Censorship, as a design of the mindset


Let us take a break for a moment and take another trip to the clouds, if I can call it like that, or  better still beyond the clouds as I will be talking about censorship, beyond what is to be seen.

No abstract dissertations though, it will be a way of penetrating the reasons (the hidden ones) that animate design even deeper, to be more specific not only as concrete art, creator of new forms but also as concretizable art, capable of creating new ways of thinking.

It is not illusionary to sustain that the reality that surrounds us influences our way of living, thinking, in a few words, every novelty to which we are exposed is capable of giving a new form to our mind, in an imperceivable or macroscopic, albeit new way.


In an extreme synthesis, what we see, as well as what we don’t see, is potentially capable of modifying (or simply make us discover) who we are.

It is always about design. The instruments change, creativity is provided with erasing rubber or veils under which to hide. New forms are modified to art, obscuring parts, shedding light on other parts, or locking them in a drawer or even worse, burning them at the stake.


In the religions

Who defined it as “opium of the people”

After explaining why, we move on to “discovering”, it is worth mentioning it, how censorship has evolved from the dawn of days till today, orienting moral, sensitivity, the very same values of humankind and its perception of reality, to the point of justifying and making imprisonments for free thinking, murders for not to say wars with the scope of superimposing a culture onto another into everyday occurences.

Censorship has always been a prerogative of dominant powers that have existed through human history, not only on a global level but also to include local realities.

That’s what happened with the Catholic Church, which turned from persecuted into persecutor once it acquired temporary power. In pagan times, the Christian faith was occulted or even opposed for the revolutionary character it introduced, above all veneration to God only and no longer to the emperor. Act considered by the same yardstick as a disregard for imperial authority, and therefore for the constitutional order. It’s not by chance that Jesus, according to the Catholic faith a prophet and the Son of God, is crucified, a death penalty reserved to those stiring up revolts.


Once acquired a dominant position, the Christians used censorship in an even more efficient way of their former persecutors. First of all, it is worth reminding how the 27 books that constitute the New Testament inside the Bible, for what belongs to Christians, are chosen in an arbitrary way, others, likewise arbitrarily, have been excluded. All this to confer homogenity and coherence to the doctrine established, dictated to men and diffused in the world by means of the biblical scriptures strenuously defended along the centuries from attacks by science and relativity.

Catholic censorship persisted along the centuries until 1966. In that year, Paul VI abolished the so-called “Index Librorum Prohibitorum”, founded in 1559, which included the list of books forbidden for Christians to own or read. It went that far that Bibles written in a vulgar language were burned at the stake, in order to put biblical teaching in the clergy’s sole dogmatic interpretation: Man descended from God and was expelled from Eden, the sun kept rotating around the Earth, which was created in six days at the center of the Universe; nobody was allowed to talk of Galileo or Darwin, bigger trouble yet for somebody who even mentioned Big Bang.

In the Society

Extending its reach to the family

The censorship that the Islamic world, and even the western world (while it’s already fading), applies to the woman, to her body (read infibulation), and role in society goes treated in the same way. The power of censorship, and the order constituted by men other than religion in this case, to the scope of preserving the conviction(mindset) of supremacy, tough sex, and the privileges associated with it.

The very same existence of a Ministry of Equal Opportunities, of the pink quotes question, talking about Italy, gives the impression that the female figure still needs similar institutions to restist to male censorship. Inside the families themselves, and not only Italian, patriarchality is still largely diffused, according to which work belongs to the man, raising kids belongs to the woman together with fulfilling her husband’s wishes.

The education of the offspring itself, after all, is a way of demonstrating what is deemed as just and hiding and repressing what is considered as wrong. It surely is not a coincidence, that a sudden upheaval of customs, above all in terms of religious morals, has led to the crisis of patriarchality, thus rendering the family ties less rigid, solid.


“Mafia doesn’t exist”, how many times does this hateful phrase re-echo on Sicily’s pleasant slopes? Many, even in the not-so-distant present. To profess it ministers, mayors, councillors, professors and professionals, journalists, even random citizens like the rest of us.

Mafia organizations in Sicily exist since 1860, born with the expulsion of the Bourbons and the progressive disinterest of the Italian monarchy towards the south, but it attracts media consideration and attention only in 1982, when the murder of General Carlo Alberto Dalla Chiesa, prefect of Palermo at the time, makes Italy aware that the mafia question does no longer belong to Sicily, but to the State itself.

The way it is perceived and understood changes, it is now a rebellion against the constitutional order, thus goes fighted, and for combatting it not only its form is recognized, but also a brand new name “Cosa Nostra” is given. In Sicily arrives the army, with a delay of 122 years, a delay whose culprit is the censorship of who has made himself rich together with the mafia for all these 122 years of its “nonexistence”.



In Politics

Carsic depression […]also collective grave to hide corpses of war casualties

This is the very generic definition given by De Mauro Dictionary for the word foiba. A place where hundreds of Italians in the northeast met death, victim of ethnic cleansing carried out by Yugoslavian communist militias. In the history books only hints are available, albeit careless. It’s that the Italian political forces, which had the hard task of raising the nation from the disastrous war in which Musolini took it, hid the darkest side of the Italian resistance shedding light only on red virtues and black vices in order to oppose the reactionary resurgence of fascist-anticommunist ideology.

