Dignity, Nobility, Integrity, Respect

I was reading an article about Brunello Cucinelli, the “king of cashmere,” written in 2015 when I came across an interesting statement:

Brunello: Each of us specializes in something. Italy has strong industries. It’s ranked second only after Germany in Europe. There’s furniture, food and apparel. The United States will go down in history because of technology. Germany, cars. The French have champagne. Every country has its own identity. Say I work for Apple. Maybe I have the humblest kind of job, but I’m not ashamed that I work for Apple. Because it is still Apple. Whereas here in Italy, you say, “I’m a tailor” or “I’m a waiter” and you still get that kind of respect. That’s the nobility that we have to rediscover.

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In Bali, its about being Balinese: with your immediate family, your banjar (village organization), your desa (region) and the gods and goddesses swimming above you, below you — from your past and into your future. You may be an architect or a postal worker but you’re Balinese first and foremost.

Dignity, Nobility, Integrity, Respect
Beach ceremony, Pererenan

Likewise, an Italian waiter is a representation of the celebrated cuisine of his country. When he snaps the tablecloth and runs his hand across the wrinkles in the linen to perfectly flatten it, he is inherently proud that customers will see for themselves what his country can accomplish with the simplest of ingredients, treated with the utmost respect.

In comparison the Balinese, while part of Indonesia, are an island apart both geographically and in terms of cultural identity.

Dignity, Nobility, Integrity, Respect
Facing the eternal

It is a humbling experience to live among the Balinese. Many of them have little in the way of material possessions. And yet exposure to the Balinese way of life proves over and over again that materialism is detrimental in shaping character.

Dignity, Nobility, Integrity, Respect
Musicians are an integral part of Balinese ceremonies

That’s not to say that status and envy are absent for the Balinese. They are human after all.


Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp, Or what’s a heaven for? — Robert Browning


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