The second renaissance of civilization, interview with Anna Spadafora

In an era in which digital, ecological and energy transformations follow one another at an ever more incessant pace, what will be the role of those who work in the economic fabric in the future? This and other pressing questions will be dealt with today at the Open Laboratory in via Buon Pastore 43 the conference The intellectual management of the company in Italy, in Europe and on the planetorganized by the cultural association Progetto Emilia Romagna, in partnership and sponsorship with TEC Eurolab.

The appointment, made even more stringent by the climate of general uncertainty caused by the pandemic and the war in Ukraine, represents an important moment of confrontation between the various actors who with their intervention are called to give their own testimony regarding the profound revolution in act in each sector of industry and civil society. Not a simple task, especially in consideration of the pre-eminent cultural implications of which the initiative intends to take charge. In this regard, we interviewed the scientific director Anna Spadafora, brainworker, analyst, editorial director of the journal La city of the second Renaissance.

In light of the rather complex period we are going through, the scheduled conference assumes, Dr. Spadafora, a particular significance.

I answer you with a famous passage from theArt of war by Niccolò Machiavelli: “Many times, for fear alone, without any other experience of strength, cities are lost”. Out of fear, there are those who do not fight, so he has already lost. And fear is ready to arise when the problems seem to multiply until they become insurmountable, such as those that citizens and companies encounter today due to the exorbitant increase in the cost of energy, for example. But humans often forget that problems do not mean the “end”, the end of a company, an experience, a nation. If they are faced with the tools of intelligence and with the weapons of the word, problems are pretexts for a project and a bet. Just when the sea is stormy, it is necessary to keep the course, to use a compass that cannot be lost: the brain, the intellectual direction. Not surprisingly, this afternoon’s Forum will be an opportunity to discuss Paolo Moscatti’s book My compass. Friendship, family, business (Spirali), now in its second edition in a few months: never before has the compass been indispensable not only in business, but also in school and in the family. Without the intellectual direction, everyone, seized by fear, falls down and succumbs, instead of looking for the way to continue and relaunch.

Starting from the early 2000s, and especially in the last two years, the world has experienced an unprecedented evolution from every point of view.

That the transformation taking place in the last twenty years is unprecedented is undeniable. However, transformation is not “evolution” or “progress”, concepts that bring with them those of “involution” and “regress”. The journey of life is neither linear nor circular, the acquisitions of science, the cultural path and the artistic path are not uphill or downhill, depending on the historical period. The value of the things that you do in life is absolute, while we often attribute a value to things on the basis of an ideal reference: the concept of progress is one of these ideal references according to which, for example, a young person should unquestionably prefer to specialize in digital technologies rather than in classic car restoration. Life, in its complexity, requires everything, the digital as well as the manual, and there will never be a total replacement of one medium for the benefit of another, because even the most marvelous means and tools would be useless without words, without the intellectual direction. Those who believe in evolution and progress imagine and fear dystopian realities in which even one day technologies will take possession of humanity, forgetting that artificial intelligence is not “intelligent” at all, it is a tool for carrying out operations with speed and a precision unthinkable until a few decades ago, but it is unable to make decisions for humans, despite the fact that sometimes we hear absurd questions in debates on new technologies such as: “An AI (artificial intelligence) can be better than a person in the government of a country? “.

Not infrequently, historians emphasize the absolute importance of patrons in the development of one of the most fruitful periods of humanity, the Renaissance. Will this also be the case in the near future? And, if so, what could the business sector be?

In this regard, I cite only TEC Eurolab, an example of a company that goes beyond patronage, a company whose intellectual capital is not established once and for all because a company on the go, in which everyone who works there is not driven by one mercenary spirit, but from an incessant curiosity that ensures its technical and cultural growth. Thanks to companies like this and the opportunities for speech and free debate they offer, citizens have the opportunity to become actors of the second renaissance, not consumers of pre-packaged products or culture.

Economic and financial oligarchies everywhere stand in the way of any attempt to extend individual opportunities. In his opinion, to what extent do you think the intellectual direction of management is able to affect a concrete change in the relationship between property and individual worker?

An entire book would not be enough to answer your question, but let’s start from 1988, when the economist Emilio Fontela (director of the Economics Department of the Battelle Institute in Geneva) found in the Fast Program of the European Community the figure of the brainworker, a “worker of the brain ”which would have been essential in the so-called information society. A few years later, Fontela published with the Spirali publishing house Challenges for young economists And How to become an entrepreneur in the 21st century, two books in which, for the first time, the profile of brainworkers, worker-entrepreneurs, was outlined, who “are exalted in the face of complex problems, appreciate the difficulty of simplified abstraction […]; imaginative and curious, they recover the intellectual tradition of Leonardo da Vinci, breaking down the barriers between art and technology. In this way they are preparing a ‘second renaissance’: they are the ‘new intellectuals’, the great hope of renewal of the twenty-first century intellectuality ”. The status of the brainworker is not an exclusive prerogative of some social or professional category: an entrepreneur, as well as an employee, can become a brainworker, if he has an intellectual approach to work and life. This statute had been somehow anticipated in the seventies by Armando Verdiglione, inventor of ciphermatics (the science of the word that becomes figure, quality, absolute value), when he hoped for “a society without employees and without assistants”, a society in which the the business brain was not located in the entrepreneur’s skull. Today this transformation is taking place in industrialized countries and perhaps the oligarchies and bureaucracies that oppose the initiative of individuals are only accelerating its pace. For this we can say that the so-called Great resignations (Great Resignation), are not so much a sign of the tendency to escape from work, but indicate that a movement of brainworkers is being born, promoting the real fourth industrial revolution: the intellectual revolution.

The second renaissance of civilization, interview with Anna Spadafora