Things Fall Apart (Part 3) – Politics

60+ As Above, So Below “As Above, So Below” is the central principle of the an
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2 years ago

I was waiting for part 3 to come out, now that it’s hear it’s by far my favorite article. As I was reading it I was thinking the title should be changed to “A Manifesto” until I remembered it’s part of a series, and besides you already have a Manifesto (Second Foundation).

Howard Wetsman
2 years ago

I have a friend like yours too. Drawoh can easily get lost in his head and has become much less social as he’s gotten older and decathected from what he’s come to see as useless efforts. One step forward and two steps back is not for him. He has grand plans, plans that make it impossible for the little problems those earnest people spend their time on from happening. He sees that if we ever did take back our data, we would have taken back our money by definition. I know so many young people working to make Christine dream of telling us how to use our money impossible that it gives me hope for the future. I don’t really know what money is, except it’s what we say it is. But I do know this: it’s only Caesar’s money if Caesar runs the show. If we take back our data, I don’t see how he can.

Brian Donnelly
2 years ago

This one was a punch to the gut

Tanya Weiman
2 years ago

This. Post. I will write more later, but this was incredibly profound.

Ian VanReepinghen
2 years ago

Wow. Thanks so much Ben. So spot on. In so many ways. Happy Thanksgiving!! Giving thanks for this project and these notes this week. I want to share this with friends but it is interesting to see my inner hesitation which totally contradicts how on board with and passionate I am about what you have written.

Tanya Weiman
2 years ago

Hope the commenting software can take it… What an amazing post. Wrapping up so many of my thoughts from the last 10+ years and more. The first “headline” (or “subline” as you were) “As Above, So Below” hit me hard right up front, as it’s a lyric I remembered from a beautiful song called “Follow” by one of the most brilliant guitarists and songwriters in the world, Gary Lucas (he was a member of Captain Beefheart’s Magic Band!). I know the post is not about music per se, but if you’re interested in the version I was hearing in my head it’s here: The vocalist is Richard Barone, but the lyrics are all Gary. Another version that Gary sings himself is here: Anyway, whew!! Interesting image on the left up at the top there, I’m far too scared to experiment with psychedelics but it reminds me of this Todd Rundgren video! But to the heart of the matter…will attempt to comment in the order of the post. FRACTALS. Yes. When you look at something so beautiful as the golden ratio, and see it in everything in nature, it is so profound. But appparently some fractals are going to go negative. This is why I agree with the concept of the little kindnesses — I try to do this, as often and as personalized as possible. You never know when something will either add inspiration, or lift someone out of darkness. I adore your focus on comedy/comedians, that… Read more »

2 years ago
Reply to  Tanya Weiman

My girlfriend is a huge advocate of random acts of kindness – something we share, but she’s much better at than I am. Your note made me think of that and also what follows. The thing with white privileged is that it’s a truth with a small “t.” Does it exist in some form – absolutely. Is it all defining – no. That and the idea that there’s some nirvana out there where the playing field is perfectly fair are two corrosive ideas that, IMO, are tearing this country apart. Did Jesse Jackson’s kids (and many other black kids from wealthy, successful black families in the ’70s and, in much greater numbers, today) have many advantages that I – and most white kids didn’t/don’t – yes. Does any black kid who has two college-educated parents whose house is packed with books have advantages over many working-class white kids? Why do Asians out perform whites in many measure of success – is there a greater Asian-privilege construct at work (hiding) in America? It wasn’t always this way with Asians in America – what caused the change? When I was growing up – at least in my school and neighborhood – boys were made fun of if they wanted to be actors or nurses or artists – yet some did. Since the late ’80s, every single company I’ve worked at has had programs, policies and efforts in place to advance women and minorities versus white men. They might have been pitched as… Read more »

2 years ago

The first topic – participation in the political process – and the third – controlling our own data – are very good, though the third is not immediately implementable by individuals as are the other two. It is the second topic, and specifically the library bit, that woke me up. We are by no measure wealthy, nor are we younger than old, but this section suggests something that we, that anyone, can begin – to locate areas in need of proper library facilities, including spaces for quiet reading, for creative research and thinking, for small-scale brief discussions to stimulate creativity, and especially for children. My little branch library is a hub of activity by families, featuring kids of all ages with happy eyes. But we are in the heart of Silicon Valley, with a county library system giving access to a huge super-library of books, magazines, and audio and video resources. Smaller communities and rural areas are not so fortunate, but that need not be. Small branches with adequate space for both books and people can be connected via mobile resource sharing (physical and electronic), with programs for children and resources for adults. Step 1 is to identify areas nearby that need help; then to determine what might work best in each area and who might be the best people to participate; then to find financial resources to make it happen. Our expense would be just the travel, and we wouldn’t need to go far; time is not a problem… Read more »

