(A new reality and a new idea of reality.- Being destitute.- Living is finding oneself in the world.- Living is constantly deciding what we are going to be.)
We have found as a radical datum of the Universe, therefore, as a primordial reality, something completely new, different from the cosmic being from which the ancients started and different from the subjective being from which the modern ones started. But hearing that we have found a reality, a new being, ignored before, does not completely fill the listener with the meaning of these words. He believes that, at the most, it is a new thing, different from those already known, but at the end of the day “thing” like the others – that it is a being or reality different from already well-known beings and realities, but which, in the end, responds to what the words “reality” and “being” always mean – in short, that of one size or another the discovery is of the same genre as if a new animal, the which will be new, but is no more and no less animal than those already known; therefore, the concept of “animal” applies to him. I am very sorry to say that this is something far more important and decisive than all this. We have found a radical new reality – therefore, something radically different from what is known in philosophy -, therefore, something for which the concepts of reality and of being traditional do not work. If, however, we use them it is because before discovering it and when discovering it we have no others. To form a new concept we need to have and see something new before. Hence, the discovery is, in addition to a new reality, the initiation of a new idea of being, of a new ontology – of a new philosophy and, insofar as it influences life, of a whole new life – vita nova.
It is not possible that now, suddenly, not even the most painted realizes the projections and perspectives that this finding contains and will involve. Nor does it urge me. Today it is not necessary to appreciate the importance of what was said in the previous lesson – I am in no hurry because I am right. The reason is not a train that leaves at a fixed time. Hurry is only the sick and the ambitious. All I wish is that if, among the boys who listen to me, there are some with a deeply manly soul and, therefore, very sensitive to adventures of intellect, they will inscribe the words spoken by me last Friday in their fresh memory, and, As time goes by, one day among the generous days, remember them.
For the ancients, reality, being, meant “thing”; for the moderns, being meant “intimacy, subjectivity”; For us, being means “living” – therefore – intimacy with ourselves and with things. We confirm that we have reached a higher spiritual level because if we look at our feet, at our starting point – “living” – we find that in it are preserved, integrated with each other and overcome, antiquity and modernity. We are at a higher level – we are at our level – we are up to the times. The concept of height of time is not a phrase – it is a reality, as we will see very soon.
Let us refresh, in a few words, the route that has led us to encounter “living” as a radical datum, as a primordial, indubitable reality of the Universe. The existence of things as existence independent of me is problematic; therefore, we abandon the realistic thesis of the ancients. On the other hand, there is no doubt that I think things, that my thinking exists and that, therefore, the existence of things is dependent on me, it is my thinking about them; This is the firm portion of the idealistic thesis.
So we accept it; But, to accept it, we want to understand it well and ask ourselves: In what sense and way do things depend on me when I think about them – what are they, when I say that they are only my thoughts? Idealism responds: things depend on me, they are thoughts in the sense that they are contents of my consciousness, of my thinking, states of my self. This is the second part of the idealistic thesis and this is the one we do not accept. And we do not accept it because it is a contradiction; Let it be stated, then, not because it is not true, but because of something more elementary. A sentence, in order not to be true, has to make sense: from its intelligible meaning we say that it is not true – because we understand that 2 and 2 are 5 we say that it is not true. But that second part of the idealist thesis is meaningless, it is a contradiction, like the “round square”. As long as this theater is this theater, it cannot be a content of my self. My self is not extensive nor is it blue and this theater is extensive and blue. What I contain and am is only my thinking or seeing the theater, my thinking or seeing my star, but not that one or this one. The mode of dependency between thinking and its objects cannot be, as idealism intended, to have them in me, as my ingredients, but rather the opposite, my finding them as different and outside of me, before me. It is false, then, that the conscience is something closed, an awareness only of itself, of what it has inside. On the contrary, I realize that I think when, for example, I realize that I see or think of a star; And then, what I realize is that there are two different things, although linked to each other: I, who see the star, and the star, which is seen by me. She needs me, but I also need her. If idealism no longer said: there is thought, the subject, the self, would say something true but incomplete; but he is not content with that, but adds: there is only thought, subject, me. This is false. If there is a subject, there is an inseparable object, and vice versa. If I exist I think, there is the world that I think. Therefore: the radical truth is the coexistence of me with the world. To exist is primarily to coexist – it is to see something that is not me, to love another being, to suffer for things.
The mode of dependence in which things are on me is not, therefore, the unilateral dependence that idealism believed to find, it is not only that they are my thinking and feeling, but also the inverse dependence, I also depend on them, of the world. . It is, therefore, an interdependence, a correlation, in short, coexistence.
Why did idealism, which had such a strong and clear intuition of the fact “thought”, conceive it so poorly, falsify it? For the simple reason that he accepted without question the traditional meaning of the concept of being and existing. According to this highly inveterate sense, being, existing means independent, which is why, for the philosophical past, the only being that truly is is the Absolute Being, who represents the superlative of ontological independence. Descartes, more clearly than anyone before him, formulates this idea of being almost clinically when he defines substance – as I said – saying that it is a quod nihil aliud indigeat ad existendum. The being that to be does not need any other – nihil indigeat. Substantial being is being sufficient – independent. When faced with the very evident fact that the radical and indubitable reality is what I think and the thing I think about – therefore, a duality and a correlation – he does not dare to conceive it impartially, but says: since I find these two things together, -the subject and the object, therefore in dependence-, I have to decide which of the two is independent, which does not need the other, which is sufficient. But we find no indubitable foundation for that assumption that being can only mean “being sufficient.” On the contrary, it turns out that the only indubitable being we find is the interdependence of the self and things – things are what they are to me, and I am the one who suffers from things – therefore, indubitable being is, therefore soon, not enough, but “being destitute”. To be is to need one of the other.
