breaking the sword

i’m reading this incredible little book, loaned to me and recommended by my friend andrew, “on understanding violence philosophically,” by j. glenn gray.  he spends the first portion of his work making a distinction between force and violence.  an important distinction as force used improperly can turn quickly into violence, and happens often from the top down as a government loses itself in the sweet oblivion of wreaking havoc on others, on its own, and the trend carries all the way down into our neighborhoods…  the capacity for violence is born out of a nature of duality which we humans possess.  unlike most other species, our skills are not limited to simply regenerative prowess: we also have imagination: this character of spirit, of being, brings us into connexion with the powers  that create and delete.   the author states that  it is by this manifold of imagination that humans have EKSTASIS… that they are brought out of themselves and witness themselves; and without this creative ability (it’s also a skill), the world is just a wide expanse of things and possible dangers.  yet it is by this very powerful tool of ekstasis that our species can spin into negative observance of itself, where the powers of deletion are relished above those of joy, gratitude, creative intelligence, and tolerance.  it is so possible and intriguing to fall into resentful ekstasis, that this pathogenic poison has toppled nations (East Germany, Zimbabwe) and even threatened the safety of the entire planet (nuclear weapons, destructive environmental processes).  this is the root of violence, which is a reactive spiritual action, getting off on the intoxicating sensation of bringing pain into another spirit.  the only solution to this violence is containment; it cannot be REMOVED like so many peace activists might hope: it must be integrated, dealt with, understood, and, given the tools of compassion and creativity, transformed into the beneficent other side of ekstasis, where we live in a deep joy recognizing the thread that runs through and under all things.  the author quotes Nietzsche from his earlier book, “Human, all too Human…” that in order to bring about peace (which is only one thing: an end of violence and a memory of that end) we must, “break the sword.”  this alone will save a nation from violence, especially a nation that has armed itself with military might for the purpose of “defense.”  if the world watched that nation “smash its entire military establishment down to its lowest foundations”… then we would be on the path to something interesting, then we would be entering the ekstasis where characters are forged and leaders weave history.

in the same aphorism, Nietzsche says something i cannot forget:

rather perish than hate and fear and TWICE RATHER PERISH than make oneself hated and feared.

bear stearns


quoted, a NY Times article of 23 March, 2008

the down turning market is now global; federally sanctioned infusions of cash into market systems are occurring globally at present and moves like the Federal Reserve in the United States recently made to cushion the securities firm, Bear Stearns are historic and indicative of un-integrated, fearful and desperate choices.  these are also choices attempting to patch a system whose flaws are much deeper.

the apparent cause in these quick reversals of fortune among un-regulated wall street firms is the derivative empire which has arisen as profits on wall street have shrunk and regulations of commercial banking practices have heightened.  for “studio” analysis of this dilemma an appeal to primary resources is in order.  and that is the very problem of a derivative stock: it is an abstract speculation on the behavior of the stock market, which is already far enough removed from elemental business practice to merit examination, in other words delegating the risk of transactions to arenas of the trade which may not even be aware of these risks.  so to call out, “what is the practice at hand here?… what are we trading?”  it comes down to the choices one makes about WHAT one is doing.  making the choice to know what it is.  when you know, you know what you’re becoming… as one is one’s practice: a collection of all past decisions and actions.

It is a stealth market that relies on trades conducted by phone between Wall Street dealer desks, away from open securities exchanges. How much changes hands or who holds what is ultimately unknown to analysts, investors and regulators.

this is nearly the tongue pulled, inside-out version of studio practice which appeals to full disclosure and grounding in raw materials and understanding of one’s practice, a root in excellence: the activity and craft which betters the practice while bettering the human.

this crisis is a call to return to origins, the roots of our business structure, this is the meaning of “revolution”–now returned to a place that can integrate organization on a global level, and enter second tier.

the executives who previously bedded down every night with double martinis and prescription drugs, who had sweaty palms throughout the day, who still have sweaty palms and have their martini earlier because they have to get up at 3:00 a.m. to follow markets are leaders, our leaders, and they are shaping the world and they are being called to observe this global trepidation, to integrate their choices and CHANGE.

what does a regulated market look like?  why would a wall street strategist shirk the governmental regulations which could keep the market more balanced with reality?  both questions point to the bottom line: a regulated mark keeps in check trading practices and the quality of the products being traded.  when $200 Billion disappeared over the past two weeks (March 15-31 2008), it did not disappear… but was re-appropriated into the hands of those making bets on these poor quality products, like sub-prime mortgages which have been re-named and re-allocated such that their reality now is 1) LOSS for the banks that did not hedge them with other bets (derivatives) that these were in fact unwise investments, 2) mass LOSS and foreclosure of those purchasing the dubious products and 3) massive GAIN for those hedging the market, making the bet that Bear Stearns would go down.  someone named Paulson (not related to the secretary of the Treasury), per the conversation of Paul Goldberger with Terry Gross on NPR today, April 3, made around $10 Billion on that crash and, as he states, that money is real: it is just not going back into the market of American jobs, ingenuity, creativity, the pioneering force that our country is built upon… it went into the pocket of a wily risk taking computer button pusher who is really good at computer button pushing.

surely mr. Paulson is not too excited about government intervention with his market of opportunity (a huge revolving door).  yet this ‘non-intervention’ is not without intervention.  this scary fact is evidenced by the participation of the Federal Reserve in the market in the form of cash infusions and help to J.P. Morgan/Chase to procure the giant securities firm… in other words, putting the burden of these poor inventions, pushed in an un-regulated market to an extreme of profit where it is placed in the hands of individuals removing money from the economy, UPON the taxpayer!  we are all paying for the privilege these guys have of making vast amounts of money because they’re good with computers.

and, notwithstanding a “regulated” market, there remains the question of responsibility: do we want to endorse a market based on abstract reflection or one based in hard core truth about the state of the world, based in industry and enterprising individuals trying to make a difference?

tumbling markets

Swan Song Economy

The most precious commodity on the market: confidence, and it’s dropping all over the globe because our trading behavior (following the U.S.A.) has systematically abstracted from the roots of trade.  Those roots are tied to real goods and services and, following Adam Smith, an urge to share native wealth with other nations.  One concerning trend, following skyrocketing food prices, rising inflation, record real price precious metal and oil prices is the common tie of PETROLIUM RELIANCE; all of these goods, including petrol itself, is moved around by means of this quickly dwindling resource from the land of camels.

As China enters the first world and places a gravitational force on the market, global transport and energy consumption is more than ever evanescing.  The studio approach to this nest of problems is a utilization of global information sharing and a dissemination of the tools that can facilitate localization of an otherwise high quality/global product in regions of the market such as, textiles, shoes, jewelry, metallurgy, furniture, transportation, alternative energy production, house wares, etc… and in the meantime, as global freight costs escalate, contemplate the possibility of wind-driven container ships.  Look here for the prototype!: