Surpluses and misalignments

stdClass Object
(
    [id] => 16219
    [title] => The Joy of the End is Prolific
    [alias] => the-joy-of-the-end-is-prolific
    [introtext] => 

Surpluses and misalignments/10 - By moving your arms not to fall you can learn to fly

by Luigino Bruni

published in Avvenire on 04/11/2018

“...the richer our scheme of values, the harder it will prove to effect a harmony within it. (...) The price of harmonization seems to be impoverishment, the price of richness disharmony.”

Martha Nussbaum, The Fragility of Goodness

Understanding that the only heritage we really have is the present is an absolute kind of experience of human existence. That’s when we suddenly realise that the past is gone and the future is entrusted to a fragile promise because it is all a gift. But in what could and should be the hour of despair, we are reached by a brand new joy that we have never experienced in all the paradises of the past. It comes from the awareness that once we really and finally return to be poor we are breaking down the last idol: our "I".
We understand that over the years it has become huge, because it fed on the rubble of all the idols we have met and destroyed along the way. After every idolatrous battle it became bigger and stronger, our victories increased its certainty and satisfaction for having conquered and defended the true faith. Until, all of a sudden, we realize that to free ourselves from this last new and great idol, we no longer have to fight but only pronounce a docile "amen". This different joy is perhaps something similar to the gladness that will surprise us when - on another day - a loyal friend tells us: "It is over"; and there we will say our amen, and we will feel that only one story, a wonderful story, is over, but that the story, ours, is not over, because a living remnant will be saved.

[fulltext] =>

Ageing is a delicate and crucial process to manage even in communities and organisations, which is particularly evident in this historical phase of great changes. It has one crucial peculiarity, though: collective realities are not destined to the inexorable decline and death that are characteristic of human life, because they can continue to live beyond the lives of the people who make them up. It is in fact part of the moral task of those who live and govern a community or an organization to do everything possible to ensure that the life of their institutions is longer than their own, to prevent that the two "deaths" should coincide. People who by vocation find themselves in a community manage to defeat death by making their community continue to live beyond their individual death - there are many forms of true resurrection, and they are very unlikely and unexpected. This original form of "immortality" is one of the legacies promised to those who set out on a journey following a voice.

Some important challenges are concentrated around these deaths and resurrections. Think, for example, of the relationship between the elderly and the young. An ageing community has a vital need for young and middle-aged people who could regenerate it with their vital energy and providential innocence, because the joy and promise of the future of young people can cure the natural sadness and nostalgia for the past of the elderly. From this perspective, ideal-driven and spiritual communities truly resemble natural families, where the presence and proximity of grandchildren makes the ageing of grandparents joyful and meaningful - one of the great shortcomings of our Western civilization is having taken away the joy of the daily presence of grandchildren (and children) from the lives of the elderly, a great indigence of which we have not yet become fully aware.

Historical reality, on the other hand, shows us a polarisation: young organisations are full of young people and older ones are full of the elderly. Attracting young people and authentic vocations is still possible even in older communities, but it is necessary for young people to see that the elderly are interested in the future and therefore anti-nostalgic. To see them immersed in the present, preparing for tomorrow, to see them work to the end, opening the door of the school with the same passion with which they open the door of the tabernacle in church, planting at least one new tree that will provide nourishment and shade for the future. The high average age of the members is not the only thing (or the main thing, I believe) that drives young people away from many communities today, but rather the absence of hope that the present and the future may still be beautiful, perhaps even more beautiful. And when old people stop generating a future, even the few remaining young grow old inside; they live their youth years as a non-free sacrifice, and everyone's skies are darkened.

"Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy" and the "your young men shall see visions" if "your old men shall dream dreams" (Joel 2:28). There is a connection between the dreams of the elderly and the prophecies of their children, because young people can prophesy in an environment enlivened by the hopeful dreams of adults and the elderly. This is true both for civil and economic life (the lack of great future-generating dreams of adults and the elderly is the first obstacle that young people encounter), and it is even more true for communities and organizations gathered around collective ideals. A dying community can rise again if at least one younger person begins to prophesy in a space inhabited by the life dreams of the elderly.

That’s where the other great theme of the patrimony and works of the communities of the great past and great heritage (schools, hospitals, land, houses...) hides, too, which is particularly urgent and delicate today, both for the religious and lay charismas.

The founders create works because this institutional generativity is often an essential component of the charisma. In generating them, they align them with the charismatic dimensions that the power of the light of the foundation phase allows them to glimpse. Every foundation of a new charismatic community is an anticipated eschaton, where prudence (which is also a virtue of the founders) is overwhelmed by the urgency of achieving in life and on earth what they see in heaven. Its works are built in the already but looking to the not yet. When the founding phase is over, those who continue the race find themselves with houses and institutions that are by their nature unsustainable, and the weight of their management often prevents them from making other "houses", from repeating and continuing the same - or even greater - miracles as the founders.

If the founders had made works in relation with the present reality, they would have been too small. These kinds of works are never "right": if they are not too great today, yesterday they would have been too little. But while the works of the foundation phase that are too great make the concrete and economic life of those who come after difficult, the ones that are too small cannot complicate the life of anyone because they simply end with those who build them, they do not become inheritance for those who come after.

We can close or sell the works that are too big, including the houses that have the signs and the smell of the miracles of the early days within their walls, and thus prepare ourselves for our death, for that of the works and the entire work. But there are also chances of life. One is that of the child who comes to us from the young womb of Hagar and takes the place of our - now withered - womb, (Genesis 16:4). Today Hagar is called alliance: pacts between ancient communities and younger communities, which can give meaning to structures that are about to die, bringing children and, with them, joy and the future back home. And then, perhaps, on another day, while we are getting older and older and less and less, repeating the same old words for years, if we continue to keep our tent open to passing guests, the announcement of a son of our withered flesh may surprise us by the new oaks of Mamre (Genesis 18:1). But before Isaac there is Ishmael, the son given to us by Hagar, a young foreigner who arrived inside our house. Perhaps today many aged communities do not see Isaac arriving because they have not previously generated Ishmael, or because they have not sensed him as a son of the same promise.

Surpluses and misalignments are the ordinary and constant condition of charismatic communities and of many ideal-driven organizations (IDO-s). Like all complex realities, these too constantly live on the verge of their possibilities. The people whom they welcome and who in turn enrich them are constantly evolving. They fall asleep having reached a certain balance in the contradictions, joys and sorrows of that day, and when they wake up they have to start looking for another one again. As young people they want paradise, as adults they find themselves in many purgatories and in some hell, too, until as old people they realize that they have never left that first paradise - but to understand it they needed a lifetime, and a little more. But also communities and organizations continually create and undo their balances, and when they don't, they start to die. The life of those who follow a voice is a game that takes place between people who produce surplus and are misaligned and who live and change within collective realities that are also changing and that displace them every day. The ability to live in unbalance is therefore the first art that people and organizations must learn. They should learn to walk on the wire, like the equilibrist who does not fall as long as he continues to move. It is an uncomfortable condition, but the only vital one because it is capable of generating real novelties. Then, once we get to the other end of the wire, another crossing over another abyss awaits us; until the end, when we discover that by the force of moving our arms not to fall we have actually learned to fly.

When in the night something or someone wakes us up, some do not open their eyes and try to fall asleep again reconnecting with the dream they were having, and so they can resume their sleep and dreams. But there are other people who, if interrupted in their sleep, open their eyes, turn on the light, read a novel, begin to pray, open the window and then watch the dawn. In this series of surpluses and misalignments we have sensed that when something or a cry of pain wakes us up in the middle of the first great dream of youth we don't have to keep our eyes closed to return to the first, interrupted dream. That waking up is the time for a new dawn, for another sun that awaits us beyond the closed shutter. It is the time for the new sounds and colours of the new day; it is the time for the different and no less great dreams of adult life.

That’s where our exploration of some surpluses and misalignments of communities and the people in them ends. And, also today, the last word is of thanks: to the readers, to Avvenire and its director Marco Tarquinio, who are the company and joy of this not easy and beautiful job. From next Sunday the biblical comments will resume, this time with Ezekiel, the great prophet of the times of the exiles, and therefore of our time.

download article in pdf

[checked_out] => 0 [checked_out_time] => 0000-00-00 00:00:00 [catid] => 862 [created] => 2018-11-04 07:49:00 [created_by] => 64 [created_by_alias] => Luigino Bruni [state] => 1 [modified] => 2020-08-23 20:24:03 [modified_by] => 609 [modified_by_name] => Super User [publish_up] => 2018-11-04 07:49:00 [publish_down] => 0000-00-00 00:00:00 [images] => {"image_intro":"","float_intro":"","image_intro_alt":"","image_intro_caption":"","image_fulltext":"","float_fulltext":"","image_fulltext_alt":"","image_fulltext_caption":""} [urls] => {"urla":false,"urlatext":"","targeta":"","urlb":false,"urlbtext":"","targetb":"","urlc":false,"urlctext":"","targetc":""} [attribs] => {"article_layout":"","show_title":"","link_titles":"","show_tags":"","show_intro":"","info_block_position":"","info_block_show_title":"","show_category":"","link_category":"","show_parent_category":"","link_parent_category":"","show_associations":"","show_author":"","link_author":"","show_create_date":"","show_modify_date":"","show_publish_date":"","show_item_navigation":"","show_icons":"","show_print_icon":"","show_email_icon":"","show_vote":"","show_hits":"","show_noauth":"","urls_position":"","alternative_readmore":"","article_page_title":"","show_publishing_options":"","show_article_options":"","show_urls_images_backend":"","show_urls_images_frontend":"","helix_ultimate_image":"images\/2019\/03\/06\/Eccedenze e disallineamenti_10.jpg","helix_ultimate_image_alt_txt":"","helix_ultimate_article_format":"standard","gallery":"","helix_ultimate_audio":"","helix_ultimate_video":"","link_title":"","link_url":"","quote_text":"","quote_author":"","post_status":""} [metadata] => {"robots":"","author":"","rights":"","xreference":""} [metakey] => [metadesc] => The relationship between ageing and youth is a decisive challenge for many communities and organisations. But even for old people it is possible to rise again and continue the story. [access] => 1 [hits] => 781 [xreference] => [featured] => 0 [language] => en-GB [on_img_default] => [readmore] => 9861 [ordering] => 1 [category_title] => EN - Surpluses and misalignments [category_route] => organizzazioni-e-ideali/it-eccedenze-e-disallineamenti [category_access] => 1 [category_alias] => en-surpluses-and-misalignments [published] => 1 [parents_published] => 1 [lft] => 146 [author] => Luigino Bruni [author_email] => ferrucci.anto@gmail.com [parent_title] => Organizzazioni e Ideali [parent_id] => 1028 [parent_route] => organizzazioni-e-ideali [parent_alias] => organizzazioni-e-ideali [rating] => 0 [rating_count] => 0 [alternative_readmore] => [layout] => [params] => Joomla\Registry\Registry Object ( [data:protected] => stdClass Object ( [article_layout] => _:default [show_title] => 1 [link_titles] => 1 [show_intro] => 1 [info_block_position] => 0 [info_block_show_title] => 1 [show_category] => 1 [link_category] => 1 [show_parent_category] => 1 [link_parent_category] => 1 [show_associations] => 0 [flags] => 1 [show_author] => 0 [link_author] => 0 [show_create_date] => 1 [show_modify_date] => 0 [show_publish_date] => 1 [show_item_navigation] => 1 [show_vote] => 0 [show_readmore] => 0 [show_readmore_title] => 0 [readmore_limit] => 100 [show_tags] => 1 [show_icons] => 1 [show_print_icon] => 1 [show_email_icon] => 1 [show_hits] => 0 [record_hits] => 1 [show_noauth] => 0 [urls_position] => 1 [captcha] => [show_publishing_options] => 1 [show_article_options] => 1 [save_history] => 1 [history_limit] => 10 [show_urls_images_frontend] => 0 [show_urls_images_backend] => 1 [targeta] => 0 [targetb] => 0 [targetc] => 0 [float_intro] => left [float_fulltext] => left [category_layout] => _:blog [show_category_heading_title_text] => 0 [show_category_title] => 0 [show_description] => 0 [show_description_image] => 0 [maxLevel] => 0 [show_empty_categories] => 0 [show_no_articles] => 1 [show_subcat_desc] => 0 [show_cat_num_articles] => 0 [show_cat_tags] => 1 [show_base_description] => 1 [maxLevelcat] => -1 [show_empty_categories_cat] => 0 [show_subcat_desc_cat] => 0 [show_cat_num_articles_cat] => 0 [num_leading_articles] => 0 [num_intro_articles] => 14 [num_columns] => 2 [num_links] => 0 [multi_column_order] => 1 [show_subcategory_content] => -1 [show_pagination_limit] => 1 [filter_field] => hide [show_headings] => 1 [list_show_date] => 0 [date_format] => [list_show_hits] => 1 [list_show_author] => 1 [list_show_votes] => 0 [list_show_ratings] => 0 [orderby_pri] => none [orderby_sec] => rdate [order_date] => published [show_pagination] => 2 [show_pagination_results] => 1 [show_featured] => show [show_feed_link] => 1 [feed_summary] => 0 [feed_show_readmore] => 0 [sef_advanced] => 1 [sef_ids] => 1 [custom_fields_enable] => 1 [show_page_heading] => 0 [layout_type] => blog [menu_text] => 1 [menu_show] => 1 [secure] => 0 [helixultimatemenulayout] => {"width":600,"menualign":"right","megamenu":0,"showtitle":1,"faicon":"","customclass":"","dropdown":"right","badge":"","badge_position":"","badge_bg_color":"","badge_text_color":"","layout":[]} [helixultimate_enable_page_title] => 1 [helixultimate_page_subtitle] => Organizations and Ideals [helixultimate_page_title_heading] => h2 [page_title] => Surpluses and misalignments [page_description] => [page_rights] => [robots] => [access-view] => 1 ) [initialized:protected] => 1 [separator] => . ) [displayDate] => 2018-11-04 07:49:00 [tags] => Joomla\CMS\Helper\TagsHelper Object ( [tagsChanged:protected] => [replaceTags:protected] => [typeAlias] => [itemTags] => Array ( ) ) [slug] => 16219:the-joy-of-the-end-is-prolific [parent_slug] => 1028:organizzazioni-e-ideali [catslug] => 862:en-surpluses-and-misalignments [event] => stdClass Object ( [afterDisplayTitle] => [beforeDisplayContent] => [afterDisplayContent] => ) [text] =>

Surpluses and misalignments/10 - By moving your arms not to fall you can learn to fly

by Luigino Bruni

published in Avvenire on 04/11/2018

“...the richer our scheme of values, the harder it will prove to effect a harmony within it. (...) The price of harmonization seems to be impoverishment, the price of richness disharmony.”

Martha Nussbaum, The Fragility of Goodness

Understanding that the only heritage we really have is the present is an absolute kind of experience of human existence. That’s when we suddenly realise that the past is gone and the future is entrusted to a fragile promise because it is all a gift. But in what could and should be the hour of despair, we are reached by a brand new joy that we have never experienced in all the paradises of the past. It comes from the awareness that once we really and finally return to be poor we are breaking down the last idol: our "I".
We understand that over the years it has become huge, because it fed on the rubble of all the idols we have met and destroyed along the way. After every idolatrous battle it became bigger and stronger, our victories increased its certainty and satisfaction for having conquered and defended the true faith. Until, all of a sudden, we realize that to free ourselves from this last new and great idol, we no longer have to fight but only pronounce a docile "amen". This different joy is perhaps something similar to the gladness that will surprise us when - on another day - a loyal friend tells us: "It is over"; and there we will say our amen, and we will feel that only one story, a wonderful story, is over, but that the story, ours, is not over, because a living remnant will be saved.

[jcfields] => Array ( ) [type] => intro [oddeven] => item-odd )
The Joy of the End is Prolific

The Joy of the End is Prolific

Surpluses and misalignments/10 - By moving your arms not to fall you can learn to fly by Luigino Bruni published in Avvenire on 04/11/2018 “...the richer our scheme of values, the harder it will prove to effect a harmony within it. (...) The price of harmonization seems to be impoverishment, the pri...
stdClass Object
(
    [id] => 16220
    [title] => The Splendid Law of the Remnant
    [alias] => the-splendid-law-of-the-remnant
    [introtext] => 

Surpluses and misalignments/9 - Believing in resurrection, not exhuming corpses

by Luigino Bruni

published in Avvenire on 28/10/2018

When rabbi Bunam lay dying, his wife burst into tears. He said, “What are you crying for? My whole life was only that I might learn to die.”

Martin Buber, Tales of the Hasidim (English translation by Olga Marx)

The Bible is a composite of many things together, and they are all important. Each generation discovers new meanings in it, and forgets others. It is also a spiritual map to orient ourselves in the mysterious life stories of those who seriously follow a voice. There is no better place to look for companionship and light during these journeys. History and biblical narratives are also precious and fruitful for understanding and explaining the collective experiences, promises, exiles, deaths and resurrections of those communities, movements and organizations born around a charisma, whether religious or secular. It is a precious and in many ways unique map especially for understanding and illuminating the night of the great collective crises, even if it is rarely read and used from this perspective - and so some essential resources are wasted.

[fulltext] =>

Among the many but mostly still hidden and unused treasures for the charismatic communities there is the prophetic logic of the remnant, which runs through many biblical texts. Placed in a context of great sapiential and theological importance, in the Book of Jeremiah we find it in a particularly developed and powerful form. This prophet had received the task of prophesying the end of a historical time from YHWH, but the heads and religious leaders of his people do not want to listen to him and discredit him. Jeremiah hears, sees and says that the Babylonians will arrive soon and that the people will be defeated and then deported, that an exile will begin in a foreign land, which will last seventy years. But while he announces the end with infinite tenacity, the false prophets - particularly abundant in Jerusalem and everywhere and always - contradict him, accuse him of defeatism, attack him and convince the leaders to persecute him to keep him quiet.

Jeremiah does not say that the story of salvation is over, nor that the promise has been put out; he only says that a story is over, that great secular story of the great kingdom. He says that an interpretation of the promise has been extinguished, the one that made it coincide with greatness and success. But while announcing the inexorable end of that first world, and with the same conviction, he says that "a remnant shall return" and history will continue. In charismatic communities and in ideal-driven organisations (IDO-s), to succeed in understanding that the first story - that marvellous story that made us daydream and see paradise - is over, it is really over, requires an ethical and spiritual act that is particularly difficult, especially in the charismatically richer communities with a great history. It is almost impossible to understand and accept that our story has not ended under these ruins, but that a story has ended, that only the first part of the story has ended. It is also difficult to understand that if we want the same story to continue tomorrow, today we must accept that its first part is really over, that we will have to go through exile, and then write a second part of the story that nobody knows yet. We have to come to terms with the facts that the form and the ways in which we had lived the collective promise - those kings, that greatness, that success, those liturgies, that temple, that religious apparatus and that administration of worship - will no longer return; but history will continue because the garment that our faith had worn in the first part of the journey was not the only one, it was only the first one. One day, in order to save ourselves, we must understand that the truth of a collective charismatic experience does not lie in continuing to grow and reap successes as in the past, but in diminishing, in becoming small, defeated, forgotten and abandoned, provided that this destruction generates a faithful remnant.

But one of the deepest and most decisive mysteries of collective spiritual experiences is precisely the failure to recognize what has always been expected when it really comes. Because we wait for a messiah to arrive on horseback triumphantly, and we confuse Palm Sunday with Easter Sunday. The communities only know the present and the past, and it is therefore natural that to understand the new facts they use the categories and tools available to them, and they are those known and learned in the nice summery season that is about to end. And so they face the winter with their summer clothes, and they seriously risk dying of the cold. Among the words of yesterday there were also some winter clothes, words suitable to face the new climates. There were also the manger, the carpenter's workshop, the small flock, the mustard seed, the no of the rich young man; but when one becomes truly small and fragile these small things and vulnerabilities are read with the memory of the miracles and the springtime of Galilee in one's heart, and we tend to forget the other words of smallness, which would now be the truly precious part of the inheritance. In the original spiritual heritage of the communities the blessing of defeat is almost always already present. In the times of abundance and success those words about the strength in weakness, that wisdom of becoming better as we become smaller moved us, convinced us and helped us to overcome personal crises. But when the words of good fragility become collective flesh they are not remembered or recognized. We have understood and valued them many times in order to read our individual stories, but now we are not able to make them become light for the present and the future of the entire community.

