On line early this morning, attempting to educate myself in the fine points of modern-day financial magic tricks, such as usurious sub-prime and adjustible rate mortgage lending; the bundling of such mortgages, then cutting the bundles into pieces and selling those pieces to unsuspecting pension funds as Collateral Debt Obligations; and the complexities of the practice known as "short selling" or "naked short selling." As I learned the basics of these larcenous conceits, I began to feel a familiar fear accompanied by rage rising from the pit of the stomach, to the throat, and on to the brain.
Fear is the most corrosive emotion. However, it's often justified, and it aids us in self-preservation.
The stunned government and toothless regulatory agencies are powerless to stop these destructive, predatory practices, which now threaten to demolish millions of the real lives of real people.
We're at the mercy of enormous destructive forces beyond our control -- or anybody else's control. It's profoundly disturbing, and thinking about these things too intensely for too long will drive a person to madness.
Trying to calm down, I sat cross-legged on the floor of my sister's living room, in a quiet suburban neighborhood on Washington's Olympic Peninsula. As it looks out the window at a cool, overcast day, the eye beholds nothing but dense, profuse greenery. It exudes peace, calm, a moist, quiet wisdom, full of the presence of that which never changes, which is millions of miles and thousands of years above and beyond ARM tranches and CDO's and Wall Street traders who stand to profit in billions by betting that the economic collapse they helped to cause is sure to come.
Which of these worlds is the real world?