The modification is of exuberant importance, but it is so shallow, so superficial, so evident, so clear, so simple that it is almost embarrassing. Do you see how philosophy is a chronic desire for superficiality? A game turning the cards so that our opponent can see them?
The radical fact, we said, is a coexistence of me with things. But as soon as we have said this, we realize that to call “coexistence” the way I exist with the world, that primary reality, both unitary and double, that magnificent fact of essential duality, is committing an incorrectness. Because coexistence does not mean more than being one thing next to the other, than being one and the other. The static, recumbent character of existing and being of these two old concepts falsifies what we want to express. Because it is not the world by itself next to me and I by my side here, next to it – but the world is what it is being for me, in dynamic being front and against me, and I am the one that acts on it, he who looks at it and dreams it and suffers it and loves it or hates it. The static being is declared unemployed – we will see what his subordinate role is – and must be replaced by an acting being. The being of the world before me is – we would say – a functioning on me, and, equally, mine on it. But this – a reality that consists of an I seeing a world, thinking about it, touching it, loving it or detesting it, enthusing or distressing it, transforming it and enduring it and suffering, is what has always been called “living”, “my life”, “our life”, the life of each one. We will twist, then, the neck to the venerable and consecrated words exist, coexist and be, to, instead of them, say: the primary thing that there is in the Universe is “my living” and everything else there is, or there is not , in my life, within it. Now it is not inconvenient to say that things, that the Universe, that God Himself are contained in my life – because “my life” is not me alone, I am the subject, but that living is also the world. We have overcome the subjectivism of three centuries – the self has freed itself from its intimate prison, it is no longer the only thing there is, it no longer suffers from that loneliness that is uniqueness, with which we had contact the day before. We have escaped from the inward seclusion in which we lived as modern, gloomy seclusion, without light, without the light of the world and without spaces where the wings of desire and appetite can be found. We are outside the confined selfish enclosure, airtight sick room, made of mirrors that desperately gave us back our own profile – we are outside, in the open air, once again opening our lungs to cosmic oxygen, the wing lends itself to flight, the heart pointing to what friendly. The world is again a vital horizon that, like the line of the sea, bends around us its magnificent crossbow and makes our hearts feel like arrows, he who, by himself bloody, is always wounded by pain or delight . Let’s save ourselves in the world – “let’s save ourselves in things”. I wrote this last expression, as a program of life, when I was twenty-two years old and studying in the Mecca of idealism, and I shuddered already darkly anticipating the harvest of a future maturity. And who used to riveder him stelle.
But before we need to find out what is, in its peculiarity, that true and primary being that is “living”. The concepts and categories of traditional philosophy are useless to us – none of them. What we see now is new: we must therefore conceive what we see with novice concepts. Gentlemen, we have the good fortune to release concepts. That is why, from our present situation, we understand very well the delight that the Greeks must have felt. They are the first men to discover scientific thinking, the theory – that very special and ingenious caress that makes the mind of things by molding itself to them in an exact idea. They did not have a scientific past behind them, they had not received ready-made concepts, consecrated technical words. They had before them the being they had discovered and at hand only the usual language – “the Roman paladin in which each one speaks with his neighbor” – and suddenly, one of the humble everyday words turned out to fit prodigiously in that most important reality that they had before them. The humble word rose, as if by levitation, from the vulgar plane of the locuela, of the talk, and was nobly conceited in technical terms, it was proud as a palfrey of the weight of sovereign idea that oppressed his back. When a new world is discovered the needy words run good fortunes. We, inheritors of a deep past, seem condemned to do no more in science than hieratized, solemn, rigid terms, with whom we have completely lost confidence. What a pleasure it must have been for those men in Greece to attend the moment when the pentecost of the scientific idea descended like a sublime flame on the trivial word! Think of how hard, rigid, inert, cold as metal, which is to the child’s ear, the first time you hear it, the word hypotenuse! Well, one fine day, over there by the Greek Sea, some smart musicians, which musicians are not usually, some great musicians called Pythagoreans, discovered that, on the harp, the size of the longest string was in proportion to the size of the shortest string analogous to that between the sound of the former and that of the latter. The harp was a triangle closed by a string, “the longest, the most stretched” -hypotenuse, nothing more. Who can not feel today in that horrible word with a domineering face that name so simple and so sweet, “the longest”, which recalls the title of Debussy’s waltz La plus que lens – “the more than slow”?
Well, we are in a similar situation. We look for the concepts and categories that they say, that express “living” in its exclusive peculiarity, and we need to sink our hand in the trivial vocabulary and be surprised that, suddenly, a word without rank, without a scientific past, a poor vernacular voice catches fire inside the light of a scientific idea and it becomes a technical term. This is one more symptom that luck has favored us and we are new and new to an intact coast.
The word “live” does nothing but approximate the simple abyss, the abyss without phrases, without pathetic announcements that masked is hidden under it. It is necessary that with some courage we set foot on it even though we know that a serious immersion in terrifying depths awaits us. There are beneficial chasms that purely unfathomable return us to the light of life restored, strengthened, illuminated. There are fundamental facts with which it is convenient from time to time to confront and make contact, precisely because they are abyssal, precisely because we lose ourselves in them. Jesus said it divinely: “Only he who loses himself will find himself.” Now, if you accompany me with an effort of attention, we are going to lose ourselves for a while. Let’s dive, divers of our own existence, to return to the surface, like the Coromandel fisherman who returns from the bottom of the sea with the pearl between his teeth, therefore, smiling.