Brunello Cucinelli, in reporting the firm’s first-quarter results, took the opportunity to write down his thoughts about the coronavirus pandemic — not regarding its impact on his business, but how it has changed our lives forever.
Here, an excerpt of Cucinelli’s Letter to Investors for the New Time:
“In this letter I do not intend to dwell on the current situation, on how it affects the whole world or on how important it is to comply with the instructions of those who have the responsibility to protect our health and our lives. You already know all this too well, it is an obligation to us and to mankind. Too many things we have learned in such a short time; too many things we thought indispensable have turned out to be superfluous, too many feelings we thought dormant re-emerged like new springs.
“In this letter, instead, I want to tell you what is taking shape in our hearts, inside us, beyond the suffering: I want to focus on those changes that slowly but surely, from day-to-day — perhaps without us even realizing it yet — are almost reshaping our human structure, showing us just how beautiful the world can be, that very same world that we took for granted until yesterday.
“Until a few days ago, the time that flows from one daily action to the next was driven by the frantic urgency of an ongoing haste and frenzy without a conscious reason; today time has changed its pace like in a melody where every musical beat falls where the score of Creation wants it to be, and generates a music of memories and future that we won’t easily forget. How many times, in yesterday’s life, our words stole the space of feelings, forgetting that the first truly universal word is the example of a life led with moderation! How many times, wrapped up in a life that we believed to be the best possible, somewhere, perhaps even in our dreams, we wondered if our behavior was not completely respectful of Creation, and for a moment we thought that maybe we were acting against nature?
“Surely it has happened to each of us, maybe this memory is not very flattering. Today we are enwrapped in our pain. But how would we be if we could see what life will be like soon, tomorrow, when all this is over? We would certainly be more at peace, if not even joyful, just like in that magnificent universal work, ‘The Betrothed,’ when Renzo, just out of the leper hospital, rejoiced in his new life, and Manzoni writes about him: ‘But much would his enjoyment have been increased, could he have surmised what would be seen a few days after. This water carried off, washed away, so to speak, the contagion.…At the end of a week, shops were opened, people returned to their houses, quarantine was hardly spoken of, and there remained of the pestilence but a few scattered traces.’
“The rising of a new time has already begun from the shadows of a painful night; this new time, my esteemed friends, I see it brimming with fabulous opportunities, a bearer of new lifeblood, a creator of ideas revolving around a renewed desire for life. I know that there will be economic growth; I know that enthusiasm will make our hearts soar. But at the end of this all we will be different; we too, like time, will be somehow new.
“Something has been transformed and it will make us see things and life in a different, beautiful, enchanted light. That very same bread, which we took for granted yesterday, will now be a new surprise, a warning to remind us of those who do not have any bread, and should have it. In every man we will recognize another man: our brother.
“Something has changed, and it will reveal us that family is the bud of society. And so water, the fields of wheat, the orchards, and the animals that feed us, will take on a new look, they will be full of a meaning that is their natural, fair, balanced one, they will become almost sacred. This value is that of the rhythm of Creation, which beats in our hearts.
“Dear friends, I am convinced that the new time will be a fascinating opportunity for us to restore the relationship between humanism and technology, between consumption and the economy, between the spirit and harmony, between profit and giving back. I have always imagined our life as the relationship between us and our destiny, which – like the ring of a planet, or in the shape of an enormous wheel — turns slowly but steadily, carrying some good and some pain on its every spoke, and always, always, the spoke of our cherished opportunities.
“So I would like to say that this is an opportunity that does not concern an individual man only, but every single man in the world. Our eyes, our hearts, our muscles, our tiniest most sensitive nerve must be tightened and quivering, ready to grasp the universal gift that our destiny has prepared for us: We will be different, because it will no longer be possible to abuse Creation, because never before has the word ‘growth’ been linked to moderation and not to excess, because never again will we turn our heads from what we do not like.
“The new time is this opportunity: to redress our relationship with Creation according to its rules, the rules of simple use and not waste or consumption, respect for human dignity, fair work, and everything in the world that is worthy of being called ‘human.’
“I have no doubt about this new time, a time that will speak to us with a silent and piercing language, a time as new as we will be. One day, thinking back to this lazy, idle time, for a while we will perceive it with a sort of revulsion, but then unexpectedly, maybe on a spring day like today, in the early morning, when the last night stars go out in the sky, when the painful memories overwhelm us, we will be surprised to feel almost a sense of fondness, an inconceivable warmth toward today’s times, and we will then realize that with time we end up loving even our sorrows, because they taught us our new life.
“This is how we like to lead our life, this is how we will try to continue to lead our enterprise.”