How to free yourself from the system

I observed that many people live their lives aware that there are several limitations to their freedom. For example, some extremely common limitations are the lack of free time, being trapped in an unfulfilling job, the financial scarcity due to taxes/mortgages.

how-to-free-yourself-from-the-system-frontMost of these people understand that the limitations exist because an oppressive entity exists, something usually referred to as “the system“. However, often the system is identified with the government only, while I think it’s important to take into account two other factors that are main parts of the problem as well: mainstream media and corporations. That’s why I wrote the previous article What is the system?, to help you see a complete picture of who is causing the limitations.

Now it’s time to search for solutions. Despite what chronic pessimists will tell you, freeing yourself from the system is possible. All it takes is to do things differently from the mass.

In fact, I am about to analyze a list of four different reactions to the system that people can have. What I want to show is that, while the first three reactions of this list are way more popular, a fourth option exists – one that very few people consider- and it “works” better than all the others.

1. Complaining, but keeping on being exploited

This is by far the most widespread reaction, I see this behavior all of the time.

It’s full of people who have strong negative feelings against the frontmen of the system (typically the politicians who are more exposed by the media), and who complain endlessly about their conduct.

These people express disappointment and disgust in every conversation related to the government’s decisions, grumble in front of the television, write angry posts in the social networks. But then, the next day they show up at work and slave on. By doing this, they actually nourish those same people they complain about.

In fact, the corrupted members of the government, media and corporations do not feed on people’s appreciacion: they feed on people’s work. They don’t care much about the insults, their ego is usually big enough. As long as those same people who insult them keep on showing up at work, providing them money (through the taxes) and especially goods and services (that they’d never want to provide working at unpleasant jobs), they’re perfectly fine.

A corrupted minister in the government will probably not resign for the affronts he receives in the social networks. A website of online news won’t stop its propaganda just because people accuse it to lie in the comments section. And the head of a corporation will not stop destroying the environment simply because people say she is immoral.

They will stop only when the citizens will stop this dual behavior of complaining about them and also funding them with their job.

Now, If you really like to complain, don’t worry: you are in good company. You can join the majority and complain everyday about how immoral the politicians are, and how outrageous their conduct is. You can feel satisfied of being brave enough to use a computer’s keyboard to insult your politicians via internet. Then you’re ready for another day of slavery. Just be aware of one thing: you’re in the group that makes the vital lymph of the system.

2. Fighting the system

Fighting the system is a second possible reaction. Not as popular as just complaining as most people do (preferably behind the screen of a computer), but it’s still an approach that is very appealing to many.

The desire to fight the system is a healthy indicator that some people don’t accept passively to be exploited by government, media and corporations. They understand that typing some insults in internet, or grumbling in front of the news, won’t serve any practical purpose. So they actively organize to produce change, and the main route they usually choose for pursuing this goal is politics.

Unfortunately, as “brave and generous” as this approach is generally considered, there are several reasons why I don’t consider it a smart option.

The first reason is that, if you decide to fight the system, you give away a lot of your personal time and energy -both limited and precious- in doing so. This time and energy are subtracted from the time/energy you could actually use to enjoy your freedom.

Many people decide to do the sacrifice anyway, because they feel they are fighting for others as well, but often they are just living in an utopia: the belief that their fellow citizens want to be freed, as much as they want.

If you’ll spend as many years as I did trying to free people from the different limitations caused by the system (for example explaining why most corporate jobs are modern forms of slavery, or contrasting the misinformation spread by the media), you will eventually conclude that a lot of people just don’t want to be free. They theorize about being free -yes- they will encourage you enthusiastically to fight, and they will even applaude you. But then they will search for a boss to work for.

For many people freedom is a beautiful theory, and they want it to stay like that: just a theory.

In addition, I don’t think that sacrificing your time/energy makes sense also because the decision to fight the system is based on a wrong assumption: that the system is exclusively localized in the trio government-media-corporations.

Of course, these structures are the three highest expressions of the system, and you should definitely keep a close eye on them. But the mindset of cheating and lying that make government-media-corporations such oppressive entities belongs also to the “common” citizens, the same citizens who encourage you to fight.

Usually, the main difference between many citizens and the politicians is that the politicians are up there, in positions of power, just because they’re more astute. But for the rest, those citizens cheat and lie in the same way, just on a smaller scale. So they applaude you if you fight for them -they’re happy, of course, if you help them not being exploited anymore- but they’re not so available to become virtuous themselves. Are you sure you want to sacrifice for them?

And last significant disadvantage: if you organize trying to knock down the system, if you adhere to a political party or some other structure, you gain size. If you become big, it will be easier for the system to notice you, and therefore it will defend itself, and it will attack you back.

I don’t deny that important victories can be achieved reacting this way. But I see a disproportion between these victories and the huge amount of resources (time/energy) that fighting the system requires you. This disproportion, to me, doesn’t resemble much like freedom.

3. Joining the system

If you can’t beat them, join them.” says a common proverb. It’s not arguable that by joining the system, even if just at the lower levels, you put yourself in a favorable position.

You can get a job in one of those institutions that produce little or no value for the society, and make a living by predating those who do produce value. For example, in my previous articles I explained that I consider the political and the banking estabilishments big circuses that consume huge amounts of resources and produce almost nothing.

You can enter these establishments and, without necessarily having to reach the top of their hierarchies, you will enjoy benefits that the workers who have similar job duties, but in different sectors, will never have.

As much as it costs me to admit it, this approach does work in giving you notable advantages. In genereal, there is more money to be made. More recognition. More financial stability.

But I can’t avoid to steer into phylosophy here, with a personal perspective. For me, chosing to be part of the system is, if not “immoral” (a word I don’t like to use, as I understand that for each person morality is different), quite depressing. I would not chose this solution because I like to work to create something useful and beautiful for me and for other people too, rather than just parasite what other people produce.

Consider also two more practical and important cons of this choice. Working as part of the system, for example by doing an unproductive job for the government, some mainstream media, or a banking corporation, means actively working to the cause of these trouble makers. And the troubles will affect someone for sure, sooner or later. If it’s not gonna be this generation, it’s gonna be the next ones.

Even if you don’t care about the next generations, there’s another reason why I don’t recommend joining the system as a good way to reach freedom: it doesn’t put you in an indipendent position. You always depend from that part of the population that does produce (concrete goods and services).

And then, of course, there is a part of the population that you can never reach in your parasitic mission, because they are very elusive. Those who react as follows.

4. Leaving the system

You will be able to free yourself if you act individually, like a small and fast fish.

leaving-the-systemThe fish that adopt the reaction 1 (complaining) will stay in the net forever, without even trying to escape the trap.

The fish that adopt the reaction 2 (fighting) are fish who try to convince other fish to push against the net, to destroy it. But by aggregating they become like big and slow fish, that the net keeps trapped even more tightly.

