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Category Archives: Thoughts

La morte è la vita. Il perfetto è l’imperfetto. Devinez (ἀληθινὴ ὃρασις)


“Una bellezza perfetta è più imperfetta”
“E una bellezza imperfetta?”


“La morte è la vita”
“E la vita?”


“καὶ ἡ κάμμυσιϛ τῶν ὁφθαλμῶν?”
[e il chiudere gli occhi?]



Let us support Wikipedia!

Wikipedia donationOPT


Bisogna donare a Wikipedia perché è qualcosa di unico. Mai è esistita un’enciclopedia in tutte le lingue – anche quelle artificiali o resuscitate. Il che comporta vantaggi inediti.
[We should donate to Wikipedia because an encyclopaedia in every possible language – even artificial (or resurrected) – is unprecedented. With unheard-of advantages.]


Mario: Vantaggi? Ma se conosco solo l’italiano e un pizzico di inglese …
[Mario: Advantages? I can speak only Italian and bits of broken English …]

Extropian: Va bene, ok, ma se leggi la voce J.F.K. in italiano, e se devi farci una ricerca, ti sforzerai di leggere anche la voce in inglese.
Mario: Ma con un traduttore online …

[Extropian: Okay, okay, but if you read the JFK entry in Italian, and if you have to produce a thesis etc. you’ll strive to decipher the entry in English
Mario: Ok, but with online translator …]
Flavia: Ve bene lo stesso, perché il punto è …. quello detto sopra, che rende la Wiki unica.
Fulvia: E qual è sto punto, diavolo

[Flavia: Why not a translator, the point being the one said above, which makes Wikipedia …
Fulvia: … unique …. you are repetitives. W-T-H is this point.]
Extropian: il cuore del problema è che anche con un traduttore hai i diversi punti di vista delle varie ‘culture’ sull’argomento.
[Extropian: the heart of the problem is that also by using a translator you have different points of view from different ‘cultures’ on the topic.]

Mario: Spiegati meglio. Ho litigato tutta la notte con Carla
Extropian: Significa che Wikipedia approfondice meglio i temi presentandoli dai punti di vista di altre lingue-culture: per fare il solito esempio che fa ormai piangere tutti di noia: Giulio Cesare visto dai Francesi (ex Galli), dai tedeschi (l’uomo che li ha inseriti nella civiltà mediterranea (Mommsen, sennò pranzavano e cenavano solo con i vichinghi), dagli inglesi e americani che vedono la genialità ‘imperiale’ e illuminata dei Romani e di Cesare, dai Vikinghi che lo vedono obiettivamente perché non gli frega nulla, sono solo la periferia nordica dell’Europa Germanica e ci vedono come esseri incomprensibili, dagli italiani che vedono in Cesare il simbolo di un passato che li fa passeggiare a petto stupidamente gonfio.

[Mario: Pls explain yourself better, I quarrelled ALL night with Carla
Extropian: It means that the Wikipedia expands topics better than any encyclopaedia past and present because it presents them from the varied angles of numerous (or all) languages-cultures: as an (arbitrary) example – which in any case will bore people to tears – it may presents Julius Caesar seen by the French (ex-Gauls: so as a butcher of their ancient culture); by the Germans (as the man who put them in contact with the Mediterranean civilization: the best scholars of the ancient Mediterranean, the Germans, possibly not by chance); by the British and the Americans, who admire the ‘imperial’ and genius of the Romans; by the (ex-Vikings) Scandinavians who may be more objective for the reason they don’t give a damn about these incomprehensible Mediterraneans, they being only the periphery of Nordic-Germanic Europe; by the Italians, dulcis in fundo, who see in Caesar the symbol of a glorious past that makes them stupidly wander about with bloated chests.

Fulvia: ma non esiste allora una storia obiettiva?
Extropian: Non esiste. Stiamo però divagando.
Flavia: Ok, abbiamo focalizzato meglio l’unicità della Wikipedia, che ci fa approndire meglio i temi, ci fa migliorare con le lingue, e ci permette di conoscere le culture dietro le lingue.
Extropian: anche io ho donato dei soldi mensili: piccolissima cifra ma continua nel tempo, come Giovanni.

