Freedom is within us, a partially sighted says.

Monday March 16th, 2020

Yesterday I decided to try not to read news, articles, numbers.
It is difficult because the situation evolves rapidly and differently depending on the city, region, country in which you are located. I also believe that a perverse mechanism has been triggered that leads to news bulimia, fueled by anxiety.
It is correct to know what happens outside your house, but there is also the risk of entering a perverse vortex, between fake and conspiracy, which could be harmful.
We need to take breaks and be silent.

For my break I chose to do some meditation and read a book.
I had many waiting on the shelf (virtual, I read ebooks), but I wanted to be on the safe side and read one by Erri de Luca, which never disappoints.
I chose among the titles that I had not read and found Impossible. 
As I read it, I shivered because of the relevance of certain quotes with the situation we are experiencing.
Impossible is the definition of an event until the minute before it happens, says the protagonist, who is accused of murder and therefore under arrest.
Here, I choose at random and find a book that speaks of captivity.

Aren’t we all prisoners these days?

The protagonist of the book also feels free inside a cell, just like on top of a mountain.
But he was used to it, had already been in jail, accused of being part of the terrorist organizations of the “Years of Lead”.

We do not. We are not used to being at home entire days. Children, the elderly are not used to it. We are unable to see the sun and let it rise and set without the rays illuminating our face and warming our skin.
But we have no choice.
You risk going crazy.
Yet there are many men who have found themselves locked in cells and have had to learn how to deal with confined spaces.
If the guilty deserved the suffering, the innocent certainly did not.
Cases of miscarriage of justice, have been many and have inspired the stories of many books and movies.
We can brush up on big names, like Mandela, or big cases, like that of the Central Park jogger, but it is good to know that in the United States between 2.3 and 5% of all prisoners are innocent.

We come to us.
We are all innocent, forced to imprisonment by an invisible enemy.
Innocent according to the penal code.
If this virus is also a consequence of the exploitation of the planet we are all guilty.
And we still don’t know the length of the sentence.
All awaiting trial.
At the mercy of the behavior of the other inmates, of the spread of this invisible disease.
All so uncertain, we who had slowly built our certainties, in spite of life, which does not have certainties.

Personally, I think the antibodies that I have had to create to face life starting from another indefinite sentence, that in the dark, can come in handy.

When they diagnosed me with retinitis pigmentosa they told me, you will go blind.
If you become one, you don’t know when.
There is no cure. You just have to wait.

You will get sick with pneumonia.
And if you get sick you don’t know when.
There is no cure. You just have to wait.

Do you notice something similar?
Even though I have lived in this condition for over twenty years, I am obviously incredulous and confused in this situation as much as all of you.
But perhaps I have gradually learned to metabolize this condition of perennial instability.
I am not immune, I have some pills that at least for a while could work as an antidote.

Forced to deal with various limitations and restrictions, I had to learn how to create alternative strategies. If I can no longer read the paper books I have chosen to read the electronic ones, if I cannot travel by car I can still move on foot or by public transport, if I cannot play team sports I can walk in the mountains and in the woods.

A constant search for alternatives, but above all a training to move the gaze from the half empty glass to the half full one.

But what are the alternatives to imprisonment?
If we were really in a prison, perhaps it would be difficult to talk about it, the strength to face the cell I think is truly an individual thing.
But our cells are our homes and within these walls there are our worlds.
Tips from what to do, from books to audiobooks, from radio to Netflix, from boxed games to card games, are raining all over the place.
That’s not the point.
Learning to accept restrictions is slow, precise, methodical work.
Here too discipline is needed.

We need to learn how to make the mind work differently.
I start from a sentence written between the pages of a book.
From a poem.
From a photograph.
From a song.
From a phone call,
From a dream.
From a voice outside the window.
From a caress (if I can still do it).
From an cord with the guitar.
From a new cake.
From a memory.

From each of these details new scenarios, landscapes, travels can start.
They are inside the mind, inside the heart.
The nice thing is that they are free, do not pollute and you can go wherever you want.
You find yourself in the infinite spaces of sensations, ideas.

Close all libraries if you wish; but there is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can adjust on the freedom of my mind.
(Virginia Woolf)

There are already many messages with the “we will make it”, “everything will be fine” “this virus teaches us to appreciate life”.
In order to avoid these are aonly words, the task of changing must be taken seriously, starting now.
We should start to write the list of the things that we will change in our lives, of the things we have learned. Let’s commit to making this story really the bad start of a big change.

To learn how to be truly free, we can start today, which we are not. And as soon as we can choose everything again, have the courage to really choose, with conscience.

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