Ever since the myth of Achilles, humanity has persistently dreamed of invulnerability, a protective armour against the uncertainties and risks of a daily life that we are increasingly unable to control. Safety is certainly an understandable desire, but it is based on a misunderstanding that also makes us fear presumed, unreal dangers and erect futile defences and fragile shelters. In other words, the urge for invulnerability leads us to move in constrained spaces, make short-term plans, miss opportunities, and avoid new experiences. Although invulnerability remains an inaccessible mirage, we can try to achieve anti-vulnerability, which is the opposite of all this – something attainable because it consists of the mere reduction of vulnerability, the prevention of possible offences, the ability to recover from wounds. This book provides a toolbox for anti-vulnerability, a small self-defence manual for ourselves and for the people we care about.
Paolo Legrenzi is professor emeritus of Psychology at the Ca’ Foscari University in Venice.