I was born like most babies with unlimited and highly undetermined capacity. I had in me, as the majority of the world’s children, the opportunity to become anything: a good father, a criminal, the world’s greatest guitarist, or the inventor of a new physics theory.
Everything is still possible even after the huge lottery of DNA crossover. I could learn and love any language, any culture, and I could carry on any occupation.
After the microscopic and by definition invisible lottery comes the second lottery of the macroscopic chances: where I was born, who were my parents, who were the neighbours, etc. And like most children, I was absolutely awesome, just like your children, like you when you were a child and like my parents when they were children. I played comedies, I presented the weather forecast, I organized magic tricks, and you know everything a child is able to do…
Like the vast majority of children, I was also very curious and wanted to know almost everything. And like almost every child I was incredibly naive and I believed everything adults could tell me. One day the balcony door was closed suddenly by the wind and I asked my father how that happens. He then explained to me that it was someone called Ali Erriahi (the Windy Ali, if we try to translate into English) who used to come secretly at night to close the door. Since he told me that, every time the door slammed, I jumped up off my chair, I ran to the balcony to try to catch Ali Erriahi or at least to see him. Without success!
Like all children, I always asked the most important questions, the most difficult, the deepest and the most brilliant ones. One day, after observing my father watching different television programs and seeming to give them different degrees of importance, I thought about this issue and I asked him: “how do you know if what happens in TV is true or not?”. My father replied: “the program at 8h PM, the news, is about true things, everything else is often not true.” I continued to observe things and I realized that the more I thought I understand something, the more I became confused, and instead of having fewer questions I had more.
Like all children, I was much smarter than adults. One day, I still went to my father and asked him “Is there a single logic or many possible logics?”. My intellectual level is clearly accelerating at an exponential rate and the things I thought about were more worthy of being asked within the most prestigious philosophy conferences in the world, and not only to a “simple” mother, who was a doctor, and to a “simple” father, who was a statistician. Of course I put “simple” between hyphens. Because they were themselves geniuses. My mother, coming from a rural, conservative and illiterate environment was still doing theatre with her older sister. Yes! Theatre, without ever having known or seen a theatre before. My father, on the other hand, got out from the primary school building to see parents picking up their children except for his parents of course, because his parents already died. Yet he ended up learning poetry and visiting so many lands!
Everything is possible for a child. Almost everything is possible, until they begin to grow up. Then begins the “you must…” and “you should…”. To my mother who wanted to do theatre, comedy or mathematics, she was told “you have to do that…”. The other who was a genius of football he was told “you have to go to school.” The one who wanted to play guitar was told “you should above all do your homework.” Gradually, all these young people have grown up, most of them just forgot the genius and the dreams of the child, to only hope to have a house, a job, and then also to have children so they can forward to them the best education and the best values, especially trying to accumulate as much money as possible and provide them with the best advices by telling them “you must…” and “you should…”. Until it is their turn to drop their craziest dreams, trying simply to make money and to please their parents.
There are obviously exceptions to this general phenomenon. But they are extremely rare; like a lottery with millions of numbers. There are billions of geniuses thrown into the world and almost all will be reduced to normality by those who love them the most, such as the parents and then by the rest of the family, school, neighbours, society. It is the repetition of cycles: my parents have flattened me, I flatten my children; of course this is called love and protection. The miracle can appear only by the conjunction of very small chances, an uncommon consciousness and willingness; the world’s greatest painter born in a lumberjack family will probably not discover himself, and when he begins to discover it, he will quickly be reminded that “he has to cut wood.” The most skilled lumberjack born into a family of musicians will simply become a good citizen, just as we like it. He is like us and he is equal to us. Mozart, born in a place without any music, would not have starved, but would not have become what he could become; he played a huge lottery and he just won. It is the miracle.
One day, having learned French, I noticed that my father often played this game of words in the newspaper: crosswords. I observed a bit how he was doing, and he showed me how he found the words. So I simply left with an old newspaper to my little desk in my room, I closed the door behind me and I began to figure out how to make a game of crosswords for my father. I had to go all the way around. Draw the grid, number it, invent words, ensure that they cross properly, put the black tiles, invent riddles to find the words. Once everything is finished, that is to say, the solution of the crosswords, I had simply to redraw everything on a new sheet leaving the grid empty and only putting the black squares and the horizontal and vertical “riddles” numbered. The pure happiness of a child! And then I just said to my father: “Here, I made a crosswords puzzle for you.” Impressed, he looks at it and starts to do it in front of me. I think he found it rather easy compared to those of the newspaper. For me, the story was over; I understood how to do crosswords and I have never found any interest to do it again, and even less to play it. I was like many children much more interested in the depth and the magic side of things rather than in the usual and superficial use adults make of it.