Actually, in these moments it would be enough to listen to the prophets who, if they have not already been killed, are naturally part of the population of the charismatic communities in times of crisis. They are those people who (by vocation and by task) have the capacity to make us remember the right words, and to give us a few new categories that are indispensable to understand and face the new era. The first new category they offer us is the revelation of the inadequacy of the categories with which we read growth and success yesterday, because today they are obsolete and need to be changed. This is the most important good news, because it is the pre-condition of all the others. Then they tell us that a time of exile is waiting for us, and finally that a remnant shall return. On the roads leading to Babylon and Emmaus it is not the meaning of the three tents of Tabor and the words of Sinai we must learn but that of the devastation of the temple and the three crosses of Golgotha. These new meanings to be learned along the roads of disappointment are declinations of the eternal words of the prophets: this story is over, but our story isn’t, because a remnant shall return. But for the faithful remnant to continue the race, today we must accept the reality of the end and, above all, not believe those who tell us that the crisis will pass and we will continue as before. Because, also and above all here, the action of the false prophets is always powerful and convincing. They try to persuade us that whoever is announcing the end is not a prophet to listen to, but a charlatan and an enemy of the people, because as opposed to what he announces there will be the great miracle soon that will save us and our "temple", and everything will return as it was yesterday. They bring us empirical evidence that things are not so bad after all, that there are signs of recovery here and there, that the great crisis is passing, and they invite us to look to the future with their optimism (which is the opposite of biblical hope). The consolations of the false prophets give pleasant feelings and do not let us feel pain, because they are the opium of the communities; those of the prophets are painful and ruthless, but they heal and bring us to life.

The people of Israel listened to the false prophets. But a remnant collected the words of the true prophets, and when they returned from exile they did not keep the books of the false prophets, but those of Jeremiah and the other prophets. Prophets are not listened to in their time, that is their task and destiny; but if a faithful remnant saves their words, their true prophecy can continue. Therefore, the prophetic remnant is not a simple group of survivors, nor an elite of the enlightened. Many communities have had survivors, but they have not had a prophetic remnant. This is a believing remnant, composed of those few who, in the time of the ruins and exile, continued to believe in the same promise that had been clothed with success and glory before, and who therefore know how to read defeat and exile as a mystery of blessing. It is the honest exegete of the many words of the communities. It is the sprout that emerges from the cut trunk, and makes life continue. Those who believe in the time of disappointment are the ones who did not believe in an illusion, because the illusion (which is real) was not the promise, but it coincided with its first coating of greatness. They are the ones who believe that that end is also a new beginning, and that that cry is giving birth to their future, which is all different. It is the name of the son. Shear-jashub, that is "a remnant shall return", is also the name of Isaiah’s son (Is 7:3). The faithful remnant is the risen body with the stigmata of the passion, which remain because they were real. The false prophets do not believe in any kind of resurrection, but only try to exhume the body. They are the heirs of Egyptian wizards and fortune-tellers who tried to replicate the wounds artificially, but the fake wounds do not prepare any real opening of the sea.

Finally, the wonderful law of the remnant is also a fundamental law of the existential journey of the person. We start as young people believing, loving and hoping for a life that is pure, meek, poor, crowned with all the virtues, and we expect all the beauties of the earth and heaven. We would never have set out on our journey without this real and impossible promise. If we try to remain a little faithful to that first voice, as adults and as elders we discover that only a "remnant" of that promise has remained alive. We only find ourselves with a little poverty, or with a little meekness, or with a hope that is still alive despite the ruins of the dream. And one day we realize that we have saved ourselves precisely because of that little remnant that is alive. Because we did our job well, because we were able to love one person very much instead of loving many people just a little, or because at least once we had the faith to say "come out" and a friend came out of their tomb. And then we learn that all the promise was there, kept in that little believing and faithful remnant.

download article in pdf 

[checked_out] => 0 [checked_out_time] => 0000-00-00 00:00:00 [catid] => 862 [created] => 2018-10-28 07:23:13 [created_by] => 64 [created_by_alias] => Luigino Bruni [state] => 1 [modified] => 2020-08-23 20:24:03 [modified_by] => 609 [modified_by_name] => Super User [publish_up] => 2018-10-28 07:23:13 [publish_down] => 0000-00-00 00:00:00 [images] => {"image_intro":"","float_intro":"","image_intro_alt":"","image_intro_caption":"","image_fulltext":"","float_fulltext":"","image_fulltext_alt":"","image_fulltext_caption":""} [urls] => {"urla":false,"urlatext":"","targeta":"","urlb":false,"urlbtext":"","targetb":"","urlc":false,"urlctext":"","targetc":""} [attribs] => {"article_layout":"","show_title":"","link_titles":"","show_tags":"","show_intro":"","info_block_position":"","info_block_show_title":"","show_category":"","link_category":"","show_parent_category":"","link_parent_category":"","show_associations":"","show_author":"","link_author":"","show_create_date":"","show_modify_date":"","show_publish_date":"","show_item_navigation":"","show_icons":"","show_print_icon":"","show_email_icon":"","show_vote":"","show_hits":"","show_noauth":"","urls_position":"","alternative_readmore":"","article_page_title":"","show_publishing_options":"","show_article_options":"","show_urls_images_backend":"","show_urls_images_frontend":"","helix_ultimate_image":"images\/2019\/03\/06\/Eccedenze e disallineamenti_09_ant.jpg","helix_ultimate_image_alt_txt":"","helix_ultimate_article_format":"standard","gallery":"","helix_ultimate_audio":"","helix_ultimate_video":"","link_title":"","link_url":"","quote_text":"","quote_author":"","post_status":""} [metadata] => {"robots":"","author":"","rights":"","xreference":""} [metakey] => [metadesc] => After collective and individual crises only a remnant is saved, but we must learn the great law of truth of the little, abandoning the guise of greatness and success of the first phase. [access] => 1 [hits] => 830 [xreference] => [featured] => 0 [language] => en-GB [on_img_default] => [readmore] => 10283 [ordering] => 2 [category_title] => EN - Surpluses and misalignments [category_route] => organizzazioni-e-ideali/it-eccedenze-e-disallineamenti [category_access] => 1 [category_alias] => en-surpluses-and-misalignments [published] => 1 [parents_published] => 1 [lft] => 146 [author] => Luigino Bruni [author_email] => ferrucci.anto@gmail.com [parent_title] => Organizzazioni e Ideali [parent_id] => 1028 [parent_route] => organizzazioni-e-ideali [parent_alias] => organizzazioni-e-ideali [rating] => 0 [rating_count] => 0 [alternative_readmore] => [layout] => [params] => Joomla\Registry\Registry Object ( [data:protected] => stdClass Object ( [article_layout] => _:default [show_title] => 1 [link_titles] => 1 [show_intro] => 1 [info_block_position] => 0 [info_block_show_title] => 1 [show_category] => 1 [link_category] => 1 [show_parent_category] => 1 [link_parent_category] => 1 [show_associations] => 0 [flags] => 1 [show_author] => 0 [link_author] => 0 [show_create_date] => 1 [show_modify_date] => 0 [show_publish_date] => 1 [show_item_navigation] => 1 [show_vote] => 0 [show_readmore] => 0 [show_readmore_title] => 0 [readmore_limit] => 100 [show_tags] => 1 [show_icons] => 1 [show_print_icon] => 1 [show_email_icon] => 1 [show_hits] => 0 [record_hits] => 1 [show_noauth] => 0 [urls_position] => 1 [captcha] => [show_publishing_options] => 1 [show_article_options] => 1 [save_history] => 1 [history_limit] => 10 [show_urls_images_frontend] => 0 [show_urls_images_backend] => 1 [targeta] => 0 [targetb] => 0 [targetc] => 0 [float_intro] => left [float_fulltext] => left [category_layout] => _:blog [show_category_heading_title_text] => 0 [show_category_title] => 0 [show_description] => 0 [show_description_image] => 0 [maxLevel] => 0 [show_empty_categories] => 0 [show_no_articles] => 1 [show_subcat_desc] => 0 [show_cat_num_articles] => 0 [show_cat_tags] => 1 [show_base_description] => 1 [maxLevelcat] => -1 [show_empty_categories_cat] => 0 [show_subcat_desc_cat] => 0 [show_cat_num_articles_cat] => 0 [num_leading_articles] => 0 [num_intro_articles] => 14 [num_columns] => 2 [num_links] => 0 [multi_column_order] => 1 [show_subcategory_content] => -1 [show_pagination_limit] => 1 [filter_field] => hide [show_headings] => 1 [list_show_date] => 0 [date_format] => [list_show_hits] => 1 [list_show_author] => 1 [list_show_votes] => 0 [list_show_ratings] => 0 [orderby_pri] => none [orderby_sec] => rdate [order_date] => published [show_pagination] => 2 [show_pagination_results] => 1 [show_featured] => show [show_feed_link] => 1 [feed_summary] => 0 [feed_show_readmore] => 0 [sef_advanced] => 1 [sef_ids] => 1 [custom_fields_enable] => 1 [show_page_heading] => 0 [layout_type] => blog [menu_text] => 1 [menu_show] => 1 [secure] => 0 [helixultimatemenulayout] => {"width":600,"menualign":"right","megamenu":0,"showtitle":1,"faicon":"","customclass":"","dropdown":"right","badge":"","badge_position":"","badge_bg_color":"","badge_text_color":"","layout":[]} [helixultimate_enable_page_title] => 1 [helixultimate_page_subtitle] => Organizations and Ideals [helixultimate_page_title_heading] => h2 [page_title] => Surpluses and misalignments [page_description] => [page_rights] => [robots] => [access-view] => 1 ) [initialized:protected] => 1 [separator] => . ) [displayDate] => 2018-10-28 07:23:13 [tags] => Joomla\CMS\Helper\TagsHelper Object ( [tagsChanged:protected] => [replaceTags:protected] => [typeAlias] => [itemTags] => Array ( ) ) [slug] => 16220:the-splendid-law-of-the-remnant [parent_slug] => 1028:organizzazioni-e-ideali [catslug] => 862:en-surpluses-and-misalignments [event] => stdClass Object ( [afterDisplayTitle] => [beforeDisplayContent] => [afterDisplayContent] => ) [text] =>

Surpluses and misalignments/9 - Believing in resurrection, not exhuming corpses

by Luigino Bruni

published in Avvenire on 28/10/2018

When rabbi Bunam lay dying, his wife burst into tears. He said, “What are you crying for? My whole life was only that I might learn to die.”

Martin Buber, Tales of the Hasidim (English translation by Olga Marx)

The Bible is a composite of many things together, and they are all important. Each generation discovers new meanings in it, and forgets others. It is also a spiritual map to orient ourselves in the mysterious life stories of those who seriously follow a voice. There is no better place to look for companionship and light during these journeys. History and biblical narratives are also precious and fruitful for understanding and explaining the collective experiences, promises, exiles, deaths and resurrections of those communities, movements and organizations born around a charisma, whether religious or secular. It is a precious and in many ways unique map especially for understanding and illuminating the night of the great collective crises, even if it is rarely read and used from this perspective - and so some essential resources are wasted.

[jcfields] => Array ( ) [type] => intro [oddeven] => item-even )
The Splendid Law of the Remnant

The Splendid Law of the Remnant

Surpluses and misalignments/9 - Believing in resurrection, not exhuming corpses by Luigino Bruni published in Avvenire on 28/10/2018 When rabbi Bunam lay dying, his wife burst into tears. He said, “What are you crying for? My whole life was only that I might learn to die.” Martin Buber, Tales o...
stdClass Object
(
    [id] => 16225
    [title] => The Tree of Our Children Is More Beautiful
    [alias] => the-tree-of-our-children-is-more-beautiful
    [introtext] => 

Surpluses and misalignments/8 - The primordial seed of every human vocation is precious

by Luigino Bruni

published in Avvenire on 21/10/2018

Eccedenze e disallineamenti 08 ridThe other, the Man, is ab initio the reciprocant. At the same time, we must not forget the other side of the coin of this ability of the other to reciprocate me. This capacity, in fact, presupposes that the other person represents a "human life" just like mine, and therefore it presupposes the existence of a life of his own and not mine, with his own ego and his own exclusive world, which are not mine, which are outside and beyond me, which transcend my life".

Family, work and school are all matters of reciprocity. The care we give remains imperfect unless we sometimes experience being assisted by those we assist, and no education is effective if while doing his lesson the teacher does not learn and change with his students. The relationship between ideal-driven communities and the people who are part of them is also a matter of reciprocity, which lives on a great closeness combined with a real distance. Nothing on earth is more intimate than an encounter in the spirit between people called to the same destiny by the same voice. That’s when we see the very desires of our heart in the other, when our said and not said words come back to us multiplied and sublimated. We rejoice in the same things, and the joy increases in seeing that the other is rejoicing for the same reasons and in the same way that we are.

[fulltext] =>

This mutual indwelling ("wert thou known / To me, as thoroughly I to thee am known.": Dante, Paradise; English translation by the Rev. H. F. Cary, M. A.) is, however, a fully human and humanizing experience if it coexists with respect for a form of distance, which protects against the temptation to possess the other, to appropriate that overflow which is in its mystery. It is mainly inside this free and saved space that communion lives and feeds itself, which however grows and makes it grow until we leave the other and our heart free to veil a "not yet" that can be revealed tomorrow, but only in part.

This dynamic of closeness-and-distance, already difficult between individuals, is even more demanding in the relationships between the individual and their community. Here, in fact, it can happen that the communion between the personal and community spirits turns into an operation of substitution. Those who arrive in an ideal-driven community are fascinated and submerged by the beauty and spiritual richness they encounter there, which is much more sparkling and seductive than the little voice inside them. In fact, it appears less interesting and luminous than what they find around and outside themselves. That little dowry with which they knock on the doors of the community does not shine and cannot shine, because it is neither a pearl nor a diamond: it is, simply, a seed. But it is precisely in that tiny thing that the possibility of a good future, real innovations, surprises, reform, great trees and new fruits lies, both for the person and the community.

Therefore, those responsible should do everything possible to keep that unique and special intimacy in the person alive and fruitful, which precedes the encounter with the charisma of the community. And so to dose the transmission of the spiritual heritage and collective ideal very well, with the necessary care and chastity so as not to submerge and suffocate that small primeval seed.

The principle of subsidiarity, a pillar of Christian and European humanism, also applies to the management of the individual-community relationship: what comes from the exterior, from above and from outside, is good if it helps what is intimate, close and personal (as a subsidy, or support). Much of the quality and maintenance of a vocational history depends on the subsidiary dialogue between these two intimacies, especially in the early days; on the capacity not to replace the first intimacy (which is small, naive and simple) with the second (which is great, mature and spectacular). Because that place where a free, attentive, cultivated, critical thought lives and grows is the first intimacy, because it draws on deeper layers than those nourishing the common charisma. It draws water directly from the spiritual tradition that nourishes the same community charisma, and from the traditions of the human civilizations founding both. It is nourished by the prayers of all, not only by our prayers, but the poems, novels and art of all humanity, by the love and pain of every human being and the earth.

But it is almost impossible that this substitution between the two intimacies should not take place, because it is sought and desired by the individual person first of all. The person is deeply fascinated by the new great words they find upon arriving, also because they notice that what comes to them from outside was already present within them, and that they are strengthened and exalted in the charismatic community. They know intimately what is given them from outside because while they receive it they recognize it as something that was already intimately present in them. However, when we treat that young woman as if she were coming as a spiritual tabula rasa in Franciscan matters, all we do is we kill that first intimacy in her that already contained essential chromosomes to make herself and her community become authentically Franciscan. Authentic spiritual paths do not begin but continue in a community, because they had already begun outside, in a first intimacy.

After Saul’s encounter with the Lord on the road to Damascus, he arrived at Ananias’ who baptized him and he received the Christian faith from that community. But Paul always remembered and claimed that his vocation had been earlier than his meeting with Ananias, and that voice continued to nourish him together with the one that spoke to him in his community, and every now and then it told him words he did not understand: “the gospel (...) I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ” (Galatians 1:11-12). In the communities the main mechanism of spiritual discernment starts from the intimacy of the person and is accomplished in the collective intimacy that becomes the final exegete of individual words. But the reverse process is also essential, when we return to the dialogue of the first intimacy to decipher the collective words that we do not understand, and that - once understood inside and given back outside - enrich everyone. When this second move is missing, the members of the community tend to become all too similar to each other, because the place of anthropological and spiritual biodiversity, and therefore of the richness and generativity of charismas is not the second intimacy, but the first.

When human babies are born they are very similar and all seem the same in their first days, and only by growing up do they become different and assume their specific features. In spiritual births, however, the opposite happens: at the beginning we are all very different, each with a unique colour of eyes and hair; then, once we enter a community, over time we tend to become spiritually more and more similar, because the second, collective vocational intimacy grows at the expense of the first. And the intoxicating fusion of the first years gives way to common and equal words that speak less and less.

Spiritual and prophetic communities always struggle to recognize the value of the first intimacy because of the great esteem and consideration they have (and must have) for the second collective spiritual intimacy. Often they see it as the only one necessary, which incorporates and understands the first and is considered as the milk teeth of children, which must fall out in order to let the adult and permanent teeth emerge. And so not infrequently they determine, in good faith, the progressive atrophy of the first vocational place that also sustains the second one - much damage is produced by much good faith, which however does not cancel out the consequences or a lot of pain.

The more it is true for a community that it has a strong prophetic and charismatic dimension, the more naturally and spontaneously it underestimates spiritual experiences prior to arrival. This way they are forgetting that every organization, even the most genuinely charismatic one, has a continuous need for self-regeneration, and the first instrument of this is the prophecy of its people, which however must be recognized and given the space to be cultivated. The people of Israel, too, needed to be accompanied by giant prophets for centuries, even though they were already a holy and prophetic nation. Without the prophets who have continually renewed it (and that the people continued to kill) even that different community would have turned into a religious monolith without the spirit. And what would the Church have become without the thousands of prophets and saints who have called her back to her vocation and conversion a thousand times? So it happens also for every community that is already charismatic by vocation: the providential arrival of prophets who guard the two intimacies saves it and converts it every day.

The replacement of the first with the second intimacy is also the root of much malaise in ideal and spiritual communities. The repetition and reiteration of the same collective intimacy for years, which is no longer accompanied and nourished by that first deep intimate dialogue generates progressive and radical identity diseases in people. The great energy invested in learning the art of answering questions about "who are we?" progressively consumes the ability to answer the other radical question: "and me, who am I?" Anyone who knows the essentials of the spiritual universe knows well that "who am I?" is a question that has no satisfactory answer. But there is a good and a bad way of not answering this question. The first comes from the awareness that the answer changes and grows with us, and that perhaps only the angel of death will reveal it to us as he embraces us. The bad way, on the other hand, is the no-response that comes from going deep inside the heart and finding only attempts to answer it, composed with the collective words declined in the first person plural. The constant and continuous exercise of conjugation of the verbs of life in the plural has consumed the very possibility of a logos in the singular; we do not answer “no” because the question has no convincing answers, but because we have forgotten the grammatical and syntactical rules to understand the question.

However, when we manage to preserve that first intimacy (and, thanks be to God, it often happens) and defend it with all our strength from ourselves and from our community, we find a great treasure in adult life. It becomes the essential good when the second intimacy of the community withdraws - and it must withdraw - taking away with it the words, images, symbols with which we had embellished our spiritual life and our entire world. There we realize that in that land there was still a tree. We embrace it, we feed on its fruits and we enjoy its shadow. And then we discover, moved, that it is the same "tree of life" that we had seen in the Eden of the first paradise, because it grew from the tenacious custody of one of its true seeds. Under that single shadow old and new companions begin to gather, and a new story begins again.

