Memories and hopes

Publish date 22-03-2023

by Matteo Spicuglia

Enzo Biagi was a pedigree pen: minimalist phrasebook, dry communication, few adjectives, words used at the right moment. Among the greatest of Italian journalism of the last century. He passed away just over 15 years ago at the end of a long life, marked by great satisfactions, but also by bitterness.

There was a phrase that he loved to repeat often when asked about old age. He said that his was a time when memories were stronger than hopes. He spoke with the melancholy of those who lose their lifelong friends, of those who feel the weight of experience and of a world different from that of their roots. But beyond the visions of the moment, a great truth was hidden in that sentence. Because life is like this: a mixture of memories and hopes. Those who are older know it well, but perhaps today we all realize it. Especially in such a particular beginning of the year: war without a visible end, innocent death has become almost commonplace, the energy crisis that upsets the balance, personal uncertainties that are increasingly transversal.

It is as if age no longer matters and each generation comes to terms with its own load of disillusionment. The news tells us about it, the banality of the violence that attaches itself to so many lives, the fragility that adds up and often becomes radicalized. With the future relegated almost to a spare wheel and no longer recognized as a thrust and an engine. After all, when everything becomes uncertain, looking back is much more comforting. And remembering becomes much easier than hoping. Remembrance is a refuge, it is a fixed point, it is certainty. But by itself it is useless, it is an illusion. Because, as Oscar Wilde wrote, the only charm of the past is that it is past. He was right.

The truth is that our time is today. It doesn't matter if we are children, young people, adults or the elderly. The fragile, subdued, in its own way immature today is in our hands to be wrapped up, welcomed, loved. A new year to live is like a sprout, very fragile, but potentially robust, luxuriant, unique. It's up to us to take care of it. We don't have many tools at our disposal to do this, but hope is always there, close at hand and in the heart. The hope that he will always have the last word, yesterday as today. The hope present in every momentum, in every new project, in every inner opening, in every promise of change. The hope that sees the unfinished and doesn't get scared, the evil and doesn't give up, the impossible and doesn't give up. Only hope like this builds, try to imagine new endings and solutions, to believe and build, to make memories not a consolation, but a splendid stepping stone towards the future. Let this be the wish and the promise for the new year that begins.

Matteo Spicuglia
NP January 2023

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