My father has continued to do his crosswords and I’ve continued to do, one after the other, projects in different fields, sometimes showing them to my parents and then, slowly, in total secrecy inside my laboratory and my virtual world. That’s why I always shut the door of my room behind me, something my mother didn’t like in the beginning; she often told me, “but leave your door open!” No! I did not want to leave my door open and I knew more than anyone in the world why.
One day, as I told you that children often ask the deepest questions, I witnessed a conversation between my mother and my oldest cousin of the village. They spoke in particular, like all adults, about work, business, and money. I intervened in the discussion and asked them: “actually, what’s the point in just having a lot of money?”. Both, watching me from above, half stunned, half ironic, laughed and said: “hahaha, it’s so easy to find what to do with money.” After having my share of teasing, I just left. In my personal lottery, several things could have happened. How many children have been broken by the mockery of others? How many children have come to believe they are stupid and that the adults knew everything? In my case, it was exactly the opposite that happened. I have never forgotten the story, like hundreds of others stories, but it never broke me, nor even touched me. I was convinced in my heart that I discovered things that others simply do not see. Those who laughed at me, that is to say the two people among those who love me the most in the world, had no idea that the child who was in front of them would study economics, history of money, philosophy, and do everything he can do to think about those questions and then write books and articles about it. Whereas they still do not know that the question “what’s the point of having a lot of money?” is one of the most discussed issues by leading economists and philosophers of the contemporary world.
When I was a child, and like most children, I was already too far ahead of them. So far ahead that I realized the great danger that those who loved me could actually represent for me. So, quiet early, I started a secret life. I programmed an ancestor of a computer, I wrote mathematical formulas, I was reading the books of psychiatry and psychology that are normally intended for students of medicine at the university and in addition were in English. And on the top of that I found explosive books like for example the Discourse on the Method of Descartes. This is where I started to become aware of being perhaps the winner of a big lottery indeed. What to do? Me, a child, alone. Outside of my room and the house, there are “you must…”, “you should…” and then all the talks of the family and the people at school.
So I very firmly closed the door of my room, in the proper sense at first, and then in the figurative sense. I had to do it for years, decades. The pressure was everywhere. “You have to…”, “why don’t you do it like this…” “Yes, but you know, you will grow up and you will change…”, “you’ll see, with age you will…”, “yeah but you know, you have to think about…”. Inside my room, I started reading everything I found in English on psychology and psychiatry. It was clear to me and evident that either something was seriously wrong in my head, or something was going too well. Then I was reading the books my father bought long time ago, texts of Plato, and then Schopenhauer and Freud… and to seal my fate I went myself to buy books of Nietzsche. Meanwhile, I wrote philosophical texts. The theories sprang into my head here and there. I did not need to make any effort to formalize human behaviour and invent whole theories with fascinating simplicity. I wrote some of them down and I discussed others with friends. And the more I went forward, the more I realized that indeed, there is no doubt, either I’m completely sick, or I’m too healthy. I secretly developed a real war machine to face society. Still a child, I was all alone developing defensive and aggressive war strategies to protect myself from everything. All subjects were unpacking and I wrote entire books in total secrecy. And then I developed a psychological interface with which I was going to live outside of my world without that the people notice that I am mentally “disturbed”.
I went to school and I forced myself to be always a good-average student. I always passed my exams and I have not repeated any year, just like most students. During history and geography exams I invented ingenious methods to cheat and get the good grades that I wanted. In mathematics and science I gave some private lessons to some of my friends and then helped them the day of the exam so that they can copy from me and get good grades. At that age already, I noticed how the school was breaking all the children that I perceived as being endowed with a very superior intelligence. I know geniuses who studied with me and went after school slowly into drugs, crime or religious dogmatism. On the other side, I always noticed how most of the best of the class seemed to have a boggling lack of intelligence, wit and humour. It disgusted me, but I didn’t say anything. It added for me just one more problem to solve on the very long list of things that I have to think about.
Then, like many others, I went to study in Management at the university. In parallel, I turned all the classes we had into other psychological and philosophical theories much more interesting to me than what we were told. And I was also writing a secret book. Obviously, that didn’t really leave me much time to study. I totally didn’t care about it. I had always managed to have good-average scores and to pass. I understood the system of life. I was just pretending to be there and participate.
The pressure didn’t stop. On the contrary. “Now, you have to…”, “to succeed in life, you should…,” “look at him, he is better than you…”, “if you want to become that, then you have to…”, “you know, when you’re young you want to transform the world, but when you are old the world transforms you…”. But there was absolutely nothing to do. I had already developed a war machine that was too ahead of the reactions of society. I became a master in the “yes, yes”, “yes, okay, yes, you’re right,” and I also became the master in the psychological destruction of those who stubbornly wanted to block my way, to disturb me, to just distract me from my work and the only work I wanted to do in my life: to learn, think, write, talk, act.
