Luigino Bruni Vita 250Luigino Bruni

"Nothing has more value than an act of gratuitousness"

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Greater than GuiltThe Dawn of Midnight Listening to life - Nacked Questions - A Man named Job - The Midwifes of Egypt

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Narrative Capitals - On the border and beyond - The Voices of the Days - Regenerations - The Great Transition

The Holy Words of the Rejected

Greater than Guilt/16 - Compassion may explode inside every life. And so may the good

by Luigino Bruni

published in Avvenire on 06/05/2018

Piu grandi della colpa 16 rid“The Baal Shem said to one of his disciples: »The lowest of the low you can think of, is dearer to me than your only son is to you.«”

Martin Buber, Tales of the Hasidim (English translation by Olga Marx)

Augurs, magicians and soothsayers are a recurrent note in the Bible. They embody a form of false prophecy that was widespread in antiquity and hard fought by the prophets, which represented a constant and very seductive temptation for Israel (to which it has often succumbed). They were the expression of an archaic popular religiosity that has never disappeared, and feeds a thriving business in our days, too. Biblical faith is not threatened by atheism, but by the replacement of YHWH with natural and simpler gods - yesterday and today, in faith and in life, where the eternal temptation is to convince ourselves that we are something smaller and more banal than the complex and beautiful reality we actually are.

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The Art of Embrace is Infinite

Greater than Guilt/15 - The art of life can be learnt by tasting the small instants of peace

by Luigino Bruni

published in Avvenire on 29/04/2018

Piu grandi della colpa 15 rid“God is, in a sense, the other, par excellence, the other as other, the absolutely other - and nonetheless my standing with this God depends only on myself. The instrument of forgiveness is in my hands. On the other hand, my neighbor, my brother, infinitely less other than the absolutely other, is in a certain way more other than God: to obtain his forgiveness ... I must succeed in appeasing him. What if he refuses? As soon as two are involved, everything is in danger. The other can refuse forgiveness and leave me forever unpardoned."

Emanuel Levinas, Nine Talmudic Readings (English translation by Annette Aronowicz)

Every day millions of people do and say bad things and, shortly after or shortly before that, they say and do good things in all honesty. Because the human condition is simply the interweaving of evil and goodness. The Bible knows this ambivalent mystery of the person – perhaps the greatest mystery – very well. We can become intrigued or lost, we may lose the golden thread of life, but until our last breath we are still capable of goodness, because we are made in the image and likeness of an endless dance of mutual love, which no sin can stop. Cain killed his brother Abel, but he did not kill the Adam, the first (and last) man. And while Cain continues to kill Abel, the Adam continues, stubbornly, to resurrect him, every day. No wickedness of the fratricide within us is capable of destroying that original imprint of good engraved deeper into our being. In this sense, evil can be trivial, good can never. Evil has its own resilience, which can also be very big, but it is always smaller than the resilience of good. And it is this good that resists stubbornly to make us more beautiful than our many faults. That’s where the radical anthropological optimism of the Bible lies, which has saved the West after and amidst its most heinous sins – and which continues to save us.

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The Wise Hurrying of Women

Greater than guilt/14 - Re-sewing, re-healing, acting in haste brings about peace

by Luigino Bruni

published in Avvenire on 22/04/2018

Piu grandi della colpa 14 rid“Goods are now to be seen as the medium, less objects of desire than threads of a veil that disguises the social relations under it. Attention is directed to the flow of exchanges the goods only marking out the pattern.”

Mary Douglas, The World of Goods: Towards an Anthropology of Consumption

Gift is a great word, and therefore it is an ambivalent one. Because if it weren't ambivalent it wouldn't be great, just as love, religion, community, life and death are great and ambivalent. The "capacity to give and receive gifts" is a possible definition of human nature, because gift says freedom, autonomy, dignity, beauty. Gifts received and given mark the decisive stages in our lives and in the lives of those we love, from the first gift of life to the last, when we give that first gift back a hundredfold, and it will be perhaps only at that moment that we understand all its value - and also the value and meaning of that last gift we are making.