The fish that adopt the reaction 3 (joining) are working for the fishermen. They need to search for preys, continuously. In the short run they have some benefits, but in the long run they, or their successive generations, will suffer for the damages caused to the sea.

The fish that adopt the reaction 4 (leaving) are a net minority, they act individually, they take the less beaten track, and they are those with the highest rates of success in reaching freedom.

How to leave the system

Be small and fast. Take advantage of these characteristics. Take care of freeing yourself first. Don’t organize and avoid confronting the system openly. As a first step, start by recognizing the mistakes the other people are making.

This is important, because those first three behaviors that I described above are so widespread, so many people adopt them in reaction to the system, that you have to do an effort to realize that -no matter how many people react those ways- they are not the smartest strategies.

Next step, you have to realize that the most valuable thing you can offer, as a person, is your work. What you do with your time. And your work is what the system really craves. It’s not money: the heads of the system know that money, eventually, is just a mental construct. They want the goods and services you produce by working dozens of hours per week at boring, stressing, hard jobs that are heavily taxed. They don’t want to do those jobs, they prefer that you do them, and that you put on the market the resulting goods/services for few pieces of paper (that they produce and control).

Many people let them do it, but you can make different choices.

It’s often said that in most employee jobs you pay so many taxes that you end up working 5-6 month per year just to feed the government (that will feed, in cascade, its media and corporation allies), and only the rest of the year for yourself. I don’t know if the proportions are this bad, but they seem close to reality to me. And I think it’s too much.

You are not forced to be exploited this way. Open your eyes and you’ll see alternatives that the mass usually is too blind to see. You can chose a job which is taxed less, especially of entrepreneurial type. You can generate income through passive streams. You can move to a different country with less abusive institutions.

If you leave a job that you don’t enjoy, a job which is heavily taxed by a government that doesn’t provide any decent value in return, there are some really positive effetcs.

You immediately subtract a resource from the system. This is really the biggest damage you can do to it, even more than fighting it through political action. The lymph of the system is the work the citizens offer to it. It’s the flow of employees who wake up every morning, drink coffe, rush out of the house, get in the traffic queue, and spend 8 hours a day producing goods/services that the will be put on the market for just some pieces of paper.

But what would happen if more and more people would quit this routine, up to reaching a critical mass? The system would collapse for starvation. That’s not gonna happen soon probably, but by detaching yourself from this model you give your contribution in this direction. In the meanwhile, stay focused on your personal situation.

Recognize that what you do with your time, your “job”, is a treasure. Make sure that this treasure consists of a creative activity, that you enjoy doing, that fullfills you, that produces concrete value for your customers. And make sure you are the main beneficiary of this activity, not the lazy politicians or bankers who print paper rectangles.

Remember that not all the jobs are taxed at the same level: chose those in which the tax load is lighter then. And if the situation really gets too oppressive in your country, and it’s too difficult to avoid working many months per year for the system, then go working in another country that allows you to thrive. Vote with your feet.

Act alone, now, without waiting for the others to wake up. If you try to free everyone else with you, indiscriminately, you’ll become big and slow like the institutions you’re trying to free yourself from. You’ll lose the advantage of being the small and fast fish.

Isn’t it a too selfish behavior?

I think just the opposite is true.

Not everyone who is exploited by the system is ready to leave, and swim towards freedom. Most people don’t even see the system, just feel the pain. And among those who see the system, many insist in adopting the reactions 1, 2 and 3.

But there is a fraction of people who are ready for a further step, who are ready for freedom. Indicate them the way, show them how you make it. Giving an inspiring example is definitely the most generous thing you can do!


Notes: For this article I’ve been inspired by the experience in Italy of the “five star movement”, the movie the Matrix, the allegory of the cave by Plato, and as usual by the beautiful ideas of Loren Howe and Harry Browne.

Related: What is the “system”?

Sveltina col cactus

In una delle mie passeggiate senza meta a Barcellona, recentemente ho scoperto questo bel giardino chiamato Mossèn Costa i Llobera, dalle parti di Poble Sec. Tutto andava bene, finché tutto quel turgore vegetale mi ha fatto nascere nella testa delle strane voci.

Roma vs Barcellona

Ormai posso dire di conoscere piuttosto bene sia Roma che Barcellona, per cui voglio scrivere alcune mie osservazioni sulle due città facendo un confronto. Purtroppo per lei, ve lo anticipo subito, Roma prenderà qualche sonora bastonata

In generale, di Barcellona posso confermare quanto dissi nel 2003, quando la visitai per la prima volta: è sicuramente bella, però non ha granché di speciale, se non altro in termini di monumenti, arte, scultura. Questo vale naturalmente prendendo come riferimento Roma, che ha una quantità di posti così incredibilmente straordinari che ti lasciano davvero senza fiato.

A Roma ci sono san Pietro con la cappella Sistina, piazza Navona con le sue meravigliose fontane, la piazzetta del Pantheon con le luci soffuse la sera, fontana di Trevi, e chi più ne ha più ne metta. Fai una passeggiata in centro, e ogni cento metri ti trovi davanti qualcosa di stellare. La più umile, semi-nascosta fontanella nella nicchia di un palazzo merita almeno qualche foto.

Barcellona non si può nemmeno accostare. Il monumento più famoso è la Sagrada Familia, che è sicuramente notevole, ma che però mi deluse già un pochetto la prima volta, con tutte quelle impalcature da lavori in corso. La Rambla, famosissima via in centro in cui c’è un continuo fiume di gente che cammina su e giù, in realtà è una via normalissima. Piena di negozi, ristoranti, artisti di strada, certo. Ma è una via normalissima.

Cos’ altro c’è a Barcellona? Piazza Catalunya e piazza Espanya, il palazzo nazionale, i giardini del Montjuic, il quartiere gotico, le statue di Gaudí, le spiagge. Tutto molto bello, eppure mancano i monumenti davvero memorabili, non ci sono tanti punti di interesse con l’ x-factor quanti ce ne sono a Roma.

Secondo me esiste quindi un mistero: come riesce Barcellona a reggere così bene il confronto con Roma nelle classifiche dei flussi turistici in Europa?

Ho fatto qualche ricerca e parecchie fonti indicano Londra e Parigi come prime due mete turistiche in Europa occidentale, seguite al terzo posto da Roma e al quarto da Barcellona. Mi è difficile trovare statistiche sicure e aggiornate, ma visto che spesso sono lì di persona, posso senz’ altro confermare un fatto indiscutibile: Barcellona ha un flusso turistico di proporzioni impressionanti, tutto l’ anno.

