Permanenze dell’antichità. Il Vesuvio ci esplode addosso? “E c’amma a fa. Se è destino …”

ll Vesuvio visto da Pompei, distrutta nell’eruzione del 79 d.C
ll Vesuvio visto da Pompei, distrutta nell’eruzione del 79 d.C. Foto di Morn the Gorn – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0. https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7919520

Scrivevo nel post (H)omo de Roma: “Ammettiamolo. In aree centrali e soprattutto meridionali del nostro paese persistono abitudini, mentalità […] i cui svantaggi nei confronti della modernità sono evidenti. Sono solo svantaggi?”.

Vogliamo avere un esempio lampante della permanenza dell’antico, e solo nei suoi svantaggi? Eccolo: il modo di prepararsi alle eruzioni dei pur meravigliosi napoletani.

disastro annunciato

Il disastro è annunciato: i Campi Flegrei con la loro grande caldera (un vulcano, in sostanza) si sollevano, l’eruzione del Vesuvio (un altro vulcano) potrebbe colpire da un momento all’altro, i vulcanologi di tutto il mondo nonché la protezione civile campana (cfr. Cities on Volcanoes 10 tenutosi il 2-7 settembre 2018 a Napoli) parlano della NECESSITA’ ASSOLUTA di costruire meglio e soprattutto fare tante esercitazioni in vista di un esodo (per i paesi vesuviani e flegrei) calcolabile in ben 700.000 persone (50% della popolazione!).

Vesuivio_Eruzione_26.04.1872
Eruzione del Vesuvio del 1872, con distruzione dei paesi di Massa e San Sebastiano al Vesuvio. Giorgio Sommer – Scansione personale, Pubblico dominio. Wikimedia, click on picture for credits. https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=737284

 

Una domanda percorre il pianeta


Bene, cosa fanno i raffinati (e dei romani più intelligenti ) napoletani??

Visi e volti, nell’Italia e nel mondo, si scrutano preoccupati e s’interrogano:

   Che diavolo fanno i Napoletani???

Le risposte dei partenopei, spesso bisbigliate nei bar e pub romani, giungono in ordine sparso:

“E c'amma fa' ..." "E' esercitazioni portane male!" "A cche serve u pparlà? E' già tutto scritte! (1)”

E accarezzano il corno.

Nota 1. A parte il corno, che così rosso secondo molti studiosi è il membro eretto del dio Priapo (lo si accarezza per fortuna, forza, fecondità), “è già tutto scritto” lo si dice spesso. E in effetti a volte pensiamo:

“Se la mia amica non mi avesse telefonato non sarei andata/o in quel bar; non avrei conosciuto il ragazzo (o la ragazza) con cui poi mi sono sposata/o; non avrei generato figli e nipoti i quali a loro volta non genereranno ecc. Eppoi se la mia amica non mi chiamava magari era perché era indisposta: per condizioni atmosferiche sfavorevoli (o astrali, vai a capire) che avrebbero potuto farla ammalare e impedirgli di fare appunto la “fatidica” telefonata di invito”.

Fatidico deriva dal latino fatum (da fari=dire). Il Fato infatti è “ciò che è detto e che non può essere mutato”, il più delle volte nemmeno dagli dei.

Ecco le radici culturali nostre (vedi sotto nota 2), le “permanenze dell’antichità” nei nostri cervelli! Ecco il senso di quel “è già tutto scritto”.

Vediamo meglio.

Romani e Greci essendo collegati, le Moire erano le dee greche del destino o fato, che i Romani chiamavano ParcaeFata, appunto. Le parche greche per Esiodo erano 3 (per Omero una) tra cui Κλωθώ o Cloto (=la filatrice). Essa è particolarmente significativa per il nostro discorso in quanto gestiva i fili, cioè l’intrecciarsi delle cause che collegano tutto, i mille fili dunque con cui si crea la trama che ci condiziona e si connette (ed è connessa) all’intero universo.

Il neoplatonico Plutarco (o pseudo, non mi interessa qui) nel suo breve testo sul Fato, è chiaro, e super poetico.