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The Weak Force that Saves Us

Greater than Guilt/13 - Do not to kill, but save the name and cut the edge of the robe

by Luigino Bruni

published in Avvenire on 15/04/2018

Piu grandi della colpa 13 rid«Caro male,
non ti chiedo ragioni
è questa la legge dell’ospitalità…
ti do riparo
proprio a te che mi scoperchi.
Non ti voglio bene male
ti so sapiente ti tengo d’occhio
e nido sono
di te che mi assapori
e poi sputi il nocciolo

Chandra Livia Candiani, Fatti vivo

There are many forms of conflict. Each era adds new ones, leaving those inherited unchanged. The Bible also knows several cases. The conflict between Cain and Abel, where a vertical frustration (between Cain and God who rejected his offerings) becomes horizontal violence (against Abel). The conflict between Joseph and his older brothers, where envy leads to the elimination of the envied one, sold to camel drivers on their way to Egypt. Or that between Abraham and his nephew Lot, due to the abundance of resources in a common space that is too small, which is solved by separation, thanks to Abraham’s generosity who leaves Lot the choice of land ("Separate yourself from me. If you take the left hand, then I will go to the right, or if you take the right hand, then I will go to the left”; Genesis 13:9).

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Mixed communities can generate

Greater than Guilt/12 - The art of life can be learnt by starting the journey

by Luigino Bruni

published in Avvenire on 08/04/2018

Piu grandi della colpa 12 rid“Even as a boy I sometimes looked up with endless sympathy and respect into a half-withered female face on which it was written, as it were: life and reality have given me a drubbing. (...) And if we live, there’s something wondrous about it. Call it God or human nature or what you will, but there’s a certain something that I can’t define in a system, even though it’s very much alive and real, and you see, for me it’s God or just as good as God.”

Vincent Van GoghLetters, 193 (English translation by Diane Webb, John Rudge and Lynne Richards)

When a vocation is real and grows well, the "hosanna" of the crowd is always followed by the time of passion. It is always a crucial period, when the design and the task for that person begin to reveal themselves more clearly, because the dark background of events highlights the bright contours. So David, after his first success at court and in Saul’s heart, after his victory against Goliath, the women's song of glory ("Saul has struck down his thousands, / and David his ten thousands") now finds himself forced to flee and hide, because Saul wants to kill him. So the text now shows him to be a fugitive and a nomad wandering from city to city, his life in continuous danger, himself being homeless, vulnerable and poor. Like Abraham, like Moses, like Mary and Joseph. He too was a wandering Aramean, he too was in search of benevolence and hospitality; like us, like everyone else, who from the day we came to light became beggars for a good hand to welcome us and host us, never stopping to look for it, until the end.

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A friend’s promise is a real one

Greater than Guilt/11 - Love is one, but loves are many: eros, philia, agape...

di Luigino Bruni

published in Avvenire on 01/04/2018

Piu grandi della colpa 11 B ridPeter..., do you love [agape] me...?” - “Yes, Lord; ... I love [philia] you.”
(...) “Peter..., do you love [agape] me?” - “Yes, Lord; ... I love [philia] you.”
(...) “Peter..., do you love [agape] me?

The Gospel According to John 21:15-17

Love is one, but there are many loves. We love many people and many things, and we are loved by many, in different ways. We love our parents, children, girlfriends and wives, brothers and sisters, teachers, grandparents and cousins, poets and artists. And we love our friends a lot, too. Human love is not limited to human beings. It reaches the animals, touches the whole of nature, even God. To say love, the Greek world had two main words, eros and philia, which did not exhaust its many forms, but offered a semantic register that was richer than ours to decline this fundamental word of life. A lexicon that was able to distinguish the 'I love you' said to the beloved woman from the 'I love you’ said to a friend, and at the same time recognize that the latter was neither inferior nor less true than the former.

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Work Can Win the War

Greater than Guilt/10 - The humble tools that add pages to the book of history

by Luigino Bruni

published in Avvenire on 25/03/2018

Piu grandi della colpa 10 rid«…they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks;
nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
neither shall they learn war any more.”»