If on the day of the great withdrawal of the waters in our land we do not find any trees, we can set out in desperate search of a good seed and entrust it to that fertile land. It will not be our tree, it will be our children’s - and perhaps that is even more beautiful.

download article in pdf

[checked_out] => 0 [checked_out_time] => 0000-00-00 00:00:00 [catid] => 862 [created] => 2018-10-20 09:45:17 [created_by] => 64 [created_by_alias] => Luigino Bruni [state] => 1 [modified] => 2020-08-23 20:24:03 [modified_by] => 609 [modified_by_name] => Super User [publish_up] => 2018-10-22 09:00:00 [publish_down] => 0000-00-00 00:00:00 [images] => {"image_intro":"","float_intro":"","image_intro_alt":"","image_intro_caption":"","image_fulltext":"","float_fulltext":"","image_fulltext_alt":"","image_fulltext_caption":""} [urls] => {"urla":false,"urlatext":"","targeta":"","urlb":false,"urlbtext":"","targetb":"","urlc":false,"urlctext":"","targetc":""} [attribs] => {"article_layout":"","show_title":"","link_titles":"","show_tags":"","show_intro":"","info_block_position":"","info_block_show_title":"","show_category":"","link_category":"","show_parent_category":"","link_parent_category":"","show_associations":"","show_author":"","link_author":"","show_create_date":"","show_modify_date":"","show_publish_date":"","show_item_navigation":"","show_icons":"","show_print_icon":"","show_email_icon":"","show_vote":"","show_hits":"","show_noauth":"","urls_position":"","alternative_readmore":"","article_page_title":"","show_publishing_options":"","show_article_options":"","show_urls_images_backend":"","show_urls_images_frontend":"","helix_ultimate_image":"","helix_ultimate_image_alt_txt":"","helix_ultimate_article_format":"standard","gallery":"","helix_ultimate_audio":"","helix_ultimate_video":"","link_title":"","link_url":"","quote_text":"","quote_author":"","post_status":""} [metadata] => {"robots":"","author":"","rights":"","xreference":""} [metakey] => [metadesc] => The principle of subsidiarity also applies to the care of the individual-community relationship. What comes from the exterior, from above and from outside, is good if it is of help (subsidy) to what is intimate, close and personal. However, subsidiarity often becomes substitution. How can we prevent it? [access] => 1 [hits] => 1418 [xreference] => [featured] => 1 [language] => en-GB [on_img_default] => [readmore] => 10759 [ordering] => 0 [category_title] => EN - Surpluses and misalignments [category_route] => organizzazioni-e-ideali/it-eccedenze-e-disallineamenti [category_access] => 1 [category_alias] => en-surpluses-and-misalignments [published] => 1 [parents_published] => 1 [lft] => 146 [author] => Luigino Bruni [author_email] => ferrucci.anto@gmail.com [parent_title] => Organizzazioni e Ideali [parent_id] => 1028 [parent_route] => organizzazioni-e-ideali [parent_alias] => organizzazioni-e-ideali [rating] => 0 [rating_count] => 0 [alternative_readmore] => [layout] => [params] => Joomla\Registry\Registry Object ( [data:protected] => stdClass Object ( [article_layout] => _:default [show_title] => 1 [link_titles] => 1 [show_intro] => 1 [info_block_position] => 0 [info_block_show_title] => 1 [show_category] => 1 [link_category] => 1 [show_parent_category] => 1 [link_parent_category] => 1 [show_associations] => 0 [flags] => 1 [show_author] => 0 [link_author] => 0 [show_create_date] => 1 [show_modify_date] => 0 [show_publish_date] => 1 [show_item_navigation] => 1 [show_vote] => 0 [show_readmore] => 0 [show_readmore_title] => 0 [readmore_limit] => 100 [show_tags] => 1 [show_icons] => 1 [show_print_icon] => 1 [show_email_icon] => 1 [show_hits] => 0 [record_hits] => 1 [show_noauth] => 0 [urls_position] => 1 [captcha] => [show_publishing_options] => 1 [show_article_options] => 1 [save_history] => 1 [history_limit] => 10 [show_urls_images_frontend] => 0 [show_urls_images_backend] => 1 [targeta] => 0 [targetb] => 0 [targetc] => 0 [float_intro] => left [float_fulltext] => left [category_layout] => _:blog [show_category_heading_title_text] => 0 [show_category_title] => 0 [show_description] => 0 [show_description_image] => 0 [maxLevel] => 0 [show_empty_categories] => 0 [show_no_articles] => 1 [show_subcat_desc] => 0 [show_cat_num_articles] => 0 [show_cat_tags] => 1 [show_base_description] => 1 [maxLevelcat] => -1 [show_empty_categories_cat] => 0 [show_subcat_desc_cat] => 0 [show_cat_num_articles_cat] => 0 [num_leading_articles] => 0 [num_intro_articles] => 14 [num_columns] => 2 [num_links] => 0 [multi_column_order] => 1 [show_subcategory_content] => -1 [show_pagination_limit] => 1 [filter_field] => hide [show_headings] => 1 [list_show_date] => 0 [date_format] => [list_show_hits] => 1 [list_show_author] => 1 [list_show_votes] => 0 [list_show_ratings] => 0 [orderby_pri] => none [orderby_sec] => rdate [order_date] => published [show_pagination] => 2 [show_pagination_results] => 1 [show_featured] => show [show_feed_link] => 1 [feed_summary] => 0 [feed_show_readmore] => 0 [sef_advanced] => 1 [sef_ids] => 1 [custom_fields_enable] => 1 [show_page_heading] => 0 [layout_type] => blog [menu_text] => 1 [menu_show] => 1 [secure] => 0 [helixultimatemenulayout] => {"width":600,"menualign":"right","megamenu":0,"showtitle":1,"faicon":"","customclass":"","dropdown":"right","badge":"","badge_position":"","badge_bg_color":"","badge_text_color":"","layout":[]} [helixultimate_enable_page_title] => 1 [helixultimate_page_subtitle] => Organizations and Ideals [helixultimate_page_title_heading] => h2 [page_title] => Surpluses and misalignments [page_description] => [page_rights] => [robots] => [access-view] => 1 ) [initialized:protected] => 1 [separator] => . ) [displayDate] => 2018-10-20 09:45:17 [tags] => Joomla\CMS\Helper\TagsHelper Object ( [tagsChanged:protected] => [replaceTags:protected] => [typeAlias] => [itemTags] => Array ( ) ) [slug] => 16225:the-tree-of-our-children-is-more-beautiful [parent_slug] => 1028:organizzazioni-e-ideali [catslug] => 862:en-surpluses-and-misalignments [event] => stdClass Object ( [afterDisplayTitle] => [beforeDisplayContent] => [afterDisplayContent] => ) [text] =>

Surpluses and misalignments/8 - The primordial seed of every human vocation is precious

by Luigino Bruni

published in Avvenire on 21/10/2018

Eccedenze e disallineamenti 08 ridThe other, the Man, is ab initio the reciprocant. At the same time, we must not forget the other side of the coin of this ability of the other to reciprocate me. This capacity, in fact, presupposes that the other person represents a "human life" just like mine, and therefore it presupposes the existence of a life of his own and not mine, with his own ego and his own exclusive world, which are not mine, which are outside and beyond me, which transcend my life".

Family, work and school are all matters of reciprocity. The care we give remains imperfect unless we sometimes experience being assisted by those we assist, and no education is effective if while doing his lesson the teacher does not learn and change with his students. The relationship between ideal-driven communities and the people who are part of them is also a matter of reciprocity, which lives on a great closeness combined with a real distance. Nothing on earth is more intimate than an encounter in the spirit between people called to the same destiny by the same voice. That’s when we see the very desires of our heart in the other, when our said and not said words come back to us multiplied and sublimated. We rejoice in the same things, and the joy increases in seeing that the other is rejoicing for the same reasons and in the same way that we are.

[jcfields] => Array ( ) [type] => intro [oddeven] => item-odd )

The Tree of Our Children Is More Beautiful

Surpluses and misalignments/8 - The primordial seed of every human vocation is precious by Luigino Bruni published in Avvenire on 21/10/2018 “The other, the Man, is ab initio the reciprocant. At the same time, we must not forget the other side of the coin of this ability of the other to reciprocate ...
stdClass Object
(
    [id] => 16229
    [title] => The Demolition of the Idol
    [alias] => the-demolition-of-the-idol
    [introtext] => 

Surpluses and misalignments/7 An inexorable effort that affects living people and communities

by Luigino Bruni

published in Avvenire on 17/10/2018

Eccedenze e disallineamenti 07 ridThe ideal of good faith … is, like that of sincerity …, an ideal of being-in-itself. Every belief is a belief that falls short; one never wholly believes what one believes.

J.P. Sartre, Being and Nothingness (English translation by Hazel E. Barnes)

Those who have made faith - any faith, not just religious faith - the foundation of their lives, those who have made it the existential theme of their life and not one theme of the many, live constantly in fear of having founded their lives on deception, of having built an admirable building on nothing. For a long time this fear remains latent, especially when we are young: it appears from time to time and then waves us good-bye to let us live the time of enchantment in full, which is necessary to make our crazy flights possible. But, under the surface, it grows together with faith. Until, in an adult phase of existence, it emerges and imposes itself with an invincible force. It surprises us, it disturbs us a lot and it doesn't let us sleep.

[fulltext] =>

We suddenly realize that that fear was well-founded, and the possibility of nothingness becomes a real experience. We had deceived ourselves, effectively. It is the experience of the lack of foundation, total misalignment, the bewilderment of the exile. We find ourselves in a complete new land, as inhabitants of the empire that we feared and hated for so many years. At first we try to orient ourselves in the new landscape, we look for the signs of the landscape of the country where we grew up. We look for the tower, the bell tower, the clock in the ways in which we have always known them. We don't find them, and we get lost. They're actually even there, but we can't see them.

In other words, we realize that we had not believed in God but in an idol. And it is here that the spiritual journey must become an experience of demolition. On the day of his call, the voice reveals to the prophet Jeremiah his mission and destiny: “I have set you this day over nations and over kingdoms, / to pluck up and to break down, / to destroy and to overthrow, / to build and to plant" (1:4-10). In the beginning there is planting and building. The knocking down phase, when it comes, comes later.

The most important reality that is destroyed during a vocational journey is the idea of God and the ideal. Before being a destruction of the "I", a vocation is a destruction of God, a demolition of the image that we have made of him and in which we believe. The Bible has placed as its first commandment the prohibition of making images of God because every image of God is an idol. But already from the day after that of our vocation, we all construct our own image of God, and therefore our idol. We aren’t aware of it, so we are innocent. Destruction is therefore essential to be able to leave the age of idolatry - in the Bible the destruction of the temple and exile made it possible for that different faith not to become idolatry.

Here lies, perhaps, one of the many meanings of that mysterious and paradoxical phrase (koan) of the Zen tradition: "If you meet a Buddha on the street, kill him.” The "Buddha" along the adult stretch of the road is not only the teacher who made us discover the spiritual path. It is also the idea-image of God that that master or community had given us at the beginning.

This demolition takes various forms. Sometimes that first image disappears little by little like a statue consumed by the wind and the rain (which we continually try to restore, however). At other times it is an earthquake in our land that makes it implode, and it is not uncommon for us to remain under the rubble. Sometimes, and these are the most interesting but difficult to understand and say, it is we who take the pickaxe and start to hit that statue, because we understand that it was an idol that, like all idols, was devouring us day after day. Because we realize that if we do not destroy our statue of God, it will destroy us. Faiths are authentic places of liberation if one day they become experiences of destruction.

When this process happens in a community, a spiritual movement or an ideal-driven organisation (IDO), the community also gets involved in the destruction. If we learned the first idea of the ideal from the community that gave it concreteness and words, the need to destroy the statue of God inevitably becomes also the demolition of the community that had given and taught it to us. Together with the image of God, the image of the community that guarded it - its practices, faces and prayers - also disappears. We demolish it because it has the same idolatrous signs. This destruction - which never remains entirely intimate, and is expressed in public criticism, sarcasm, in judgments towards everything and everyone - also contains some hidden but precious messages for that community, because it tells it about the vital need it has for self-subversion. But in every community there is the terror of its own destruction, because it is very difficult for it to understand that if it does not destroy the idol of the ideal it has built, it is condemned to death - and so along with all of itself it preserves the idol confused with the ideal.

The decisive element that often prevents the beginning of demolition works is the absolute lack of guarantee that a new faith will take the place of what we should and would like to demolish. It is the terror of losing God for ever along with the image we had of him that leads many people who had received an authentic spiritual call not to destroy the idol and to remain forever in the idolatrous stage of faith (we like idols very much because they do not ask us to take any risks).

For many, this phase of the God of the call becoming the idol of adult life takes place in perfect, absolute and innocent good faith. For others, instead, it takes the form of what Sartre calls bad faith (a word that he uses in a different sense from the common one): they renounce exercising the radical risk of freedom, and thus remain stuck in a sort of moral limbo, where they are both believers and idolaters, faithful and atheists, true and false. Those in good faith are on a theatre stage to recite a comedy-tragedy, but they are convinced that the stage is life; the ones in bad faith know that they are reciting a script that is not life, but they don't want to go off the stage anymore because elsewhere they would be attacked and destroyed by anxiety. But those who manage to overcome bad faith (or at least to recognize it and decide to want to overcome it) and then carry out this demolition of the idol of God, find themselves within one of the highest and most extraordinary human experiences. They precipitate in a condition very similar, if not identical, to that of atheists. They perceive - see and feel - nothingness underlying all things, a vanitas that with its dense smoke envelops the full interior and exterior landscape. But, unlike those who do not believe because they have never believed, when the experience of this nothing comes after a true life of faith, the confrontation with this desolate land is almost always devastating.

In reality, the radical experience of the absence of God is ethically preferable to idolatry, because the nothing that comes as the maturation of faith is an evolutionary, spiritual and anthropological leap, but the person who finds themselves within the experience does not perceive any evolution, only an infinite solitude in a world without gods. The same disorientation is almost always experienced by those who observe and accompany those who live these experiences. In fact, they are the first ones to be afraid facing the first blows, and then do everything to remove the pickaxe from our hands.

Then there are some typical challenges that are little explored though crucial - it is not easy to explore these abysses of life. When this demolition phase takes place within a community, the inner exile is joined by the outer exile. You live with fellow citizens who go through different stages of life, some in good faith, others in bad faith, and you feel totally strangers in your own house. Also because in communities there are very few people who remain after the demolition. Many of those interrupting an authentic community journey are those who feel exhausted at the end of the demolition - perhaps because that first statue was too imposing and robust - and have not found the resources to continue. For these demolishers of idols life becomes very hard in communities. The discussions around the table, the liturgies and the many activities that they continue do not only become uninteresting but also cause new pain to them. One remains in one's job, as always, in a destitution of answers and light, in which one remains for years, even decades. It is very likely that when we hear different and truer words about life and spirit from someone, this person is in this phase of life - but they do not tell us, they would not know how to tell us, because words cannot be found for that (going through and telling about what you live are two different "skills", especially at certain times in life).

But if we manage to get to the bottom of this demolition, a splendid phase of life can begin, the most beautiful and true of all. We truly become a brother or sister to all men and women, rediscovering the same integral human condition that precedes faith and non-faith. We become beggars of meaning towards all those we meet, in the street, in books, in poetry. We go back to being a child and ask everyone: "Why?", and a new ignorant and enchanted kind of listening is born. We esteem all those who, without having the faith that we had, manage to work, bring children into the world or die without despair and love. And our anger becomes strong because we do not succeed. We come to curse that image that has prevented us from learning the job of living, because we discover ourselves much less competent in this fundamental art than "normal" women and men are. But if you still want to read the Bible, you finally begin to understand a few pages of Job, Isaiah, some of the psalms which remained foreign to us or bothered us before. Without the experience of destruction much of the Bible and life remain inaccessible. And we begin to thank for this new epiphany of life and word.

After a life spent in an environment populated by God, the disappearance of the sacred frees our sight to begin to see man, finally. The place cleared of religion becomes a kind of humanism. By chasing away the money changers from the temple, the doves and goats from its altars, the earth was freed to welcome a different kingdom. Sometimes, after the destruction, a new faith and a new community of faith returns - which will then leave us again, to take us back to other exiles where we will become even more human. Sometimes prayer blooms again, crying out for the pain of men and women. At other times faith does not return. We enter the church not to pray but to hope that it will come back and surprise us from behind while we are sitting in the pews watching an empty tabernacle. But we do not regret having destroyed the fetish, and we would not go back for anything in the world. The job of living is what remains. The same expectation of God is what remains.

download article in pdf

[checked_out] => 0 [checked_out_time] => 0000-00-00 00:00:00 [catid] => 862 [created] => 2018-10-13 09:45:17 [created_by] => 64 [created_by_alias] => Luigino Bruni [state] => 1 [modified] => 2020-08-23 20:24:03 [modified_by] => 609 [modified_by_name] => Super User [publish_up] => 2018-10-18 09:00:00 [publish_down] => 0000-00-00 00:00:00 [images] => {"image_intro":"","float_intro":"","image_intro_alt":"","image_intro_caption":"","image_fulltext":"","float_fulltext":"","image_fulltext_alt":"","image_fulltext_caption":""} [urls] => {"urla":false,"urlatext":"","targeta":"","urlb":false,"urlbtext":"","targetb":"","urlc":false,"urlctext":"","targetc":""} [attribs] => {"article_layout":"","show_title":"","link_titles":"","show_tags":"","show_intro":"","info_block_position":"","info_block_show_title":"","show_category":"","link_category":"","show_parent_category":"","link_parent_category":"","show_associations":"","show_author":"","link_author":"","show_create_date":"","show_modify_date":"","show_publish_date":"","show_item_navigation":"","show_icons":"","show_print_icon":"","show_email_icon":"","show_vote":"","show_hits":"","show_noauth":"","urls_position":"","alternative_readmore":"","article_page_title":"","show_publishing_options":"","show_article_options":"","show_urls_images_backend":"","show_urls_images_frontend":"","helix_ultimate_image":"images\/2018\/10\/26\/Eccedenze e disallineamenti_07_ant.jpg","helix_ultimate_image_alt_txt":"","helix_ultimate_article_format":"standard","gallery":"","helix_ultimate_audio":"","helix_ultimate_video":"","link_title":"","link_url":"","quote_text":"","quote_author":"","post_status":""} [metadata] => {"robots":"","author":"","rights":"","xreference":""} [metakey] => [metadesc] => During the journey of the person a fundamental stage is the destruction of the idea of God who has become an idol in time. Without this very complicated and risky passage, the humanisation of the religious man remains incomplete. [access] => 1 [hits] => 1588 [xreference] => [featured] => 1 [language] => en-GB [on_img_default] => [readmore] => 10738 [ordering] => 0 [category_title] => EN - Surpluses and misalignments [category_route] => organizzazioni-e-ideali/it-eccedenze-e-disallineamenti [category_access] => 1 [category_alias] => en-surpluses-and-misalignments [published] => 1 [parents_published] => 1 [lft] => 146 [author] => Luigino Bruni [author_email] => ferrucci.anto@gmail.com [parent_title] => Organizzazioni e Ideali [parent_id] => 1028 [parent_route] => organizzazioni-e-ideali [parent_alias] => organizzazioni-e-ideali [rating] => 0 [rating_count] => 0 [alternative_readmore] => [layout] => [params] => Joomla\Registry\Registry Object ( [data:protected] => stdClass Object ( [article_layout] => _:default [show_title] => 1 [link_titles] => 1 [show_intro] => 1 [info_block_position] => 0 [info_block_show_title] => 1 [show_category] => 1 [link_category] => 1 [show_parent_category] => 1 [link_parent_category] => 1 [show_associations] => 0 [flags] => 1 [show_author] => 0 [link_author] => 0 [show_create_date] => 1 [show_modify_date] => 0 [show_publish_date] => 1 [show_item_navigation] => 1 [show_vote] => 0 [show_readmore] => 0 [show_readmore_title] => 0 [readmore_limit] => 100 [show_tags] => 1 [show_icons] => 1 [show_print_icon] => 1 [show_email_icon] => 1 [show_hits] => 0 [record_hits] => 1 [show_noauth] => 0 [urls_position] => 1 [captcha] => [show_publishing_options] => 1 [show_article_options] => 1 [save_history] => 1 [history_limit] => 10 [show_urls_images_frontend] => 0 [show_urls_images_backend] => 1 [targeta] => 0 [targetb] => 0 [targetc] => 0 [float_intro] => left [float_fulltext] => left [category_layout] => _:blog [show_category_heading_title_text] => 0 [show_category_title] => 0 [show_description] => 0 [show_description_image] => 0 [maxLevel] => 0 [show_empty_categories] => 0 [show_no_articles] => 1 [show_subcat_desc] => 0 [show_cat_num_articles] => 0 [show_cat_tags] => 1 [show_base_description] => 1 [maxLevelcat] => -1 [show_empty_categories_cat] => 0 [show_subcat_desc_cat] => 0 [show_cat_num_articles_cat] => 0 [num_leading_articles] => 0 [num_intro_articles] => 14 [num_columns] => 2 [num_links] => 0 [multi_column_order] => 1 [show_subcategory_content] => -1 [show_pagination_limit] => 1 [filter_field] => hide [show_headings] => 1 [list_show_date] => 0 [date_format] => [list_show_hits] => 1 [list_show_author] => 1 [list_show_votes] => 0 [list_show_ratings] => 0 [orderby_pri] => none [orderby_sec] => rdate [order_date] => published [show_pagination] => 2 [show_pagination_results] => 1 [show_featured] => show [show_feed_link] => 1 [feed_summary] => 0 [feed_show_readmore] => 0 [sef_advanced] => 1 [sef_ids] => 1 [custom_fields_enable] => 1 [show_page_heading] => 0 [layout_type] => blog [menu_text] => 1 [menu_show] => 1 [secure] => 0 [helixultimatemenulayout] => {"width":600,"menualign":"right","megamenu":0,"showtitle":1,"faicon":"","customclass":"","dropdown":"right","badge":"","badge_position":"","badge_bg_color":"","badge_text_color":"","layout":[]} [helixultimate_enable_page_title] => 1 [helixultimate_page_subtitle] => Organizations and Ideals [helixultimate_page_title_heading] => h2 [page_title] => Surpluses and misalignments [page_description] => [page_rights] => [robots] => [access-view] => 1 ) [initialized:protected] => 1 [separator] => . ) [displayDate] => 2018-10-13 09:45:17 [tags] => Joomla\CMS\Helper\TagsHelper Object ( [tagsChanged:protected] => [replaceTags:protected] => [typeAlias] => [itemTags] => Array ( ) ) [slug] => 16229:the-demolition-of-the-idol [parent_slug] => 1028:organizzazioni-e-ideali [catslug] => 862:en-surpluses-and-misalignments [event] => stdClass Object ( [afterDisplayTitle] => [beforeDisplayContent] => [afterDisplayContent] => ) [text] =>

Surpluses and misalignments/7 An inexorable effort that affects living people and communities

by Luigino Bruni

published in Avvenire on 17/10/2018

Eccedenze e disallineamenti 07 ridThe ideal of good faith … is, like that of sincerity …, an ideal of being-in-itself. Every belief is a belief that falls short; one never wholly believes what one believes.

