English / 11.04.2020 / 653
Some girls hallucinate that I’m a millionaire. And you know, I can’t convince them otherwise.
For example, many believe that the company Apple exists. But it doesn’t exist unless people believe in it. If people stop believing in the fact of its existence — it will disappear. The company Apple is a hallucination. It’s just that it’s a mass hallucination.
“Come on, Nikolai, you’re really pushing it!”
“We always knew our Nikolai was an oligarch…” we’ll read in the comments one day…
Of course I’m pushing it. Of course I’m an “oligarch” and even a “millionaire”… But I didn’t come up with this idea. It was the founding father of management, Peter Drucker, who said that a company is not its office, nor its workers, its product, or anything else. A company is people’s belief in the fact that the company exists.
But I would take it a tad bit further. I would develop that thought. And I would claim that I, as a person, only exist while there are people who believe in it. If most people believe I’m a rock — I’ll be a rock. Or a tree. Or a tiger. I could also be a genius, a tyrant, the Devil, or God. People’s ability to have mass hallucinations is underestimated. But it was this very ability that helped build all of modern civilization.
“Nooo… Hallucinations don’t have that kind of influence,” argues my invisible reader. My imaginary opponent. And I keep answering, as if they were real.
And even hallucinations we deny the right to exist to can very well have an effect on us.
My mother had hallucinations before she died. She kept thinking the KGB had come to our house with a search warrant. And that they would soon take me away. You can’t imagine how sick I got of FSB agents, especially when imaginary FSB agents started breaking into our house at the crack of dawn.
What’s wrong with real raids on your parents’ house? You have to calm your relatives down afterwards. Well, imaginary raids are no better.
“Mom, it’s okay… Yes, I called my lawyer, and he will be here soon. Yes, let them search, there’s nothing criminal here,” I would tell my mother during the imaginary raids. As if I told her something else during the real ones.
Back then, my mother also used to think there was a global conspiracy. And you know what, it wasn’t just my mother. A friend of mine worked as one oligarch’s assistant. The oligarch had connections to some of the biggest players in the government. Which government? Doesn’t matter. What matters is my friend was convinced of the existence of global conspiracies. And his bosses believed it. And his bosses’ bosses believed it. And all of them together based some very substantial business and political decisions on the assumption that a global conspiracy existed.
As soon as I found out about such a strong belief in a global government, I stopped caring whether it “really” exists. Do you remember how Don Juan gave Castaneda drugs? And then Castaneda turned into a bird?
“Don Juan, but if someone looked at the sky, would they see me as a bird?” Costaneda badgered his teacher.
“Does it matter, Carlito?” answered Don Juan.
“I want to know: did I really turn into a bird?”
“What does that mean, ‘really’?”
...In modern society, a lot of what people discuss is hallucinations. All of business and politics exists solely in people’s imaginations. Both operate exclusively on imaginary concepts: money, the homeland, power. There is no “objective” wealth and no “objective” power. Some girls hallucinate that I’m a millionaire. And you know, I can’t convince them otherwise.
“I woke up on Thursday, and I had no money at all. Not a cent. I didn’t even know where to live and what to eat…”
“Well-well,” the girls would react disingenuously. And they’d think to themselves:
“That’s just him testing me. Every millionaire does that. They pretend to be broke so that girls don’t go after their money…”
I tried to explain that I’m not a millionaire and I just live the way I want to live. But they’re convinced that only millionaires could live that way. Changing their mind is just as difficult as it was to change my mom’s mind about those KGB agents raiding our house.
Of course, you don’t have to change anyone’s mind. There's this magical power to stop being influenced by other people’s hallucinations. I’ll tell you a story about that. Once, I used to study at university. And a student who didn’t appear at university was supposed to be expelled. Or at least he would be called into the deanery, where he would hear:
“You have a problem. If you go on like this, we will expel you.”
They would often administer talking-tos at the deanery, and the student was required to look sorry. The student’s role also entailed mumbling something about mending your ways, etc. I studied at a pretty good university. They were fairly strict about attendance and exams. Once per semester, the deanery’s blackboard would see a list of “problematic” students.
I wouldn’t say that I appeared at university a lot. I had work, family life… I couldn’t always make time for university. However, not once did I appear on one of those lists.
“We hated you for it,” told me a girl I had studied with. “You would show up at university less often than me. But I was always on those lists, and you — never. How so?”
Back then, I didn’t explain her anything. We’d had too much wine and whisky. But to our subscribers — I’ll tell you what I did. And I’ll even add — this magical formula can cure many illnesses. It goes like this:
“I am one thing, the illness is another.”
Or like this:
“I am one thing, the deanery is another.”
“I am one thing, the financial crisis is another.”
I don’t know about others, but these formulas work for me. There is a condition required for them to work. You have to have your own, more interesting hallucinations. For example, I believe that I’m a writer. And this to me is much more interesting than any illnesses or global financial crises, let alone places like the deanery…
And in the end, I wish for all of our readers to think of their own, healthy hallucinations. And then, you’ll be able to use the magic formula that will rid you of an incredible amount of problems in life. At that point, you’ll also be able to create hallucinations that many would like to join in on. Of course, this issue has its own nuances, which we will discuss in our next articles.
And while the next article is being written, I’d like to ask our readers: please tell us, can you separate yourself from other people’s hallucinations? I’m terribly interested in your experiences.
P.S. Back in my student days, there was this popular rhyme:
From the ceiling water’s dripping
From the ceiling water runs
Don’t you worry, dear, you’re tripping
Happens to the best of us…
And whatever horrible, surprising, or even pleasant things happened to me… I always remember this rhyme. It helps.
“Father’s time” – is that book about father, or son? Maybe it’s about time.
Reading again literature from school program, tried to imagine – what if “Fathers and sons” Turgenev would write today, how it would look like? After almost 150 years, in time of internet and everlasting rush, “wild business” and “drugs”, skinheads and gastarbeiters, cold relationships between relatives and warm love of strangers. And most important, what could connect today two generations, one born in non-existing empire of state standards, and another, formed in fight of antagonisms?
— So the secret to success is to be in the right place at the right time?" - Someone asked in the Dark Side chat. How can I comment on this? Let me tell you about a multi-million dollar deal I once made. I'm not telling the story to show off as the money was already spent for parties in the city a long time ago — there is nothing to brag about. I'm telling the story to illustrate one principle.
So, here is the story. At a restaurant in Moscow, there was this construction businessman, his PR guy, and me. I had already handed over a report on my work. I was having some coffee, meanwhile listening to them discussing the promotion of business operations abroad.
“How can I tell if my girlfriend is an energy vampire?” this wonderful question appeared in the Dark Side’s chat recently.
I can picture it vividly. The reader, having carefully whittled their wooden stake, is preparing to strike down their new lover. I suggest they put down their weapon, restore the cloves of garlic to the kitchen cabinet, and get that silver bullet melted down. Maybe it could make a nice pendant for the “vampiress”…