Carole Cadwalladr’s TED talk

Screen Shot 2019-04-17 at 11.39.45

“My question to you is, is this what you want? Is this how you want history to remember you? As the handmaidens to authoritarianism?”

Watch as calls out the “gods of Silicon Valley” for being on the wrong side of history:      

She is a tower of braveness. My respect !!!

jaap van till, TheConnetivist

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Future Is ASIAN, now in Dutch language version

1. Dear readers of my theCONNECTIVIST blogpage, in May 2016 I reported about an important book by Parag Khanna describing the worldwide main infrastructures for [transport of goods&people/ transport of energy / transport of information] : 
2. Now Parag has published a new book which describes what is happening in EurAsia: “The Future Is Asian”.  The positive coverage and reviews can be seen at:
At a time when Europe is facing inner frailty and strains in the transatlantic relationship, Asia presents enormous opportunities for boosting trade along the new Silk Roads. See also my blogs here about my prognosis for the upcoming “Corridoria” Trade Route:
3. And he is very pleased to announce the release of the Dutch edition of his new book
 About the Dutch edition published by Het Spectrum : (will be available April 19, 2019)
This is what Parag Khanna wrote to me about this new book and its connection with The Netherlands:
Some of you may recall that I have written in the past about the Dutch imperial model of maritime commercial enclaves and its relevance to understanding China’s global mercantilism today, as well as Holland’s role in inspiring Singapore’s port development.
In this book there is even more emphasis on the emerging Euro-Asian convergence that I look forward to discussing with you during an upcoming trip to the Netherlands and any other moments we may have to discuss the most important geopolitical and economic issues of our age.
I very much hope you enjoy Azië is de toekomst and I look forward to your feedback “
Jaap van Till
Posted in #Corridoria, China, Connectography, EurAsia, infrastructures, new silk route, OBOR, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Junglenomics: making the world Economy part of Nature

Screen Shot 2019-03-22 at 11.23.27

Bookcover of Junglenomics by Simon Lamb – the Tree of Life

My strong recommendation is to read this new book as soon as it comes out on Amazon and in bookshops: Junglenomics – Nature’s solutions to the world environment crisis: a new paradigm for the 21st century and beyond – by Simon Lamb. 

Here is my short review:

The crux of this super relevant book is that we have to organize human society as an Ecology and collaborate, to fit into Nature’s Ecologies, if we want to survive as a species. Instead of still concentrating on exploiting everything around us and extract value from others and nature, to enrich ourselves. We have to stop this colonist mentality. In an ecology synthesis creates value which can be shared by all participants and parts of Nature. And the book gives guidelines how to build such P2P cooperating Ecology. It is a joy to read that our children CAN have a future.

To Greta Thunberg i can say: “buy this book for your parents to read”, for the #ExtinctionRebellion , #YouthforClimate and #EggKids” .

In my humble opinion this Junglenomics book connects very well with the constructive idea’s of:


Jaap van Till, TheConnectivist

========This is what Simon Lamb wrote about the book======

A New Plan and a New Mindset for Protecting Our Planet .  See:

“Junglenomics is far more than an idealistic proposal, it is a blueprint for managing and reversing the rapid decline of our shared planetary ecosystem. An unrecognised power source of evolution is brought to light in a way that is both bold and compelling, and ultimately, overwhelmingly convincing. This book is essential reading for those who wish to see an end to the jeopardy that threatens our world. Future generations, and indeed Nature itself, will judge us on whether we accept the desperate need for a major re-appraisal of our approach to protecting all inhabitants of this treasured Earth.”

About the Author:

Simon Lamb is a writer on evolution, economics and the environment. He was born in London in 1951, and studied economics, maths, languages and art at Wellington College. He began his working career in finance, but a passion for nature, countryside, and natural science convinced him to return to his childhood stamping ground in Dorset. Simon is senior partner in a successful Fine Art business and has also been involved in farming for most of his working life.


Posted in Climate, climate change, climate turbulence, Darwin 3.0, Diversity, ecology, Environment Crisis, Evolution, global warming, Junglenomics, Life on Earth, Nature, Nowak's Law, Renaissance, The Connected Universe, Uncategorized, Value Creation, Vital for Life | Leave a comment

Big Impact expected from STADIA Google’s Streaming Game Platform

Screen Shot 2019-03-25 at 14.23.26

(updated. Version April 16 , 2019)

On 19 March 2019 Google announced STADIA, its streaming gaming platform for nearly anything that has a screen.

Essential is that for online gaming  Google’s will use its own worldwide network infrastructure (not the internet) as much as possible and its nearest Google cloud of datacenters. So do not be fooled it is a new device, it is a global interconnected network of : your device, for instance Smartphone + little handset(Wifi); the digital infra of your ISP, preferably FttH; Google’s optic fiber links ; connected to Google datacenter (cloud of computers).Screen Shot 2019-03-25 at 14.50.16

Here is the appetizer for what you will see:

and the explanation of what they do and intend to do.

It is obvious that while other companies and telco’s are trying to copy the Netflix success with low cost streaming media CONTENT (films) and their CDNs (content delivery networks), Google goes a step ahead. They are building up a STREAMING REAL TIME INTERACTIVE GAMING AND GROUP COOPERATIVE CREATING platform. And it can be scaled up in image quality, processing power and storage capacity for the users.

Below is that analysis of the expected impact of STADIA, re-blogged here with the permission of the author Rudolf van der Berg.

Some extra assessments of myself:
* The announcement spoke of ALL devices with a SCREEN that can be used.
   In practice this will mean that a “model” of the environment of the game, let’s say a      STADIUM is loaded once to the device, and then only the positions of the player and its instruments have to be transmitted constantly.
This concept is derived from the ancient development of the Vocoder which filtered all redundancy out of the secret voice transmissions of heads of state. This compression worked in order to be less vulnerable to decrypting, by only sending the positions of certain parts of the vocal tract of the speaker + some hiss tones(white noise)
* Latency on the processing of the devices and the end-to-end connection must be at least CONSTANT and as small as possible to have a good streaming image and sound performance.
* so the crux of Stadia is to exchange patterns in real time between computers over high capacity stable network connections. Can ISP’s deliver on that?
* Two more things we have to watch: (a) the quality of the sound. This is always underestimated. Actually the perception of the images depend very much on the quality of the sounds. That is why you still go to a movie theatre right !
(b) I wonder what will happen when hundreds of millions of users go gaming, cooperating and going to interact with each other like birds in SWARMS……
And if in the coming years the Euro politicians will moan and groan about the dominant position of Google and Silicon Valley, I can show them this: I told them so, right? NOW is the time to assist the GAMING DEVELOPERS in Europe to make use of this
platform and roll out the most creative and challenging GAMES and group simulation
tools for collaborating whizz kids :-))
Jaap van Till, TheConnectivist

What Google Stadia will mean for broadband and interconnection (and Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo)

Google Stadia is Google’s new games platform based on Youtube. It demoed Tuesday and will launch later this year. It competes with Playstation, Xbox and Nintendo for the $67B console market and it may also eat into the mobile gaming market, itself a $70B market. Yes, gaming is the biggest content market in the world. It is a cloud-based gaming platform, done very differently than its Microsoft and Sony competitors, because it is built on Youtube and Google’s position in the world’s broadband networks and peering/transit interconnection.

I wrote this because I wanted to understand what leverage Google has to break into this market and how it will affect telecom companies and internet service providers. My conclusion, most of this is built on Google’s datacenter play and access providers will see a wave of traffic coming. This is the killer-app for FTTH/Docsis 3.1. Sony and Nintendo can go home and Microsoft needs to become a cloud player for real now.

What is Google Stadia?

What makes Stadia different than current gaming is that any device that can run Youtube in HD at 30/60 frames per second is good enough to game on. It just needs bandwidth (roughly 15–25Mbps). If it’s a laptop or PC, any controller connected to it can work. A Chromecast would work too, turning any display into a gamestation. The controls then will have to come from a dedicated controller, that looks just like what Sony or Microsoft offers, but is different, because it hooks up to your WiFi. Yes, the controller connects directly to the home network and Internet! All the processing is done in Google’s cloud and they send a 25Mbps Youtube video-stream to your device. A Samsung or LG TV would know from the URL which clip of your gameplay to request and receive. So for the price of $30-ish for a controller, your TV could display games that normally would require a 300 dollar console.

What sets Google apart in my opinion is that it treats games as Youtube video clips/web-pages that you as a player or viewer can interact with in real time. Any game session that is played can be broadcasted to, viewed and interacted with by others. Your friends could be playing this game and if they send you the URL via Whatsapp you could jump straight in from a mobile device. Or your friend is happy she did the Kessel Run in 12 parsecs and you could copy the starting point and do the same thing but try to beat her. Watching gaming via Youtube is already massive. Now you can join, broadcast, copy, play, monetize and create straight from watching someone else. You can embed the gameplay into any webpage or online video platform.It merges the two platforms and could create a massive interactive online experience. (and boy will we find some new forms of abuse)

How does this affect Google’s infrastructure?

Online gaming has always put stress on broadband networks not for their bandwidth demands, but for their latency demands. These two are linked to some extent, because if you need to send 1MB of data over a 1Mbps line, it will take a minimum of 8 seconds. Physics is what it is. However here it is relatively small inputs, but many of them, in rapid succession from the player and then a stable stream of 15–25 or more mbps back from Google. This puts strain on broadband networks. They have to find a way to optimally deliver traffic to Google with the shortest path possible. And vice versa they have to deal with massive incoming streams of 15–25Mbps per player to display HD and more for 4K.

The incoming streams are completely different than Netflix’s streams at similar resolutions. Netflix’s streams are optimally compressed to take as little bandwidth as possible and still give a great image. It is quite robust too. If Netflix needs to pre-load 30 seconds, it doesn’t matter, your TV has enough memory to cache this. If bandwidth deteriorates, so will your image quality, they just send you a different version of the same movie, at slightly lower quality. Plus, Netflix has OpenConnect, its CDN that is deep into most metrocore locations of telcos. Traffic often has to travel less than 30km to your home. Each instance handles up to 35Gbps/~7000 streams per 1u rack unit (equivalent to 21K-42K customer premises) and saves telco CTO’s thousands of dollars per node in uplinks as traffic is handled locally.

