The 5 Strange Truths Fernando Pessoa Brings To Business

Counter-intuitive wisdom from the business poet of Lisbon

The multiple identities of Fernando Pessoa

“There are serious matters in life to be learned from charlatans and bandits, there are philosophies to be gleaned from fools.” — The Book of Disquiet

The culture of business has become a cult of personality.

Devoted in Disenchantment

“The fate of our times is characterized by rationalization and intellectualization and, above all, by the disenchantment of the world.” — Max Weber

From the National Museum of World Cultures

1. Embrace the Power of Stupidity

Fernando Pessoa did not lack for the basic physical needs of life. Yet, he longed for something more than that, for “a breath of music or of a dream, anything that might make me almost feel, anything that might make me stop thinking.” Pessoa was in search of the experience of stupidity.

Hail to the Stupendous

2. Satisfy the Hunger for Inconvenience

In his collection of English sonnets, Pessoa wrote:

Like to a ship that storms urge on its course,

By its own trials our soul is surer made.

The very things that make the voyage worse

Do make it better; its peril is its aid.

And, as the storm drives from the storm, our heart

Within the peril disimperilled grows;

A port is near the more from port we part —

The port whereto our driven direction goes.

The message contained within these lines points in a different direction than the slick and easy minimalism beloved by most UX designers.

Devotee practicing ritual ordeal at Thaipusam, from William Cho

3. Pursue Fluid Segmentation into Multiple Identities

No person can be reduced to one persona
Photo by Alan King on Unsplash
Mr. Rogers enters his Neighborhood identity
Just a few of the 100 gender identities listed by Gender.Wiki

4. Keep It Real With Ritual

Photo by Jeremy Wong on Unsplash
Photo of morning bath at the Apteshwar Mahadev Temple by @igorovsyannykov

5. Honor the Mystical Foundation of Commerce

At the Foot of Hermes by Project 128

Using thick consultation & qualitative research to pursue a human vision of commerce, emotional motivation, symbolic analysis & ritual design