Playing football is one of the things I love the most - for sure one of the very few things I'll gladly go out for in a cold, rainy morning. But this period in which I played federate football, was most of all a singular experience on the human level. There, I had the opportunity to better understand the meaning of team work, passionate dedication, generosity and other (lets call them) values.
If there's something these 35 years have thought me is the vague preciseness of the word friendship: vague on its reasons, precise on its condition.
So, sharing quests and at the same time building friendships is undoubtedly one of the most intense human experiences. And that can be proven by many of the nostalgic army, high-school or other team-related memories, namely involving matters of survival. The more essential the goal, the stronger the bond - even among people that shared the same experience on opposite sides.
Allegedly, Aaron hacked the M.I.T. library services and made public about 4 million of scientific articles from the JSTOR database. This lead to a huge lawsuit, which apparently became's Aaron's life shadow, to the utmost limit. Activist, brilliant thinker and unanimously considered a truly inspiring and gifted person, Aaron decided to end his life in a tragic, lonely, way - by hanging himself in his Brooklyn apartment.
Reading his blog, Raw Thought, one gets an overview of his interests, of his unquiet, powerful mind, and, mostly, of his truly remarkable good nature. Among the many posts, one called my attention, for its human beauty: the GM factory in Vermont.
Basically, a tyrant ruled GM car factory was one of America's worst: low production, faulty cars, drugs, alcohol and gambling in the facilities, high work abstinence, constant conflicts between workers and managers, fights, shoutings, strikes, etc. So, GM shut down the place.
Then the facilities were taken by the Japanese giant Toyota, who surprisingly rehired the former staff and implemented a new way of working, based on the andon cord: whenever anyone had a problem in the assembly line just pulled this cord, and immediately supervisors, managers, etc., run there to try to solve the problem. No shouting, no screaming - just a genuine effort to share the problem and solve it. As a team.
(Do yourself a favour and visit Aaron's website and blog! Really!)
I think "pulling the andon cord" is a marvellous metaphor for the sharing of a problem, hoping that team work succeeds where one, alone, could not.
Such a waste when the cord just remains, untouched, and the gift of life fades slowly hanging in the cruel, inhuman, industrial assembly lines that so often rule or days. And usually driven by the worst mankind has to offer - greed.
One of the most beautiful episodes of these 35 years happened when I was saying goodbye to a friend, after a day spent together. We were outside the door, chatting, and he was preparing to walk home, still some 30 minutes away:
- Hey, I'm going. Can you borrow me your football ball, for some dribbling?, he asked.
- Sure, but why? I mean, it's late night...
- Oh, just to do me company. I don't like walking home alone.
Text by Rafael Fraga © 2013
rafaelfragamusic |at| gmail.com
Companion: from Late Latin companionem, from com+panis. The same bread.
Colleague: from latin collega "partner in office," from com + legis. With law. The ones under the same rule or law.
Cord: from Greek khorde "string, catgut, chord, cord,". Basically, what connects, or what is harmoniously connected, like musical notes in chords.
Adapted from here.