Isaia 2,4

In the book of history that tells us about strong and overbearing winners and the weak and poor who succumb, we also find some different pages. That’s where the natural order is overturned, the humble are raised and the proud are defeated. It’s a few pages only, but their dazzling light illuminates the entire book, transforming it, changing its meaning and making the difference. These are other, different stories that reveal a second law of motion for humanity. That of Ann’s and Mary’s Magnificat, the prophecy of Emmanuel, the discarded stone, the suffering-but-glorified servant, the crucified-and-risen one, Rosa Park and those cooperative organizations and trade unions that have freed and liberated the victims from empires and pharaohs. Pages that tell us that the natural hierarchical order is not the only possibility, that anything can always happen, and that we are given a last chance even when everything and everyone says that it is impossible. It is this same fragile and tenacious law that explains why it is that in the cacophony of strong and powerful voices we sometimes manage to hear a little, different voice and we follow it. It explains why we were once able to believe more in just one little reason to go ahead and not in the hundred really strong reasons telling us to give up; or why we did not take the path of success and power at that crucial crossroads but the one we knew would make us littler and more vulnerable. Other pages, another history, a different law. Another road that we take because, perhaps, we see it as the only possibility of a more real salvation because it is narrower; or, perhaps, because we have meekly let our heart lead us to do so.

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The Economy of Smallness

Greater than Guilt/9 - Work is never an obstacle to our vocations

by Luigino Bruni

published in Avvenire on 18/03/2018

Piu grandi della colpa 09 ridRabbi Bunam once prayed in an inn. Later he said to his disciples, ‘Sometimes you think you can't pray in one place and you look for another. But this is not the righteous way. For the abandoned place will complain to him: »Why did you not want to pray on me? If there was anything that disturbed you, it was a sign that you had the obligation to redeem me«.’

Martin Buber, Tales of the Hasidim

Saul’s decline intersects with the rise of David, the bright star of the Bible, perhaps the brightest of the Old Testament. He is the biblical character whose heart we know best - a word that, not by chance, appears already in the first account of his vocation ("Humans see only what is visible to the eyes, but the Lord sees into the heart"; 1 Samuel 16:7).

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Heirs of the Hem of the Robe

Greater than Guilt/8 - We are citizens of a partial and unfulfilled land

by Luigino Bruni

published in Avvenire on 11/03/2018

Piu grandi della colpa 08 ridIt is very difficult to find only one person in the whole Bible, whether righteous or not, who has not been let down by God, except perhaps Abraham and Jesus. But it is precisely from these denials that the man of faith learns to doubt every institution that he does not let itself be contradicted.

Paolo De Benedetti I profeti del re (The Prophets of the King)

After the consecration by Samuel, Saul begins to fulfil his mission as warrior king, a beginning that marks his tragic fate, narrated by perhaps the most compelling and beautiful pages of the entire Bible: “The Philistines mustered to fight with Israel, thirty thousand chariots, and six thousand horsemen... (...) Saul was still at Gilgal, and all the people followed him trembling. He waited seven days, the time appointed by Samuel; but Samuel did not come to Gilgal, and the people began to slip away from Saul. So Saul said, »Bring the burnt offering here to me, and the offerings of well-being.«” And he offered the burnt offering (1 Samuel 13:5-9).

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Treaties are flesh and blood

Greater than Guilt/7 – The biblical type of covenant establishes mutual commitment and forgiveness

by Luigino Bruni

published in Avvenire le 04/03/2018

Piu grandi della colpa 07 rid“I shall try to help You, God, to stop my strength ebbing away... But one thing is becoming increasingly clear to me: that You cannot help us, that we must help You to help ourselves. ... I can already forgive God for allowing things to be as they probably must be. To have enough love in oneself to be able to forgive God!”

