October 28, 2015
“How to behave in the new old world”, a speech by Mikhail Delyagin to young Russian audience
Translated by Kristina Rus
Mikhail Delyagin is a former head of Russian presidents analytical center, adviser to Prime Minister of Russia, director of the Institute of Issues of Globalization, editor-in-chied of “Svobodnaya Misl” (“Free Thought”)
The world of globalization – strange and unclear
You have entered a very interesting world – this has never happened in the entire history of mankind.
It is denoted by means of a worn-out word “globalization”, but the essence is simple and comes down to two essential – and new – aspects. All the rest – are consequences.
The first is obvious: the ability to instantly and almost at no cost receive any information and instantly transfer any money anywhere in the world. This freedom of communication opens up previously unimaginable prospects – but also hinders the development of all those who for one reason or another are deprived of it even partially. The world is more divided than ever before, and as long as the principles of world development will not change – until you change them – a weak society can not become strong.
Second – and this aspect of globalization is usually in the shadow – is that thanks to modern technology the developed part of humanity is engaged in the first place in changing not the material world but consciousness – as of the less developed parts of humanity, and of their own.
It is more profitable in commercial terms, and those neglecting it lose competitiveness.
Humanity is moving from development by changing the surrounding world to direct change of itself. Schisms of this magnitude have never happened before. We describe it and analyze some of the implications, but we are not aware of it as a whole.
There is nothing to worry about. While in the past the scale of change was smaller, humanity also did not know how to analyze it, and lived without a firm foundation. It seems that the growth of uncertainty – is a natural reaction to an increase in cognitive abilities of mankind.
The world you are entering, in which you are fighting for a spot that you will have to build for yourselves, is changing rapidly.
It is designed not as your teachers were taught, and even not quite the way you were taught.
And this is normal.
After all, learning – is not memorization of facts and concepts that will become obsolete if not today then tomorrow, but mastery using these facts and concepts of the methods of cognition, behavior and positioning. Therefore it is not so important what to study – the Bible, “Capital” of Marx, or “International competition” of Porter.
It is important – how to study.
You should not learn by heart the name of the capital of the United States and the year of its burning, but be able to analyze, compare, to question, to find the unclear, to identify and assess the hidden facts.
You must learn to flexibly plan your actions based on the familiar concepts and always – to act, because otherwise you will not get anywhere, and will not even know firmly whether you were right in your conclusions.
It is important to learn how to set goals and build a strategy for achieving them. Otherwise, you will devote your whole life to nonsense or serving alien interests. Goal setting – is a key criterion of the mind.
Looking at any person – better, of course, intelligent and efficient – learn. Try to understand why he said or did this or that, how he did it, under what influence, trying to achieve what purpose?
The world is an open book, and it is better to learn from the experience of others, than on your own skin.
But you will have to learn on your own: you will suffer defeat. Take care of yourself, but do not feel sorry for yourself. Never feel sorry for yourself. Feel sorry for others, and let others feel sorry for you, but to have pity on yourself is the same thing as to fill the gas tank with sugar. There is no more guaranteed way to defeat than self-pity.
Learn to experience defeat and learn from it.
Learn to be persistent.
And learn to enjoy and relax. 30 years ago it seemed to us that freedom – is a happening. And it turned out that it is a burden of responsibility, and not only property, but also success – is also a burden. The bigger human being you are, the greater the number of other people you are responsible for. The greater will be your success, the greater will this burden weigh on you, the more you should be able to enjoy and relax.
I would especially like to say – you will have kids. Do not sacrifice them: they will give your life a new dimension and a new depth, they will enrich you and – among other things – will feed your career.
One should replenish knowledge throughout life, but you should learn to apply it. Learning skills, including the ability to control yourself.
When a person stops learning, he begins to die. In modern terms – to lose competitiveness.
Today, it is synonymous, because competition, including in the world, has become very harsh and is “live or die”.
And whether you want it or not, you will have to fight not only for jobs and a stack of money, but also for the very right to live.