J.P. Sartre, Being and Nothingness (English translation by Hazel E. Barnes)

Those who have made faith - any faith, not just religious faith - the foundation of their lives, those who have made it the existential theme of their life and not one theme of the many, live constantly in fear of having founded their lives on deception, of having built an admirable building on nothing. For a long time this fear remains latent, especially when we are young: it appears from time to time and then waves us good-bye to let us live the time of enchantment in full, which is necessary to make our crazy flights possible. But, under the surface, it grows together with faith. Until, in an adult phase of existence, it emerges and imposes itself with an invincible force. It surprises us, it disturbs us a lot and it doesn't let us sleep.

[jcfields] => Array ( ) [type] => intro [oddeven] => item-even )
The Demolition of the Idol

The Demolition of the Idol

Surpluses and misalignments/7 An inexorable effort that affects living people and communities by Luigino Bruni published in Avvenire on 17/10/2018 “The ideal of good faith … is, like that of sincerity …, an ideal of being-in-itself. Every belief is a belief that falls short; one never wholly believe...
stdClass Object
(
    [id] => 16230
    [title] => To learn about heaven we should descend
    [alias] => to-learn-about-heaven-we-should-descend
    [introtext] => 

Surpluses and misalignments/6 - One sees God by looking into the eyes of men and women

by Luigino Bruni

published in Avvenire on 07/10/2018

Eccedenze e disallineamenti 06 ridWith Moses we see the end of the mountaineering of sacred history, which began in reverse, downhill, with Noah who finds himself docked at the top of the Ararat with his basket boat and from there descends with the saved representatives of zoology..."

Erri De Luca, Upside Down (rough translation)

Western civilization was built around the idea of wealth and development - understood as the accumulation of things and as growth. This principle of quantity was then united with the ancestral conviction that purity and perfection are at the top and imperfection at the bottom; that the impure has to do with the earth and with the hands, and the pure with the sky. That the spirit is superior because it isn’t matter, it isn’t body. And so the types of work that touch the earth and make use of the hands are low, impure, worthless, while those that use the intellect are noble, high, spiritual, holy. This archaic vision of good life as "growing upwards" has almost penetrated the entire Bible, despite the hard struggle in which the prophets, the books of wisdom and Jesus have engaged with it. And, with the help of a spirit of Greek philosophy and Gnosticism, we found ourselves in a Middle Ages and so in a very unbiblical modernity, with treaties of mysticism that read spiritual life as a climb of the "beloved mountain", as an accumulation of mystical goods, a fight against the body and the flesh. We have therefore extended the law of upward growth also to spiritual life, imagined as an increase, an ascent and liberation from the body to fly lightly in the sky of the spirit.

[fulltext] =>

But reading spiritual life with the categories of accumulation and estrangement from the earth distances us above all from the heart of the biblical message. And it produces an interesting paradox: at a time when, thanks to the action and thought of good Christians and great Popes, we are struggling to overcome the paradigm of growth and are rediscovering the theological value of the earth and the body, in terms of the spirit we continue to reason with the same categories that we want to overcome. A dangerous and generally neglected misalignment it is. Yet Francis of Assisi began his extraordinary human-spiritual adventure by kissing a leper, and in that kiss there was, perhaps, the most revolutionary and precious message of biblical and Christian humanism. The Bible is a song about the spiritual value of creation, which invites us to find God above all down here, among people and the poor, in his favourite dwelling place. When, at the end of his radical search with no consolation, the wise Qoheleth wanted to tell us where we could find something that was not in vain "under the sun", he pointed to the most ordinary and corporal human activity: «Behold, what I have seen to be good and fitting is to eat and drink” (5:17).

And at the height of salvation history, to say the unthinkable and the impossible, the fourth gospel did not find a truer and more wonderful expression than this: "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us". The logos, the word that was already God, became even more God by becoming a child, "born of a woman" like us, like everyone else. To tell us that if man's dream is to become infinite and omnipotent like God, God's dream is to become finite and powerless like man. Christmas is immense because in that infinite light of the night of Bethlehem there is the same light of the night that envelops a child who is born and by being born, brightens it up. Because if that child in the manger was a real human being (and he certainly was) then every birth is a Christmas, and the purest spiritual act that happens every day on earth is a child that comes to the light from the womb of a woman. We will never stop to understand that when the Gospels told us that the crucified one was still alive beyond death with his body - a different body, but still a body - they left us a human legacy of extraordinary value, which we have squandered in greater part. Because despite Christmas, despite the death and resurrection of Jesus, we continue to think of religion in ways and forms that still focus on pure/impure and low/high dichotomies and on the blessing associated with growth.

Therefore, a logos that became flesh and then was risen with the body contains a radical revolution even in the way we understand the spiritual journey. When one really "climbs" the Carmel Mountains, on the top one does not see more of God and heaven, but one sees more of men and earth. As time passes, religious certainties diminish, but humble knowledge about man increases. But we long for the first days of light and experience the progressive ignorance of God and the depopulation of the sacred landscape as failure and nostalgia. But actually, perhaps we are only doing what we had to do; we are simply becoming what we had to be. Because even though the images that many mystics have used are almost always peaks and mountains, in spiritual life we do not go up: we go down. Paradise is always at the beginning, in the first days of the encounter and of the call, which can also be many and they can last many years. There, in the beginning, the sky opens, there we see the angels going up and down on the ladder of paradise. But then we leave, and life becomes an exit from that first paradise, because the meaning of that open sky was to make us improve the earth of all, not to keep us up there to "consume" that splendid spiritual good. At the same time, we should be very concerned if that first heaven prevents us from loving the earth.

Mountaintops in the Bible are almost always the places of the sanctuaries of Baal and sacred prostitution, which were and are much more numerous than the Sinai type of mountains. The first summit of the Bible is Babel, and the ascent to Tabor was a preparation for the ascent-descent to the underworld of Golgotha. Walking in the spirit is a bending down to earth and not ascending to heaven. It is becoming more human and not more divine, more human beings and not more angels. To discover oneself more and more passionate about all that is alive, about the words and deeds of men and women over the years, to appreciate the ordinary beauty of things. We had left our people by distinguishing ourselves from, and sometimes criticizing or despising the "normal" life of our parents, brothers and comrades; and one day we come back, we look at them, and the desire-prayer arises within us to resemble our grandparents, parents, even the good normality of the old neighbours - because nothing is missing from life.

Spiritual life makes us bless our lives, walk the streets gratefully, being always amazed to be immersed in "things" and among people who live and love us. To value the infinite beauty of the world, to love it to the point of feeling the pain of having to leave it one day. A bad (and worst) kind of sign is, however, to praise the sky and curse the earth, to defend God and condemn people, to feel surrounded by an ocean of evil where the only good oasis is us. It is the descent to earth that tells us that that piece of heaven we saw on that day long ago was neither hallucination nor fiction: it was only the beautiful dowry of the wedding. Every vocation is a word that becomes flesh, an emigrant who leaves heaven for the earth. In the Bible many prophets began their mission with the sky open and a voice calling them by the name. They began in paradise and ended their journey by touching the hell of the world's pain. Samuel, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Paul, Jeremiah and Moses were called in an epiphany of light and words. Then, after leaving paradise, they came down and began their vocational story in search of man. They came down from the dialogue with the voice of Sinai and learned to dialogue with men. They freed slaves and crossed the sea. It is below the mountain that the prophets spoke their most divine-human words. Inside the cisterns, in exile, amidst beatings and persecutions, in the inarticulate cry of the cross.

Isaiah began his mission with the open sky, with angels, words and visions. But when he reached the peak of the maturation of his vocation (ch. 21), he became aware of being a "watchman of the night" who carried out his mission by listening to the men and women who approached him asking: 'watchman, what time of the night?” without knowing the answer. We begin by thinking of offering answers to the questions of others about God, and one day we realize that we are as ignorant as everyone else, but we can offer and receive human companionship. Spiritual journey is a passage from the many discussions about God to the very few words that stop at the threshold. But we don't know, no one tells us and we fight against the misalignments we see growing and the famines of words, because we don't realize that while the words about God are less and less, those about life and men are more and more. Sometimes we forget how to pray to God, but we learn to pray to man. The main and perhaps only sign that spiritual life is flourishing and bearing fruits is to become more capable of humanity (in the - very biblical - metaphor of the tree, the fruits are born on the death of flowers and their colours). An expert in spiritual life is someone who knows how to speak of people's lives above all (of the loves and pains of the human condition) and who speaks very little about God, because he or she has intuited the mystery therein or in order to cure the many religious words spoken daily by those who know God only from "hear-say", and therefore do not know man, either.

During the journey, the intimate dialogues with the voice of the first days are reduced until sometimes they even disappear, because they take the form of the potter's clay, of a jug, of a belt, of a yoke to carry through the streets of the city. The light and the sight of God at the beginning were essential to understand one's place in the world and to start out on the journey. Then there is the light and the view of the earth, and nothing is missing. The first and last gift of a vocation is a different and more human vision of the earth, life and people. We always leave for heaven. But the journey gets blocked if one day we do not understand that the only possibility for us to see God again after the first days lies in the eyes of men and women, the only true image of God available on earth. And so, just when it seems to us that we have failed our task because that face of God we have been looking for appeared more and more distant, we realize that in all those years spent looking into the eyes of men and women we have learned to know God, without knowing it.

download article in pdf 

[checked_out] => 0 [checked_out_time] => 0000-00-00 00:00:00 [catid] => 862 [created] => 2018-10-06 09:45:17 [created_by] => 64 [created_by_alias] => Luigino Bruni [state] => 1 [modified] => 2020-08-23 20:24:03 [modified_by] => 609 [modified_by_name] => Super User [publish_up] => 2018-10-10 09:00:00 [publish_down] => 0000-00-00 00:00:00 [images] => {"image_intro":"","float_intro":"","image_intro_alt":"","image_intro_caption":"","image_fulltext":"","float_fulltext":"","image_fulltext_alt":"","image_fulltext_caption":""} [urls] => {"urla":false,"urlatext":"","targeta":"","urlb":false,"urlbtext":"","targetb":"","urlc":false,"urlctext":"","targetc":""} [attribs] => {"article_layout":"","show_title":"","link_titles":"","show_tags":"","show_intro":"","info_block_position":"","info_block_show_title":"","show_category":"","link_category":"","show_parent_category":"","link_parent_category":"","show_associations":"","show_author":"","link_author":"","show_create_date":"","show_modify_date":"","show_publish_date":"","show_item_navigation":"","show_icons":"","show_print_icon":"","show_email_icon":"","show_vote":"","show_hits":"","show_noauth":"","urls_position":"","alternative_readmore":"","article_page_title":"","show_publishing_options":"","show_article_options":"","show_urls_images_backend":"","show_urls_images_frontend":"","helix_ultimate_image":"images\/2018\/12\/22\/Eccedenze e disallineamenti_06_ant.jpg","helix_ultimate_image_alt_txt":"","helix_ultimate_article_format":"standard","gallery":"","helix_ultimate_audio":"","helix_ultimate_video":"","link_title":"","link_url":"","quote_text":"","quote_author":"","post_status":""} [metadata] => {"robots":"","author":"","rights":"","xreference":""} [metakey] => [metadesc] => The paradigm of "growth" does not only cause damage to the environment and the planet, but also to the anthropological and spiritual spheres. And if man's dream is to become infinite and omnipotent like God, God's dream is to become finite and powerless like man. [access] => 1 [hits] => 1706 [xreference] => [featured] => 1 [language] => en-GB [on_img_default] => [readmore] => 9414 [ordering] => 0 [category_title] => EN - Surpluses and misalignments [category_route] => organizzazioni-e-ideali/it-eccedenze-e-disallineamenti [category_access] => 1 [category_alias] => en-surpluses-and-misalignments [published] => 1 [parents_published] => 1 [lft] => 146 [author] => Luigino Bruni [author_email] => ferrucci.anto@gmail.com [parent_title] => Organizzazioni e Ideali [parent_id] => 1028 [parent_route] => organizzazioni-e-ideali [parent_alias] => organizzazioni-e-ideali [rating] => 0 [rating_count] => 0 [alternative_readmore] => [layout] => [params] => Joomla\Registry\Registry Object ( [data:protected] => stdClass Object ( [article_layout] => _:default [show_title] => 1 [link_titles] => 1 [show_intro] => 1 [info_block_position] => 0 [info_block_show_title] => 1 [show_category] => 1 [link_category] => 1 [show_parent_category] => 1 [link_parent_category] => 1 [show_associations] => 0 [flags] => 1 [show_author] => 0 [link_author] => 0 [show_create_date] => 1 [show_modify_date] => 0 [show_publish_date] => 1 [show_item_navigation] => 1 [show_vote] => 0 [show_readmore] => 0 [show_readmore_title] => 0 [readmore_limit] => 100 [show_tags] => 1 [show_icons] => 1 [show_print_icon] => 1 [show_email_icon] => 1 [show_hits] => 0 [record_hits] => 1 [show_noauth] => 0 [urls_position] => 1 [captcha] => [show_publishing_options] => 1 [show_article_options] => 1 [save_history] => 1 [history_limit] => 10 [show_urls_images_frontend] => 0 [show_urls_images_backend] => 1 [targeta] => 0 [targetb] => 0 [targetc] => 0 [float_intro] => left [float_fulltext] => left [category_layout] => _:blog [show_category_heading_title_text] => 0 [show_category_title] => 0 [show_description] => 0 [show_description_image] => 0 [maxLevel] => 0 [show_empty_categories] => 0 [show_no_articles] => 1 [show_subcat_desc] => 0 [show_cat_num_articles] => 0 [show_cat_tags] => 1 [show_base_description] => 1 [maxLevelcat] => -1 [show_empty_categories_cat] => 0 [show_subcat_desc_cat] => 0 [show_cat_num_articles_cat] => 0 [num_leading_articles] => 0 [num_intro_articles] => 14 [num_columns] => 2 [num_links] => 0 [multi_column_order] => 1 [show_subcategory_content] => -1 [show_pagination_limit] => 1 [filter_field] => hide [show_headings] => 1 [list_show_date] => 0 [date_format] => [list_show_hits] => 1 [list_show_author] => 1 [list_show_votes] => 0 [list_show_ratings] => 0 [orderby_pri] => none [orderby_sec] => rdate [order_date] => published [show_pagination] => 2 [show_pagination_results] => 1 [show_featured] => show [show_feed_link] => 1 [feed_summary] => 0 [feed_show_readmore] => 0 [sef_advanced] => 1 [sef_ids] => 1 [custom_fields_enable] => 1 [show_page_heading] => 0 [layout_type] => blog [menu_text] => 1 [menu_show] => 1 [secure] => 0 [helixultimatemenulayout] => {"width":600,"menualign":"right","megamenu":0,"showtitle":1,"faicon":"","customclass":"","dropdown":"right","badge":"","badge_position":"","badge_bg_color":"","badge_text_color":"","layout":[]} [helixultimate_enable_page_title] => 1 [helixultimate_page_subtitle] => Organizations and Ideals [helixultimate_page_title_heading] => h2 [page_title] => Surpluses and misalignments [page_description] => [page_rights] => [robots] => [access-view] => 1 ) [initialized:protected] => 1 [separator] => . ) [displayDate] => 2018-10-06 09:45:17 [tags] => Joomla\CMS\Helper\TagsHelper Object ( [tagsChanged:protected] => [replaceTags:protected] => [typeAlias] => [itemTags] => Array ( ) ) [slug] => 16230:to-learn-about-heaven-we-should-descend [parent_slug] => 1028:organizzazioni-e-ideali [catslug] => 862:en-surpluses-and-misalignments [event] => stdClass Object ( [afterDisplayTitle] => [beforeDisplayContent] => [afterDisplayContent] => ) [text] =>

Surpluses and misalignments/6 - One sees God by looking into the eyes of men and women

by Luigino Bruni

published in Avvenire on 07/10/2018

Eccedenze e disallineamenti 06 ridWith Moses we see the end of the mountaineering of sacred history, which began in reverse, downhill, with Noah who finds himself docked at the top of the Ararat with his basket boat and from there descends with the saved representatives of zoology..."

Erri De Luca, Upside Down (rough translation)

Western civilization was built around the idea of wealth and development - understood as the accumulation of things and as growth. This principle of quantity was then united with the ancestral conviction that purity and perfection are at the top and imperfection at the bottom; that the impure has to do with the earth and with the hands, and the pure with the sky. That the spirit is superior because it isn’t matter, it isn’t body. And so the types of work that touch the earth and make use of the hands are low, impure, worthless, while those that use the intellect are noble, high, spiritual, holy. This archaic vision of good life as "growing upwards" has almost penetrated the entire Bible, despite the hard struggle in which the prophets, the books of wisdom and Jesus have engaged with it. And, with the help of a spirit of Greek philosophy and Gnosticism, we found ourselves in a Middle Ages and so in a very unbiblical modernity, with treaties of mysticism that read spiritual life as a climb of the "beloved mountain", as an accumulation of mystical goods, a fight against the body and the flesh. We have therefore extended the law of upward growth also to spiritual life, imagined as an increase, an ascent and liberation from the body to fly lightly in the sky of the spirit.

