Friday, October 01, 2010

Arty Farty Friday (and more) by Guest Blogger Gian Paul: IF YOU ARE SECOND, DON'T PRETEND TO EVER BE FIRST!

Who does not know that Coke is first, Pepsi second? And Hertz also first and Avis second? I liked the publicity Avis was dishing out, "for being second only, we try harder". On various occasions I rented an Avis car, but not once was it better than the service received from Hertz. Made me think. At least for that, thank-you Avis.

Exxon/Mobil is the uncontested big brother in oil. BP is second, and how! Not saying that Exxon is doing a perfect job or that they are likable fellows. But they appear somewhat more conscientious about the risks involved in dealing with oil. "AFTER Exxon Valdez" that is! And, irony of sorts, that tanker-ship was carrying BP/Amoco's oil. BP has for years now been trying very hard to overtake Exxon, taking many unconsidered risks, as now everybody, even outside that business, could realize.

In marketing, if you want to hire a "hungry salesman", make sure that he has a big family to sustain, but, and foremost, that he is not a first-born son. Best if he is second, not third or even younger. Same presumably applies to saleswomen. A second born, from day one on learns to imitate, to pretend that he can do "as well". And that makes him become very flexible in later life. I am not saying a "better
lier" but more adaptable. Which normally is good for sales.

Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956), a left leaning and spirited German playwright, said: "zuerst das Fressen - und dann die Moral" (first one's basic sustenance and then one can talk morals). This appears having become the precept BP (and other corporations) are following. Brecht actually did not speak to capitalists. He was thinking of the needy and their plights during the 1930-s. But as so often, corporations are at the forefront of events and pick-up rapidly what suits them. Money, money...

One could go on giving more examples, but what's of interest is how does this all work? And is astrology of any use to understand it?

Applying logic to say a No. 1 in a given business and to his No. 2: The second most probably has come into existence after the first one and as such is the "imitator". One also has to think (in most cases at least) that it was No.1 who had the idea and therefore is the legitimate originator of what then usually turns out to become a healthy competition. No.2 is not without merit as he will put pressure on "big brother" to excel, to the point of him trying to remain No.1. The best example in this respect is probably JFK's response to the Soviet Sputniks by kicking NASA hard to place a man on the Moon. Did not happen during Kennedy's lifetime but they did it.

In the case of two brothers things can be very similar. An example: Alberto Giacometti the Swiss sculptor, had a younger brother, Diego , who turned out to be his indispensable aide in his atelier in Paris. The respective horoscopes are shown here and reveal a lot about why Alberto became famous and his younger brother Diego, by "force of destiny" could not have ever taken Alberto's place. In Alberto's map
there is a lot of charisma indicated: A Libra by sun-sign with Venus very exactly conjunct Mars in strong position in Scorpio. Saturn in Capricorn (strong as well) is enlightened by a gracious conjunction of Jupiter. All set for an expansive, Venusian life.

Diego appears more of a quiet person, diligent. A little introverted, his Venus being conjunct his Sun in Scorpio but opposed by Moon in Taurus (Moon's position is certain, even not having the hour of birth). Alberto turned artist, in foreign lands, Paris (Jupiter/Saturn),and a famous one by that. His brother who went to Paris to help his brother became an excellent artisan and a great help to Alberto. Who mounted all the sculptures was Diego. Alberto was saying that without his brother's help, his statues would have all fallen over. No doubt that Diego's Moon in Taurus, trined by Mars in Virgo, gave him the well-earthed qualities an artisan needs.


Looking at history and also at what's going on today in world politics, here some examples of the miseries an unreasonable second, trying to be first, can bring about:

The Nazis tried to outdo the British when they started WW II. And Japan at the same time went after the Chinese, a much bigger nation, dormant but since ever dominant in Asia. Today, in terms of economic strength, modern China just overtook (last August) Japan from its long position as the No. 2 economy in the world and now is second to the USA. Interesting that nobody seems to consider Europe as one economy. It would actually be No.1 but the US is being (still) considered to occupy that post. Europe admittedly is not one nation (at least for now), to be fair. But let's wait and see until China takes over all the rest!

Competition to be the first in terms of the economy or economic growth is not considered, today at least, as something evil. Even at the contrary. Here in Brazil, Petrobras just came to market with the biggest issue of share capital that ever happened in the world. And the funds are earmarked for deep-sea drilling in the Atlantic. As long as hopefully all goes well...

One can wonder if the same massive investments in alternative, renewable resources and in improving rail and metro transport would not have better long-term effects. Especially for the environment, but also in de-congesting most major cities here. More oil equates with ever more trucks and cars, clogged transit and pollution.

And another permitted (even essential) question: what is good for our planet, more economic growth or a different life-style orientation? But that's a difficult one.

The psychological phenomenon of competing energies between first and second are part of the way this world functions. Be it in sports, families, businesses, between nations and I dare say animals too. It's basic, often even brutally so. Unless, as shown with the example of the two Giacometti brothers, intelligence and empathy come in and help a given situation to evolve into a higher pattern. Nature allows this by all means. But if things are left to themselves, or to what base instincts dictate, humanity does exactly what Brecht, DID NOT MEAN for whom does not really need it: "to gobble up more and more, and only later worry about what's right or not". Until one day, who knows, it's too late.

1 comment:

Twilight said...

Alberto and Diego got it just right, it seems, Gian Paul.

My own thoughts on this complex topic which you've covered so well, GP:

Our human inbuilt competitive spirit, which is what 1st and 2nd is all about, won't ever disappear.
If it did we'd grind to a halt. Come to think of it though, that's exactly what we need to do round about now, and start re-tracing our steps, at least for a while.

There comes a time when it's best to STOP - wherever you happen to have reached on the ladder of life, whether "you" are a person, a corporation, a politician or a nation. Stop trying to be richer, thinner, more powerful, to own more, to own newer, better objects or more expensive ones - etc. Just "Let it be", as the Beatles sang.

Let's be content to be where we are and maybe take a few steps back - or half a step, anyway.
We've hurtled so far in the last century that if we're not careful now we'll hurtle right on over the edge. Then who is first or second will matter not a jot.