“He was crazy. Crazy for a new madness, where everything changes for the better thanks to the network.” With these words, Beppe Grillo described some time ago the beginning of his brotherhood with Gianroberto Casaleggio.
He recalled an April evening in 2004, when the businessman went to a dressing room at the Goldoni Theatre in Livorno to present the entertainer with his ideas about the future. That evening, Casaleggio must have uttered in a low voice and with sadness the words that made him the key player of recent Italian politics: a mix of esoteric, apocalyptic millenarianism and technological enthusiasm, albeit a bit dated. All seasoned with the tools of business motivation and with some knowledge of the philosophy of communication.
To understand the relationship of Casaleggio with the Five Star Movement, it is necessary to understand his ability to handle the opposites. The man who died Tuesday, at 61 years of age, could juggle the contradictions. He knew how to bust them on the enemy camp instead of on his own turf. He moved the agenda of conflicts and inconsistencies outside the fence of his organization. It is known that comedians play with paradoxes; they build up laughter by highlighting contradictions. Grillo moves in this space and in this same field. From his perspective of business leader, Casaleggio moved in that space as well.