[jcfields] => Array ( ) [type] => intro [oddeven] => item-odd )
To learn about heaven we should descend

To learn about heaven we should descend

Surpluses and misalignments/6 - One sees God by looking into the eyes of men and women by Luigino Bruni published in Avvenire on 07/10/2018 “With Moses we see the end of the mountaineering of sacred history, which began in reverse, downhill, with Noah who finds himself docked at the top of the Arara...
stdClass Object
(
    [id] => 16231
    [title] => Truth Is Not In Success
    [alias] => truth-is-not-in-success
    [introtext] => 

Surpluses and misalignments/5 - Vocation is an experience good and should be "consumed"

by Luigino Bruni

published in Avvenire on 30/09/2018

Eccedenze e disallineamenti 05 ridI am pure, I am pure! These words that the dead of ancient Egypt carried with them as a viaticum for their last journey are perhaps suitable for the mummies of the necropolises, but no living person could pronounce them in good faith.

Vladimir Jankélévitch, The Pure and the Impure (rough translation)

The first and most precious dowry that those who join in a community bring with them is the experience of the voice that called them. The nature of this wonderful dialogue, made up of a few words and a lot of body, is the spiritual fingerprint of the person. It is formed in the "mother's womb" and then does not change for the rest of one's life. Even if there are wounds, the skin grows again with the same unique and unrepeatable characteristics. And it is not unusual that when we met a person in the time of their first vocational encounter and then again after decades: although they have changed a lot, before recognizing them in their changed somatic traits we recognize them from the spiritual imprint that has remained in them beyond the events that have transformed their body and soul. Indeed, we can become very different, sometimes even very ugly, but that imprint is there, it will be there in us until the end, and even if we decide to cancel it or remove it through surgery, it remains tenaciously, waiting for us faithfully, being more faithful than us.

[fulltext] =>

True vocations are never abstract: "Go to the land that I will show you”; "Go and free my people enslaved in Egypt”. There is nothing more concrete than a vocation - and when it is abstract it is almost never authentic. Your calling is not to art in general, but to poetry - you are an artist because you are a poet, not vice versa. Your calling is not to become a nun, but to become a Salesian sister - even if sometimes it takes a little time to understand it.

In vocations, in all true vocations, everything is in the voice. It is an auditory event. There is a real, mysterious and very concrete experience of a voice that calls and speaks to us and asks us to do something. A vocation is this dialogue between voices: the one that calls and the one that responds to it or that of the community that welcomes it. There is almost never certainty about who is calling, only about the presence of a voice. It is a plural voice that never calls us to become just one thing. It calls amidst life’s ordinary conditions, with all its beauties, contradictions and wounds. Some who marry are no less fascinated by mysticism and spirituality than some cloistered nuns. Those whom the voice asks to be a celibate do not have a different psychological structure than those who marry. They have, on average, the same desires, the same passions, the same eros of all. They were not called because they had an anthropological predisposition for chastity or obedience: they were called and that's it, without prior motivational and aptitude interviews. And it is not true that the voice that calls also provides the means to be able to carry out the task that it asks for. It would be too simple, and therefore trivial and not true - these things happen when it comes to company assignments, but not when carrying out our assignment for the world. Inadequacy is the ordinary condition of every vocation, and perhaps of every honest person.

Thus, among those who have received an authentic vocation, there are some balanced and some neurotic people, there are healthy and sick, holy and sinful ones: generally they aren’t any wiser or more intelligent than the average population. Sometimes the honest response to a vocation makes people acquire some virtues over time and people improve ethically, at other times not. These calls coexist with and within chronic illnesses, depressions, accidents, wounds, and some people remain nailed to crosses on an eternal Good Friday and await a resurrection that does not come at all. In the best communities there are some people who are brought to spirituality and others who are not, some who love long prayers, some who do not love them at all. Others who started with great religious needs and after decades found themselves with a vocation that became a civil commitment among the poor, where learning to listen to the voices of the victims forgot the timbre of the first voice - to discover at the end that the voice of the first meeting has got lost because it has become the voice of the pain of others.

This biodiversity of the population of communities raises important, sometimes decisive, questions about the processes of selection and discernment.

The only authentic and essential discernment that would serve at the dawn of a call is to ascertain the presence of the voice that is calling, which tends to be confused with other voices that, at a young age, are very similar to it. But the "masters" capable of these discoveries are very rare, today more than yesterday. And so, in the inability to find the only true indicator of the authenticity of a vocation, some secondary criteria are used to capture secondary and accidental aspects, but not the vocation. This inauspicious outcome depends entirely on the - nowadays deeply-rooted - idea that the pre-conditions of the call must be sought in people. We tend to seek (in the context of consecrated life, for example) presumed predispositions for chastity, for community life, or perhaps for obedience. As if it was possible to identify an abstract attitude for community before really living in a concrete community, or for chastity forgetting that the experience of chastity at forty or fifty years old is radically different from that imagined at twenty, in the age of enchantment.

Vocations are always "experience goods", that is, goods whose true value can only be known after they have been "consumed". We begin a journey with the idea of vocation, and until we are inside a vocational experience we know almost nothing about our concrete vocation. That is why every true vocational experience is tragic, because it carries the possibility of its failure within itself. Among those who leave an ideal-driven community there are not only those who have been "wrong about their vocation". There are also many who had a true call, but in the experience they have gone through they have understood that they could not live in the concrete condition in which that call placed them existentially - because of their own weaknesses or because of community neuroses and errors of government. Therefore, the failure of a concrete vocational experience does not say much about the presence or absence of a true call at the beginning. There are people who remain, feeling very well within a vocational experience for the whole of their lives without ever having had a vocation, and others who leave even though they had a true call that accompanies them throughout their lives. Just as there are communities saved by reformers who had ugly characters and great weaknesses, but had simply been called.

However, if in order to prevent failures (a noble and dutiful intention) we try to identify the psychological or character-related predispositions of the people who have been called, and we neglect to understand if at the beginning there was a true vocational experience, we prevent people with weaknesses but a calling, too, to be able to occupy their place in the world, even when this place seriously risks, because of those weaknesses, to be uncomfortable and painful, even to have to deal with failure. Because no one can know, either before or after the event, the spiritual and moral value of a year, ten or thirty years lived trying to be faithful to a true call, even when that experience was interrupted, sometimes by the errors and wickedness of those around and above us. Something very similar happens in every marriage experience: if there was a real call at the beginning, the love we felt for each other, the children we gave birth to remain a blessing even if we have not been able to live together forever. At the same time, there are also some existences lived without traumas and failures the reason for which may be that we followed only the incentives and interests, and at the beginning of these there was no real voice. Success is not the indicator of the truth of an existence - even here the prophets are our eternal and infinite masters. It is the truth of what we are living and what we have lived that says the value of an experience and a life.

We must not make the cognitive error of "peak-end effects" in the evaluation of our existential experiences. We make these mistakes when, for example, we listen to a symphony with the old vinyl, and after an hour of listening to Beethoven, towards the end, the record is damaged and starts to make ugly and annoying sounds. Generally, when we evaluate that experience we forget the hour of heavenly music and extend the last-minute nuisance (the end) to the whole listening experience, expressing a negative opinion on the whole event. In fact, we had a wonderful hour and a strenuous ending. The beauty and truth of years spent kindly following a real voice are not to be measured by the unhappy final "minute", by the damaged record or by the old, broken record player. No one can and must ruin the truth and the beauty of having spent that first hour in Beethoven’s company.

When, on the other hand, we look for vocational signs in character and personality, we end up identifying predisposed people who, however, are almost never those called by a real voice, but attracted by the sociological aspects of the vocational profession. Because if to enter communities it is the people who love community life very much and/or do not have the same affective desires as everyone else, have less eros and human passions than others, then we end up with communities poor in terms of anthropological normality, having little biodiversity and generativity. In such communities people are too similar and have a "reduced humanity" because they have already entered similar and reduced - but life is generous, and even if we entered a community with the wrong motivations we can always receive a true call until the last day, provided that we really desire to be called by name on the day before.

In ideal-driven communities we are together because each one of us is called. One does not enter because we like the notion of we, but because we say yes to a you. In Galilee no community was created because the apostles were attracted by some form of common life or a state of life - and we don't know if Peter or Judas was the one more sociologically and psychologically predisposed for community life. The most lively and true community experiences almost always happen among people who would not have the ideal character traits to live together, but it is there, among them that an authentic, improbable fraternity flourishes, which has the capacity to convert and generate. Communities formed by people who are all equally attracted to the community itself almost always become communities that attract no one - communities with little biodiversity do not go beyond the second generation.

Many painters did not know painting techniques the day they received their vocation. They learned the techniques later but were already artists. You can learn community life, you can even learn to live in poverty and chastity, but you can't learn a vocation. You can only listen to it, and then begin the journey.

download article in pdf

[checked_out] => 0 [checked_out_time] => 0000-00-00 00:00:00 [catid] => 862 [created] => 2018-09-30 09:45:17 [created_by] => 64 [created_by_alias] => Luigino Bruni [state] => 1 [modified] => 2020-08-23 20:24:03 [modified_by] => 609 [modified_by_name] => Super User [publish_up] => 2018-10-05 06:45:17 [publish_down] => 0000-00-00 00:00:00 [images] => {"image_intro":"","float_intro":"","image_intro_alt":"","image_intro_caption":"","image_fulltext":"","float_fulltext":"","image_fulltext_alt":"","image_fulltext_caption":""} [urls] => {"urla":false,"urlatext":"","targeta":"","urlb":false,"urlbtext":"","targetb":"","urlc":false,"urlctext":"","targetc":""} [attribs] => {"article_layout":"","show_title":"","link_titles":"","show_tags":"","show_intro":"","info_block_position":"","info_block_show_title":"","show_category":"","link_category":"","show_parent_category":"","link_parent_category":"","show_associations":"","show_author":"","link_author":"","show_create_date":"","show_modify_date":"","show_publish_date":"","show_item_navigation":"","show_icons":"","show_print_icon":"","show_email_icon":"","show_vote":"","show_hits":"","show_noauth":"","urls_position":"","alternative_readmore":"","article_page_title":"","show_publishing_options":"","show_article_options":"","show_urls_images_backend":"","show_urls_images_frontend":"","helix_ultimate_image":"images\/2018\/10\/31\/Eccedenze e disallineamenti_05.jpg","helix_ultimate_image_alt_txt":"","helix_ultimate_article_format":"standard","gallery":"","helix_ultimate_audio":"","helix_ultimate_video":"","link_title":"","link_url":"","quote_text":"","quote_author":"","post_status":""} [metadata] => {"robots":"","author":"","rights":"","xreference":""} [metakey] => [metadesc] => To understand a vocation the only thing that really matters is the existence of the voice that is calling. All too often, however, secondary criteria are used that lead communities to select the wrong people.  [access] => 1 [hits] => 1661 [xreference] => [featured] => 1 [language] => en-GB [on_img_default] => [readmore] => 10589 [ordering] => 1 [category_title] => EN - Surpluses and misalignments [category_route] => organizzazioni-e-ideali/it-eccedenze-e-disallineamenti [category_access] => 1 [category_alias] => en-surpluses-and-misalignments [published] => 1 [parents_published] => 1 [lft] => 146 [author] => Luigino Bruni [author_email] => ferrucci.anto@gmail.com [parent_title] => Organizzazioni e Ideali [parent_id] => 1028 [parent_route] => organizzazioni-e-ideali [parent_alias] => organizzazioni-e-ideali [rating] => 0 [rating_count] => 0 [alternative_readmore] => [layout] => [params] => Joomla\Registry\Registry Object ( [data:protected] => stdClass Object ( [article_layout] => _:default [show_title] => 1 [link_titles] => 1 [show_intro] => 1 [info_block_position] => 0 [info_block_show_title] => 1 [show_category] => 1 [link_category] => 1 [show_parent_category] => 1 [link_parent_category] => 1 [show_associations] => 0 [flags] => 1 [show_author] => 0 [link_author] => 0 [show_create_date] => 1 [show_modify_date] => 0 [show_publish_date] => 1 [show_item_navigation] => 1 [show_vote] => 0 [show_readmore] => 0 [show_readmore_title] => 0 [readmore_limit] => 100 [show_tags] => 1 [show_icons] => 1 [show_print_icon] => 1 [show_email_icon] => 1 [show_hits] => 0 [record_hits] => 1 [show_noauth] => 0 [urls_position] => 1 [captcha] => [show_publishing_options] => 1 [show_article_options] => 1 [save_history] => 1 [history_limit] => 10 [show_urls_images_frontend] => 0 [show_urls_images_backend] => 1 [targeta] => 0 [targetb] => 0 [targetc] => 0 [float_intro] => left [float_fulltext] => left [category_layout] => _:blog [show_category_heading_title_text] => 0 [show_category_title] => 0 [show_description] => 0 [show_description_image] => 0 [maxLevel] => 0 [show_empty_categories] => 0 [show_no_articles] => 1 [show_subcat_desc] => 0 [show_cat_num_articles] => 0 [show_cat_tags] => 1 [show_base_description] => 1 [maxLevelcat] => -1 [show_empty_categories_cat] => 0 [show_subcat_desc_cat] => 0 [show_cat_num_articles_cat] => 0 [num_leading_articles] => 0 [num_intro_articles] => 14 [num_columns] => 2 [num_links] => 0 [multi_column_order] => 1 [show_subcategory_content] => -1 [show_pagination_limit] => 1 [filter_field] => hide [show_headings] => 1 [list_show_date] => 0 [date_format] => [list_show_hits] => 1 [list_show_author] => 1 [list_show_votes] => 0 [list_show_ratings] => 0 [orderby_pri] => none [orderby_sec] => rdate [order_date] => published [show_pagination] => 2 [show_pagination_results] => 1 [show_featured] => show [show_feed_link] => 1 [feed_summary] => 0 [feed_show_readmore] => 0 [sef_advanced] => 1 [sef_ids] => 1 [custom_fields_enable] => 1 [show_page_heading] => 0 [layout_type] => blog [menu_text] => 1 [menu_show] => 1 [secure] => 0 [helixultimatemenulayout] => {"width":600,"menualign":"right","megamenu":0,"showtitle":1,"faicon":"","customclass":"","dropdown":"right","badge":"","badge_position":"","badge_bg_color":"","badge_text_color":"","layout":[]} [helixultimate_enable_page_title] => 1 [helixultimate_page_subtitle] => Organizations and Ideals [helixultimate_page_title_heading] => h2 [page_title] => Surpluses and misalignments [page_description] => [page_rights] => [robots] => [access-view] => 1 ) [initialized:protected] => 1 [separator] => . ) [displayDate] => 2018-09-30 09:45:17 [tags] => Joomla\CMS\Helper\TagsHelper Object ( [tagsChanged:protected] => [replaceTags:protected] => [typeAlias] => [itemTags] => Array ( ) ) [slug] => 16231:truth-is-not-in-success [parent_slug] => 1028:organizzazioni-e-ideali [catslug] => 862:en-surpluses-and-misalignments [event] => stdClass Object ( [afterDisplayTitle] => [beforeDisplayContent] => [afterDisplayContent] => ) [text] =>

Surpluses and misalignments/5 - Vocation is an experience good and should be "consumed"

by Luigino Bruni

published in Avvenire on 30/09/2018

Eccedenze e disallineamenti 05 ridI am pure, I am pure! These words that the dead of ancient Egypt carried with them as a viaticum for their last journey are perhaps suitable for the mummies of the necropolises, but no living person could pronounce them in good faith.

Vladimir Jankélévitch, The Pure and the Impure (rough translation)

The first and most precious dowry that those who join in a community bring with them is the experience of the voice that called them. The nature of this wonderful dialogue, made up of a few words and a lot of body, is the spiritual fingerprint of the person. It is formed in the "mother's womb" and then does not change for the rest of one's life. Even if there are wounds, the skin grows again with the same unique and unrepeatable characteristics. And it is not unusual that when we met a person in the time of their first vocational encounter and then again after decades: although they have changed a lot, before recognizing them in their changed somatic traits we recognize them from the spiritual imprint that has remained in them beyond the events that have transformed their body and soul. Indeed, we can become very different, sometimes even very ugly, but that imprint is there, it will be there in us until the end, and even if we decide to cancel it or remove it through surgery, it remains tenaciously, waiting for us faithfully, being more faithful than us.

[jcfields] => Array ( ) [type] => intro [oddeven] => item-even )
Truth Is Not In Success

Truth Is Not In Success

Surpluses and misalignments/5 - Vocation is an experience good and should be "consumed" by Luigino Bruni published in Avvenire on 30/09/2018 “I am pure, I am pure! These words that the dead of ancient Egypt carried with them as a viaticum for their last journey are perhaps suitable for the mummies o...
stdClass Object
(
    [id] => 16232
    [title] => Mystery is Not a Profession
    [alias] => mystery-is-not-a-profession
    [introtext] => 

Surpluses and misalignments/4 - Follow the naked voice, docile to the hand covering the eyes

by Luigino Bruni

published in Avvenire on 23/09/2018

Eccedenze e disallineamenti 04 ridThe Master said, »At fifteen I set my heart upon learning. At thirty, I had planted my feet firm upon the ground. At forty, I no longer suffered from perplexities. At fifty, I knew what were the biddings of Heaven. At sixty, I heard them with docile ear. At seventy, I could follow the dictates of my own heart; for what I desired no longer overstepped the boundaries of right.«

Confucius Quotes

Ideal and spiritual communities can hope to become authentic places of human blossoming if they manage to walk on the brink of their own disintegration. When, on the other hand, the fear of the possibility of one's own end becomes too strong and prevails, the life of the members withers due to a serious lack of air and sky. Only the ridges of the high altitudes allow the view of landscapes that are wide enough to (almost) satisfy the desire for infinity that pushes people with a "vocation" to offer their lives to communities to which they entrust essential pieces of their freedom and interiority. But as soon as the caravan loses altitude in search of safe bivouacs where to fix the tents, the places and horizons immediately become too narrow: we just have to dismantle the camp quickly and resume climbing. On the ridges there is a risk of slipping and falling, but it’s only from there that you can touch the sky. Many communities have become extinct simply because they tried to make their people really live (and, sometimes, a sprout reappears rising again from the broken trunk); others have survived because they have never begun to live daring a full life. Christianity was born out of the disintegration of its first community. Jesus saved his own because he did not "save" them by bringing them to safe and well-guarded places. He slipped into the underworld, and it was from there, in the amazement of all, that he began his resurrection.

[fulltext] =>

In ideal-driven communities something similar happens to what we live with our sons and daughters. In the morning we secretly watch them put their ties or blouses on in front of the mirror. We are proud of their beauty and goodness, and happy to let them go, and they never cease to amaze us when we see them return every night. Because we know that one day they won't come back, but if we really let them go, we can hope that in another day they really will. Families and communities die when the fear of the possible non-return of those close to us takes away the joy of seeing them leave in the morning, reducing the pride felt about their beauty to the point of perverting it in jealousy. To try to stay in the high and luminous trajectories, a decisive operation is the custody of the difference between the ideal community and the ideal of the community. In other words, everything should be done so that the person who arrives because of a call does not identify the ideals that attract them and seduce them with the community itself and with its practices. However, it is all too common for ideal-driven communities and organizations (IDO-s) to present themselves as the perfect incarnation of the ideals that inspire and animate them. That’s because the temptation of the community to present itself to its members as the ideal to live and follow is too strong. Also because the ideal-community identification is very much appreciated by both people and the community, especially in the early stages - but it is at the very beginning that we should act in a persistent direction and contrary to the "natural" one.

So it happens that instead of marking and maintaining the surplus of the ideal of the community over its practices, the IDO-s operationalize their "charisma" in a set of actions, rites, liturgies, individual and collective rules. We are all convinced, and all of us in good faith, that the rules, regulations and practices are the perfect certified copy of the ideal; that the way, the only sure way to make the encounter with the voice calling us yesterday concrete today is to follow those rules and practices, sine glossa. The founders and communities make this perfect translation because they believe that without the operationalisation of ideals their community will have no future. They gradually eliminate the surplus of the ideal over the community, and so without wanting or knowing it, they actually prevent the charisma from continuing to work new things in the future, because novelty flourishes only from the wounds/embrasures of the surplus-discards between ideals and their historical translation - the unintended effects are always the decisive ones in collective experiences. When this surplus is gone, the free and infinite spirit becomes a technique. The "what is it?” - that is, the exclamation of the heart that comes every time we come across the manna (man hu: what is it?) in the desert of a spiritual event of salvation - becomes: "how does it work?", "how do I realise it?", "how do I put it into practice?”. The first encounter that generated the desire to know who and what that marvellous voice was progressively turns into a repertoire of good practices and rules to follow in order to remain "faithful". Also because communities cannot be born without some translation of the charisma into practice, but this translation itself risks silencing the charisma that generated them. A paradoxical tension, which is vital and always decisive.

