26. OBEY

1- OBEY - 300 - B&W - 1




Believe of







Hi folks!

Today we have our guest who with his life can represent a short period of our history, a period that has shifted many believes and expectations, periods when political systems have changed with amazing speed, a period right after the “Cold war”. He agreed to talk today about his life, his path, and about some historical, economical, and individual changes during the last twenty-thirty years. Personally, I found several aspects of his life adventure to be very interesting as well as some of his views on the past. For the most of us he represents a different model of development of an individual personality and a different type of thinking that apparently could be much more integrated in our everyday life than we want to believe. He asked me to call him Peter, but we will see if he would like to share more details about his real name.

– Welcome Peter!

– Thank you for having me.

– How do you want to start? Do you want to say something about yourself?

– I am OK with what you just said and that is pretty much what I would say.

– You do not want to disclose your name can you explain the reason?

– Then tell us about what you are doing and what brought you here?

– What I am doing is hard to describe in the language we are using especially here. In countries where I grew up, people knew what that means. I would say I am doing work that requires me to stay on the edge of the progress. This work includes pretty much all types of activities that can excite. We can call it investment, investment in all type of exiting things.

– Are you agree that it is not very clear description? Can you tell about your path then, how did you start it? Just a little bit of history, if you would.

– About 30 years ago when we all were young, my friends and I, and actually most of people at that time at that place have been forced to be pioneers. By pioneers I mean not the kids who wore red scarves. That was a little bit earlier for us, but a people who discovered new horizons in their lives. That was a time when none of us knew exactly what to do, just at that time we had a huge shift in our political and mental maps especially in the countries of Eastern Europe. Our political and mental maps were changed in just a few days and none of our previous leaders were able to succeed in maintenance of ethical standards and of course our previous values. Suddenly we all had to find new values and at the same time our new lives.

– Based on what I know about your background your primary value at that time was money and profit.

– Yes, that was a main value we had to accept at that period for several reasons. First at all, money was something that we never had before in the country where I was born and none around me had an idea of money. Money not as “paper money” that you can use to buy things, but “money” as a concept of success and concept of personal development. I still remember how my dad was terrified to find a few pieces of paper that I drew with a pencil to make them look like paper money from a different countries. I did it for a game with no other reasons, but that was almost a crime at that time. In your country you do not need to explain what money means but at my place it was nonsense. The second reason, money was not a value that we were able to choose or not to choose, that was a value that appeared there after the “wall” fell, as if it was in a tank with two parts and a wall in between. If you make a hole in that wall between the two chambers, and if you will have a difference between the contents of both parts, that difference produces value. You can see something outside of your part of tank in another chamber and you want it since it is new for you. On the other side in another chamber other people also saw something that they needed, something that I had at that time. Then, because of that difference came the value and money. We have been too young and too crazy to understand even that simple mechanism. I think we all have been looking for something new that would simply work, something new for all of us.

– What was that new thing and how did it work for you?

– We had to find a new form of success in a new society and we did it in few steps like everyone else around us. At a certain moment we found that some people were doing similar steps and doing them in the same direction. We did not see them until we found each other face to face in a front of the door that was enough just for few of us to go through. We found that the rules we had been making on our own are more universal and that other people found this exactly the same way. Then we had to continue our walk altogether but just a few of us, only those who were able to survive and move across that small door. After that moment we had to go on a very small pathway and I am pretty sure you have similar things here. When you go in such tight tunnel with people who are simply fixing you from all ways around, you have to slow down. You cannot make mistakes or uncertain steps, nor can the other people around you as well. You and everyone around has to think about the team as regards themselves. That experience really helps to understand how to feel by your gut and how it works when you work as a team, yet still work on your own for your own interest. On that road you can survive with others only if you have your personal goals in front of you. I would add only with few of others.

– I know what you are talking about but our listeners may not understand you. The rules you are mentioning were rules of crime. I know you believe that it was the only way to survive, but in fact that was a crime. Can you tell us why it was so widespread at that time across such a big territory?

– I would not call it a crime and that is not just my belief. These were the rules. Rules that were accepted by people on all levels the social system in my country and in many other countries. At that time, in these places, economical and political rules were uncertain. We all have been walking in darkness and we were looking for the rules just by learning things that we never saw before. When we found in the darkness other people who are going in the same direction with similar goals. When we found each other going the same way, we all were surprised! Surprised that we had the same rules and the same goals. It became clear to us that we were doing the right things since it was happening the same way for all of us. We all went through many steps to understand these basics. We also understood that there are no other rules because what we were looking were the things that nobody knew, and did not exist at that time at all. We had to make it from scratch. You and most of your listeners have been growing up with the rules. That is much easier and honestly a much safer way to live. Following the rules you are protected from falling. Looking for the rules in the darkness you put yourself in big danger. The danger you call crime, but the only alternative we had at that time was to sit calmly and do nothing.

