When I was a student at the University of Perugia, my Film-Aesthetics professor made a speech to our class at the end of last year: "you bought the manuals and books we told you to buy, you studied them and understood their content, that’s good…but now forget them! Go out there and learn by building your own path. Now it's time to embrace life, It’s time to play your part of the story”.
Even if at first I was not sure of the meaning of this advice - I was not sure it was an advice at all - those words stayed with me for long time. My take out of it was not to be afraid of living life and welcome all different inputs for my professional career. Be able to learn even from bad situations. Do not fear failure but embrace it. If I was capable to recover from a project, job or relation that went wrong without fear of the despair that usually follows these kind of situations, I would probably gain strength and fear nothing. Do not follow Idols or so-called Masters but be open to extract a lesson from everybody, even people I don’t like, shaping my path by contrast, not only by affinity.
Going further back, when I was in High-School, I remember my Music teacher using a very difficult word to pronounce: “Gesamtkunstwerk”, translated into English as “Total work of Art”. A term used for the first time in 1827 by German philosopher Trahndorff and then used by Richard Wagner. The term indicated the ideal of theatre where music, dramaturgy, poetry and figurative arts converge in order to achieve a perfect synthesis of the various arts.
The idea of putting together so many styles and disciplines and make them coexists as a single unit always intrigued me. What if that was possible with every aspect of life too?
Growing up, I recall asking myself many times if (and how) I was going to ever be able to shape my life the way I wanted. How was I going to go through the mess of economic crisis, low-employment rates, globalisation, relationships, etc. How to give order to my life, how to gain control? It was hard for a while but gradually I understood It was all connected to Ethics and Energy.
“Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong” Murphy's Law states, and It may sound pessimistic - I know - even more if we use this quote to define how modern life feels like sometimes. The truth is that life is not only difficult, it’s also extremely complicated. Too many factors, too many uncontrollable variables. We call these uncontrollable variables “Chaos”, also known as Entropy.
The second Law of Thermodynamics says that “The total Entropy can only increase over time for an isolated system” meaning that It’s natural for things to lose order. If not organised, life (or a Company) will lose order and increment entropy, reaching a status of chaos, where everything It’s more likely to go wrong.
Since I was very young, I often felt out of sight, not at peace with the “environment” I was living in and I could never really understand why. I recently came across a theory called “evolutionary mismatch”. Because evolution is gradual and environmental changes often occur very quickly on a geological scale, there is always a period of "catching-up" as the population evolves to become adapted to the environment. It is this temporary period of "disequilibrium" that is referred to as mismatch.
I encountered that mismatch and felt "disequilibrium" many times in my life: wrong city, wrong job, wrong time of the year, wrong plans, wrong friends, etc.
Fortunately, Ethics and Energy - two pillars of life - were there to help.
Ethics for me is attitude, style, the ensemble of values that helps me build a wide vision/approach on life and Energy is force, motivation, drive, that allows me to control entropy, not to overcome it. Because, even if equipped with bright minds and strong egos, men will never win against entropy and nature, that’s a fact. But for sure we can create systems of values that help us navigate thought it, learning from it.
Quiet-Chaos, that’s what life is - at least for me - a mix of different elements that coexist together, like in Nature, Arts or Math, and as Robert Frost once said: “The best way out is always through”.
Sources: Alan Singer, James Clear, John Dewey, Robert Frost, Mario Bunge.