The famous theologian and eventually Pope of the Catholic Church, Joseph Ratzinger, once said: “a person is whatever he devotes his time to”. A meaningful sentence that, building on the fact that modern life obliges us to juggle through a maze of urgencies and obligations of all kinds, calls to our attention the idea that it is precisely one´s personal and cultural choices that better shape his or her personality and that provide guidance for the endeavors of each day.
That principle applies not only to individual but also to the groups of people that gather around a common project. That is why, when it comes to defining the principles that guide the work of the professionals of MOREANA | Lawyers and Economists, a lot of light is shed by the consideration of who it is that inspire us in our professional activity. That inspiration can be found not only in the world of law and economy, but above all in any other field of human development wherever somebody has made a difference. Because approaching things from a higher, wider perspective is what prevents us from wrongfully understanding specialization as mere lack of depth.
Here’s to the crazy ones.
The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers.
The round pegs in the square holes.
The ones who see things differently.
They’re not fond of rules.
And they have no respect for the status quo.
You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them.
But the only thing you can’t do is ignore them.
Because they change things.
They push the human race forward.
While some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius.
Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.
Those who have got to know us won´t be surprised to hear that, among those that inspire us is Steve Jobs (1955 – 2011), the charismatic co-founder of the technology giant Apple. A dreamer and a pragmatic at the same time; a person able to focus all his energy in a project or else be erratical and contradictory; a person who was extremely intelligent but at times deeply convinced of absurd ideas. But in all he did, Steve Jobs tried to seek perfection and beauty, both in the details and in the whole. That is how he revolutionized the different worlds he stumbled into: he shook the foundations of the world of computers with the Macintosh, of music players with the iPod, of cell phones with the iPhone. He changed forever the realms of music and animation, with the first successful legal online music store iTunes or the world famous animation studio Pixar. In fact, Steve Jobs saw his work as a way of changing the world for the better. From that conviction arose the famous phrase that convinced John Sculley, then CEO of Pepsi, to become Apple´s Chief Executive in 1984: “Do you want to keep on selling sugared water, or do you want to change the world?”. That is how we struggle to change the world for the better in MOREANA | Lawyers and Economists: with our daily work, case by case, person by person. Today, here and now.
Thomas More (1478 – 1535): Jurist, writer and poet, politician… and even so a Saint! Thomas more was a man for all seasons, to use the phrase of the play written by Robert Bolt, which was later adapted to become the movie by Fred Zinemann. Our Firm expresses thus from its very name the inspiration we draw from a man that was, in the personal level the best of friends, in his family the best father and spouse, in his professional career an exceptionally gifted jurist and then politician. A man, finally, that when it came to put to the test his ethical and moral principles, did prove himself to be the most trustworthy servant of his King and his God: up to the point that, when Henry VIII tried to force his will to make him act against his conscience, More chose to suffer prison and death before surrendering to indignity.
If it comes to search for inspiration in unexpected places, it might seem shocking to have a firm of lawyers and economists say that they find inspiration in a comic-book fictional character such as Spiderman. But what few people know is that its creator, Stan Lee, intended to code in the very DNA of his creation, as he did with the rest of his fictional creatures, a vision of ethics and personal responsibility that does not admit compromise. Instead of Lord Acton´s “power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely” or Hobbes´ “man is a wolf for man”, the ethical code of the man – spider can be summarized in the phrase “with great power comes great responsibility” [http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Stan_Lee]. Insofar as our work may put us into positions of responsibility towards our clients or society, we prefer that positive approach to the impact of what we do or refuse to do.
The world of writers and artists is also a source of inspiration for our work. In it there abound those people who gave the best of themselves in the worst possible circumstances. Thus Irene Némirovsky (1903 – 1942), the jewish – born writer, later on a convert to Catholicism, who showed in his books an astounding evolution from the cynicism and the disenchantment of his first novels, written under the influence of a disgraceful childhood, to the serenity and compassion, the balance and sheer perfection, of his masterpiece, Suite Francaise. An unfinished work, handwritten with haste in a notebook, as its author awaited, in her exile in the French countryside with her husband and daughters, to be captured (as it eventually happened) by the Nazis and to be taken to die in a concentration camp. Or also Pavel Florenski (1882 – 1937), the Russian orthodox priest, scientist, theologian and writer. Called by many the twentieth century´s Leonardo, in his Letters from the Prison and the Camps, written during his years in the concentration camp of Solovsky (the first of the many camps erected by Stalin), Florenski left us a moving example of scientific precision and rigor in the most difficult circumstances, of attention to detail and beauty in the worst of environments, of height in perspective and outlook and sincere concern for others (both his companions in the camp and his family back home), all that under the boot of one of the most deadly political regimes of History, flying over the misery of one of the places least suitable for human life on the surface of the Earth.
In a different order of things, but also in the world of the Arts, we have picked two phrases by two of the most renowned artists of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, two persons that deserve admiration in his artistic endeavors as much as they deserve severe criticism for many aspects of their personal lives. On the one hand the Danish filmmaker Lars von Trier (1956), who once said “I only improvise after having prepared everything to the tiniest possible detail”. Not a phrase that one would expect from a director like him. On the other hand the Malaga – born and universally known Pablo Picasso (1881 – 1973), who said “I don´t know whether inspiration exists. I´m positive, though, that if it does exist, she will find me at work”.
The list could go on and on, but we will finish with a reference to the late French philosopher Jean Guitton (1901 – 1999). From his monumental opus we will simply call the attention on an incredibly sharp reflection for a world drowned by the neverending flow of information stemming from the explosion of information and telecommunications technologies. From that reflection we draw the conclusion in MOREANA | Lawyers and Economists, that technology, a tool that we certainly use in a daily basis to improve the management and advancement of the issues entrusted to our Firm, can never replace the human element:
I think we can again have a right to hope. Technology can also have a liberating virtue. Imagine you want to study the most intricate issue. Internt will quickly provide you with eleven thousand three hundred and eight references in thirty five languages. Average time needed to thoroughly check the data: twenty years as a full – time job. An impossible task if we were to proceed according to the norms and scruples of the scholar. Therefore, in the first place technology allows instant mobilization of all the available intellectual capital; second, the growth of the number of authors and the ever growing accumulation of their writings ceaselessly increases the mass of materials to be examined about any given topic, far beyond the human capacity; third, continuous progress in the construction of hard drives turn specialized memorization useless. The only rare and irreplaceable resources will be intuition, intellectual criticism, meditation, synthesis and creativity. Technology will heal us of accumulation as a result of the excessive accumulation. We will be cured from excess of specialization by the mere excesses in specialization.
Jean Guitton, Mi testamento filosófico, Encuentro, Madrid 1998, page 124.