverse!), yet we feel as if were living on a flat, horizontal surface.

We live like lords on a flat plate covered with a thousand surprises for the shrewd and the intelligent, to the detriment of the less able.

Mountains, oceans, lakes, trees and plants, flowers and fruit of every species, animals of every kind, marvels in the canyons of the land and the abysses of the seas; even the gold, corals and the ivory tusks of elephants, the water that springs from the ground and the oil that gladdens the fields and enriches the cunning.

See the skies and our sun, created just for us, with its golden sunrises; and the moon and stars, born to illuminate our nights.

And yet, behind the dazzle of those lights and lives can be found suffering and death. Many living beings feed off others and fight for their very lives in world of cruelty and sickness, while in other cases there is an equilibrium, a symbiosis. We are all involved in this cycle: we rent our bodies (controlled by billions of bacteria, viruses, etc.) that we must manage and maintain and then abandon when it is old and worn out. Mysterious forces and unknown rays pass through us and influence our existence. Yet humanity is overbearing, a usurper, an exploiter of everything he seeks and finds in nature, from all the other living creatures, flora and fauna alike. Many national and international laws regulate our human communities: there are dictatorships, democracies, constitutions, elections, politics, social battles, war and peace and diplomacy in “this flowerbed that makes us so fierce” (as Dante wrote in the 13th Century). But all too often we forget the laws of the universe, of the cosmos, of sciences like mathematics, physics and chemistry that are the very foundation of the universe, and which define the forms, the relationships, and the connections between atoms, molecules, bacteria and all the diversity that contributes to the whole, and to the identity of all existence.

Opening up the confines of our own ethics to universal ethics, and human empathy to the empathy of, and for, the cosmos itself, perhaps we can change our personality, or habits, our goals, our economy, our culture. We are in a moment of confusion, of a global puzzle even for those who have it good, and of greater tragedy for those who do not.

Today’s poor management of our world, of our resources, capitals and consumptions make us all feel like slaves to an incomprehensible master (or worse: to a plutocratic machine). But we are thinking slaves and thus free and unpredictable.

We resist peacefully as we search for a way to wake up. But how? 

Laura Girardello


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