Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Holy Shit

Quite literally. Holy Shit. OK so I started reading Thougths In Solitude and he started talking about the desert in a number of ways. One, as a place for a man to meet God alone, in the “wilderness”, without the various distractions and such of civilization. Two, as a place for man to potentially go mad, given that it is a dry thirsty place where the Devil roams. From there Merton went on to say that, although the wilderness was traditionally a place from which civilization was set apart, everything becomes desert when man takes his civilization to it. When the greeds and lusts of the city permeate the primitive escape from the city, then the madness of the city meets the madness of the desert, leaving us everywhere to fight despair. With the only possible weapons, Grace and hope. In his discussion on the desert in the opening section of Thoughts In Solitude, Merton made a veiled reference to The Manhatten Project (nuclear testing in the desert leading to the end of WWII), which peaked my interested in the relationship between actual chronological history and this all-pervasive more qualitative meeting of madnesses of which Merton speaks. I looked up the history of Las Vegas, and sure enough Vegas became popular as a place for the greeds and lusts of man right around the time of (or just before) of Sputnik!

Interestingly, as it turns out the mob was behind the rise of Vegas. From there I ended up watching some 60 Minutes series of videos on some retired FBI agent who infiltrated the Gambino family and was offered to become a “made man.”

And then just by coincidence, the next series of 60 Minutes videos was on this “sub-prime mortgage crisis” which befalls us. I happen to have been studying that quite a bit for the last week or two, so I watched them. The big question mark in my mind that is still lingering is the “securities” involved in the whole sub-prime mess. I just didn’t understand what they were! Well, now I know why, lol. No one did! Except the physicists who came to Wall Street to cook them up via complicated positivistic mathematical equasions that were meant to sociologically do everything from represent the behavior of some of the poorest people in America who traditionally couldn’t get credit to layout when exactly who would be paid! Keep in mind that the whole point of the distribution of the "securities" was that both "when" and "who" was to be made nebulous in the "distribution risk", meaning that no one would ever possibly bear the responsibility of failure.

Anyway, we’re talking 300 plus pages to these documents that “are” these “securities”, which happen to include all these equations that no one understands – including the mortgage brokers who were trading them! "Hello! McFly!" Common sense - which would obviously say, "Hey, these 'securities' are wierd. And on top of that, how does it make sense to, without risk, lend money to poor people who can't pay me back?" - is the Holy Shit of the Prime Matter that eludes the postitivists. The worried looks on the faces of the Wall Street investors whose houses are built on sand -sand that someone frantically shovelled with their foot to cover a big steaming pile of poop - make me giggle in much the same way as the very image that big steaming pile of pooh-pooh (especially when that image is juxtaposed with the idea of Prime Matter :).

More to come on the Holy Shits plopped in both the desert near the end of WWII and on Wall Street fifty plus years later. But suffice it to say for now that I won’t be surprised to find out in twenty years or so that the mob, in the same way that it was behind the rise of Vegas and took profit from it directly, was involved in these sub-prime mortgages and all that came with them. Which, considering all the cheesy Hollywood films on the mafia, would be kind of amusing. But what’s not amusing is that its costing tax payers – that’s us – like a trillion dollars (which, btw, won’t fix the problem).

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