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Musings on Ovi Magazine on its Eight Birthday Musings on Ovi Magazine on its Eight Birthday
by Dr. Emanuel Paparella
2012-12-20 11:05:09
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In the first place I’d like to congratulate the editors of Ovi magazine, its many contributors and its whole world-wide readership on the celebration of its 8th birthday. Happy Birthday Ovi!

Since I am myself a regular contributor I suppose I am ipso facto congratulating myself. If it all sounds rather narcissistic, in some way it is. As one looks into the pond (Ovi) one detects one’s own image perhaps transformed by the six year plus relationship with it. It began on May 21 2007 with my first contribution on the EU cultural identity when the magazine was still in its infancy, and it continues into the present after some 292 contributions). It can perhaps be safely claimed that I have in some way become integral part of it. The questions then becomes how has the relationship changed me? Which are the lessons I have learned from it?  The attempted, albeit still incomplete and tentative answers to such questions has generated sundry musings which, for whatever their worth, I’d like to share with editors, fellow-contributors and readers at large as part of the festive celebrations on a happy anniversary.

What attracted me initially to the magazine was its manifestly firm belief and, most importantly, practice of freedom of speech. I detected from the outset ample space and welcome  for all opinions and views and their contraries expressed in an interdisciplinary eclectic fashion, to be presented and debated via the comment section or a separate contribution, but always in a polite and civil mode. In the best tradition of free speech and philosophical discourse ad hominem insulting expressions are frowned upon and politeness and friendship are encouraged and seen as handmaidens to philosophy. There have been breaches to tell the truth, promptly corrected by the competent editors Thanos and Asa who have been indefatigable in building up the magazine and always living he door open to all views and opinions. Not for nothing the very name of the magazine means door. And the door is not only open to the immanent and the material  but also to the transcendent for both believers and non-believers alike.

Unlike many other publications Ovi has never succumbed to the temptation to espouse and promote an ideology or a biased slanted viewpoint.  The ongoing dialogue on many varied issues can be spirited but hardly ever supercilious, argumentative, pedantic and pompous as is often the case in academia. It is rather colloquial and down to earth. It nevertheless covers all the important fields of human endeavor: science, philosophy, religion, humor, theology, politics, ethics, travel, geography, history, ecology, psychology, literature, just to mention a few, encompassing the best of what it means to be a human composed of body and spirit in the best tradition of humanism, and always relevant and existential.

By the same rules for submitting comments participants are urged to disagree without becoming boorish and disagreeable and to focus on the search for truth rather than on winning specious arguments catering to the ego. This is not only in the tradition of J.S. Mill but also in that anti-sophistic tradition that goes all the way back to Socrates. As he put it: “speak that I may know thee.” In expressing in writing their point of view people who have never met each other face to face get in fact to know each other even when they are unable to convince each other of their point of view. In the intellectual interaction with other contributors, sometimes a spirited interaction, we also got to know ourselves better.  

Ovi has in some way become a family for me and others. As Tolstoy put it in his War and Peace “all families are alike in their happiness and unlike each other in their unhappiness.” Sometimes there have been argumentative presentations and tension has been expressed in the Ovi family, irony and satire has been utilized, perfectly ok in intellectual discourse as long as no personal harm and insults are contemplated and carried out, but the important thing to consider is that it remains a family nonetheless, even when it expresses its painful unhappiness on some issue or other.

I think I’ll stop there for now with my sundry ruminations on my relationship with Ovi magazine. For six years it has been a satisfying and fulfilling one. I know I have become a better more sensitive human because of it. I’d like to believe that pari passu some of my contributions have also been influential in forging more sensitive and humane readers and identifying some of the traps of a positivistic technological push button society bent on destroying itself. In any case, I am grateful for all the new friends and the new readers I have encountered via the magazine. Next year surely I will have other musings to add, but for the moment with all the other contributors and readers of the Ovi family I applaud the magazine and wish it the best as ever. Ad majorem.

Dr. Emanuel L. Paparella

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Murray Hunter2012-12-20 11:48:23
And Dr. Paparella, it would not be OVI without you.

Emanuel Paparella2012-12-20 15:29:06
Dubious Professor Hunter. Nobody is ever totally indispensable on a ship with the possible exception of the captain.

To borrow Thanos’ metaphor of the Enterprise on a journey, it is all the crew that makes the ship go. Without it even a great ship equipped with technological wonders becomes useless and wandering aimelessly. What makes the crew a family is the willingness of each of them to commit themselves to the journey even when its final destination remains dubious. That is to say, the unifying principle is the crew’s retention of hope and faith in the future, their own as well as Captain Picard and his co-pilots’ prowess to navigate the ship as it boldly explores new worlds and initiates new ventures.

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