Philosophically Wistful


11:23 pm.

The garbage is out, all the work is done.

Relaxation at last.

Feet up, like always when I’m relaxing and writing.

Thinking about a number of things.

My Mother worked her last day today, she is now officially retired.

Today would have been my father’s 68th birthday.

Conflicting emotions.

Love the first, she must be happy to be rid of the daily slough.

Hate the second, hate that dad isn’t here to enjoy her great day with her, or his birthday, or anything for that matter.

That life can be both beautiful and cruel at the same time to the same person in such a manner clouds the mind, makes it hard to find the right words. There can be no right words for this. I write words anyway, in hopes of getting close to the right words.

Miss Dad, loved that man, but I could turn my back on some work in a heartbeat, especially work in an office. The places are evil, it can warp even the best of people through no fault of their own, against their will. I’m guessing that why he left office work and never went back. He recognized the evil and said “Never again.”

Smart man. One of many reasons I loved him. Mom was smart enough and good enough to not be warped by the place, a truly rare person in that regard. She was always strong enough to get them to bend to her will, to hear her tell it.

_________________________

Pic of the day: The Death of Socrates by Jean-Francois-Pierre Peyron

________________________

Saw a picture posted by my wife, with an attached inscription. It read in part “Whatever you give to life, it gives back to you… The hatred that comes out of you will someday come back to you. Love others and love will come back to you.”

Beautiful sentiment embraced by that thought. Entirely untrue. Not just a little untrue. Complete and utter nonsense. Hatred is not a boomerang, that bends and returns to you. It is so simplistic as to be unbelievable. There are people I’ve met who have tried to have nothing but love for the world around them, and they have to deal with hate every day and none springing from themselves. Hate is an emotion, like any other. It comes from us all, both individually and as a society and is aimed at everything and everyone at all times, from my perspective. You could be filled with love, have not an ounce of hate in your heart, and still get hammered with it.

Love others and it will come back to you? In a perfect world, ya. But this world isn’t perfect.

I wish I could believe that life were that simple. I’m not sure I ever did.

The concept sounds wrong, but then again I’m not sure I’m any less wrong.

Just saying.

__________________________

The autonomous individual, striving to realize himself and prove his worth, has created all that is great in literature, art, music, science and technology. The autonomous individual, also, when he can neither realize himself nor justify his existence by his own efforts, is a breeding call of frustration, and the seed of the convulsions which shake our world to its foundations.

Eric Hoffer, The Passionate State of Mind, and Other Aphorisms

__________________________

I finally got around to reading the resignation letter from former head U.S. equity derivatives at Goldman Sachs, Greg Smith. Nice letter, great way to leave the company. As anyone who has read this column before knows, I have no love lost for corporate culture in general and Goldman Sachs in particular, so when someone comes around and states the blisteringly obvious(to me, anyway) about them, it’s usually worth a “DUH!” coment and little more.

Not here though. Here is a man who made his company billions of dollars over the years. A man who knows the business inside and out, leaving the company and sending the parting shot of the century as he goes out the door. And he is 100% correct, as far as he goes.

But it almost sounds, reading from this, that he walked into the situation blind, with some kind of warped expectation of exactly how business is done down around wall street way. The toxic and destructive environment he talks of in his letter is the normal working environment in which most humans who work on wall street live in and deal with. That he has only recently figured out that it is a toxic culture I think says as much about his lack of perspective as it does about anything else.

Business has always been about trying your damnedest to get as much money into the company coffers by any means necessary, and if that means screwing your customers and robbing them blind than so be it. It always will be that way, and anyone who tells you otherwise is either as sharp as a bowling ball, or is pulling the wool over your eyes.

I applaud this man for saying what he said, but finding out at this late stage that Goldman is evil is a bit like finding out that the sleep is restful, or that water is wet. A bit obvious for those of us who have looked with a properly jaded perspective upon the moral blight that is the corporate world.

If corporations didn’t provide paychecks we could destroy every business known to man, and the whole damn planet would run much more smoothly, and no one would miss them. No one at all.

They know that as well as we do.

I think we all deserve a raise, don’t you?

_________________________

That’s it from here, America. G’night.

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