It is not fair to die like this. Dying by accident, stabbed on your way back from soccer. Dying by chance, when your life seems perfect, you are thirty years old, you are in the midst of a brilliant career won with hard work and study.
Davide Giri had crowned the dream of a doctorate at Columbia University, one of the most prestigious in the world. He graduated with honors from the Polytechnic of Turin, then a specialization in Shanghai, then a master’s degree in Chicago. He had worked in Fiat. He was also a good person, engaged in social work, volunteering. He was in effect the son everyone would like to have, set on the right track, he had done nothing wrong. Because our reptilian brain, the one that guides the most elementary instincts and generates the thoughts of survival, immediately led us to look for the pebble that derailed the train. Because necessarily, says our reptilian brain, there must be something wrong, to end up like this. We seek guilt in the face of tragedy, it is the mechanism we activate to defend ourselves, to allow our peaceful and safe life to distance ourselves from an incomprehensible, hallucinating and unfair fact like this. If you do things right, we tell our children, nothing bad will happen to you. We say this – knowing that it is not true – to reassure ourselves, to delude ourselves that if we raise them with the right values, if we make them become good people, they will be safe. And we will be safe, we will not receive the phone call that no parent fears from the moment of the first posting, when you leave your child for the first time in kindergarten.
But no. The reptilian brain can’t find excuses this time. He must resign himself to the idea that life is in continuous balance between the boundary of the possible and that of the abyss. It takes nothing to fall on the wrong side of the sliding door. Do you remember Gwyneth Paltrow in Sliding doors? It takes nothing to miss a train, get on one wagon rather than another and your life can change forever.
Davide Giri found himself in the wrong place at the wrong time. It took just a few minutes, probably, not to be intercepted by the murderous hand of Vincent Pinkey, a multiple-judge, already arrested 11 times for robberies and other crimes, a member of a dangerous gang.
It happened to him, it can happen to any of us, at any moment. But to get up every morning and face life, we can’t think like this, we have to silence our reptilian brain.
Those who believe it call it destiny. I believe that the word destiny is more correct to use it in a positive way, that is, thinking that you can take your life in hand and look to the future. As Davide Giri had done. Nobody is predestined, everyone can change their destiny. Here, on the other hand, it was chance, or bad luck, or fate. Call it what you like. And against the case the human being, even the most intelligent and good, even when he does all the right things, has no power. Fate has the last word on human affairs, and as Charlie Chaplin said, “when fate takes possession of man’s destiny, it uses neither Mercy nor Justice”.