All of this will be harder to do for Google. The player will expect a maximum roundtrip time of 200ms, preferably less than 150ms. Each game and each player is different and that messes everything up. You can forget about caching, pre-loading, compressing, because everything that the fingers do now, needs to be shown on the screen now. Google has the same infrastructure for Youtube and caching video as Netflix has, together with Akamai they are the Big Three of bits. Google says it is in over 7500 locations in the world. However that infrastructure is based on the idea we’re not that original and roughly watch what everyone around is is watching too. Amazon, Facebook and Microsoft have big heads in the cloud, but they aren’t in every metro-core location, because they push less data and don’t care so much about latency.

So, the big question is how Google will deliver on the promise that it can handle gaming of any kind. Will it actually deliver a number of gaming racks in each of its 7500 edge nodes? Or will it deliver its connectivity from the over 100 peering and interconnection points it has in the world? Or will it be in the datacenters it has around the world.

Latency is the killer and it will have to deal with a lot of factors. Eurogamer has an overview of some latency figures, they achieve 166ms on a laptop playing a game on Stadia. Which would put Google on par or better with a local instance of an Xbox One X! If we break that 166ms down. We get the following:

  • 10ms Wifi delay (a number Eurogamer uses, but I don’t see on my own and my employer’s Wifi with FTTH. 9ms roundtrip time to and 10 to is fine.)
  • between 40ms and 80ms to process inputs and calculate all the game state and encode it. based on how much time Call of Duty and Doom needed for it. (apparently it takes the Xbox more time, so it acts as a nice extreme case.)
  • 20 ms delay in encoding Youtube stream .
  • 20 ms delay in displaying the video on a TV-screen.

This would leave Google with roughly 36ms to 76ms for round trip time from user to server and back. Which is actually more than I expected. To reach Sweden’s Sunet.Se I need 29ms round trip and to reach it’s 28–35ms from the Netherlands. To travel that distance my data has passed a number of Google datacenters already. The Netherlands now has one Google datacenter and soon two. Denmark will soon have one and Belgium is expanding. There are likely some more builds across Europe.

The better the network performs, the more space Google gets to allow developers to trade-off latency with graphics. A developer that has a slow paced, but scenic game will use the latency budget to squeeze out more image quality. A twitchy football game will likely sacrifice some image quality for reduced latency. A battle royale game with lots of simultaneous players will use it for intra-server latency and syncing of state.

However, this also shows that it is really unclear why Google mentioned its 7500 Google caches at all. Why would these devices have any use at all, unless maybe to serve the video content of people watching other gamers. However, for the game developers, this would be rather useless to know. So yes, it’s fantastic Google has a massive cache system all around the world, but it’s the datacenters that appear to be the basis of the success.

BTW I would love to see a guestimate of how many PS4 equivalents could stuff in one rack. Also a guestimate of how much it saves in packaging, transport and retail of boxes to consumers would be welcome. My gut feeling is that just by cutting out retail, logistics it saves half of the cost of a PS4. That figure is than halved again, because the systems are shared resources. So roughly a PS5 equivalent for 100 dollar per user. I’m also fascinated if developers can use TensorFlow and AlphaGo based AI (and if players want them to)

Why telcos/ISPs should be afraid

The impact on networks of Stadia shouldn’t be underestimated. If Google gets any decent uptake for this system, then the amount of traffic it generates per home can be staggering. Currently most users don’t peak past 100mbps unless their Playstation has to download the latest updates. On average during peak hours (20hr — 22 hr) consumers use roughly 1mbps, of which a third is Netflix and another third is Google. All of this is served locally. The average bandwidth for a Netflix series is 4–5mbps, slightly higher of course for those that watch 4K. Even if you have a couple of teens, it’s likely consumers won’t hit more than 20–30mbps sustained traffic over longer periods.

Stadia could change all that. It promises 25mbps per device for HD level play, more for 4K. Stadia could make it fun and realistic to play with multiple players in the same home. It wouldn’t be weird or difficult to have 4–8 kids playing on iPads, TV’s and laptops. That could well be 240mbps sustained for long periods. Even in normal circumstances having many homes reach 30mbps sustained for hours would hit the averages.

On a larger scale, if Google can deliver, it wouldn’t be odd to expect 2.5% of all households to play a game between 20hr and 22hr. If you have 4 million customers, that’s 100K streams in parallel or 2.5Tbps in additional traffic. BT was very proud of handling a new record of 12Tbps on its access network and KPN said it did 6.5Tbps peak over 2018. No matter how you look at it, it will require some upgrades of core switches and private network interconnects between Google and telcos.

Mobile networks would likely buckle under the load if every user really gets 25mbps. LTE was never designed for sustained delivery of a large number of concurrent streams. It’s fast because everyone gets their webpages quickly and then vacates the air to read the content they received. 5G is sweet on paper, but far from reality and also not designed 10–40 people 25mbps sustained per cell.

Another troubling bit for networks can be the surprise peaks during the day. Let’s say on a Saturday morning a famous Youtube star demo’s some great new game and challenges his viewers to defeat her in the game. She posts the link and instantly 10k kids respond. That’s 250Gbps that just has to be handled. Mind you, that’s less than 1 percent of the following of the major Youtube stars in the Netherlands. Of course you should be able to handle it, but still it is 10–20% extra traffic out of nowhere.

For both Google and Telcos this means massive, massive upgrades to peering and private network interconnects. CTOs will likely have to upgrade links between major cities and the PNI locations.


Google Stadia looks very promising. Google’s mastery of the datacenter lies at the heart of its challenge of Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo. It may deliver a gaming environment at a quarter of the cost (first guestimate). Neither Sony, nor Nintendo are datacenter companies and Microsoft would need to change quite a bit in its approach. The plan looked too ambitious at first, but it appears Google Stadia could well deliver on its promises as latency is likely not an issue in modern broadband networks.

It is the networks themselves that will have to worry. FTTC/VDSL just doesn’t cut it in many instances. It may deliver one stream, but at the expense of all other traffic. Docsis 3.1 promises 10Gbps shared over a number of customers. That number of customers that share may have to be a bit lower than expected by the CFO. FTTH networks should be able to handle the load. All networks will have to work on uplinks, peering and interconnection. None of the traditional tricks of generating and keeping traffic local will work anymore. It is coming from Google and it’s a flood.

A more technical analysis below that is the basis for Eurogamer’s review.

(tech specs, yes this is important to understand what STADIA is and how it will develop.
Posted in Stadia, streaming games, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Peer to Peer: The Commons Manifesto, new book


At last, members of the P2P Foundation have published their new book, described below. It was presented recently by Michel Bauwens who has untiring been traveling and presenting about this way of organizing for years all around the world. See: and on Twitter: @P2P_Foundation

To explain how important this is, I can best position P2P Cooperation into The Trias Internetica that shows how tasks of individuals and groups are divided and combined in the new networked society of our planet:


The State and Businesses has other tasks than The Civil Society, which can organize in the form of a user & prosumer COMMONS to create value together.  The late Nobel Prize winning lady Elinor Ostrom has described in her books how a commons can be set up and successfully maintained. The often mentioned “Tragedy of The Commons” applies only for groups of people who share a particular resource: agricultural land, which is a bad idea. Although, in the Swiss Alps the villages do that anyhow, but under severe rules and restrictions.

Jaap van Till, TheConnectivist


“Peer to Peer: The Commons Manifesto”

Full title: Bauwens, M., Kostakis, V., & Pazaitis, A. (2019). Peer to Peer: The Commons Manifesto, London: Westminster University Press.

Available as free e-book & low-cost paperback at:


Not since Marx identified the manufacturing plants of Manchester as the blueprint for the new capitalist society has there been a more profound transformation of the fundamentals of our social life. As capitalism faces a series of structural crises, a new social, political and economic dynamic is emerging: peer to peer. What is peer to peer? Why is it essential for building a commons-centric future? How could this happen?

These are the questions this book tries to answer. Peer to peer (P2P) is a type of social relations in human networks, as well as a technological infrastructure that makes the generalization and scaling up of such relations possible. We believe that these four aspects will profoundly change human society. P2P ideally describes systems in which any human being can contribute to the creation and maintenance of a shared resource while benefiting from it. There is an enormous variety of such systems: from the free encyclopedia Wikipedia to free and open-source software projects, to open design and hardware communities, to relocalization initiatives and community currencies. Thus, P2P enables a new mode of production and creates the potential for a transition to a commons-oriented economy.


This book is dedicated to Jean Lievens, who passed away in 2016 after a lifetime of engagement for social justice and the commons.
Πείτε μου εκείνες τις ιστορίες σας,
που κάνουν τα καλάμια να λυγίζουν,
στα όρια των χωραφιών κι εν μέσω άπνοιας
τα μέτωπα των αγροτών δροσίζουν.
Πείτε μου εκείνες τις ιστορίες σας.

Tell me those stories of yours
that make the reeds bend,
at the edge of the fields, and that, amidst wind lull,
cool the farmers’ brow.
Tell me those stories of yours.

Thanasis Papakonstantinou, San Michele (avena un gallo) (2011)

Table of Contents

1. Introduction
1.1. What is P2P and how is it related to the commons?
1.2. Are P2P technologies good or bad?
1.3. How does P2P relate to capitalism?
1.4. How is P2P to be implemented in practice?
1.5. Towards a commons-centric society?

2. P2P and a new ecosystem of value creation
2.1. Diverse skills and motivation
2.2. Transparent heterarchy
2.3. A new ecosystem of value creation
2.4. Four short case studies
2.5. From contradictions to an integrated economic reality

3. P2P and new socio-technological frameworks
3.1. Two generic models
3.2. The extractive model of cognitive capitalism
3.3. The generative model of commons-based peer production

4. P2P and the structure of world history
4.1. Four modes of exchange
4.2. Towards associationism

5. A commons transition strategy
5.1. Pooling and mutualizing resources wherever possible
5.2. Introducing reciprocity
5.3. From redistribution to empowerment and predistribution
5.4. Subordinating capitalist market
5.5. Organizing at the local and global level
5.6. Summary of our proposals
5.7. A last word

The Authors

Michel Bauwens is the Founder of the P2P Foundation and works in collaboration with a global group of researchers in the exploration of commons-based peer production, governance, and property.

Vasilis Kostakis is the Professor of P2P Governance at Tallinn University of Technology and Faculty Associate at Harvard University. He is the founder of the P2P Lab and core member of the P2P Foundation.

Alex Pazaitis is a Core Member of the P2P Lab and a Junior Research Fellow at the Ragnar Nurkse Department of Innovation and Governance, Tallinn University of Technology.


