Meaning in the Face of Nothingness

Despite being somewhat of a political junkie for most of my life, I had never heard of Giorgia Meloni before this week. Why should I? She’s an Italian politician and, sure, I can name a couple of the recent Prime Ministers of Italy, but that’s about it. Even when I lived in Europe, I never paid very especial attention to Italian politics. Following foreign politics is ridiculously difficult, because one almost has to have a good amount of cultural understanding for it, and even after living in Germany, there’s still a lot about their politics that I don’t understand. (It’s also why I am very patient with friends who aren’t American when it comes to their understanding of American politics – they are trying to understand what is going on through the prism of news reporting, and we know how clear that makes things!)

In any case, Giorgia Meloni is poised to become the first female Prime Minister of Italy. Again, this is interesting, but not something that I necessarily would have paid much attention to. However, as news of her party’s success in Italian elections has shocked many, a video of her speaking not so long ago caught my attention, and I’m going to share it here. It’s worth the two minutes and fourteen seconds:

I’m not here to delve into the politics of Meloni or her personal life or anything else. However, she’s absolutely correct when she talks about fighting against the larger zeitgeist of nothingness, the idea that humans are just cogs that are players being used to enrich the elite few. She talks about the stripping away of identity – “Italian, Christian, woman, mother” – as a way to depersonify people – “Citizen X, Gender X, Parent 1, Parent 2”.

Two of the most fundamental questions that people wrestle with are “Who am I?” and “What am I doing here?”. Some would argue that these questions are why God or religion was “invented”; others who believe in God find their identities in relationship to Him. Some people are loathe to be defined by their jobs, others can’t escape it – Queen Elizabeth II was certainly queen even in the most private moments with friends and family; it’s not like when she went back to friends and family, all of a sudden she was “Lizzy from the Block”. I kid, of course, but the much more common manifestation of this is when children are born; these little people who are born from women change their identities to mother.

Meloni is absolutely right when she talks about the erasure of identity. The transgender movement, for example, goes far beyond trying to make the world a place where “trans” people are more accepted; by blurring the lines between male and female, by encouraging “allies” to alter language to accommodate the movement, by pillorying those who do not quietly accept these things, the goal becomes that not of allowing for transgender people to have their own identity, but, ultimately, to strip the common person of this critical piece of his or her identity.

The same goes for the push to replace “mother” and “father” with the idea of parental units, “parent 1” and “parent 2”. Some of this started coming into vogue around the time that my eldest child was born. In certain situations, those terms may be fitting, I don’t know. In the vast majority, they are not. They are actually downright insulting to an awful lot of people, but , as it turns out, we see that there is more importance put on some people feeling insulted than with others.

I expect very little from politicians in general, but I wish Meloni well. At the very least, it seems like she’s got some common sense, which is saying something for a politician. It is rare to see someone like her speak to the things that are so fundamental with such passion. As a politician, she comes at them from a totally different angle, but in watching her, I am reminded of the same type of call to remember one’s meaning in life from Jordan Peterson, that we are not just merely accidents of existence, but that each one of our lives has inherent value and individual identity, even if it is quite “ordinary”. Never forget, ordinary does not mean unimportant. Each one of us will have a different story, and part of our purpose here on this earth is to take our unique talents and build what we can with that. That which comprises our identity is precious, it is worth fighting for and defending, particularly in the face of the zeitgeist of nothingness.

dore canto 31 white rose

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