Reflections on the Hitchcock Economy | The Missing Trillion-Dollar Lollipops - Part 1/2

» A month ago I posted an entry titled » Using Hitchcock's Notorious KEY Shot to Focus on Political Palms. In looking back (.. after dealing with the server move) and reflecting ..

Bare snowy trees reflect on the surface of icy water during the winter solstice.. I am conscious that the entry (.. which grew large enough to warrant splitting in three parts) combines elements of several conceptual ecosystems ..

.. intertwining ideas as distinct as » morals, ethics, inequality, economics, society, culture, government, capitalism ..

.. corruption, cronyism, protest, civil unrest, values, film/cinema, human nature, psychology, medicine, death & loss, etc.

Most strikingly tho, I am conscious of the mind set that accompanies the Systems Integration portion of the courses at the Navy's Nuclear Power school ..

.. where, after spending the entire school year learning about each individual system .. such as Reactor Coolant, Purification, Charging, Discharge, etc .. you finally (finally!) get to PUT IT ALL TOGETHER.

» Systems Integration

This is by far the coolest part of the course. Such a trip to see/watch all these cool technologies actually taking shape in your head. Like a hologram.

Liquids flowing thru pipes, uranium atoms splitting, pumps spinning, control rods shimming, turbine generators humming at 3600 RPM, fed by arm-cutting steam, reduction gears reducing, main engines ahead flank.

And this part here affects that part there. But how? Everything affects everything. But how? Be specific! I want numbers! To an accuracy of 3 significant digits. How many ping-pong balls would it take to fill the Milky Way? "Times up! Put DOWN your pencils." =)

United States Naval Nuclear-Powered Ballistic Missile SubmarineIn other words, they propose various isolated things go wrong and they want you to tell them how that will affect everything else in the plant.

In medical terms, an aspiring physician might be asked how a kidney infection might affect the brain, the lungs, or any other organ in the body.

Looking back I'm surprised to be reminded of those days, seeing they were'st many moons afore. But yes, I am conscious of the similarity of the patterns. Feels kinda cool, actually.

I mean I can feel the same 'muscles' going to work, assembling the pieces, the constructs, connecting them together ..

.. to the point of making educated guesstimates where no reliable formulas exist. "Now let's cut in chill water and fire this sucker up."

Altho the two Systems Integrations appear similar in structure, the actual mechanics of assembly & operation are very different. Almost exact opposites. That's why that-entry felt like I was winging it. Thinking out loud.

But my intuitions here have proven remarkably accurate .. as further information continues to come out and confirm my earlier hunches .. as you will see.

Hank Paulson | Secretary of the Treasury 2006 to 2009, CEO Goldman Sachs 1999 to 2006Nearly everything in Economics is based on a theory, so you naturally look deeper into the underlying assumptions. In that respect, the exercise is introspective.

Lots more shady characters inhabit the world of Economics. Feels a little slimy here.

» Cojones Gigantos

I also thought it seemed a little ballsy .. to presume to be able to see into the economy .. when I dont have a degree in Economics.

But then, something inside corrected me, saying <paraphrase>:

"Dude, these clowns came this }{ close to flushing the whole enchilada down the pooper. At least, that's what they tell us. Not something I'd be inclined to brag about. So it's not like the bar has been set very high. It's not like people werent jumping up & down shouting warnings for years."

So yeah, I think I can do better.

••• today's entry continues here below •••

So this might be a good place to share some insights into my still-developing look into this thing we call the economy.

From a deep-gut perspective (intuition?) I get the impression that the problem with our economy .. is its design. By that I mean, it's designed so that we ALWAYS HAVE TO KEEP MOVING FORWARD.

That's why we keep getting these boom/bust cycles. These are clearly not healthy, not good (.. for you & me, anyway).

My analogy is an AIRPLANE » if we dont keep moving .. at some minimum speed (stall speed), we drop out of the sky and crash.

Friedrich August Hayek (1899 to 1992)The higher we soar, the farther we drop (.. more or less), the bigger the crash, the more it hurts.

But this design is not good for people. (Because people are not airplanes.)

I dont know how to do it, but the designers need to modify the system to:

  1. Stop the boom/bust cycle (.. cuz we know how badly this suks).

    It has become clear (painfully clear, time & again) that the Fed's response to the Humphrey-Hawkins Act of 1978 has been to focus almost exclusively on growth, while virtually ignoring stability .. at least from a policy standpoint.

