Day 427: Humanity as Unesco Intangible Patrimony?

Silvano Agosti – Letter to Unesco


We have an Italian philosopher called Silvano Agosti that has been trying to reach Unesco and Onu through our Ministry of Culture to ask that ‘The Human Being’ be recognized as Patrimony of Humanity.

 ‘Our request to the United Nations is to name the Human Being “the pinnacle of humanity.”It is important to substitute the obsession “to become something or somebody else” with the awareness that every Human Being is born having within himself all that he needs “to be himself.”The Human Being is the prime masterpiece that nature has made in a billion years, but is such only until the age of three years old. Then a child is forced to become anything or anyone except himself– except what nature meant him to be.

 En el universo conocido, a lo largo de 5mil millones de años, el Ser Humano sigue siendo la mayor obra de arte hecha por la naturaleza, pero lo es solo hasta la edad de 3 años. Luego está presionado por la actual orden social, a convertirse en cualquier cosa, excepto sí mismo. La meta de la petición a las Naciones Unidas de nombrar el Ser Humano “patrimonio de la humanidad” es que cada persona descubra y sea consciente sobre el globo entero de su valor infinito. La obsesión de querer llegar a ser algo o alguien tiene que ser reemplazada por la conciencia que cada Ser Humano es unico e irrepetible y nace llevando en sí todo lo que necesita para ser sí mismo.’


When I learnt about this I found his perspective fascinating, more than anything I was fascinated about the idea that we treasure old creepy buildings and historical sites, monuments to and of our enslavement, but not Human or other creatures Lives.

Just think about the pyramids or the Great Wall of China and all the slaves that died building them, many of which are buried alongside the Wall or under the sand in Egypt, beings for which no special burial place was ever made because their lives were -and are- considered simply irrelevant and our obsessions with Monuments and ValueLess MasterPieces.

We have organizations designed to preserve them and not only that, to preserve the  ‘Intangible Patrimony of the Planet’, here we go


Intangible Cultural Heritage

The importance of intangible cultural heritage is not the cultural manifestation itself but rather the wealth of knowledge and skills that is transmitted through it from one generation to the next. The social and economic value of this transmission of knowledge is relevant for minority groups and for mainstream social groups within a State, and is as important for developing States as for developed ones.

Intangible cultural heritage is:

  • Traditional, contemporary and living at the same time: intangible cultural heritage does not only represent inherited traditions from the past but also contemporary rural and urban practices in which diverse cultural groups take part;
  • Inclusive: we may share expressions of intangible cultural heritage that are similar to those practised by others. Whether they are from the neighbouring village, from a city on the opposite side of the world, or have been adapted by peoples who have migrated and settled in a different region, they all are intangible cultural heritage: they have been passed from one generation to another, have evolved in response to their environments and they contribute to giving us a sense of identity and continuity, providing a link from our past, through the present, and into our future. Intangible cultural heritage does not give rise to questions of whether or not certain practices are specific to a culture. It contributes to social cohesion, encouraging a sense of identity and responsibility which helps individuals to feel part of one or different communities and to feel part of society at large;
  • Representative: intangible cultural heritage is not merely valued as a cultural good, on a comparative basis, for its exclusivity or its exceptional value. It thrives on its basis in communities and depends on those whose knowledge of traditions, skills and customs are passed on to the rest of the community, from generation to generation, or to other communities;
  • Community-based: intangible cultural heritage can only be heritage when it is recognized as such by the communities, groups or individuals that create, maintain and transmit it – without their recognition, nobody else can decide for them that a given expression or practice is their heritage.


This Philosopher I am talking about is aware that we produce enough food to feed 10 billions people, that we let 35000 children to die every die of preventable causes, he is aware as well that we are lying about the future of employment and what is waiting for us down the road, which is not a renaissance but more unemployment, more austerity, more empty promises when we could just make an agreement, we could wake up to the Tangible Needs of All and change this world together instead.

After all, if we want to preserve a Cultural Heritage that has to be passed down from generation to generation, we need to keep Human Beings alive or there will be no generations to do that work and we will lose the ‘Intangible Masterpieces’ we felt the need to glorify and protect, we could even consider keep Human beings Living vs Surviving, to make sure they care at all to pass down the valuable by products vs the source of the value that we have, incredibly, once more, miss-placed.

I see what Silvano Agosti is trying to do as a provocation to bring attention to what we are forgetting, that supporting Life on the planet should be our first goal if we have to preserve anything of value, I see as well why the Ministry of Culture in Italy replied to him in 2011 that ‘The Human Being’, could not be granted such ‘privilege’ because he did not fit the description of an Intangible Heritage – he was living yes, but in the completely wrong- kindofway.

We can’t go on creating money grabbing organizations for the sole aim to collect and list folk songs and prayers while forgetting the Human Being, because that would make us INSANE and yet, we keep up these delusions and expand them every year, without questioning how we have come to place value on the ‘Intangible’ while forgetting the Tangible, Breathing, Living Beings of this Earth.

We have a proposal, it is a work in progress and we invite all to assist in fine-tuning it, this proposal is a stance that we take and ask others to take with us, the Proposal is to give a Living Income Guaranteed to All the people on the Planet that need one, because they are real, tangible, breathing living beings -just like us.

Check it out, see if you can find the common sense of supporting Life into Existence and stop fighting to have our survival granted, we can do so much better than this, we just have to make up our mind and then move together to achieve what we see needs to be done, to create a World that Works for All and leave the non-sense we valued behind, not to be remembered but hopefully, to be forever, gladly, forgotten.