Ho l’idea che questo flusso, che tutto sommato non è giustificato da tanti monumenti particolarmente spettacolari, è giustificato in realtà da una serie di altri punti di forza che Barcellona ha saputo sviluppare, e che le garantiscono il successo che sta avendo. Vediamo quali sono, evidenziando le differenze che ci sono rispetto a Roma.

Innanzitutto: il talento dell’amministrazione

Barcellona, oggi, è amministrata da gente capace. Quel “poco” che hanno, lo sanno valorizzare e vendere bene. Ma soprattutto, laddove manca qualcosa, ci pensano loro ad aggiungerlo: in termini di attrazioni turistiche, ma anche in termini di eventi.

Un esempio di attrazione turistica creata sulla base del (quasi) nulla è la fontana magica. Si tratta di uno spettacolo di acqua, musica e luci fatto davanti al palazzo nazionale, di sera, nei weekend. La fontana usata per creare lo spettacolo è molto grande, ma la sua architettura è francamente modesta. Eppure, proprio partendo da una fontana così modesta, hanno saputo creare uno spettacolo molto suggestivo e che rappresenta certamente un’ attrazione per i turisti.

Sul fronte della capacità di creare eventi, invece, un ottimo esempio è il Mobile World Congress. Questa enorme fiera tecnologica, riguardante l’evoluzione di internet e comunicazioni mobili, ha acquisito ormai una rilevanza mondiale. All’ ultima edizione sono intervenuti i leader di molte delle aziende più influenti al mondo, tra cui Zuckerberg di Facebook e Wales di Wikipedia. La quantità di risorse che questo evento fa convergere verso Barcellona è davvero enorme.

Mi vengono in mente molti altri esempi da aggiungere a entrambe le categorie, ma voglio evitare di fare un elenco. In generale, trovo che Barcellona abbia un certo talento nel trasformare “quartieri normali”, in cui non ci sono né opere di Michelangelo né antiche rovine, in “quartieri interessanti”, grazie alla sapiente aggiunta di un mercatino, un’ installazione moderna, un giardino, un’ esposizione.

Non vedo la stessa abilità in Roma.

La nostra capitale è seduta su una miniera d’oro lasciatale dalle generazioni passate, ma oggi ha un’amministrazione talmente incapace/corrotta che non sa sfruttare questa miniera.

Io faccio spesso passeggiate nel centro di Roma, e ogni volta rimango stregato dalla sua bellezza. Non solo quella dei monumenti più famosi: a volte gironzolo a caso e mi ritrovo a entrare in chiese sconosciute, mai sentite nominare prima, e dentro ci scopro mosaici, dipinti, intarsi, cose straordinarie. Cose alla cui creazione, mi rendo conto, gli autori hanno dedicato anni ed anni della loro vita.

Eppure, quasi sempre di ritorno da queste passeggiate, tiro le somme e constato che praticamente tutto ciò di bello che ho ammirato, tutto ciò intorno cui erano ammassati i turisti, sono cose arrivate dal passato, create dalla civiltà antica. Templi dell’antico impero romano, chiese del rinascimento, palazzetti medievali…

e la Roma moderna che cosa sta aggiungendo a questo patrimonio? Troppo poco, direi. Quasi niente. Per lo più sta campando grazie a quegli antichi tesori, ma senza aggiungere alcun contributo degno di nota. Questo, naturalmente, non tenendo in conto “meraviglie” dai costi esorbitanti come la nuvola di Fuksas.

E sul fronte eventi, mentre Barcellona sceglie di concentrarsi sullo sviluppo tecnologico con il Mobile World Congress, Roma si prepara in questo periodo a ricevere i fedeli per un “giubileo extra” indetto dal Vaticano, ovvero l’evento di una religione centrata su Gesù Cristo, personaggio che con molte probabilità non è nemmeno mai esistito storicamente.

Comunque, tutto sommato, uno potrebbe anche pensare che considerate quante cose ci sono già, Roma se lo può anche permettere di sedersi sugli allori, e può limitarsi semplicemente a gestire l’ esistente.

La gestione di quello che già c’è

Dal punto di vista strettamente turistico, secondo me Barcellona sa proteggere un po’ meglio i suoi monumenti di punta.

Ad esempio, non ho mai visto enormi schiere di venditori abusivi sulla Rambla, o nelle piazze principali. Ed intorno alla Sagrada Familia ci sono soprattutto negozi che -seppure a caro prezzo- vendono principalmente souvenir il cui tema è Gaudí o la Spagna.

A Roma la situazione è più selvaggia. A volte i suoi capolavori sono circondati da situazioni imbarazzanti: schiere di africani che vendono borse cinesi nella piazzetta del Pantheon, via dei Fori invasa da venditori di aste telescopiche per fotografie selfie, fontana di Trevi assediata da fotografi pakistani, mischiati tra i turisti e muniti di polaroid, che fanno foto alle coppie chiedendo poi cinque/dieci euro.

Queste situazioni al contorno, che inevitabilmente diminuiscono il fascino dei monumenti, non sono altrettando comuni a Barcellona perché probabilmente c’è un controllo più rigoroso e una minore tolleranza al degrado.

Poi ci sono gli aspetti meno strettamente turistici, come la gestione di trasporti e la pulizia stradale. Questi sono aspetti che influiscono molto sulla qualità della vita dei residenti, ma naturalmente impattano anche l’esperienza della città che hanno i turisti. Anche in questo caso, secondo me, la spunta Barcellona.

Le metropolitane sono un po’ più pulite e affidabili. Non ho mai visto tanti bus stracolmi, con i passeggeri pigiati come sardine, quanti ne ho visti a Roma. I tassisti abusivi non mancano neanche lì, ma almeno a Barcellona non sono sfacciati come quelli romani, che piantonano la zona arrivi dell’ aereoporto. E poi, differenza importante, l’amministrazione di Barcellona investe su un mezzo semplice eppure cruciale per diminuire il traffico: le bici.

Bici pubbliche e traffico

Barcellona ha un sistema di bici pubbliche da applausi.

Ci sono stazioni ovunque, basta passare una tessera sul lettore magnetico per prendere una bici, da riconsegnare poi alla stazione di arrivo. I costi sono bassissimi e la manutenzione delle bici è ottima. La qualità del servizio è alta per cui tantissime persone lo usano (me incluso), e questo contribuisce parecchio a ridurre il traffico.

Roma non ha ancora niente di simile, il che è sorprendente considerato quanto questo semplice mezzo potrebbe migliorare la viabilità della città. E c’è parecchio da migliorare, dato che il traffico nella nostra capitale è un problema gigantesco.

A Roma vige la regola che se prendi la macchina “sai quando parti ma non sai quando arrivi“. Di questo è certamente responsabile l’amministrazione, in buona parte, pur considerando l’attenuante che Roma ha una geografia e delle dimensioni più ostiche rispetto a Barcellona. Ma di questo sono responsabili anche i cittadini romani stessi, con i loro comportamenti.