From chapter 1, by Bauwens, M., Kostakis, V., & Pazaitis, A. :

1. Introduction

Not since Marx identified the manufacturing plants of Manchester as the blueprint for the new capitalist society has there been a more profound transformation of the fundamentals of our social life. As capitalism faces a series of structural crises, a new social, political and economic dynamic is emerging: peer to peer.

What is peer to peer (P2P)? Why is it essential for building a commons-centric future? How could this happen? These are the questions we try to answer, by tying together four of its aspects:

1. P2P is a type of social relations in human networks, where participants have maximum freedomi to connect.

2. P2P is also a technological infrastructure that makes the generalization and scaling up of such relations possible.

3. P2P thus enables a new mode of production and property.

4. P2P creates the potential for a transition to an economy that can be generative towards people and nature.

We believe that these four aspects will profoundly change human society. P2P ideally describes systems in which any human being can contribute to the creation and maintenance of a shared resource while benefiting from it. There is an enormous variety of such systems: from the free encyclopedia Wikipedia to free and open-source software projects, to open design and hardware communities, to relocalization initiatives and community currencies.

Our narrative is structured as follows. This chapter explains what this book is about by introducing some basic concepts. Chapter 2 describes how a new ecosystem of value creation is developed by implementing P2P technologies and practices. Chapter 3 sheds light on how different interests can use P2P dynamics. Chapter 4 places P2P into the broader context of the world history. Then, chapter 5 proposes a generic strategy for a transition to a commons-oriented society. At the end of each chapter, the infographics visualize the central message of it.

1.1. What is P2P and how is it related to the commons?

Consensual connections between “peers” characterize P2P computing systems. The computers in the network can interact with each other without going through a separate server computer. It is in this context that the literature started to characterize the sharing of audio and video files as P2P file-sharing and that a part of the underlying infrastructure of the Internet, like its data transmission infrastructure, has been called P2P. So, in a P2P network, peers are equally privileged, equipotent participants in the application that the network performs.

Let us now assume that behind those computers are human users. A conceptual jump can be made to argue that users now have a technological affordance (a tool) that allows them to interact and engage with each other more efficiently and on a global scale. P2P is a social/relational dynamic through which peers can freely collaborate with each other and create value in the form of shared resources. It is this mutual dependence of the relational dynamic and the underlying technological infrastructure that facilitates it, which creates the linguistic confusion between P2P as a technological infrastructure and P2P as a human relational dynamic.

However, a technological infrastructure does not have to be fully P2P to facilitate P2P human relationships. For example, compare Facebook or Bitcoin with Wikipedia or free and open-source software projects. They all utilize P2P dynamics, but they do so in different ways and with different political orientations (chapter 3 discusses this issue).

P2P is therefore primarily a mode of relationship that allows human beings to be connected and organized in networks, to collaborate, produce and share. The collaboration is often permissionless, meaning that one may not need the permission of another to contribute. The P2P system is, therefore, generally open to all contributors and contributions. The quality and inclusion of the work are usually determined “post-hoc” by a layer of maintainers and editors, as in the case of Wikipedia.

P2P can also be a mode to allocate resources that do not involve any specific reciprocity between individuals but only between the individuals and the collective resource. For example, one is allowed to develop her software based on an existing piece of software distributed under the widely used GNU General Public License, only if her final product is available under the same kind of free and open-source license (in this case, GNU General Public License).

In the realm of information, which can be shared and copied at low marginal cost, the P2P networks of interconnected computers used by collaborating people can provide shared functionalities for the creation and maintenance of collective resources. However, P2P does not only refer to the digital sphere and is not solely related to high technology. P2P can generally be synonymous with “commoning,” in the sense that it describes the capacity to contribute to the creation and maintenance of any shared resource. As discussed in chapter 4, P2P as commoning has always existed, but without the scale that computing affords it.

There are multiple definitions of the “commons.” We adhere to David Bollier’s (2014) characterization of the commons as a shared resource, co-governed by its user community according to the rules and norms of that community1. The sphere of the commons may contain either rivalrous goods and resources, which two individuals cannot both have at the same time or non-rival goods and resources, whose use does not deplete it. These types of goods or resources have been inherited, or they are human-made.

For example, a type of commons may include the gifts of nature, such as the water and land, but also shared assets or creative work such as cultural and knowledge artifacts. Our focus here is on the digital commons of knowledge, software, and design because they are the “new commons” (Benkler, 2014). These commons represent the pooling of productive knowledge that is an integral part of the capacity for any production, including physical goods.

P2P is arguably moving from the periphery of the socio-economic system to its core, thereby also transforming other types of relationships, such as market dynamics, state dynamics, and reciprocity dynamics. These dynamics become more efficient and obtain advantages by utilizing the commons. P2P relations can effectively scale up, mainly because of the emergence of Internet-enabled P2P technologies: small-group dynamics can now apply at the global level.

1.2. Are P2P technologies good or bad?

We do not claim that a particular technology may lead to one inevitable social outcome. We recognize the critical role that technologies play in social evolution and the new possibilities they create if specific human groups successfully utilize them. Different social forces invest in this potential and use it to their advantage, struggling to benefit from its use. Technology is, therefore, best understood as a focus of social struggle, and not as a predetermined “given” that creates just one technologically determined future.

Still, when social groups appropriate a particular technology for their purposes, then social, political and economic systems can change. An example is the role that the invention of the printing press, associated with other inventions, played in transforming European society (Eisenstein, 1983/2012).

The fast-growing availability of information and communication technology enables many-to-many communication and allows an increasing number of humans to communicate in ways that were not technically possible before. This, in turn, makes possible massive self-organization up to a global scale. It also allows for the creation of a new mode of production and new types of social relations outside of the state-market nexus.

The Internet creates opportunities for social transformation. In the past, with pre-digital technologies, the costs of scaling regarding communication and coordination made hierarchies and markets necessary as forms of reducing these costs. Hence societies that scaled through their adoption “outcompeted” their tribal rivals. Today, by contrast, it is also possible to scale projects through new coordination mechanisms, which can allow small group dynamics to apply at the global level. It is, thus, possible to combine “flatter” structures and still operate efficiently on a planetary scale. This has never been the case before.

1.3. How does P2P relate to capitalism?

We are living through a historical moment in which networked and relatively horizontal forms of organization can produce complex and sophisticated products. The latter are often better than the artifacts produced through state-based or market-based mechanisms alone. Consider how the user-generated Wikipedia displaced the corporate-organized Encyclopedia Britannica, how the open-source Apache HTTP server outcompeted Microsoft server software, or how Wikileaks survived the assaults of some of the world’s most powerful states.

The hybrid forms of organization within P2P projects do not primarily rely on either hierarchical decisions or market pricing signals, but on forms of mutual coordination mechanisms that are remarkably resilient. Peer production (often also P2P production) has been broadly portrayed as a generic form of self-organization among loosely-affiliated individuals that volunteer on equal footing to reach a common goal. When it comes to the production of information or culture, where the means of production are often more distributed, peer production presents a number of systemic advantages over managerial hierarchies and markets (Benkler, 2002). These advantages in turn entail an “immanent”, but also a “transcendent” aspect in relation to the dominant economic system.

On one hand, these emerging mutual coordination mechanisms increasingly become an essential ingredient of capitalism. They are reinforced and enabled by capital investment to rejuvenate its circulation. This is the “immanent” aspect of peer production that changes the current dominant forms. But on the other hand, such mechanisms can become the vehicle of new configurations of production and allocation, no longer dominated by capital and state. This is the “transcendent” aspect of peer production, as it creates a new overall system that can subsume the other forms. In the first scenario, capital and state subsume the commons under their direction and domination, leading to a new type of commons-centric capitalism. In the second scenario, the commons, its communities, and institutions become dominant and, thus, may adapt state and market modalities to their interests.

As we discuss in the following chapters, peer production is a prototype of a new mode of production, rather than a full mode of production today. This means that currently peer production is in a mutually dependent relationship with capital, which uses both the processes and virtue of peer production for its own gain. Moreover, as prominent cases of P2P projects have gradually delineated a winning strategy in the new economy, distorted forms of P2P-enabled production have surfaced. In name, they endorse the same values of community-driven initiatives, though substantially they merely approximate a community-related narrative to form a new locus for accumulation (O’Dwyer, 2013). The key, therefore, lies in strategies that aim to keep the surplus value within the cycle of peer production itself and allow genuine P2P projects to reverse this process. Elsewhere, we have expressed this as transitioning “from the communism of capital to capital for the commons” (Bauwens & Kostakis, 2014). In Chapter 5 we discuss those strategies in more detail.

Yet, the new forms of collaborative production that rely on P2P mechanisms do have some hierarchies. Nevertheless, they generally lack a hierarchical command structure for the production process itself. Peer production has introduced the capacity to organize complex global projects through extensive mutual coordination. What market pricing is to capitalism and planning is to state-based production, mutual coordination is to peer production.

As a result, the emergence and scaling of these P2P dynamics point to a potential transition in the main modality by which humanity allocates resources: from a market-state system that uses hierarchical decision-making (in firms and the state) and pricing (amongst companies and consumers), towards a system that uses various mechanisms of mutual coordination. The market and the state will not disappear, but the configuration of different modalities — and the balance between them — will be radically reconfigured.

None of this implies that the P2P transition will lead to a utopia, nor that it will be easy. Indeed, if the history of previous socio-economic transitions is any guide, the transition will most likely be messy. Just as P2P is likely to solve some problems in our current society, it will create others in the new one. Nevertheless, this remains a worthwhile social progress to strive for, and even if P2P relations do not become the dominant social form, they will profoundly influence the future of humanity.

Summarizing the relationship between the relational and technological aspects, the P2P relational dynamic — strengthened by particular forms of technological capacities — may become the dominant way of allocating the necessary resources for human self-reproduction, and thus replace capitalism as the dominant form. This will require a stronger expansion of this P2P modality not just for the production of “digital goods”, but also for the production of physical goods.

1.4. How is P2P to be implemented in practice?

While P2P is emerging as a significant form of technological infrastructure for various social forces, the way of its implementation makes all the difference. Not all P2P is equal in its effects. Different forms of P2P technological infrastructure are identified, each of which leads to different forms of social and political organization.

On the one side, for example, we can consider the capitalism of Facebook, Uber or Bitcoin. On the other, we can look at the commons-oriented models of Wikipedia, Enspiral, Farm Hack, Wikihouse or free and open-source software projects (discussed in chapters 2 and 3). Adopting this or that form of P2P technological infrastructure is the locus of social conflict because the choice between them has consequences on what may or may not be possible.

