“SISTER SOUL INTERVIEW BY PATRIZIA VALDUGA WITH GUIDO CERONETTI” 1991
If it is true, as has been said, that a free soul is rare, but that it can be recognized because it is good to be close to it, then Guido Ceronetti is one of the freest souls that can be encountered today: his sight, his closeness infuse such a feeling of well-being, and relief, and inner tone … And since “Jeremiah, philologist, medium, poet, in unstable combinations” is his profession, we would like, as in Jeremiah, after Jerusalem was taken and burned by the Chaldeans, to ask him too the Way by which we must go and what we must do…
America is now an object of worship in the West as well as in the East. Is it our way?
Towards America there is mostly a hypocritical idolatry, because no one openly confesses to idolizing America, but in fact one submits to everything that is American, indeed it is created everywhere America, as it is not really a place and a state, but a universal model, rather undeciphered … At the same time, like all idols, it is the sign of active hatred, which is a form of reverse idolatry.
It seems to me that ideological anti-Americanism, both from the East and from the West, comes from the slums of thought, from something deeply damaged. A right way of reasoning and judging seems nowhere to be found.
Next year the celebrations (and billions) for the 500th anniversary of Columbus will be wasted …
On that occasion, it would be necessary to shed more light on one thing, on the famous syphilis that the sailors of Columbus would have brought back from America: because, either they brought it where it was not there, or there was simply an exchange of spirochetes . But don’t tell me that they went with the pure blood of their bastard ancestors to get infected and then epidemics broke out in Europe, because this is something that doesn’t stand up! This is the doctrine of the Americanist syphilographer Astruc, which dogmatically influenced all subsequent syphilography. The disease was already there in ancient times and Columbus probably had it when he dealt with that sad affair of the caravels.
Does the rejection of the concept of political commitment today concern only the adjective or does it also involve the noun?
Surely it also affects the noun. There is, in language and practice, what is called social commitment, which has replaced political commitment. But in reality then we realize that social commitment is not so much about making authentic altruism, as curing one’s own urban neurosis, a creator of two-sided selfishness, one of which is aimed at the social … Now then with the arrival of immigrants this possibility of self-treatment has multiplied. The commitment that would take more, and which I like very much, is the civic commitment, the desire to be citizens. But to be citizens you need a sense of country … True civil passion is a gift from a few and is not aimed at disinherited necks, such as social commitment, or a certain faction, such as the political one; civil passion is eminently abstract, it is more than certain an increase in the pains of the soul, and its fire burns for the whole national community. Jeremiah screams in pains caused by his desperate civil commitment. In reality, what has prevailed everywhere is an unfortunate and perverted individualism. How citizens have degenerated their homelands have degenerated; of nobility there is nothing left but a small horse-drawn carousel of voiceless despair, which sometimes creates in our guts this cruel absence of a homeland, very similar to the absence of God.
It is authoritatively said that television is a fundamental tool for education, for the growth of the social and civic sense, and even for the unification of the language.
Very well. This confirms that the dominance of evil spirits over human affairs is well established and deepened, because from that video tracker one of his hairiest and stabbing hands stretches endlessly. I am not saying that you have to be careful, because nobody is careful. They are only careful that not a drop of that good broth escapes them …
There is a television program entitled “Healthier, more beautiful”: beauty and health have become categorical imperatives …
Here is a small confirmation of the deception; reality answers: more unhealthy and uglier.
Mazzini wrote that “the only joys that are pure and not mixed with sadness that are given to man to enjoy on earth are the joys of the family” …
This nice little thought can be placed on the armored door of some large Mafia family.
… and Bataille that “only being loved can make us return to lost wholeness”.
Alas, no totality is possible here in the world of the fragmentary and the divided. But this consoling maxim of Merezkovsky often comes to mind: “The goal of sexual love is not the propagation of life, but the resurrection of the dead.”
What to do when we love not loved back?
If we don’t want to be indiscreet, we retreat on tiptoe.
And when someone loves us not loved in return?
On the other side we should wish the same thing said before, but we would not be entirely happy about it.
How to live with the anguish and pain of the mind?
