light, time and instance


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In the first room our extraordinary adventure begins. We find ourselves in an amphitheater, where an actor, our guide through the performance, invites us to reflect on the experience of knowledge as a source of light and forgiveness in our lives.


When something is evil? When it has no meaning. The absence of knowledge is like an exile from our land. We were created to know. To know means to regain our heritage. This is forgiveness…


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What does it mean "to know"? What experience are we speaking about? Following a lecture between "light" and "knowledge", leading through passages from Leopardi, Dostojevskij and Rudolph Schwarz' (a 20th - century architect) writings, through stories about wine and waves, the spectator perceives how the knowledge of a detail leads to the re-discovery of a whole personal experience of the universe. The discovery occurs in an instant, and all the time re-occurs in it. And in this instant the limits of a human being appear to be "forgiven".
Look, how the famous Italian poet Giacomo Leopardi describes his very personal perception of knowledge, which he experiences in front of an "unknown", the infinity:


Sempre caro mi fu quest'ermo colle,
e questa siepe, che da tanta parte
dell'ultimo orizzonte il guardo esclude.
Ma sedendo e mirando, interminati
spazi di là da quella, e sovrumani
silenzi, e profondissima quïete
io nel pensier mi fingo, ove per poco
il cor non si spaura. E come il vento
odo stormir tra queste piante, io quello
infinito silenzio a questa voce
vo comparando: e mi sovvien l'eterno,
e le morte stagioni, e la presente
e viva, e il suon di lei. Così tra questa
immensità s'annega il pensier mio:
e il naufragar m'è dolce in questo mare.

(Giacomo Leopardi, L'Infinito)


I always loved this solitary hill,
This hedge as well, which takes so large a share
Of the far-flung horizon from my view;
But seated here, in contemplation lost,
My thought discovers vaster space beyond,
Supernal silence and unfathomed peace;
Almost I am afraid; then, since I hear
The murmur of the wind among the leaves,
I match that infinite calm unto this sound
And with my mind embrace eternity,
The vivid, speaking present and dead past;
In such immensity my spirit drowns,
And sweet to me is shipwreck in this sea.


(Lorna de' Lucchi's translation from www.poetrymagic.co.uk)


The poet's meeting with infinity occurs through a detail, a hedge, which arouses his imagination and induces him to surpass it, to raise his thought towards infinity. In front of the detail all time is returned to him. He reacquires the experience of the past and feels no fear of death in this immensity.


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What is light? It is a wave. Already Leonardo da Vinci formulated this hypothesis, comparing it with the wind, which moves like a wave through a cornfield, whilst the ears of wheat remain in their place.
Identically, the electrons, which vibrate on the surface of the sun at the right frequency, generate light, which propagates in the whole immense universe.
A very tiny part of this light hits our eyes. It "prefers" them, setting in motion the charges in their receptors. The energy thereby produced is then acknowledged by the brain, which interprets the vision.
But rarely is the eye exposed to the direct, "out of the blue", vision of the sun, which blinding nature hurts the eye.
The sunlight sets in vibration the charges (essentially, the electrons) of all the matter it meets, which in turn give off the light, which we finally see.
The eye is made for the sun. Or better, the two are made for each other.



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