All this is very well known to Biblical Humanism. The Bible has done almost everything possible to distinguish YHWH from the Law and the word of the prophets who spoke in his name (without always succeeding). But if the Bible had lost this overflow of God over its words, it would have used the word as a string to trap God, reducing him to an idol (every idolatry, even the "secular" ones, is a double string: men who bind the divinity and the divinity that, once transformed into an idol, binds its worshippers-glamorizers). The words of Scripture can generate other true words because they are the sacrament of a reality the mystery of which they do not know. Biblical humanism has succeeded in saving this surplus thanks to the prophets. Similarly to them, the founders of charismatic communities are called to be the first guardians of the surplus of the charisma over the words of the charisma. But when ideals come to coincide with the whole of the community practices, the free interior space is progressively reduced in individuals. And the first desire to know what and who the mystery we had encountered was gradually becomes a simple profession.

All this has very concrete and sometimes dramatic existential consequences. Many members of IDO-s go into deep crisis when they realize that although they are surrounded by practices and words that only and always talk about spirituality and ideality, in fact they no longer know what inner life and spirituality really is. And it is not uncommon for people who started out in them as youth with a great thirst for spirituality to discover themselves impoverished as adults - in precisely what should have represented their distinctive trait and the ideal of their lives. They can no longer say true and wise words to anyone, not even to themselves. When someone meets them, they find themselves in front of a profession, of technical answers without the specific competence in the spirit that only the practice of freedom can generate in an inhabited heart. They find that what they possess is an ideal that has become ethical and practical, that no longer speaks of spirituality, or life, or God. The cancellation of surpluses between the God of the community and the community because it was presented as the perfect incarnation of that God cancelled the inner and most secret space where the inner life is cultivated and nourished. And after talking about spirituality for many years, they suddenly find themselves in a neo-atheistic condition. They feel that they have only used techniques, they have remained on the surface of true inner life for a lack of freedom and breath. Because once the words of the community are extinguished, they can no longer speak to God, or of God, or to their own hearts - a dramatic discovery, which often produces infinite anger and pain, but which can sometimes become a great blessing if a resurrection begins in that hell. Still others, and these are the saddest and most common cases, continue to live until the end, identifying themselves with the profession without ever realizing that they have lost contact with the spirituality that once attracted them.

Communities live and make people live well if they help their people never to lose the dialogue about "who are you?”. If they leave them free spaces for the soul and life to fill (never completely) with personalized dialogues that feed the questions and reduce the simple and equal answers for all. Because the real voices calling us know only the "you" of the second person singular: collective nouns do not work for these very serious things. They only work if they free themselves from the practices and the Law to allow everyone the freedom to know and follow the spirit that speaks to everyone in a different language. Community practices are only good if they coexist with individual ones, born of different words whispered by the same ideal-charisma, every day, to everyone, in an essential biodiversity. But all this is extremely dangerous and therefore very rare. Always there is the fear that the best people and the ones most attracted by the peaks slip from the ridge; that they become so free that they do not come back home in the evening, that they sleep in mountain huts to venture on new solitary climbs of the mountains of youth at dawn. And so, almost always, communities fill all inner spaces, they crowd the landscape, and find themselves with people who are less alive and fruitful but safer and more aligned - who feel great as young people, but bad as adults and old people.

These processes are mostly inevitable and tend to happen in every community’s life. Including families, where after the early days of falling in love dominated by "who are you?", we soon move on to "how does it work? But, as we know very well, families don't work anymore if the questions don't come back every now and then: "Who are you?", "Who am I?", "What have we become?". Moses, the man who spoke to YHWH "mouth to mouth", never saw the face of God. He knew and recognized his voice, but not his face. Once, once only, at the height of a wonderful dialogue with the voice, Moses asked for the impossible: “Show me your glory!”. YHWH answered him, “I will cover you with my hand until I have passed by. Then I will take away my hand, and you shall see my back, but my face shall not be seen” (33:21-23). Communities must learn to be docile under the hand of their own ideals covering their eyes. To be content with the naked voice. To know that in those very rare times when the hand is removed they can only see the back. The practices, the rules, the objects of the community "cult" are only copies of the back of the ideal seen in some very special moment of light. But the face, the intimacy and the light of the eyes remain and must remain mystery and desire, and, above all, must not be confused with the back. When Mary Magdalene, in tears, met the Risen One, she did not recognize his face: she recognized a voice calling her by name.

Download article in pdf

[checked_out] => 0 [checked_out_time] => 0000-00-00 00:00:00 [catid] => 862 [created] => 2018-09-23 09:45:17 [created_by] => 64 [created_by_alias] => Luigino Bruni [state] => 1 [modified] => 2020-08-23 20:24:03 [modified_by] => 609 [modified_by_name] => Super User [publish_up] => 2018-09-26 09:45:17 [publish_down] => 0000-00-00 00:00:00 [images] => {"image_intro":"","float_intro":"","image_intro_alt":"","image_intro_caption":"","image_fulltext":"","float_fulltext":"","image_fulltext_alt":"","image_fulltext_caption":""} [urls] => {"urla":false,"urlatext":"","targeta":"","urlb":false,"urlbtext":"","targetb":"","urlc":false,"urlctext":"","targetc":""} [attribs] => {"article_layout":"","show_title":"","link_titles":"","show_tags":"","show_intro":"","info_block_position":"","info_block_show_title":"","show_category":"","link_category":"","show_parent_category":"","link_parent_category":"","show_associations":"","show_author":"","link_author":"","show_create_date":"","show_modify_date":"","show_publish_date":"","show_item_navigation":"","show_icons":"","show_print_icon":"","show_email_icon":"","show_vote":"","show_hits":"","show_noauth":"","urls_position":"","alternative_readmore":"","article_page_title":"","show_publishing_options":"","show_article_options":"","show_urls_images_backend":"","show_urls_images_frontend":"","helix_ultimate_image":"images\/2018\/10\/31\/Eccedenze e disallineamenti_04.jpg","helix_ultimate_image_alt_txt":"","helix_ultimate_article_format":"standard","gallery":"","helix_ultimate_audio":"","helix_ultimate_video":"","link_title":"","link_url":"","quote_text":"","quote_author":"","post_status":""} [metadata] => {"robots":"","author":"","rights":"","xreference":""} [metakey] => [metadesc] => Communities and families have a strong and natural tendency to move from "who are you?" to "how does it work?". Life in ideal-driven organizations is good as long as there is a surplus between the ideals of the community and the ideal community. But it is all very difficult. [access] => 1 [hits] => 1652 [xreference] => [featured] => 1 [language] => en-GB [on_img_default] => [readmore] => 9822 [ordering] => 1 [category_title] => EN - Surpluses and misalignments [category_route] => organizzazioni-e-ideali/it-eccedenze-e-disallineamenti [category_access] => 1 [category_alias] => en-surpluses-and-misalignments [published] => 1 [parents_published] => 1 [lft] => 146 [author] => Luigino Bruni [author_email] => ferrucci.anto@gmail.com [parent_title] => Organizzazioni e Ideali [parent_id] => 1028 [parent_route] => organizzazioni-e-ideali [parent_alias] => organizzazioni-e-ideali [rating] => 0 [rating_count] => 0 [alternative_readmore] => [layout] => [params] => Joomla\Registry\Registry Object ( [data:protected] => stdClass Object ( [article_layout] => _:default [show_title] => 1 [link_titles] => 1 [show_intro] => 1 [info_block_position] => 0 [info_block_show_title] => 1 [show_category] => 1 [link_category] => 1 [show_parent_category] => 1 [link_parent_category] => 1 [show_associations] => 0 [flags] => 1 [show_author] => 0 [link_author] => 0 [show_create_date] => 1 [show_modify_date] => 0 [show_publish_date] => 1 [show_item_navigation] => 1 [show_vote] => 0 [show_readmore] => 0 [show_readmore_title] => 0 [readmore_limit] => 100 [show_tags] => 1 [show_icons] => 1 [show_print_icon] => 1 [show_email_icon] => 1 [show_hits] => 0 [record_hits] => 1 [show_noauth] => 0 [urls_position] => 1 [captcha] => [show_publishing_options] => 1 [show_article_options] => 1 [save_history] => 1 [history_limit] => 10 [show_urls_images_frontend] => 0 [show_urls_images_backend] => 1 [targeta] => 0 [targetb] => 0 [targetc] => 0 [float_intro] => left [float_fulltext] => left [category_layout] => _:blog [show_category_heading_title_text] => 0 [show_category_title] => 0 [show_description] => 0 [show_description_image] => 0 [maxLevel] => 0 [show_empty_categories] => 0 [show_no_articles] => 1 [show_subcat_desc] => 0 [show_cat_num_articles] => 0 [show_cat_tags] => 1 [show_base_description] => 1 [maxLevelcat] => -1 [show_empty_categories_cat] => 0 [show_subcat_desc_cat] => 0 [show_cat_num_articles_cat] => 0 [num_leading_articles] => 0 [num_intro_articles] => 14 [num_columns] => 2 [num_links] => 0 [multi_column_order] => 1 [show_subcategory_content] => -1 [show_pagination_limit] => 1 [filter_field] => hide [show_headings] => 1 [list_show_date] => 0 [date_format] => [list_show_hits] => 1 [list_show_author] => 1 [list_show_votes] => 0 [list_show_ratings] => 0 [orderby_pri] => none [orderby_sec] => rdate [order_date] => published [show_pagination] => 2 [show_pagination_results] => 1 [show_featured] => show [show_feed_link] => 1 [feed_summary] => 0 [feed_show_readmore] => 0 [sef_advanced] => 1 [sef_ids] => 1 [custom_fields_enable] => 1 [show_page_heading] => 0 [layout_type] => blog [menu_text] => 1 [menu_show] => 1 [secure] => 0 [helixultimatemenulayout] => {"width":600,"menualign":"right","megamenu":0,"showtitle":1,"faicon":"","customclass":"","dropdown":"right","badge":"","badge_position":"","badge_bg_color":"","badge_text_color":"","layout":[]} [helixultimate_enable_page_title] => 1 [helixultimate_page_subtitle] => Organizations and Ideals [helixultimate_page_title_heading] => h2 [page_title] => Surpluses and misalignments [page_description] => [page_rights] => [robots] => [access-view] => 1 ) [initialized:protected] => 1 [separator] => . ) [displayDate] => 2018-09-23 09:45:17 [tags] => Joomla\CMS\Helper\TagsHelper Object ( [tagsChanged:protected] => [replaceTags:protected] => [typeAlias] => [itemTags] => Array ( ) ) [slug] => 16232:mystery-is-not-a-profession [parent_slug] => 1028:organizzazioni-e-ideali [catslug] => 862:en-surpluses-and-misalignments [event] => stdClass Object ( [afterDisplayTitle] => [beforeDisplayContent] => [afterDisplayContent] => ) [text] =>

Surpluses and misalignments/4 - Follow the naked voice, docile to the hand covering the eyes

by Luigino Bruni

published in Avvenire on 23/09/2018

Eccedenze e disallineamenti 04 ridThe Master said, »At fifteen I set my heart upon learning. At thirty, I had planted my feet firm upon the ground. At forty, I no longer suffered from perplexities. At fifty, I knew what were the biddings of Heaven. At sixty, I heard them with docile ear. At seventy, I could follow the dictates of my own heart; for what I desired no longer overstepped the boundaries of right.«

Confucius Quotes

Ideal and spiritual communities can hope to become authentic places of human blossoming if they manage to walk on the brink of their own disintegration. When, on the other hand, the fear of the possibility of one's own end becomes too strong and prevails, the life of the members withers due to a serious lack of air and sky. Only the ridges of the high altitudes allow the view of landscapes that are wide enough to (almost) satisfy the desire for infinity that pushes people with a "vocation" to offer their lives to communities to which they entrust essential pieces of their freedom and interiority. But as soon as the caravan loses altitude in search of safe bivouacs where to fix the tents, the places and horizons immediately become too narrow: we just have to dismantle the camp quickly and resume climbing. On the ridges there is a risk of slipping and falling, but it’s only from there that you can touch the sky. Many communities have become extinct simply because they tried to make their people really live (and, sometimes, a sprout reappears rising again from the broken trunk); others have survived because they have never begun to live daring a full life. Christianity was born out of the disintegration of its first community. Jesus saved his own because he did not "save" them by bringing them to safe and well-guarded places. He slipped into the underworld, and it was from there, in the amazement of all, that he began his resurrection.

[jcfields] => Array ( ) [type] => intro [oddeven] => item-odd )
Mystery is Not a Profession

Mystery is Not a Profession

Surpluses and misalignments/4 - Follow the naked voice, docile to the hand covering the eyes by Luigino Bruni published in Avvenire on 23/09/2018 “The Master said, »At fifteen I set my heart upon learning. At thirty, I had planted my feet firm upon the ground. At forty, I no longer suffered fro...
stdClass Object
(
    [id] => 16233
    [title] => The blessing of the acorns
    [alias] => the-blessing-of-the-acorns
    [introtext] => 

Surpluses and misalignments/3 - You may leave as a son and return as a father and mother

by Luigino Bruni

published in Avvenire on 16/09/2018

Eccedenze e disallineamenti 03 ridHe had the docility of wood. He was no longer a walking tree, as the blind man of Bethsaida had revealed to him, now he was planted in the ground and all his steps taken ended there with his feet joined and arms wide open like branches. Golgotha is a skinned hill, without vegetation. On its top now a man-tree sprang, grafted in blood.

Erri De Luca, Indagine su un falegname (“A Study on a Carpenter”; rough translation)

Throughout their existence, people develop many more dimensions than those useful to the community in which they live and grow. Because the "task" we have to perform in the world always exceeds the institutional mission of our organization or community, which remains smaller, however great and extraordinary it may be. No institution is bigger than a single person, because while the collective intelligence of a group or community can solve cognitive problems that are much more complex and richer than those that the individual intelligence can see and think about, the soul of a person is increasingly more complex and richer than the "soul" of the community.

[fulltext] =>

Because of this very deep mystery and immense dignity, a person who receives a vocation and sets out on a journey is called to make the whole world a better place, not just that portion of land circumscribed by the confines of his or her community. His or her branches go beyond the garden of the house, spreading spores and seeds that sprout up if they remain free, carried by the wind. When, on the other hand, the community that generates and cares for a vocation wants to become its sole master, and therefore cuts off the branches that go beyond the hedges surrounding the yard, people end up being consumed by their community, in objectively incestuous relationships even when everything is animated only by good intentions. The necessary pruning of the branches must not become an amputation of someone’s vocational profile.

Consumption for internal use is all the more probable if the person is wonderful and full of talent, because it is not easy to understand that this beauty and wealth can live and grow only if given freely and generously. A Franciscan brother comes into the world to make the human family better, not only the Franciscan family, and he will be able to make Franciscanism better if he is left free to do some other things as well. Our place in the world does not coincide with the place in which we live.

The concrete possibility of leaving is therefore essential for those who depart, but also for those who remain, because the "grandchildren" and the future depend substantially on this organizational chastity and generosity (parents who consume their children never become grandparents). This is true in every form of community, even in a cloistered convent, where the experience of taking leave is no less radical because, almost always, it is completely interior. 

There are many forms of leaving and returning, as many as there are forms that an existential journey may take in each person - infinite, therefore. Sometimes what appears to us and others as a departure (whether physical or spiritual) is actually remaining calm and warm inside the house; at other times it is only after much time that we realize that we left and returned thinking we never moved either in our body or at heart - we were left alone because we were afraid to leave, we had stopped believing in the promise, we had become atheists even though continuing to say the usual prayers. Because life would be too simple and very boring if things responded to the names we give them. They surprise and even floor us, they love to play hide and seek with us. Climbing up on a mountain we hardly ever know if we are coming to Tabor or Golgotha, if there are three tents or three crosses waiting for us on top. It is only as we embrace a cross, ours or that of others, that we discover that that wood releases the same smell as our father's carpentry workshop; and it is there we understand that we worked in that dusty workshop for many years only to recognize the same smell of home in that last smell, that of Joseph and Mary's clothes.

Biblical wisdom gives us some paradigms of departure and return, which trace some anthropological and spiritual coordinates within which some of our concrete experiences can be placed.

A first model is found in the history of Jonah. This prophet receives a call from God to carry out a task, to go and prophesy in the city of Nineveh. But Jonah ran away in the diametrically opposite direction and embarked on a ship to Tarsis. The story doesn’t tell us why Jonah escapes. What interests us is why he returns. In fact, while escaping, knowing that he is fleeing his vocation, Jonah has a decisive experience that will bring him back. God unleashes a strong storm on the sea, and the ship is about to sink. Jonah doesn't notice the storm and sleeps, and then he tells the sailors: “Pick me up and hurl me into the sea... for I know it is because of me that this great tempest has come upon you” (1:12). Jonah feels that the cause of the misfortune that is hitting the ship is his departure. He asks to be thrown into the sea, he is saved (thanks to the whale), and returns to his task. It’s a tale of stunning human depth, and therefore it is often not understood.

One form of return is that of Jonah. We all leave and run away because at certain times we can't help but leave, and at a certain point we clearly feel that there is a mysterious but very real relationship between our leaving and the pain of the new people around us. We understand that we are the explanation for the pain of others ("I know", Jonah says). We see a link between the suffering in our enterprise, the misfortune of that family, the illness of this little girl and our running away. We were sleeping on the wrong ship, but one day someone or something wakes us up and when we wake up we feel with an infallible inner certainty that if we had not embarked on the wrong ship that pain would not be there. And, sometimes, we are able to return. At other times we don't go back, because it's too late, or because we let ourselves be thrown into the sea and the "whale" doesn't come to save us. But every now and then, like in Jonah’s case, after that return real miracles happen, our words convert and save entire cities, people and animals. But we didn't know it: we only returned to save that ship that was sinking because of our escape.

A second paradigm of departure and return can be found in the story of Joseph in Egypt. Joseph's leave from his family, his father Jacob and his brothers is among the most beautiful and popular biblical stories. The young Joseph was a dreamer and a narrator of dreams. The sharing of these dreams in the community increased his brothers' envy of him, so one day they sold him to merchants making their way to Egypt. Joseph, thanks to his vocation and expertise in the field of dreams, manages to become an important political personality in that foreign land. Years later, during a great famine, when his brothers go to Egypt looking for grain and life, there they find Joseph, the sold brother who will save them.

It is not uncommon that the greatest dreams, those growing beyond the walls of the house are the ones to make us depart, hunt, expel - departures taken from communities are almost never truly voluntary, even when they seem so to us. Those same great and "charismatic" dreams trigger the envy of our brothers. They would like to "kill" our charisma, and sometimes they sell us as slaves. Like Joseph, we do not understand the meaning of all that pain, the reason for all that wickedness on the part of our elder brothers. Then sometimes we arrive in a great kingdom, in a great civilization. Those first unfortunate dreams we made inside the house make us grow and make a career in a foreign land; until one day, without anyone knowing it (neither Joseph nor his brothers), we discover that that painful departure was actually the salvation of all: "So it was not you who sent me here, but God" (Genesis 45:5-8). We take leave to save ourselves, and in the end we discover that that departure was providence for us and also for those who forced us out. It is these paradoxical outcomes that make human life something little "inferior to angels", and it is not rare that the true sense of the score we are playing is only understood in the last note, sometimes during the final applause.

Joseph's departures are above all (but not only) those of youth, when having sincerely tried to follow a voice, after some time you find yourself outside, driven out of the house, into an experience that is lived as deception, betrayal, malice by many, with the anger of having thrown away the best years. But if we ended up in that "cistern" because of honestly following a voice, and if we continue to follow it in the invisible community of our heart even in a foreign land, there almost always comes the moment of salvation, and the rejected stone becomes the corner head of the entire house. It comes much later, but its arrival was inscribed in the good and true logic of life and a mysterious loyalty to a voice that we continued to follow even though we were very confused and disappointed - of these salvations I have known many, and they are among the most sublime human experiences, for every Joseph and his brothers.

