I am listening Rigoletto...Tito Gobbi sings. Beyond some technical imperfections, his voice is of a hypnotic beauty, bright, unique… I am shivering when he tells: “Quel vecchio maledivami” that old man has cursed me.
The buffoon knows that he was cruel, bad and his sin will be eventually punished. The feeling of guilt is terrifying that unhappy creature, He knows subconsciously that he deserves his fate.
Besides my total affinity with Verdi’s music (I consider this composer the Model of Creativity) - I have one reason more to be so impressed. A strange story, far from reason and common sense. Incredible, however true...
It has happened some 15 years ago. I held a course of Management of Technology to some directors and other leaders. A course for grown-ups (some very…) in a totally open and democratic spirit, first name calling, and collegiality, friendship... The students were asked to contribute as much as they could with their on ideas, suggestions, questions- maximum interactivity... Pleasant but also difficult because many of them were genuine specialists in their fields, good professionals and I had to tell them new smart things about what they were living and creating on a day by day basis.
My lessons about quality had limited echo despite my deep experience in the complexity of the concept- they were educated more bureaucratically than me.
I have succeeded much better with the lessons-discussions about productivity, competition and coopetition, business- intelligence including real and virtual reverse engineering that received a formidable impetus from the World Wide Web. Also, we had positive exchanges of ideas re the organization of the research and development activities and company departments. I had a clear success speaking about invention and patents- principles and practice. I was very enthusiastic when I spoke about effectiveness and efficiency- what you have to do and how in order to obtain increasingly good results technically and financially.
The sincere enthusiasm is contagious but very selectively. After this presentation, one of the students- who had a very strange unique first name-Damoc has asked me for a personal discussion. I didn’t him well- he was older than his colleagues and actually was fired by his employer which has paid in advance for this course. They did not found somebody to replace him= and he had relatives at whom to stay in our town, so Damoc was still a participant. He was a taciturn and solitary, and from a fragment of discussion I have understood: “he is dizzy and when he is in a state of Damoc (amuck) it’s wise to beware from him”
During my life, I had many memorably unpleasant and nasty discussions with evil, and what are worse, powerful, stupid and arrogant people. I want to mention that when I have asked for a hearing at the Party’s first secretary of Ramnicu Valcea where I was living/working then, because I was invited by a Western German company to see how they have solved the problems caused by the cancerigen effects of vinyl chloride and I needed his approval for travel.
That Party secretary was toxic and impolite and unjust- he told there are greater, much smarter experts than me and I should stay home and work seriously, not traveling at the capitalists on the State’s money. He was adamant and ill-willed.
I leaved angry like hell, wishing him every bad luck possible.
It happened that a few years later, when he was acting as a Party Secretary in an other county, a peasant has stabbed him to death
because he raised the price of the bread in that county. However I am convinced there is no causal relationship between this murder and my bad wishes. I do not believe in curses and blessings. (I have to add that a few months later when the technological problem became critical I have made that travel to Wacker Chemie, where suspension PVC was “invented” a year before I was born. And the problem was eventually solved.
However, Damoc was aggressive like a mad honey badger that attacks lions and other animals twenty times greater and stronger, and he told me a lot of injurious, offensive things- all triggered by my praise of effectiveness and efficiency. I have now the very difficult task to report you what has Damoc said however he was far from being coherent and I have to censor his discourse from the few porno-sexual, scatological and blasphemous expressions he has used a lot of times; he was very repetitive as drunk or crazy people use to be. Anyway, let’s say, this was it:
“Can you imagine why is the Earth is revolving so fast? I tell you- to throw down from its back, to get rid from the limited, stupid and fanatic technocrats like you!? How do you dare to sing odes to such evil and destructive and inhuman concepts as effectiveness and efficiency that pervert, degrade and destroy our world? Your technophoria – your confidence that
technology can solve all the problems, is idiotic wishful thinking.
I was fired for the sake of efficiency; I am a victim of efficiency!"
“Are you not able to see the obviously dreadful cruelty of profitable capitalistic efficiency and the imbecile sadism of the fake socialist efficiency?
Do you know that in the name of efficiency there are organized all the time, overtly or in the hypocritically hidden mode- genocides, ginocides, paupericides, invaldicides, senilicides whatever? Inefficient people are systematically annihilated.”
“Do you know the criminal activities of the champions of efficiency, of efficiency in destruction, of our Moneytheistic world? (then I heard first this name): Big Money, Big Weapon, Big Oil, Big Ag, Big Pharma, Big Crime, Big Lie? All are very efficient I could write entire libraries of the Congress about the evil they bring about the poor oppressed people.”
He seemed to be unable to come out from his primitive interrogative style;
“- why dictatures are so efficient and democracies so inefficient?
- why kleptocracy is the most natural government everywhere?
- why intellectuals are seen as soooo inefficient?
- do you know something more efficient than good old corruption in modern forms?
- why greed is good, violence is useful and fast and stupidity has to be encouraged because it breeds efficient workers and disciplined citizens;”
A cascade of questions followed, and I cannot guarantee that I remembered all or I can tell in which order Damoc has asked them, but perhaps you can grasp their virulent idiocy from the following condensed form:
“Who are/is more efficient and accepted or loved by our Society?
- people who consume a bit and produce a lot or people who consume beyond limits and produce almost nothing?
- the school, the hospital or the church?
- art or kitsch?
- quality or empty shining?
- education or counter-education?
- lies or truth?
- the sensational or the true?
- populism or serving the people?
- miracles or reality?
- altruism or egoism?
