THE COMMENT A new ethic for the new year – Il Golfo 24

In the frenetic Christmas consumerism, I was lucky enough to have the book by theologian and philosopher Vito Mancuso “Ethics for difficult days” as a gift from my wife. A very illuminating book for the behavior that each of us should have in particularly difficult days (and for Ischia this is even more fitting). I will try to deepen the theme of the need, for us Ischitans, to deepen and impose on ourselves a new ethic, no longer responding to a senseless model of growth, but to a model in which only the inner strengthening of relational values ​​(man- man and man-environment) can allow for a positive change. A premise is necessary: ​​a reader of Casamicciola criticized my Christmas Eve editorial, essentially saying “I’ve read the papiello, as they say in Naples, and should we live on hope? Should we compare ourselves to the flooding of the Cinque Terre, when we were hit by a series of misfortunes and not just one? And the lady concluded: “If we don’t get what is due to us with kindness, we will do otherwise”. With all the respect that every opinion deserves, I publicly point out (not only to the lady but to all those who think in this way) that an articulated and reasoned opinion, as I try to do weekly (and as other commentators try to do) it can of course be discussed and criticized, but point by point and, possibly, with argumentative force. Saying “papiello” to show annoyance for a long text and then concluding that the only possible hope comes from the revolt aimed at obtaining material compensation, means continuing to practice an individual ethic aimed only at the present and never at the future, of the “yes save whoever can” and “the State must think about it for me, as if it were an entity foreign to us. We are the state, it is the organization that the sovereign people give itself to regulate itself.

When citizens complain about the Prefectural Commissioner Calcaterra, for the language used in some ordinances (“individuals”, improperly used to indicate “people”, citizens) or when they complain about the term “expedited” to indicate “hasty” measures , at the imprint, we forget that the municipal council and the representatives elected by the citizens of Casamicciola determined the state of the prefect’s commissioner. We cannot then complain about Dr. Calcaterra’s lack of “empathy” with the local population. The representatives of the Prefecture are called to perform a simple temporary substitute function of ordinary administration. They have no task of establishing “harmony” with the social body, they do not engage in politics or seek consensus and they use a bureaucratic language widespread in the prefect’s environment, however aseptic and antiquated. In recent days, the extensive report that Davide Maria De Luca wrote on Tuesday 27 for the newspaper Domani has aroused appreciation and consensus. It took a historically, sociologically and politically well-constructed “papiello” to overturn a castle of superficiality built by so many other press and TV, but there is a risk in this appreciation: that it is based, for many, on the conviction that the columnist has relieved the citizens of any hypothesis of contributory negligence. It’s not like that, when he says that there are widespread and collective responsibilities, we too are involved in the local community (of course not only the citizens of Casamicciola but of the whole island).

The passage “on the island of Ischia there is a long history of crimes that seem to justify this prejudice” is illuminating. Nunzio Capuano says it clearly in the interview: “Have you read Foucault? The fault always starts from the bottom… In the meeting at the former Calise di Casamicciola, before Christmas, 150 presented themselves, with 150 different hypotheses and proposals”. Zero social cohesion, the same zero capacity for synthesis and identification of solutions. It did not go better in the meeting of December 29 at the Royal Palace of Ischia, reduced from a face-to-face meeting to a web meeting and limited to the road network of the SS270. Having specified this, the problem arises of what a new ethic of the citizens of the entire island is and how it can be born. In the preface of the cited book, Vito Mancuso writes: “Ethics, this thing from other times… Ethics which today is mocked and embarrassed in society just by pronouncing it… Ethics, this thing from other times, is actually more alive than ever in these difficult days”. The reasoning of the philosopher is that the presumption of religion to be superior to ethics, which was considered little more than its handmaid, has fallen, that the presumption of politics to be able to exploit it for its use and consumption has fallen; that the presumption of capitalism to bend it to the needs of the economy is in strong discussion. That, therefore, ethics remains the only bulwark of salvation of the natural world with its ecosystems.

Personally, I agree with Mancuso in believing that the problem is not widespread immorality because, from time immemorial, immorality has always been widespread. Not for nothing, Cicero already exclaimed indignantly: “O tempora, o mores!”. The real problem is today’s theoretical weakness of ethical feeling. It is the inability to explain to oneself and to others the reasons why good is preferable to evil and honesty to dishonesty. Ethics is not something that manifests itself and is explained scientifically, it is not made in the likeness of a supernatural idea to be inspired by, but it is the inner need to go beyond the horizon of the simple self, to feel the relationship with the surrounding universe. Ultimately, ethics is the expression of a feeling higher than the self. And here I take a leap, a real ideological somersault. On this island and in this epicenter of the tragedy that is Casamicciola, have we ever valued these thoughts, these readings, these insights? Isn’t it true that those who have attempted to do so have been laughed at, mocked, insulted or simply and more cynically ignored in the name of the pseudo-religion of “facts”? Was it only politicians and administrators who blasphemed by saying that they cared about immediate facts and not words and programmes, the present and not the future? Or is it instead true that the majority of the islanders have relegated to the drawer of nothingness or to the clouds of unrepentant and superfluous dreamers anyone who tries to theorize a possible ethics? Casamicciola’s reader (and those who think in the same way) will say that I wrote another pamphlet and that what matters are the “immediate facts” (which in the interpretation of most means “refreshments”, compensation). Of course, material damage due to natural events (or in competition with nature) must be compensated and above all it is necessary to immediately ensure an alternative roof for those who have lost it. But who compensates humanity and the violated environment for material and moral damage? But do we really think that we can recover with only “refreshments”, without prejudice to the ethics (which ethics are not) of individualism? But do we really think that the advertising campaign, promised by Minister Santanché, is enough to revive Ischia? The others, the press, the televisions have attacked us in an unworthy and unjust way, but do we have a clear conscience? Do we treat tourists as we would like others to treat us? Or do we complain about the wrong treatment of others towards us and we welcome the cunning and speculation that we reserve for others? This is the ethics of relationships, which go beyond the ego. And they certainly cannot make us change our minds fellow citizens who find it annoying to read slightly more complex and demanding concepts, which do not only concern the present but also the future, which do not concern only the facts, but also the spirit, the conscience, which is the more moral the less it is confined to individual profit or even of group, family, clan. An operation of truth is urgently needed for the new year, only in this way will we pay effective tribute to the 13 victims, to entire missing families. Only with a new ethic of responsibility and social cohesion will we honor our dead.

THE COMMENT A new ethic for the new year – Il Golfo 24