The common good, the editorial by Franco Michienzi

A random act of kindness will save the world and make it a better place to live. A lesson we can learn from David Sassoli and Lucio Petrone

by Francesco Michienzi

For some people, every action they take, everything they do, and every choice they make is underpinned by a few firmly held basic human values: loyalty, consistency, courtesy, and respect. You can choose to live and die in many different ways. David Sassoli, the president of the European Parliament, fought and worked until the last possible moment, staying informed and playing an active role in promoting the common good, with indomitable curiosity and passion. And the same was true of Lucio Petrone, who was my manager for a while: a model journalist in terms of his professionalism, ethics, intellectual honesty, and great intelligence. Lucio and David were very different men, but I like to combine them in a single, almost mythical, or legendary figure to provide a template for all of modern society, including the world of boating, which could benefit enormously from it.

«DAVID WAS A GREAT PRESIDENT AND A GREAT MAN, WHO FILLED EVERY ROOM HE ENTERED WITH HIS KIND SMILE AND CARED DEEPLY ABOUT EUROPEAN PRINCIPLES. I HOPE TO CARRY ON HIS VALUES». ROBERTA METSOLA, PRESIDENT OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT

With this in mind, I returned to a letter I received from Cesare Mastroianni, who wrote: “It goes without saying that the theme of your October editorial dedicated to lost words resonates with ethical, philosophical and existential aspects which, though they may appear far removed from the practical nature of those who work day in, day out to produce physical objects like boats, yachts and their accessories, are closely connected. On the other hand, I believe that the ‘salt’ of a business, which gives it its true ‘flavor’ and defines its identity, stems from intangible aspects, like the company’s ethical and philosophical choices and how easily they can be accessed and interpreted by the public. I am therefore happy to accept the invitation to share a few lost words that deserve to be brought back or preserved. Listening, because hearing and listening are not the same things. Too often we record opinions and requests formally and mechanically, but without grasping the meaning, or remembering what was said. Experience, because innovation and invention only add value if they bring tangible benefits for users. And duty, because, although fighting for our rights was crucial, as Pip Williams’s book reflects in a clear-headed, diplomatic and unusual way, there are situations today where it would be beneficial to pay more attention to the duties we must perform than the rights we assert”. I decided to quote a small section of Mastroianni’s long letter here because I agree with many parts of it.

«THE DEATH OF LUCIO PETRONE MARKS THE PASSING OF A LEADING FIGURE IN ITALIAN NAUTICAL JOURNALISM; A MAN OF GREAT CULTURE, PROFESSIONALISM, AND INTELLECTUAL HONESTY».

However, we currently find ourselves at a moment in time where, once again, financial forces are changing the way we manage our industry. Our in-depth analysis of complex economic periods should not allow us to forget the importance of the common good in a community like that of the Italian boating industry. As individuals we can do a lot, as companies and associations we can do a bit more, and as institutions, we can do an incredible amount. The challenges we currently face are reflected in the majority of the politicians who represent us, who provided a less-than-reassuring spectacle during the election of the Italian President. In practically all cases a sense of self-preservation prevailed, with selfishness for themselves – not even their political party – coming out on top.

Remembering David Sassoli and Lucio Petrone brings to mind a quote from the film Evan Almighty with Morgan Freeman and Steve Carell: How do we change the world? One act of random kindness at a time”. At difficult moments, when faced with apparently insurmountable economic issues, carrying out random acts of kindness may seem difficult. I would like to think that even our own, individual actions can change the world and our working surroundings, even the complicated environment of the boating industry.

(The common good – Barchemagazine.com – March 2022)