Debra Smith


This conversation is closed.

I have been notified that we have lost one of our TED conversations friends Luigi Vampa. Did you benefit from his wisdom or his life?

Tribute -One day for Luigi here on TED.

A car accident took the life of our friend and conversationalist Luigi Vampa.
Please share what he meant to you, how you benefited or were challenged by his stances and humour.

Here is one of his last responses to me from the question.

Conversation: Should one fear death or not

Debra really I dont know how fear can I feel before death. But I feel strange when I realize that the hard part is to say goodbay to ourselves, not to others. At least I'm going to be death all the eternity. And remember Miles Davis....So what?

Closing Statement from Debra Smith

I would like to sum up this tribute to Luigi with his own words about how he savoured his life. He willed us this boost in the record of his words, for all of us who, left behind, will miss him so much. May we all capture that same joie de vivre that he urged us to reach for!

" My day riding in Rome was full of surprises. Sunny and rainy sunday, the rain announce an afternoon with some good books or films. I recommend to all of you the film from Ettore Scola "Gente di Roma", or the classic from Fellini "La Dolce Vita". Theres another from Scola named "La Cena" very nice film about the roman daily life. My bike suffer an accident and tomorrow I go to work walking. Its nice wake up early (6 a.m.) and go to the Piazza Navona to see the very first sunlight. Then an expresso and panini....I have to search some relation from the politic thoughts betwen Napoleon and Maquiavelo...and my bike go to the hospital. How was your sunday bike.?"
Luigi Vampa, friend, teacher, scholar, wise man.

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    Oct 7 2011: Debra, Lindsay, Michael, Salim, TED Conversation Team, and all friends here, there and everywhere, we are gratefull for your empathy and companion feellings in this heavy time. We are confient bout our strenght to recovery our "joi de vivre".

    This is the most outfit memorial that we could do for Luigi. He was a very happy man with the bravery of the valient and the wisdom form their unique experience. His legacy is clear...know to serve, and love.

    Thank you all.

    Jaime, Father Delacourt, il Conte De Salaparuta, la Baronessa et al.
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    Oct 7 2011: One of the loveliest things that Luigi did for TED conversations , in my opinion, was to get us all to learn how to use Google translate. Some of the most exciting conversations here on TED were conducted in multiple languages, with Luigi in Italian, with his friends the Conte, the Baronessa, and Father Delacourt in Italian and with Jaime Lubin and Adrianna in Spanish. While I learned very well how badly wrong a translation can go, I am enriched by knowing the thoughts of wonderful individuals in different languages.
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      Oct 7 2011: yes..we are learning to converse via translations in languages we have not mastered and it has cutivated my habit of using english editions of many foreign language sources. Conte, Jaime, Luigi , Baronessa and and Baronessa brought this extension of global conversation to us and it is part of the enrichment we wik carry on and build on.
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      Oct 8 2011: Helen the real nice feeling for Luigi born in happines. We all are breaking but also we all have a tremendous hope. Thank you for your presence and goodwill. Carissima remains in your heart.
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    Oct 8 2011: Dear Debra, Lindsy, Salim, Helena, Sabin, Juliette, Muhammad, Linda, Gisella, Astra, Michael, Hellen, Julie, TED Conversation Administrators, and all friends, we express our sincere and warm feellings for your solidarity in this trascendental moment for all us. Luigi is alive in our memory and we all took some from his wisdom, maybe a little bit or more, maybe with joy or not, but he is present among us. And for sure we transform ourselves with his words and toughts. He was just a man, his mediterranean way of life, without worries, or paranoias about the modern ghosts of productivity, hurry, efficience or some. He was joy in a bike or in his work desk with the ancient world of words. The same was the happiness with a red wine glass in Piazza Navona or giving a very profound lecture about philosophy.

    We all his companions and close friends are gratefull with your friendship and human touch that we are sure he is delighted watching us from paradise with an eternal glass of the best red wine ever.

    Jaime, Ninna Di Val Taranto, Il Conte di Salaparuta and Father Delacourt.

    Thank you Debra for your sensible humanity and always present joi de vivre.