Finally, there is an element common to many forms of return after leaving the house. One leaves the house as a son of the community, and then one returns as a father and mother. In these parables of flesh and blood, when the young man who has become an adult in the meantime feels and says " I will arise and go [back] to my father", when he comes home the one he finds there to embrace him, throwing his arms around his neck and putting a ring on his finger is no longer his father: it is his son. In that departure-return he became the father of his father, and she became the mother of her mother. But he didn't know, he couldn't know until the moment of the embrace - and, sometimes, he will not know until the very end. In these feasts of return the fat calf is not killed, because it is the feast of the blessing of the acorns, the only food possible and appreciated in the days of distance and poverty, which has now become the food of a new fatherhood.

download article in pdf

[checked_out] => 0 [checked_out_time] => 0000-00-00 00:00:00 [catid] => 862 [created] => 2018-09-15 16:48:20 [created_by] => 64 [created_by_alias] => Luigino Bruni [state] => 1 [modified] => 2020-08-23 20:24:03 [modified_by] => 609 [modified_by_name] => Super User [publish_up] => 2018-09-20 05:00:17 [publish_down] => 0000-00-00 00:00:00 [images] => {"image_intro":"","float_intro":"","image_intro_alt":"","image_intro_caption":"","image_fulltext":"","float_fulltext":"","image_fulltext_alt":"","image_fulltext_caption":""} [urls] => {"urla":false,"urlatext":"","targeta":"","urlb":false,"urlbtext":"","targetb":"","urlc":false,"urlctext":"","targetc":""} [attribs] => {"article_layout":"","show_title":"","link_titles":"","show_tags":"","show_intro":"","info_block_position":"","info_block_show_title":"","show_category":"","link_category":"","show_parent_category":"","link_parent_category":"","show_associations":"","show_author":"","link_author":"","show_create_date":"","show_modify_date":"","show_publish_date":"","show_item_navigation":"","show_icons":"","show_print_icon":"","show_email_icon":"","show_vote":"","show_hits":"","show_noauth":"","urls_position":"","alternative_readmore":"","article_page_title":"","show_publishing_options":"","show_article_options":"","show_urls_images_backend":"","show_urls_images_frontend":"","helix_ultimate_image":"images\/2018\/12\/31\/Eccedenze e disallineamenti_03_ant.jpg","helix_ultimate_image_alt_txt":"","helix_ultimate_article_format":"standard","gallery":"","helix_ultimate_audio":"","helix_ultimate_video":"","link_title":"","link_url":"","quote_text":"","quote_author":"","post_status":""} [metadata] => {"robots":"","author":"","rights":"","xreference":""} [metakey] => [metadesc] => There are many forms of leaving and returning to vocational communities, necessary both for those who leave and the communities. The biblical accounts offer us some paradigms in which we can place many individual and collective experiences. [access] => 1 [hits] => 1776 [xreference] => [featured] => 1 [language] => en-GB [on_img_default] => [readmore] => 9676 [ordering] => 0 [category_title] => EN - Surpluses and misalignments [category_route] => organizzazioni-e-ideali/it-eccedenze-e-disallineamenti [category_access] => 1 [category_alias] => en-surpluses-and-misalignments [published] => 1 [parents_published] => 1 [lft] => 146 [author] => Luigino Bruni [author_email] => ferrucci.anto@gmail.com [parent_title] => Organizzazioni e Ideali [parent_id] => 1028 [parent_route] => organizzazioni-e-ideali [parent_alias] => organizzazioni-e-ideali [rating] => 0 [rating_count] => 0 [alternative_readmore] => [layout] => [params] => Joomla\Registry\Registry Object ( [data:protected] => stdClass Object ( [article_layout] => _:default [show_title] => 1 [link_titles] => 1 [show_intro] => 1 [info_block_position] => 0 [info_block_show_title] => 1 [show_category] => 1 [link_category] => 1 [show_parent_category] => 1 [link_parent_category] => 1 [show_associations] => 0 [flags] => 1 [show_author] => 0 [link_author] => 0 [show_create_date] => 1 [show_modify_date] => 0 [show_publish_date] => 1 [show_item_navigation] => 1 [show_vote] => 0 [show_readmore] => 0 [show_readmore_title] => 0 [readmore_limit] => 100 [show_tags] => 1 [show_icons] => 1 [show_print_icon] => 1 [show_email_icon] => 1 [show_hits] => 0 [record_hits] => 1 [show_noauth] => 0 [urls_position] => 1 [captcha] => [show_publishing_options] => 1 [show_article_options] => 1 [save_history] => 1 [history_limit] => 10 [show_urls_images_frontend] => 0 [show_urls_images_backend] => 1 [targeta] => 0 [targetb] => 0 [targetc] => 0 [float_intro] => left [float_fulltext] => left [category_layout] => _:blog [show_category_heading_title_text] => 0 [show_category_title] => 0 [show_description] => 0 [show_description_image] => 0 [maxLevel] => 0 [show_empty_categories] => 0 [show_no_articles] => 1 [show_subcat_desc] => 0 [show_cat_num_articles] => 0 [show_cat_tags] => 1 [show_base_description] => 1 [maxLevelcat] => -1 [show_empty_categories_cat] => 0 [show_subcat_desc_cat] => 0 [show_cat_num_articles_cat] => 0 [num_leading_articles] => 0 [num_intro_articles] => 14 [num_columns] => 2 [num_links] => 0 [multi_column_order] => 1 [show_subcategory_content] => -1 [show_pagination_limit] => 1 [filter_field] => hide [show_headings] => 1 [list_show_date] => 0 [date_format] => [list_show_hits] => 1 [list_show_author] => 1 [list_show_votes] => 0 [list_show_ratings] => 0 [orderby_pri] => none [orderby_sec] => rdate [order_date] => published [show_pagination] => 2 [show_pagination_results] => 1 [show_featured] => show [show_feed_link] => 1 [feed_summary] => 0 [feed_show_readmore] => 0 [sef_advanced] => 1 [sef_ids] => 1 [custom_fields_enable] => 1 [show_page_heading] => 0 [layout_type] => blog [menu_text] => 1 [menu_show] => 1 [secure] => 0 [helixultimatemenulayout] => {"width":600,"menualign":"right","megamenu":0,"showtitle":1,"faicon":"","customclass":"","dropdown":"right","badge":"","badge_position":"","badge_bg_color":"","badge_text_color":"","layout":[]} [helixultimate_enable_page_title] => 1 [helixultimate_page_subtitle] => Organizations and Ideals [helixultimate_page_title_heading] => h2 [page_title] => Surpluses and misalignments [page_description] => [page_rights] => [robots] => [access-view] => 1 ) [initialized:protected] => 1 [separator] => . ) [displayDate] => 2018-09-15 16:48:20 [tags] => Joomla\CMS\Helper\TagsHelper Object ( [tagsChanged:protected] => [replaceTags:protected] => [typeAlias] => [itemTags] => Array ( ) ) [slug] => 16233:the-blessing-of-the-acorns [parent_slug] => 1028:organizzazioni-e-ideali [catslug] => 862:en-surpluses-and-misalignments [event] => stdClass Object ( [afterDisplayTitle] => [beforeDisplayContent] => [afterDisplayContent] => ) [text] =>

Surpluses and misalignments/3 - You may leave as a son and return as a father and mother

by Luigino Bruni

published in Avvenire on 16/09/2018

Eccedenze e disallineamenti 03 ridHe had the docility of wood. He was no longer a walking tree, as the blind man of Bethsaida had revealed to him, now he was planted in the ground and all his steps taken ended there with his feet joined and arms wide open like branches. Golgotha is a skinned hill, without vegetation. On its top now a man-tree sprang, grafted in blood.

Erri De Luca, Indagine su un falegname (“A Study on a Carpenter”; rough translation)

Throughout their existence, people develop many more dimensions than those useful to the community in which they live and grow. Because the "task" we have to perform in the world always exceeds the institutional mission of our organization or community, which remains smaller, however great and extraordinary it may be. No institution is bigger than a single person, because while the collective intelligence of a group or community can solve cognitive problems that are much more complex and richer than those that the individual intelligence can see and think about, the soul of a person is increasingly more complex and richer than the "soul" of the community.

[jcfields] => Array ( ) [type] => intro [oddeven] => item-even )
The blessing of the acorns

The blessing of the acorns

Surpluses and misalignments/3 - You may leave as a son and return as a father and mother by Luigino Bruni published in Avvenire on 16/09/2018 He had the docility of wood. He was no longer a walking tree, as the blind man of Bethsaida had revealed to him, now he was planted in the ground an...
stdClass Object
(
    [id] => 16235
    [title] => Community: an experience of returning
    [alias] => community-an-experience-of-returning
    [introtext] => 

Surpluses and misalignments/2 - Go, get infected and renew the alliance

by Luigino Bruni

published in Avvenire on 09/09/2018

Eccedenze e disallineamenti 02 ridCoi vecchi nostri canti che sai, voci di cose piccole e care, t’addormiremo, vecchio; e potrai ricominciare.
E quando il mare, nella tua sera, mesto nell’ombra manda il suo grido, sciogliere ancora potrai la nera nave dal lido.
Vedrai le terre de’ tuoi ricordi, del tuo patire dolce e remoto

Giovanni Pascoli Il ritorno

At the heart of each person there is a mystery that is revealed, and only in part, during the whole of life, not infrequently in its last part. Even people with many talents, even those who are truly brilliant, find themselves in a state of partial and imperfect knowledge of their own "charisma", their untapped potential, their self-deception and past and present illusions. Therefore, when a person encounters a voice that calls them and their life undergoes a radical turn, if they respond and begin to walk they do not and cannot know what the development of that encounter will bring, what its fruits, pains and great surprises will be. In a marriage, in an artistic or religious vocation, the wonderful part is the unknown and infinite potential. We do not know what we will become, what the other we tie ourselves to will become, what our relationship will become. What God will become.

[fulltext] =>

Because in every pact and in every promise the most valuable 'yes' is not the one said to our present and past and those of the other, but the one pronounced, in the now and reciprocally, to their and our future. That’s where the beauty and tragedy of these pacts lie. We live with someone who continually reveals themselves to be different from the person we married; we grow up in a community that is gradually moving away from the one we entered. And day by day as we try to get to know and recognize the person next to us, we also strive to reconcile ourselves with the person we are becoming – and whom we often don't like. The crisis of a relationship is a plural misalignment of multiple dimensions where we do not know if it is the novelty of the other or our own that we no longer like - often it is both. Many families keep functioning because human beings have a great resilience to change, especially to the fundamental changes of "you", "I" and "we".

In the spiritual and ideal realm, however, we are generally never sufficiently prepared for the experience (that we sometimes know in the abstract, having read about it in a book) that even the God and/or the ideal we have chosen will change, and it will change a lot, at least as much as we will and, almost always, more than we will. Also for this reason, the ways, the forms and times in which a response to a vocation develops over time are very different from each other, creating a growing diversity.

All organizations have a hard time managing diversity among human beings. Every worker is unique, at any moment they live their own phase in relation to the one that the organization is going through, they cross the many ages of life, suffer traumas and illnesses. However, the organization cannot stay in tune with the life phases of each person, and the show must go on. Theory and practice, however, are showing that various organizational innovations try to calibrate employment contracts on the individuals’ needs, from young mothers to those who want to earn a degree while working, up to the mature worker who prefers to dedicate more time and energy to their interests and passions, giving up a portion of their salary. Businesses where people live and grow well have understood that workers have different ways of dedicating themselves to the organization, and that the creation of places outside the company where relationships and affectivity can be cultivated improves the overall quality of women and men, producing a more creative and free working environment, too. When, on the other hand, contractual flexibility is low, or when companies use incentives so they don’t have to let people free, but capture them with the seduction of money and power, the quality of life worsens inside and outside the company.

In the world of ideal-driven organizations (IDO-s), the management of anthropological peculiarities and the life phases of individual members is even more complex, especially for those people who have a strong, identity-shaping relationship with the institution, as happens in religious communities and spiritual movements (but not only in these). An IDO is much more (and, in other ways, much less) than an enterprise. The type of membership, for example, of a Franciscan brother or a Salesian sister in their own community is way too different from a company employment contract, or from the commitment of a volunteer to an association. Personalized contracts do not apply here, nor do incentives increase their "productivity". This discourse is valid not only in the case of people entirely consecrated for a cause, but whenever the membership in a community or movement is, essentially, a matter of vocation - because, let us not forget, a vocation is a universal anthropological experience, covering a much wider area than just the religious sphere.

In these cases, belonging to an IDO almost inevitably tends to become an exclusive kind of belonging, by the choice of the person and the institution. And that’s where the more passionate reasoning begins.

A Benedictine brother alternates prayer with work, but when he stops working he doesn't really "leave" work to return "home". His return to the community is not like that of Francesca, mother of a family, who also leaves the office to return home. They are two substantially different "houses", because while Francesca passes from one sphere of her life (the enterprise) to another (family), governed by distinct principles and sometimes in tension with each other, Father Bernardino actually remains in the same identity-forming environment after he finishes work in the pharmacy of the monastery.

And so if Francesca goes through some difficult moments at work - those moments that we all experience when, for various reasons, the enthusiasm for the mission of the enterprise is very low, and we go to work just because we can't afford not to go there... -, returning home she meets her children, her friends, then she goes to sing in a choir, she dwells in some places that are very different from her work. In these very different places Francesca can be compensated for the frustrations of the office, she can let off steam, recharge, take refuge; she can walk in gardens enjoying different flowers and air than in the company. This means, among other things, that companies "consume" precious capital that they do not pay for (family, friends, associations .....), but that make their workers able to work and sometimes even be creative and happy (a sense of taxes can be found here).

Just like Francesca, Father Bernardino has moments when he has no desire to go down and sell herbal teas and spirits, he also experiences being in a bad mood and having conflicts with his colleagues in the shop. But when he returns home he finds himself living with companions who are very similar (if not identical) to the monks with whom he works. But, and these are the most complex and interesting cases, sometimes Father Bernardino not only doesn't want to go to the pharmacy, he doesn't even want to go back to lunch and dinner in the community. He would also need a place where he could get compensated not only for the tensions at work but for the tensions in his community and his whole life. Unlike Francesca, Father Bernardino, however, may not have "compensating spaces" where he can, in a natural and healthy way, take care of the misalignments he senses in that specific phase of his life.

Sometimes he manages to stay in church to seek an intimate dialogue with God, who remains a large compensation space when the others have been exhausted, or if they have never existed. But, as we know, in some moments, generally the decisive ones, if you need some air that’s different from the only one breathed in inside that community, even the voice of God ends up being enveloped by that same consumed air, and it no longer speaks. In strong charismatic experiences, when one gets misaligned from the community it is very difficult if not impossible to manage not to feel a misalignment with God, too. Crises would be too simple, and therefore not very interesting, if, together with the relationship with the community, the relationship with God that that community has taught us to know, love and recognize were not also in crisis.

The most common and serious crises therefore arise from a syndrome of encirclement, because every place is nothing more than a variant of the same single place. And, not infrequently, leaving the community appears to be the only way to be able to breathe again and not die.

In reality, these situations that are so common are the manifestation of something much more radical and important. Adult life inside an identity-creating community in which we entered in the age of the wonderful providential ignorance of young people, almost always takes the form of leaving the first community, even when you remain in exactly the same room and in the same canteen as always.

To understand this statement, which may seem paradoxical or excessive, it is necessary to look carefully at the nature of the relationship between a vocation and the community in which the person is necessarily born, grows and matures. The community, every community, even of the most free and open type, carries out the function of a pedagogue (St. Paul). There comes a day when those who have received a vocation feel the urgent need to greet and thank their pedagogue for finally managing to live as adults, that is, to leave the first community to become something different that neither they themselves nor anyone knows yet. Sometimes you leave by staying, at other times you leave by leaving. But you always have to leave if you want to return. You can leave for good (even if you stay in the same house) and never come back. But you can also return: many do, and save us every day by coming back to our homes, when perhaps we no longer hope for it.

These departures and these returns generally take the form of exile. Exile in Babylon was a decisive stage in the history of salvation. That forced exit from the Holy City of David, the destruction of the only temple of the true God was the time when Israel also made an extraordinary leap in her spiritual experience. The people of Israel understood, in their flesh and without having wished or sought for it, that it is possible to pray to God without the temple, that he remains the true God even if he has become a defeated God. That we remain in the community of the covenant even when we leave the promised land. They got to know another great culture and other gods; they were infected by other narratives, some beautiful ones among them, too. Without the exile, without that contagion, we now would not have some splendid biblical books, we would not have inherited the verses on the "suffering servant of YHWH". The Bible tells us that it is possible to return from exiles, and that from that remnant that returns a child can be born in a manger one day.

You can live well as an adult in the same place of your youth if community life becomes an experience of returning.

download article in pdf

 

 

[checked_out] => 0 [checked_out_time] => 0000-00-00 00:00:00 [catid] => 862 [created] => 2018-09-08 16:48:20 [created_by] => 64 [created_by_alias] => Luigino Bruni [state] => 1 [modified] => 2020-08-23 20:24:03 [modified_by] => 609 [modified_by_name] => Super User [publish_up] => 2018-09-18 06:00:17 [publish_down] => 0000-00-00 00:00:00 [images] => {"image_intro":"","float_intro":"","image_intro_alt":"","image_intro_caption":"","image_fulltext":"","float_fulltext":"","image_fulltext_alt":"","image_fulltext_caption":""} [urls] => {"urla":false,"urlatext":"","targeta":"","urlb":false,"urlbtext":"","targetb":"","urlc":false,"urlctext":"","targetc":""} [attribs] => {"article_layout":"","show_title":"","link_titles":"","show_tags":"","show_intro":"","info_block_position":"","info_block_show_title":"","show_category":"","link_category":"","show_parent_category":"","link_parent_category":"","show_associations":"","show_author":"","link_author":"","show_create_date":"","show_modify_date":"","show_publish_date":"","show_item_navigation":"","show_icons":"","show_print_icon":"","show_email_icon":"","show_vote":"","show_hits":"","show_noauth":"","urls_position":"","alternative_readmore":"","article_page_title":"","show_publishing_options":"","show_article_options":"","show_urls_images_backend":"","show_urls_images_frontend":"","helix_ultimate_image":"images\/2018\/12\/31\/Eccedenze e disallineamenti_02.jpg","helix_ultimate_image_alt_txt":"","helix_ultimate_article_format":"standard","gallery":"","helix_ultimate_audio":"","helix_ultimate_video":"","link_title":"","link_url":"","quote_text":"","quote_author":"","post_status":""} [metadata] => {"robots":"","author":"","rights":"","xreference":""} [metakey] => [metadesc] => In experiences where community tends to coincide with life, you can live well as an adult if you are able to leave first and then come back.Luigino Bruni on IDO-s (ideal-driven organisations). [access] => 1 [hits] => 1774 [xreference] => [featured] => 1 [language] => en-GB [on_img_default] => [readmore] => 10588 [ordering] => 0 [category_title] => EN - Surpluses and misalignments [category_route] => organizzazioni-e-ideali/it-eccedenze-e-disallineamenti [category_access] => 1 [category_alias] => en-surpluses-and-misalignments [published] => 1 [parents_published] => 1 [lft] => 146 [author] => Luigino Bruni [author_email] => ferrucci.anto@gmail.com [parent_title] => Organizzazioni e Ideali [parent_id] => 1028 [parent_route] => organizzazioni-e-ideali [parent_alias] => organizzazioni-e-ideali [rating] => 0 [rating_count] => 0 [alternative_readmore] => [layout] => [params] => Joomla\Registry\Registry Object ( [data:protected] => stdClass Object ( [article_layout] => _:default [show_title] => 1 [link_titles] => 1 [show_intro] => 1 [info_block_position] => 0 [info_block_show_title] => 1 [show_category] => 1 [link_category] => 1 [show_parent_category] => 1 [link_parent_category] => 1 [show_associations] => 0 [flags] => 1 [show_author] => 0 [link_author] => 0 [show_create_date] => 1 [show_modify_date] => 0 [show_publish_date] => 1 [show_item_navigation] => 1 [show_vote] => 0 [show_readmore] => 0 [show_readmore_title] => 0 [readmore_limit] => 100 [show_tags] => 1 [show_icons] => 1 [show_print_icon] => 1 [show_email_icon] => 1 [show_hits] => 0 [record_hits] => 1 [show_noauth] => 0 [urls_position] => 1 [captcha] => [show_publishing_options] => 1 [show_article_options] => 1 [save_history] => 1 [history_limit] => 10 [show_urls_images_frontend] => 0 [show_urls_images_backend] => 1 [targeta] => 0 [targetb] => 0 [targetc] => 0 [float_intro] => left [float_fulltext] => left [category_layout] => _:blog [show_category_heading_title_text] => 0 [show_category_title] => 0 [show_description] => 0 [show_description_image] => 0 [maxLevel] => 0 [show_empty_categories] => 0 [show_no_articles] => 1 [show_subcat_desc] => 0 [show_cat_num_articles] => 0 [show_cat_tags] => 1 [show_base_description] => 1 [maxLevelcat] => -1 [show_empty_categories_cat] => 0 [show_subcat_desc_cat] => 0 [show_cat_num_articles_cat] => 0 [num_leading_articles] => 0 [num_intro_articles] => 14 [num_columns] => 2 [num_links] => 0 [multi_column_order] => 1 [show_subcategory_content] => -1 [show_pagination_limit] => 1 [filter_field] => hide [show_headings] => 1 [list_show_date] => 0 [date_format] => [list_show_hits] => 1 [list_show_author] => 1 [list_show_votes] => 0 [list_show_ratings] => 0 [orderby_pri] => none [orderby_sec] => rdate [order_date] => published [show_pagination] => 2 [show_pagination_results] => 1 [show_featured] => show [show_feed_link] => 1 [feed_summary] => 0 [feed_show_readmore] => 0 [sef_advanced] => 1 [sef_ids] => 1 [custom_fields_enable] => 1 [show_page_heading] => 0 [layout_type] => blog [menu_text] => 1 [menu_show] => 1 [secure] => 0 [helixultimatemenulayout] => {"width":600,"menualign":"right","megamenu":0,"showtitle":1,"faicon":"","customclass":"","dropdown":"right","badge":"","badge_position":"","badge_bg_color":"","badge_text_color":"","layout":[]} [helixultimate_enable_page_title] => 1 [helixultimate_page_subtitle] => Organizations and Ideals [helixultimate_page_title_heading] => h2 [page_title] => Surpluses and misalignments [page_description] => [page_rights] => [robots] => [access-view] => 1 ) [initialized:protected] => 1 [separator] => . ) [displayDate] => 2018-09-08 16:48:20 [tags] => Joomla\CMS\Helper\TagsHelper Object ( [tagsChanged:protected] => [replaceTags:protected] => [typeAlias] => [itemTags] => Array ( ) ) [slug] => 16235:community-an-experience-of-returning [parent_slug] => 1028:organizzazioni-e-ideali [catslug] => 862:en-surpluses-and-misalignments [event] => stdClass Object ( [afterDisplayTitle] => [beforeDisplayContent] => [afterDisplayContent] => ) [text] =>