P2P enables an emerging mode of production, named commons-based peer production, characterized by new relations of production. In commons-based peer production, contributors create shared value through open contributory systems, govern the work through participatory practices, and create shared resources that can, in turn, be used in new iterations. This cycle of open input, the participatory process, and commons-oriented output is a cycle of accumulation of the commons, which parallels the accumulation of capital.

At this stage, commons-based peer production is a prefigurative prototype of what could become an entirely new mode of production and a new form of society. It is currently a prototype since it cannot as yet fully reproduce itself outside of mutual dependence with capitalism. This emerging modality of peer production is not only productive and innovative “within capitalism,” but also in its capacity to solve some of the structural problems that have been generated by the capitalist mode of production. In other words, it represents a potential transcendence of capitalism. That said, as long as peer producers or commoners cannot engage in their self-reproduction outside of capital accumulation, commons-based peer production remains a proto-mode of production, not a full one.

Peer production can be innovative within the context of capitalist competition because firms that can access the knowledge commons possess a competitive advantage over firms that use proprietary knowledge and can only rely on their research (Tapscott & Williams, 2005; Benkler 2006; von Hippel, 2016). For example, by mutualizing the development of software in an open network, firms obtain considerable savings in their infrastructural investments. In this context, peer production is a mutualization of productive knowledge by capitalist coalitions themselves, with IBM’s investments in free and open-source software projects as a case in point (Tapscott & Williams, 2005).

This capitalist investment is not a negative thing in itself, but rather a condition that increases the societal investment in a P2P-based transition. Both productive and managerial classes move towards P2P because it solves some structural issues of the current system. Capital flows towards P2P projects, and even though it distorts P2P to make it prolong the dominance of the old economic models, it simultaneously creates new ways of thinking in society that undermine that dominance.

Nevertheless, the new class of commoners cannot rely on capitalist investment and practices. They must use skillful means to render commons-based peer production more autonomous from the dominant political economy. Eventually, we may arrive at a position where the balance of power is reversed: the commons and its social forces become the dominant modality in society, which allows them to force the state and market modalities to adapt to its requirements. So we should escape the situation in which capitalists co-opt the commons, and head towards a situation in which the commons capture the capital, and make it work for its development.

This proposed strategy of reverse cooptation has been called “transvestment” by Dmytri Kleiner and Baruch Gottlieb (Kleiner, 2010; 2016). Transvestment describes the transfer of value from one modality to another. In our case, this would be from capitalism to the commons. Thus transvestment strategies aim to help commoners become financially sustainable and independent2. Such strategies are being developed and implemented by commons-oriented entrepreneurial coalitions such as the Enspiral network or Sensorica (see chapter 2).

As said, the digital commons of knowledge, software, and design are non-rival resources enriched through usage (thus they could even be considered “anti-rival”). It is here that full sharing and the full ability for contributions must be preserved. However, we deal with rival resources in the added value services and products built around these commons. Here the commons should be protected from capture by capital. It is in this cooperative sphere of physical and service production where reciprocity rules should be enforced. We propose to combine non-reciprocal sharing in the digital sphere, with reciprocal arrangements in the sphere of physical production. Thus, in our vision, commons-based peer production as a full mode of production combines commons and cooperativism (see chapter 4).

1.5. Towards a commons-centric society?

At that point, if the move from microeconomic P2P communities to a new “macroeconomic” dominant modality of value creation and distribution is successful, a transition phase towards a commons-centric economy and society can occur. This will be the revolution of our times, and a fundamental shift in the rules and norms that decide what value is and how it is produced and distributed in society. In short: a shift to a new post-capitalist value regime.

P2P is considered to be both a social relation and a mode of allocation, as a socio-technological infrastructure and as a mode of production, and all these aspects when combined contribute to the creation of a new post-capitalist model, a new phase in the evolution of the organization of human societies. This will necessitate a discussion about economic and political transitions. At the microeconomic level of commons-based peer production, P2P dynamics are already creating the institutional seedlings prefiguring a new social model.

P2P could lead to a model where civil society becomes productive through the participation of citizens in the collaborative creation of value through commons. In this pluralistic commonwealth, multiple forms of value creation and distribution will co-exist, but most likely around the universal attractor that is the commons. We do not argue for a “totalitarianism” of the commons, but to make the commons a core institution that “guides” all other social forms — including the state and the market — towards achieving the greatest common good and the maximum autonomy.


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In Memoriam “La Peppa”(1930-2018)

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RIP La Peppa

In Memoriam: Giuseppa Saccaro del Buffa Battisti (1930-2018)

by Dr. Kim Veltman *) , Scholar of Perspective and Meta-Librarian Extraordinarius, Maastricht NL


Giuseppa (Giuseppina) Saccaro del Buffa Battisti, affectionately known as La Peppa, was one of the great scholars of our time. Physically, she was smallish, kind, gentle, generous, wise, often inscrutable. Metaphysically she was a titan, as enigmatic as she was mysterious. She was always courteous and frequently courtly, with that gentle reserve of high aristocracy. Once, half-facetiously, I called her a Baronessa. There was a smile and then, with the gentlest of tones, she corrected me: no, actually, I am a Marquesa. And we were told the story of her roots via Turin that led back to Sicily and quite possibly back to Sephardic circles in mediaeval Spain.

She was admired and loved by many, known by few, and understood by even fewer. A first hint comes when we try to find her work. A search on the Sapienza website gives 20 titles.[i] The Italian Catalogo Unico, depending on how one spells her name, ranges from 38 to 64 titles.[ii] Worldcat, the largest library catalogue in the world, under Giuseppina Saccaro del Buffa Battisti provides 0 hits. A search for Saccaro del Buffa, Giuseppa provides 10 hits.[iii] A search for Giuseppina Battisti provides 67 hits of which only two, Scimmia and Streghe are by the author. A search under Giuseppa Battista provides 80 links, of which many are relevant, but which are far from providing a comprehensive list.

Any attempt at a full analysis of her contributions would require several volumes. The pages that follow merely attempt to offer a snapshot of the intellectual horizons and spiritual dimensions of a most remarkable individual. She is special, because in addition to being a loyal wife, loving mother and grandmother, and having her regular university career, she devoted herself to scholarship. Most people have a specialty. Peppa had four: a) collaborating with and augmenting her husband’s work; b) utopia; c) sources of early modern science and technology; d) sources of belief. Each of these will be considered briefly, ending with random comments on her personal life.

  1. University

Most academics have a single topic on which they write their books and articles and use as a basis for their teaching. Peppa was different. For many years, at the Department of Philosophy of the Sapienza at Villa Mirafiori, she taught History of the Historiography of Philosophy (Storia della Storiografia Filosofica). If history is a basic view and historiography is a meta view, then history of storiography offers a meta-meta view. This gives a first hint of the multi-layered approach of her mind. If she wrote about binary mentality, she practiced something infinitely more subtle.

For most academics, university is a second home. For Peppa, it was almost as if this were a hobby. Although she worked at the Sapienza for decades, she is not listed among the emeritus professors[iv]. Nor is Alfonso Maieru, who was head of department during part of her tenure. Peppa’s real scholarship was at home.

  1. Scholarship


2.1. Eugenio Battista

It is not unusual for scholars to work with their wives. In the case of Kenneth D. Keele, his wife, Mary, did the typing. This was also the case with Marshall McLuhan’s wife, Corinne, although she was also a frequent interlocutor. With Rupert Hall and his wife Marie Boaz Hall both had parallel interests and although they gave seminars in tandem, their intellectual works were often independent.

The relation between Eugenio and Giuseppa was very different. Sometimes, as in the case on Fontana (see below § 2.3), they simply worked together as colleagues, applying their different areas of expertise to a common project. In the final 14 years of her life, she devoted herself to completing her husband’s many unfinished writings (see 2.1.2 below). If this was a remarkable tribute to a deep spiritual love that joined them well beyond his premature departure from the physical domain, the deeper reason for this bond was that she was for a time perhaps the only person who understood the profound implications of Eugenio’s approach.

Eugenio began with familiar topics and then transformed them. Piero della Francesca was a well-known painter, but from San Sepolcro, far from the fashions of Florence, Siena, Rome and Venice. Eugenio’s study (1971) made Piero into one of the central figures of the Renaissance phenomenon and set in motion a conference for the 500th anniversary of his death and a National commission to produce new critical editions of his work. Renaissance perspective was a familiar topic. Eugenio conceived the idea of a first world conference (1977) with the telling subtitle: Codification and Transgressions. He was as much interested in examples that broke the rules, transgressions (e.g. anamorphoses) as he was in the official rules. Similarly, his study of Brunelleschi (1981) transformed the Renaissance architect with no literary remains into a pivotal figure in the invention of linear perspective; linked with stage designs, and theatre and at the centre of Renaissance innovations.

But this was only tone dimension of Eugenio’s programme. In a world where Renaissance Studies was the name of a journal and of institutes, he explored the Anti-Renaissance (1962). A decade earlier, the American historian, Hiram Hadyn, had written The Counter-Renaissance (1950) in which he explored a counter revolution[v] in the latter 16th, mainly in the context of Elizabethan England. Eugenio Battisti adapted the concept to redefine the Mannerist period in Italy or in the terms of his publishers (which I shall cite in several cases below):

The term has been proposed to take into account the fantastic, anticlassical and irrational, dissonant or even antithetical components compared to those considered by the classicistic interpretations of the Renaissance, and therefore excluded or underestimated in the past in the reconstruction of the history of European arts and literature of the centuries XV and XVI. It derives from the English counter-Renaissance, coined by H. Haydn, which is approached by content, and was applied to the arts by E. Battisti within the broad debate of twentieth century criticism on Mannerism. Compared to Mannerism, delimited as a stylistic phenomenon that manifests itself from around 1520, the anti-rinascimento is larger for Battisti, both in terms of chronology (from ancient and medieval roots that re-emerge in the period of the Renaissance and Baroque until the sprouting of the fantastic in Romanticism); in terms of components (literary and figurative myths deriving from fairy tales and their archaeological roots, terror for witches and demonic aspects, which are combined with the charm exercised by the magic of the elements and the technology of the automata, the direct observation of nature witnessed in scientific illustrations, the appearance of comedy and wonder, astrology, utopia, religious syncretism).[vi]

The classic view of the Renaissance had been a story in 3 acts: an early Renaissance (1400-1500); a High Renaissance (1500-1527) dominated by Leonardo, Raphael and Michelangelo followed by a Late Renaissance (post 1527 and the sack of Rome), which was seen as a period of decline and decadence. The Battisti view reassessed this late period, showed that it led naturally to the Baroque and Rococo, that its seemingly outlandish elements were among the most memorable. What had been described as a codicil or afterthought now assumed the position of culmination and highest expression.