    ¡A la vostra salute Luigi!
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    Oct 8 2011: Very saddening news :(

    I also just took a look at Luigi's last comments and noticed amongst them a reply at my post on the topic discussing inequality for women within the Catholic Church - in Spanish! He made a good point that one has to separate Catholic dogma and Catholic institutions from the beliefs of a regular Catholic.
    I am sorry I did not reply earlier Luigi, but concerning that discussion, you are now the one who holds the answers. May you rest in peace!
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    Oct 8 2011: Debra, Everybody;

    I am saddened by the news of Luigi's passing. It is amazing how one touch of friendship affects your life so much !!

    I got to TED conversation in time to have an exchange with Luigi and now I am so glad that I did. I enjoyed his witty responses and am so delighted that he gave us a taste of his beautiful language and culture. I know I will remember him for saying the loveliest words I have ever heard " Avanti Cara " .
    These last few days I was missing him and his charm and was about to send him a message. Since my former self was a non-expressive person who waited for the perfect time to say something to someone, and then of course the perfect time would never come, I am grateful too that as my new self I didn't wait and ceased the opportunity to let him know this.

    So I say to Luigi now ;

    Avanti Caro, avanti caro Luigi, grazie e ci vediamo in la luce.
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    Oct 8 2011: If you have 6 minutes listen to the poem above by Rives for the automated reply that I imagine Luigi would send us.
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    Oct 8 2011: Poor sweet Luigi.It gives me a lump in the throat to hear this news.He taught me to never be afraid of people who are different from me.I can't remember exactly everything that he told me but this is how it may sound like :

    "You're a Muslim and I'm a Christian.We share a light that is divided into two.But never forget that we share something in common.Never be afraid of anyone who you may think is different from you for maybe you will realize one day that we are actually all the same!."

    I love you Luigi and I am going to miss you :'(
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      Oct 8 2011: Thank you for sharing moves me to my core. I feel as if I just met Luigi face to face even though I've never been in a conversation with him. I feel privileged to know him now...
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        Oct 8 2011: Linda we all Luigi's friends are very gratefull for your empathy and consonance. He is a strong memory that evoques tenderness and braveheart.
        Thank you
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    Oct 7 2011: Here is the second last song that Luigi posted. Prescient?
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      Oct 7 2011: i thought that at the time and almost posted it here!!!
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      Oct 8 2011: Debra Luigis taste in music was so eclectic and misterious. He always was in search of "trascendental music" as he quote. The sixties were more than time for all of us. We share parties and a lot of adventures...I send you some photos from that time.

      In this special song fire and rain was simbolic for Luigi.
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    Oct 7 2011: Luigi it's unfair .....simply unfair.....we agreed to have coffee , wine together at YOUR eternal city Rome, where is my cup of coffee, where is my glass of wine.......
    Luigi it's encouraged here everyone to ride bike to come you rode automobile on that fateful day .......
    Luigi, my logic , my reasoning, my thoughts not working ..........Debra asking something logical but....I can't be

    Luigi no Good Bye from my side you are there in my learning from you, you are there in my heart in my thoughts.....
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      Oct 8 2011: Salim thank you...Luigi remain with all of us.
      He dont die...God take his soul for an eternal joy.
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        Oct 8 2011: Jaime, I am obliged.
        My deep apology to you my friend.

        You notified me earlier about this shocking news in my thread on Steve Jobs. For a silly reason I just missed that and came to know only in the thread of Lindsay.

        In my thread, I read your 3 words in the notification of mail accounts , thought that's it, today I read your full comment and found that. Felt so bad thinking 'what you would be thinking about me being so irrresponsible , insensitive ?"

        I am sorry Jaime
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    Oct 7 2011: Hi Debra, What a lovely tribute for fellow member Luigi! We really appreciate this sense of caring community. Luigi Vampa had often brought lively and thoughtful discussions to the conversations and we hope this community will cherish his contributions.

    with Love,
    TED Conversations Team
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      Oct 7 2011: Thanks admin for acknowledging and sharing our loss in community.
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      Oct 8 2011: Dear TED Conversations Admin,

      Thank you for giving us a platform to pay tribute to our friend. As TED conversations brought us all together from around the world, this is the only place we had to mourn him together. It means a lot to us that you would understand this.

      with love to all of you in return,
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    Oct 7 2011: I was taken aback by my own sense of loss and grief on receiving news from Jaime about Luigi's death.We don't even know his face or, perhaps his real name and yet since being introduced to us in the labyrinthe he has been a unique voice, a voice of clairty, wisdom, passion, in so many TED conversations.