Etty Hillesum Diary, 1942 (English translation by Arnold J. Pomerans)

In many key episodes of life, a single story is not enough; it is too little. To say what happened on the day we first met, or when we heard ourselves called by name, a single voice is not enough. The story of those decisive moments has to be told many times, by different people, and by each in their own way. Things that are repeated become beneficial, to those who tell the story and to those who tell it. When this bio-diversity is missing, denied or torn, our stories become impoverished, the mystery of life escapes us. The multiplicity of stories can protect us from ideology, which develops when the chrism of truth is attributed to only one narration, while all the others are considered heresy. This multiplicity and variety of stories tend to disturb the modern man who is in search of agreement in historical data, but for the biblical writer it is a language to say the greatness and importance of the episodes he is narrating. The lack of greed and generosity of the Bible also emerge from the abundance with which its most beautiful stories are accompanied; as in the letters of love, where adjectives add up to saying what we can't really say - the Bible is a long and unique letter of love addressed to us, which often remains closed inside the envelope. The truth is symphonic, always.

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The Anointing of the Outskirts

Greater than Guilt/6 - Prophetic enthusiasm is ignited amidst ordinary life

by Luigino Bruni

published in Avvenire le 25/02/2018

Piu grandi della colpa 06 c rid“ your sons and your daughters will prophesy,
your old men will dream dreams,
and your young men will see visions. »

Book of Joel 2:28

The consecration of Saul, the first king of Israel, takes place once again amidst the ordinary affairs of life. Saul moved away from home in search of lost donkeys - valuable animals for the economy of his time. It is during this normal work mission that something extraordinary breaks into his life. Saul had left the house to go to work - and returned home as the ‘Lord’s anointed’. He had left to look for donkeys he did not find; instead, he found a vocation, a task, a destiny that he did not seek. This is one of the greatest episodes of serendipity. Not only it explains that unless we actually go to the bookshop in flesh and bone we will never discover the most important books that we were not looking for but were waiting for us next to the less important ones we were looking for, but it also makes us perceive something of the profound logic of spiritual life. The greatest goods in life are those that we do not buy because they are not for sale, those that we do not look for because we do not yet know that they exist, those that we receive simply because we are loved.

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EoC Report 2016

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EoC PanAsian Congress 2016

The Dawn of Midnight

Logo Geremia Crop 150The series of comments by Luigino Bruni on Jeremiah's book comes out every Sunday on Avvenire

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Video EoC Summer School Prague 2015

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A Lexicon of Social Well-Being

A Lexicon of social well being ridLuigino Bruni

Palgrave Pivot, April 2015


Luigino Bruni’s articles and video

The Vocabulary of Good Social Life

Logo nuovo lessico rid modThe "words" of the New Vocabulary from the editorials of each Sunday published in Avvenire by Luigino Bruni

Communion - 09/02/2014
- 02/02/2014
- 26/01/2014
- 19/01/2014
- 12/01/2014
- 05/01/2014
- 29/12/2013
- 22/12/2013
 - 15/12/2013
Market - 08/12/2013
Common Goods - 01/12/2013
Cooperation - 24/11/2013
Experience Goods - 17/11/2013
A Critical Point - 10/11/2013
Types of Capital - 03/11/2013
Poverty - 27/10/2013
Relational Goods - 20/10/2013
Goods- 13/10/2013
Wealth - 06/10/2013
A New Vocabulary - 29/09/2013

The Wound and the Blessing

Wound blessingLuigino Bruni

Economics, Relationships, and Happiness

New City Press, 2012


United Nations Video

This short video was shot in occasion of the EoC presentation in the February 2012 UN Conference on Poverty Eradication.


Video - EoC in 5 words

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Presentation by Luigino Bruni to the Faculty of the Ateneo De Manila University. Manila, Philippines, September 23, 2011

Guidelines for conducting an EoC business

Binari_rid_modThe Economy of Communion proposes the following "Guidelines for conducting a business", to productive organizations who adhere to its message and its culture, written in the light of the life and thought of thousands of entrepreneurs and workers....

The Genesis and Ethos of the Market

The Genesis and Ethos of the market ridLuigino Bruni

Palgrave Macmillan, September 2012


The economy of giving

Chiara_Lubich_1Chiara Lubich

«Unlike the consumerist economy, based on a culture of having, the economy of communion is the economy of giving.... 

Avvenire Editorials

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