A Roma, per dirne uno, parcheggiare in doppia fila rientra molto di più nell’ambito della “normalità”. Questa è un’ abitudine davvero odiosa che vedo raramente a Barcellona.

Rifacimenti stradali ovunque

Di tanto in tanto a Barcellona ho l’opportunità di vedere non solo il centro città, ma anche diversi quartieri periferici. E un po’ dovunque vedo lavori in corso per migliorare il suolo stradale, rifare i marciapiedi, mantenere i giardini.

Non mi illudo che anche a Barcellona una parte consistente dei soldi -quelli che l’amministrazione ottiene da tasse e turismo- non venga inghiottita dalla corruzione, eppure l’impressione è che una frazione di risorse un poco maggiore rispetto a Roma venga reimpiegata nella manutenzione della città.

Diversi dei quartieri meno centrali di Barcellona mi sembrano, tutto sommato, decisamente puliti e vivibili. Non ho la stessa impressione a Roma, dove già allontanandosi poche fermate di metro dal centro appare qualche segno di degrado.

Che succede, ad esempio, se metto a confronto due quartieri residenziali e non-centrali che conosco bene in entrambe le città, Poblenou a Barcellona e Garbatella a Roma?

Poblenou è pulito, i giardini ben curati, non ci sono abusivi sui marciapiedi, l’area dietro il lungomare è attrezzata con percorsi per fare peripezie con biciclette e pattini (molto popolare tra i giovani tra l’altro, un altro esempio di come creare un’ attrazione dal nulla, con un po’ di cemento). In questo periodo, a Poblenou ci sono in rifacimento tutta l’area dietro il litorale e lo stradone principale.

A Garbatella, invece, per camminare devi fare la gimcana tra bancarelle abusive e auto parcheggiate ovunque: sulle strisce pedonali, davanti ai cassonetti, sui marciapiedi. Il parcheggio in doppia fila è uno sport che si pratica tutti i giorni, tutto il giorno. Le strade sono leggermente più sporche e i giardini hanno spesso l’erba alta. In questo periodo, a Garbatella non mi viene in mente alcun lavoro di manutenzione degno di nota.

Penso a diversi altri quartieri delle due città per i quali, ripetendo il confronto, otterrei un esito simile a favore dei quartieri di Barcellona.

X-factor concentrato vs x-factor diluito

In termini di architettura, tra Roma e Barcellona esiste una netta differenza.

La caratteristica di Roma è che la sua bellezza è concentrata in punti. Il centro della città è tempestato di gioielli: statue, obelischi, chiese, fontane, piazze. E come ho scritto sopra, Barcellona questi gioielli non ce li ha di certo, non della stessa fattura almeno.

C’è da notare però che Barcellona ha una bellezza più diluita in tutta la città. Non ci sono piazzette che possiedono lo stesso carisma delle piazzette romane, però in compenso ci sono interi quartieri, anche in zone fuori dal centro turistico, in cui le facciate dei semplici palazzi residenziali sono molto belle, decisamente degne di nota.

A Barcellona l’hanno fatto nel passato e vedo che continuano a farlo nel presente: quando si costruisce o si restaura un edificio, quando se ne intonaca la facciata, vengono spesso incorporati rilievi con motivi floreali, riccioli, mosaici. I balconi delle abitazioni della gente “comune” poggiano spesso su bellissimi capitelli.

Questo a Roma non viene proprio fatto. A Roma, fuori dal centro, sembra che moltissime abitazioni che sono “semplicemente residenziali” non vengano mai considerate degne di venir trasformate in un qualcosa di bello. Si fanno facciate piatte, con al massimo dei mattoncini, si aggiungono gli elementi essenziali, e basta. Il risultato è che nella nostra capitale ci sono parecchie zone con edifici che oscillano tra l’ “insignificante” e il “deprimente”.

Eppure non credo che ci vorrebbe un enorme sforzo di fantasia, o di soldi, per rendere le facciate dei palazzi più interessanti.

“Ok. In questo confronto non stai glorificando un po’ troppo Barcellona?”

Naturalmente, è assolutamente vero che anche Barcellona ha i suoi bei problemi, molti dei quali in comune con Roma.

Visto però che esiste il luogo comune secondo cui “la Spagna è simile all’Italia” e “gli Spagnoli sono un po’ come gli Italiani“, ecco ci tengo a precisare che secondo me no, non è del tutto vero: almeno prendendo come riferimento Roma e Barcellona, a me sembra che a Barcellona le cose vadano un pochino meglio.

Naturalmente, anche Barcellona soffre la presenza dei circhi moderni che distraggono la gente (lavori d’ufficio improduttivi, banche, consumismo), quindi non è che la l’amministrazione e la popolazione siano composte da molti più intellettuali, scienziati e artisti, in grado di riempire la città di meraviglie a ritmi velocissimi.

Dubito che vedremo apparire presto a Barcellona nuove opere d’arte al livello delle opere di Gaudí, così come dubito che vedremo apparire presto a Roma costruzioni gloriose al livello delle costruzioni dell’antico impero.

Eppure la mia sensazione è che, anche se le due città sono inserite in un contesto globale simile, la Barcellona moderna stia usando i mezzi a disposizione in maniera più intelligente rispetto alla Roma moderna, riuscendo nonostante tutto ad aggiungere più valore alla città anche in questo periodo, e riuscendo a gestire meglio il valore preesistente della città.

Io credo che sia questo talento il responsabile del successo turistico di Barcellona, e che sia anche il motivo per cui, secondo me, nella capitale catalana anche i residenti hanno una qualità della vita piuttosto alta.

Roma oggi è una città meravigliosa, Roma è una ricchissima ereditiera, ma io credo che abbia diverse cose da imparare dall’ attitudine della meno fortunata Barcelona. Speriamo che ci riesca.

Habemus oculos!

I feel super happy and blessed because February 13, 2015 I had eye surgery with laser to correct my myopia and now I see! My eyes work!

my-eyes-after-lasik-surgeryIf like me you have been myopic for an entire life, and also with a quite high degree of myopia (I had 5.75 myopia at the right eye, 6.00 myopia + 0.25 astigmatism at the left eye), you can probably understand why this seems like a miracle to me. I’ve been using glasses -which I’ve always hated- and contact lenses since I was a teenager, and now all of a sudden I just open my eyes in the morning and I see everything around me! It makes me so happy, and I feel lucky and grateful that it worked so well.

Why I did it in Barcelona

I decided to have the surgery at the Corachan clinic in Barcelona.

While I still consider Rome as my base location, lately Barcelona has become a sort of second home for me, and this year I’m planning to spend few months here. The possibility of staying away from home, in this case even for a rather long period, is one of the many benefits I’m enjoying since I decoupled my job from where I work. I’m loving it.

