Interview with Elio D’Anna
On the Zhen Shan Ren exhibition
Aria Art Gallery, Florence
The interview with Elio D’Anna, owner of the Aria Art Gallery, on the Art of Zhen Shan Ren focuses on the basic principles of the exhibition: truth, compassion and tolerance. The art exhibition, which has toured the world stopping in more than 800 cities, is launching its new European tour from the Tuscan capital with a new special set.
Q. Today’s artistic event follows the one hosted at the European School of Economics in London. What does the Zhen Shan Ren Art exhibition bring to your school?
Elio. The values that can be seen in the Zhen Shan Ren art are very similar to the principles on which I created the European School of Economics and are the same ones that belong to every human being by birth right. I show my students how to apply them in the world and how to create in themselves a wonderful and successful life, because the world we see and hear is not what the cause, but the effect.
From our early years we receive the imprinting that the world is reality, that there is a destiny that can elevate or destroy you and that ultimately you are just a victim, a pawn in a game that was created before your existence. The real revolution, the individual revolution, is when you understand that everything comes from within yourself, and that whatever you see, touch or experience is projected by you.
This is a great revelation, because if it is true that everything we perceive is projected by us, then it becomes possible to manage everything that scares us or that holds us back, and when the fears go away, all the possibilities contained within us will open up.
Q. In a quote from your book The School for Gods, we can see that ethics plays a major role in the development of a person and society. Could you give us some more information about it?
Elio. Ethics itself is a concept that can be misunderstood and confusing. It is a description that has many variables … Chinese ethics is quite different from the Western ethics and may give rise to misunderstanding between the two. I call it Being.
In my lectures at the European School of Economics I start from the idea that ‘having depends on being’ and that ‘if you are, the world is’. The world is as you see it, full of contradictions because you are so. For the students of Economics, who are learning business and leadership, this is crucial: if you do not see the world as something that comes from you, projected by you, you will fail.
The outside world seems so big and voracious that is makes you the unwitting victim of events that you yourself have projected. Realise instead that you are the one who creates and who expresses the idea of the world that you are experiencing! An entrepreneur who follows this philosophy, a political leader who puts this principle into practice, will be able to enlighten and enrich not only his family and his group of collaborators but also his nation and his country. Everything that happens in the world of events, in order to manifest, first received your consent, your approval.”
Q. What is your hope for the future?
Elio. Time, the past and the future are another human invention … the future is here, the past is here, right now there is your future and your past. The past is behind us, the future is our past upside down, the only time when we can actually take action to change the course of events is right now.
All our past and our future is enclosed in this instant.
The atomic explosion of the instant generates aeons and aeons of time. Bringing this concept to contemporary economics completely overturns the principles of mathematics and statistics. When you take away time from the economic laws, the world crisis, projections and market laws no longer exist. There is only the virginity of the moment, if you stop projecting your anxiety and your fears, you will no longer see any crisis in the world.
This is not cynicism or selfishness, if you want to help the world you have to start with yourself, you have to improve yourself. What happens in the world is only a reflection of who you are. I could have created a school of thought, but I wanted to create a school of action, because what I have been telling you about is very concrete and practical.
Q. Do you believe in the value of experience?
Elio. Absolutely not! Leave the outside world alone. Just be yourself and stop projecting a world of lies that backfires against you. Honesty, sincerity is something that we must look for in ourselves and not in the outside world. Search for the lies that hide inside you. This will bring you ever closer to what is real and you will see that the truth will come out automatically.
Q. Tonight you met professor Zhang, what does being at the epicentre of classical art in Florence mean for their cause?
Elio. I sensed a strong protest against the Chinese Government and intimately I am very close to their philosophy. No man should attack another man. In my book I wrote a whole chapter about antagonist, on the usefulness of the antagonist, necessary for your growth. Without an antagonist you cannot understand your value and the greater your enemy, the brighter your victory. Having a fierce antagonist is a blessing for a warrior, because your enemy loves you more than you love yourself and if you reach your goal it is thanks to him. Without the antagonist we are nothing. Throughout my career I have had to fight many enemies and from each of them I received a gift of bright moments, moments in which you overcome the difficulties and simply go beyond them.
The antagonist will never be stronger than you, he is something that you created with your ideas, your thoughts and your philosophy; he grows with you so that you can understand what is missing in you, he loves you more than you love yourself, it is your invention that you need to understand what is inside of you to improve. Your enemy is your ally. I know it seems hard to accept, especially when your life is at stake.
Transform any attack that comes from the outside without reacting. You will see that ferocity, violence, war and conflict are before you and then they will manifest themselves outside … So, if you transform yourself, you will transform society and the whole world.”
Q. Is there anything you want to add as a comment and you want to share?
Elio. I would like to say that I am very close to what the professor said about the suffering that followers of Falun Gong in China are experiencing. As a Westerner I can say that those attacks are something that will make you stronger and not to be frightened by what happens outside yourself …
You do not have to feel hatred against those who persecute you, against other Chinese people. Experience this persecution as growth through the confusion and violence as has happened in the past in many other societies and civilizations; humanity needs this to grow, it may seem inhuman but is a natural law that allows you to go further up the evolutionary ladder.
Q. Do you believe that humanity is capable of changing itself? Is there hope for a new humanity?
Elio. Humanity corresponds exactly to your own being, look honestly within yourself and you will understand why humanity is as it is. Humanity as a multitude to whom we must teach does not exist. You are the only one who at this very moment is projecting across the universe. When there is integrity within yourself, humanity will have no problems. Humanity is a mirror that reflects everything that you are. If you genuinely want to do something for others, for humanity, for the world and for the environment, start with yourself, change, now!
In the New Testament Jesus says: “you must not put new wine into old wineskins”. You cannot add anything to your conscience if you have not got rid of the obsolete. Without this change, without dying to the old, it is impossible to understand what is in the other dimensions.”
Q. Do you think that humanity and the individual are ready to change? Do you think the time is right?
Elio. Yes, I think so. I have met many professors, Nobel laureates, economists and businessmen, who speak of consciousness. Nobody knows what it is and this is very interesting. The motto of the European School of Economics is Visibilia ex invisibilibus, meaning everything comes from the invisible and, the most valuable thing inside us is our consciousness, the invisible inside us.
The only true revolution is that of the individual:
only the individual can change society from within
and turn this world into a Portable Paradise.
Interview with Kacey Cox.