Surpluses and misalignments/2 - Go, get infected and renew the alliance

by Luigino Bruni

published in Avvenire on 09/09/2018

Eccedenze e disallineamenti 02 ridCoi vecchi nostri canti che sai, voci di cose piccole e care, t’addormiremo, vecchio; e potrai ricominciare.
E quando il mare, nella tua sera, mesto nell’ombra manda il suo grido, sciogliere ancora potrai la nera nave dal lido.
Vedrai le terre de’ tuoi ricordi, del tuo patire dolce e remoto

Giovanni Pascoli Il ritorno

At the heart of each person there is a mystery that is revealed, and only in part, during the whole of life, not infrequently in its last part. Even people with many talents, even those who are truly brilliant, find themselves in a state of partial and imperfect knowledge of their own "charisma", their untapped potential, their self-deception and past and present illusions. Therefore, when a person encounters a voice that calls them and their life undergoes a radical turn, if they respond and begin to walk they do not and cannot know what the development of that encounter will bring, what its fruits, pains and great surprises will be. In a marriage, in an artistic or religious vocation, the wonderful part is the unknown and infinite potential. We do not know what we will become, what the other we tie ourselves to will become, what our relationship will become. What God will become.

[jcfields] => Array ( ) [type] => intro [oddeven] => item-odd )
Community: an experience of returning

Community: an experience of returning

Surpluses and misalignments/2 - Go, get infected and renew the alliance by Luigino Bruni published in Avvenire on 09/09/2018 “Coi vecchi nostri canti che sai, voci di cose piccole e care, t’addormiremo, vecchio; e potrai ricominciare. E quando il mare, nella tua sera, mesto nell’ombra manda il suo g...
stdClass Object
(
    [id] => 16237
    [title] => The many colours of the swan
    [alias] => the-many-colours-of-the-swan
    [introtext] => 

Surpluses and misalignments/1 - Infinity is the value that leads beyond fear

by Luigino Bruni

published in Avvenire on 02/09/2018

Eccedenze e disallineamenti 01 ridBlack Swan logic makes what you don't know far more relevant than what you do know.

Nassim N. Taleb The Black Swan

The "black swan" is that highly improbable event with very relevant effects whose arrival could be neither foreseen nor explained on the basis of the facts of the past. The expression comes from the discovery of black swans in Australia, which disproved the thesis that had been considered certain: "all swans are white". In fact, the black swan is the great enemy of companies and organizations, too, because of its potentially devastating effects.

[fulltext] =>

But even if the more or less scientific debate that has developed in recent years highlights almost exclusively the destructive effects, in reality the totally unexpected and surprising events can also represent salvation for organizations and communities. The unexpected can be the greatest gift - we see it every day in our children. In fact, if we look deeply into the dynamics of actual organizations, whether economic or other, we realize that the real big enemy, the evil black swan is the invincible tendency to create rigid management routines built on the observation of the past, and therefore to prevent the understanding of the arrival of great novelties. By looking back, the management guiding today lets us "know" only what we have already known; theirs is a retroactive look that, as in the biblical story of Lot's wife (Genesis 19:26), transforms life into a dead statue of salt. Hence, the really serious danger for organizations does not lie in the existence of black swans but in their management, which is too often wrong.

The most common mistake comes from the fear of the arrival of the evil black swan that leads to hostility towards each swan with not-exactly white coloured feathers. Because of the terror of a black swan, everyone is left in the routine and monotony of a single-coloured world, and beauty and biodiversity are lost. It’s an understandable choice, because if the unexpected event is one of the really bad ones, it can even lead to the destruction of the community by itself.

But it is precisely here that we enter the heart of one of the main paradoxes of communities (and people). The swan with different feathers that can be glimpsed on the horizon could be Satan or the Antichrist, but that strange colour could also be that of Isaiah, Francis and Clare, Teresa of Calcutta or Jesus of Nazareth. We can't know at first glance, nor at the second - often only at the end (that’s where its tremendous and wonderful mystery lies). But if we block all the non-conforming colours in their auroral moment, perhaps we prevent the arrival of the devastating black swan (although we have no guarantee of success), but we certainly prevent the real and good news from coming, ripening and bringing their fruits and essential oils. One of the relational traps that make organizations much less creative, vital and innovative than they could be is in fact the more or less conscious struggle between the management and potential black swans. The former does everything to make the latter return to the routine logic - the sofas so commonly present in the halls of modern organizations are just like beds of Procrustes. Real innovation is linked to people who, to let them act to their full potential, cannot be managed with the typical managerial tools. Today we are finally realizing that vital organizations capable of generating real novelties must renounce the same claim to govern and control their people, because in truly decisive dynamics people are unmanageable, because if they were totally governed they would lose the most innovative component of their creativity. The metaphor of the black swan is therefore a good rhetorical expedient to begin a discussion on the management of real novelties in organizations, people and governance rules.

What we have just pointed out becomes really decisive in the so-called IDO-s, the ideal-driven organisations, those collective realities born around certain people (founders) and moved by ideals other than economic profits (ideals that we have also called charismas or prophetic vocations). IDO-s include spiritual and political movements, religious communities, many NGO-s, cooperatives, and a number of social and civil enterprises of communion. They are not always good and wonderful things, but they are often good and wonderful. In my homeland the first and often only capital consists in the people and their relational assets; all people, but especially those who act on the basis of intrinsic motivations; that is, those members, workers and managers who have not entered their respective organization primarily for economic and financial incentives, but because of an inner call, therefore by "vocation" (using this word, as always, in the most secular and broadest possible sense). IDO-s continue after their foundation only if they are able to attract and retain a nucleus of people who know how to revive the first ideals. If, that is, they succeed in attracting, maintaining, cultivating and flourishing at least one good black swan, which will perhaps be able to revive the heritage passed down by the first generation.

And that’s where the more important kind of reasoning begins.

In the meantime, there is a first fact: many IDO-s are born from black swan phenomena. The first one is the founder him/herself, because perhaps there is nothing more unpredictable, unexpected than the vast impact of the advent of a new charisma on earth (including artistic charismas). Often the founder of a new community is a different swan that has flown away from an original community that, by mistake or by a new vocation, has become too confined a space for its higher and crazier flights.

During the foundation phase the innovative power of the founder is so extraordinary that it contaminates all the other members of the IDO, which gradually becomes a community of swans with the same plumage as the founder’s. The innovative dimension present in many members of the IDO is oriented towards the founder, and all their ideal energies and talents are used in a camouflaging way, to align themselves with the new "colour". This process works out very well, because the members of that community do not feel anything more intimate, sincere, true and proper than wanting to take on the features and tones of the founders.

That’s how the founder's original diversity and their first heterodoxy gradually generate a new kind of orthodoxy, and the founder's innovative colour gradually becomes the only colour for everyone. At the beginning, this operation of mimesis fully satisfies body and soul. But, without wanting or knowing it, this process ends up producing a static situation which is very similar, if not identical, to those realities that the founder and his followers wanted to change at the beginning. And so the heterodoxy generated by a black swan event that had criticized and forced the ancient dogma reproduces a new dogma during the life cycle of the founder that, like all dogmas, fights innovations. This dynamic, well known in the social and organizational sciences, is very often what marks the end of innovative and prophetic experiences, which exhaust their mission when they reach a situation similar to that from which they started.

In addition, IDO-s attract many more potential black swans than other organizations, because ideal motivations, not to mention religious ones, select many excellent people in some dimensions. The IDO-s have always been and continue to be populated by ethically and spiritually extraordinary people. For this reason a person who has received an authentic vocation (and every IDO, to be and to remain one, must host at least one) is potentially a black swan, because they are unique, unrepeatable and non-programmable. Neither they nor anyone else knows what they will become, nobody knows what impact their life will have on those of others: it is a message entrusted to a bottle and the sea that will be read only if and when someone picks it up (an argument that may well be valid for every person that comes into this world). Every vocation is a black swan event - unpredictable, unexpected, and with great effects.

However, in the IDO-s this is more radically present than elsewhere (the reasons for which will be analysed in this series of articles); the management of radically innovative people is particularly difficult, painful and rarely crowned with success. An IDO knows or senses that in every different plumage the killer swan may be hiding, and this legitimate fear often devours the fulfilment of the promise. Because the price of the hope of being able to generate a new authentic prophet is the possibility of generating ten false prophets. This radical fear can be overcome by giving the promise a much higher value than the fear of being killed by a particularly bad false prophet - an infinite value. So the hostility and resistance that every black swan process is met with in every organization are amplified and radicalised in the IDO-s. The existence of a founding charisma/ideal naturally leads IDO-s to be anchored in the past, to give more importance to the beginning than to the eschaton. This looking to the origin is part of the charismatic DNA of the IDO-s, especially those of spiritual and religious nature. The eventual reformer could save them by moving the axis from the past to the future, but this is precisely what the charismatic communities and ideals most fear and fight against. We are inside a typical tragedy - but tragedies are also among the greatest creations of the human genius. Ordinary organizations, as they are often pragmatic and concrete, are more open to the new than IDO-s. On the other hand, IDO-s naturally develop powerful mechanisms to intercept and block the arrival of bad black swans. However, these systems, and this is the point, also block the good ones. Few collective realities are more refractory to the great innovations than IDO-s, because the safeguarding of the heritage of the past is a co-essential element in them (unlike companies, there is no change in the "charisma" or "founder" if the market no longer responds: what to change then?).

This means, on the level of individuals, that those who happen to have, by destiny and call, a different plumage within the community that generated them - and there are many - must become aware that the resistance, hostility, sometimes persecution and slander that they experience, are largely inevitable, because they are all inscribed in the nature of an IDO. They should learn to live with their own surplus and the misalignments that each surplus produces, looking after them with meekness.

This new series of articles will be built around these themes, and we will ask many new questions to IDO-s and their people. These include: what are the typical characteristics of the management of these surpluses in the various phases of the life of the person and the organization? How do they handle surplus as a young person, and how do they do it when they are old? How can we save biodiversity to ensure new life? How can we preserve multi-dimensional vocations today?

We will face these and other vital challenges, even though we know that written and read words are not enough to save us. They can only help us not to stop walking ahead.

download article in pdf

[checked_out] => 0 [checked_out_time] => 0000-00-00 00:00:00 [catid] => 862 [created] => 2018-09-01 16:48:20 [created_by] => 64 [created_by_alias] => Luigino Bruni [state] => 1 [modified] => 2020-08-23 20:24:03 [modified_by] => 609 [modified_by_name] => Super User [publish_up] => 2018-09-07 10:00:17 [publish_down] => 0000-00-00 00:00:00 [images] => {"image_intro":"","float_intro":"","image_intro_alt":"","image_intro_caption":"","image_fulltext":"","float_fulltext":"","image_fulltext_alt":"","image_fulltext_caption":""} [urls] => {"urla":false,"urlatext":"","targeta":"","urlb":false,"urlbtext":"","targetb":"","urlc":false,"urlctext":"","targetc":""} [attribs] => {"article_layout":"","show_title":"","link_titles":"","show_tags":"","show_intro":"","info_block_position":"","info_block_show_title":"","show_category":"","link_category":"","show_parent_category":"","link_parent_category":"","show_associations":"","show_author":"","link_author":"","show_create_date":"","show_modify_date":"","show_publish_date":"","show_item_navigation":"","show_icons":"","show_print_icon":"","show_email_icon":"","show_vote":"","show_hits":"","show_noauth":"","urls_position":"","alternative_readmore":"","article_page_title":"","show_publishing_options":"","show_article_options":"","show_urls_images_backend":"","show_urls_images_frontend":"","helix_ultimate_image":"images\/2018\/12\/31\/Eccedenze e disallineamenti_01_ant.jpg","helix_ultimate_image_alt_txt":"","helix_ultimate_article_format":"standard","gallery":"","helix_ultimate_audio":"","helix_ultimate_video":"","link_title":"","link_url":"","quote_text":"","quote_author":"","post_status":""} [metadata] => {"robots":"","author":"","rights":"","xreference":""} [metakey] => [metadesc] => [access] => 1 [hits] => 1871 [xreference] => [featured] => 1 [language] => en-GB [on_img_default] => [readmore] => 11289 [ordering] => 0 [category_title] => EN - Surpluses and misalignments [category_route] => organizzazioni-e-ideali/it-eccedenze-e-disallineamenti [category_access] => 1 [category_alias] => en-surpluses-and-misalignments [published] => 1 [parents_published] => 1 [lft] => 146 [author] => Luigino Bruni [author_email] => ferrucci.anto@gmail.com [parent_title] => Organizzazioni e Ideali [parent_id] => 1028 [parent_route] => organizzazioni-e-ideali [parent_alias] => organizzazioni-e-ideali [rating] => 0 [rating_count] => 0 [alternative_readmore] => [layout] => [params] => Joomla\Registry\Registry Object ( [data:protected] => stdClass Object ( [article_layout] => _:default [show_title] => 1 [link_titles] => 1 [show_intro] => 1 [info_block_position] => 0 [info_block_show_title] => 1 [show_category] => 1 [link_category] => 1 [show_parent_category] => 1 [link_parent_category] => 1 [show_associations] => 0 [flags] => 1 [show_author] => 0 [link_author] => 0 [show_create_date] => 1 [show_modify_date] => 0 [show_publish_date] => 1 [show_item_navigation] => 1 [show_vote] => 0 [show_readmore] => 0 [show_readmore_title] => 0 [readmore_limit] => 100 [show_tags] => 1 [show_icons] => 1 [show_print_icon] => 1 [show_email_icon] => 1 [show_hits] => 0 [record_hits] => 1 [show_noauth] => 0 [urls_position] => 1 [captcha] => [show_publishing_options] => 1 [show_article_options] => 1 [save_history] => 1 [history_limit] => 10 [show_urls_images_frontend] => 0 [show_urls_images_backend] => 1 [targeta] => 0 [targetb] => 0 [targetc] => 0 [float_intro] => left [float_fulltext] => left [category_layout] => _:blog [show_category_heading_title_text] => 0 [show_category_title] => 0 [show_description] => 0 [show_description_image] => 0 [maxLevel] => 0 [show_empty_categories] => 0 [show_no_articles] => 1 [show_subcat_desc] => 0 [show_cat_num_articles] => 0 [show_cat_tags] => 1 [show_base_description] => 1 [maxLevelcat] => -1 [show_empty_categories_cat] => 0 [show_subcat_desc_cat] => 0 [show_cat_num_articles_cat] => 0 [num_leading_articles] => 0 [num_intro_articles] => 14 [num_columns] => 2 [num_links] => 0 [multi_column_order] => 1 [show_subcategory_content] => -1 [show_pagination_limit] => 1 [filter_field] => hide [show_headings] => 1 [list_show_date] => 0 [date_format] => [list_show_hits] => 1 [list_show_author] => 1 [list_show_votes] => 0 [list_show_ratings] => 0 [orderby_pri] => none [orderby_sec] => rdate [order_date] => published [show_pagination] => 2 [show_pagination_results] => 1 [show_featured] => show [show_feed_link] => 1 [feed_summary] => 0 [feed_show_readmore] => 0 [sef_advanced] => 1 [sef_ids] => 1 [custom_fields_enable] => 1 [show_page_heading] => 0 [layout_type] => blog [menu_text] => 1 [menu_show] => 1 [secure] => 0 [helixultimatemenulayout] => {"width":600,"menualign":"right","megamenu":0,"showtitle":1,"faicon":"","customclass":"","dropdown":"right","badge":"","badge_position":"","badge_bg_color":"","badge_text_color":"","layout":[]} [helixultimate_enable_page_title] => 1 [helixultimate_page_subtitle] => Organizations and Ideals [helixultimate_page_title_heading] => h2 [page_title] => Surpluses and misalignments [page_description] => [page_rights] => [robots] => [access-view] => 1 ) [initialized:protected] => 1 [separator] => . ) [displayDate] => 2018-09-01 16:48:20 [tags] => Joomla\CMS\Helper\TagsHelper Object ( [tagsChanged:protected] => [replaceTags:protected] => [typeAlias] => [itemTags] => Array ( ) ) [slug] => 16237:the-many-colours-of-the-swan [parent_slug] => 1028:organizzazioni-e-ideali [catslug] => 862:en-surpluses-and-misalignments [event] => stdClass Object ( [afterDisplayTitle] => [beforeDisplayContent] => [afterDisplayContent] => ) [text] =>

Surpluses and misalignments/1 - Infinity is the value that leads beyond fear

by Luigino Bruni

published in Avvenire on 02/09/2018

Eccedenze e disallineamenti 01 ridBlack Swan logic makes what you don't know far more relevant than what you do know.

Nassim N. Taleb The Black Swan

The "black swan" is that highly improbable event with very relevant effects whose arrival could be neither foreseen nor explained on the basis of the facts of the past. The expression comes from the discovery of black swans in Australia, which disproved the thesis that had been considered certain: "all swans are white". In fact, the black swan is the great enemy of companies and organizations, too, because of its potentially devastating effects.

[jcfields] => Array ( ) [type] => intro [oddeven] => item-even )
The many colours of the swan

The many colours of the swan

Surpluses and misalignments/1 - Infinity is the value that leads beyond fear by Luigino Bruni published in Avvenire on 02/09/2018 “Black Swan logic makes what you don't know far more relevant than what you do know.” Nassim N. Taleb The Black Swan The "black swan" is that highly improbable event...