The reason why I opted for having my surgery here is very simple: my friend in Barcelona Gerard had it not long time ago, so he knew a good clinic in the city, and a doctor he trusted. I could listen to his experience and understand how it worked for him. In Rome, instead, I don’t have any close friend who had this eye surgery recently, apart from acquantainces who had it more than ten years ago. But then the technology was not even as developed as it is today, and I’m not in contact with those guys anymore.

Another reason is that my friends in Barcelona encouraged me a lot. I was very scared of the surgery, even if many people consider it a routine these days, and do it without too much stress. But my friends told me many times not to focus on the surgery itself, but on the idea of having my eyesight back. This has been, for me, a big motivation to overcome the fear.

In addition, I must admit that not having my family around was also a bonus in this case. They’re wonderful, but in a situation like this they would have unloaded on me all their worries and doubts, and I didn’t want to add theirs to mine.

At the end, I just decided to have faith that everything would have gone well.

First appointment: the preliminary exams

In my previous trips to Barcelona I flirted with the idea of having the surgery, discussing the intention with my friends and gathering information. But since those were typically short trips (few days to few weeks) there was never a real chance to concretely start the process. This time instead, since I’m staying for so long, the chance appeared.

So I told myself “Ok, let’s just do the preliminary exams at the clinic and see what they say. I can decide later.” After all, the exams were very cheap, and I didn’t even know if I was eligible for the surgery (not everybody is, it depends on a series of parameters, like the thickness of the cornea). Of course, inside of me I was really hoping I was eligible.

The first appointment at the clinic was January 26, 2015. I had a series of tests with different doctors which lasted a couple of hours in total, considered also the waiting times. They took my graduation, measured the thickness of my cornea, and inspected my retina. To inspect my retina they put on me those eye drops that dilatate the pupil, and the effect lasted well over the duration of the visit. In fact, for three days my eyes were almost all pupil and no iris, making me look like a drug addict!

As it turned out, the results of the exams were good. My myopia was within the limit that can be treated with lasik (that’s the name of the laser used to correct the vision’s defect), which is around 8 degrees. My cornea had a good thickness, and therefore a thin layer of it could be vaporized to reshape the eye lens. My retina was healthy too. As the doctor said: “Your eyes are in very good shape. They’re just the typical myopic eyes.“.

Second appointment: meeting with the doctor

The second visit was February 3, 2015. I talked with the doctor who was going to perform the surgery on me, doctor Carlos. He was very nice and professional, like everyone else I met in the clinic.

The doctor didn’t make any test this time, apart from measuring my eye pressure. Instead, he explained how the surgery was going to work, the times, the recovery process. He made everything sound very easy, as it eventually was. He answered few of my questions and then checked the results of my previous exams, confirming that the surgery was possible. Great.

At that day, I already knew the basic functioning of this refractive surgery. First, a flap in the cornea is created and lifted (similarly to when you open a tuna can…!), second, while keeping the flap lifted, the laser called lasik is applied to a deeper layer of the cornea. For myopic eyes like mine, lasik vaporizes a thin layer of corneal tissue (“ablation”) to reshape the lens of the eye, positioning the focus of the images exactly on the retina.

The fun thing is that, probably with educational intent, in the doctor’s office there was a tv on a wall showing one of these eye surgeries. So while I was listening to him talking, behind his shoulders I had this eye in the screen, wide open, that was being treated. I am very, very uncomfortable with those videos! There are many also in Youtube, but I’ve never been able to watch more than few seconds, because I find them super creepy. My cornea is going to be opened like a tuna can? Fine, but don’t make me see how you’ll do it! Fortunately the doctor turned the tv off, to help me relax.

At this point I had already decided to go on, and have the surgery.

The doctor proposed me two different options for the surgery, regarding how the corneal flap is created. This put a little extra stress on me, because I was actually hoping not to have to decide anything about the procedure.

The first option was the microkeratome: the cut on the cornea is done with a mechanical blade. The second option was the femtolaser: in this case there is no blade involved, but also the cut is done with a laser. So, with this second option, the surgery would consist of lasers only: the femtolaser to create the corneal flap, and then the lasik to ablate the internal tissue.

The doctor explained me that both techniques usually have very good results, so I shouldn’t have worried a lot about this choice. The microkeratome has been around for many years and it’s a bit cheaper. Many people have perfect results with it. The femtolaser, on the other hand, is gradually becoming the new standard. It helps creating more precise flaps and it’s a bit more expensive.

I heard about the femtolaser’s technique already some years ago, so the first instinct was in its direction. Also, psychologically, the idea of my cornea being cut by an impalpable laser felt much better than the idea of some hard blade. In the next two days at home I searched a little in internet the comparison “microkeratome vs femtolaser”, and the results seemed to converge in favor of the femtolaser.

These was the difference of price, of course, but it really didn’t justify going for the option that I considered the less attractive. For something as important as my eyesight, I would have been very happy to spend even 100 times more, if somehow that could have given me the guarantee of good results in advance.

So it was decided, the first session available was ten days later: a friday 13. I booked it.

Third appointment: the surgery

February 13, 2015 arrived. My appointment was at 10.00 am.

As recommended by the clinic, the day before I had used antibacterial wipes on my eyelids, and taken the first eye drops of a long series. By my own initiative, I was also coming from two days of a healthier-than-usual diet (zero refined carbs, and lots of colored fruits and vegetables), to have my body as in good shape as possible. I felt ready for the surgery, and not even as nervous as I thought I would have been.

But there was a trick: the mirage of the Valium was boosting my courage.

Valium is a psychoactive drug, one that people take to calm anxiety or panic attacks. During my first conversations on the topic with Gerard, I discovered that he took Valium before his eye surgery. He said he felt fantastic with it: “I was singing in the metro going to the clinic for my surgery, completely relaxed!“. I thought that it would have been great to be in the same state for my own surgery, because for me this was such a “big thing” that I thought I could have been excessively tense in a non-sedated condition.

I also found that I could have got the Valium directly from the clinic, on the day of my operation. I immediately decided I wanted it. In general I am very adverse to pshychoactive drugs and I’ve never taken one before in my life, but this time it seemed just fine to be in a lower status of consciousness and let the doctors do what they had to do. Basically, it was the idea itself, the idea that I would have been sedated during the surgery, that helped me a lot in the morning not to become anxious, while I was heading to the clinic.

In fact, it turned out that the Valium was useful, but mostly as a placebo. While I was waiting for my turn at the clinic, I had already succeeded in enterering a “state of grace”, and I was already feeling very calm before taking the drug. I swallowed the pill anyway (approx. fourty minutes before the surgery), but I really didn’t notice any shift in my mood, or in my state of relaxation.

