Who is Mikhail Kalashnikov? He invented the AK 47? The most notorious gun the world by a mile with the magnum 357, M16, and M4 with grenade launcher bringing up the rear. Nothing comes with the realm as the AK 47, just ask any fan of the James Bond franchise.
Kalashnikov died last month at the age of 91, a very very very very wealthy man. He had that military contractor money, aka fat stacks to the sky. He had that, all the money in the world, kind of money. He has the go to military arms dealer during the height of the cold war. So why is this the first line in a letter her wrote to a priest “”The pain in my soul is unbearable.” ???
A man who wasn’t just rich but wealthy, a hero’s hero to his country. Pain in his soul?
Because facing death makes one look back on life more independently, because we separate from our ego as we enter or complete the final chapter of our physical lives. Kalashnikov always knew deep in his soul he was making money literally from murder, death, and destruction. He knew he made the world a worse place while making his fortune.
I personally think anyone who works on Wall Street, for an oil/gas company, for a utility company, fast food company, tobacco firm, or as a lobbyist should read his quotes and wonder if they will think they same of themselves when they eventually die. People who make money polluting the earth, gauging people for money for basic elements of survival, make people sick and/or unhealthy, and influence legislation at the expense of the many for the sake of the few. What will they think of themselves, their lives, legacies when they are inevitably on their death bed?
This isn’t just CEOs, this goes all the way down to the clerks. Whether religious or not, none of us escape death, and we need not worry about St. Peter we need only about the last time we look in the mirror. We are responsible for our legacies. All the money in the world cannot buy one’s way into heaven or piece of mind and spirit when we are about to die.
Kalashnikov’s quote made me think about beginning with the end in mind, a principle of Stephen Covey. It made me think about the quest to have a comfortable living and peace of mind. It made me think about tribal society and how we’re all in this together whether we want it to be that way or not. It made me think hedge fund managers, shady investment bankers, private military contractors will eventually think and feel what Kalashnikov thought on his death bed. What does it make you think of?