Waiting in the times of human beings

“Wait, wait, refer to the Latin “ex-spectare” strengthening of “specere” which means “look”. The expectation is made body in the gaze, where fear, anguish, hope and sometimes tragically silence are layered, because the gaze that awaits to trace in the gaze of the other to whom a response to his expectation is addressed.” The words of Eugenio Borgna, taken from his essay Waiting is Hope, are strong.

The wait is “tend to”. It's movement. Not yet arrival, but no more start. It's something you can't touch. It's limbo. Neither be nor be. Power that is not yet act, power that is no longer power. Entelechia (composed of en meaning “in” and telos meaning “tension towards the end”) expresses an inner purpose. It is an Aristotelian concept that detects the presence of form even in determining the form itself. It means having telos in it, an unfinished potential (Aristotle, 2000). So what is waiting? We could say that it is a mental condition, in which we are in the “about to”, we tend to a goal to which we have not yet reached.

The art of waiting, the work of the German journalist Andrea Kohler, is that “perennial condition of expectations and hopes that bring in themselves an intrinsic value, beyond their realization. It is not so different from what Leopardi wrote in The Saturday of the Village, when he described the day before the festival as a moment of maximum happiness, more important than the festival itself.”

Saturday Village Square, Recanati

It is the emblem of human life and its narrowness as is widely discussed in this post. Penelope waited for her Odyssey for twenty years, certain of her love for him. She mastered very well the ability to “bring in the other” by perceiving others by herself. Condition this, very different from living in the “everything and immediately” where we can not think of surviving separation even for a moment. But maybe “wait for something” won't be synonymous with “waiting for something”? Are we not waiting and therefore interpreting, willingly or unwillingly, the reality in which we live and on which we make predictions? Here. This characterizes all human beings.

David Ligare, Penelope (1980)

Interpret, predict, wait, wait. But what does man expect from such an unpredictable world? To be understood, satisfied like a child to whom a toy has broken and demands that it be fixed? Reality does not understand, it is not satisfied. Nature is not there ready to serve us, indeed sometimes it can be hostile. It is Nature stepmother, as Leopardi poetized, because she remains indifferent to our actions and does not “reason” and does not “conceptualize” as human beings do. Nature acts. It's insatiable action. It's act. Never waited. Nature does not wait for or expect anything, neither from itself, nor from us insignificant beings, “without meaning” for her. From our point of view, however, we are significant and desired animals, steeped in semantics and symbols.

From the earliest times we wait for that “something” that will come but that in the end never came. We spend our lives waiting, and then, when we are finally closer to our goal, what do we do? We stop. Beckett had seen beyond human masks and puppets (see the play Waiting for Godot). We don't live to go from point A to point B, but to be in between A and B. We like dramas, typical of human nature, we like to complicate things (as Piovani theorizes) rather than simplify them. In the end we find ourselves tangled up in so many knots that we have been trapped by ourselves. We build our cages, lock ourselves in and scream that we want to be freed. But from what? From ourselves.

We are points in the midst of the infinite lines of existence. Whoever reaches his destination, whoever reaches the end of the lines, at the end of life, will solve every human mystery. Life, death. And the wait, only then, will cease to be.


  • Aristotle. 2000. Metaphysics. Milan: Bompiani
  • Beckett, Samuel. 1964. Waiting for Godot (1952). Turin: Einaudi
  • Borgna, Eugenio. 2005. Expectation and hope. Milan: Feltrinelli
  • Kohler, Andrea. 2017. The art of waiting. Turin: ADD publisher
  • They are pious, Peter. 2010. For a philosophy of morality. Milan: Bompiani

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.