It is possible to become good once again*

Hanss visited Riga in early August. He had a lecture at the Stockholm School of Economics in Riga and also took the time to talk with us. Given the gap of time between the day the interview was conducted and the one on which this article was written, these lines can be rather seen as a dedication to the way I see this man and the ideas he represents.

After our conversation I caught myself trying to remember what I dreamt about when I was a teenager, what did I want to become back then. “The things we dream about at the age of 15 to 18 years are the truest ones. These dreams must not be forgotten, we have to try to remember them at times when it seems that we have gotten off track,” says Hanss. According to him, dreams people have at this age reflect their true professional goals.

We are all creators

If we insert Hanss’ name and last name into Google search, we find that he has been announced as one of the most creative people in the world, this is why I asked him: What is a creative person, in his opinion, what does it mean to be one? Reitz: “Maybe I am considered to be creative because I dress differently, different from others. In my childhood I didn’t really have a choice since we were several children in the family and I wanted to be different. It was also easier for my mother, who, when looking out the window could always see and distinguish me. In general, each of us is a creative person since we can use our capacities for different purposes and the result will be different.”

A pretty simple, yet at the same time paradoxical idea. It is paradoxical because we usually think of people from arts, culture, advertising, PR and media industry as being creative. Nevertheless Hanss is right: every one of us could reach a different outcome using the same resources.

Reitz: “Sitting at the steering wheel, I can drive to a hospital, or drive the car into a crowd. We are car drivers. It can also be attributed to the direction this planet is developing. We are not just passengers; each of us has an active role in interacting with the life that surrounds us.”

And, more importantly, these differences in our attitudes also affect the content of the media, the content of social media. The nicer our thoughts and deeds, the more positive this content will be. Whereas if our actions are led by fear, hatred and anger, it will also create violence, sex, etc. around us.”

“I am sure that we can get out of this crisis only with the help of art and culture. In fact, it is a question of how we live, what agriculture will look like and how our relationship with nature is going to be like. And technology should be used in accordance with that. It will determine our future,” says Reitz.

Hanss continues: “There are two million people who do not know what they will eat the next day. Unnecessary. Every day, 300 thousand people die of hunger. Unnecessary. There are two billion tons of plastic in the oceans. All of this is unnecessary. We are all creative beings, we are all creating something, and that something does not have to be nonsense, or problems. We are currently creating a lot of problems for the next generation. Every one of us has an infinite creative capacity.”

Technology breaks the age barrier

We are living in a unique time. Technology is developing every day, it happens so rapidly that many of us who were born in the 1970s or even up to the mid 80s cannot follow all the changes. The new generation shares with us in its experience of using a particular social media or device. It’s a kind of mixing. Hanss, correctly, points out that we, the relatively older generation, approaching our thirties or already past them, have a different kind of experience consisting of our journeys, interactions with other people, background, errors, etc. It is a kind of convergence, reduction of borders. We only have to be able to be sufficiently open to it.”

Reitz: “My advice to young people is not to accept the roles imposed on you, but rather to understand them and, if necessary, change yourselves. Be aware of yourselves at the age of 16 to 17 years, because Alexander the Great, for example, became what he was at this age. Aged 17 to 18 years our ability to change society is limitless. Formulate your intention or goal, write it down and put it on the wall. The things you dream about between the age of 15 and 18 years are what you are. If you later remember what you dreamed about at that time, it will be as a door to your real self.”

Hanss says that he has always wanted to travel and seek adventures, and that, in his opinion, business, particularly social business, is a beautiful adventure.

I think each of us has felt a sort of emptiness and pointlessness at some time. Regardless of how much we earn and how successful we may be. This is the moment when we have taken a pause from a rather fast run, gaining some free time to think. It seems to me that this gap can be filled by making something good. For business, it would mean fulfilling its corporate social responsibility programs not only because it needs to be done, but also because of the real desire to make the world around it a better place. Of course, all of our problems cannot be solved by someone else and external factors, a lot of work should also be done by ourselves. However, sometimes the first step can be the most important one: to think not only about ourselves, but also about the future, perhaps of our children. It doesn’t matter if they do not yet exist. What if someday they will? They will have to live in this world we have created.

* “Kite Runner” by Khaled Hosseini (2003)
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