Luigino Bruni Vita 250Luigino Bruni

"Nothing has more value than an act of gratuitousness"

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Go to my Biblical series:  

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

Go to my other series: 

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

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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The Necessary Guardians of the Almost

Greater than Guilt/5 - Recognising the wrong roads taken in life, and reconciling with them

by Luigino Bruni

published in Avvenire on 18/02/2018

Piu grandi della colpa 05 rid«Vorrei passare come una tela
su cui lo sguardo crocifisso
spegne gli idoli.»

Heleno Oliveira, Se fosse vera la notte

To describe the greatest kind of moral and spiritual corruption, the Bible often uses words borrowed from the economy. And it does so because there is nothing more spiritual and theological than economics, politics and law. Faith speaks only with the words of life. And so there are no truer words to express the nature and quality of our spiritual life than wages, profit, taxes, bribes, finance, tenders, work, enterprise. These are the most theological and spiritual words available ‘under the sun’, which also give truth to the words of faith. Because if we do not know how to express spirituality with the words of economy, law and politics, it is very likely that those spiritual words are, in fact, prayers to idols, even when we say them devoutly, in temples, synagogues or churches. The Bible and its true laity knew this very well - we know it much less today, because we have forgotten the Bible and laity.

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The civilization of the homoeopathic gift

Greater than Guilt/4 - The almighty and defeated God teaches a kind of faith that changes everything

by Luigino Bruni

published in Avvenire on 11/02/2018

Piu grandi della colpa 04 rid“The most beautiful poems
are written on stones
with bleeding knees
and the mind sharpened by mystery.
The most beautiful poems are written
in front of an empty altar, 
surrounded by agents
of divine folly.
So that, criminally insane as you are,
you dictate verses to humanity
the verses of redemption
and biblical prophecies,
and you are Jonah’s brother.”

Alda Merini, ‘Our Triumph’  (‘Il nostro trionfo’); in: The Holy Land (Vuoto d’amore; English translation by Stephanie Jed and Pasquale Verdicchio)

“In those days the Philistines gathered for war against Israel, so Israel went out to engage the Philistines in war” (1 Sam 4:1b). After the great and wonderful night of Samuel’s vocation the scene changes, and the winds of war blow over Israel. A people already known to Israel makes its first appearance - and will accompany and fight her for many centuries: the Philistines. They are an ancient people of the sea that exercised political and cultural dominance over the entire region, linking it to its own name (Palestine, Philistia: the land of the Philistines). The scene changes, perhaps the narrator, too, but some elements of continuity remain. Among them are Eli, his children, and especially the Ark.

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The Wonderful Art of Living

Greater Than Guilt/3 You can remain righteous even when you are weak. And listen without having heard

by Luigino Bruni

published in Avvenire on 04/02/2018

The Master said, Piu grandi della colpa 03 rid 
“Those who make virtue their profession are the ruin of virtue.”

Confucius Quotes

There are many people on earth who are called and answer "here I am" even if they don’t know how to recognize the source of the voice that calls them by name. Yesterday, today, always. They are called by different and unknown inner voices lifted up by the love and pain of the world. It is really important to respond to these vocations that happen every day in all environments of the human race. But it is marvellous when there is an "Eli" next to us that first sends us back to bed and then reveals the name of the one who continues to call us. 

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Singers of the not-yet

Greater Than Guilt/2 The gift of children received as gifts is the grammar of existence

by Luigino Bruni

published in Avvenire on 28/01/2018

Piu grandi della colpa 02 rid«Dammi da mangiare
dammi da bere …
Fame è misterioso
alza e abbassa regge lascia
ti reggo mi lascio.
Dammi l’acqua
dammi la mano
che siamo,
nello stesso mondo.»

Chandra Livia Candiani, Dammi da mangiare

God listened to Hannah’s cry and "remembered her" (1 Samuel, 1:19), as he had remembered his people enslaved in Egypt, after the first collective prayer of the Bible (Exodus 2:23). The biblical God is a God who knows how to listen, to everyone, but above all to the victims. The idols are deaf and mute because they are dead. YHWH is alive because he has an ‘ear’ and can listen, and can be awakened from his sleep, his inattention can be regained while we are in the boat and the storm is going on.