You will be involved, rather, are already involved in a competition not by yourself, but as elements of your country. You can love it or hate it, but you are part of it and you carry its stamp – and according to this stamp you will be accepted – or not – anywhere in the world.
Weak country: Woe to the conquered
Here I can not envy you.
The Soviet Union collapsed, and Russia is still a weak and flawed child of this tragedy.
You were born in a weak, fragmented country with decaying society and torn consciousness, bonded by a monetary unit, two channels of the federal television and common vague sentiments.
You have a good chance: if successful, you will make a fantastic, dizzying act, modernizing your country and returning her place in the world.
But the price of defeat is just as high, if you are wrong and ineffective, you will be the last generation of Russians just as my generation was the last generation of Soviet people.
You are not free from your societies, are not free from the diseases and the merits of your Motherland. You have to identify these diseases in yourself and get rid of, cure them – but not erasing your Motherland in yourself, what makes you the representatives of the Russian society.
It is an individual work.
Nobody will help you do it. But in it – is the key to efficiency, because our historical destiny has given us a number of unique, essential in today’s competition qualities. For example, a combination of creativity, discipline and mutual assistance.
However, people often ask, why be Russian, when it is better and easier to become an international manager.
This choice each one makes for himself. It depends only on you – on your personal inclinations.
Moreover, you should not follow what is good, but what is good for you. You should not proceed from the outside rules, but from your own persona, from your talents and needs.
You should not engage in what’s more profitable and not what is expected or advised, but what you personally like.
Because you can not effectively engage in what doesn’t bring pleasure and inspiration – in Russian it is, in my opinion, called, respectively, “being high” and “driven”.
After all, people are really made for happiness. I have lived most of my life, considering this phrase cheap propaganda, until it turned out that it is an instruction manual. A shovel can cut wood, but it is made for digging. Similarly, as a calculator is made for counting, a human is made for happiness.
Those in love increase their productivity with reasonable organization of work.
It is generally accepted that a person must strive upward. But life – is not a championship in high jumps, it is more like running a long distance, of course, if you’re lucky. If you will force yourself, your distance – due to cancer, stroke or alcohol – will be short.
And the winner – is not only the first to arrive. It is the one who survived the others and told how it actually happened.
If you dedicate yourself to what you do not like, you hereby will dedicate yourself to what you are ultimately not good at, and will not be able to compete.
You could do this in the Soviet Union, where the kind state gave each for bread, vodka and a flat, but you are in a more cruel world.
Therefore listen to yourself first, study yourself – and quicker, because wasting time, you are wasting life.
Be warned: you will be lied to and forced, including on behalf of Russia. My generation was hoarded to vocational schools; where yours is hoarded, I do not know, but you must resist this pressure – to save yourselves as free, independent and sovereign individuals. After all, only an individual rooted in own interests and ideas, can succeed.
This success will be not only yours, but also of your country – but to achieve it, it is necessary to overcome the shortcomings of your country that have not gone away.
You must understand that you don’t owe anything to nobody. You – are independent people, who have an intrinsic value. No one needs your life, but yourself and your loved ones.
And you have to proceed from your personal interests, and when you have one – from the interests of your family, and if you sacrifice yourself, then do it due to your own awareness of the inevitability and necessity and not because it is expected or that someone demanded it from you.
The choice between emigration and life in the country – is a choice between comfort and influence. It is a choice between the safety of your children and their fulfillment, for in fashionable countries people have lost the right to change the “rules of the game”, but for us this right, may be temporarily taken away or stolen – is an integral feature of human fulfillment.
Whoever you are, you can only affect Russia. This is your piece of the world. You’re not chained to it: you are a part of it.
Only here you can be the first. Only here, with rare exceptions such as Bryn, you can create new rules and a new game – or at least to hope so. This is the only factor, in which Russia beats America, but it means a lot: if you want to influence the world, if you want to be a significant factor, and not just a respected bolt in an expensive car – your place is here.
Well, and you can always retire in a fashionable country.
Part 2 coming soon