The lesson of Saint Augustine: but courage is not enough to change things

St. Augustine wrote: “Hope has two beautiful children: indignation and courage. Disdain for the reality of things; the courage to change them ". In the Augustinian ascetic conception, which arose in large part with the encounter that changed his life, the one with the bishop of Milan, St. Ambrose, who baptized him, thought becomes action, guided by the light of the contemplation of supreme values, and therefore following a very precise line willed and traced by God. According to Augustine of Hippo evil exists because good must inevitably triumph over it and therefore even the most evil people and the most horrendous human turpitudes must necessarily lead to good, provided that it is admit the existence of God as the supreme good.

We moderns, much more prosaically and more secularly, are accustomed to affirm that one must always make a virtue of necessity, even if it is not necessary to ride the tiger. It is human nature to think about when the most harmful rains will finally stop, when the day will finally come after certain troubled and sleepless nights, when after so much effort we will be able to rest. We generally tend to look towards the end of the tunnel, to the plain after the steep climb, to the reward after so much work. Without a good amount of optimism we would needlessly waste our already limited time crying on ourselves and therefore we can say that it is much better to roll up our sleeves when everything seems to be going badly, compared to the fatalism of the cynical observer of the things of the world who sits and watches. the river in flood waiting to see confirmed its dire predictions.

It is, that of the pessimists, a category of people that we can meet and read very frequently in these times, characterized by the growing demand for fixed points, for taking draconian positions to follow, for lighthouses that pierce the night and that can indicate us. the safe harbor towards which to sail. Except that, although the role of the leader among the bewildered troops is usually much invoked, it is also easy to gain consensus and power by throwing himself on catastrophic forecasts, compared to those who make the most optimistic and proactive models his own. It is easy to predict that, let's say economics, we have not yet reached the bottom, since that bottom will never touch it and precisely because it is we who are moving the bottom of the barrel lower and lower. Equally easier, speaking of this damned pandemic, to say that it will never completely get out of it, because there will be so many variants and combinations that it will be necessary to continuously update the vaccines. Although this happens for most viral diseases and it is not possible to say that after hundreds of years cholera or smallpox have been completely defeated, throwing it on Cassandra-style prediction is all the rage and, evidently, gives great satisfaction. to the many, too many, who are asked for sure and reliable predictions on the future development of the calamity.

It is much more difficult to be successful optimists, even if no one in the world has ever shown that optimistic forecasts, in general, have been more disavowed than pessimistic ones. We are certainly not here to say that the gooey phrase "everything will be fine" complete with a rainbow background in Peace-Lgbtq style was a great truth or a powerful antidote, but if many liked to get strong with out of tune concerts on the balconies adorned with colored flags from teachers denied for the graphic arts that's okay, God forbid. Tastes are tastes and if everything makes broth, it is always hoped that it is at least edible.

However, the real critical point seems to be another one, namely that relating to our boundless hunger for certainties, perhaps because we live in the age in which neither the Christian resignation of the Our Father nor the fanatic enthusiasm of the crowds applauding the leader of the moment seem to have the same same appeal as a few years ago. After all, we strongly wanted ourselves to be aware of everything, to control everything, to have our say on everything. Of course, those years were much happier when, knowing exaggeratedly less than today what was really happening in the world, we were able to take care of our little family problems and the minimum neighborhood quarrels, leaving others to take care of the maximum systems. It will hardly be possible for me to point out a third way between letting others do it, without even knowing what they are doing, and doing it ourselves, being aware of everything and having enormous individual tools. We are strongly contradictory in stating at the same time that we would like those who would take us out of the shallows (leader, ducetto, leader, religious authority that is) while we affirm that everything that has been must be transparent and validable by all of us. A state, whatever it may be, has its shadows, its unpopular and never revealed decisions, those changes of course that allow the machine not to get bogged down.

If we don't like things, said Augustine, let's change them. But courage remains and that cannot be bought at the mall or even online. And, if we want to be honest, not even that is enough, dear Saint Augustine: capacity is also needed. A good starting point could be not to put too much meat on the fire, provided that the intolerant vegans do not forbid it, little or a lot that the meat is, at least not throwing on the grill foods that are too different and incompatible with each other, if not harmful when mixed together. recklessly. From Augustine's teaching, however, we can have, however one thinks about religion, a good starting point for reflection, where he preached that the difficult path towards the light was to be accomplished in solitude, without clamor, in humility. Are we not magnifying today that flock of uncritical observers who will lead us to saving immunity? Mind you, I'm not referring to the coronavirus (which, judging by some nonsense that you hear seems even to have become a coronavino ) but to that hateful concept of being locked up on command and going out under guard and for very short periods from the fence. Do you know how many times I have already expressed on these pages my not at all hidden contempt for this horrid figure of speech. Only hearing about "flock" makes me get hives. I don't know how to bleat and I don't intend to learn how to bleat but, above all, I don't intend to get on all fours, anyone who tries to order me.

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This is a machine translation from Italian language of a post published on Atlantico Quotidiano at the URL on Sat, 19 Jun 2021 03:56:00 +0000.