“Living isn’t simply existing, but existing and creating, knowing both how to enjoy and suffer, and to not sleep without dreaming. To rest, it to start to die”
The art of providing food, selecting it, and presenting it. The art of preparing a table and greeting those who will sit around it. These are just some of the things we identify as the art of living. One must see, with a determined attitude, the simple pleasures that make us enjoy a meal, enjoy the company that we have at our table and also the wellbeing which provokes the conversations that sharpen our perception of things and our intelligence. It’s a ceremony that makes us remember the first time that we greeted people in our house; the tradition of hosting that we carry in our memory and what was passed down to us from our parents, and to them from theirs.
This art, which is wisdom, provides us with wellbeing, peace of mind, balance and happiness. But is all of this essential for our happiness?
What does the art of living of our ancestors say?
What it tells us is that, it’s difficult to separate wisdom, beauty, pleasure and knowledge. The old philosophers teach us that there are two sides to the same coin: you can’t be happy without wisdom, and you can’t be wise without happiness. This is how the Western art of living has been shaped. It’s an enjoyment of feelings, but also of intellect; an ethic of living in which both aspects of our soul go hand in hand.
Therefore, the elements that make up the art of living, also make up an ethic. In our world, heir to Christianity and Hellenism, both born in the Mediterranean Sea, the art of living, relates to the ‘fruit of the senses’, one of the ways in which divinity manifests itself. We celebrate the foods of the land, the water, fruits, and herbs that delight and heal. We appreciate the light and the way it changes through the day, the warmth of the sun, the message of the wind, and the silence. The harmony of nature and the glory of the earth. And we celebrate as a family with wine and bread. Celebrating for us, also has religious significance. Hosting guests, in our culture, also has the significance of concelebration.
Over the years however, the harmony of life has been broken, diminished, and reduced to hidden places, therefore becoming increasingly more difficult to enjoy. What was once the treasure of every human being, today seems forbidden and only for the access of very few. Therefore, simplicity is the new luxury; Time, clear air and nature. However, it isn’t always simple to enjoy it, many people don’t know how to do it well. In a world that moves at a great pace, where immediacy prevails, it is difficult to change the rhythm, learn how to wait and understand that things take time. And we don’t always know how to get out of the vehicle of contemporary civilization, launched at full speed.
Therefore, this is something that we must also learn. This is the art of living of our time: learning to recover the legacy of our gods’ nature and finding the time to enjoy it