The Art of balance #3 | Eija Tarkiainen, what will you believe in?
The Rebirth/Third Paradise ambassadress is the third guest of the new initiative launched by Cittadellarte, a project of rebirth and responsible social transformation called “The art of balance / Pandemopraxy”. Eija, answering the question “what will you believe in?”, offers her intimate and deep reflections and, in a personal play on mirrors, she highlights the analogies between life and Michelangelo Pistoletto’s Third Paradise.

What will you believe in?
As soon as I got to know the powerful symbol of the Third Paradise, I visualised it in vertical position superimposed onto the human figure: artifice as the rational mind, the result of experiences, knowledge and culture; nature as our essential, internal nature, with its intuitive wisdom and its ability to draw from life’s mysterious dimensions. And then their meeting, through an intense feeling, love and eros in their widest and purest acceptation. In short, an individual internal Third Paradise.

As a Finnish who was warmly welcomed in Italy, I love to describe the symbol as the union of the arctic and Mediterranean worlds: on one side, the ‘silent wisdom’ of the arctic world, deeply connected with the nature both inside and outside us (with the dimension of an invisible mystery), and, on the other, the knowledge, the elevated culture and art of Italy. Here are nature and artifice.
To me, this is pragmatic and applicable to any human activity, be it work or my individual private life.

When I was pregnant with my son, the doctors were absolutely sure that the baby would die straight after birth or he would live in a vegetative state supported by machinery.
I listened to the life in me and the life in him, and I let nature take its course. Despite what science was saying, I confided in mystery, in my desire to respect life’s will, trusting that what happens is the right thing for my and its evolution.
The baby was born. He immediately underwent surgery and spent a month in ICU. But today I live with a healthy 17-year-old boy, intelligent and sensitive.
My trusting and listening to nature combined with medical science allowed the creation of a new life not to be interrupted.

Listening to our intuition and feelings – together with the information elaborated through our reasoning – we can make every life choice be true to our essence, and at the same time respect society, its rules and its dynamics.

The same dynamics can be applied to any project bringing together different personalities and visions, but also – ideally – different disciplines, whether it’s health, education, economy or politics. In order to realise the ‘us’ wished for in the trinamic symbol, we have to create the Third Paradise inside us first, so that we can build bridges and intertwine realities that our rationality sees as opposites.

Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all”, Aristotle said.
Progress intended as maximisation of economic wealth has shown its limitations: in addition to exhausting the planet’s resources, also creating an unbalance in society, it’s been exhausting the vitality of individuals. Life has been reduced to the parameters of economic growth. Do we exist for this only or can we elevate the meaning of the life of every single person? If my son hadn’t been able to become an individual capable of producing maximum profit, wouldn’t his breathing had meant anything?

Starting from tomorrow, or rather from today, I want to widen my vision of what’s really worth pursuing, forgetting about the instruments, for a while, to review the objectives.
What type of individual do I have to become to create a community and a society able to resolve the challenges currently threatening life and the sense of life itself?
What daily and work contents do I need, to feel involved, satisfied and responsible?

The supremacy of rational wisdom and dogmatic science has led to a reductionist vision of the world and has detached things from their context.
To widen our objectives and find motivation to direct our actions towards a higher-value purpose, we have to reactivate and evoke those dimensions making us human: intuitions, experience, creativity and physical sensations, which constitute a source of knowledge, and integrate them with our rational and cognitive knowledge.

Creativity goes against consumption and requires the body to be connected and the senses to be activated (and the acceptance of the uncertainty that belongs to life). In the course of this forced break, I’ve appreciated that what fills my life with sense and joy is free and at the same time beneficial for the others and the planet.

Opposites can be bound without either losing out:
Biodiversity contaminates humanity.
School: let’s protect the biodiversity of our seeds.
Culture: let’s ban genetic manipulation.
Let’s safeguard health, a science reanimated by traditions.
What’s local crosses boundaries.
A science following in nature’s footsteps.
A research seduced by experience.
Studying gets serious to beating hearts.
Governance abandons itself to art.

Please click here for all the details on the initiative The art of balance / Pandemopraxy.
Photo credits: Eija Tarkiainen.
Eija Tarkiainen is the author of the essay Libera la tua natura selvaggia (Release your wild nature, published by Unoeditori).
Eija’s official website: