Thank You!



Whether because I have let myself become involved in writing a text in the history of philosophy reduced to a minimum or because of the summer atmosphere that invites to group games, in any event, I have convinced myself that the only way to respond to the surprise of one, even, two (!) issues devoted to festivals/holidays and written on the occasion of an anniversary of mine is to line up the awesome contributions that have been offered to me, reduce them to one single expression, and write a comment on it as if it were a tweet of absolutely no more than 50 words.

It will not be a real comment then, and even less a reply to the suggestions that I have received. It will rather be a short list that will make such suggestions shine as pearls in a precious necklace. Playfulness is not alien to festivals and holidays. The reduction of philosophers to one single expression too has been successfully practiced for centuries and not without reason. Ideas in Plato, substance in Aristotle, confessions in Augustine, the cogito in Descartes up to différance in Derrida—these are all expressions capturing the meaning and contribution of a philosophy in just one term, as if it were a quality mark.

I will dare use this procedure also with respect to these contributions I have received. In them, friendship shines in its overall philosophical splendor, in its ability to think the same in other ways and to pursue an inexhaustible array of possibilities yet with the same intention. Let me try, then, to compose a list, with no claim to provide a synthesis but rather in the attempt at highlighting that which has impressed me the most, as a “trailer” for reading. Let me do so in the order in which the contributions have appeared in the two journal issues.

Holidays as turning points (Heller)—always particular, eternity in the present or, for us modern, oriented toward the future. Holidays are for the child that every New Year’s Eve is born new again.

Holidays take place, finden statt (Waldenfels)—within everydayness, they initiate and repeat something that happens when it wills and cannot come back. Holidays unite and divide, and are some sort of test disclosing the spirit of a society.

Fête fragiles, fragile holidays (Nancy)—the idea of an interruption that is simultaneously expectation and memory. In any event, interruption; like the rite of a shared meal (at Kant’s home) that interrupts obligations.

Geselligkeit (E. Perone)—to reconstruct theater as a moment of festive sociality, which reinstitutes a society (Gesellschaft) but does so with levity (gesellig), beyond social barriers, in a new discovery of the sacred.

The vertical time of holidays and the exploded time of the contemporary epoch (Fabris)—how do we reconcile the two? How can we come to terms with such temporal disjointure that belongs, within time, to all times? Perhaps exactly by assuming it to its depth.

Hölderlin’s airy ballroom (Bevilacqua)—a properly set-up table, the place of a festival (Fest) where peace is celebrated (feiert); a non-metaphorical reading of Hölderlin’s Friedensfeier.

Holidays as recurring events (Samonà)—in them, time and eternity, past and present join. In holidays, philosophy is called to recognize an interruption of time and an anticipation of eternity.

Holidays: between fascinans (charming) dispersion in the sacred and celebration of the tremendum of the saint—when one acknowledges that life is intersected by the divine, holidays neither wear out nor end (Ciancio).

Tragic and Dionysian: after Wilamowitz’s criticisms of Nietzsche, a recalibration (Magris) of Dionysian dimension and ambiguity within the celebrations of Greek tragic theater. Heraclitus as the most Dionysian and tragic of all ancient philosophers.

Holidays: an experience of happiness (Mancini)—they nourish themselves with promises in order to recalibrate the relation with life. Critique too, in Adorno’s negative dialectics, nourishes itself with the logic of promises, namely the promise of a society where truth is not domination.

Holidays as rites? If this were the case, as Joas seems to claim, we would be adding another element in our understanding of how the ideal constitutes itself anthropologically.

If holidays are the celebration of the temporality of diffraction, as Macho advances, we could say that we have a stable point on the basis of which to understand human beings as subjects capable of expectations and adjournments.

Holidays tell us about a double world (Salmann)—they entail an ambiguity that makes them be both emptiness and fullness, interruption and threshold, dream (Traum) and trauma (Trauma), pre-announcement of life and death, statement of a place of origin beyond necessity.

Hölderlin again: Fest and Feiern perhaps are not a metaphysical disjunction. It is the charisma of friendship that marks their distinction but also renders their connection possible. It is a theologian (Sparn) who testifies this.

Holidays spur us beyond the everydayness of our actions and sufferings (Schwemmer)—in them, there is emergence that delimits and generates community, performativity capable of success and failure, and the inscription of transitional moments into memory.

Holidays: events of threshold between everydayness and non-everydayness, between war and brotherhood or sisterhood (Longato)—suspension of everydayness that, within the feature of relationality holidays entail, may find the strength to defeat violence.

Holidays: the coming-toward-us of something greater than us (Pagano)—symbols of a fuller and more originary time, of a richer meaning; pauses that enrich the journey of our own life.

Festivals as a post around which something happens (Marassi)—as occasions in which one mirrors oneself, occasions that bring reasons rather than ask for reasons, and console not about the lack of something but rather about one’s finitude. Wandering festivals that make time start anew.

Things make sense, but always too late (Nicolaci)—the interruption that belongs to holiday time reconfigures that time that makes no sense; it is a metaphysical figure that cares for transitions and for what, in changes, resists for a moment; a nothing, like a town square, where nevertheless everything intersects.

Festivals are, as Russo claims, the repetition of a foundational experience on the side of those who understand themselves as constitutively relational, and thus are capable of returning and acknowledging debts.

Festivals as some sort of still image capable of re-enchanting the world (Vercellone)—they are a strategic reconstitution of an aesthetically connoted place, a kairós the builds community anew by re-symbolizing a shared space.

Following up on Cohen, holidays appear as time of equality (Gamba)—in their happening (within the context, the Sabbath as holiday), they remain inappropriable by individual desires.

I hope that these fragments spark curiosity and entice one to read or re-read. What is left to do to me is, once again, to say “thank you!” for the honor that I have received, for the friendship that I have been shown, for the gifts of truth that have enriched me. What remains is the pride in realizing that, as often happens in philosophy, a specific occasion (here, my festive day) has become the opportunity to indicate what festive days are, what constitutes their essence. In return, I too have better understood what my festive day can be.


Thank you.



Ugo Perone

(Translated from Italian by Silvia Benso)

Thank You!

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Numero 15 FESTIVAL II October, 2015 - Autore:  Condividi


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