Icarus

In this week’s post I am simply translating a column that appeared two days ago in Dutch newspaper de Volkskrant (thank you, Hilda Boerma, for letting me discover the article on Twitter). Because it’s one of the best explanations I’ve ever read why people like stories about success and – even more – failure.

The column, written by Philippe Remarque (all credit goes to the author) is titled “Dreaming away with the successes and failures of Elon Musk”.

Why do the media keep telling about the gigantic losses and faltering production of Tesla? It’s wonderful to dream away with Elon Musk, a man who invents online payments, single-handed makes rockets that beat Nasa’s, runs a plan to colonize Mars and en-passant transforms the car industry with his sexy electric models. 450 thousand paying customers for his middle class car, the Tesla 3, even before he has produced a single one of it! But it’s just even more exciting when he subsequently doesn’t succeed in building a properly working assembly line. Too many robots, people need to join to make it work. Pride that comes before the fall, as we know since Icarus, is the most beautiful story for ordinary mortals.

You may read the original Stekel column (in Dutch) here.

(image: The fall of Icarus by Pieter Paul Rubens, 1636)