Thursday, September 26, 2019

Giussani on Power and the Boundless Impetus of the Heart

I know I have been doing lots of quotation posts lately, but this text from Luigi Giussani is very pertinent to the circumstances that many people face today (even though it's taken from a talk he gave more than thirty years ago).

The legacy of Monsignor Giussani - unlike so much of what was written, spoken, and broadcast by fashionable experts during the 1960s, 70s, and 80s - has not faded into irrelevance or nostalgic trivia. He belongs among the truly great people of the last century whose recognition of the perennial drama of human existence gave them important insights for their own time and also regarding the new epoch that is still emerging today.

Giussani saw that it was in the interests of worldly powers to distract human persons from the recognition of their own dignity, the scope of their freedom, the "boundless impetus of the heart." We don't need to fear the powerful if we are awake to the fullness of our destiny. The trouble is that too often we are asleep:
"We don’t [refer to the influence of] the powerful because we are afraid; we speak of them because we have to wake up from our slumber. The strength of the powers-that-be is our impotence.... We do not fear the powerful; we fear people who sleep and therefore enable them to do what they want with them. I say that the powers-that-be make everyone fall asleep, as much as possible. Their great system, the great method is that of sending to sleep, anesthetizing, or, better yet, atrophying. Atrophying what? Atrophying the heart of the human person, our needs and desires, imposing an image of desire or need different from that boundless impetus of the heart. And thus it raises people who are limited, enclosed, imprisoned, already half cadaver – that is, impotent" (Luigi Giussani).