American lessons (first part)

The Italian writer Italo Calvino, in his amazing “American Lessons”, which he wrote in a period when intellectuals debated and wondered about the destiny of literature in the technological and postindustrial era, states that he believes in the future of literature.

In fact, there are emotions and sensations only literature can offer, through its specific means; so he is going to devote those lectures to what in his artistic research he has come to discover as the qualities of literature, trying to lay the foundations for their continuity in the new millennium. Often, in tales he had previously written, Calvino had foreshadowed the invention of computers equipped with a number of components, which might replace the author, creating stories thanks to their combinatorial skills! Referring to this idea, we believe that books and literature may contribute to the disclosure of a human innovation simply because the “reading” process compels the reader to activate different codes in order to interpret himself in the real world. In the same “American Lessons”, Calvino identifies these codes as:

  • Lightness
  • Quickness
  • Exactitude
  • Visibility
  • Multiplicity

These qualities are important elements to empower oneself in the various professional competences.

Lightness: may be the unattainable goal of an endless search, given “the unbearable heaviness of being”. The reading process, thanks to the liveliness and mobility of human intelligence,  manages to avoid the blocking of “single” thoughts, building up a universe unlike real life. As a consequence creative processes, the “art” of problem solving and individual wellbeing are increased.