A few days before passing away, Calvino was preparing a series of conferences surrounding the values that he considered where essential for the new and approaching millennium.
A prophetic imagination: Italo Calvino and his six proposals /
Creativity has its own prophetic outlook. At times, creative genius also makes itself known through intuitions that at the time may appear to be extravagant, risky, and even absurd, same which later reveal themselves to be innovative, vanguard: ahead of their time. Creativity thus is a type of sixth sense that reads in the existing symbols a panorama that makes the future possible, more often than not, with surprisingly surprising results.
On June 6th 1984, Italo Calvino received from Harvard University an invitation to teach the Charles Eliot Norton Lectures, an honour conferred to creative minds like T. S. Eliot, Igor Stravinsky, Borges and Octavio Paz, among many other brilliant artists gathered to speak of poetry and their place in the contemporary world.
Unfortunately, Calvino died a few days before he was able to give the lectures he had prepared, on September 19th of the following year, which did not stop the texts from being published in a book entitled Six Memos for the Following Millennium.
“We are in 1985, and barely fifteen years stand between us and the new millennium. For the time being I don’t think the approach of this date arouses any special emotion. However, I’m not here to talk of futurology, but of literature.” Wrote Calvino as manner of introducing the lectures, because, indeed, that period was still somewhat removed from the later fever before the changing digits, the 1900s for the 2000s, and the effects this would have in the collective psyche.
This was, without a doubt, an unexpected selection of behalf of the writer. While his artistic colleagues chose to speak of specific aspects of poetry, music, architecture and other arts, Calvino thought of something that combined a manifest, a divinatory exercise, and a will on the qualities, he affirmed, would be necessary to retain in the coming millennium.
Lightness, Quickness, Exactitude, Visibility, Multiplicity and the unfinished Consistency make up the condensation of this endeavor, these six proposals of values that from an exclusively literary perspective —which also means sensitive, inclusive, humanist in the best sense of the word— the writer left a type of map for a future that is beginning to be built, always, from the present moment.
The Six Memos for the Following Millennium can be read in the light of a creative imagination, that which transcends consciousness to become real, and despite being the same that springs from fantasising, is also has the potential to be at once, the seed of that which Leibniz referred to as “The best of all the possible worlds”.Tagged: Italo Clavino, writers, literature, Six Memos for the Following Millennium