There were something like 7-8 people having eye surgery in the same session. I realized that this surgery is basically done in pipeline these days.

I went in around 11.20 am. First, an assistant doctor checked my graduation again. Then I waited for ten minuted in a room, where they put some drops on my eyes, probably the anesthetic. I think they were calibrating the machines in the meanwhile, because I was the first patient that day having the surgery with the femtolaser.

I finally entered the surgery room, where 4-5 people were busy around the machines, coordinated by doctor Carlos. The procedure itself lasted around ten minutes. I laid down in a bed, face up, and they operated my right eye first. All I could see then was through my right eye, because I had a paper mask on my face with a single opening just in corrispondence of that eye.

In the first phase (the creation of the flap on the cornea) I felt something like a circular frame being laid down on my eye, applying some pressure. Then the flap was created, but I really didn’t understand much. All I was seing were white lights, moving. After that part was completed, the bed where I was lying was shifted under a second portion of the machine, and there the actual correction of my myopia happened with the lasik.

They had instructed me to look at a “red light” while the lasik was in function, and that’s what I did for few minutes. I was expecting a red dot, instead there were two lights: red and green. And they were dispersed lights, rather that sharp points. This part lasted around three minutes, during which I diligently kept on following the light in movement. I could definitely tell that my cornea was being vaporized there: it smelled of burnt!

In five minutes my right eye was done. The doctor confirmed that all went well, and replicated the procedure for my left eye. Everything went exactly the same way, the only difference is that this time I felt more pressure applied to the eye in the first phase, the creation of the flap on the cornea, and that felt a bit uncomfortable, slightly painful. For the rest, the procedure was really identical.

Out of the surgery room

Right after the surgery, I opened my eyes and I was already seeing. And I was seing precisely the way the assistant who introduced me to the surgery room had anticipated: “You’ll see well, but with a sort of cloud in front of you.“. Yes, I had the cloud. But I could tell that beyond that cloud things were already looking much better than before.

I was super happy! There was just a little bad news waiting for me at check-out: they didn’t make a video of my surgery! I was really hoping to get the record of it, and I thought the record was done by default for every surgery. Instead I found out I should have asked for it in advance, something I had not done. Pity!! According to my friend Gerard, during one of the previous visits they even asked me if I wanted the video, and he says that I replied no. -_- I honestly don’t remember that ever happening, but if that is the case, it would be a great trophy to how crappy my comprehension of the Spanish language still is.

Anyway, all was done. I got out of the clinic, happy and relieved. Since there was no sun that day, I could already walk in the street without even using sunglasses. Everything seemed so easy, and when my friends proposed that maybe we could have stopped for a coffee before returning home, I was like “Sure, why not! Let’s search for a bar in this area!“.

Ah, lovely optimism. I was still under the effect of the anesthetic. Two minutes more and I was saying “Hmm, I’m struggling to keep my eyes open. And even if I close them, it feels like if there’s too much light.“. Other two minutes and “Guys quick! Call a taxi, I want to go home right now!“.

I arrived at home with a solid headache and a strong sensation of discomfort at my eyes. I ate something, drinked water, applied several eye drops -which was challenging, considering that I was struggling to keep my eyes opened even for few seconds-. Then I taped to my face the protective goggles that I received from the clinic, to prevent unintentional scratches during sleep. In fact, I went to bed hoping to fall sleep and wake up later, without pain, but unfortunately it didn’t happen.

That afternoon, for the following 4-5 hours, I felt very bad. I kept on rolling in bed, suffering. I don’t want to make it sound too dramatic, as I actually felt even worse in other occasions when I was sick with fever. However, it was definitely not pleasant. I kept on drinking water and tried to focus on breathing while I was in bed, which I think helped a lot.

Finally, around 19.00 I started feeling better, and I even had a nap of half an hour. Then I got up, had a light dinner, put more eye drops, and then I returned in bed with my phone on my side, which was playing videos with relaxing sounds. Eventually, two or three hours later, I fell asleep. And I slept for about ten hours.

That was it. The day after I was already feeling very good, so all the post-surgery pain and discomfort were limited to the same day of the surgery. I heard stories from people who had lasik 10+ years ago, who had to stay locked in the house for days after the surgery, in the dark, with a lot of discomfort and “sand in the eyes” sensation. Luckily my recovery has been much easier than this. I guess it’s the same for a lot of people today, thanks to the advancement in the technology.

Post-surgery care

The clinic instructed me well about what to do after the surgery. My post-surgery care consisted mostly of three things: a lot of eye drops, dietary supplements, and protective goggles.

For one week after the surgery, I used eye drops with different functions: antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and lubricant. After that week I quit the first two, and continued with the lubricant only (which I am still using daily at the present, up to completing a period of three months). This has been an easy activity but it kept me quite busy, as I had to take the antibacterial and anti-inflammatory three times a day, and the lubricant five times a day.

In addition to the drops, I had a prescription for a dietary supplement, one pill a day for a month. Nutrients useful for the vision. I’ve never checked the composition of the pill in detail.

And then the protective goggles. Here’s me before going to bed, a picture I took one of the nights after my surgery:

my-protective-goggles-after-lasikUntil the cornea has healed from the wound created by the femtolaser/lasik, it’s better not to touch the eyes at all. One of the main risks is to stratch the eyes at night, unintentionally during sleep. So these goggles kept my eyes safe. They are actually two separate lenses that I taped each time to my face -with a super sticky tape- for nine nights after my surgery. The clinic recommended me to use them for one week, but I added a couple of extra nights to be cautious, as often I move around a lot in bed at night.

Post-surgery visits

February 14, 2015 in the morning, not even 24 hours after the surgery, I already had a first check in the clinic. I was already self-sufficient, so I went there alone with a combination of metro and taxi. Just having the ability to move independently in the city felt super! I couldn’t have done that in my presurgery life, without using lenses.

A young doctor took my graduation and inspected the surface of my eyes. There was definitely a bit of vision still missing, as I was struggling also with some letters of average size, but she confirmed that it was normal at that early stage. The surface of my eyes looked good. The visit lasted just ten minutes, and after that I returned home.

During the following days I didn’t work at all, I mostly rested, cooked, spent time with my friends, and had walks around Barcelona. I limited a lot the use of the computer and tv, and didn’t read any book. My vision was already very good, but not perfect. Probably around 90% perfect. Almost flawless with daylight, I only had some trouble with the smaller letters far away. But at night, or in darker places like the metro tunnels, I could tell that the quality of the images I was seeing was definitely worse. I had halos around lights, which I knew were a frequent post-lasik issue.

