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Italy and the world’s future 0

Yo Shaw,

As you know my job involves teaching students face-to-face, which means I’m paid to sit and talk to people for an hour at a time. My students are doctors, lawyers, politicians, police officers, bodyguards, housewives, architects, accountants, athletes, actors, directors, musicians, bankers, journalists, gardeners, dog sitters, and almost every other occupation you can imagine. Most of my students are intelligent, educated people, and I value their opinions and learn from our conversations.

With that said, in the last few years, I’ve noticed that most of the people I teach are pessimistic about Italy and the world’s future. They complain about traffic, pollution, the economy, taxes, housing, strikes, sanitation, politics, war, death, and life in general. I rarely hear that things are improving, that life is beautiful, or that our leaders are looking out for our best interests. Instead, everything is getting worse. Life is hectic and complicated. Most world leaders are corrupt. The rich are getting too rich and the poor too poor. The air in most cosmopolitan cities is unhealthy, the water undrinkable. War is stupid and senseless and yet it happens and is happening. In fact, human history is so saturated with violence and bloodshed that we should be ashamed of ourselves.

There are too many problems and no solutions.

It seems these people are waiting for hell to happen, expecting it as if there’s nothing to do but wait and watch. Maybe they’re right, Shaw. Let’s face it. We the people are cogs in the machine, every one of us, and that includes the movers and shakers. In the words of Michel de Montaigne, “Even on the most exalted throne in the world, we are still seated on nothing but our arse.” It may seem that certain individuals are running the show but there are no winners or losers in the game of life, which, after all, ends in death. As the Italian proverb goes, “When the game is over, the pawn and king go back in the same box.”

So why? What does it matter if we die anyway? I believe life itself is what matters, Shaw, and not the individual’s experience of it but the fact that we are here and that this is happening. I think the key is to enjoy our crumb of existence while always being mindful of the end so that when death comes you can open your arms and embrace it knowing that you lived and enjoyed your life. The idea is to die saying, “Okay, I’m ready and, yes, it was enough.”

In the meantime, dinner’s on the way and it’s my favorite = pasta with pesto. Here it is now, a steaming bowl of spaghetti (with pesto) prepared by my beautiful wife.

Ah well, Shaw, I may be a pawn in the game of life but I’m about to eat like a king.

Buon appettito!

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