Dear Prof. Bodei, so you taught me that the truth is in words


I never managed to give him a tu, although he had asked me several times, we had known each other for almost thirty years, and he had been with me like a father in the most difficult moments of my life. But Remo Bodei was not just a professor: he was "my professor". And the tu, with him, didn't really come to me: it seemed to me to lack respect, to take away from him that aura that surrounded him and that made him different from all the others.It is with him that I graduated; it is under his direction that I obtained my research doctorate; it is thanks to his advice that I was then able to pursue my academic career. Bodei was one of those professors who rarely meet: one of those who make you want to always give the best of you, who teach you the passion and rigor that make you believe in yourself.
And then he was a good man: I could talk to him about anything, even about that evil of living that at a certain point in my life was about to take over, without ever showing the slightest criticism from his voice or his looks.He always had so many things to do: a train to take, a plane not to be missed, a conference to hold, a book to write. I remember when – they were my first years at the Scuola Normale Superiore – we chatted running towards the Pisa train station, the trolley in hand, the furtive look at the clock. Yet, even when he really didn't have time, he always found it for me, giving me words that could open up new horizons for me every time.

It is with him that I learned that philosophy is above all a way to give meaning to existence, a way of telling the oxymorons and contradictions of reality, a way of being in the world. It is thanks to him that I understood how to transmit passion and logic, wonder and reasoning to my students. It is he who taught me to look for answers not only in the classical texts of philosophy, but also in novels and poetry: "the truth is in words", he always said to me, "it is enough to make them resonate within themselves".

And that's how I still do today, turning, basically, always and only around those concepts on which he himself built his lessons and his books: love and fear, hope and madness, identity and time. Hi Remo. May the earth be light to you. Now I too can afford to give you the tu.

The author is a philosopher and writer, a professor at the University of Paris V Rene Descartes

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