The Chernobyl Effect and a Living Encounter[1]

[1] Excerpts from a talk given by Luigi Giussani to university students in Italy in August 1987

Let me begin our conversation by observing a difference between the current generation of youth and the one I met thirty years ago. The difference lies in a weakness in the realm of consciousness, a weakness that is not ethical, but concerns the dynamism of the consciousness. In fact, after all these years, we pointed out the pernicious and decisive influence of power, of the dominant mentality — dominant in the literal sense of the word. It is as if the youth of today were victims of a kind of Chernobyl nuclear explosion: their organism remains structurally the same but, dynamically, it is different. There has been a sort of physiological subjugation operated by a dominant mentality. It is as if the only real evidence in reality is what is in fashion, and fashion is a concept and an instrument of power. Never before has the environment — understood as mental climate and way of life — had at its disposal instruments of such invasive and despotic power over our consciences.

We love life more than they want death

By Giancarlo Cesana and Davide Prosperi, previously published in Il Sussidiario.

After the November 13th Paris massacre that horrified the world, the shocking affirmation contained in Bin Laden’s spokesperson’s statement regarding the Madrid train bombings of March 11, 2004 echoes again: “We love death more than you love life.” Already after the apocalyptic tragedy of the attack on the Twin Towers, the West was appalled by the ideological anger of fundamentalist Islam. More recently, the attacks in Madrid, London, and Paris have made it harder to understand the just and reassuring idea of a Europe that is as the center of dialogue with all peoples, an opening on the Mediterranean and a connection to the Middle East.