    After I got news of his death, I lit a candle and read all his comments at TED..i going back sometimes to the context..trying to listen to the voice underneath the words. I am still about that work

    Being able to visit issues brought to us here at TED Conversations with Luigi is exactly what I think was envisoned by a "global conversation". Imagine having the heart of aJjesuit priest working away in the vatican library on an obscure geometry text explore with us topics like what's great about being a woman or whether speculation fed the food criis throwing millions into famine

    .Who can replace that voice, that particular voice?

    Who can replace that heart, that particular heart?

    Who can replace that unerring gyroscope on truth and justice?

    Too soon too soon you have left us Luigi..left us with much to ponder

    like how to build "weapons of mass construction"

    You are with us, in us, in our going work.
  • Oct 7 2011: I will miss Luigi Vampa. He was bright, intelligent, and many times very funny. He was like a worthy fencing opponent. If he was with you on a question, you knew where you stood. If he opposed you, then careful, you needed to be ready. More than anything he seemed to always invite me to a beautiful place: a lunch, a coffee, a moment apart with some nice piece of music.

    I always did want to go to Rome and do just that thing.

    ¡Que descansa en paz mi amigo, en la paz de tu Señor!
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      Oct 7 2011: lovely michael.

      .and I too join your commendatio

      n"that you may rest in peace friend, in the peace of your Lord"
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    Oct 8 2011: Death by Khalil Gibran

    Then Almitra spoke, saying, "We would ask now of Death."

    And he said: You would know the secret of death.

    But how shall you find it unless you seek it in the heart of life?

    The owl whose night-bound eyes are blind unto the day cannot unveil the mystery of light.

    If you would indeed behold the spirit of death, open your heart wide unto the body of life.

    For life and death are one, even as the river and the sea are one.

    In the depth of your hopes and desires lies your silent knowledge of the beyond;

    And like seeds dreaming beneath the snow your heart dreams of spring.

    Trust the dreams, for in them is hidden the gate to eternity.

    Your fear of death is but the trembling of the shepherd when he stands before the king whose hand is to be laid upon him in honour.

    Is the shepherd not joyful beneath his trembling, that he shall wear the mark of the king?

    Yet is he not more mindful of his trembling?

    For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and to melt into the sun?

    And what is to cease breathing, but to free the breath from its restless tides, that it may rise and expand and seek God unencumbered?

    Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing.

    And when you have reached the mountain top, then you shall begin to climb.

    And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance
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    Oct 8 2011: So many things Luigi said resonate now:

    Carissima Debra I just remember the words and wisdom from Santa Teresa de Avila:

    "Just when we see the diseases and death as a important part of life, we can live well."

    And this one:

    The youth is not an age matter is an spiritual status. Maybe the most intriguing questions in the history are from the children. Youthness has no age limits. Thats a wrong position. Also the boundaries or frontiers for questioning the actual circumstances are always flexible and change everyday. We cant mesure the ages from a narrow point of view taken from positivism. We all have the resposability to transform (not change) the world in a more lovely place. Redesign our own utopies and paradises for parents, grandparents, sons, childs and every living form of Divinity, included youth.

    And one more:

    Sep 6 2011: Maybe is not knowing any superiority in others, but in all the human being. Maybe is about feeling more than knowing....and of course the respect is all in humility...(RESPECT....RES PISCERE in latin means" let it grow")

    Humility is a virtue in the realm of soul, not in the desert of knowledge.
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    Oct 8 2011: Luigi on the process of conversation on TED:

    What facts are factual?
    Sep 24 2011: We all here at TED learn a lot of things from all the participants. Sometimes some people said something in disagree from others. Maybe we dont agree with that but we have to recognize the rigth to express our points of view. Without exception.
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    Oct 8 2011: Friends here comes some thoughts of Luigi

