Many individuals have asked “Who Am I” — the answer, of course, is complicated….
You’re Hired. You’re Fired. That’s business.
You’re Fired! It was Donald Trump‘s phrase, he tried to trademark it. But it is the old, tried, and true random way: Neo-Darwinism (but do not blame Darwin for he understood his views better than that).
No, how about Margulian Darwinism?
Because, Larry’s plan is different — fundamentally different. His choice.
A New Page of History
You’re hired, and your salary is a one time gift, of ~30 billion dollars give or take some billions, no strings attached, but Metaperson tethered.
Are we on the SAME PAGE? Not likely.
I remember the exact moment and place. As we talked, Karel had made the gesture of flicking his finger at an imaginary glass globe in his hand that would crack into a million pieces:
“It would just take a small Ping — the whole thing could shatter and fall apart” he said.
I thought, yes, just like the edge-of-chaos/order: a phase transition.
Soon it happened. Few, if any, but Karel could have imagined it happening — and so soon.
He knew the system well: as a kid, he had been prevented to pursue what he was good at — mathematics — for the powers of Czechoslovkia wouldn’t let him go to school, because his father had escaped from the Soviet bloc, leaving Karel and his mother to suffer the consequences. Karel knew what it is like not to trust anybody outside his immediate family — not say what everybody knew but could not say — the Soviet system was a human prison: Private Truths, Public Lies. Karel did get out in 1978 by Jimmy Carter’s diplomatic initiative with Alexander Dubček’s short regime. Only a few could escape from the system.
Karel obtained his PhD in Mathematics from Stanford University a couple years later after our talk. Nobody really thought it would happen. The Iron Curtain seemed still solid in 1988. The Soviet system had lasted for more than 75 years. The Soviet Union was one of the two superpowers: a military and nuclear super power. Rebellions had failed before: Hungary and Czechoslovakia, otherwise subversive acts had to keep a low profile.
I have often reflected that the causes of success or failure of men depend upon their … character, and [are] not a matter of choice. – Niccolo Machiavelli
He was there, tall and imposing, and upright with his natural grace and nobility. In front of the his men, he naturally commanded attention, his speech had seemingly come to close.
But now he hesitated. He stopped. This was unusual for him.
They knew him so well. They had followed him, through thick and thin, for years. But they were angry. They wanted to revolt. They hadn’t been paid; they had listen to his prepared speech; they had heard similar excuses before. Most of them still not convinced. He knew this.
He was at loss to what to do.
In a last desperate act, he pulled a letter from his pocket. Something was wrong, however.
He tried to read the letter, stumbling with his words, then, hopelessly staring at it.
He hestitated again. He, again, reach to a pocket, pulling out a pair of eyeglasses.
“Gentlemen, you will permit me to put on my spectacles, for I have not only grown gray, but almost blind, in the service of my country.”
Most had never seen these eyeglasses, something only General George Washington intimates had ever seen him wear. Humbled and embarrassed, many of the officers were now in tears. For, if the speech had not already destroyed the revolt, this act assured its demise. Washington left the meeting. The officers unanimously voted to wait for their overdue wages, and they would not “retire to some unsettled country” and leave Congress without an army.
“On other occasions he had been supported by the exertions of the army and the countenance of his friends,” said Captain Samuel Shaw, “but in this he stood single and alone.”
With that George Washington continued lead and help found the United States of America.
The point of this story is that George Washington, could not help himself, but be himself, and be leader even at his weakest moment. His officers followed the man, George Washington, because of who he was. Continue reading Be Himself
“There is the danger of the single story.” — Chimamanda Adichie
But no one could accuse Maya of a single story: she is a natural storyteller… And a Word Warrior.