The big success of Sadok Kohen in the Philosophy Olympics taken place recently in Bulgaria
Big congratulations are in place from the redaction, the whole Italian High school and the Italian community to our student Sadok Kohen which has won the 3rd Philosophy Olympics which took place the 20th of May 1995 in Stara Zagora, Bulgaria. The Olympics format is to write a thesis on a saying of famous philosophers. Sadok has written the following text in form of a philosophical dialogue. This text has caught the attention of the Jury which awarded Sadok with the highest trophy: “The Minerva award of Philosophical Creativity and Power of Thought” symbolized with a “Philosopher Stone”. We wish good luck to Sadok which although he has many reasons to the contrary he still wants to pursue a career in computer science and we want to underline the importance of this award for us: we think Sadok has given us a great hope and a big lesson. The hope is that one day we will have the chance to put to good use our often misplaced competitive drive. The lesson is that if we have something to say and we have the confidence to say it, the world is ours. Thank you Sadok and goodbye.
PS: I think (Lafasciano here) that I need to thank Sadok for this “expected” gift from. Sadok and at the same time Rosa, my wife, also a philosopher, have believed in this more then I did. Even if the time was limited, and life put us trough various tests, from checking my students exams to my children, they believed in this till the end. Sadok showed us, putting his personality at stake, what a person can do once he believes in it and he gave me an excitement that is very rare and valuable to my profession. Thank you Sadok, see you soon and good luck.
Prof. Sabino Lafasciano
There has been a question in the philosophical world, which remained unanswered all this time: “Who am I?”. The answer to this question lies deep inside, very close to us but yet not easy to spot. The answer is in our soul…
To define a soul is not really possible, that is why maybe, that in order to understand it, the right way is the use of allegory, myth and dialogue as Plato did…
Now lets try to go deeper finding ourselves in a Metro station. From the light to the darkness and from the darkness to the light…
In a time that at first sight has no special significance, in a place like any other or like no other place at all. I hear voices, and see the shadow of some wagons in the distance. I suddenly remember an appointment I had, a broken promise. I find myself at the Metro station.
I pass trough a flock of people at first sight they look lost. I enter a wagon, I am not sure if by coincidence but it’s the last…
I look around to find an empty spot in the middle of the crowd. I am suddenly alone in a black and white wagon, all seats but one disappear, I sit.
I close my eyes for a few seconds and “Hi” says a voice, not from far. I open my eyes and realize that I am not alone. I see the owner of the voice sitting right in front of me.
He is an old man, deep looks, dry lips, has black and white hair and a mixed expression. He wears a dusted coat and wore off shoes. I see a thick book coming out of his pocket, looks like a holy book of some sort, maybe the bible the Koran or the Old Testament, but that is the feeling…
“Hi” I reply a little surprised.
“Let me introduce myself” he sais “Its me. You know me more the you think you do but less then you should; my name has no importance, you can call me as you like, I don’t represent anything and yet I could be everything. I am bored all by myself, the trip is long and there is no other sight then the transparent paintings over black walls, do you mind chatting with me?”
“Sure” I say, intrigued by this man, he looks wise but at the same time quizzical. I want to introduce myself but something interesting happens: “I want to introduce myself but, I am not sure why, I forgot my name.” I say.
“Don’t worry” he says. “It’s the first trip I guess. You will see, your name will not be important in a while, you will just be and think of being”
“But how?” I react “how can my name be not important? I am what I am for it; I would loose my power, my Identity, I would not have any difference from anyone else…”
“What would be the problem in looking like anyone and knowing yourself at a deeper level? What do you need power for if there is nothing to fight?”
I find myself in the middle of a debate in the search for my being. The search for being me, for being as shape, for being as volume, for being as the infinite loop… Being as Soul…
“Do you know what brought you here? Where you are going?” he asks.
“I have an appointment” I say “I just remembered, I think it was a long given promise.”
“Where?” he says interrupting me, smiling, knowing I have no answer.
I do my best: “To the other side, I guess, where a lot of people look for, go crazy for. Isn’t this a train for the light? I never knew anybody who went there, maybe some few did see it, but they came back and start living worst then they used to. They tried to go there again but always missed the train. I am not here in search for light, is there a nice view up there? To tell you the truth I don’t know why I am here, but I promised, I don’t know when or to who though. I always lived behind this place, hiding behind my identity. It’s easier in the dark you know; I have been the shadow of my shadow for a long time, it wasn’t hard, I learned it from my father. But where are you going? Where are you coming from?”
“It’s a long story, it has been a life that I am living and I am tired, very tired, but I know that I will live another life before I die. It’s a process, from bottom to the top and from the top to the bottom.”
“It’s not a process then, it’s an endless loop, like a toy train, round and round in the same place” I respond quickly.
“No” he says a little upset “a process. It may seem a loop put it is always moving forward, a personal progression, an upward spiral. A connection to the material life and then a separation. Every time a little more sure a little more precise, at the point of seeing the light even in the darkest places. I never caught it though, and I know I never will. It would turn to dust anyway the moment you would touch it. It may sound funny but I also remembered a promise coming here, I remember even when. I had only a few months, life was a dream to me, it was light and I used to fly by myself and promised that one day I would catch those rays of light shining over my face, my smile… Yours too!”
I stay in silence for a while. I remember now, he was right. It was hard to believe but he was right. I ask “But why now?”
“Because the shadow became so dark that it started to shine, you jumped from one extreme to the other, like in a passage. I was always closer to the light, my father helped.”
“I see” showing him the book coming out of his pocket “Do you always take that with you?”
“What? This?” he replies “This is a thriller, I bought it next to your house, nothing more. But pay attention now, we are almost there”
I take out my pair of sun glasses made accurately so that no light could come trough it.
“What are you doing” he asks with surprise.
“I told you, I am not in search for the light. Its better never to see it. My father gave me these, he doesn’t need them anymore, he is blind now and doesn’t need to hide in a hole to run from attractions. He lives in eternal darkness. I wish I could be like him, I would have no troubles.”
“Young man don’t fool yourself.” He sais, “real blinds never lived in eternal darkness, trust me; it’s a world of greens and blues and they are in search for red. Your father preferred not to see and learned to be more blind then a blind. That is why you have to take off those glasses and you will find something you have lost long time ago. Here we are”
I don’t know why but I do as he sais; he effected me with his words and suddenly I find myself in a rush of light, the light penetrates our bodies which are not bodies anymore. An unforgettable feeling, I find myself, flying among the rays of light and I almost forget my friend.
Raising my hand to say goodbye “Don’t read that thriller, it’s trash, believe me”
“Which one?” he sais “this is not a thriller”
“But before you said…”
“Before it was a thriller, now it has a holy feeling, maybe the bible, maybe the Koran or the Old Testament, but that is the feeling…”
“In truth, without deceit, certain and most veritable”