    Jul 30 2011:" Kate, Rome is allways and everyday new. Nothing is never the same in the Eternal City. The same road changes with the light in the afternoon like a gold shine or in winter with the grey and white. Today in Piazza navona are full of tourists from everywhere. But we can find some places, tiny places to take a seat and see...just see the people dance in slow motion under the afternoon light. I dont know why but here in Piazza Navona (and I live around the corner) all the time is with some gold ligt. maybe because the Bernini's fountains and the Borromini churches. Around the streets are with a mess of cars (litlle cars) and Vespas and bikes and people seated with a cup of strong coffe in the hand. Or a red wine glass.
    We can go by the Via dei Fori Imperiale to see the Coliseum and the ruins from the Roman Empire. And latter go to some of the litlle caffes to hear a good opera singer while we enjoy a SlowFood delicattessen. Here one night is like a thousand years, and a milenium is just a night. So ride on and go ahead to reach Via della Consolazione to go to see the Vatican".

    Jul 30 2011:" Salim walk is a Major Art. And also as you I prefer to walk to be inmerse in all the sensations, flavors, images, sounds, textures, smells, from my city. Rome is an open book as all tha ancient cities. And its better to walk in "tempo cantabile".

    Jul 31 2011: "Salim the zoombies are walking with their headphones, soulscreens, spiritdevices and all that separate from the living people. Pleas be carefull and dont try to wakeup them because they going mad. The zoombies are inveded all the world".

    The thread Luigi opened about automobiles
  • Oct 8 2011: This is very tragic news, indeed. My sincere condolences to his family. We are all richer for having shared in his wisdom. RIP Luigi. You will be missed.
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    Oct 8 2011: Carissima Debra vi ringraziamo tanto la tua tenerezza e amore per il nostro Luigi, scomparso tragicamente. Ma supratutto dobbiamo riconoscere che la vera virtu da Luigi e che ê un uomo bravissimo che lascia per noi la sagezza del cuore e la forza per andare in questa vita. A tutti nostri amici a TED la nostra benevolenza per la sua solidarita.
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      Oct 8 2011: Carissimi Conte e Baronessa, non posso immaginare la grandezza della vostra perdita e sono così dispiaciuto. Luigi illuminato la mia esistenza come lui deve avere il vostro illuminato. Possiamo concentrarci sulla perdita o possiamo concentrarci sulla benedizione che la sua vita rappresenta. Ho scelto di ricordare la sua vitalità e la sua sapienza che è eterno.
      Grazie per aver condiviso lui con noi!
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    Oct 8 2011: Dear Debra, thank you for opening this Memorial to Luigi. I'm very touched with the news, and extremely grateful to acknowledge that a part of the TED community will miss our dearest Luigi. It means that he did what he was meant to, he was at the present, at the moment with the precise word, the precise quote or the right song for any matter.

    I'm glad to know that he could make a difference among all that have the opportunity to be near him, in one way or another. He'll be greatly miss, but he also will be remembering us to be awake, to see, to listen, to live with all our hearts, with all ourselves. He will remind us to be always at the moment, without distraction, to catch the Kairós.

    Mourn and joy, sadness and happiness, red wine & strong coffee to celebrate life and cherish the opportunity we have everyday to lear, to live, to feel.

    Thank you all...
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      Oct 8 2011: Cara Ninna il mio pensiero va in torno a quelli anni d'oro. Vi ringraziamo la tua gentileza. Civederemo la. E qui si bisogna subito il nuovo caffe per nostri amici a TED.
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    Oct 8 2011: Dear Debra,

    My commiserations to you and all friends of Luigi for your loss.
    I haven’t had the pleasure of any interactions with him but on occasion have enjoyed some of his truly charming and thought provoking comments and which definitely required my ‘thumbs up’.
    This is a very touching, considerate action undertaken by you. I do hope this tribute reaches his family and that they realize how he has touched and positively impacted this TED community.

