Paola Iezzi is a famous Italian singer. She interviewed Franco & Daniele Bolell.
Paola Iezzi: What do you think about happiness? Does it exist or is it an illusion?
Daniele Bolelli: Just like health is not any less real than sickness, happiness is as tangible and real as depression. But it’s not something that we reach and then we are set for life. It’s an attitude toward life that doesn’t change regardless of tragedy and pain. One of my idols, Ikkyu Sojun (a Buddhist monk whose main interests were sex, sake’ and Zen) spoke of “joy in the midst of desperation.” Life is tough–no doubt about it. And each day we run into forces that will give us plenty of cause for depression. Acknowledging desperation without letting it ruin your zest for laughing… to me this is the door to happiness.
Paola Iezzi: What is biodiversity?
Daniele Bolelli: What the hell do I know? Did you mistake me for someone smart?
Paola Iezzi: Do you think humanity is evolving for the best or are we heading for self destruction?
Daniele Bolelli: Both. It’s undeniable that humanity is flirting with self destruction. The amount of poison we pump in the air every day is mind boggling. Religious fundamentalism and greed-at-all-costs are the demon twins who are leading us every day closer to the abyss. But at the same time things are also getting better. In some parts of the world, there’s less racism and more open-mindedness today than in the last few centuries. There’s an ever growing number of people working their asses off to invent new solutions to live on this planet with less harm to both humans and every other living creature. Positive signs are as powerful as the negative ones. It’s a tight race, but the outcome is still to be decided.
Paola Iezzi: Do you like humanity? Do you consider yourself a philanthropist? How would you define yourself?
Daniele Bolelli: I’d define myself… “insanely handsome.” Ok, I’m sorry. I’ll quit bullshitting and give you a straight answer. Perhaps I’m addicted to yin-yang answers, but I feel I’m very misanthropic and very philanthropic at the same time. One never loses by betting on human stupidity since it’s everywhere. A good portion of humanity seems to me sad and pathetic (this is what happens if you read too much Nietzsche and Tao Te Ching as a kid.) But at the same time, there are plenty of people who are filled with beauty, brilliance and bravery (the alliteration is cool, eh?) I love animals, but what I like best about humans is that more than any other animal we have a great range of choice. Some use it wonderfully while others fuck up horrendously, but having a greater range of choice is never a bad thing.
Paola Iezzi: What do you think about the family?
Daniele Bolelli: You mean “the family” in a Godfather kind of way or in some other sense? My policy is: if they buy me birthday gifts I like them. Otherwise, fuck them.
Paola Iezzi: What’s your take on religion? Are you a believer? Atheist? Agnostic?
Daniele Bolelli: Agnostic with an asterisk. What I mean is that I live at the same time moments when I feel there’s no logic or reason in the universe and others in which everything seems to click. Both experiences are equally powerful so I’d lie if I favored one over the other. Clearly, however, if by “god” we mean an old man in the sky, with a white beard, who’s in the business of rewarding the good and punishing the bad… well, even as a kid I knew Santa was bullshit.
Paola Iezzi: Do you believe in reincarnation?
Daniele Bolelli: Who knows? And even if it existed, what does it mean? Without our body and memories, what is left? What is this soul that gets reincarnated? Reincarnation raises more questions than it answers–which doesn’t mean it’s fake, but it’s difficult even to comprehend. In any case, by nature I’m not into “believing.” Believing and not believing are equally useless activities. Either you know something by experience or you don’t. Everything else is hearsay.
Paola Iezzi: Do you think that believing in a God helps people feel better or does it just distract them from pain?
Daniele Bolelli: I fear you’ll begin to notice a pattern in my answers since I’ll go again for “both.” It certainly helps many to feel better, but believing in Santa Claus accomplishes the same thing. The only thing I care about are results. If your believing (or not believing) makes you a more loving and pleasant person, then I like it. Otherwise, I don’t care for it.
Paola Iezzi: Tell me about an image. The first thing that comes to mind.
Daniele Bolelli: A beautiful image I saw recently shows a wonderful woman (a certain Paola Iezzi… you know her?) who’s holding a copy of a book of mine close to her head.
Paola Iezzi: What’s beauty to you?
Daniele Bolelli: See my answer above… ok, I’ll quit flirting with you. Beauty is my daughter’s laughter (she just turned 2 and woke up saying “Birthday… Party… Iz… Cake”) Beauty is anything that creates happiness.
Paola Iezzi: What’s your favorite song? Only one answer is allowed.
Daniele Bolelli: One?!?!?!??!?! Why do you want to hurt me? There are so many… Ok, while I’m writing you back my baby interrupted the string of excuses I was preparing and has chosen for me. She began playing “Is This Love” by Bob Marley and started dancing. Who am I not to adopt her answer?
Original interview with Paloa Iezzin in Italian : “Father & Son – Intervista con Franco e Daniele Bolelli“