Francesca Attiani

Nowadays, in 2016, people’s lives depend entirely on the country they live in and its quality of life indicators. Even though we live in a hi-tech and social century – reaching the dreamlike extreme that these words now suggests – our individuality is experiencing an eclipse of the outside world. In a nutshell, in our modern society, debates and discussions seem to be dispensable. The legitimacy of a person’s own idea, empowered by the solitary growing experience, from school to work, led to the unconscious certainty that the group doesn’t exist, the community doesn’t exist. The individual is there, along with the popularity level accorded to him.

The Italian generation of people between the age of 20 and 35 assimilated from their parents the importance given to being cunning in social climbing and being wary. It is a generation which learnt hostility. However, this doesn’t mean that these young people – who are too young to take decisions but too old to work – are bad people. They simply do not know the result of a combination of many elements, but they easily get their own contributing factor. They don’t perceive the injustice towards the other anymore, they don’t feel rage or indignation before an abuse of power. Our multi-media society taught them how to let news and words flow away without keeping them.

It has to be said that this picture portrays a bigger landscape; in a country, Italy, where a whole life has to be an never ending youth, it’s no surprise that young people has an instinct to a general indifference, that leads to an economic growth with no ethical interest.

Here is the heart of the matter, when acknowledged: ethic goes together with solidarity, integration, public heritage and equity. A person who doesn’t feel the needs of the homeless, a refugee, of a monument at risk because of no maintenance, or who doesn’t perceive the social inequality as an injustice, is a person who will never be a citizen.

They won’t be able to discern good and evil. This is what Claudio Abbado says about culture: it is something essential to judge who rules us, to save democracy. What is culture if not Ethic? Otherwise it would just be meaningless elitism, evanescent diversion for old rich people, a mere item for mass consumption. For centuries culture has been allowed to the few who would be able to afford it, who would manage and influence it. Only under the Republic, in Italy people understood the laic and public value of the cultural heritage. This was stated in one of the main Constitution articles, the 9th.

As Tomaso Montanari said on the 7th of May during the Culture Emergency demonstration: “Culture is an essential condition for the full development of the human being, so that substantial equality becomes real”; it should be – by constitution – independent from political power, free and available to every citizen.

Today we are witnessing a deviation which commercializes culture, turning it into a product. Political lobbies are to be blamed, along with academics who spill only drops of knowledge.

Now, if in an Italian young’s life there is no culture (meant as self research and acknowledgment, and therefore as civic commitment), also many college students lack it. Those who were not demonstrating in the occasion mentioned above, who made it turn into a protest limited to officials and the retired of the cultural heritage, missed a precious occasion to claim their identity.

It’s time for these young culture professionals to wake up, to get out of their shell of indifference; it’s time for them to show commitment for the ideas they believe in, to ask for their right to work and respect for Article 9. Only they could make their peers really free.

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