The pain of the mind is a spinal column of the spirit, it helps us to live … It is a beautiful metaphor to say the angel of Tobias, it leads us towards something, it is a real suffering that does not touch vital organs, it sustains them. Not only do you live with this type of pain, but without it you are living dead.
And with anguish?
Anguish is ugly and perverse: it surrounds the pain of the mind like the canker of the tree, because nothing is without another face. It is ugly and it makes us vile, it nails us to cursed doubts, it does not let us cross the threshold …
What are the remedies?
There is an immense chemical arsenal to which everyone turns as if they were thirsty. The large shop distributes the remedies against anxiety with both hands. Martial arts and the whole organization of culture, holidays, etc., have also become a chemical remedy. Secret remedies that certainly exist, not inaccessible, should be dealt with separately …
How to live with the disease and pain of the body?
Unfortunately there, if you don’t have enough strength, there is only the less noble form of prayer. I recommend Psalm 91: “You who lie down and sleep in the shadow of Shaddai.” It is an apotropaic psalm. I had given it to a friend with cancer, I had made a version of it on purpose, and it did him a lot of good, so he assured me, and you don’t lie in those conditions.
Why was pain so much more tolerated in the past?
Anesthesia and analgesics were introduced. The answer is not mine, it belongs to the great pain surgeon René Leriche: he remembered having operated without anesthesia, in the Great War, of fighters unaware of any analgesic, without uttering a complaint. Leriche traces the beginning of our weakening to the aspirin revolution, which I believe dates back to around 1910. But there may be causes that we cannot discern for now. Of course we are all weaker in the face of body aches. But, here, the real strength is female.
Does art still exist? And is it an authentic means of communication?
Apparently it has become especially so now, as the Army of the Consumers disseminates bookings for exhibitions on all continents across the air. Before, they certainly would not have communicated with each other if there was not the Great Appointment with the centenary and millennial exhibition. I don’t think anyone who declares himself or professes himself an artist has any more in mind to talk to others, it is a kind of closed window. Very common phrases that reveal how little the artist today thinks of communicating are: «Here I was interested in saying, doing this …», «For me it was a great experience …». But the essential aim for a true artist is not to have experiences with his tafanesco ego, but to give joy by expressing everyone’s pain.
And the poets in particular?
Ah, the poets are mesmerized by the encyclopedic card. To be stoned in a volume that has forty thousand names in the sentence: “one of the greatest poets of our time” or, even more succulent: “of all times”, I believe is one of the great springs that still holds them up. The novelist lives much more than the applause of the day, like the actor. The poet, even if he is on the same bandwagon, has another mental time … And they are the most decidedly opposed to the end of the world, the poets! Don’t tell them, just them! They will tell you that there are excellent prospects for a recovery of the human race so that it can, among other millennia of disasters, be reflected in their verses.
Is there a use of poetry?
Medical use is what I prefer. I think of Kavafis’s Melancholy of Jason by Cleandro, who calls poetry to help him against the evils and ugliness of old age. In the mirror he sees his face like a slash of a knife, his hideous face of an aging man, and he says: “Give me your drugs, or Poetry, console me with the Spirit of the Word.” But for the medicine to be effective, mnemonic fixation and oral repetition are required. Silent and hasty reading is like taking a tablet already dissolved in someone else’s mouth.
Confucius said: “Whoever does not know the rite has no foundation”.
Therefore all the more or less faithful who go to Mass in Italian are groundless.
Where does Knowledge dwell?
The answer is in chapter 28 of the book of Job: Knowledge is with God alone. Our greatest cognitive result is to approach as consciously as possible the nostalgic void of knowledge.
How can you not be afraid of death?
Here, in post-Christian countries, the fear of death is a death sentence that replaces the abolished gallows. A recipe for our urban life would be this: to live, even if rents were very high, in a neighborhood where out of a hundred thousand inhabitants, ninety-nine thousand were not afraid of death.
What should we fear most of all?
The death of an unknown sister, called Soul. Even if it had already happened, as I fear, we should keep the room silent and glacial always in order, and wait for it to come back.
Taken from: Guido Ceronetti, Dear uncertainty, “SISTER SOUL INTERVIEW BY PATRIZIA VALDUGA WITH GUIDO CERONETTI” 1991
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