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Ecclesiastical Tourism and the Paradox of Happiness

di Manfred J. Holler

Ecclesiastical Tourism and the Paradox of Happiness

At the first glance the following two contributions look rather diverse – hardly related. Alfonso Casalini writes on the role of catholic and religious cultural heritage and the need for the implementation of modern management tools, especially in the organization of ecclesiastical museums. Timo Airaksinen writes on “Desire and the Socratic Paradox of Happiness” – a philosophic paper as its title clearly indicates. It is triggered by the observation that a lucky person will prefer his good circumstances regardless of the fact that he is and remains unhappy – which is in contrast, but not necessarily in contradiction, of Socrates’ dictum that a virtuous person is always happy, regardless of his circumstances. Are desire and desiring the keys to unlock this paradox? Airaksinen’s desire theory of happiness says that you are gratified and happy when you are able to satisfy your desires. As a consequence, he concludes, “life’s conditions are crucial to the quality and value of happiness.” Alfonso Casalini would argue that, for many people, religion and ecclesiastical culture are essential dimensions of their life’s conditions. He points out that there are between 300 and 330 million religious tourists, yearly, who generate an estimated turnover of 18 billion dollars worldwide. Do these numbers reflect a desire? Casalini’s assumption is that the “Religious Cultural Institutions” of the Catholic Church are called upon to contribute to satisfy these desires – and his claim is that this has to be done in an efficient way. A precondition is the application of modern management technics. He focuses on ecclesiastical museums to illustrate the problem and demonstrate the need for reforms: “a more economic (but not necessarily monetary) approach is needed.” There are still too many of these “ante-management” museums which “are devoid of website, do not have a social network activity and do not have revenues (or do not indicate them).”

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Gestire cultura

The role of Catholic and Religious Cultural Heritage in an ambiguous era.

di Alfonso Valentino Casalini

Today, we live in an ambiguous era. This is true under almost all the perspective we want to assume, but it is particularly true when we analyze the relationship with the religious and spiritual aspects. On the one hand we live in a laic world, characterized for a technological and web-based development. On the other hand, religious wars are increasing, and the terroristic attacks are more and more frequent. In this context, Religious Cultural Heritage is called to play not only a religious role (representing the values of a specific faith) but it is called to play a cultural activity (representing cultural relevance of the spiritual sphere of the humankind). It is crucial, in this difficult and fragile equilibrium, for Religious Cultural Institutions, to adopt management criteria in order to run this peculiar institutions with efficiency and efficacy. The article will provide an overview of the main fields in which a more economic (but not necessarily monetary) approach is needed, with a specific focus on catholic cultural institutions.

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Luoghi insoliti

Desire and the Socratic Paradox of Happiness

di Timo Airaksinen

If you are able to satisfy your desires you are happy; this is one of the many theories of happiness. The Socratic Paradox says that a virtuous person is always happy, regardless of his circumstances. An enigmatic proposition follows: You can be happy even in the worst circumstances if you can satisfy your relevant desires. This sounds strange but I will argue that it is a plausible view. However, a lucky person, that is a person in good circumstances, may be unhappy. Let me suggest a Switch Test, namely, we ask whether an unhappy but lucky person would like to change places with a happy but unlucky person; the answer is in the negative. The lucky person will prefer his good circumstances regardless of the fact that he is and remains unhappy. Therefore, the happiness of Socrates is not what one should aim at. But to maintain that happiness is not desirable sounds paradoxical. The Socratic Paradox can be resolved but it then leads to another paradox of happiness.

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