Wednesday, March 4, 2009

my two cents

"My two cents" is a phrase used to add one's personal opinion to current conditions where every one is giving an opinion. With the great volume of advice given out freely "My two cents" adds to that volume only two cents worth. My friend Burke and I worked for a private high school, and at lunch, as we reviewed the administration's latest policy, he would invariably say, "If my opinion counted for something, here is what I would say." So even though one's opinion means little in the ocean of opinion, there is an impulse to say it regardless. As an empirical proof of that, think of all the call-in radio shows, there are always people ready and willing to give their opinion; think of the TV programs where "public" opinion and voting is solicited as a main part of the show. Here is my two cents about our current economic crisis.

If you read my early '08 blogs, "Donkey Economics," and "Emancipation from Donkey Economics," you would have gotten the idea that our economic condition at that time was dangerously, over inflated. We were on a rampage of consumer spending, stimulated and pressured by economic propaganda ,(keep the economy fired up by consumption its your duty) and advertisement (see this flat screen TV, how about this i-pod, haven't the cash, no problem, use your credit card, every one else uses theirs; why deprive yourself, you deserve it). It was a "perfect storm" of consumer obsessive, inflamed desire, meeting with businesses insatiable appetite for profit, and the ambition and greed of financial institutions to take advantage of the opportunity granted by Congress for every American to partake in the"dream" of owning a home. This was a run away train moving towards an inevitable crash, and the most remarkable reality of it was, nobody saw it coming. It was like, a person crossing a railroad crossing, and finding a wallet between the rails; opening it up and finding many $100 bills in the fold, and then to count the money wright where he stands, oblivious to the train rolling right at him. The most cogent telltale sign I heard that the bust was coming, is when I heard some one on the radio, interviewing a person who had just been evicted from his apartment because he could not pay the rent. The interviewer asked the man what he was going to do, and the man said, very matter of factually, "I will buy a house."

As the economic bubble burst, and the damaging effects began to spread through out the US and the world, every one started to point fingers and supplying causes: the greed of the financial institutions, the politics of Congress, the hands off or blind eye response by the oversight bodies to high risk financial instruments being traded, the free wheeling strategies used by the mortgage institutions, the criminal input by Madoff, Petters, Stanford, and the like, and lets not forget the greed and "getting and spending" obsession by the millions of credit card users, (we the people). It is obvious that there is enough blame for everyone to accept and the degree of blame is in relationship to the opportunity afforded to advance your greed. For instance, if "we the people" had an opportunity to trade "derivatives" and/or "swaps" gaining mega-profits, would most of us do so? The answer is, fill in the blank_____.

The understanding for the economic bubble and its bursting comes under the heading of, the principle of Karma. "Hold on!" I can hear you say. "You are going to explain economic causes and effects by applying a philosophical principle? Unorthodox to say the least." Yes I am.

The word, "karma" is the nominative form of the Sanskrit word, "karman," literally meaning, doing or making; action. The idea of karma is not indigenous to any specific culture. Although the East has embraced the idea as a fundamental doctrine most closely suited to their spiritual bend of mind. Karma is more a principle or universal law than a developed philosophical doctrine. It is analogous to the scientific principle of gravity, where its universal application and manifestation is taken as an immutable law. However, karma is far more universal in its application, and virtually eternal in its expression.

The keynote of karma is balance and harmony. Nature works incessantly to restore equilibrium wherever it is disturbed. Science knows of this balance-reaction as the law of "cause and effect;"that every action and reaction are equal and opposite. Science focuses exclusive attention on the phenomenal causes and effects or in other words, the outside wrapping in our world. Karma's focus is on the comprehensive world; the world outside and inside, unerringly considering all planes: the physical, psychic, moral, and spiritual. Karma considers human beings to be the initiators of their own causes, and as such, are directly and totality responsible for the consequences of those causes. Every thought, word, or deed is karmaicly tied to its initiator.

When a human desires (intends), thinks thoughts, or acts he creates an expenditure if his own native energy. His energy puts into motion an effect that brings forth either an instantaneous or delayed reaction, and that reaction in turn impacts his immediate environment, including Nature in general. In other words, Nature reacts against the impact of a human's expended native energy, and the combination of these two causative and reactive energies is what is called karma.

Karma, as an active principle, is all embracing. It goes beyond the idea of moral retribution. However, most people in the US have an understanding of karma at an individual moral level. You hear people say, "That is good karma," "That is bad karma," "If you want to dance you have to pay the band," or "What goes around, comes around." Karma incorporates causes put into motion by all of Nature, from atom to star. Nothing escapes this great "law," for it operates within the infinite breath of Universal Nature. The inference here is that not only is there individual karma, but also national karma, international karma, global karma, cosmic karma, galactic karma, and all the way down the micro side, atomic karma, etc.

The "jessed," following the idea of karma, is the result of individual and collective, national and international excessive, intention, thinking, and action about "getting and spending," profit, wealth ambition, supplemented by hubris and greed. All that initiated energy interfaces with Nature and Nature responds by ingesting the excessive energy, than working to bring balance and harmony. Nothing can sustain itself forever. Even our great light and life giver, the Sun, must succumb to Nature's cycles of birth, growth, decay, and death. Presently, we have cycled into a recovery and balancing stage, and its duration is related to the degree of negative energy expended. Full recovery, then is probably several years away, but remember, the cyclic wheel continues to revolve, inevitably bringing future economic bubbles and busts. The severity of the next bubble directly depends on our awareness of the causes and conditions of this current economic depression, and the degree of our positive energetic application for healing it.