Category: Thinking

It’s difficult but i try to



I have been planning to write something on this topic for a while, and initially planned to spend some time during the holidays to collect my ideas for this post, but who can find time during holidays? Am I the only one that seems to be busier during holidays than the rest of the year?

Anyway, considering my very low opinion of Elon Musk, and my even lower opinion of the Saudi government, once the takeover of Twitter took place I decided it was time to move away from that platform, and looked again at Mastodon, many years since the last time I checked it out.

Now, I never had a great relationship with Twitter to begin with. I created my account in 2007, used it fairly often for the first few years, and then less and less. I would login every few years, have a look around, get immensely bored, or fed-up with all the negativity there, and leave for few more years. The only reason I did not delete my account a long time ago was to avoid someone else to register and use it, and this is the same reason why I still have my @isazi Twitter account. I may decide to delete it at some point, the same way I deleted my Facebook account some years ago, but this is not happening today.

Fast forward to November 2022, with Mastodon instances sprouting all over the place, I had a look around and decided to join an instance created for the Dutch academics, and this is where you can find me now, with the usual @isazi handle. My first idea was to join the Italian pacifist instance of, but I then opted for something more closely related to my current job. What I was not expecting joining Mastodon is how much better than Twitter this place felt, almost immediately. And I realized that the reason for this is how my feed is built and populated.

There is no algorithm shoveling content at me with the final goal to keep me “engaged”. I see only the content produced by the people I follow, and their re-broadcast of things they find interesting. If I find you interesting enough, I follow you. If you start producing content that I do not want to read anymore, I unfollow you, and the platform will not keep showing me your content just because we have some contacts in common. This may sound like a bubble, and it partially is, but it is such a better experience for me personally. My Twitter timeline was nothing more than ads and content that the Twitter’s recommendation engine decided it was “interesting” for me. And this algorithm’s definition of interesting was very controversial material that would make me feel bad.

I used, and still use to say, that in such systems you are a click away to become indoctrinated. Well, I actually say that you are a click away to become a Nazi, but it’s the same. One “like” to a shady tweet that does not look that shady on the surface, and your feed starts populating with conspiracy theories, bitcoins, Nazis, climate change deniers, and so on. And if you are fed this content without knowing, and do not have enough information antibodies, the risk of being trapped in such discourse is very high.

The point I am making is not that such kind of content cannot exist on Mastodon, or that the people on Mastodon are better. The point is simply that no algorithm will start showing you such content just because you liked something or followed someone, to keep you engaged. I believe this approach is much better for our society and our public discourse.

Ancora Gramsci

Ancora Gramsci

Un altro “aforisma” interessante.

Quando discuti con un avversario, prova a metterti nei suoi panni. Lo comprenderai meglio e forse finirai con l’accorgerti che ha un po’, o molto, di ragione. Ho seguito per qualche tempo questo consiglio dei saggi. Ma i panni dei miei avversari erano così sudici che ho concluso: è meglio essere ingiusto qualche volta che provare di nuovo questo schifo che fa svenire.

Antonio Gramsci – 11 febbraio 1917
Covid e Gramsci

Covid e Gramsci

In questi giorni, sotto nevicate costanti e con la compagnia del virus, leggevo una piccola antologia di scritti di Gramsci. Il passaggio che riporto, a proposito di intransigenza e tolleranza, mi ha fatto particolarmente piacere.

Naturalmente questa tolleranza – metodo delle discussioni fra uomini che fondamentalmente sono d’accordo, e devono trovare le coerenze tra i principi comuni e l’azione che dovranno svolgere in comune – non ha a che vedere con la tolleranza, intesa volgarmente. Nessuna tolleranza per l’errore, per lo sproposito. Quando si è convinti che uno è in errore – ed egli sfugge alla discussione, si rifiuta di discutere e di provare, sostenendo che tutti hanno il diritto di pensare come vogliono – non si può essere tolleranti. Libertà di pensiero non significa libertà di errare e spropositare.

Antonio Gramsci – 8 dicembre 1917


Every year I face this same question: what would I do if it was my turn to give myself up to fight for freedom, against tyranny and fascism?

I still don’t know how to answer. I hope that, if the day will come, I will be as brave as the people that came before me, and fight for us. Like the people of the “Brigata Maiella“, for example.



I just got my duffel bag delivered home, full of my climbing gears. It got lost on the way between Paris and Amsterdam, and wasn’t on the luggage belt yesterday evening. But let’s get back to the beginning.

Few weeks ago I decided to visit Fontainebleau (France) with a couple of friends, and in the following weeks we planned everything. Booked plane tickets, a room where to stay, a car. Found a nice guidebook for few sectors of the bouldering area. All the things you are supposed to do before a trip. We were utterly excited, and it did sound like a good beginning to the Summer outdoor climbing season. I’ve been training better this year, and I am enjoying decent climbing condition.

Anyway, day after day the weather forecasts got bad, then worse, then terrible. Then we heard the Seine was flooding, and not somewhere random, exactly in the area around Fontainebleau. Add transport strikes to the mix, and the situation looked quite bleak. We decided to not give up as everything was already planned, booked, and paid, and so we went. It was clear from the beginning that the chances of climbing outside were thin, but not going wasn’t really an option.

To cut it short, it was constantly drizzling, and the rocks were soaked. We just went for a short walk in the forest to check how wet the rocks were, and how did they look. They looked awesome, and we walked from a boulder field to the next one under the trees. The place really stands up to its name. Unfortunately they were wetter than we even imagined, so we climbed them only with our minds.

We went to a climbing gym in the area, Karma, and had hours long training sessions there. We also went climbing in a few gyms Paris for a couple of days when we got bored of spending time in Font. Karma is the climbing gym where the national bouldering team trains, or that’s what we heard. I would not travel hours just to visit a gym, but it was a decent back up, and training with friends is always fun.

The gym was more interesting than a gym would normally be because few days before the trip I watched a video on YouTube, a video called “The master of moves“. If you watch it, you’ll understand why it seemed to me that everything was falling into place anyway, and that coincidences are the salt of life. The video made me think about many things, especially after sharing it with Mauro and talking with him about it. And what made it clear to me is the relationship I have with climbing.

It is just three years now since I started climbing, but in these three years I had the chance to reconnect with my childhood passion for the wild and adventure, and now it is not rare for me to hike, run, or climb almost every day. But this is not the point. The point is that I also believe that climbing show the world how you really feel, and who you really are. It must be different for every one, and climbing is not the only activity that have this power, but it feels so true to me. I cannot climb if my heart is not at peace. All the colors of my character are visible while I climb, and there is no way to hide them to the world. Or from myself, for what matters. It may sound silly, but it seem pretty real to me, especially after seeing so many people climbing.

Back to the story, we finally saw the sun in France, but it was only while getting to the airport on Sunday evening. The I arrived in Amsterdam, and they have lost my bag. Plus trains were delayed, and one even broke down with me inside. It usually takes me less than half a hour to get back home from Schiphol, but it took me more than two hours yesterday. Maybe my karma isn’t that clean, lately? 🙂

Until next time, Font. I’ll be back.