Other scholars were pointing in a similar direction. André Chastel, in his Le Grand Atelier de L’Italie (1965) pointed attention away from the great centres of Florence and Venice, to include regional centres: Padua, Verona, Mantua, Brescia, Bergamo, Ferrara, Pisa. Now the periphery was as important as the centre. But Battisti’s message was both more inclusive and more disturbing. Not only was the bon ton of the centres not the whole story: the seeming aberrations of the provinces were essential expressions of the early modern period. One result was to inspire Giuseppa to write an article on Baltrušaitis e la cultura francese degli anni Cinquanta, visti da Eugenio Battisti (2010). A more fundamental result was that it inspired her to make apparent the full scale of Eugenio’s vision as expressed in his unpublished works.

2.1.2. Eugenio redivivus

In 2004, 15 years after the passing of Eugenio, Peppa, at the age of 74 set out on extraordinary new journey of publishing a series of works her husband had left unfinished. The journey would take her 14 years until the very last week of her life. Half-jokingly, I would say repeatedly that Eugenio was the only scholar in the world who continued publishing for 29 years after his death.

As she did so, Eugenio’s pattern of taking on familiar topics and transforming them came back into focus. Italian gardens were a familiar topic. Shepherd and Jellicoe had done a classic study Italian Gardens of the Renaissance (1925). But this was simply a study of gardens as physical objects, as pleasant arrangements of plants and flowers. Eugenio and Giuseppe’s study, Iconologia ed ecologia del Giardino e del Paesaggio (2004), was less about the physical geography of gardens and more about their metaphysical connections, or in the words of their publisher:

The author considers the visual artistic-architectural aspect of the gardens represented in paintings or still existing, poetic descriptions of writers and contemporary humanists and their sources, the relationship with the devotion and the mythological imaginary, extending the iconological method to famous literary texts, and to artistic and architectural works, understood as symbolic structures. From today’s meeting between iconology and ecology also comes the revaluation of gardens in the urban landscape and the establishment of parks protected by law.[vii]

In traditional histories, the emphasis was on the physical: the house was the centre and its periphery had gardens, which were effectively a form of ornament. In the Battistis’ analysis, the emphasis was on the metaphysical: the house remained the centre, but the garden at its peripheries was where there were grottoes, grotesques, plays, picnics. Far from being a quaint add-on or an afterthought, the periphery was now the culmination of human expression, culture, civilization.

Arte, teatro, società : l’azione scenica e la cinesica (2008) explored such connections between art, theatre, cinema and society further.[viii] Already in Antirascimento (1962), attention had been drawn to the importance of theatre, the stage, play, the element that Huizinga explored more abstractly in Homo Ludens (1938). The monograph on Brunelleschi explored connections between stage machinery and the origins of perspective. Eugenio went on to suggest that the famous Berlin, Baltimore and Urbino perspective panels were probably connected with scenography. The 2008 book pursued these themes showing that what seemed mere entertainment and escapism were connected with deeper strands of social life: indeed, it was the essence of what we now associate with high culture.

The next book, Michelangelo: Fortuna di un Mito. Cinquecento anni di critica letteraria e artistica (2012) was even more dramatic in its implications. Traditional art history had viewed the history of art largely through the prism of a history of critics, starting with Giorgio Vasari which effectively ignored the artists.[ix] Battisti used his study of Michelangelo to show that there was a parallel history to be told of how artists themselves had viewed various works: a first-hand rather than a second-hand assessment of what had been achieved or, once again, in the words of the publisher:


The studies of Eugenio Battisti, collected here and in part still unpublished, have illustrated, through the lenses of critical fortune grown up around the personality and works of Michelangelo, an exemplary case of historical and ideological creation of the myth about the master, who has travelled centuries of artistic culture, in a never exhausted dialogue, ever resurgent even today to back the taste and aesthetics of the contemporary world.[x]

This had major implications for art history. In the latter 19th and early 20th century, the art historian, Adolfo Venturi, had embraced the new methods of Morelli, Crowe and Cavalcaselle and written a major 11 volume history of Italian art.[xi] His students became famous professors. His son, Lionello Venturi,[xii] followed in his father’s footsteps. His students in turn included Eugenio Battisti and Claudio Giulio Argan. With the rise of Mussolini, Lionello went into exile in America. Eugenio Battisti joined the resistance. Carlo Giulio Argan,[xiii] by contrast, joined the fascist movement, became professor of modern art in Rome (1959), wrote his own 3 volume history of Italian art and also became first communist major of Rome (1976-1979).

Centre and periphery now took on a political face. Those who followed and kow-towed to the fashions of fascism (Mussoloni) and communism took their place in the capital, Rome, as centre of power. Those who had been members of the resistance were now marginalized and in the periphery. This explains Eugenio Battisti’s jobs at Penn State, in Reggio Calabria, Milan, Florence, Rome III (Tor Vergata), but never at the Sapienza. The two political poles also led to two methodological poles. Argan at the centre, was an art critic: Battisti at the periphery was interested in the views and criticisms of the artists themselves. The book on Michelangelo was much more than some notes on a great painter and sculptor. It was a blueprint for a parallel, approach to art history. Remarkably, Giuseppa Battisti, who knew of all these battles, kept such a low profile that she was able to teach at the Sapienza as if she was on another planet.

The next book explored the idea of different viewpoints in another way. Facetiously put, it showed that the formal world of Who’s Who had a parallel world of Which is Witch. La civiltà delle streghe (2015) explored Pogo’s paradox: we have come across the enemy and we are they. It showed that the ostracized and forbidden dimensions of society said as much about the forbidders as the forbidden, that the fears of instincts and chaos were expressions of dogmatism (barking up only one tree) rather than of real civilization. Or as the publishers put it:

Persecuted in Europe until the modern era, many women condemned as witches today have their long moment of revenge. Infusions, potions, prepared in the secret of the kitchens, are the same that we use today to sleep, purify ourselves, or simply to make the cold evening more pleasant. Behind a condemned knowledge, as is always done for fear of the different, there is a whole civilization that the authors show in this heritage, but also in its perversions. Marginalized, when not burned at the stake, witches represent the internal folly of a dogmatic society that fears instincts and chaos. A provocative social examination of the phenomenon of witchcraft that runs parallel and in an original way even compared to other famous studies on the subject.[xiv]

So witchcraft was merely another expression of the exploration of aberrations, bizzarie as Braccelli (1624) called them, or anamophoses. The condemned, in the context of a higher tolerance, were actually sources of unexpected expressions, alternative utopias.

In her final studies, Giuseppa turned to the young Eugenio, the boy, student and young man. What she found was amazing. His initial thesis (tesi di laurea) had been nothing less than a blueprint for an aesthetics of form: Contributi ad una estetica della forma (2017). As she studied the first 26 years of the young man ever new aspects came to light. The wall of the study in the Viale dei 4 Venti 166 had a xerox of Eugenio as Plauto, his code name as a member of the Italian resistance. He was 15 when the war began. But he was also an amateur artist, poet, and active in the local theatre. Physically, the result was Giovinezza (inedita, 2015) and Eugenio Battisti a Torino 1924 -1950 (2018), the final proofs of which were presented to her a week before she died, and after which she refused to eat. Metaphysically, this was the proof why she, 6 years younger than he, had fallen in love, not just till death did them part, but until the last breath of life had left her.

As an outsider, I had always assumed that she, who spent so many years finishing the vision on which they had begun together, would also try to document the journey that they shared together. On numerous occasions I urged her to do so. But this was not to be. An essential dimension of her profound love was that she never attempted to put it into words. She showed her love by completing his vision, by exploring the context before they met. But the moment of meeting was the moment when the mysterious and enigmatic entered the picture. She could write about him, but not about them.

The extraordinary journey that led her to work with and then study, Eugenio, had other effects. It changed her world view. The standard view had been that the ideal, utopian perfection of the Renaissance had started in Florence in 1400 and been shattered with the fall of Rome in 1527. Eugenio’s monographs on Piero and Brunelleschi demonstrated that the beginnings were much more problematic. Eugenio’s Antirinascimento demonstrated that this so-called ending actually led to a further development. The implications of this insight sparked a series of questions that would define the main topics of her intellectual career. One implication was that there was not simply one ideal, one utopia. This meant that there were multiple utopias, sometimes conflicting, sometimes complementing one another. What were their criteria, when did the alternative vision, the marginalized vision become more interesting and important than the standard view? Utopia was now a major research topic.

There were other questions about the beginnings. What changed in the 13th and 14th centuries to make the new world view possible? Herbert Butterfield had found a convincing title, Origins of Modern Science (1949), but had provided unconvincing answers. Panofsky had written of Renaissance and Renascences (1960) suggesting that there were a series of renascences from the Charlemagne’s revival in 800 to the 15th c. version. But for all its wealth in erudition, there was again a poverty in concrete answers. Thomas Kuhn’s book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962) drew attention to the phenomenon of paradigm shifts, which soon became a buzzword, but was also lacking in deeper explanations. So the origins of early modern technology and science now became a major topic.

Meanwhile, the standard view of the Renaissance had emphasized the role of the Church as a patron of the arts. But the dogmatic narrowness of the Catholic Church had led to complaints and ultimately to the rise of many protestant sects. If the theology of the centre no longer provided all the answers, the origins of belief itself became a topic: especially alternatives such as neo-platonism, mysticism, gnosticism and the cabala.

In retrospect, it is almost as if Eugenio and Giuseppa had decided on a work plan. There was a new view of the world. Eugenio explored the who and what of the new phenomenon. Giuseppa examined the how and why of what happened. This was a far cry from a subservient wife typing her husband’s notes. It was an avant-garde historian aided by a very independent philosopher. In finding her husband, Giuseppe also found her life’s work cut out for her.

