Whether you are planning a holiday at the sea or a trip to the mountains, our suggestion is to use the holiday period to bring your knowledge up to date – to learn, to make projects and to innovate so that you can contribute to everyone’s evolution. Is this a bit much to take on when it’s time to relax? Well, there is one simple and rather special activity that, if performed conscientiously over time, enables you to do all this while having a good time: reading! Here are some reasons and tips on why you should devote some time to this activity.
Why? “Good” democracy
We live in a complex world, full of media input and sensationalism. A good thing in some ways, but also dangerous if we do not use our education while surfing the news. Democracy (especially that linked to information) only works if people can tap into widespread general knowledge, otherwise it descends into populism.
For power to really be held in the hands of the people, they must not only have access to information but also the tools to interpret it, to test it, and to form an original opinion.
Instead, all too often we see lies repeated so many times that they become facts, false information unsupported by data and junk media that crop up so often that those involved have no time to refute them. The only solution is that we ourselves become careful critics. If we do so, we will also find that we have become better people.
How? The art of reason
Reading is necessary to develop a critical sense, to reason and interpret information, thus contributing to a general evolution of knowledge. So, when you come across something interesting, we recommend you discuss it with those near you on the beach or with fellow climbers, so you compare opinions and converse with people who maybe see things in a different way; thanks to these new ideas you will develop original opinions. Be careful not to give in to the temptation to copy, to use other people’s work without quoting (see the Disclaimer in Diario di un Consulente ), or to make statements without verifying their truth or uncritically cite the point of view of others.
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Words are the basis of culture, the distinctive trait of the human being, and as such, they must be deeply respected.
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Use words to pursue higher goals that go beyond self-promotion or bolstering your ego. We have recently attended a series of conferences organized using the “thesis and antithesis” formula, a technique useful to develop a basic skill: learning how to assert your principles and not just your own positions. If you are unable to undertake dialogue with others based on respect and ethics, you will not be able to state your ideas and share their innovative content: innovation, in fact, requires consensus!
What? The theory of “after”
In recent years, we have recommended some reading in our Italian book section LeggenDo per il Diario, or rather the professionals who have collaborated with the blog and to whom we are eternally grateful did so for us. These are just some suggestions, but you may find useful stories of your own, or choose to read new stories. Indeed, if there is one thing we recommend it is to start from stories (biographies, human interest stories, personal experiences) and then discover the theories that arise from them. When we wrote our book in the US our editor Mary Gentile, whose interview we will publish soon, taught us that the theory comes later, first there are facts! So, start on a smaller scale, choosing narrative, or short stories. First find out about the protagonist’s life and then widen the scope, and try to figure out what you can learn from this experience. Perhaps, by doing so, you will then want to write your own story and offer it to others so they can do the same.
Our country needs education in the broadest sense, and the world needs an educated Italy.
We are the guardians of traditions stretching over millennia, works of art and a cultural heritage unequalled in the world. The guardian of such treasures must be worthy of such a task! A recent survey indicated that when Americans were asked ‘If you were not a citizen of the United States, what other nationality you would like to have?’ most answered ‘Italian’! We should be proud and respectful of such excellence. We should try to transform ourselves into “works of art”, promulgators of knowledge who exercise their critical sense conscientiously, with respect and responsibility, sharing our uniqueness. Knowing how to read and recount is fundamental to building our tomorrow.
They are well aware of this at the MIT, one of the world’s most important universities, where Leigh Hafrey teaches his students the art of reinventing tradition and projecting it into the future through narrative. Some of the people who contributed to writing recent history have studied under him. We had the honour of interviewing Professor Hafrey, who explained to us how you can change your own life and that of others. This interview will also be published shortly, so keep following us… meanwhile have a great summer!
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