Formica Coriandolo

The first day I arrived in Damanhur, in 1983, among the first Damanhurians I met was Tacchino Noce (Tachino means Turkey in Italian). I remember that my companion presented him to me because, as he had just returned from the journey, he could have explained something more about the Game of Life.
Tachino looked down at me, from his 1.96 mt. height, and without any introduction he told me, (with an expression so serious as to envy Buster Keaton, a comedic actor of silent cinema) “Since I joined the Game of Life, there have been moments of suspense, (he paused for a moment without speaking and looked me straight in the eyes. I felt embarrassed, I did not know where to look) “I do not know who I am anymore “, he concluded with a heavy expression.

Now try to put yourself in my shoes: I had come to Damanhur because I had seen a television program in which a bunch of crazy madmen (the Damanhurians) wanted to create a new, spiritual society to suit their shared dreams, and to realize this ideal, the means chosen by them was something called the “Game of Life“, a strategy of change based on sharing their talents and getting 100% involved. The transmission made it clear that the Damanhurians were not such extravagant people, since they couldn’t quite say that they were completely out of their minds! I arrive at Damanhur, and the feeling of having fallen in the middle of a bunch of crazy people was definitely confirmed. Moreover the first person I talk with about the ‘Game’ answers me in this way… how would you have reacted?

I remained with my mouth open, staring at Tacchino, who, with his mouth closed, stared right back at me for a time that seemed like an eternity. I did not know what to think, but there could only be two possibilities: either he was completely out of his mind, or he had told me something very true in such a direct way that he would be able to get me out of my box, my patterns and those of any other “normal” person!

My tour guide came to rescue me from that embarrassing silence, took me to meet some other people and complete the visit of Damanhur. At the end of that day I came home with the feeling that I would never find anywhere else that had such a healthy mixture of madness, truth, dream and optimism that I had found in Damanhur.

I enrolled in the Game of Life without knowing exactly why, but that look from Tacchino, and the phrase he said, had touched my mind and my heart together and I decided that I wanted to learn more. I left on the journey and my life changed. It became more crazy, happy and true like me.
I too, like Tacchino, stopped knowing who I was, but I began to understand who I wanted to become … and that dream, that desire to transform into what I wanted to be has come true!

Formica Coriandolo