The values: goodness, beauty, joy

By Mario Bizzotto in Vita Nostra, Year LIII, no.4, October-December 2002, pp.475-481

In a time, like ours, where ideologies have lost their grip, depriving the person of parameters to compare their behavior, a reflection on values ​​becomes opportune. A reflection that invites us to grasp what in our daily life is “worth” becoming a source of meaning, joy and beauty.

The ethical problem returns today with a call to values. This has its limits but also its undoubted advantages. In fact, the subject enters directly in medias res, but above all offers the opportunity to engage life from below, starting from the everyday with the variety of its occupations and its contacts with people, things. The subject is grasped where one finds himself in the process of the most habitual tasks, which demand patience, endurance, fidelity, diligence, honesty and altruism; all values which are inserted with full right in the spirit of ethics.

To tackle the moral problem there is not only the high-altitude path, that of the great doctrinal systems with the strict exposition of norms, principles, axioms and prohibitions, but there is also the low-altitude path of small gestures and small virtue. Man is awaited by decisive deadlines of life: the choice of profession, of the partner, of the family, of confrontation with sickness and death, all circumstances that test his moral maturity. But before arriving at such demanding events, it goes through the greyness of everyday life. There are many other occasions where moral sensitivity is formed and the sense of responsibility emerges.

One gets the impression that rigorously constructed moral systems have lost credibility, becoming impractical. Too worried about getting straight to the “you must”, too easy to issue penalties. The grim earnestness of certain systems, which has left no room for the joy that flows in the composition of the good. This is why they are not easily welcomed in the context of contemporary culture. The feeling of difference weighs heavily on them. But if the exposure of the moral phenomenon, offered in organic form, no longer breaches, it is not said that the need for an ethical commitment is adrift. It comes back in other forms, more disused but perhaps even more effective and however more attentive to the mentality of the moment. It is in this climate that the call to values ​​comes forward. It is known that value has its own center of gravitation, very different from the imperative. If this is imposed as a law from which one should not be waived, otherwise they suffer painful consequences, the other in turn relies on the charm, which combines the joy. It is right that morality should also include hilaritas vultus, not having to be feared, but rather worthy of being loved, as a discipline that liberates and promotes man. It is on this side that the programmatic discourse of Christ arises, starting with the reassuring words: “blessed” unlike Moses who begins with the imperative form: you must!