Cargo worship

During the Second World War, the small islands in the Pacific Ocean became the most intense battlefield between the US and Japanese forces. Prior to this, the indigenous soldiers of the island had never seen the appearance of the soldiers, let alone the jeep and communication equipment. They watched the battle in front of the thatched cottage with amazement: people wore strange uniforms, put “bones” on their faces, and spoke to the “bones.” The “Giant Birds” hovered in the sky, and the parcels they dropped slowly fell with the curtains that were stretched out, and the parcels were filled with cans.

The soldiers took out the cans and shared them with the locals. The best thing that people can believe in paradise is the food that falls from the sky. In the eyes of the indigenous people, these strangers who neither hunt nor pick, must have their own set, but how did they bring these “giant birds”?

After the Second World War, the army was completely withdrawn, and the indigenous people became the sole owner of the island. At this time, something new happened, and a new ceremony, goods worship, appeared on many islands. The indigenous people burned the bushes at the top of the hills and surrounded the land from the burning of the rocks. They made the aircraft in straw at a ratio of 1:1 and placed them on the self-built “runway”. In addition, they used bamboo to build a communication tower, which cut the wood into the shape of a headset, mimicking the soldiers they saw in the war. They used the ignition method to imitate the signal lights, and the badges they had seen on the soldiers’ uniforms were on themselves. All in all, they simulated the scenes of the airport, only to attract the “giant birds” that had been generously given to them during the war.

Nobel Laureate in Physics Richard Feynman mentioned the phenomenon of goods worship in a speech: “Indigenous peoples in the Samoan Islands do not know what the giant birds are. Everything they do is right, Their rituals were impeccable, and the scenes they created were exactly the same as in the past, but everything was in vain, and no plane landed there.” With this case, Feynman attacked formalism. Even in the scientific world, the destructive power of formalism still exists: we insist on form, but lack a correct understanding of the content.

It is not only indigenous and scientists who are caught in the worship of goods. For example, one of my friends, his biggest dream is to become a great novelist. Since the beginning of his studies of English language and literature, he has never left his idol, Hemingway. Hemingway is indeed very good. He is the first superstar writer to appear in the global media. His temperament is outstanding. He never lacks women, and his works have also published millions of copies. How did my dear friend do it? He also kept a moustache, dressed in a rumpled shirt with a neckline, and indulged in a variety of cocktails. He bought a notebook for himself, because it is said that Hemingway also used this book (not actually). Sadly, all this has no effect on his success (or failure). This friend of mine is the victim of the worship of goods.

You may laugh at the worship of goods, but the coverage is surprisingly large and even extends to the financial world. Think about it, how many companies are emulating Google’s style, spending money to build cool offices, and looking forward to attracting talent with slides, massage rooms and free food in the office? How many ambitious entrepreneurs are meeting with investors in order to become the next Zuckerberg?

In the financial auditor’s body, we can see a very mature car worship ceremony. Every year, they take a checklist and check everything: every time the chairman of the board meets, has a signed meeting record? Are all the expense receipts filled in correctly? Is the time division of all turnover correct? From the formalities, everything is in order. However, once the company closes in a few months, or is in trouble like Enron, Lehman Brothers, AIG and UBS, the auditor will suddenly be dumbfounded. Obviously, they are very good at identifying insignificant formalities, but not good at finding actual risks.

There is a particularly interesting example in the music world: after a rough road to promotion, Jean-Baptiste Lully became the chief composer of the Palace of Versailles and was later appointed as the Royal Music Director. At this time, he gave the most detailed definition of every detail of the court music composition. For example, the prelude to opera must follow a very special structure.

Later, Lully persuaded the king to agree to its monopoly in the field of opera, not only in Paris, but also in France as a whole. He frantically uses his power and ruthlessly suppresses his competitors. Luli gradually became “the most annoying musician in history”, however, all courts in Europe demanded that musicals be in line with Luli’s standards. Even in the most rugged and secluded castles in the Swiss Alps, the local nobility adopted the Parisian practice. This is the purest merchandise worship, because these rules make the nobles feel that they are in Versailles.

By the way, Lully directed a concert on January 8, 1687 (at the peak of his power). In the concert, he used the cumbersome baton to strike the rhythm on the ground, but accidentally stabbed his toes, and then the toe began to become inflamed and turned into a gangrene. Three months later, Luli died of sepsis, which gave the French music community a sigh of relief.

Never follow the footsteps of Lully. You should avoid any form of worship of goods. Please note that non-material formalism is much more common than we think. If you want to have a good life, then you must see through it and expel formalism from your life, otherwise it will waste your time and narrow your horizons.

Please stay away from those who believe in the worship of goods, and leave those who rely on rituals, words and appearances to support the facade, but do not value the benefits and achievements.

One thing is also important: don’t blindly imitate their behavior until you really understand the success factors of successful people.