Hypocrisy and On Kindness, the editorial by Franco Michienzi

This particular period we are living through should lead us to rethink the values and sentiments that guide what we do. It would be truly desirable to reflect on whether our words match our actions

by Francesco Michienzi

Will we really be better people when this is all over? The only sensible answer is let’s hope so. But if I look around, limiting myself to the sector we cover in our magazine, I’d simply say that I hope so, without any illusions.

The title I’ve chosen for this editorial is “hypocrisy”. It’s not unusual to come across fake people in our daily lives, people who conceal their intentions and actions through hypocrisy.

This is an attitude we usually find in those who hide what they think in order to seem better than they really are, often purely to gain an advantage. I’ve smiled to myself when listening to and reading certain pretentious interviews that represented a situation that was the complete opposite of the reality. I’m a firm believer in the statement that memory is never rhetorical and I think that a little more humility wouldn’t go amiss right now.

Humility is a precious virtue that ought to be cultivated by egocentric people looking to fill their personal void by exaggerating and inflating their successes. The yachting sector is a complex one, with unique financial and social implications. It’s a sector that should have learned from the devastating experience of 2008. But it seems that this has not been the case. At the first signs of difficulty, the consequent action of certain businesspeople – not the majority fortunately – was to stop everything: orders, payments, subcontracts. It’s a legitimate idea, but one detached from the concept of a sector that aims to compete strongly and effectively on the global market.

Thinking only about oneself, without weighing up the damage caused to the industry, is an act of pure selfishness. I would advise people such as this to read On Kindness by Adam Phillips and Barbara Taylor. “Real kindness is an exchange with essentially unpredictable consequences. It is a risk precisely because it mingles our needs and desires with the needs and desires of others. Kindness is engendered. It is not an economic virtue, but one that is essential for businesses. It depends heavily on our family, it has to do with the people around us, with the environment we grow up in and in which we learn to live. We inherit it upon entering the world. And businesses need the kindness of their workers, but they are often fearful of the excess nature and the freedom of this force. So they reduce it to something else. And their decline begins”.

Cultivating kindness produces far more effects than those that we are able to see and measure, and the same thing happens when we and others are unkind. The wealth of kindness of a people could be described as the sum of the kindness of each individual. Each generation adds to this wealth or takes away from it, eating into the legacy of kindness it has inherited.

On Kindness (edit 2020 giugno)When a business is founded, the kindness of the entrepreneurs, partners, directors and workers is not just important, but essential to the good growth of the company. Without enthusiasm and without everyone going above and beyond what the contract asks of them, namely without kindness, businesses are not founded or do not last. They can open offices to respond to tenders or to grasp a few speculative opportunities, but these are not the businesses that will become good, great and successful.

Going back to the initial question, I would say that we can only better ourselves if, in addition to thinking about our own profit, we also consider the idea of being a group of people and businesses working towards a common good, where the words hypocrisy and selfishness make way for kindness and truth. 

(Hypocrisy and On Kindness – Barchemagazine.com – June 2020)