    Warm embrace,
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      Oct 8 2011: Dear Astra the real mission of Luigi was to keep us awake. This considerate action came from the common heart that nurture the TED community. We all are deeply moved with this manifestation of love.
      Thank you for your felings and beauty.
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    Oct 8 2011: To all Luigi's friends here, some music that enlight our sadness and reveal our hope. This Tribute is from heart and will.
    Please hear and meditate about the spirit and the eternity versus the world vanities. We all are souls in a body.
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    Oct 8 2011: Sharing some of Luigi's beautiful words:

    The eternal life has no time, so the present is the only valid time to express ourselves in harmony with spirituality. Spirituallity is the same in any religion.
    Religions and beliefs are not faith and faith has nothing to do with spirituality.
    It doesnt matter if you loose or regain your faith, or religion, but the main thing is your spirit.
    Where can be hide your fears, your injurys, your looses when the real dimension of yourself is enlighted with the flames of the Spirit.?
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    Oct 7 2011: I did not know him or really interact with him much, but this is still sad news.
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      Oct 8 2011: Gisela we are gratefull with your sensible presence and feellings in this moments. We are sure that joy came soon.
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        Oct 8 2011: It is clear that he was a cherished member of the TED community. I am sorry for your loss.
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    Oct 7 2011: He was certainly an unforgettable fellow. I will miss his contributions, at times challenging, at times funny and entertaining, at times wise and insightful, at times charming and delightful however, never boring.

    I am truly sorry to hear he is no longer here.

    My thoughts are with his family and friends.

    Luigi, te echaré de menos. Descansa en paz.
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      Oct 8 2011: Helena es verdaderamente un gran soporte saber de tus sentimientos por Luigi. Tienes razon , nunca aburrido, siempre con chispa y pases a veces atrevidos. Su familia somos nosotros sus amigos que como tu lo recordaremos por siempre hasta el momento del reencuentro.

      Gracias Helena
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      Oct 8 2011: Helena Luigi fue un gran admirador de España y su esencia, le gustaba la musica andaluza y las gitanerias en especial estas obras maestras.
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        Oct 8 2011: Jaime, I remember when Luigi posted this on the Cafe. What a special season of life for me! Thanks for bringing back this memory!
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        Oct 8 2011: Jaime, que grandes obras, gracias por mostrarmelas. Aunque yo soy de las islas y rozo más la cultura catalana que la andaluza, llevo dentro una vena muy flamenca.
        Aqui te mando yo dos temas del Camarón que me han venido a la cabeza pensando en Luigi. Todo y que no tuve el placer de interactuar con él lo que me hubiera gustado, leia mucho sus comentarios aquí en TED, y le recuerdo como alguien enamorado de la vida y que piso fuerte por su paso en esta vida, y por ello, siempre le recordaremos.
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    Oct 7 2011: A bit about Luigi written by his beloved friend Jamie Lubin il Capitano

    Luigi died in his early 60's. He born in Rome, well near Rome in a small town named Amelia. The older in a family with two brothers. We were friends and companions in the university in Italy, first in Milano and latter in Bologna and Rome where i run my doctoral studies with him as one of my brightest tutors in research history. He was jesuit priest, bike enthusiast, wisdom and clever schollar in old texts and a great friend with all the class among, il Conte di Salaparuta, and father Delacourt our very beloved master. His joy and strenght for all his dutys was an example of jesuit compromise with the community and the people , in special the children. He work in India with Vicente ferrer an ex-jesuit. And in his late time, Luigi was devoted in a very old and misterious text about geometry. He left a big hole in our souls but we all know that he are plenty of grace in the triumphant Church. (Jesuit live in this world as Militant Church an when they die they ascend to a Triumphant church.).
    • Oct 7 2011: Debra
      Thank you so much for this paragraph from Jaime. Luigi was and incredible being. I want to know which book of geometry he is working on, though I probably wouldn't understand it.
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        Oct 8 2011: Michael the book is just a piece of papirus with some human hair thread in. But the real value of the pice has to expect for other researcher to be revealed. Luigi send me some lines about the content of the text in ancient greek. He really devoures the history and the books. He presume tht the origin of the text came from the archimedian school. In two wees we were in Rome to attend some issues about.

        Ninna and Il Conte send warmly regards to you all.
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    Oct 7 2011: With great love and respect for Luigi I post here the song he referred to above.

    SO What by Miles Davis: