Brunello Cucinelli Pens a Letter for a ‘New Social Contract with Creation’
Earlier this year, Brunello Cucinelli wrote three letters: Letter of Spring, a Letter for the New Time and Letter to the Children. Today, the designer has released his latest piece, a New Social Contract with Creation, which you can read in full below:
“I was born into a modest family in the countryside, and there, where the stars shine brighter at night, the feeling of Creation is stronger; we felt the universe echoing within us, we intuitively perceived the great rules of its harmony. In my life I have always wanted to place ethics and respect for human dignity among the highest ideals, and from this aspiration I have tried to generate my activity as a Cashmere businessman, careful as I could to produce without damaging Creation, to maintain constant harmony between profit and giving back. Being passionate about philosophy, I was able to confirm, reading Kierkegaard, that human beings are both individual and universal, and this is a great value for me. I have always believed in humanism as an element of the universe; this is what great men of the past thought, from Dante to Galileo; each one along their own path, they combined humanism with spirituality and science. I argue that one cannot live without humanism, and I have made it the most faithful friend of my soul: from it I have tried to draw my idea of humanistic capitalism, and then, thinking back to the starry skies of my childhood, the idea of universal humanism.
Precisely because of the fascination of that youthful life, because of that sense of the infinite, I think of Creation as a caring guardian whom we should all be grateful for the golden gifts we receive with generous abundance; I am deeply grateful to it. But for some time now, in this year, our life has been flanked by an unexpected and unwanted travelling companion, who in the form of a pandemic virus wanders the entire planet causing pain to the body and spirit of human beings, with an unpredictable and exhausting course, at times slow, at times accelerated, at times mild, at times cruel, with alternating hopes that are first glimpsed and then immediately disappointed.
We seem to be witnessing a sort of struggle between biology and the earth, which lasts for a long time, and here, finally, Creation itself has asked us for help. Now I believe that it is up to us, human beings, as a moral imperative, to respond to this important and urgent call; and I am thinking of a sort of new social contract with Creation.
The social contract is an ancient idea, dating back to Plato, Aristotle, and then, closer to us, Thomas Hobbes and John Locke, and finally Rousseau, who dedicated a book to it. The contract that I imagine is new because it is not only about human beings, but it also includes every other element of Creation. The distant mountains, the deep and shady forests, the immense and restless seas, the blue and starry skies under which animals and plants live in constant harmony, I see them, together with human people, as the integral factors of the new contract, and I represent them, as a universal whole, as an earthly paradise of our times, an environment at once enchanted and sacred, without boundaries, which spreads its wings over every remotest corner of Creation. Perhaps, however, lately we have somewhat neglected some natural rules that for so long have been the foundations of a genuine and true kind of life; perhaps we have lost the harmony that balanced receiving and giving back in the relationship between us and Creation, and we have begun to consume it, instead of using it according to natural and necessary needs, as Epicurus preached and as hundreds of nameless generations have done before us.
Therefore, if we now look into our hearts with the courage of truth, if – in accordance with Kant’s thought – we raise our eyes to heaven above us and question the moral law within us, we will recognise that we have been prodigal children, and then, as in a choral public confession involving a large part of us, we will recognise that if Creation asks us for help today, we too are responsible for its suffering.
Let us think then of our children, of future generations, who more than anything else are the hope of tomorrow; let us think of the world they will inherit from us, which should be slightly better than this; let us think of the legacy of the past, without which, as philosophers teach, there is no future. If we forget the teachings of the past, how can we set out on the safe paths of moral justice? It seems to me that we owe the young people the time that we have taken away from them, the hopes that follow ideals; and their eyes still seek ours, which are often evasive, because it is not easy for us to respond with a look as straight and true as theirs.
It is also thinking with loving fear of the new generations that I imagine the new social contract with Creation, because I would like the children of today’s men to have the chance to live on a planet where animals, plants, and waters, find time and place to regenerate themselves according to nature, with those wide and serene rhythms that have marked the time of human history for millennia; a time and place where the woods return to regain the earth, taking it away from the deserts, reviving the planet with oxygen and coolness.
So I like to dream that future generations will be able to live where they feel they will recognize their homeland, and will have the whole world as a free choice; if they see the great migrations of people as an opportunity rather than a danger, if for them the desire to repair and reuse things will prevail over the temptation of waste, if the State and laws are not considered obligations forced upon them but means of civil life to be respected for a more just life; if they know how to develop technology and humanity as lovable sisters, if every corner of the planet will be considered the heritage of each and every one, and finally, if, as Hadrian the Emperor thought, they know how to consider books as the granaries of the soul, they will be happy. Such is the social contract that I would like to enter into with Creation, such is the help I feel I want to give as a loving response to such a caring guardian. Thank you, may Creation enlighten our path.”