– So-called ‘rules’ you used at that time were at the extremes of common beliefs of what was right and what was wrong. As I know you used people to get easy money and the only limitation you had were others similar to you people who were looking for the easiest ways to get wealthy, just like you.

– You’re right and I understand your concerns but we have that habit to believe that there is no goal that would stay higher than any source you put toward reaching that goal. That is our common ethic, but in real life there are no such sources that could be superior to the goal. It is a myth that reaching goal you are supposed to accept the others rights. Goal first at all needs sources to survive, any goal, and if you really want to reach your goal you cannot care about sources. Sources are a food for the goals whether you like it or not. Any goal will have no chances to survive if you care of sources, and become virtually unreachable. Goals are always higher than any source, and that is the only way of progress. Looking on the hundred years of the development of human society we can find that ethical norms are the main limitation of our progress, unless it helps to keep things organized. That is why we have rules to limit inconvenience and negative impact we may have and to protect ourselves from other people, and I hope you agree that finally it is our social rules that provide the main limitations but not our internal ethical norms. At that time in that society we had no rules, and that was the only difference between your and mine ethical values. However, your grandpa as far as I remember went through a similar story and had very similar values to those I had thirty years ago.

– What was next on your path?

– Then we found people who had been staying on their high even before we came to the idea that there are no new ideas. These people had a big weight and big sources they had been controlled for such a long time and they did not let us go in the direction that we wanted to move. There were no way to fight with these people and we had to give them some of our force and our sources so they will let us to move ahead but at that point we had to slow down even more.

– Who are these people?

– These people are those who make the rules that we all follow everyday. In this country you have these people speaking to you on TV and even sitting sometimes here with you. We also had them on TV, but at that time these big cats did not exposed themselves. They kept their rules but they were uncertain what kind of rules would work well for them. That was the only reason why we had a chance to get close. In your well-structulized society it would never be possible for anyone like me to meet them. What they definitely knew is that they are still making the rules and that they control all things around. They established the borders where we and all other newcomers could play. I think that was very helpful, because they gave us the opportunity to investigate the new possibilities and to find new things around and new opportunities for development. These people knew that we must have some freedom to create new things and new ways for their system. That was a very interesting time, many of the concepts, ideas, and schemes that we are using now were designed at that time.

– Can you give me some clear examples?

– Your country went through the similar path about hundred years earlier and you definitely know how that works. I do not want to talk about financial schemes that work only for people who using them, but I can give you an example that had a big impact on all of us. A few years before the “wall” fell I helped my friend to escape. The main trick was how to clear his records since he was working his whole life in the “closed” institute in the department of defense doing high-tech research. I worked with him for a short time right after I completed my education and we designed the things that can surprise even now. When he decided to leave the country he was the chief of that institute and of course had no chance of crossing a border. It was his luck that there came a good time with many new waves and new friends who were looking at the global issues with the new eyes and they helped him. Only a few years ago I found that he managed to move across the “green corridor” I organized for him and his family an archive with secret documents and patents from his institute. He started to publish these papers here, that was right after he established his own company and he later a non-profit institute. His gut feeling combined with knowledge allowed him to sell about half of these papers to your government and, then, he invested the other papers in the companies that we all know. I know what he was doing thirty years ago and how that may impact technological progress and our life now. Some of the devices you are using in this office may not have existed if he had not been able to move all of these ideas.

– We are talking about ethical issues and historical perspectives and I agree the line between crime and normal life was really thin. You were telling me once about other terrifying things like they were normal, like that was a normal life.

– That was a normal life! I knew several people who were developing themselves in other directions that have nothing to do, by definition, with crime. They were doing art, science, and many other pretty common things, some of them you may even know. They all had been going in the same direction as me and doing exactly the same steps and finding the same rules. Finally, they all had made their own rules, of course, and went through the same path as I did.

– Tell us what came after you were able to please big people?

– The next steps were the same like everywhere else. Here you have exactly the same rules even now. Whoever in your country or any other places finds a way to develop a new idea, a new business, a new direction that has never been explored before, he has an opportunity to control his new territory. Then, people who make the rules give him the power to develop his own direction and invite newcomers to help. Of course, he has to pay to the “big basket” but that may help him later. On Wall Street this is called a “Golden parachute” but it works just the same. In science, in art, if you are on that level and can do your own projects you can get “funds” or “grants” and those who give you money, they do not care about the details of how and what you are doing, you just have to give them your product, that in fact can be nothing, but noise, but noise costs money and that is how it works. Everyone wants clear results, but noise is something that we all have to sell sometimes. Finally we all are looking for a new knowledge and we are always ready to exchange our knowledge for money.

– Who knows that the knowledge that you have has any value?

