English / 11.04.2020 / 3967

Don’t You Worry, Dear, You’re Tripping

Nikolay Mokhov, author from the Dark Side of Business

There are hallucinations that we join in on. And there are those that we walk past. And there are people who hallucinate, but don’t want to share their world — we call them schizophrenics. Schizophrenics are outsiders in our hallucinogenic world. We’re not going to talk about them today. We’re going to talk about the leaders of the hallucinogenic world.

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.

The destructive energy of creation...

Philips and Sony unveiled their invention, the CD, in the ’80s. Owners of music studios tried the novelty out. How can one make a music lover buy a Beatle album again? Release it on a new medium.

The production costs of the CD were lower than those of vinyl, and yet the invention was being sold for more money. Music producers destroyed the vinyl market and set revenue records. The ’90s were the platinum time for studios.



His fingers were freezing from the cold. Gauntlets over the gloves, winter boots… None of this protected him from the harsh wind. The arctic ocean is nearby. Is that where the wind is blowing from?

— Brasileiro, why did you get distracted? Hook it up... — commanded the crew chief. He was making sure that the workers were quick at hanging the fish to dry.

Brasileiro looked at the cod with hatred. Cod, cod, cod... Those who never lived in northern Europe would not understand the significance of this fish. It would be shocking to find out that in the second half of the 20th century, there were three times when Iceland was ready to start a war with England over codfish.


Brasileiro. Chapter II

Part I. Vaeroy
Chapter II. The travelers’ club


In the times of Father

My father played a mean joke on me. Our discussions, though rare, always left me in a state of slight to heavy confusion. For example, when I was five years old, he told me: “A man could never imagine two things: infinity and eternity”. My mind, young and inquisitive as it was, decided to test that statement. I sat down in my room and tried to imagine the supposedly unimaginable entities. This led to intense drooling.


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