- generosity or avarice?
- harmony or penetrant ugly noise?
- Beethoven or Michael Jackson?
- dogma or fresh independent thinking?
- independent thinking or groupthink?
- astrology or astronomy?
- initiative or passivity? Laissez faire?
- memes and prejudices or unbiased investigations?
- good manners or gross rudeness?
- human rights or superhuman privileges?
- simple symbols or a complex realities?
- selling fear and hope or naked facts?
- the parasite or its host-victim?
- a pet or a child?
- to ask permission or to err and apologize?
- to live all days quite well or most of the days in misery and
a few days in celebration and gastronomic orgies?
- efficiency or freedom, welfare, happiness, human dignity
He spoke then about how financial efficiency dominates and replaces economic and functional efficiency and this is deadly danger for the future. He claimed that the so called efficient society is unsustainable and sooner or later will collapse and this was a genuinely moronic idea I felt an ardent desire to give him a couple of punches in his nasty face.
“No society can carry so many destructive evils – children of efficiency. Those who promote and support this malign efficiency should be stopped and punished.”
He ended with:
“Who seeks and adores efficiency, by efficiency will perish! Do you will learn this and will regret in pain what you have said us”
I hate you and I hate all those who had fired me in the name of sacred efficiency. You will all pay for that but especially you, the ideologist of efficiency, and the guru!
This sounded like a perfidious warning and as the equivalent of a curse.
He stopped, trying to take his breath. It was my turn; I am educated i.e. able to cope with any and all life situations and have a very broad and diversified. Experience, including fights and disputes.
Actually his killer discourse was just Barbie-style friendly chat, compared to the negotiations for quality standards between the Romanian polymer and the plastics industry, the manufacturers of raw materials and their users. These were at least ten times ruder than any meeting of gangsters or the extreme Machiavellisms in practice. (6 cases of infarct and 3 of suicide of the participants in 5 years, old engineers weeping hysterically etc. good school!)
I started immediately the counterattack, but I spoke very politely, taking care to not hurt the feelings of that psychopath:
“Damoc, you triple distillated damn fool, you brain- damaged mean rascal! You cannot understand that I spoke about technology and only about technology? You were the fool who extended the subject to the human, social, economical and financial life where the concept cannot be applied and you alone had hurt yourself. Look, moony boy, you buy an efficient stove and the coal you were able to buy will suffice till spring and you will not freeze in February as with our dirty old stove... What harm makes you a car able to go two times more with the same quantity of gas? A new fridge will save you from being depressed by any bill of electricity. You can paint a much greater surface than before with the new efficient paint, what’s the trouble with this?”
“Damoc try to activate your last pair of functional neurons, think and believe me this is a solid, well built perfectly functional society and never but really never a serious Crisis will come again. Not for the next 50 years, I put my head and eat it if we will see even micro-crises in our lifetimes we will be more and more prosperous year by year. Toddlers understand how the omnipotent forces of the markets work, repair the few flaws, and assure continuous irresistible progress for long term. Be an optimist like me. Like all rational people.
The European Union is a perfect organization,, a creation of the European genius and we Romanians will join it too- and it is a guarantee that no member state will ever have the slightest economic problem- as soon they appear the other States will come to help, or will anticipate it. The problems are solved and your pessimism is completely unfounded and tragically stupid. Think normally, my friend!
This is a healthy Society. There are obvious things you are not allowed to replace with your sick dark, opaque fantasies!”
My nice words were wasted, due to his psychiatric problems probably, he has not changed his opinion and became more and more noisy, hyperactive and aggressive, I am very resilient and after two more hours, Damoc became completely confused losing all nouns and verbs from his sentences, Two student colleagues had to help him going home. During the rest of he course he made me no more trouble but looked me with killer eyes and I could read on his lips that he was mumbling about a terrible vendetta.
Three years later I have retired and I have received a surprise phone calling from Damoc: “Hey Peter, you will see how inefficient, and ineffective and alone and unhappy you will be starting from tomorrow. All your comrades and accomplices in efficiency will abandon you, will erase your phone numbers from their agendas and will delete your e-mail address on their PCs and forget you for ever, lightning fast!”
I have to disappoint him, only 93.6%, not all my friends have forgotten me, and thanks to me and my continuing activity I was able to get new friends as good as the old ones or much better, - perhaps I have not lost completely this vital ability
But his retaliation is more perfidious. The madman knows that I love opera music- he sends me selected CDs or DVD’s or You Tube addresses for my birthdays, the word SUGGESTION is always appended; I have lots of final scenes from Aida, Othello, Norma, Madame Butterfly- all these end with
more or less direct suicides. Recently (2010, 2011) he has found two new “suggestions, one from Ponchielli’s Gioconda:
and this from Gounod’s Sapho
For all my birthdays he sends the same message
“You are XY today, you will die soon. But it is a more efficient way for you: suicide!” One good point, the music is really beautiful
I have verified on the Web these are really all the known scenes/arias describing suicides from operas:
What a humorless sadistic monster to send me such arias! At my age suicide is highly inefficient and not recommended.
You can imagine how he has jubilated in 2009 when the Crisis had hit our country too!!! I reckon, that time he was more efficient in the high art of invectives than me, I could not believe it. I am getting old.
(I know this was horrific, if you want to relax and calm down a bit , please read :The Horla” by Guy de Maupassant or/and “Vyi” by Nikolai Gogol
As soon as I have published this, I got a message:
“Peter, it is not horrific at all, it is simply horrible.
How can you prove that I exist?