The fascination of this place
is not about what there is
but about what is missing.

This is not a cliché.

December 2018

M T W T F S S
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
Yesterday
Tomorrow
01
Saturday,
01 December 2018

The Ulysses in us

News of every type are divulged on the web without any obstacle at all: on the contrary they are amplified in a sort of communication which takes us down to the darkness of humanity.
Today’s communication travels on the web, and this is why we must know Internet well, and not fall into the trap whereby it performs perverse actions; it could produce horrible results, cause havoc, self-destruction and annihilation, but it can also be the expert Buddhism-like influence, it giving sacred words which encourage us to aspire to greater knowledge.
A deep and vibrant sound as if had come from the centre of the earth, so strong that the windows shook. It came from the “corn da munt”, the Alpine horns. It was in this way that we communicated from valley to valley in these mountain ranges. Today we use them in historical celebrations, cultural events, to generate a bit of tourism generally. And then again, for long periods in the past, fire and smoke had a decisive role as a means of communication. The Byzantine Emperors, for example, had developed a system of flares from the frontiers of the Empire to Constantinople: they lit a flare every time that the enemy troops invaded the village.
Also, man as a messenger, has a long history in communication terms. Back in 490 a.c. we recall when the Athenian messenger ran from Marathon to Athens so as to announce to his co-citizens the victory against the Persians. By using animals, the transmission of news speeded up and from those times on news began to spread fast and wide. The advent of more coherent written forms gave the impetus for the creation of the earliest newspapers, little however were they similar to those of today. They were more military memorandums; famous as “missives of the king” of Alessandro Magno, and in which the activities of the General were registered daily. The Romans were the first to understand the importance of a diary. Happenings were reported and hung in public places, a touch like is done with publicity nowadays.
There also existed back in time a great and epic form of communication, so much so that it was to become one of the pillars of our European culture. Yes, indeed, our old friend Homer and his colleagues insisted that all had to be transformed, enriched with metaphors and allegories, hardly the fake news of today, so that the public were directly involved. The audience needed to have the perception of what they were listening to. They needed to be irate if the hero was angry, they needed to cry if the hero shed a tear. The oratory needed to have a strongly emotive and credible mix, as if not nobody listened to it, nor passed the input on. Homer’s heroes were not embarrassed to show their emotions. They would cry in public to show how majestic they were and they shouted to show the violence of their ways. Blood, sweat and tears were the underlying substances giving voice to Homer’s marvellous poems, for only one who is able to cry can come close to the limits of one’s humanity. Violence and tragedy were the fundamental notions of the poet of the Iliad. And now with a leap worthy of Pindar, I ask myself the question: are those who trade their hate on Facebook, their violent nature, but without any tears being shed, and only expounding sentiments of pure negativity, successors of the Greek ways? I witness the fanatical hatred embraced by Isis with beheadings direct on television, the hate of who posts ‘Death to the Jews’ before going out and killing people in a synagogue in Pittsburgh, a form of hatred which must be shown across the world on television, a hate without any sense of redemption, and I ask myself as to where we have inherited all this gross behaviour from. In Ancient Greece those who had the strength to show their own weaknesses could win over the most detestable of enemies: the fear of one’s own mortality. Today, this extreme form of communication, evidently false and untrue, is a communication which is taking humanity back to the days of darkness, because it pretends to not know or rather not appreciate the fear of death. And, we should not forget that in recent times, Nazi propaganda and the brutal proclamations and exterminations of the totalitarian systems of the ‘900: if the Greek contention was an anthropological fact of those times and that society, what will become of today’s society which has adopted different ethical standards supposedly distinct from those past times? Achilles, for all his brute strength and actions, knew of pity and was sentimental. It is a character, a dimension, a sensitivity, an intelligence totally unknown to the violent protagonists of our days.
Today’s communication travels on the web, and this is why we must know Internet well, and not fall into the trap whereby it performs perverse actions; it could produce horrible results, cause havoc, self-destruction and annihilation, but it can also be the expert Buddhism-like influence, it giving sacred words which encourage us to aspire to greater knowledge. Whoever uses it, instead of gazing at one’s own umbilical cord, should rather aspire to be a modern Aiace, he the Greek hero who committed suicide through anger and embarrassment. The internet user should adopt that culture of embarrassment which we well see in Homer, that strong moral virtue that is not a fear of God, but a projection towards a public dimension, that of being discredited socially. It is a sense of embarrassment which needs to emerge by and between human beings so as to counteract the risk of thinking to be worth something depending on the number of likes received for posts or simply because of the number of followers on has, and in consequence one is acclaimed or admired, or, vice versa, disapproved of or vilified.
Internet is an extraordinary instrument and one without which the women in Afghanistan, the revolutionary RAWA, would not be able to communicate their commitment for women’s rights and for a major democracy. And we ourselves, with our Foundation support those women in an enthusiastic and participative manner. Yes, at times Internet would merit the Nobel Peace prize. However, we should also know its limits, limits which are within us, and not simply believe in the unlimited power of persuasion which this instrument created by man has. Heraclitus said: “No matter how many roads we walk down, we will not find the limits of our mind along them”. We could go on to say that no matter how much we navigate on the web we will not find the limits of our knowledge by just staying connected. Yet, all said and done, internet does remain a way to share a part of our small and beautiful world of hospitality, of sincere welcomes, and a means to stay in contact. As hoteliers, we do not know what using digital communication with wisdom truly means. We do know, however, that it has its importance and therefore we too communicate that which we wish to our guests, but without being led by trends and our instincts, but monitoring our own behaviour by inspiring to the great Ulysses himself: with great prudence.

michil
Jean-Michel Basquiat, Horn Players, 1983