The Windfall of Security …

It had been a quick trip, probably a 3/3 trip: 2 days going there, 2 days working, 2 days return trip. While travelling, I am marking student’s essays and still preparing a tomorrows 8 hours lecturing – don’t say “hard working”, it is not least about gaining time to have the day of return free from work, just doing something nice. Returning early, it means there will be a long day of pleasure-leisure-time ahead.

Approximately 5 a.m. the aircraft is touching Chinese ground, Beijing – the state aircraft returning to the state. Admittedly I am a bit tired, after the usual long-haul flight sleep deprivation. There is not much time to catch the connection flight due to some delay, and due to the fact that I do not have a boarding pass yet. Waiting in the endless “one queue for all”, expecting the visa control is not my favourite activity anyway; under these conditions and standing next to a Yank who is permanently mocking does not lift my mood. Being through, I have to run: trough customs, leaving into departures … – thinking about the good old times when on such occasions the European then state-airlines offered some special support, bringing me occasionally the fast-track to the aircraft. Yes, it sill happens today on some occasions – on some …

I asked the board assistant and she said there is sufficient time, and I also asked at the boarder control, admittedly keen to jump the queue: “No no, there is plenty of time.” But while running, while leaving through the departure gate, looking helplessly around I am not entirely convinced. A small light of hope, I remember the words of the board assistant who said that, if there would be a problem, the ground staff would help …, and so there is a kind of natural relief when next to the gate a friendly person asks me if I have to transfer … – all goes so fast, he pushes the staff only sign aside, helps me with the suitcase and I feel safe … until he says “It is hundred dollars.” We pass a security/help desk, next to the exit to the parking desk, I grab the suitcase, turn to the uniformed security girl. Her kind help … does not really help due to the language barrier. But at least she points into the direction, where to go fro transfer, just he opposite direction … – and I GO, I RUSH, the guy is still behind me for a while. So I am eingekesselt xyz now: in the back the service robber, in front of me the time pressure. “No wait, wait …”, sorry, my dear, I won’t – just forget your 100 dollar. Another desk to ask, for the right desk to check in. “No, here is still the wrong terminal …” – well, a bit of exercise is good in the morning – so … I arrive at the terminal, and … yes, help is at hand. Unerring I am brought to the check-in desk, jumping with his help the queue, I hold the boarding pass in my hand, off to the security check …, it seems to be hopeless, but … my helper goes to the staff only sign, just while he is reaching out asking for money, “service charge” … I am wondering about free decisions on free markets and the agreement between two parties, the voluntary agreement based on in advance complete information … – The good thing: I really get the flight, without the last service robber I surely would not have managed. It is “privatisation the cold way” I suppose, through the backdoor: reduce service, make “state service” competitive – externalise the cost by allowing a windfall profit, now called service charge.

Today’s China Daily, Page 3 – one headline reads

Modern life presents new security challenges.

And the article says

While changes brought by the internet and the free flow of people have made life more convenient, they also pose new challenges in maintaining public security, according to the 2017 Blue Book of China’s Society, released by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences on Wednesday.

It is Thursday, December 22ndMerry Christmas ….

Of course, also here in China and everywhere

Ho ho ho, market’s right here!

It is reflecting that

Rationality (is) essential for new startups

The recipe of which we know since two days

many young people started their businesses out of an interest, instead of a market need, which increases the risk of failure.

It is something others know – and they get well away with it, maintaining their power.

New Year – Nuovo Anno

(scroll for English version below)

Ogni mattino, quando mi risveglio ancora sotto la cappa del cielo, sento che per me è capodanno. 

Perciò odio questi capodanni a scadenza fissa che fanno della vita e dello spirito umano un’azienda commerciale col suo bravo consuntivo, e il suo bilancio e il preventivo per la nuova gestione. Essi fanno perdere il senso della continuità della vita e dello spirito. Si finisce per credere sul serio che tra anno e anno ci sia una soluzione di continuità e che incominci una novella istoria, e si fanno propositi e ci si pente degli spropositi, ecc. ecc. È un torto in genere delle date.