    It would be worthwhile here to pause and consider the following » If you could INFLUENCE or CONTROL the Booms and/or the Busts .. you could become wealthy. Very.

    Near the end of the movie » Margin Call (strong ratings), the character played by Jeremy Irons mentions the following years to Kevin Spacey » 1637, 1797, 1819, 1837, 1857, 1884, 1901, 1907, 1929, 1937, 1974, 1987, 1992, 1997, 2000.

    Think about it.

    Say, for example, there was an inflated bubble in the price of some asset class (.. for whatever reason). Let's pick, say .. housing. And say, housing prices were in the process of correcting, deflating, and returning back to fair-market value.

    But say you and your close buddies had the ability to (somehow) KEEP prices inflated .. from returning to fair market value. Or to REFRAIN from keeping prices inflated.

    That information (.. that inflated prices will either be supported or allowed to fall back to fair market value) could be very valuable, no? .. to even the least savvy investor.

    If you knew for certain what would happen tomorrow (.. because you could CONTROL what happens), for just one day, you could become filthy rich the following day. Think about it. "Gentlemen, place your bets."

  2. Convert the plane into something that travels on the ground (.. so less people keep getting dropped out of the sky).

    Kinda suks when their not-too-bright buddies from Wall Street fall out of the sky, land on us, and WE have to go to the financial hospital .. to have our economic wounds dressed. Can ya feel me, dawg?

But I bet a guy with a PhD in Economics from Princeton would know .. how to modify the design so it works more stably.

Cuz there are things more important than money or a jet-powered economy (.. or at least, there should be) .. things such as people, for example. We're talking about » priorities. And who sets them.

And speaking of priorities, you guys have already spent your quota of war-funds for the entire century. So you need to sheath the sabers and chill for the next 90-odd years. (If we make it that far.)

» Our Consumerist Culture

Cant really discuss a subject like this without mentioning our Consumer-oriented society. Our disposable Consumer culture.

GandhiMost Americans have way more shit than they need. More than they even want.

So much shit that it has become a problem. (You know what I'm talking about, dawg.)

So much shit that we need to hire professionals .. whose sole fuction in life .. is to visit people's homes and help them ..

.. by designing more efficient ways .. to store all their shit. (Of course, you have to buy more new shit in order to organize all your old shit.)

Is it not difficult to get rid of our shit? Does it not cling to you? Weigh you down? Encumber?

To the point of caricature .. playing a disproportionately large role in defining our culture. An embarrassingly large role.

Do you not feel compelled .. to keep buying new shit? As tho you were programmed to do so from an early age. Even when you try not to? Even when you cant afford it, or dont have the money?

And everybody knows how the more things in your life means less room for God, and even yourself. In other words, priorities are always in play. And our priorities certainly influence, if not determine, the course of our lives.

» Gandhi's Credibility

When Gandhi died (1948) the thing that shocked the Western world was .. how few possessions he owned.

Gandhi's possessions at his death in 1948A bowl, a spoon, bifocals, a robe, a holy book, 2 pair sandals, a thin mat to sleep on.

Seven or eight things. He lived to be 78 and sent the Brits packing. So no, you dont need a lot, and would probably thrive with less.

The more things we own, the more they own us. Does managing & servicing all your shit not consume a good portion of your time? Maybe too good of a portion?

Surely we have better things to do with our time. What would you do with the extra time if you no longer had to tend to all your shit? What great things could you accomplish?

No one makes a disparaging caricature of Gandhi's possessions. Nobody ridicules Gandhi. He didnt spend a good chunk of every weekend tending to all his shit.

Sure, Gandhi could've lived at the Taj if he wanted, clothed in purple and fine linen, faring sumptuously every day on heaping buckets of escargot.

But he chose to "live like his people" .. on a thin mat, eating rice out of a worn wooden bowl. And not very much, either. (You'll notice Gandhi was never fat.)

What a point of contrast with our leaders in Washington! They should take note and perchance be inspired. Because, altho Gandhi had few possessions, he had tons of » credibility (with the people) .. something that cant be purchased.

At any price.

This point about the dangers of a decadent Consumerist culture opens up a whole 'nuther can o' worms. But we wont go there. Note however, that Gandhi was assasinated, Why only the good ones?

The message that most Americans, and especially our leaders, should glean from the life of Gandhi is » more is not always better.