When we take a first bird’s eye view of her contributions over more than 50 years, some unexpected features become apparent. Her first article[xv] (1972) is when she is 42. The articles focus on specialized issues of philosophy and politics (figure 1). By contrast, her books begin when she is 40 and include all her interests (figure 2): utopia, sources of science, sources of belief and on Eugenio Battisti (2004, 2008, 2012, 2015, 2017).

2.2. Utopia

Daniel Chodowiecki, a member of the Berlin Academy of Art, offered a definition of an academy (1783):

Academy is a term that means an assembly of artists, who gather together at a location assigned to them at certain times, for the purpose of communicating their art in a friendly manner and learning from each other as they attempt to approach perfection.[xvi]

In the 19th and early 20th centuries, academies often became stifled with an overemphasis on rules and unimaginative copying and Giuseppa Battisti avoided them. Yet, ironically, the early goals of academies could be seen as a blueprint for that which she strived for in her utopias. Her study of utopia evolved slowly. It began almost as a spin-off of her studies on Spinoza: e.g. Spinoza, l’utopia e le masse: un’analisi dei concetti di “plebs”, “multitudo”, “populus” e “vulgus” (1984). In the next years, there are two studies: Utopie per gli anni ottanta. studi interdisciplinari sui temi, la storia, i progetti (1986) and Utopia e modernità. teorie e prassi utopiche nell’età moderna e postmoderna (1989). Twenty years later there was L’utopia e San Leucio (2009).

Then there were the conferences. I had the privilege of attending the third one (1989).[xvii] It was a week long, the longest conference in my life, and effectively took the form of a bus ride that linked centre (Rome) and periphery (southern Italy). It began with a day at the National Research Council in Rome. It moved South to Grottaferata, where there were masses in Greek daily for over 400 years before the Fall of Constantinople brought a new influx of Greek scholars to Italy. We proceeded to Monte Vergine, to Padula, to Potenza and ended in Reggio Calabria. It showed us an Italy far from the standard tourist stops. It was an alternative journey and, in a way, a practical utopia. It was splendid and inspiring. Peppa organized everything but Peppa the organizer was invisible. It was as if the whole thing had happened magically and Peppa was simply one of us on an amazing journey, nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita.

2.3 Sources of Early Modern Science and Technology

Aside from generalists such as Butterfield and Panofsky there were some serious efforts to explore what changed in the latter Middle Ages. Pierre Duhem had focussed on cosmology in his Système du Monde (1913), but ignored almost entirely the Arabic (and Persian) dimension. Lynn Thorndike’s massive 8 volume History of Magic and Experimental Science (1923–1958), gave an outline for the official story in terms of who and what, as did George Sarton’s Introduction to the History of science (1927-1948), and the later the Dictionary of Scientific Biography (1970-1980) which focussed more on who. Alistair Crombie’s Robert Grosseteste and the Origins of Experimental Science 1100-1700 (1953) was a brilliant claim for Grosseteste’s importance but ultimately begged a question: if it was all there in 1100 why did it take over 500 years to get to a world of Galileo, Descartes and Newton?

Giuseppa’s first exploration of this domain begins with two articles in 1976: La causalità negli Elementi di teologia di Proclo and Il Grossatesta e la luce. The following year her lecture at the first world conference on perspective, Alcuni esempi di omologia di strutture matematico-geometriche e di strutture logico-ontologiche nella filosofia medievale come premesse alla prospettiva (published 1980), goes much further. It begins with a long footnote on Kuhn’s book, acknowledging its importance and expressing reservations. The main thrust of her article features Proclus, Grosseteste, Oresme, Gerard of Cremona and Alhazen. At a later point, she was one of the first to draw attention to an Italian translation of Alhazen in the Vatican.

Her friends, Corrado Maltese and Livia Maltese Grassi, had published the notebooks of Francesco di Giorgio Martini (1867). Finoli and Grassi published the notebooks of Filarete (1972). Eugenio and Giuseppe published (1984) the much earlier work of Giovanni Fontana

1972     Stanley Rosen, Nihilism: a philosophical essay [recensione]

1976     La causalità negli “Elementi di teologia” di Proclo

1976     Il Grossatesta e la luce

1977     Sistemi politici del passato e del futuro nell’opera di Spinoza

1977     Democracy in Spinoza’s Unfinished Tractatus Politicus

1980     Alcuni esempi di omologia di strutture matematico-geometriche e di strutture

logico-ontologiche nella filosofia medievale come premesse alla prospettiva

1980     La donna, le donne nel cortegiano

1980     Abraham Cohen Herrera et le Jeune Spinoza entre Kabbale et Scolastique: à propos de la création « ex

nihilo »


1983     Misticismo e analisi filosofica

1983     Changing Metaphors of Political Structures

1983    Metafisica e cabbala di Abraham Cohen Herrera nella Historia critica philosophiae di Jacob Brucker


1984     La cultura filosofica del Rinascimento italiano nella Puerta del cielo di Abrahàm Cohèn


1984     Spinoza, l’utopia e le masse : un’analisi dei concetti di “plebs”, “multitudo”, “populus” e “vulgus”

1985     Herrera and Spinoza on divine attributes: the evolving concept of perfection and infinity


1987     Hirsch Graetz: gnosticismo ed antignosticismo alle origini della cabbala

1987     Le passioni come artificio storiografico nelle considerazioni di Montesquieu

1991   E.B.      Il ricordo d’un canto che non sento : poesie e prose inedite : 1944-1950

1992   La cultura della memoria

1994   Eugenio Battisti (Torino 14.12.1924 – Roma 18.11.1989) : una breve biografia

1995   Gallerani : la scultura e il luogo

1995   Il corpo della rivoluzione

1996   La cultura filosofica del rinascimento italiano nella puerta del cielo di Arahàm Cohen Herrera


1997   I connettivi sintattici e le strutture binarie dell’ethica di Spinoza

1991   L’officina delle nuvole : il Teatro Mediceo nel 1589 e gli Intermedi del Buontalenti

nel Memoriale di Girolamo Seriacopi

1992     Il consenso politico da Hobbes a Spinoza

2001   Democracy in Spinoza’s unfinished Tractatus politicus

2009   Oltre la prospettiva euclidea : tempo e spazio per una “Poetica del teatro moderno” e

della prospettiva contemporanea

2009   L’utopia e San Leucio

2010   Baltrušaitis e la cultura francese degli anni Cinquanta, visti da Eugenio Battisti

2012   L’Antirinascimento di Eugenio Battisti, 50 anni dopo

2015   Giovinezza (inedita)


Figure 1. Key articles by Giuseppina Saccaro del Buffa Battisti.

1970   E.B.     Scimmia

1972       Le origini della metafisica di Spinoza nell’abbozzo del 1661

1977       Democracy in Spinozaʼs unfinished Tractatus politicus

1981       Il pensiero di Baruch Spinoza: una antologia delle scritti

1983         Strutture e figure retoriche nel ‘De caelesti hierarchia’ dello Pseudo-Dionigi : un

mezzo di espressione dell’ontologia neoplatonica

1984   E.B.     Le Macchine cifrate di Giovanni Fontana Texte imprimé]con la riproduzione

del Cod. Icon 242 della Bayerische Staatsbibliothek di Monaco di Baviera e la

decrittazione di esso e del Cod. Lat Nouv Acq. 635 della Bibliothèque

Nationale di Parigi


1986       Utopie per gli anni ottanta. studi interdisciplinari sui temi, la storia, i progetti


1989       Utopia e modernità. teorie e prassi utopiche nell’età moderna e postmoderna


1991       Bibliografia degli scritti di Eugenio Battisti (1940-1991)


2002       Abraham Cohen Herrera, Epitome y compendio de la logica o dialetica

2004       Alle origini del Panteismo

2004   E.B.     Iconologia ed ecologia del Giardino e del Paesaggio

2004       Genesi dell’«Ethica» di Spinoza e delle sue forme di argomentazione

2007         Il clown e Spinoza

2007         Herrera, Spinoza e la dialettica umanistica

2008   E.B.     Arte, teatro, società : l’azione scenica e la cinesica

2010       Abraham Cohen Herrera, Porta del Cielo

2012   E.B.     Michelangelo: Fortuna di un Mito. Cinquecento anni di critica letteraria e


2015   E.B.     La civiltà delle streghe

2017   E.B.     Contributi ad una estetica della forma (Tesi di laurea in filosofia, 7 luglio



2018       Eugenio Battisti a Torino. 1924-1950

Figure 2. Books by Giuseppina Saccaro del Buffa Battisti.[xviii] Those written in co-ordination with her husband are marked E.B. (Eugenio Battisti, 1924-1989).

(c.1395-1455). This threw light on amazing 15th century projectors that cast images of demons and devils on castle walls and towers. It documented the changing technology and showed that the magia naturalis, which became a title of one of Della Porta’s books (1558) was already actively practiced more than a century earlier.

As a philosopher, Giuseppa was interested in the why. Proclus was an early interest (1976, 1980). In her first book on Herrera (2002), she explored “Proclus’ hypothetical dialectic as model for the geometric method.”[xix] All this was discussed at length in an article by Marie-Elise Zovko, with due acknowledgement to the work of Giuseppa Battisti: Understanding the Geometric Method: Prolegomena to a Study of Procline Influences on Spinoza as mediated by Abraham Cohen Herrera (2017).[xx] In retrospect, this is of the greatest importance because it reveals that a motivation for studying Spinoza and Herrera in such detail was that they transmitted a new view on geometric method that became a key building block of the Galileian and Cartesian world views. What seemed to an outsider as a detour into a peripheral esoteric, was actually a search for sources of central Western assumptions.

2.4 Sources of Belief

Giuseppa Battista, who lived a few hundred yards from the Vatican could hardly not be aware of the great importance of the Church. But the Church was the centre, linked with power, authority, dogma, bulls and decrees. Giuseppa had no interest in being a historian of religion or even theology as a whole. She acted as if she was someone who was marginalized on the periphery. If one did not assume the official stories of Vedas, Torah and Bible, what sources were there for belief?

Her work on Proclus’ neo-Platonic “theology” has already been mentioned. Spinoza was of special interest. Here was a believer who was effectively cast out from his native Hebrew religion who expressed such articulate views on belief that he was also not really acceptable to the Catholics. Five studies followed (1972, 1977, 1981, 1984, 1985),[xxi] the last of which explicitly connected Spinoza and Herrera. Later there were four more (1992, 2001, 2004, 2007).