I was a litte anxious about that missing 10%. My eyesight would have improved further, or that was it? For few days I was constantly testing my eyes with signs and letters in the street, without significant improvements. The third day a little scar under the iris of my left eye appeared (or maybe I had not noticed it before). Then, fortunately, the fourth day a noticeable improvement came. Some of the street signs I was using as reference became clearer. That happened just in time for the second check at the clinic, which was five days after the surgery.

A young doctor, a guy this time, took my graduation once again. Right eye, almost perfect. Left eye, a bit lazy. I had to “guess” many letters. He reassured me, anyway, that everything was going very well, and that in the next week or two further improvements were very likely. Another doctor checked the surface of my eyes again, and again confirmed that my eyes were healing perfectly.

After this visit I was seeing around 95% perfect. I was super happy about it, definitely a great result. Anyway, here is where I started to realize that this good vision was coming mostly from my right eye, while my left eye was definitely not as good. In the following weeks my eyesight pretty much stabilized this way. Then, around week three, my left eye seemed to get slightly worse.

In the third check at the clinic, one month after the surgery, it was confirmed that I have a “souvenir” of 0.5 astigmatism at my left eye. While very happy in general about the results, I expressed a bit of concern about my left eye with the doctor, and he suggested me to have an extra visit in two of three months to check the situation again.

How I see now

Here is the situation today, five weeks after my surgery.

In general, I see very well. The improvement I had with the lasik surgery is gigantic.

My vision is not perfect. I am very aware that I don’t see as well as I did before with glasses/contact lenses.

There’s a substantial difference between how I see in the daylight and how I see at night. With daylight, my vision is almost flawless. I can read even the smallest signs far away. At night instead, or in darker places like the metro tunnels, the quality of the images becomes considerably worse. The problem is more evident with sharp contrasts, like with the street signs that are written white on black.

The difference between my right eye and my left eye remains. To me, the situation seems stable at this point, but the doctor said there is still some hope for late improvements to the left eye. We’ll see. I know that some patients do touch ups when the first surgery doesn’t produce perfect results, but I’d really like to avoid that. I feel that my cornea has already been burnt enough.

During this month, I experienced most of the post-lasik issues that are frequently reported in the various forums in internet: increased sensibility to bright lights, halos, eye floaters. Of these, the one that bothered me the most, and still does to date, is the increased sensibility to bright lights, as I was already very sensible to bright lights even before the surgery (I also have the photic sneeze reflex). But I want to remark that for me these are not important issues, when compared to the miracle of seeing again.

Another thing, that I noticed only in thast few days, is that occasionally the pupil of my left eye is bigger than the pupil of my right eye. I found that this condition is called Anisocoria. This is not causing me any particular problem, but I’m monitoring it to see if it disappears.

How I feel

In general, I am very, very happy about the results. Would I do it again? Yes.

The most important thing is that the quality of my life improved considerably. And I really feel blessed for this.

My eyes feel “fresher” than when I was using contact lenses, there’s not anymore that patina between them and the outside. Sometimes I still have the instinct of searching for glasses when I wake up in the morning, and sometimes my mind reminds me “you have to remove your contact lenses” before going to sleep, which is funny. It’s fantastic that finally I don’t need those routines anymore.

I admit that I’m a bit disappointed that my vision didn’t come out perfect after the surgery. I was really hoping to be one of those cases where they get 20/20 with the laser, but unfortunately it didn’t happen for my left eye. In my next visit at the clinic I’ll listen to what the doctor suggests about it. However, even if my vision stays like this and there won’t be further improvements, I think I can live with it. I’d rather not to stress my eye with a second surgery.

All in all, it’s surely been a positive experience, and I feel I made a good move.

Thanks

Last but definitely not least: I can’t say a thank you big enough to my friends Gerard and Roberto, for encouraging me, for helping me through the entire process, and for being there with me the day of the surgery. And a thank you from the heart to Cristina, for assisting me like a mother when I was feeling bad after the surgery, checking that I had everything I needed.

You’re really awesome guys.

Che cos’è il “sistema”?

Il sistema è essenzialmente fatto da tre parti. È importante che le identifichi, prima che tu possa liberarti dalla loro azione combinata.

ministri-governo1. il GOVERNO. Molti di noi crescono in una società in cui il governo è considerato qualcosa di necessario, utile, che merita molta attenzione. Si assume comunemente che i politici nel governo abbiano il ruolo più importante nella società, perché sono visti come “quelli” che sono responsabili di produrre cambiamenti positivi, e di creare condizioni di vita migliori per i cittadini. Io penso che queste aspettative siano fortemente ingiustificate.

Si, i politici impattano molte cose con le loro decisioni, ma la natura del loro ruolo viene comunemente fraintesa, e l’ importanza del loro ruolo viene eccessivamente enfatizzata.

I politici sono dei semplici spostatori di risorse. Tutto quello che fanno è raccogliere denaro pubblico attraverso le tasse e, dopo averne trattenuta una frazione per pagare i loro comodi stipendi, ridistribuiscono quel denaro ai vari settori, usando certi criteri (per esempio danno 20% a esercito, 15% educazione, 16% salute, 17% turismo…). Questo è il loro lavoro, spiegato semplicemente. Analogamente a router internet che instradano dati a vari computer, i politici instradano denaro pubblico a vari settori.

Così la domanda importante è: che criteri usano per assegnare il denaro? Come decidono quale settore merita di più, e quale settore merita di meno?

Se hanno buone intenzioni (lavorano provando a servire i cittadini), assegnano il denaro in accordo con quel che pensano essere il meglio per i cittadini. Ma anche in questo caso, la loro percezione di quello di cui i cittadini hanno bisogno è usualmente distorta. Molti politici passano tantissime ore in palazzi pomposi, si immergono tra le carte, si perdono nella burocrazia. Più tempo spendono nel macchinario del governo, più diventano distanti dai cittadini. E non solo si perdono nella burocrazia, si perdono anche in ideologie (“noi siamo di sinistra e voi siete di destra”), e si perdono nell’ ego (“noi abbiamo ragione e voi avete torto”), come risultato la loro azione diventa altamente inefficace.

Poi ci sono quelli che non hanno buone intenzioni, e questo non è un caso raro. Molti politici entrano nel governo pagati dai cittadini per servire i cittadini, ma finiscono a lavorare per servire sé stessi, invece. Così il criterio che adottano per instradare il denaro pubblico è ottenere quanti più vantaggi personali possibile. Danno di più alle istituzioni che lavorano danneggiando i cittadini (per esempio finanziando lotterie, produttori di sigarette, corporazioni alimentari che usano additivi chimici dannosi), sottraendo risorse alle istituzioni che lavorano per i cittadini (come ospedali e scuole). In questo modo ottengono “favori”, solitamente denaro e potere, dalle istituzioni che lavorano danneggiando i cittadini.