I cannot let this section pass without at least mentioning that Gandhi was influenced by Tolstoy .. something I find interesting.

» Perfection Through Suffering | aka » If There Be Any Other Way.

One of the most surprising (unanticipated) things about forced-downsizing (.. yes, I'm speaking from personal experience here) ..

Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Russian Novelist (1821 - 1881).. is that it FORCES you to decide .. what's important .. and what's not. In other words we're again talking about » priorities.

[ Can't trust in uncertain riches if you aint got any. =) ]

It's a valuable, eye-opening experience, for sure. Tho not what I would call particularly pleasant.

But you learn that things which we thought were surely important, even vital .. uh, are really not.

Notice what Hemingway said about living in poverty near the end of A Moveable Feast (.. the book which formed the basis for Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris).

From page 220 of the hard-back version of the Restored edition (published 2009 by grandson Patrick) .. the last sentence of the next-to-last chapter:

"I do not know about that now but this is how Paris was in the early days when we were very poor and very happy."

This wonderful lightbulb effect (.. that important things are not so important) is accompanied by a feeling of liberation. Pretty cool feeling. Very cool, actually. [ Almost like getting out of jail. =) ]

It teaches you lessons that -- for me, anyway -- cant be learned while floating down the economic river-of-life on flowery beds of financial ease.

There are a whole shit-load of skills that neednt be developed when one has enough financial resource$ to buy your way out of them.

And in the process, you learn that you're much more resilient than you ever imagined. More than you thought humanly possible.

Those 10-kilo-ton tactical nuclear blasts that blow up right outside your front door .. no longer rattle you the way they used to .. because .. you've already walked away from a 100 kilo-ton direct hit. Feel me?

You've already walked away from the psychic mushroom cloud. Sure, maybe your legs were wobbly, your hair tousled, clothes tattered & singed, skin covered with cuts, bones aching, eyes blurry .. but you made it back to your feet. Surprisingly. As tho you somehow had help.

Who was it that said, "You need to die a few times before you can really live" ? Why would anybody say such an outlandish thing? What happens when you 'die'? .. that allows you to 'really live'?

The notion of perfection-thru-suffering, tho universally acknowledged when applied to things such as exercise and sports (the physical body), seems to have merit in non-physical things, as well.

Tho most people, it seems, would rather, quite understandably, if possible, take the painless route. Myself included. (Tho sometimes I take the challenging route .. just because.)

Friedrich Nietzsche (1844 - 1900)"Nature follows the path of least-resistance." I've always admired that saying. =) The wisdom of Mother Nature herself.

Tho my path might suggest otherwise. A trail of psychic wreckage. Many lightning-bolt scars. "Hey God! w'sup with all these lightning bolts?"

But this is a subject I've only recently begun to research (.. since familiarizing myself with Dostoyevsky).

While 'Perfection' is definitely a cool topic .. 'Psychic Suffering' .. uh » not so much. Pretty scary, if you ask me.

Perhaps it's painful when ugliness or 'imperfections' come out .. when they're extracted. Perhaps this is the paradigm of perfection I'm searching for. Extracting a pure, refined essense. The process of "extraction" is what's so wrenching. (I'm just thinking out loud here, based on my experiences.)

Regulars might recall my reservations with some of the ideas I saw in Dostevsky's writings. Ideas that I mentioned but didnt elaborate upon. Ideas that I wrestled with, trying to reject them.

Well, this is it. The notion of Perfection thru Suffering. I do not like this notion .. as I'm sure most can imagine. Maybe because we do not like to suffer. It disturbs me. And to be frank, on some level, it even offends me.

Which is why I tried to dismiss the idea. Wasnt long before I found myself wrestling with Dostoevsky's offensive idea, researching what the sages of the ages had to say on the topic. (And I promptly got my ass handed to me.)

Really thought I could take him down without much effort. (Silly me.) But the more I looked, and the closer I looked, the wronger I became.

I somehow had the idea, growing up Catholic, that if I was a basically a good person, things would go reasonably well for me (.. meaning minimal suffering).

In referencing scriptures however, that's not what I'm seeing. Not hardly. I mean, it seems like these guys are getting beat-up left & right .. between being in-n-out of jail.

Why would anybody be attracted to a religion like that? If the apostles & prophets are supposed to be our examples?

So my childhood theology is sorta being up-ended. Kinda upsetting. I could elaborate & clarify & provide supporting evidence, but today's entry is not about religion. (Many other sites do that, amply well.)