In 1983, there were three articles on philosophy, mysticism, metaphysics and cabbala.[xxii] In 1987, there was a study of gnosticism and anti-gnosticism in the cabbala: Hirsch Graetz: gnosticismo ed antignosticismo alle origini della cabbala. Then there is a 17 year break before Alle origini del Panteismo (2004). The outsider who avoided religion, theology and theism, chose instead to explore the origins of pan-theism. Meanwhile, there was a first book on Herrera: Epitome y compendio de la logica o dialetica (2002). Six years later, there was a second: Porta del Cielo (2008). This 908 page tome could readily represent a lifetime’s effort of a regular scholar. For Giuseppa, it was simply part of a much bigger picture. Some scholars have questioned or at least debated her interpretations. But this would be to overlook her enduring contribution: her translations made key texts by Herrera accessible.

Giuseppina Battisti was so busy pursuing her Proclus-Spinoza-Herrera- geometrical method link, that she had little time to emphasize the revolutionary implications of her work. The Church had for a long time insisted that early modern science came directly through its efforts, especially via the Franciscans, Dominicans and Jesuits. Others had argued that the Church was oppressive and that it was only when religion was rejected that early modern science was possible (cf. Max Weber). Giuseppa Battisti introduced an unexpected alternative between these two polar positions. The rise of science was linked with a re-interpretation of what had once been mainstream neo-Platonism, by persons who were believers, but marginalized and on the periphery, when seen through the eyes of orthodoxy.

2.5 Universal Gelehrter

Peppa was not among those who, in the English language, are called polymaths and universal geniuses.[xxiii] She belonged to an equally rare breed for which there is no term in English.[xxiv] The German term is Universalgelehrter: someone who is who is learned in all things. Some, such as Otto Kurz, who began as librarian of the Warburg Institute, came to this through a photographic memory and ultimately wrote on many subjects ranging from old clocks to fakes. André Corboz, who was both a lawyer and historian of architecture, inherited the library of Heinrich Wöllflin, which gave him access to a private library of 45,000 books and led to an extraordinarily wide-ranging mind that went from the Temple of Solomon, Jefferson’s plan of Washington D.C. to trends in modern urbanism.

Peppa was universal in a different and deeper way. The studies of both Battistis revealed that the centre is often linked with power, dogma and dogmatism. Peppa set out on a search for other utopias, for sources of science and belief that were potentially open to everyone. She searched for paths beyond binary choices and polar oppositions: for a new democracy. She searched for ways out of the dogmas of those in power, for new expressions of the imagination, hope and freedom.

Great scholarship is usually in one of two directions. One group focusses on standard views (e.g. Jacob Burckhardt’s vision of the Renaissance, 1860,1867),[xxv] and standard editions. Another group, explores alternative views, interpretations. Giuseppa made contributions to both groups. Her editions of Spinoza and Herrera were very much in the line of standard editions. On the other hand, her tireless publication of Eugenio’s work belonged to the tradition of those who explore alternative views.

  1. Personal Life


4.1 Home Life

The home at Viale dei 4 Venti 166 was effectively 2 appartments on 2 floors. While they lived together, they worked separately. The home was a living space. It was where they brought up their son, Francesco who went on to become professor of sociology at Monte Cassino. It was also officially the headquarters of AISU (Associazione Internationale per Studi sull’Utopia) and functioned as an informal institute. As such, it was also a meeting space for scholars, especially utopians. It was one of my pied à terres in Rome. It was where Critic Art Data (1987), a database on catalogues of exhibitions of contemporary art was housed, 20 years before humanities computing became a buzzword. It housed both the Battistis’ libraries and his archives.

4.2 Enthusiasm and Energy

Until she was into her 80s, Peppa had enormous energy which affected everything she did. She was passionate and wrote about the passions.[xxvi] She was a great traveller visiting exotic places in South East Asia, such as Vietnam and Cambodia. There was a cabinet in the living room which had all the makings of a Wunderkammer – a subject on which one of Eugenio’s students did a PhD.

When I was visiting professor, we would drive across town from her home to Villa Mirafiori in her little Renault quatre chevaux. She drove with such speed that I was at first terrified. When I broached the topic gingerly, she smiled and explained nonchalantly that if she had to obey the usual traffic rules in Rome, she would never get anything done. Later in the term, the topic came up with the students. O yes, they said, we all call her Parigi-Dakar (after the famous car race across the Sahara desert). She was a living legend in more ways than one.

We had met because of my work on perspective. Her husband had asked me to do a bibliography for the first world conference on perspective (Milan, 1977). When Peppa learned that I had been invited to give a course on perspective at Siena, she enthusiastically suggested that I should give a graduate seminar at the Sapienza.[xxvii] She organized everything. She collected me at the airport took me to the university administration, had me sign some papers and lo, I had my wages for the term within two hours of landing. When I gave my lectures, she attended as if she was simply a student, though at 60 she was old enough to be my mother and at a pinch even my grandmother. She was never childish, but all her life she retained the remarkable enthusiasm and passion of a child. She was always interested in young students and treated them with the same attentiveness as if they had been a professore ordinario or extraordinário.

4.4. Irony and Humour

Giuseppa was a wonderful listener, always attentive, always (potentially) critical. She had a brilliant mind but never, in my experience, did she try to hurt someone. But that did not mean that she would take everything “lying down” as the Americans would say. I remember an evening when there was a young American professor visiting. He was rather assertive. After dinner he excused himself to use the toilet. When he returned, he expressed surprise that there were flush toilets. Yes, said Giuseppa, without batting an eyelash, that is something we introduced recently in 265 B.C. Thereafter, the American had new tendencies in the direction of being quiescent. Giuseppa had what my Canadian friends would call a “wicked sense of humour” –without wickedness– with a level of irony so high that it could readily be missed.

4.5. Fufo and Bullo

The More I Know About People, the Better I Like Dogs is a phrase that has been ascribed to many authors: Mark Twain, Madame de Sévigné, Madame Roland, Alphonse de Lamartine, Alphonse Toussenel, Louise de la Rameé, Alfred D’Orsay, Thomas Carlyle.[xxviii] It could equally have been said by Giuseppa. From 1989 onwards, the year of Eugenio’s passing, there was never a man in her life, but there was always a dog. The two protagonists were Fufo and later Bullo. Both were bull terriers. Physically, they were imminently ugly. Metaphysically, they were immanently beautiful. During the 1990s and most of the first decade in the new millennium she would typically go for a walk with them. The dogs had local admirers both canine and human and so any seemingly simple walk was always an adventure.

Opposite the Battisti’s flat lived a Neapolitan lady, Caterina. Although the two flats were independent, there was a small passageway behind the kitchen that connected them which the dogs used. On one occasion, Bullo, who always viewed me jealously as if I were potential competition, was alone with Peppa, when she had a mini-seizure. She was unable to get up. Bullo assessed the situation, ran along the passageway and barked inveterately at Caterina until she came to see what was wrong. An ambulance was called, Peppa recovered and then there were true stories of how a dog had saved her life. Bullo loved it and would lie on his back for one more cocollato.


  1. Conclusions


In spite of many advances, women professors are still a relatively rare phenomenon in Italy. Sometimes they hide behind barriers that make them look formidable. Peppa was different. Her demeanour reminded one of a Miss Marple: completely unassuming, seemingly just a little old lady, but with formidable equipment in the IQ department. She was not argumentative. She would listen and, if she truly disagreed, she would simply be silent. Utopians often want to impose their version on others. This was never the case with Peppa. She saw utopias as new possibilities. She was like the traditional English, who always support the underdog, except in her case the underdogs were those who were marginalized, those on the periphery.

In a sense, the late 20th century had a number of insights in this direction. In France, Michel Foucault, had explored similar themes in Mental Illness and Personality (1954) and led to his viewing the patients as more interesting than their doctors.[xxix] Foucault’s Archaeology of Knowledge (1969) suggested a new view of the past, but the title was more promising than its contents. In the United States, Ken Casey wrote One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975), where the message was that the inmates of the asylum were often more lucid than their overseers. All these were contemporary commentaries, which intended to shift analysis for the logical to the psychological.

The Battistis were different, they showed that attentiveness to centre and periphery could lead one to different views of history; where the past was not just a story of the centre and power impressing its stamp on everything, but where the margins and peripheries offered unexpected new expressions, new utopias. Shakespeare’s Mark Anthony was pessimistic: “The evil that men do lives after them, the good is oft interred within their bones.” The Battistis’ message was much more optimistic. It was an approach that looked to the past to make us more tolerant in the present and the future. Their studies explored the sources of play and playfulness, of the imagination, of human freedom and hope. The weakness of their mortal selves is interred, but the strength of their spiritual vision is eternal. That is why I called her super Peppa.



[i] Cf. Catalogo Bibliotheche Sapienza:

[ii] OPAC SBN:

[iii] Saccaro del Buffa, Giuseppa:

[iv] Sapienza:

[v] Counter-Renaissance review:

[vi] The concept of anti-renaissance has had a broad impact, but also critical series, by those who considered its components already included in Mannerism, or in a more profoundly and problematically examined Renaissance. The suprahistoric extensions of the anti-Renaissance were also denied, warning of the risk of questionable updating.


Il termine è stato proposto per tenere conto delle componenti fantastiche, anticlassiche e irrazionali, dissonanti o addirittura antitetiche rispetto a quelle considerate dalle interpretazioni classisicistiche del Rinascimento, e perciò escluse o sottovalutate, in passato, nella ricostruzione della storia delle arti e delle letterature europee dei secoli XV e XVI. Deriva dall’inglese Counter-Renaissance, coniato da H. Haydn, cui si avvicina per contenuti, ed è stato applicato alle arti da E. Battisti entro l’ampio dibattito che la critica del XX secolo ha svolto sul Manierismo. Rispetto al Manierismo, delimitato come fenomeno stilistico che si manifesta dal 1520 circa, l’antirinascimento è per Battisti più vasto, sia per cronologia (dalle radici antiche e medievali che riemergono nel periodo del Rinascimento e del Barocco sino alle riprese del fantastico nel Romanticismo), sia per componenti (i miti letterari e figurativi derivanti dalle fiabe e le loro radici archeologiche, il terrore per streghe e aspetti demoniaci, ai quali si uniscono il fascino esercitato dalla magia degli elementi e dalla tecnologia degli automi, l’osservazione diretta della natura testimoniata nelle illustrazioni scientifiche, l’apparire del comico e della meraviglia, l’astrologia, l’utopia, il sincretismo religioso).
Il concetto di antirinascimento ha avuto ampia eco, ma anche serie critiche, da chi ha considerato le sue componenti già comprese nel Manierismo, ovvero in un Rinascimento più profondamente e problematicamente esaminato. Sono state anche negate le estensioni soprastoriche dell’antirinascimento, mettendo in guardia dal rischio di discutibili attualizzazioni.

