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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Hazy Recollections....Awkward Synthesis....

Austerity riots. I'm annoyed by them. First the rioters seem like spoiled children demanding the grown-ups figure out a way to make life a permanent Disneyland when any reasonable person realizes that their wish is logistically impossible. Then I feel annoyed about being annoyed by the rioters because I feel like a reactive pawn of some collective banking industry that has brainwashed me with carefully crafted lies. There is no winning. But the riots have acted as a muse of sorts:

Hazy recollections:

In the late Eighties a friend gave me "Atlas Shrugged" to read right after we graduated high school. It was intriguing. Hazy recollections of feeling that personal responsibility and rugged individualism were the only moral way of life. Absolute fairness! Had to watch out for bad people who wanted to manipulate their way into things they didn't earn.

Was it the mid-Nineties that Bono of U2 argued to some G7 summit that all debts accumulated by third world countries should be forgiven? After all, the debts were created by corrupt leaders of those countries who didn't use the money to help the citizens. On top of that, the payments on these corrupt loans were taking cash needed to finance projects that actually would help the citizens. Clean water and such. Its a very hazy recollection, but I recall thinking "Well that makes sense and seems ethicially to be the right thing to do". Sure, some nameless investors would lose money in the default, but they were bastards who shouldn't have been lending to other bastards who were clearly lying about using the funds for civic endeavors.

About a decade later I came across some mind-bending books on evolutionary biology. Soon, the CDS situation was spiralling out of control. I was curious and learned all sorts of horrendous things about the Federal Reserve system and the US financial system in general. I couldn't believe that educated people in suits created such sloppy work. And that the rest of us weren't even paying attention even though the sloppy work permutated nearly ever aspect of our physical existance. Sobering, no? This research led me to the Sudden Debt blogsite where an insider named Hell explained much of multifaceted horror along with a devotion to alternative energy since (well, one reason was saving the environment which seems like a good idea in general) the thermodynamic accounting wasn't balancing out any more with hydrocarbons. The blogsite also carried a mad genius commenter named Thai. He worked at light speed with complex ideas shooting off in all directions. Fairness perception in game theory experiments. Scaling benefits of cooperation. Zero sum, breaking symmetry, and fractals. It was a blur of mind-bending (mind-breaking at times) idea candy.

Awkward synthesis

So take all these puzzle pieces of knowledge and/or beliefs and fit them into a coherent, flowing picture. Well, not today obviously ;)


Edwardo said...

"Austerity riots. I'm annoyed by them...Then I feel annoyed about being annoyed"

Just so. It's hard to know where to take a stand on such matters, but I tend to side with hoi polloi as I am too well aware that they, despite bearing a certain level of responsibility for their present predicament, are not the main actors in the drama they find themselves embroiled in.

Dink said...

Yes, there is a certain mid-level echelon getting doubly hammered by this. They didn't create the problem, but they are responsible for fixing it. An impossible situation and I imagine that they'll resign or be fired shortly.

Similarily, I wonder how social workers keep their sanity. They can't control who has children or control who is mentally or physically incapable of self-care. Yet they are expected to make sure all have a high-quality of life. An overwhelming amount of responsibility with next to no authority or funds to actually enact changes.

JP said...

The hoi polloi haven't exactly been paying their taxes.

This is Greece we are talking about.

I don't think social workers are exepcted to make sure that everone has a high quality of life.

My psychiatrist brother in law thinks it would be wonderful if everyone could have a GAF of 40.

To the level of:

"Serious symptoms (e.g., suicidal ideation, severe obsessional rituals, frequent shoplifting)."

Dink said...

Snort!! GAF 40 "serious symptoms" don't seem all too fabulous to strive for. Your B-I-L must be sheparding a pretty difficult group of patients.

Doesn't it seem strange that people from resource poor places (islands, etc) seem emotionally and socially content while people from resource rich areas seems wrapped around the axle with all sorts of ego distortions and social dysfunctions? What it the stuff-to-population threshold and mechanism? (note: I am not some hippie slamming the western lifestyle, I just observe a trend and neutrally question, I swear).

P McGavin said...

Very cool post. I can relate to your inner monologue- though not on the greece issue haha. here is my take on the greek debt problem: let me know what you think, dink!

The Most Fabulous Objects In The World

  • Hitchhiker's Guide To The Universe trilogy
  • Lord of the Rings trilogy
  • Flight of the Conchords
  • Time Bandits