– No one knows! No one knows what everyone has on both sides of a deal and no one knows what he will have at the end. We all have to guess and to predict. Can you see any difference between what I was doing and other fields?

– Yes, because at some point in your path what you did was a crime.

– You are repeating the same word to target the same point. There is no crime, there are rules! At that time we did not have enough rules to support the definition of crime. What for you was a crime for us was normal life. Right now I am living here and I am doing the same things I did twenty years ago just according to your country’s rules that I have to respect. Because of that you cannot say that what I am doing now is crime. However, the game is exactly the same.

– Your point is clear but you put your “work” on the same level as scientists or physicians’ work. Who is a judge in that case, society?

– It is hard sometimes to find who is in charge. In many cases it is up to you. If you want to be in charge you will be in charge. I have talked to many people about this. At that time we all did the same steps, my friends and I as well as many other people who were doing science, sport, art, medicine. I would say there is only one rule in that game. Whatever you do, you must be at the peak of your performance. Whoever is working at the peak of his capabilities, he is in the same boat no matter who is he. I never had a problem finding the same language with such people. Twenty years ago one great scientist had helped me to find an optimal solution to distill alcohol in conditions that no one would accept. Sounds strange now, but that was knowledge at is peak of performance for me and for the part of society I represented.

– How people usually setup the rules in such games? How can you believe each other if you do not know who has such knowledge and who has not?

– Although no one is able to predict what will happen, we generally are able to estimate the quality and, that is more important, the endurance of the players in that game. That is how we come to our judgment. That is the only surface of our existence that has structure and allows us to   embrace all untouchable shapes and forms in our searching for something new, something “that no one knows”. That is the only thing that makes “bullshit” valuable for business and turns it into a successfully developing structure. That works the same way for all people who are at the peak in all fields. If you see any difference between the different fields I would be surprised.

– Again, you are trying to compare and put on the same level your development as a “businessman” and development of other people who serve the society. What do you think is the main difference and the main similarity between you and other people?

– I have described most of these similarities already. Another one is that all these people care only about real things, things that simply work. They just do that, they just work and there is no bullshit behind these things. The pure action of simple things makes this world active, strong, and healthy. Most of the other things around are bullshit. Actually almost all things around us are bullshit, except of the hammer and all way up to the nuclear weapon and Wall Street because they all do the same job. They may look much more complex but in fact they do the same thing and that works.

– How you then would describe other things?

– Other things fuck my brain. Sorry, everything that fucks my brain is BS. I know it is provocative, but I can’t say anything against this statement. If you rely on simple things, they can make you stronger and healthy so you can resist the bullshit. Do not consider these statements as a philosophy. That is just something that works and it helps explain my point. These simple things just work and not many things can do that, believe me. There are no stories behind it, just a pure action. However, in our present world we mainly use and sell bullshit. It is the main product of our world and it is the most expensive product but that product is destroying us.

– Interesting view. These simple things they apparently can be used in a different ways and I expect that it is up to you what action you want to get with them, isn’t? I am pretty sure you have been using them a lot particularly early in your career.

– Tell me how many different ways can you a use hammer? It has a very clear purpose and it is hard to change that no matter how you are going to use it. Whatever you do with it its purpose will be just the same. You can find many different applications for hammer but the purpose will be the same.

– I have concerns that some of our listeners may consider your concept not as that simple. A person who accepts crime as a path in his life can hardly be an authority in this country regarding what will work and what will not.

– At the same time your listeners consider the authority of people who kill each other every few months as being in the same time your well-recognized and honorable leaders. Milosevic, Khadafy, Hussein, Bin Laden, and all their previous friends who were shaking their hands and had a good businesses with them for decades, now happy and shaking other hands after killing them one by one. Do you think they do not know that one of them who express now his enjoyment about killing his recent “friend” will not be the next? These people are your listeners’ authority!

– They also guarantee our rights and our stability. They make steps but controllable steps, controllable by our society.

– I’ll be surprised if your listeners do not agree that their leaders just maintain their status qua to survive on political arena now.

– The weaknesses of our society are in the weaknesses of our leaders, is it what you want to say?

– Their main weakness is that they want to maintain themselves as the top of this system. They believe that they are on that top of the food chain. In fact, people who where able to survive for a long time as the political leaders, usually consider themselves as a “glue” of the system. New leaders put themselves on top of this pyramid but at the same time they are completely dependant on society and much more dependant than Khadafy, Hussein, or Bin Laden. After killing these guys they have no trouble continuing to kill each other.

-Do you agree that these people whose names you just pronounced need to be isolated from the society and even destroyed if there are no other ways to stop them?

– It is hard to consider these people separately from those who killed them. From what we know about their lives it is clear that they have never been isolated from our global politics and global economy and especially from the other leaders. In fact they have been very deeply integrated into all social systems and that could be the main problem and main danger of their lives. I mention only these names just to answer your questions about authorities and ethical norms that your listeners value but it is just the tip of the iceberg.

