In conversation with the sociologist Sergio Belardinelli (Alma Mater)

di Francesco Unali

The moment we are living in?
“Instinctively I would say that we are in a time of crisis. But in crises there are always precious opportunities" begins Professor Sergio Belardinelli (in the circle), professor of Sociology of Culture at the University of Bologna and Coordinator of the Consulting Committee Ucbm.
“I think that the pandemic has opened up new scenarios that have shown the decisive importance of relationships and the concept of care – continues Berlardinelli – dimensions that we had neglected and in some cases lost: this theme is clearer to us today and represents an element of growth of our awareness.

Even the war in Ukraine could help restore value to dimensions such as solidarity, the sense of belonging, the willingness to fight and sacrifice for something to which one belongs. Elements of hope that resurface in the European debate precisely in the face of such dramatic scenarios." Unfortunately, today governments and citizens suffer from the difficulty of adapting to uncertainty.
If purchasing power, energy and even peace are lost, it is difficult to see the opportunities. “We are experiencing an 'unprecedented' disorientation, yet today we can rediscover the dimension of uncertainty. I don't remember who said it but it convinces me: 'As long as we are restless we can remain calm'.

Perhaps, until today, we have relied too much on a 'comfortable' dimension of life, almost as if it were an acquired right. And the most surprising thing is that we live in a society that loves the word freedom so much but does not accept the lack of control and uncertainty that freedom implies.

Instead, there is an essential relationship between freedom and uncertainty. We should also ask ourselves how much the fact of living in an individualistic culture that does not sufficiently take into account the connections between us and others has an impact.
“It's true – continues Belardinelli – We have deluded ourselves that we are masters of our lives and for this reason we no longer tolerate uncertainty. If there is a situation of uncertainty it is always someone's fault. But this is not compatible with the concept of the person that comes to us from the Christian tradition, which is in crisis today.
This has important consequences: the loss of dialectic between Christian and secular European culture is undermining the strength and 'vitality of Europe' not only on a religious but also on a political-cultural level".

What then could be a way to successfully overcome this historical phase?
“I believe that, in the chaos of these times, those who have cultural resources and valuable human relationships will be able to get by best – concludes Belardinelli – Which are antithetical to technical or dirigiste methods, and are centered on the relationship between freedom and responsibility.

We need to cultivate a new way of being with ourselves and others, and to do this we need training places populated by concrete relationships between people. Today's young people are waiting for teachers who embody values ​​and transform them into experience."