“Yes, yes, okay, okay.” Thanks to the love of my mother, her money and the high esteem that my parents held for the education of children, she sent me to study in the MBA of International Management at Laval University in Quebec. Finally, she could be proud of her son if he comes back with a degree, a doctorate or a great career. “Yes of course!” I was 23. The machine was already extremely well established. I had absolutely nothing to do with the MBA. I also dressed in a rather scurrilous manner compared to other students. I learned Quebecer accent very quickly. I integrated the society as if I was born there. One of the great professors of the University who wanted to humiliate me in front of dozens of other students because I was badly dressed to make a presentation, invited me later to his office and told me secretly that my presentation was excellent, but most students have not really understood it and that its level was too high. And then such stories came on all the time, throughout my life. I don’t get any particular pleasure from it, for because of this curse I had to live in solitude. I passed all my MBA courses and I wasn’t interested at all to get the degree. Instead of writing my thesis, I began writing a major philosophical treatise, always in secret. Most of my fellow students became leaders in big companies or university professors. From my side, I had to fight with all my strength to not to end up with the car, the tie and the exorbitant salary: it was a nightmare for me. I succeeded for years to work only three hours a day and earn enough to be able to register for real philosophy courses at Laval University and then to travel and learn Spanish. I revealed all the secrets partly here and there, but almost never all of them to one person; anyways I have never met a person who can understand every aspect of my psychology. Many tried to block my way and said “yes, but…”, “you must…”, “but you have to think about…” Many others, and they will recognize themselves here, had a very positive impact in my life and supported me concretely, emotionally, and morally.
I spent six and a half years without setting foot on Tunisian ground. Meanwhile, I had already several lives, studied philosophies, did businesses, wrote a lot, studied the games of Kasparov to refine my machine. Quebecer society, as Tunisian society and like any other society in the world still obeys to the same rules, “you must…”, “it is necessary that you…” To the despair of my mother who paid for my studies, she realized that instead of becoming a university professor or a high official of the state or a bank, I became nothing… at all! And the last time I went to Tunisia, there was the same sound of the family and above all the same cousin who laughed at me when I was a child and wanted to know what is it useful for to have lots of money. And then they said: “when will you stabilize yourself? have a job… “, “but now you really need to…”. Quebec or Tunisia, everywhere, friends, families, almost anywhere in the world: “Yes, but…”, “You have to…”, “and retirement…”, “and insurance…” Obviously everyone just ran into a wall of concrete. They would like it so much that I live the same life as them. They would like it so much that me too I have a job, a house, children, and that it’s my turn to tell them “you have to…”. It disgusted me. It was better to die of cold, thirst, and hunger.
The secret allowed me to pretend to live a normal life and to minimize the pressures and adverse comments. This is the defence tactic that every child develops against the aggression from the outside world that wants necessarily to deny his genius and put him back on the line to be like other children. It’s been a while that I’ve planned the progressive lifting of this secret, but still, I can’t really live normally in a society where there are only adults when I remained in reality a child. I would have to go to work, have an address, papers, taxes, etc. While from my side, very early, I saw clearly the diseases of human beings, their suffering and I wanted to try to find solutions to that. So I refuse to go and take a totally useless job in my case, because I do not have time for that, and I’m too busy, and then after 30 years of “you have to…” and “yes but…”, I’m getting slightly tired. I would like to have a new life.
This new life is the one that I’ve always lived. It’s just my life. I always had nothing to do but to take care of the problems of the others. People have so many problems that I cannot just ignore them and go become a millionaire in finance. People have problems that I see and that they don’t even see themselves. The world has diseases that I see and about which we don’t even talk. But if all the things I have to say bother the people so much in their habits and tranquility, then what? Should I talk or should I shut up?
I obviously decided to talk, and I intend to talk at length. That’s my new life. It’s just about developing my oeuvre and give it to those who want to use it. But are we really going to allow me to do so? I’m not sure yet and I still take precautions. That’s why I don’t want at all to be in this world as it is and as adults now conceive it. I do not want to have neither money nor a country. I do not want to belong to any particular social group and I do not want to be equated with any culture, any majority. I do not have the ambition to become neither the president of a country nor the president of a club. I just want to be able to live without boundaries, to move about freely and to say and write what I want to say.
Almost all my friends and enemies have children now, and it’s to those children that I want to devote the rest of my life. Everything I do and everything I write, it will be for them. For they may have the ability and the intelligence to understand what’s the point of having a lot of money, while the child reaches the summit of his achievement and happiness when he makes crosswords, when he invents stories, and when he asks and thinks the truest and most beautiful questions.
For all the adults, I tell you that I love you of course, and even the worst of you, but I’m sorry, most of what you do and what you say does not really interest me, since a very long time indeed. Apart from some exceptions of course. They are very rare. It’s a lottery.