Fondazione Zoé

Which are the dreams and nightmares that pervade imagination today?

Fables and myths have always explained with admirable narrative synthesis the anxieties and dreams of a social-cultural group. Since this has always been the case for humankind, it makes sense to ask ourselves what the dreams (the desirable things) and the nightmares (the not-so-desirable things) are which pervade the collective imagination today.

I am particularly interested in the “nightmares” here, and I would more precisely propose to distinguish between collective/shared (public) nightmares and more personal/individual (private) nightmares.
On a public level, the most widespread anxiety is seeing in our way the fear/sense of blame for the “irreversible corruption” of the natural world. The recent referendum is also testimony to this, with total adhesion to the anti-nuclear. But the fear of compromising nature takes place constantly, even in the positive form of the dream to return to Eden (think of adverts, from holidays to detergents).

Two questions come to mind with regards to this. The first is whether the inability to find a synthesis or, at least, a mediation between various interests pushes us to find a norm, a natural point of reference like an independent judge… But this criteria does not count when individual interests come into play, for example when the desire to be a mother ruins natural law giving right to technical manipulation…or when the desire for beauty and seduction makes plastic surgery acceptable, or worse… won’t it soon be time for the desire for a beautiful baby to push us to ask for genetic pre-selection?
The second problem is that the idea of nature is definitely precisely that, an idea: a mental and cultural construct which has been constructed differently in different ages and societies, and on different parts of the planet today (what idea do the Chinese have of nature?). And maybe adhering acritically and emotionally to an idea of nature which is vaguely late-romantic and from advertising isn’t a good thing.



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