venerdì 13 giugno 2008

Going Beyond

When discussing about territorial development, it is not possible to examine only economic, social, ecological, biological, geological aspects, but also well defined “signals” and values have to be carefully kept in mind. If these signals and values are removed from economic, social and environmental elements, then local development becomes essentially auto-referential and these values and signals become opaque ghost-symbols. The lack of these values concretely transform for example environmental issues in a mere ecologism when the degradation of the space surrounding us results from precise economic development models based on precise reference (dis)values. Environmental protection is primary an ethic issue and only secondly a “technical” one. If economics, development and environment are put into the hands only of “experts” then the efforts to transfer these issues upon a more elevated level (for example connecting development to social cohesion, to the reconstruction of the sense of community and responsibility, to voluntary actions and solidarity, to the priority of public interests, etc.) will be considered as pure idealism made of naïve ideas not applicable in the real world. Is this always true? I always repeat, and everyday experience can widely confirm it, that the main knot for the activation of positive development mechanisms should be triggered within a “micro” dimension (because we cannot expect anything good from the “macro” level): it means a direct personal commitment is essential in modifying our mental and behavioural pattern. These mental and behavioural schemes may critically denounce values and aesthetic principles of the social groups which we belong to. Like in agriculture, we are suffering from the destructive effects of a real “mono-culture” based on the organized consumption of no-use goods, imagines without any value, big outlets and department stores, etc. which systematically separates the causes from the consequences of our personal choices. We should renounce to our present role of “spectators” and take charge of our responsibilities. The possibility to interrupt this short-circuit is linked to the re-discovery of the meaning of the concept of “person” in opposition to “consumer” or “user”: we are not mere consumers bearing consumers’ rights, but finally persons bearing personal rights not necessarily linked to any form of consumption. Around this clear distinction different common visions and values may be developed in order to build a community (not necessarily based on spatial proximity), which everyone may belongs to not referring to incomes or class; we must evaluate other persons on the base of their integrity and equilibrium (these are critical signals!) rather than their cellular phones or cars. Hence, let’s start in exploring the “local dimension” not only as spatial or territorial element but also, and above all, as cultural and individual/collective personality locus.

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