[Fulvia: Well, no objective history then?
Extropian: It never existed, such a thing. We digress though.
Flavia: Okay, we’ve focused now most of the uniqueness of the Wikipedia: a multi-angled approach to topics, a better knowledge of languages plus of the cultures behind the languages.
Extropian: I too have donated money btw: a small amount but monthly, like Giovanni.]

Andrea: Sono un boomer come voi, quindi per me ‘conoscenza free per tutti’ conta, erano i nostri ideali. Che dire dei giovani oggi? Gli sembra fregare solo di fare i soldi. In fretta.
Flavia: Cerchiamo di non essere pessimisti. Prendete quelli del 99% e quelle del 1% (fatto non solo americano, ma globalizzato): anche ai non boomer, voglio dire, la ‘conoscenza libera per tutti’ dovrebbe ancora avere un valore.
Extropian: Mi hanno chiesto, quelli della Wikipedia, dopo la donazione: «Cosa diresti ad un amico per fargli dare un contributo alla Wikipedia?” Gli ho risposto allo stesso modo di Flavia e Andrea: ‘conoscenza per tutti’, che per me conta ancora nel mondo (voi siete planetari). Ma dovete vendere l’idea con un buon supporto marketing.

[Andrea: I am a boomer like all of you so to me ‘free knowledge for all’ counts. They were our ideals. What about the young nowadays? All they they care for is making money. Fast.
Flavia: No pessimism. Take those of the 99% and those of the 1% (a ‘not only US’, but globalized, thing): to the non boomer the former, ‘free knowledge to all’ , the 99%, should still count. One has just to market this concept by asking help from marketing specialists.

Extropian: I know what you mean. They in fact asked me after donation: “What would you say to a friend to get them to donate?” I replied in the same way as Flavia and Andrea: ‘free knowledge for all’ which is still valuable today (the ad-free things seems less relevant provided you have sold the idea of knoweldge for all]


“History deals with living people: it can’t fail to please us. Besides, we are the result of what has happened in the past”

Posted on

Stonehenge. Click to enlarge and for attribution. Wikipedia

I’d love to know
How things got to be
How they are.”

Marilyn Monroe


“Darling Delio, I am feeling a little tired and can’t write much. But please write to me all the same and tell me everything at school that interests you. I think you must like history, as I liked it when I was your age, because it deals with living people, and everything that concerns people, as many people as possible, all people in the world, in so far as they unite together in society and work and struggle and make a bid for a better life – all that can’t fail to please you more than anything else, isn’t that right?”

Antonio Gramsci, Letters from Prison


“History is interesting because the world today and we who live in it are the result of what has happened in the past, the result of history. If we know something about the past, it is easier to understand the present. It is not true that history repeats itself: no event is exactly the same as another. Yet if we know what happened in the past we can make a better guess at what is likely to happen in the future.”

Neil Grant, foreword to his Hamlyn Children’s history of Britain’, 1977

Did Rome Really Fall?

Click for credits and to enlarge

While I was taking a shower this morning something I had accidentally read last night on the web hit me like a rock:

Did Rome really fall?

Well, since Rome still exists, it actually never fell.

It rather adapted.


You might also like:

Taking Showers & Mental Health

Krishnamurti on Love and Hate

I like the gentle touch of many Indian thinkers. I also like their profundity. We need both nowadays and we need more than ever different paths to love.

Jiddu Krishnamurti, Indian philosopher and writer (1895–1986)

Jiddu Krishnamurti, Indian philosopher and writer (1895–1986)

“It is easy to hate, and hate brings people together after a fashion; it creates all kinds of fantasies, it brings about various types of co-operation, as in war. But love is much more difficult. You cannot learn how to love, but what you can do is to observe hate and put it gently aside. Don’t battle against hate, don’t say how terrible it is to hate people, but see hate for what it is and let it drop away; brush it aside, it is not important. What is important is not to let hate take root in your mind. Do you understand? Your mind is like rich soil, and if given sufficient time any problem that comes along takes root like a weed, and then you have the trouble of pulling it out; but if you do not give the problem sufficient time to take root, then it has no place to grow and it will wither away. If you encourage hate, give it time to take root, to grow, to mature, it becomes an enormous problem. But if each time hate arises you let it go by, then you will find that your mind becomes very sensitive without being sentimental; therefore it will know love.”

