The Blind Spot of the Future


  • Massimo Lollini University of Oregon



When I proposed having the future at the center of this issue, which marks the 10th anniversary of Humanist Studies & The Digital Age, I was aware of the complexity of this controversial topic. The possibility of magnifiche sorti e progressive — a “splendid and progressive destiny” — made possible by human technology inspires hope in some and critique in others. The expression comes from one of Leopardi’s last poems, Ginestra o il fiore del deserto (Broom, or the flower of the desert), where he uses it ironically to suggest the powerlessnesss of humanity in the face of natural disasters. The poet argues with all those who praise the human condition and progress acritically. He condemns their hubris and bitterly invites them to visit the arid slopes of Vesuvius, reduced to a desert by the volcano’s eruption.