[vii] Olschki:

L’Autore considera l’aspetto visivo artistico-architettonico dei giardini rappresentati in dipinti o tuttora esistenti, le descrizioni poetiche di letterati e umanisti coevi e delle loro fonti, il rapporto con la devozione e l’immaginario mitologico, estendendo il metodo iconologico a famosi testi letterari, e ad opere artistiche e architettoniche, intese come strutture simboliche. Dall’odierno incontro tra iconologia ed ecologia nasce anche la rivalutazione dei giardini nel paesaggio urbano e la costituzione di parchi tutelati dalla legge.

[viii] She returned to these themes in 2009: Oltre la prospettiva euclidea : tempo e spazio per una “Poetica del teatro moderno” e della prospettiva contemporanea.

[ix] Vasari himself was, of course, an artist who commented on many artists. But he made no attempt to trace an historiography of artists’ views on the accomplishments of their earlier colleagues.

[x] Olschki:

Gli studi di Eugenio Battisti, qui raccolti e in parte ancora inediti, hanno illustrato, attraverso le lenti della fortuna critica cresciuta attorno alla personalità e alle opere di Michelangelo, un caso esemplare di creazione storica e ideologica del mito sul maestro, che ha percorso secoli di cultura artistica, in un dialogo mai esaurito, anzi risorgente ancor oggi alla controluce del gusto e dell’estetica del mondo contemporaneo.

[xi] Adolfo Venturi:

[xii] Lionello Venturi:

[xiii] Claudio Giulio Argan:

[xiv] Civilta delle Streghe:

Perseguitate in Europa fino all’epoca moderna, le tante donne condannate come streghe hanno oggi il loro lungo momento di rivalsa. Infusi, pozioni, preparati nel segreto delle cucine, sono gli stessi che oggi usiamo per dormire, depurarci, o semplicemente per renderci la fredda sera più piacevole. Dietro un sapere condannato, come sempre si fa per paura del diverso, c’è tutta una civiltà che gli autori mostrano nel suo patrimonio, ma anche nelle sue perversioni. Emarginate, quando non bruciate al rogo, le streghe rappresentano la follia interna di una società dogmatica che teme istinti e caos. Una provocatoria disamina sociale del fenomeno della stregoneria che scorre parallela e in modo originale anche rispetto ad altri studi celebri sull’argomento.

[xv] There were almost certainly other articles earlier, but this is based on the list of articles in major libraries today.

[xvi] Chodowiecki:


[xviii] Cf. Catalogo Bibliotheche Sapienza:

Cf. Worldcat:

[xix] Proclus:

[xx] This is in a book Proclus and his Legacy with same address as in previous link.

[xxi] 1972     Le origini della metafisica di Spinoza nell’abbozzo del 1661

1977     Democracy in Spinozaʼs unfinished Tractatus politicus

1981     Il pensiero di Baruch Spinoza: una antologia delle scritti

1984     Spinoza, l’utopia e le masse : un’analisi dei concetti di “plebs”, “multitudo”, “populus” e “vulgus”

1985     Herrera and Spinoza on divine attributes: the evolving concept of perfection and infinity

[xxii] 1983     Strutture e figure retoriche nel ‘De caelesti hierarchia’ dello Pseudo-Dionigi : un

mezzo di espressione dell’ontologia neoplatonica

Misticismo e analisi filosofica (1983)

Metafisica e cabbala di Abraham Cohen Herrera nella Historia critica philosophiae

[xxiii] Polymaths:

[xxiv] The English tradition favours specialization. Phases such as: Jack of all trades, master of none entails much more than a witty saying. There is a genuine mistrust of wide-ranging minds and a definite bias in favour of the specialist, the expert, the authority. There were, of course, rare exceptions such as Benjamin Jowett, the Master of Balliol (

First come I. My name is J–W–TT.
There’s no knowledge but I know it.
I am the Master of this College,
What I don’t know isn’t knowledge.

  1. C. Beeching The Masque of B-ll–l (1881), line 1.

[xxv] Burckhardt:

About half of the original edition was devoted to the art of the Renaissance. Thus, Burckhardt was naturally led to write the two books for which he is best known, his 1860 Die Cultur der Renaissance in Italien (“The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy”) (English translation, by S. G. C. Middlemore, in 2 vols., London, 1878), and his 1867 Geschichte der Renaissance in Italien (“The History of the Renaissance in Italy”). The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy was the most influential interpretation of the Italian Renaissance in the 19th century and is still widely read.

[xxvi] Le passioni come artificio storiografico nelle considerazioni di Montesquieu (1987). She also wrote on poles in people: Persone tra due poli : idealizzazione e complessità (1993). Cf.

[xxvii] Strictly speaking, this is less than half an in memoriam because I only knew her for the last 40 years of an extraordinary life. Our friendship began indirectly. In 1975, Eugenio Battisti, was planning the first world conference on perspective (Milan, 1977). I was doing a PhD on perspective at the Warburg Institute. I received an invitation to attend and was subsequently invited to prepare a bibliography, which was to appear as a separate volume. It seemed innocuous. Soon it became a hobby one day a week; then it took a year of my life as a Getty Fellow (1986-1987), then there was an hiatus, and now it continues to be a project pointing to eight volumes. This was typical of the Battisti family: they were constantly inspiring projects which were the equivalents of life time’s work.

[xxviii] Dogs:

[xxix] Foucault:

[1] Family Photo: (no longer available on Facebook

Screen Shot 2019-02-11 at 18.06.41


This paper can be downloaded HERE====>  Giuseppa Saccaro del Buffa Battisti (1930-2018)

It will be posted soon on the huge semiotic database

The Renaissance and the philosophies that split the thinking world in [“centre’ versus “periphery”] are core to what La Peppa explored. And it is fascinating to read as background to the book “The Square and the Tower”: see:

*) Kim Veltman is also The Librarian of Corridoria [] and author of the impressive book “Alphabets of Life” [ ]; the above article is blogged here with his permission.

jaap van till , TheConnectivist




Posted in Communities, democracy, Emancipation, Enlightenment, Ethics, influencing peoples perception, perspective, Renaissance, Self Organization, Spinosa, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Mijn Reaktie op de Aankondiging van KPN om het merk XS4ALL te Termineren

16 jan 2019


Tot ziens Xs4all en welkom K4PN

Ja dat was even schrikken voor de circa 250.000 klanten van internet toegangsprovider Xs4all: de mededeling van KPN de dochtermerken Yes Telecom, Telfort en Xs4all binnen een paar jaar wil schrappen. Dat veroorzaakte schrikreacties, zo ook bij mijn echtgenote, “wordt mijn mailbox dan ook opgeheven”?

En er werd een petitie opgesteld door trouwe abonnees, om de directie van Xs4all te bewegen om het merk en de uitstekende dienstverlening in stand te houden. De provider die trouwens behalve internet access ook telefoneren en videokijken verzorgt (Triple Play + mobiele telefonie)  heeft namelijk dankzij haar zeer deskundige en hulpvaardige personeel + helpdesk een prima naam opgebouwd die werkelijk prima afsteekt tegen die van andere consumentenmarkt providers.

Wordt Xs4all dan opgeslokt door de groene jongens en meisjes die aangestuurd worden om veel geld te blijven verdienen voor de aandeelhouders, terwijl zij het gevoel hebben op een ijsberg te zitten die steeds verder afsmelt? Herinnert u zich nog SMS, Viditel, Memocom, Sport 7 ?  Allemaal vergeefse pogingen om het tij van de dis-intermediatie van analoge diensten te keren.  En toen kwam opeens het digitale Internet opzetten met ongelofelijke groeicurves.  En smartphones + wifi en 4G,  die ongehoord diep in onze samenleving doordrongen en ons leven nu voor een groot deel bepalen.

Jazeker de beroeps “afraders”, commentatoren  in de publiciteit, waarschuwen al weer dat de prijs/kwaliteit van het onder KPN geschoven Xs4all achteruit zal gaan. Ze vrezen dat de move van de nieuwe CEO vooral gericht zal zijn om door verdere vervlechting van de Triple Play diensten de klanten beter vastgehouden gaan worden zodat men niet meer wil of durft overstappen naar concurrenten. Minder keuze is echter slecht voor concurrentie en innovatie. Ook is de toenemende verticale integratie een belemmering voor verbeteringen. Dat kan echter door NMA ( <==FOUT, moet natuurlijk ACM zijn) en Ministerie gestuit worden, door hen, en ook hun vernieuwende concurrent VodafoneZiggo, te dwingen om dark fiber paren te moeten verhuren tegen een redelijke vergoeding.

Neen, ik schaar mij niet in het koor van de conservatieve “afraders”. Ik vermoed dat er juist iets zeer positiefs gebeurd is.  De al jarenlange strijd tussen de analoge denkwereld van de “Belheads” en digitale whizzkid “Netheads” van het betere Internet, binnen het KPN concern, is denk ik beslecht door de nieuwe voorzitter van de Raad van Bestuur Maximo Ibarra in het voordeel van de zeer succesvolle Netheads.

Van een grappige bijzaak zou Xs4all wel eens de core business van het nieuwe KPN kunnen worden. Vooruitstrevend offensief met het omarmen van nieuwe technologie, ze leren snel !! dat uit zich bijvoorbeeld al in de recente wending van KPN om toch weer verder te gaan met uitrollen van FttH met fiber optic kabels tot in het huis en kantoor. Niet langer saboteren van deze landelijke projecten dus. VodafoneZiggo zit immers ook niet stil. Mogelijk is er dus in plaats van afbreuk door deze move van KPN een opbouw voor onze digitale infrastructuur gestart, die ik zou toejuichen.

Ik heb zelfs al een nieuwe naam voor het concern bedacht die zo’n vernieuwing zou kunnen symboliseren. In plaats van “Koninklijke PTT (Post, Telefonie en Telex) Nederland” = KPN (gaap) zou dan kunnen komen: “Kabels for Packet Networks” = K4PN

Goodbye XSALL and KPN,      Welcome K4PN !


Verschenen in Netkwesties .   <==== klik voor laatste nieuws over Xs4all

screen shot 2019-01-16 at 13.47.26

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment