What will you believe in?
I was glad to be invited to answer this question. I want to start by saying that thinking about Michelangelo Pistoletto also means thinking about Michelangelo, a great artist that takes us back to the Sistine Chapel, but also to paradise, not only because he had the same name of an archangel from the biblical world, but because he drew, painted and reproduced it in his paintings and sculptures.
I think that ‘paradise’ is the right word to express what we will believe in. It is a wonderful term: it comes not only from Hebrew, but also from the Persian language, in both cases recalling a specific enclosed area. There is also another etymology the Bible provides, which refers to the variety of fruits. Paradise represents this variety, it is a garden after all…
Believing in paradise means believing in the variety of realities surrounding us, but also of us people. And the most beautiful thing is to welcome its colours, accepting each other for what we are, one different from the other, with different beliefs, cultures and backgrounds. What places and holds us together, though, is our ability to co-live, anticipating, if you believe in it, paradise awaiting us.
What will I believe in? I will answer by saying that who believes overcomes their fear because they have strong motives bringing them to keep moving forward and face difficulties. One of these is definitely the pandemic, another is thinking that some people are in the right and others are not, or even thinking that we need an enclosure just for ourselves, erecting walls or barbed-wire fences. This is not how it works, because believing allows us to fertilise the ground, be it small or big, of our habitat and of our living, with the opportunity to follow the logic of Francis of Assisi, who presents a touching image in his narrating and praying – through the Canticle of the Sun – the code that is at the basis of our Italian language. All reality is our friend and leads to God, from the worst (like a sick person we would like not to have to see) to the most beautiful experience. We therefore believe in man and in his ability to express the beauty he carries inside. Believing means going on with strong motivation, and the more there is, the more beautiful our ability to open up is. Whereas who carries emptiness inside will struggle to open up: hence my wish for all men and women to be believers.