This sign in Columbus had me thinking about Mike Caulfied's post today

This week I ended up reading an inspiring essay from Nuccio Ordine, Professor of Italian Literature at the University of Calabria. The theme is a particularly brave one: trying to explain the value of “uselessness’’.

The author focuses on studia humanitatis, today known as the humanities, and more generally on the knowledge that is commonly seen an end in itself. That knowledge doesn’t really generate any tangible profit on its own, but it is an essential part of a strategic plan for improving the moral and spiritual well-being of human beings.

In this regard, is useful what helps people to become better. The creation of citizenry in its broadest sense, can’t be accomplished without the study of non-profit knowledge such as philosophy, literature, art and music.

How hard it is for us to understand what doesn’t generate any profit?

Not a day goes by that our politicians don’t talk about the spread, the financial crisis and the deficit. But not a single word is spent talking about social inequality, justice and education.

Our network of 47 diaconal social services and NGOs rejects the idea that absolutely nothing except profit exists.

In replacing the role of governments in providing social assistance, we also promote a cultural change. With our work we respond to a backdrop of austerity and lack of social investment with impartial love.

That is not easy, of course! Our members, like other NGOs and non-profit organisations around the world, face the management of a complex and diverse range of issues. Budgeting issues, staffing, governing structure of the organization, and external relationships are only a few of the challenges we continue to face.

I think it’s time to recognize the efforts of thousands people across Europe, spending their time and energy to tackle extreme poverty and inequality. Most of the time they do it for free or they get little pay from their jobs. They do it with passion and joy, because they know they are contributing to a fairer and more peaceful society.

We will continue to work on that together and to believe in the value of “uselessness’’!

Have a nice weekend,


Eurodiaconia Secretariat