Scritto da speakitalianmagically.com il 17 Settembre 2013
If you are more than 20 years old, what beautiful things were you doing about 20 years ago?
What was the world like 20 years ago?
What did you enjoy doing the most that time of your life?
Take a bit of time and remember some good memories of that time and, as you do it, take mentally note of the feelings that you feel while thinking about it. You may perhaps want to think about your typical day in that time of your life. Why do I ask you these questions? You’ll discover it only by reading this article till the end;-)
It’s been a while since I wrote my last article, I know, but summer is a time that I devote to other activities (unfortunately or fortunately not to holidays). During the month of August I am busy preparing breakfast and making people feel at home (even if they are indeed at my home;-): all people who decide to come and visit and to spend their sea and swimming holidays between Tropea and Capo Vaticano. That’s why the time that I have to write and read is little, but there’s a moment, the moment that I call “the sacred moment“, when I have the chance to read or listen to what I really like. And do you know what this moment is? When I’ve just finished preparing breakfast (imagine the smell of just baked cornetti;-) and I wait for people to come and eat and chat with them. I think it’s important for me to precise it: when my guests come for breakfast I am really happy to give them my full attention. As I read last year for the first time in a bar in Morano Calabro:
“Il cliente è il più importante visitatore dei nostri locali [in the picture it’s written “delle nostre assunzioni”, but, in my opinion, “dei nostri locali” is the right Italian expression], colui che non è dipendente da noi. Invece noi dipendiamo da lui. Lui non è un’interruzione nel nostro lavoro. Lui è lo scopo del nostro lavoro. Lui non è un esterno del nostro lavoro. Fa parte di esso. Noi non gli facciamo un favore sevendolo. Lui ci fa un favore dandoci l’opportunità di farlo.”
Which in the original English version is this:
“A customer is the most important visitor on our premises. He is not dependent on us. We are dependent on him. He is not an interruption in our work. He is the purpose of it. He is not an outsider in our business. He is part of it. We are not doing him a favor by serving him. He is doing us a favor by giving us an opportunity to do so.”
The author of this short piece of writing (or saying) that you have just read is Mahatma Gandi.
After closing this little digression, the goal of my writing here today is to tell you that one of the few books I read till the end in my pleasant waiting moment is really good. I had read about it in one of the few blogs that I sometimes follow- Psicologia Neurolinguistica by Gennaro Romagnoli. Getting curious, I looked for the book, but, there was nothing to do, I couldn’t find it: the Italian edition is out of print (no eBook edition either). So I went on with my search and I found it in English. The title is “Counterclockwise“, by Ellen Langer, member of the Psychology department in Arward. If I believed in it;-), I could say that I was destiny for me to read it in English and so I did.
Counterclockwise is based on an experiment held by the author.
A group of elderly people were brought in a center where everything was letting the place look as if they were 20 years before (everything looked like it was 1959). Besides, even if till that day they were helped in everything, from that day on they wouldn’t be helped, but they were supposed to “work” on their own. As an example, here’s an episode: they had to bring their suitcase to their room…on their own! For anyone who hasn’t read the book, this may look cruel, but instructions given by doctor Langer were indeed clear and human. The elderly people would have all the time they would need to bring their luggage to their room. So, they could have made a step and stop to rest, or make a larger distance and rest. Slowly but constantly they would reach their room with their luggage. This is just an example of what happened that week. The rest, along with many thoughts by the author, you can read in the English edition of the book (given the fact that the Italian edition is out of print, as I have already written).
What do you think happened to this group of elderly people who went 20 years counterclockwise?
They improved a lot, they looked healthier and youthful.
In the author’s words:
“These improvements were the results of one week spent with a group of strangers. Imagine the possibilities if our culture afforded us a different set of mindsets than we have about old age”.
Which in Italian could be translated more or less like this:
“Questi miglioramenti furono il risultato di una settimana trascorsa con un gruppo di estranei. Immagina le possibilità se la nostra cultura ci permettesse un atteggiamento mentalee diverso rispetto all’avanzare dell’età”.
The author, still respecting the medical profession (and I fully respect
it too: there are times it’s better to go to a doctor instead of acting on your own), manages to explain in a very clear way what the risks of giving labels and following statistics are. I also briefly talked about this inside the section about the science behind Awaken your Italian. Have you already read it? In English or Italian?
While reading Dr. Langer’s opinions, that were very often based on scientific research, a story came back to my mind, a story that I had read some time ago. And without writing any longer, I’ll conclude this article with it. You can find your own conclusions about it and perhaps you can write on the comments below what you think this article has to do with learning Italian
Two patients, both with the surname Jones and first initial W., were lying next to each other in the pulmonary ward. One had severe pneumonia and a painful cough; he was also an asthma sufferer. The other W. Jones was a chain smoker and had severe bronchitis; he was in hospital because he was coughing up blood and needed to get a bronchoscopy. The asthma patient Jones was diagnosed , after X-rays, with a very progressive and aggressive form of lung cancer; the prognosis was dim: six to nine months. The smoker Jones was told that his symptoms were of severe pneumonia, and he was put on a course of antibiotics and other appropriate medications. When he received the news, he was visibly relieved and his whole physiology changed. He was humming songs and telling jokes to the other patients. He was so happy because when he’d come into hospital he had been certain he had cancer and given up hope; he had come to hospital with the belief that he was going to die. From that day he quit smoking and went back home to his life. The other W. Jones was not so lucky; after having struggled for many years with chronich asthma, he was now diagnosed with metastatic lung cancer and was considered to be at the end of the road. He was terribly depressed and did not speak to anyone anymore. His family tried in vain to ease his despair, but could not change his funeral mood. Three months later this W. Jones passed away. The doctors were proven right once again in their prediction of the future.
However, the story does not end there: some weeks after asthma sufferer W. Jones death, a medical student discovered that there had been a mix-up in the patient files. The surviving W. Jones, the former smoker, was the one who’d had the lung cancer all along. He was called back for another X-ray. To the great surprise of all the doctors there was no trace of lung cancer, except for a small calcification where the tumor had been. This W. Jones was completely cured and symptom-free.
Source for this story: Roy Martina, Emotional balance, Hay house (also available in Italian as: Equilibrio Emozionale, Tecniche nuove)
P.P.S.: This article is an adaptation of a former article of mine, that I wrote in Italian. Do you want to read it in Italian?