In entrambi i casi considera che il governo funziona secondo il principio della coscienza di gruppo: ci sarà sempre un numero delle sue decisioni che andranno contro i tuoi interessi. Come conseguenza, spostare molta sovranità da te stesso al governo, sperando che renderà le cose giuste per te, è una strategia perdente.

distorsioni-media2. i MEDIA. Molti dei media principali lavorano in simbiosi estremamente profonda con il governo. Infatti, la ragione per cui molti di noi tendono a considerare il governo così importante e utile è che, sin da quando eravamo bambini, abbiamo guardato i suoi politici nei notiziari, costantemente.

Pensaci: quando accendi la tv, quali notizie vengono date per prime? Solitamente è qualcosa riguardo al governo. Il presidente ha detto questo. Il primo ministro ha detto quello. L’opposizione ha detto quell’altra cosa. Dibattito su una nuova legge. Veniamo costantemente informati su quello che sta facendo il governo, e questo implicitamente crea dentro di noi la mentalità “sapere quello che il governo sta facendo è importante”.

I media principali mettono insistentemente il governo sotto i riflettori, e spesso usando una luce molto benevola: le ineguadezze del governo vengono trascurate, i suoi scarsi risultati amplificati. Perché? Perché si scambiano favori, sicuro. I media che ritagliano le notizie in una maniera utile al governo ottengono fondi, posti di lavoro, leggi favorevoli (tutto finanziato dai cittadini con le loro tasse). In ritorno il governo può continuare la sua azione, dato che i suoi politici continuano ad apparire in giacca e cravatta nei notiziari ogni giorno.

Anche negli altri settori, gli eventi presentati dai media sono raramente dipinti obiettivamente per informare gli spettatori, ma sono manipolati per produrre una reazione desiderata invece, per portare avanti un’agenda. Gran parte delle persone guardano i notiziari in tv e diventano conseguentemente indignati, spaventati, scoraggiati, senza nemmeno realizzare che quella è esattamente la risposta emozionale che voleva la persona che ha confezionato le notizie.

Il processo di selezionare quali eventi mostrare e quali eventi non mostrare è cruciale. Perché guerre che producono centinaia di morti vengono mostrate e dibattute per mesi, mentre altre che ne producono molte migliaia vengono ignorate? Perché studi che provano la sicurezza di un additivo chimico alimentare vengono mostrati, mentre altri che ne espongono i rischi per la salute vengono ignorati? Solitamente è perché qualche lobby fa più soldi con le prime opzioni.

Si può obiettare che fatti puri, obiettivi, non esistono, e che chiunque dovesse assemblare i notiziari dovrebbe fare una selezione, aggiungendo inevitabilmente la sua faziosità personale e portando avanti la sua propria agenda. Sono d’accordo con questo, ma allora penso che sia molto importante provare a capire qual’è l’agenda in ciascun caso. Quando leggi un articolo o guardi il notiziario, leggendo tra le righe vedi l’intenzione di informare gli spettatori o di manipolarli? E in entrambi i casi, perché? Ti incoraggio ad esercitare il tuo senso critico per rispondere a queste domande.

Una nota finale importante: è un falso mito che sia importante controllare le notizie regolarmente per “restare aggiornati”. A dir la verità io considero controllare le notizie regolarmente come un’abitudine molto controproducente. La ragione è che gran parte delle notizie dei media principali riguardano eventi che non fanno altro che spaventarti, problemi rispetto cui non puoi fare nulla, o cose che non hanno niente a che fare con te. Nel migliore dei casi sono una fonte di distrazione, nel peggiore dei casi ti renderanno seriamente depresso.

corporazioni-bancarie3. le CORPORAZIONI. Queste sono grandi compagnie che lavorano per profitti, usualmente con uffici/negozi in molti paesi diversi attorno al globo.

Le corporazioni esistono in quasi tutti i settori, dalle banche al cibo, giocattoli, vestiario, arredamento, elettronica, automobili, tabacco. Con un enorme fuoco sul fare soldi e il potere derivato dalle loro gigantesche dimensioni, molte di queste corporazioni hanno sviluppato un comportamento predatorio e hanno smesso di vedere le persone come persone, ma come “consumatori”. Spingono un modello di sviluppo non sostenibile che alla fine è destinto a esplodere.

Le corporazioni sono profondamente interconnesse con le altre due parti del sistema: i loro dirigenti hanno incontri frequenti con i capi dei governi, e comprano abbondante spazio nei media per pubblicizzare i loro prodotti.

È importante notare che gran parte dei cittadini di una nazione non realizzano che dietro le decisioni del loro governo c’è frequentemente una corporazione. Vedono solo il governo stesso, che è la parte più visibile del sistema, senza considerare che i suoi politici sono spesso forzati ad aver a che fare con corporazioni per tutte le decisioni più grandi. Forzati, certo, quando non sono essi stessi uomini piazzati lì dalle corporazioni.

Ci sono corporazioni abbastanza potenti da controllare i governi delle nazioni? Di sicuro: la banche. Le banche sono il tipo di corporazione più potente senza alcun dubbio, e hanno costruito un sistema finanziario complesso che è molto difficile da capire per il cittadino medio, e che dà loro vantaggi competitivi enormi nel mercato. Questo senza fornire alcun valore utile in cambio.

Naturalmente non tutte le corporazioni sono così potenti, e non tutte loro vendono prodotti di valore così falso come i soldi di carta. Nonostante ciò, vendere cose di dubbio valore con l’appoggio dei governi e usando trucchi di marketing nei media è un tratto comune a molte corporazioni del mondo moderno.

L’appoggio dei governi spiega perché succedono cose pazzesche sotto un modello di globalizzazione. Per esempio nel mio paese, Italia (attualmente il maggior produttore mondiale di kiwi), trovo spesso nei supermercati kiwi provenienti dalla Nuova Zelanda. C’è chiaramente qualcuno che ha deciso che è più conveniente -per loro- trasportare kiwi dall’altro lato del pianeta piuttosto che dall’agricoltore vicino.

E riguardo i trucchi di marketing, devi solo accendere la tv per vedere la pletora di pubblicità relative a snack pieni di zucchero raffinato e “esaltatori” di sapore, vestiti e scarpe che ci rendono “belli”, prestiti che ci permettono di diventare proprietari di case e automobili che sono degli status symbol, ultime versioni di gadget elettronici che rendono i nostri precedenti obsoleti, e così via.

Io credo che questo modello consumistico, spinto dalle corporazioni, non durerà. Ma anche finché dura, crea molti problemi perché diffonde l’illusione che diventiamo felici aggiungendo oggetti alle nostre vite. Invece, è vero esattamente l’opposto: “le cose migliori nella vita non sono cose“.


Note: il modello non sostenibile di sviluppo spinto dalle corporazioni è spiegato molto bene nel documentario “La storia delle cose“.

Relativi: Come liberarti dal sistema