Only in 2005, as a fascist restoration was quite impossible by then, the Italian state officially acknowledged the massacres of its compatriots, and established February 10 as a national Remembrance Day for the victims of the foibes.


History is full of similar situations. Hitler needed, for example, a common enemy against which to unify by his side the entire Germany. He chose the Jews (now he maybe would have chosen the Turks for who is aware of the German social reality), satisfying the latent intolerance of the people, finding in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, translated in German on purpose, the historiographic basis, and thus the approval of the masses. It’s a pity that, such a document, in which it was supported the thesis of a conspiracy plotted by the Jewish people with the intent of conquering the world, was proven false as lacking rational foundations twenty years earlier in the pages of The Times in London. But the Times cannot be read in German, and the Germans are left in obscurity.

Memorable still, the edict with which, Napoleon, at the epoch of his descent in Italy, prohibited that the corpses of the greatest exponents of the Italian history and culture receive a burial different from that of simple citizens; depriving them even of their name on the tombstone. All this, in order to bury together with the defunct protagonists, the love for one’s country in a nation that soon would reclaim its own unity and independence.

In the Information

“this edition of the television news will air in a reduced format..”

It is said less and less frequently, but it is always like that. The same applies to television news and for newspapers, their forerunners. Space for the heartbreaking stories in our cities “hit by a car…”, “slain by hubby..”, “child kidnapped”, “the gang rapes…” And the rest?

In 2006 in Gravina, Apuglia two little brothers disappeared, their bodies were recovered lifeless two years later in the bottom of a tank. Their killers, and it is this particular detail that touched the public opinion, were the cold and famine. The news of the death made headlines nationwide, dedicating in-depth coverage, dossier, psychological inquiries. The entire nation, and even Europe, looks in dismay the tragedy of these two kids. Only in Africa, there are 26.000 children to die in a single day, their lives being taken away by the cold, famine or incurable diseases.


Certain images don’t make it through, certain stories don’t arrive in the countries of “plenty”, why? Maybe the reason is explained adding to this picture, which won the Pulitzer in 1994, the story of the author Kevin Carter, who after shooting it fell into depression and three months later took his own life.

Workers of the petrochemical of Gela are deprived of life everyday instead (Sicily, Province of Caltanissetta), a town where ASL and the judiciary are looking for an answer as why in the neighboring areas with the refinery, death rates superior by 54% of the national average for stomach tumors for males, and by 74% for colon cancer for women are registered. It often happens that the workers of the same refinery are obliged to go to a private clinic to obtain analyses, since similar checks are not provided by ASL on the workplace.

For the sake of the chronicle, the results of the analysis published October 31, 2009, and reported by none of the national dailies, I cite: “ an allarming presence of arsenic in the blood of twenty percent of analyzed samples” no fear therefore, I keep citing an article on the topic: “researchers and politicians discuss on the reliability of data and the necessity of repeating the analyses”.

In Gela, like in Melilli, a Priolo, people will keep dying without Italy or the world having remorses next time they will stop by a gas station. The economy has to carry on, this is the price, the price of censorship, because the first motor with exhaust, few realize did not use petrol but hydrogen.

The discovery dates back to 1853, and it is completely italian, and was resumed only in 1995; when it was realized that the quality of air in the cities was changing. An old novelty of 142 years, years in which who has censored must have surely had a valid reason for doing it. Long because of mere obscurantism.

In the market

“It is a medication that can have undesired effects often grave”

Before it was enough to say “Warning, it might have side effects”. And the difference of the message that arrives to the spectator is evident. So it goes said mildly, almost with cheerfulness.

The reasons of this change are easy to be perceived, at least how easy it is to undestand why on the cigarette packages now appear admonishing writings on the danger of “blondes”. A recent ruling by the American justice ordered the producers of cigarettes branded as “light” or “mild” to pay 200 billion dollars, just because the brands were deceitful for the consumer, boasting a minor exposal to the patologies connected to smoking; a disapproved and denied thesis.

In 1999, Philip Morris in a communicate posted on its own website informed for the first time its consumers for the dangers posed by smoking. In the short term the first anti-smoking sentence will occur still in America, it was the year 2000 when Phillip Morris is ordered to pay 20 million dollars to a smoker suffering from cancer; in 2002 the millions of dollars became 150, to be disbursed to a heir of a Light cigarettes smoker.


And so, the brand Light in Italy becomes extinct, substituted by Gold, and the unpleasant writings to the smoker begin to appear. In Great Britain, shocking images even. In Italy, and in Great Britain not in all the countries where cigarettes are sold.

Only in 1989, it became obligatory to display ingredients on the packaging of alimentary products. But it was not specified in what language to indicate them, and still it is very easy to find products with incomprehensible listings in French, English and so on. Recently, even the number of calories, and the nutritional values is obligatory to appear on the packaging. Normatives that, like for the cigarettes, vary from country to country, becoming less strict, the most iron-fisted the introduction of quality control, of the IGP and DOP brands like the protection of “Made in Italy

But if eternit, whose dangers were aware even to the scientists of Nazi Germany (who even banned it), it was banned in Italy only in 1990 (it still reaps victims in a 20 year distance) and is still legally used as a construction material in countries such as Russia or China; let’s ask ourselves, if we knew, what would happen, who would we react?


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The Author

Who is the author: Marco Di Mauro. Not knowing it well himself, he is not capable of providing adequate answers regarding this; currently attends the Faculty of Management Engineering of Catania.

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