On a related (tho seemingly unrelated) note, note that Pascal (1623 - 1662) famously said:

"All of humanity's problems stem from man's inability to sit quietly in a room alone."

I can feel this topic trying to branch out into its own .. similar to the way this entry split-out from » How Big is the Universe, and the way this entry split-out from the » Nostalgic Trip.

Currently conducting controlled experiments in the perfecting laboratory of psychic suffering .. with interesting results. Stay tuned for white paper to follow. But for now, this is a topic we'll save for another day.

» Curious Coincidence

Before closing, I should mention an observation .. in looking back and reflecting. A coincidence, maybe.

My First Time in JailSee, I went to JAIL the weekend that Occupy Wall Street started.

In retrospect, the TIMING struck me as .. well, curious.

Cuz I had seen / learned a lot thru that experience. (And I certainly didnt request jail. My lawyer tried to get me out of it.)

It were as if my eyes had been opened, and afterwards I used these new eyes to look around and explore things I'd previously taken for granted. Turning over rocks. All kinds of rocks. Social. Political. Legal. Economic. Etc.

I saw things that were not very pretty. Not pleasant to look at. Uncomfortable to gaze upon. Even disturbing, at times. (Ignorance can indeed be blissful, it seems.)

Part of what has me so concerned .. in addition to all the ugliness I uncovered .. is how EASY it was to find. If all this ugliness is sitting so close to the surface, barely concealed, then .. my intuition can only imagine how nasty the really well-hidden stuff must be.

Wasnt until after I posted that entry .. that I realized I was actually sitting IN JAIL the very day the movement began (.. mid-September). The whole day.

In fact, that was the only day I spent the entire day in jail, seeing I had spent the previous day processing IN and the following procesing OUT.

Go directly to jal; Do not pass Go. Do Not Collect $200[ Jails, as you can see, in addition to storage (.. like a hard drive) are very much about processing (like a CPU). ]

Now, if that's a coincidence, the timing, I mean, then it's a cool coincidence. Curiously cool.

Because it says to me, quite clearly I might add, the same thing the OWS protestors were saying .. and it's also what has the entire country incensed.

» People vs Money (Priorities)

The SYSTEM was sending me a message .. and I got the message (loud-n-clear, thank-you) .. which is » the SYSTEM is so fucked up, so dysfunctional, that it cant help but punish-the-innocent and reward-the-guilty.

Because the SYSTEM is clearly not about people, but rather about » money .. the love of which, we all know, lies at the root of injustice.

Yes, the system certainly CLAIMS to be about people, first & foremost, but it's not. Not really. That's merely the deceptive banner that it holds up, which it operates under. But it's false advertising.

Jerry SanduskyFirst and foremost the SYSTEM is about » the money. Yes, even when it comes to kids.

[ That's why Jerry Sandusky went so many years without ever being charged ..

.. despite accumulating many allegations, including those from eye-witnesses, who reported seeing sodomy ( and hearing the sound of "rhythmic slapping" ) in the shower (.. which is like an echo chamber).

Here's what psychologist Alycia Chambers wrote about Jerry way back in '98 .. nearly 15 years ago:

"My consultants agree that the incidents meet all of our definitions, based on experience and education, of a likely pedophile's pattern of building trust and gradual introduction of physical touch, within a context of a 'loving,' 'special' relationship."

You know that's exactly why everybody in charge chose to look the other way. Penn State football brings in a LOT of money. We're talking 50 million dollars. Every year.

Like others who share the values of their culture, they were protecting their #1 revenue-generating machine .. their sacred cash cow .. at the expense of BOYS. This is the kind of inversion-of-values that gives people who focus their priorities on money a bad name.

In case you missed it, let me spell it out. [ Here it comes. ] In cultures where CAPITAL is the principal thing, where it holds a place of preeminence » money is more important than kids.

Am I telling you something you dont already know? Just look around. One is regularly sacrificed for the other.

If Penn State Football is worth $50 million a year, how much are these kids worth? I bet Jerry knows .. which is why he felt so blithe about taking such "liberties".

Sadly, the same can be said of our government. The way they sacrifce kids daily to the gods of money.

UPDATE 21.May - Looks like Jerry goes to court June 5th .. day of the uber-rare Transit of Venus. It will be like a big eye in the sky will be watching .. with a single black pupil. Make us proud. The gods will be watching.

