One of the many lessons we can learn from Greek mythology is that action, harmony and progress go hand in hand. Now, in an increasingly virtual world, these values are more vital than ever
Words Antonio Ghini
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
Greek mythology teaches us some fundamental principles regarding the history of humanity. The first, valid as ever, is the one pursued with great determination by Zeus in his struggle against chaos: to give harmony to the existence of the world, attempting to preserve the cosmic order.
At times this zeal has been too extreme: if everything had been well-ordered and perfect, then humans would have found it hard to find the stimulus to evolve and differentiate themselves from the animals. Under those conditions there would not even have been any awareness of time and this Earth would have remained like a large, relaxed and happy zoo.
So why this premise to a topic – that of action – which is the theme of this issue of The Official Ferrari Magazine? Simply because action is part of the life of a humanity that has had to invent progress to challenge the imperfection at the basis of our planet’s existence and of those living on it. Let us take the magical ritual of a Formula One pit stop. In what amounts to little more than the blink of an eye, perfectly synchronised men perform an operation that would take at least a minute to describe. From the moment the car stops, to then be lifted, have the wheel nuts unscrewed, the four wheels removed, four more put on, the wheel nuts screwed back on and the car lowered… little more than three seconds have gone by! Unbelievable.
This is an action. Such a harmonious action that it almost defeats time. This is what Zeus was thinking of: if everything happens in perfect harmony, time itself stops and humanity is happy.
In reality, we poor humans, born naked and without the protection of fur or feathers, have been condemned to a troubled existence in which time has become a constant parameter of our actions. Not just the best time for pole position or the minutes necessary to fit a part of a car on an assembly line, but work schedules, the timetables of trains and aeroplanes, cinema and TV listings and meal times structure our lives in such a precise way that it appears normal. But why? We also learn this from the myths, which go to the very basis of life itself. I said that humans are born naked and defenceless. To survive they have had to possess the boldness to approach the gods: Prometheus gave us fire, and then took the arts from Athena, which he taught to us. Thanks to these gifts, over the course of the centuries, we have been able to make our knowledge and technology grow. What better way of representing mankind’s capacity to draw close to the perfection to which Zeus aspired than a harmonious and precise action such as that of an F1 pit stop? Prometheus was harshly punished for his gift.
The gods of Olympus did not stop there: their anger at the mortals’ ambition in wanting to compare themselves to them also brought us the beautiful Pandora, yet she, with her jar, was the symbol of all the evils of the world. You may be wondering what all this has to do with a pit stop, with a race or with a magical car such as Ferrari, the racing cars, but, above all, the one you have, with great pride, in your garage. It simply has to do with action. The action that continually pushes us forward, thanks to the progress of a technology that seems unstoppable.
Once again, also with the growth of the web and the digital world, mankind is exploiting the gift of Prometheus. But Zeus is worried: in this new virtual universe without any clear boundaries, will the forces of chaos once again know how to disguise themselves?