Something doesn’t ring true to us about the idea that with a simple change of year would come an erasure of the heavy mood and fearful times we’ve been living. We prefer THIS from a 1916 column titled “I Hate New Year’s Day” that intellectual Antonio Gramsci published in the Italian Socialist Party’s official paper Avanti! (full text here.)

Every morning, when I wake again under the pall of the sky, I feel that for me it is New Year’s day...

That’s why I hate these New Year’s that fall like fixed maturities, which turn life and human spirit into a commercial concern with its neat final balance, its outstanding amounts, its budget for the new management. They make us lose the continuity of life and spirit.

I want every morning to be a new year’s for me. Every day I want to reckon with myself, and every day I want to renew myself. No day set aside

THERE is a practice to aspire to: waking each morning feeling the sense of possibility and renewal that accompanies the first day of the year. Or even just doing it once in a while: starting fresh any time of year.

Rather than condemn the past extraordinarily challenging year as “the worst” or “lost”, we take heart in Arundhati Roy’s essay “The Pandemic is a Portal” and its reminder that this fearsome pandemic just may be a catalyst that helps our world transform…

…Our minds are still racing back and forth, longing for a return to ‘normality’, trying to stitch our future to our past and refusing to acknowledge the rupture. But the rupture exists…

… and in the midst of this terrible despair, it offers us a chance to rethink the doomsday machine we have built for ourselves. Nothing could be worse than a return to normality.

Historically, pandemics have forced humans to break with the past and imagine their world anew. This one is no different. It is a portal, a gateway between one world and the next.

We can choose to walk through it, dragging the carcasses of our prejudice and hatred, our avarice, our data banks and dead ideas, our dead rivers and smoky skies behind us. Or we can walk through lightly, with little luggage, ready to imagine another world. And ready to fight for it.

It’s a lot but we are in good company. We feel our connection to millions navigating the same challenges…and are amazed and grateful for the incredible writing, music, art, performance that we rely on daily to shift our mindset and view…

…like Patti Smith livestreaming a message everyday of January on’s big screen in Piccadilly Circus. Here is her New Year’s Eve wish (26:00) and a song…

Watch Patti Smith’s daily presentation at Circa.Art or at @thisispattismith.

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One thought on “New Views of a New Year (Antonio Gramsci, Arundhati Roy, Patti Smith)

  1. Thank you so much for this post today. Sometimes a few thoughts from outside one’s own head can be uplifting and today’s post from Arundhati Roy and Patti Smith just resonates strongly. Much needed.

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