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Houses and Communities

16 settembre 2010
posted by editor

Italian

The term community identifies an aggregation of people that have something in common. There exist religious communities, national communities, sports communities, but also communities for sharing interests and passions. The common characteristic of the members is that they frequent the same places, the same houses. The houses can be very different, yet, almost all of them provide walls and doors with the function of delimiting, protecting but also isolating and discriminating. However, there are exceptions to this rule, which we define, maybe incorrectly, as virtual communities. In fact, in these communities, there is neither a physical space to be frequented, nor an aggregation, and yet the connection that is established between the members can be of major solidity. In Italy, the profession of orthodontics is practiced by non-specialists, because the universities have realized this need very late and in a very inadequate manner. Hence recently two distinct communities are born: the specialists and the exclusivists. Two distinct lobbies, or if you prefer “houses” which defend themselves and attack each other like the original and the common provenance, should never have appeared. Such power wars, or better put as single acts of arrogance, fortunately do not involve our virtual community which by its nature and our choice represents the big house of Italian orthodontists. A house which we try to keep always open to everybody, without fratricidal wars, which are, with no doubt, harmful for our profession and even more disorienting for the patients who apply to us. Our ideal house is like the one described by Gibran Kahlil Gibran. If you agree with us, ……….. help us to build it.

“….. Then a mason came forth and said, Speak to us of Houses.
And he answered and said:
Build of your imaginings a bower in the wilderness ere you build a house within the city walls.
For even as you have home-comings in your twilights, so has the wanderer in you, the ever-distant and alone.
Your house is your larger body.
It grows in the sun and sleeps in the stillness of the night; and it is not dreamless. Does not your house dream? and dreaming, leave the city for grove or hilltop?
Would that I could gather your houses mm me hand, and like a sower scatter them in forest and meadow.
Would the valleys were your streets, and the green paths your alleys, that you might seek one another through vineyards, and come with the fragrance of the earth in your garments
But these things are not yet to be.
In their fear your forefathers gathered you too near together. And that fear shall endure a little longer. A little longer shall your city walls separate your hearths from your fields.
And tell me, people of Orphalese, what have you in these houses? And what is it you guard with fastened doors?
Have you peace, the quiet urge that reveals your power?
Have you remembrances, the glimmering arches the span the summits of the mind?
Have you beauty, that leads the heart from things fashioned of wood and stone to the holy mountain?
Tell me, have you these in your houses?
Or have you only comfort, and the lust for comfort, that stealthy thing that enters the house a guest, and then becomes a host, and then a master?
Ay, and it becomes a tamer, and with hook and scourge makes puppets of your larger desires.
Though its hands are silken, its heart is of iron.
It lulls you to sleep only to stand by your bed and jeer at the dignity of the flesh.
It makes mock of your sound senses, and lays them in thistledown like fragile vessels.
Verily the lust for comfort murders the passion of the soul, and then walks grinning in the funeral.
But you, children of space, you restless in rest, you shall not be trapped nor tamed.
Your house shall be nor an anchor but a mast.
It shall not be a glistening film that covers a wound but an eyelid that guards an eye.
You shall not fold your wings that you may pass through doors, nor bend your heads that they strike not against a ceiling, nor fear to breathe lest walls should crack and fall down.
You shall not dwell in tombs made by the dead for the living.
And though of magnificence and splendour, your house shall not hold your secret nor shelter your longing.
For that which is boundless in you abides in the mansion of the sky, whose door is the morning mist, and whose windows are the songs and the silences of night…..”

References:

Gibran Kahlil Gibran “Il Profeta” Edizioni Guanda Parma 1981

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