The word “epiphany” derives from the ancient Greek and means “manifestation”. Something similar is described in the modern language of Systems Theory with the term “emergence”. I claim that when we focus on human communities and societies, and even on the behavior of individuals, “epiphany” may be more fitting in order to describe an “emergence” with the adequate emphasis on the aesthetical, transcendent and ethical aspects that are required.
In the course of history and also of everyday life, epiphanies of evil and epiphanies of right occur and recur, at times in alternation and at times simultaneously.
Both for what concerns evil and right, epiphanies are discontinuous changes but come out of processes.
For what concerns evil, I focus on some characteristics and on the long-term deadly effects of a “problem-based” state of mind. Molding the world in terms of problems and solutions is necessary and appropriate in limited and practical domains. The adopting of this attitude as a general state of mind, shaping our whole presence in the world, blurs and ultimately denies the reality of persons, putting in foreground a pretended “reality” made of problems and solutions.
For what concerns right, I focus on what I call “eleogenetic” practices. “Eleos” is a Greek word that means “mercy”. “Mercy” is often mistaken for a sickly-sweetish attitude of turning a blind eye. I claim instead that mercy is a way to know reality with more precision and beauty, since reality is first of all a reality of persons, with their expressions, activities, encounters and contacts. Eleogenetic practices allow us to develop this kind of knowledge of oneself, of others, and ultimately of the world.