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The Great Prayer of Women

Greater Than Guilt/1 - The breathless words of the victims are worth more than any other

by Luigino Bruni

published in Avvenire on 21/01/2018

Piu grandi della colpa 01 rid“The Bible knows lament. Lament is an extremely critical moment in the relationship with God, until God consoles man and man consoles God. Prophecy and liturgy bring laments back and forth between heaven and earth.”

Paolo De Benedetti, La chiamata di Samuele e altre letture  (Samuel’s Call and Other Readings)

Let us begin reading and commenting on Samuel’s two books. And the time of a new joy begins, a joy that can perhaps only be delivered by an intimate connection with the immense biblical text, and only sometimes. Above all at the beginning, on the Saturday of waiting, in that auroral joy that floods the soul before knowing if and what words will come from this new encounter with the in-finite words of the Bible. Before we know if and how we will be able to make them become a discourse about our time, our kingdoms, weeping, vocations, betrayals and prayers.

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The Infinite Meekness that Saves Us

Narrative Capitals/10 - The challenge to prevent the transformation of the ideal into ideology

by Luigino Bruni

published in Avvenire on 14/01/2018

180114 Capitali narrativi 10 rid“And now look again, and see what will naturally follow if the prisoners (the people bound inside the cave) are released and disabused of their error. At first, when any of them is liberated and compelled suddenly to stand up and turn his neck round and walk and look towards the light... you think that he would care for such honours and glories, or envy the possessors of them (among the prisoners - the tr.)? ...I think that he would rather suffer anything than entertain these false notions and live in this miserable manner. ...would he not be ridiculous? ...and if any one tried to loose another and lead him up to the light, let them only catch the offender, and they would put him to death.”

Plato The Republic (English translation by Benjamin Jowett)

It is typical of ideological thinking - of every ideology but above all those of a religious nature - to create a dichotomic or gnostic type of representation of the world. Happiness, beauty, truth, and the special light of those who are inside that experience are exalted, and the ordinary happiness and beauty of those who are outside are devalued. Friendship, work, play, art and everyone's life are not enough anymore. There is a need to load these realities with additional, extraordinary and diverse meanings. And soon we end up no longer being able to rejoice in seeing a "friend and nothing more", of "just working and nothing more", of "just praying and that’s all", of "just painting and that’s all". We begin to believe that simple life is not enough to live. And while we are convinced that we live more than others, we risk ceasing to really live.

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Authenticity Cannot Be Simulated

Narrative Capitals/9 Childlike spirit is the summit of adult life

by Luigino Bruni

published in Avvenire on 07/01/2018

180107 Capitali narrativi 09 rid“But one had to be talented to be able to age without becoming an adult ".

Jacques Brel-Franco BattiatoThe Song of Old Lovers (La canzone dei vecchi amanti)

Every organization and every community would like to have members who authentically identify with their institutional mission, genuinely love its narratives and truly believe in what they say and do. This difficult operation of sincere individual identification with the institutional mission succeeds very well in the context of ideal-driven communities and organizations (IDO), especially when ideals are so high that they puncture the sky and let us glimpse paradise. This creates a perfect synergy between the individual and the community. Everyone believes, hopes, loves and desires the things of all others, without this "socialization of the heart" being experienced as the alienation and expropriation of the hearts of individuals.

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Fraternity Has Hands and Feet

Narrative Capitals/8 - Founding and continuing without haste, just like equilibrists

by Luigino Bruni

published in Avvenire on 31/12/2017

171230 Capitali narrativi 08 ridWhen a truly original genius makes its appearance in the world, people make haste to get rid of it. To achieve this goal they have two methods. The first is elimination. In the event of failure, they adopt the second method (which is much more radical and hideous): exaltation, putting it on a pedestal and transforming it into a "god".

Lu Xun, An Introduction to a The sayings of Confucius

At the origins of many communities and movements there is an experience of intense and deep closeness, among all of the members and - in the first place - with the founders. It is an extended kind of intimacy that exalts and develops the intimacy of each person. This particular "relational good" attracts, fills and fascinates no less than the ideal message received and announced. The contact of hearts and bodies, the sharing of the same table where meals prepared together are eaten, the real hugs to the "lepers" that immediately become true and different hugs exchanged with each other upon returning home. These are radically anti-immunitarian experiences, precisely because the many forms of mediation that we have invented in order not to touch the "wound of the other” are not there yet.

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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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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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