Dicono che la cronologia è l’ossatura della storia; e si può ammettere. Ma bisogna anche ammettere che ci sono quattro o cinque date fondamentali, che ogni persona per bene conserva conficcate nel cervello, che hanno giocato dei brutti tiri alla storia. Sono anch’essi capodanni. Il capodanno della storia romana, o del Medioevo, o dell’età moderna.

E sono diventati così invadenti e così fossilizzanti che ci sorprendiamo noi stessi a pensare talvolta che la vita in Italia sia incominciata nel 752, e che il 1490 0 il 1492 siano come montagne che l’umanità ha valicato di colpo ritrovandosi in un nuovo mondo, entrando in una nuova vita. Così la data diventa un ingombro, un parapetto che impedisce di vedere che la storia continua a svolgersi con la stessa linea fondamentale immutata, senza bruschi arresti, come quando al cinematografo si strappa il film e si ha un intervallo di luce abbarbagliante.

Perciò odio il capodanno. Voglio che ogni mattino sia per me un capodanno. Ogni giorno voglio fare i conti con me stesso, e rinnovarmi ogni giorno. Nessun giorno preventivato per il riposo. Le soste me le scelgo da me, quando mi sento ubriaco di vita intensa e voglio fare un tuffo nell’animalità per ritrarne nuovo vigore.

Nessun travettismo spirituale. Ogni ora della mia vita vorrei fosse nuova, pur riallacciandosi a quelle trascorse. Nessun giorno di tripudio a rime obbligate collettive, da spartire con tutti gli estranei che non mi interessano. Perché hanno tripudiato i nonni dei nostri nonni ecc., dovremmo anche noi sentire il bisogno del tripudio. Tutto ciò stomaca.

Aspetto il socialismo anche per questa ragione. Perché scaraventerà nell’immondezzaio tutte queste date che ormai non hanno più nessuna risonanza nel nostro spirito e, se ne creerà delle altre, saranno almeno le nostre, e non quelle che dobbiamo accettare senza beneficio d’inventario dai nostri sciocchissimi antenati.

Antonio Gramsci, 1 gennaio 1916, Avanti!, edizione torinese, rubrica Sotto la Mole

(taken from here)

Every morning, when I wake again under the pall of the sky, I feel that for me it is New Year’s day.

That’s why I hate these New Year’s that fall like fixed maturities, which turn life and human spirit into a commercial concern with its neat final balance, its outstanding amounts, its budget for the new management. They make us lose the continuity of life and spirit. You end up seriously thinking that between one year and the next there is a break, that a new history is beginning; you make resolutions, and you regret your irresolution, and so on, and so forth. This is generally what’s wrong with dates.

They say that chronology is the backbone of history. Fine. But we also need to accept that there are four or five fundamental dates that every good person keeps lodged in their brain, which have played bad tricks on history. They too are New Years’. The New Year’s of Roman history, or of the Middle Ages, or of the modern age.

And they have become so invasive and fossilising that we sometimes catch ourselves thinking that life in Italy began in 752, and that 1490 or 1492 are like mountains that humanity vaulted over, suddenly finding itself in a new world, coming into a new life. So the date becomes an obstacle, a parapet that stops us from seeing that history continues to unfold along the same fundamental unchanging line, without abrupt stops, like when at the cinema the film rips and there is an interval of dazzling light.

That’s why I hate New Year’s. I want every morning to be a new year’s for me. Every day I want to reckon with myself, and every day I want to renew myself. No day set aside for rest. I choose my pauses myself, when I feel drunk with the intensity of life and I want to plunge into animality to draw from it new vigour.

No spiritual time-serving. I would like every hour of my life to be new, though connected to the ones that have passed. No day of celebration with its mandatory collective rhythms, to share with all the strangers I don’t care about. Because our grandfathers’ grandfathers, and so on, celebrated, we too should feel the urge to celebrate. That is nauseating.

I await socialism for this reason too. Because it will hurl into the trash all of these dates which have no resonance in our spirit and, if it creates others, they will at least be our own, and not the ones we have to accept without reservations from our silly ancestors.

Antonio Gramsci, 1 January 1916, Avanti!, Turin Edition

Translated by Alberto Toscano

(Republished here)