Caleido is an observatory on the world of creativity. A kaleidoscope that in recent weeks, whatever the view framed, returns a single image, that of war. And war is the antithesis of many things, including creativity. This issue of Caleido is quieter and more disillusioned than usual, hosting only this article by Scenario: a reflection on the present, oriented towards the future.
Diary by: @magalinimarco
Ukraine. With what is happening behind our backs, how can we go on with our lives? I believe that the sense of unease that pervades us, perhaps guilt, has its origin in our awareness of having more luck (because this is what it is all about, in its total banality) to have been born in a part of the world (currently) less problematic than “theirs”. But who is “them”? The “them” are all those peoples who are experiencing, once again, the horrors of war.
I had only read about the war in books, seen it on a screen or in pictures, listened to my grandmothers’ words, mentalized it by leafing through some letters from the front found in a dusty trunk during an inspection of an old house. But this time it is different, and I am wondering why. I consider myself an informed person, with critical and analytical capacities and quite sensitive; and therefore perfectly aware that a war, be it in Ukraine or Afghanistan, causes the same tragic consequences. That the children it affects are exactly the same, that the devastation it leaves behind is identical, that the social traumas are the same. This time, however, is different…. What happens seems closer, is more visceral, more familiar in a way. It is as if that ‘they’ also includes ‘us’. Perhaps for the first time.
This implication of deep social involvement is set in a historical period of rediscovered collective sense, formed during the pandemic. We were all united by the same enormous problem, with an (all in all) democratic danger: a common enemy that united us (the famous concept of ‘metus hostilis’, i.e. fear of the enemy as an element of cohesion). And it is precisely the consequence of this event (cohesion) that has become the cause of the resolution of the problem itself: together we can do it. An awareness that has changed status: from a Facebook aphorism it has become reality, an awareness experienced at first hand.
And now, with this overwhelming experience in our hands, with a Europe that has discovered itself as a people, how can we separate ourselves in the face of the next difficulty? How can we separate ‘us’ from ‘them’?
Before this event, I would have written, without thinking too much about it, that ‘we are with them’, but now I spontaneously say that ‘we are them’. It is a perfect fusion. A big difference for someone like me who is involved in communication. So, that’s why this time I’m finding it really hard to carry on with my life as if nothing had happened… And, indeed, I find it unbearable who doesn’t have an ounce of empathy for what is happening to us. Those who do not feel the need to torment themselves at least a little.
Going back to asking myself why this time the war seems closer to me, I realise that I am not making it a question of Europe, of borders, of geo-political, geographical or cultural proximity, but of rediscovered empathy. And of consequent anguish. Anguish that unites us and intensifies with every story that appears on our mobile phones. Not published this time by global media or information brands. But by close friends, friends of friends, acquaintances, co-workers, who remind us that what is happening to them today could, in fact, happen to us too.
So how can we go on with our lives? I don’t really know what we should do other than take a passive interest in current affairs, and every answer I try to give myself sounds insignificant or inadequate. But what each of us should certainly do is take time to reflect and find a personal way to leave a lesson for those who come after: war is evil. In the past, some have written it in a book or composed a poem, some have manifested it, some have recited it, some have sung it. And you, what are you doing to reinforce in your posterity the awareness that war is evil? How will you convince them to understand it without experiencing it yourself?