The second of the 5 literary and sensory workshops in the “EU-Read&Art” project, aimed at raising European adults’awareness of reading and the production of Europe’s first digital library of booktrailers, was a real exchange of quotes, emotions, stories and sensations shared with great emotional participation.
A magic that happens when generations, cultures and different personal experiences come together under the universal banner of literature and art, relying on the sensations they are able to evoke through the stimulation of the 5 senses. A meeting dedicated to sight and the way in which the other four senses are amplified if it is lost, giving olfaction, touch, taste and hearing the task of telling us something more about the world around us, about ourselves and about others.
It was enough to place a blindfold over our eyes and read some of the most beautiful passages of European literature to evoke inner worlds, memories of childhood, youth, romantic moments and distant emotions. This happened to the Senior participants, representing the “Libera Università Popolare della Terza Età e del Tempo Libero” of Soverato (CZ), together with the group of international guest lecturers and trainers of the Erasmus+ project coordinated by the JUMP Association of Soverato.
Yes, because literature first teaches us that we do not only see through our eyes as physical organs, but each of us is endowed with a personal ‘inner sight’, capable of processing external inputs and translating them into images, as well as drawing on a much deeper and unconscious knowledge. This, among others, is the meaning of Blindness (original title, Ensaio sobre a Cegueira, 1995), the novel by Portuguese writer José Saramago from which the following quote was taken:
“In my opinion we have not become blind, in my opinion we are, blind people who, although they see, do not see”.
This, if you like, was also the ultimate meaning of the meeting’s concluding moment, during which the participants huddled around the reading of a literary passage and reflection, both personal and collective, on the delicate moment that Europe is experiencing because of the war, with a thought for the plight of refugees and all the “invisible”.