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Project Michkin 2022: For a world with more “suckers” doing what they feel is right

A julgar pela realidade que vejo registrada nas paredes das cavernas digitais, a vida é uma interminável batalha entre malandros e otários.
Judging by the reality I see recorded on the walls of digital caves, life is an endless battle between rogues and suckers.| Photo: Reproduction

There was a time when the ritual was more consistent. On the last day of the year, I would sit down and write down a list of plans for the year to come. I had everything: reading x books, writing x texts, exercising, eating better, going to church more. In the years of unemployment I included, of course, looking for a job. In the years of singleness he wrote, bolded, underlined and highlighted in loud lines: finding a girlfriend.

In recent years, however, the ritual has lost its solemnity and minutiae, and has been replaced by more ethereal and lofty goals. Knowing that God always laughed at my pretensions of wanting to control life, I abandoned the practical and materialistic plans, preferring to stick to ethical and moral principles.

It was like that on the last day of 2021, In the short interval between the end of work and the opening of the first bottle of sparkling wine, I sat for thirty seconds in my rocking chair to draw a goal that boils down to one word: trust. I confess that, in a pre-ethyl frenzy, I even considered naming the whole thing Project Prince Michkin. But I think it’s too early to trust that they won’t accuse me of being pretentious because of such nonsense.

Four days into the year, however, and already I notice how high this Everest of mine is. Trusting is no longer natural; it is no longer an innate characteristic of the human being. Left of an admirable virtue. On the contrary, the act of trusting has turned into an eccentricity as ridiculous as wearing a bow tie or sitting in a rocking chair to think. Worse: we live in a world that encourages mistrust all the time.

This is why we live in a permanent fear of everyone around us, from politicians to scientists to pharmaceutical industry shareholders; from the greengrocer to the porter, passing by the Uber driver; and, in the most serious cases, from best friend to wife, even through our parents. After all, we are constantly bombarded by examples of people who trusted their fellow man and who, therefore, were deceived.

Tricksters & Suckers

Judging by the reality I see recorded on the walls of digital caves, life is an endless battle between rogues and suckers. But, if that’s the case, who said that it’s only up to us to play the role of tricksters, cunning and executioners? Who invented that this is the way to glory and immortality? My God, how is it possible to hope for a modicum of peace when life turns into a tiresome conflict between people bent on outsmarting each other?

In this scenario, the people involved in this unhealthy relationship are more likely to end up on the floor, each having been tripped. Both defeated, but deeming themselves victorious. Which brings me to a fundamental aspect of this argument: assuming that the sucker does what he considers right

by principle and, therefore, he is tripped by the rogue, what does he actually lose (besides balance, of course)?

The other day (or many days ago) I read a sentence whose author I can’t remember. But it’s not mine and, if I remembered, you can trust it: I put his name here even if he was one of those authors that we’re ashamed to mention. The phrase says that “the world is made up of executioners who see themselves as victims and are envious of other executioners”. It may even be a very cruel generalization, but it seemed to me to be quite accurate, as well as useful in this text. Replace victims and executioners with suckers and rogues and, voilà, watch the magic happen.

I could now act as an arrogant intellectual and say that it is possible to break with the mimetic relationship. Quote Girard. Talking about cycles of violence. Or whatever. But it’s the beginning of the year and, I don’t know about you, but I’m already tired and not willing to play around with cryptic messages. So I’ll just say that my plan for 2021 is to trust. It’s cultivating a kind of intentional naivety. If I’m going to look like a sucker along the way, so be it. I prefer the deep sleep of the naive to the tormented insomnia of the smart ones.

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