Bullies VS Hugging Teddy Bears

Publish date 23-11-2020

by Marco Grossetti

Wanting is power, says the saying handed down by the wise men of a distant time, the possibility for everyone to change the course of an adverse fate and arrive at the long-awaited happy ending. Wealth or at least happiness quite easily within reach of all those who desire and pursue it, until they reach it, to deservedly enjoy it. In his latest essay, the Israeli historian Yuval Noha Harari wrote that humanity has never been so close to the dawn of a new era: it seemed that "food shortages, the spread of diseases and war conflicts belonged in an inseparable way to the divine cosmic plan or to our imperfect nature and nothing, except the end of time, would have been able to free us from these wounds "; now, on the other hand, famines, plagues and wars are phenomena limited to small pieces of the world that pursue technological progress and economic well-being achieved by the ranks of the elect who continue to increase day after day.

Yet we are here. In a large city of what is still one of the richest countries in the world, the Arsenale della Pace continues to be invaded every day by families, including Italian ones, who ask for help with the most normal things: shoes and clothes, strolls. children and toys, food, notebooks, books and markers, medicines, glasses and dental care, help their children with homework. In the registration interviews for this latest project, mothers and fathers from all over the world agreed on one thing: life is difficult. Anywhere and anyway. It is the scientific thesis supported by their lives, so much so that a mother always recommends her son to study, because "otherwise, like me, he will end up doing the cleaning, always if they don't bring robots". Another mother, retracing her life full of exploitation, overwhelm and violence, recognized by allowing herself the luxury of a few tears the sad naturalness of her destiny: things just went as usual, it works like this, it wasn't the first and will not be the last.

The sociologist Zygmunt Bauman described «the irrevocable internal contradiction of a society that defines a standard of happiness for all its members that most of them are not given the possibility, or even prevented from reaching». We no longer allow ourselves to want because we no longer believe we can. Life is difficult, it works like this, as usual, maybe one day, the grown-ups say, so tired of losing that they have learned to cry without letting tears come out. "We are half the bullies and the other half the all-hugging bears," said a child the other day, reflecting on the nature of the species to which it belongs.

Bullies of which we ourselves are the first victims and the first prisoners, while the bears hug everyone - they all look like a species in danger of extinction. It is the other part of us, the one we had to magically reactivate after the lockdown, the one that we turn on on the one day of the year when it was decided that we must all be a little better. The one that every little bear can learn only by observing and imitating the behavior of papa bear and mother bear. Growl and scratch, overwhelm and attack. It is part of our nature. How to hug and smile, cuddle and love. The description of a moment in which everything can still happen: we are in the middle, suspended between arrogance and kindness, indifference and care, wickedness and empathy. Bully or teddy bear - hug everyone? Just take the right card. At least every now and then.


Marco Grossetti
NP Ottobre 2020

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