UPDATE 15.June - I have been following Jerry, The thing that sticks out to me .. is how he bought lots of cool stuff for the boys .. as tho he was saying, "Me giving you all this cool stuff buys me the right to have you, sexually. So drop and give me twenty."

Does it not seem that way? Now this notion is not so farfetched when applied to a willing member of the opposite sex. But when it comes to a poor, fatherless boy.

Jerry, I heard that you can buy boys in some of the seedier countries of Southeast Asia. Why not just go there. Vacation frequently as necessary.

Why not bypass the elaborate courting ritual that is now getting you in trouble and simply purchase outright the services you desire? Or are you more advanced & evolved than that? What say ye, Coach? ]

Dont know why it has taken me so long to see this .. something that now seems so obvious. So painfully obvious. Maybe I was in denial. Or perhaps I was projecting my own values onto the SYSTEM. Our government's values are upside down. Inverted. Back asswards.

We all want to believe our government is about (first-n-foremost) » We The People. And it WAS (past tense), at one point .. far as I can tell. But somehow it became more about » the money.

And money clearly has more influence with the SYSTEM than people .. whether those people be right, or whether they be wrong. Sad but true.

» Inference | Local » to » Global

Go to JAIL. Go directly to JAIL. Do not pass go. Do not colect $200Here's another idea you should stick in your contemplative pipe and smoke » if this injustice is being done to United States citizens .. innocents right here in our own country ..

.. WHAT DOES IT SAY about how we might be treating OTHERS? .. those who live in foreign countries, who arent protected by our Constitution or our Bill of Rights. Think about it.

If you want a sharper contrast, consider how we treat our Veterans .. the guys who risk their lives for their country, and often come away disabled .. or with parts of their body missing or screws that have rattled loose via multiple IED blasts.

Why is it so difficult to get funding for something that seems like an OBVIOUS moral imperitive? Doesnt that embarrass you?

Why is the Veteran's Administration always so LOW on our Congressional list of priorities$? [ Go ahead .. take a guess. ]

I will elaborate on this topic (of how OTHERS are treated, based on how WE are treated) later, but first, let's conclude discussing my nifty JAIL/OWS coincidence (.. both parts, the timing over which, you can see, I had no control).

Note that JAIL came at a time when I was most vulnerable. On the other hand, it felt like I'd already died .. so the worst was behind. When you feel like you got nothing, you feel like you got nothing-to-lose. It's liberating .. in a strangely unexpected way.

If you review the names of the men mentioned at the beginning of my jail entry, you'll notice they are all famous for declaring sentiments that mirror and echo those you find here (.. which is, of course, how and why they ended up in prison).

This is why I also feel, on an intuitive level, that these protests are about more than just disgruntled people .. about more than just their dissatisfaction with the role played by Corporate money in our Political system .. and the inequality it engenders ..

lightning bolt strikes empire state bldg nyc.. that these protests are bigger than any one person .. almost as if they have a LIFE of their own » ..

[ .. like my Hitchcock entry, for example, the idea for which came in a flash. I saw it all in an instant. The structure & direction, even the denouement.

What most people might call » inspiration or insight. An epiphany. Like somebody clicked on a light.

The kind of click that comes with its own inspiration. It's like the thing wrote itself. I could feel 'movement' .. down inside, the place I associate with God. From the other end of the conveyor belt of inspiration. (The inner place of prayer.)

I am sensing a considerable amount of "emotional" energy .. the kind born of the indignation that comes from moral disgust. Considerable.

There are things I am not privy to .. but if I were a gambling man, I would wager this is not a good sign for you. ]

.. » as tho the gods themselves were invested .. flared nostrils and all. And if they feel anything like I do, they are none-too-happy with the bullshit going down.

Woe unto you who steal from children .. by mortgaging their future .. for your own political gain. Consider your asses served with an official "Notice of Bullshit."

Time will tell if my intuitions are accurate. Tick-tock. Better get busy, dawg.

Whatever the outcome, something is afoot in the land. Can you feel it? "Stop, children .. what's that sound?" Need to watch where you step. [ There's bullshit everywhere you look. ]

In keeping with the tenets of web site optimization, I broke this entry into TWO PAGES. You just read the first 60%. The remainder is posted here » Reflections on the Hitchcock Economy | The Missing Trillion-Dollar Lollipops - Part 2/2

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This page contains a single entry by Rad published on January 29, 2012 1:29 AM.

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