It's Time for Us to Free Ourselves

Last week, in Rome, we launched Vino Libero. But it's not wine that I want to talk to you about today. Instead, I would like to tell you that Vino Libero is an association of twelve winemakers who decided to free wine from chemical fertilizers, weed killers and sulfites. A beautiful project to discuss and one easy to understand, yet complex to achieve. But these winemakers are very determined to succeed. They have already successfully implemented it in the vineyards and cellars. Soon you'll see they will also be able to sell these wines. During the last few months, while we were developing the business plan for the project, we came to realize that it's not only wine that needs to be liberated.

The very first thing that needs to start a process of self-liberation is the human being. It is us, ourselves, people, citizens of the world. There are many things from which we need to free ourselves. Some are internal, others external. First, we need to get rid of the internal bureaucracy within ourselves. I feel that Italian people, who are so wary of bureaucracy, have slowly become resigned to it and have begun to reason in bureaucratic terms. Before attempting any sort of enterprise, we worry about the difficulties that could impede its success. We have developed somewhat of a masochistic pleasure to which we subject ourselves. We spend an endless amount of time complaining without any form of sane and legal resistance to it. We should strive to get rid of bad bureaucracy, but this will never happen if we don't first abandon the cerebral bureaucracy that exists within ourselves.

Secondly, let's free ourselves from the widespread predisposition to revere our politicians. To our families and friends, we criticize them. But then, when we are forced to deal with them personally, they become the authority we submit to. We venerate them, ask them timidly for favors, offer them front-row seats, silently accept when they arrive late or leave early, listen with resignation to their empty speeches, continue inviting them on to television shows to talk about issues they ignore. The politicians seemed focused only on continuing the fight. We often forget that our politicians should be serving us, not the other way around. We should also strive to get rid of bad politics, but this will never happen if we don't first abandon our subservient attitude towards our politicians.

Finally, we need to free ourselves from our pervasive carelessness. We judge without knowing, and take sides on arguments we haven't even examined. We often start our sentences in the most stupid way: "People say that..." We should get rid of incompetent people who hold key positions in our public institutions. But it will never occur without first getting rid of the carelessness within ourselves. Let's stop here, although we could keep on listing many more bad habits we could free ourselves from. I would suggest this healthy exercise: take a piece of paper and write down the first three things from which you would like to free yourself, as a person but also as a citizen. You will see how useful this thinking will be. Then, while you're at it, send me your thoughts. I'm sure I could make good use of them!