ψ

Riporto invece Marco Aurelio, imperatore romano e filosofo stoico (neoplatonici e stoici avevano una visione simile del fato; Epicuro no: non c’è destino né fine nell’universo, che è aggregato pazzesco di atomi) che in greco scrisse delle meravigliose meditazioni (bestseller oggi!) – testo greco: Τὰεἰς ἑαυτόν; testo italiano:

III, 6. “Il destino dato a ognuno è trascinato nel movimento globale e a sua volta trascina”. IV, 4. “Qualcosa ti è accaduto? Bene: tutto ciò che ti accade fin dall’inizio era stato ordito, in tutto l’universo, per esserti dato e allacciato alla tua vita”. IV, 34. “Abbandonati spontaneamente a Cloto, lasciando che ti tessa con qualsiasi evento voglia”.

Più chiaro di così.

ψ

Giorgio: “E le altre due Moire o Parche?”

MoR:Lachesi, che decide la sorte di ognuno. E Atropo, terribile, che taglia il filo della nostra vita quando le pare e piace”.

Giorgio: “E siamo spacciati”.

MoR: “Così pare”.

ψ

Nota 2. Il fato germanico. Per l’Europa, quanto al Destino, esiste non solo il retaggio greco-romano ma anche quello germanico: secondo la mitologia norrena (scandinava, vichinga) esistono le Norne, fanciulle che tessono i fili del destino ai piedi del grande frassino (tasso? quercia?) detto Yggdrasill.

Beh, avendo due generi, uno sannita e uno anglo-vichingo (Isola di Man) devo tener conto di entrambi, no? 😉

Do We Have Balls To Live Withouth Religion? INVICTUS

Inner Bravery and Endurance

The film INVICTUS should be watched by the young and the less young.

It is an inspiring message on the inner bravery we can find in ourselves in order to endure any deep sorrow or big problem life can hurl at us.

Directed by Clint Eastwood, INVICTUS is based on John Carlin‘s book ‘Playing the Enemy: Nelson Mandela and the Game That Changed a Nation. Invictus‘.

The film is a tribute to Nelson Mandela and to the South African people – blacks and whites alike – and it reveals the complex fragments of the souls of 3 men.

The Victorians, Mandela, the Afrikaans

Nelson Mandela in 2008
N. Mandela in 2008. Click for credits and to enlarge

1) A Victorian poet – William Ernest Henley (1849–1903) we never see in the film – who bravely faced life deprived of his left leg since the age of 12 and who wrote INVICTUS (see below,) an inspired poem on endurance.

2) Nelson Mandela, the anti-apartheid leader who spent 27 years imprisoned in a quasi cubicle and who was resilient enough to survive and fight also because inspired by the poem INVICTUS.

3) The South African (Afrikaan) captain of the Springboks‘ – the country’s rugby union team – who, inspired by Mandela in his turn and by that same poem, brings the Springboks to victory, in the 1995 Rugby World Cup hosted by South Africa, by defeating the All Blacks 15-12 in the final.

An event that possibly helped the South African black and white people to better understand each other along the hard path towards a society where racial hate and mistrust may be progressively banned.

Morgan Freeman‘s (starring Mandela, and Mandela’s friend btw); Clint Eastwood; the solid plot-script – these in my opinion the elements that make the film compelling.

I forgot someone. Nelson Mandela.

Invictus

William Ernest Henley (1849 – 1903). R. L. Stevenson’s ‘Long John Silver’ character was inspired by his real-life friend Henley, ‘a glowing, massive-shouldered fellow’

OUT of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade
,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid
.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

William Ernest Henley, 1875

Note on Man & Religion

So beautiful, inspiring.

Henley’s position on religion seems pre-Christian to me and close to epicureanism and stoicismSir Bertrand Russell had declared:

“My own view on religion is that of Lucretius. I regard it as a disease born of fear and as a source of untold misery to the human race.” [read more ]

Henley’s position is also that of the Renaissance and of humanism, when Western man – a truly reborn dantesque Ulysses – found the guts to build his own destiny again (and regrettably to conquer the rest of the planet destroying other cultures etc.)

“Man can find all the force he needs within his own human soul and reason, within his character and will,” said many Greek and Roman wise men plus several humanists, no god really helping, no religion really helping.

[The italic text in INVICTUS is mine. It is where I believe the poet mostly expresses the said classic attitude.]

Ψ

Now, what do readers think about all this? Can we live without religion, without a help from ‘someone’ up there?

Can we too – the simple men in the street – be the ‘captains of our soul’? Or is it only possible to the master, to the ‘real tough’?

So in the end:

Is religion basically a question of lack of balls? Or is there more than that?

ψ

Related posts:

Religion, Fear, Power
Force & Anger. Ghosts in the Mind (on Magister’s teachings on bravery and inner force)
On Solitude (where the totally self-sufficient Greco-Roman sage is analysed, a quasi-superman, like many Victorians were also)

A final note.

(I know, I’ll lose ALL my readers …)

INVICTUS attitude is classical. It reminds the Greco-Roman sage who has “like unsinkable goods in his soul that can float out of any shipwreck.”

Stilpon (Στίλπων) who according to Seneca lost his family and all his goods, when asked if he had suffered any harm, replied: “No, I haven’t.”

Compare now this classical attitude with a passage from the Old Testament (Psalm 91,9.) [the New Testament is identical in this].

You’ll measure the total overturning of many classical values Christianity carried out.

ψ

Here in fact man totally entrusts himself to God’s divine pro-vidence:

Because thou hast made the LORD,
which is my refuge, even the most High,
thy habitation;
There shall no evil befall thee,
neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.

For he shall give his angels charge over thee,
to keep thee in all thy ways.

They shall bear thee up in their hands,
lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.
Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder:
the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet.

Because he hath set his love upon me,
therefore will I deliver him:

I will set him on high,
because he hath known my name.

He shall call upon me, and I will answer him:
[exactly what Christ says in the New Testament, MoR]

I will be with him in trouble;
I will deliver him,
and honour him.
With long life will I satisfy him,
and shew him my salvation.

The Trumpet Sound, à la Française

An Insightful Blog From the Renaissance

Michel de Montaigne writes in his Essays, a real thoughtful blog from Renaissance (one could say):

“I can see that these writings of mine are no more than the ravings of a man who has never done more than taste the outer crust of knowledge (…) and who has retained only an ill-formed generic notion of it: a little about everything and nothing about anything, in the French style.”

He then provides us with some information on his background:

“(…) I do also know how the sciences in general claim to serve us in our lives. But what I have definitely not done is to delve deeply into them (…) I have fashioned no sustained intercourse with any solid book except Plutarch and Seneca (…). My game-bag is made of history, rather, or poetry, which I love, being particularly inclined towards it;”

And here follows a vivid depiction of poetry effectiveness:

“For (as Cleanthes said) just as the voice of the trumpet rings out clearer and stronger for being forced through a narrow tube so too a saying leaps forth much more vigorously when compressed into the rhythms of poetry, striking me then with a livelier shock.”

(I am using the Penguin Classics edition, 2003, I:26, with its outstanding translation by M. A. Screech)

Good old Montaigne, writing openly and honestly about everything regarding life and man, from small trivia and anecdotes to truly deep meditations. His words are simple yet profound and personal. I love to browse randomly into his pages where one can read thousands of insightful passages, like the ones above that hit me yesterday.

Dear old Montaigne, a true magister for meditation (and consolation). A man of the street of the French Renaissance (well, I am exaggerating, he was cultured, well-off and retired to his castle lol). A French country intellectual in some way (he was not a Paris man) and his essays so damn close to a Renaissance blog which was continuously rewritten and constantly in progress. He in fact always gets back to his writings: why a blog, from the Renaissance or from today, should be thrown down instinctively? (I know many readers will not agree; I also am wavering between these two approaches).

He makes use 1) of French as the general medium and neutral language (French is sometimes a bit neutral, I’ll admit), 2) of the Guascon dialect for the most colourful passages, and finally 3) of Latin (mainly quotes) for the most noble themes.

Of course what also attracts us is his good choice of the ancient, classical Western philosophers, he being in fact such a gold mine of information about the Stoic, Skeptic and Epicurean thoughts, the ones we have some preference for (among the rest).

But he is not only that. Since he is a little about everything and nothing about anything: à la française.