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What is this lack a lack of, o heart, of which all of a sudden you are full?

20 August 2015 - 26 August 2015

“What is this lack a lack of, o heart, of which all of a sudden you are full?” This verse by the Italian poet Mario Luzi will provide the title of the next Meeting for Friendship Amongst Peoples.

Like the poet, the Meeting sets out to explore the human heart, discovering the experience of a lack whose overwhelming force, like water that bursts forth from a broken dam, floods the heart. What is the origin of this lack? Where does it come from? Is it a defect, or could it be an asset?

To ignore these questions is to impoverish the human person; it leads to the reduction of desire, “the careless shallowness or the confusion without hope or the pleasing repetition of ‘truths’ that have become empty,” as Hannah Arendt writes–the indifference towards others, the paradoxical solitude in a technologized world that is constantly connected, and the sense of suffocating because the facts and circumstances of life have become like a prison, like a bunker from which it is impossible to escape.

Art, music, and poetry–forms of expression that will receive great attention in this year’s Meeting–have always witnessed that irreducible lack housed in the human heart, and at the same time express the cry and spark of nostalgia which have the power to awaken the desire for what is eternal.

Moved and provoked in the face of that lack that we recognize in ourselves and in all men and women, we attempt to look at every area of life (science, especially biology, law, philosophy, economics, politics…) and identify how the reduction of the “I”, though it may be at a subconscious level, has an influence on the everyday realities of life. We will also seek to find men and women who, starting precisely from something that is missing in their life, do not tire of searching, engaging and encountering others.

Is it still possible for each one of us to be surprised by the unexpected? Is there still a dawning light with the power to reawaken our hearts to be fully alive, capable of love and affection, finally present and aware of ourselves, and free in the face of reality? Hearts with the gaze of one who still knows how to wonder and to be changed by the things that happen?

It is only if we accept the challenge of this possibility that it becomes worth to organize and participate in the Meeting.