Solomeo, 11 December 2020
I have always been grateful to the Universe for the immense good that it generates, and today, as I prefer to think about what the pandemic has given me rather than what it has taken from me, I am experiencing a moment of renewed joy and hope. Like a new Marco Polo, my gratitude goes to two peoples who are far away yet close to us. Physically distant but close in spirit.
It is thanks to the proud, noble, ancient and humane people of Mongolia and China, who collectively and as hardworking, creative, friendly and open-minded individuals, have for many years allowed me, here in Italy, to blend their finest quality cashmere fibers with our mastery and craftsmanship, creating exquisite products, employment opportunities and richness for many people. It is these people, with their warm, soft and almost divine fiber, who have allowed me to make my dream of humanistic capitalism, come true. A dream where the harmony between profit and giving is the priority, where every person is treated like a brother, where great care is given to making lives more amiable, the cities more resilient, the suburbs more pleasant and the countryside more fertile. I like how Confucius said, “The man of benevolence, wishing himself to improve, seeks also to help improve the lives of others”. I like to think about spiritual growth, not only about material well-being.
Far away yet close, the Mongolian and Chinese people kindly hosted me so many times during my business trips. How could I forget the boundless sky and the lush greenness of the grasslands whose vast expanses bring to mind a symbolism with the infinite Universe and the human idea of family? Here, I have enjoyed the most human of moments and experiences, and I can wholeheartedly say that I was truly delighted by the affection that they showed me, welcoming me, or rather, making me feel like I belonged. It was on a chilly starry night, sitting under infinity, brightened by a full moon shedding its silver light over the immense grasslands and rolling hills as far as the eye could see, that I was struck by such beauty and started thinking about my native land, so far away, yet so similar in landscape. It reminded me of the countryside around the town of Castelluccio, near Norcia, in my beloved Umbria, which is like a little Mongolia, with the same gentle curves and the same endless shades of green, as well as the same kaleidoscopic array of colors of the sky at sunset.And I thought about love for nature, the true meaning behind the relationship between humankind and the Universe – to which man belongs, together with all the other elements of the Universe itself. I thought about respect for animals, even when they are used for sustenance; during their killing, and for this reason only, these people ask the animals for forgiveness and they tell them that their sacrifice is a necessary and natural end. This brought to mind the words of Epicurus.
I wondered: is there a nobler way to come before and live within the Universe? Is there a way, a place, a time when our feelings and perception of the Universe and of its universal meaning are higher, truer, and more direct!? These people, whom I will never forget, made me understand, in a simple and natural way, that it is possible. This is why I imagined, and wished for, the birth of a sort of new social contract with the Universe, a new agreement not only regarding human beings, but also the land, water and animals; a tribute to the Universe, our greatest custodian, who, after having endowed humanity with endless benefits, now almost seems to need our help, and we feel, just as naturally, that we owe it an answer.
Once again, I think back to my Italian humanism, to my way of looking at it in a universal dimension, and suddenly I understand, I open my eyes and clearly see the most profound and enlightening sense of the greatest term attributable to a person: “brother”. I know how much knowledge and culture these people have given the Western and Eastern worlds over the past millennia. In fact, should I look back at such a long and rich history today, and should I look for the man who, amongst all other men, is the utmost symbol of Chinese history, philosophy and spirit, I would choose Confucius. That’s why, in my beloved small hamlet of Solomeo, I have given this great man a place of honor among the wise from ancient times; his portrait, sculpted in stone, sits next to that of another man of wisdom, an ancient Greek philosopher who was a contemporary of Confucius: Plato. What they have in common is the great knowledge that they have brought to the world, a knowledge that stands the test of time.
When, during my business trips, as a welcomed guest I sat around the table to share a meal with these people, I perceived the spirit of the universe within each of them, and in them I saw the teachings of the beloved and great philosopher Confucius, who said “I don’t create, I hand down”.I see these people through Western eyes; I see the depth and beauty in their eyes, which seem painted with the skillful strokes of an artist, so full of mystery and kindness, where you can read their willingness to get to know you, to share their things, thoughts and feelings with you. All you need to do is look at their writing systems, where every word is like a painting, pure art. Living side by side with these noble people even for just a little while, you understand something that is otherwise inconceivable: how distance and nearness can coexist, how with the inclusion of two great ideals there is a common thread that connects us to these people: family.
Dante, with his wisdom, taught me that every choice we make is an act of love and that behind all our actions lies our past. This teaching is of great importance to me, because thanks to it I choose to be forever grateful, from the bottom of my heart and to the depths of my soul, to the Mongolian and Chinese people for those soft and precious tufts of cashmere. A symbol of the beauty of the Universe, and for me, of the fraternity of peoples.
This letter is available in the following languages: Arabic - تكريم لشعبي منغوليا والصين French - Tribut aux peuples de Mongolie et de Chine German - Hommage an die Völker der Mongolei und Chinas Hebrew - מחווה לעם המונגולי ולעם הסיני Hindi - मंगोलियाई और चीनी लोगों को श्रद्धांजलि Portuguese - Tributo aos povos da Mongólia da China Russian - Дань уважения народам Монголии и Китая Spanish - Homenaje a los pueblos de Mongolia y China Swahili - Kuwaenzi watu wa Mongolia na Wachina
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