– Then, tell us, what is the main problem of our leaders then?

– They will have a pretty bad end simply because they cannot come to grips with the new rules in a new world that will work for them and for everyone else. They may not completely understand the new rules that we all are developing right now.

– What about political leaders in your country?

– Right now they are in the same boat. They in the same food chain and they are making the same mistakes if anything that people can make on that level can be consider as a mistake.

– What do you think produces the main danger now?

– Our leaders do not know what to change, they have zero creativity to change this world and they just want to keep it the way it is to survive and grow. Protective strategy will kill them, in fact I believe they are already dead.

– In your life you went through the several social systems. Do you think that the system you finally chose is the optimal one to support people and to direct them in the right way, even people with your type of background?

– All of changes in the political systems that I went through have a logical and practical sense. We are living in the period of the decline of “Political society”. Most of people now cannot say that they remember and saw the social systems that were made because of an idea, made for a new concept of a better life. We still remember just some examples like Israel or Cuba but most of people do not remember why it was so important to test these new social systems. None of new “democratic revolutions” in the last ten-twenty years happened to test a new concept of society. People have no new social concepts to produce now and they are just fighting for resources, money, and power.

– Don’t you think that resources, power, and money were the main reason for all social changes in the past?

– In some way yes, but progress and money are not the same and initially our games in the “social systems” were a mechanism of our progress. In many cases people had enough money when they decided to change the things from the top. Even your beloved Zbigniew Brzezinzki now accepts the fact that your society was much more “social” and “altruistic” around one-two hundred years ago while now egocentrism of single dominant people are destroying the whole idea of your country. To me it looks like we simply do not have any future steps in this “social game”. We are in a front of the “wall” holding a sign that says “dead end”. We had a long path to find this wall, and we do not know if something else can be behind that wall or if it is a real dead end. We already tested all possible social systems that we can come up with and we chose democracy not as the best but more or less as an acceptable for most of us. But already for a long time now we have not had any new social concept that we can accept and test. Without new social concepts people will start to kill the old ideas, old values, and finally kill each other. That is what we have going on now.

– If I understand you correctly you think that all possible models of social structure have already have been tested and now we have to choose the best? So, we have chose one that according to Churchill is not the best but better than others. According to you the absence of new options and new social concepts will stop our societal development in the future? Is that right?

– Again, I see this as a dead end for “Political society”. Economical factors are playing more powerful rule right now than our democratic values. It could be that we went through all possible social systems. We have played with many of them and we know how they work and why they do not work now and we still do not like what we have. Of course the absence of new social concepts will stop our development. We may say that we are at the beginning of a Middle age just like a thousand years ago when all our previous systems-religions where gone or destroyed one by one and we decided to use the concept of  “Christianity” just like now we are using the concept of “Democracy” to enforce other people to do what we want including killing people. That is how it worked for “Christian civilization” just before the Crusades. Now we call it “Democracy”. And that is fair because we perceive almost no difference. We are going to the East to protect our high believes, to get gold, and to kill people just like at that time. The only difference is that now we are going there to get black gold.

– You think we are going in a historical circle?

– There are two possibilities why it is happening so similarly. Either we are slightly mentally retarded or, let say, underdeveloped at this time to find a new way. If this is the case it may get better after a few cycles when we will have a clearer understanding of how these cycles work. Another possibility, is that this problem may not be solved at all because this problem simply has no solution. That could be the case where this problem is our “engine” for our development as society and for all of human civilization. It is possible that we need this unsolved problem: the problem of a better social system that we want to find, the problem of that historical cycle that we want to stop, and problem of that wall we have in front of us that limits our future steps. That problem may just simply exist to help us to find something else and move ahead. That “wall” could be our mind, it could be determined by our mind structure and if this is true this is the sunset of “Political society”.

– So, following your ideas it is sounds like we are at the beginning of the new Middle ages in our history? We are in a front of the “wall” that we can’t go through or may be in a front of the “empty room”, “empty centuries” that we have to fill with a new purpose that will take us a long time?

– You remember when we just started our discussion, I was saying how that many people were looking for directions in a “dark room” with no rules? In fact all rules were already there, we just had to find them inside of that room and inside of ourselves. It could be that right now we are all in a similar but much bigger room. A room that includes not just a few countries like twenty-thirty years ago but all of our whole society. Then we all, our leaders and all of us, we are looking for the new rules, and we are making our new rules, and like you said we are filling this new unclear dark space with a new purpose that will work for all of us. Now we are all in danger because we have no rules to follow until we will make them!

– Interesting view. I would like to stay with you longer but our time has limits. I appreciate your visit and I hope we will have a chance to talk to you again. Thank you Peter for being with us today!

– It is my pleasure. Thank you for having me.

– Thank you all and see you next week at our regular time!