WorldBe the best or be the second

Be the best or be the second

“My daughter wants to be a second violinist. Not the first, not the soloist; what she wants is to play calmly, in the background, because that makes her happy.” So began one of the letters to the director published this week in the newspaper, under the title the happiness of the second violin. The letter ran like gunpowder on Twitter, giving rise to thousands of retweets in different posts, as well as an interesting debate not only about the role of each instrument in the orchestra, but also about the difference between the first and second, among the best and everyone else.

We live in a world where competing to be the best is a maxim that permeates us, but at the same time, more and more voices suggest that this way of understanding excellence makes us unhappy and impoverishes our society. That’s why the desire of this young violinist, combined with the excellent title of the letter, the happiness of the second violin, it worked as a release for many. “Society assumes that a second violinist is a frustrated soloist,” summarized @jl_sastre in a series of posts on the subject. However, the satisfaction of this symbolic violinist suggests that perhaps the frustrated ones are the first.

Being the best is always separating from others, it’s a race to loneliness and isolation. Because there are never two better ones, so that best one will be alone in your imagination and will suffer that loneliness in your heart. I use the feminine here in honor of the young woman who opened the debate, but of course it also applies to the masculine. A society where everyone wants to be the best will be a society based on the lonely and lonely.

Whoever is determined to be the best will read society in terms of competition and therefore in terms of obstacles and problems, so that “the best” is a problematic civil conflagration structure for creating groups and solidarity. The example of the violin is really beautiful in this sense, because it illuminates the fact that those who heartily want to be part of an orchestra, of something bigger than themselves, do not aspire to be “the best of”, but rather to “be part of ”. And that’s what the young woman called “second violin”. I wish all soloists had achieved their position in the orchestra wishing someday, more than anything else, to be a part of it instead of being the best part of it.

Because, on the other hand, there is no way to know who is the best or the best, except by the signs attributed to them by power, money or politics, which usually translate into material signs. “All are necessary, soloists and seconds, but not all of them have the same value, because not all of them can be replaced with the same ease”, protests @yanosvale7 inside the thread. And he adds: “This phobia for brilliant people who push themselves above average seems complex.” However, it is evident that the young violinist does not write for lack of talent or denying the idea of ​​being the best in the ethical, intellectual and spiritual sense, which could also boost the noble desire to “be the best”. The letter and the applause it motivated, the thousands of tweets, retweets and comments protest against the idea of ​​being the best within the accepted conventions in our society: production and work. And so the best is nothing but the queen ant, the anthill’s servant. What a joy to know that, in the human swarm, resistance throbs.

sign up on here to receive EL PAÍS Brasil’s daily newsletter: reports, analyses, exclusive interviews and the main information of the day in your e-mail, from Monday to Friday. sign up also to receive our weekly newsletter on Saturdays, with highlights of coverage for the week.

Log in to continue reading

Know that you can read this article now, it’s free

Thank you for reading EL PAÍS