Jiddu Krishnamurti

[I met J. Krishnamurti at Café Philos, a good Internet café where Paul Sunstone – living “along the Front Range of the Rockies, near Cheyenne Mountain” – stirs discussions on philosophy and other thought-provoking stuff]


As a digression, I wonder why media today pander so much to the basest emotions of the public, thus favouring them to ‘take root’. Panem et circenses? An intrinsic flaw of capitalism?  – the list could be long. A cui bono serious analysis here would be needed, though it could lead nowhere, societies being complex. For a discussion around this see the links below.

Related posts:

Keep Violence in the Mind
Western Values, Again (1)

I also found a very interesting [Australian] post on the subject of how we accustom our children to virtual murder and crime via media and computer games:

Crime: Who’s to Blame?

Back to Work! Cloppete, Cloppete, Cloppete …

Fatigue on a wall near Capitol Hill, in Washington, DC. Click for credits

When I started this blog I partly drew on some ideas from a diary I had kept for no specific purpose. I had been writing leisurely on it while listening to lovely music and had cherished every moment I was able to get back to it, editing sentences and musing on my pages.

Those mysterious yellow characters on a black background! And the music! What a delightful experience, my imagination flying without any obligation and only for the sake of it!

After starting the Man of Roma blog, most of this diary ideas having been used up after a few months, I began writing and thinking directly for my web log. I though gradually realised that the two experiences – my totally purposeless diary and this blog, a man-of-the-street research on all that is Roman – were very different.

My blogging activity in fact implied compulsion and purpose, readers had started to appear with their feedback, I felt I had to be up to their expectations (real or imaginary,) up to my expectations, and so on.

On the contrary my diary had been the realm of playful freedom.

I wish I could get back to that state of mind, but I don’t know if I can.

It could be I am at my best in totally purposeless activities – something my family is in the mood to remind me, now and then (and probably the reason I couldn’t make a steady profession out of my writing or musical inclinations.)

Marcus Tullius Cicero

Let me play with giants a bit. Cicero [see image above,] even in his letters to his family, wrote in order to acquire fame. Montaigne instead wrote just for the hell of it. An interesting comparison – fame, or any other purpose, such as money; and mere pleasure, art for art’s sake – which can correspond to two categories of writers, bloggers etc. Although one cannot say Montaigne had absolutely no purpose.

Magister would certainly exclaim: “Playful freedom? Yours is the typical attitude of the spineless bohemian. Discipline is all, and any creative activity is a careful, painful, purposeful construction.”


I remember once Maryann (together with the Commentator, recently) pushed me in this way:

“Back to work Man of Roma!
Cloppete cloppete cloppete …”

[One of the funniest comments I’ve ever received]

Back From Blog Vacation. Heat, Sex and Woodstock

Rome view. Click to enlarge picture and for credits

Back from my blog vacation, problem being I don’t know what to write. The heat is hampering my thoughts. At the end of the week the weather should be cooler, they say.

I’ll try to write shorter posts and make like a personal diary out of this blog. I’ve seen bloggers who write one-sentence posts. On va voir. We will see.

Count Calcagni’s memoirs cannot devour my blog. I’ll post Calcagni at wider intervals, then I will create a page where all excerpts can be read as one.

Readers keep on clicking my “Sex and the city (of Rome)” series, which is therefore always on the ‘Top Posts’ list on the right column. People coming here will think I am a maniac. I’d like them to know I write mostly about other stuff, so I’ll add a ‘Posts I like’ list.

Woodstock. Lots of mistakes and stupid ideas in those days [mid August 1969.] But the good part of it all was the concept of a society in which people love each other and are tolerant. It seems to me the world is evolving in the opposite direction.

[Getting old we all become a bit laudatores temporis acti.]


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