Monday, October 24, 2011

I am the egg

Today, flying across my Facebook feed, someone I barely knew, that I met ever briefly, so long ago, posted a link. And it spoke to me in a very meaningful way.

The post was Haruki Murakami's acceptance speech when he won the Jerusalem Prize back in 2009. He delivered a simple personal message, the one thing that he keeps in his mind when he writes fiction. He said,

Between a high, solid wall and an egg that breaks against it, I will always stand on the side of the egg.

In the metaphor, the "high, solid wall" is the System, and the "egg that breaks against it" is the individual. There are many ways the System manifest itself. This takes on meaning both on the greater world stage and in my own humble existence.

In Libya, the system was an authoritarian dictator who for 42 years ruled by violence, persecution and fear. The eggs are the thousands of people, students, farmers and tradesmen that rose against it.

In Zuccotti Park, the system is the impersonal financial and political hegemony maintained by the rich and powerful. The eggs are the laid off workers who have no more to lose, the middle class that watched their dreams squashed, and the retirees whose pension is worth less by the day.

And in my life, as an entrepreneur, the system represents big corporations, other startups with a lot more funding and clout, and users with their established habits and resistance. Up against all that, is me. I am the egg.

I've been smashed against this wall before. But there is hope, there's always hope. If the events in Libya is any indication, sometimes the egg can be stronger than the wall.

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