This is not a cliché.

October 2016

01 October 2016

What is our super-intelligence all about?

Migrants, stars, water, glaciers, the environment. Chance meetings. Is there any sense of order in the disorder of things?
I do not know if our planet will save itself, but there is a glimmer of hope in me, a certain optimism if you wish, that the capacity of mankind to face the adversity of life and come out of situations positively and even stronger will prevail.
In 50 years time, and this despite of Fertility Day, we Italians will be eleven and a half million fewer. At the same time, the process of immigration will have brought another 12 million persons here. Note that I speak of ‘persons’: women, children, youths, men. Why do we have so much fear of the other? This absurd paranoia we have does nothing but make situations worse. We get lost in our inflated egos and really do lose sight of what is what.
Speaking of perspective, I mention that this summer I had the good fortune to meet Guido Tonelli. Tonelli is one of the fathers of the discovery of the Higgs Bosone, and he really astounded me with his knowledge and enthusiasm for life. One evening, just outside the hotel, we were looking up to the sky just like sailors of long ago. Gazing the stars he turned and said to me, “Look how beautiful they are! Yet, you know what, many of the stars we see no longer exist and may have ceased to exist a long long time ago. Their light reaches us thousands and maybe millions of years later. What we see in reality is a time in the past.
What we do not see, or better put, that which we do not wish to observe, blinded as we are by our consumeristic- egocentric myopia, is that in the Universe there are millions and millions of galaxies, every one of which has millions of stars. It is certain that somewhere out there there are planets similar to our own, they having a moon and a sun, and the forms of life of which are as developed, if not more developed, than ours. Perhaps there are planets which have never been struck by a meteorite, planets on which there are still dinosaurs, and planets where there is a form of intelligence superior to ours.
What does are supposed super-intelligence do for us? In August I spent some days in the region of ‘the child of the glaciers’: this precisely is in Val Ferret, near Courmayeur, at the foot of Monte Bianco. I had been happy to accept the invitation of the brothers Cesare and Federica Bieller to speak at their event, entitled ‘Festival delle nuove Vie’. At a certain point I found myself in a splendid mountain hut eating a wonderful dish of polenta with the metreologist Luca Mercalli. As we looked out on the river he said to me: “See this water flowing Michil, it is more than a hundred years old. The melting of glaciers is going on and it is irreversible, at least for the next centuries. These glaciers not only have conditioned and still condition our environment but also humanity in general.”
What conditions we humans, constantly and for always, are the small and not so small problems of our daily life. Problems they are, which if seen from the tops of our mountains, or even just looking up to the stars above us, appear to be miniscule in dimension. Miniscule they are because we ourselves our miniscule in this wonderful planet of ours. We fail because we see ourselves as giants and think to do with nature as we wish. We believe, instead of taking care of the planet which we have, that we will have other planets at our beck and call in the future. And yet with all this pretence we are enormously afraid of similar beings to ourselves whom arrive from relatively nearby. Such attitude and behaviour does indeed make us as tiny as can be. The fear we have makes us forget that we are dependent on the environment in which we live. A bomb which explodes elsewhere has an impact on we here. A tree cut down in an Indonesian forest renders our life here less florid. We know these facts well but nevertheless we continue to destroy, bomb, kill, hack down, interfere with, and savage this poor land of ours. The toxico-dependence of fossil fuels is harmful for we human beings. Yet, even the climatic change, the disasters which occur, do not bring us to our senses and lead us to reflect sufficiently on our style of life and a means of enlightened development.
No season better highlights the beauty of nature than autumn when the leaves on trees turn a pale yellow and then a vibrant rusty red. What a spectacle is to be admired. The Dolomites in October are living proof of a vibrant nature calling out to be enjoyed and respected. To honour this season the Berghotel Ladinia will stay open throughout and draw the season to a close only once November arrives.
I do not know if our planet will save itself, but there is a glimmer of hope in me, a certain optimism if you wish, that the capacity of mankind to face the adversity of life and come out of situations positively and even stronger will prevail.
Survival after all is a question of resilience. And if we should fail in our task? Well, it is true that we are not the only ones in these Universes. Perhaps the others out there will take benefit from the error of our ways, study us and learn from our mistakes. At least we will have achieved something, for as the expression says ‘He himself who fails teaches something to others’.

Michil Costa