James Hunter
2 years ago

Ben, I will read this beautiful piece again and may have some additional comments, but right out of the gate: He who gave us “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (Mark 12:17) and “be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves” (Matthew 10:16) is He who also gave us this portion of the prayer to be used as the standard by which to communicate with Him: “Thy Kingdom come; Thy Will be done; on earth as it is in Heaven” – in other words, “As Above, So Below”. I write this not to combat what you have posited, but simply to suggest that those who would change a family/friend/town/state/country/world via a “As Below, So Above” groundswell by loving truth, beauty and goodness and recognizing that “small good works on small stages” are the means so to do, must stand upon the Ground which acknowledges that what we do here is done in service to a King above us all. Frodo: I wish the ring had never come to me. I wish none of this had happened. Gandalf: So do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us. *** There are other forces at work in this world Frodo, besides the will of evil.*** Bilbo was meant to find the Ring. In which case, you… Read more »

Hugh Fowler
2 years ago

Hi Ben, an extraordinary piece that echoes so powerfully here in Britain. The turmoil around Brexit is a fine example of things falling apart in the widening gyre.

There are still plenty of us members of the British tribes fighting our subjugation by the European empire.

All the while, our own leaders, their retirements guaranteed by the empire, supported by the self haters of academe, connive in our deception and encourage the providers of bread and circuses to distract us from truth.

I was fortunate enough to be defrocked a few times before I started my own business so have always maintained my distance. Blockchain may enable me to take back my data, but taking back my vote? The ongoing defeat of Brexit by the raccoons over here has me wondering if it is not too late.


2 years ago

As profound as this piece is (and you can tell how much it means to Ben both from this and from all his other writing) we will just carry on with our sheep behaviours tomorrow.
The emotion does touch somewhere deep and it definitely chips away at the lifetime of conditioning more than other articles. Despite its strength I don’t think any single article has the power of Big Bang. But Epsilon Theory overall is what slowly but relentlessly changes the way you think and then the way you act. No time like now.

This one is truly a gem, Ben. Thank you.

2 years ago

Thanks Ben. This reminds me of that other profound work, Voltaire’s Candide. We don’t live in the best possible world (or the worst), but instead of fulminating we must cultivate our garden.

Jeremy Boynton
2 years ago

Ben, Good stuff.

Regarding your comments on Bitcoin not being “money”, I completely agree with the notion that the ability to collect taxes and forcibly impose WILL thru the use of an army creates for “Caesar” the distinct privilege of defining “MONEY” in society. (At least, I think that is what you are saying.) However, I would argue 2 things:

1) Bitcoin (or more appropriately crypto broadly speaking) can challenge weak “Caesers” whose power to be “Caesar” is already precarious. (Think Venezuela…) The technology is that artful…

2) Consequently, Bitcoin (crypto) actually ultimately becomes “Caesar’s” tool. The “Caesars” of our world will embrace it, as it furthers their agenda.

Thus, Bitcoin is likely to become “MONEY” exactly precisely because Caesar will wish it so!

Which begs the question: Is MONEY why Caesar exists (as you say)? Or is Caesar why MONEY exists? I think it is the latter. And I think that crypto is perhaps the first example in the world of a working model to challenge “Caesar” for his right to define/create “MONEY”. And I think it will fail wonderfully. Because Caesar will adopt it for his own ends.


Joseph McConnell
2 years ago

This hit home. Especially the distance. Wife and I had a plan to bail out of our ‘seats of power’- which we executed to near perfection. But once out, we found ourselves facing the exact problem you describe. Wondering “what happened? Why don’t THEY care about us anymore?”

We experienced a lot of existential angst as a result – wondering what was wrong with us, what are we doing wrong. We didn’t really climb back out of that despair until we realized that we just needed to continue on the path. Keep moving away from the City of Man even as it tries to draw you back in, and it does.

Getting to happiness requires exactly what you describe – stop caring about what THEY care about, start caring about the little things. Small communities, small works, small differences.

1 year ago

I love that quote about laws and songs..Being a lifelong player and writer… This was inspired by the guys at Hedgeye a couple of years ago..It s entitled Death of the Davos Man….love your soulful thinking Ben..All the Best!

Chris McNew
3 months ago

Ben & Rusty- I wasn’t sure where to post this so I figured “Things fall apart” would do fine…
I’m a 23-year vet of the financial services industry. I’ve witnessed the financialization of everything (although not fully aware of it until I joined the ET pack). I think I’ve done well by my clients. Have played the hand that’s been dealt even if I haven’t been crazy about the game itself, the room it’s been played in or even the brand of the cards…if you know what I mean.
My hope is there will be truly transformative changes in capital markets and the financial advice industry. I’m not sure how that unfolds or even what I want it to look like, but aren’t we seeing some cracks emerging in some areas that offer some hope for a new & improved and somewhat clearer-conscience way of participating in capital markets? The collapse of share buybacks gives me hope that we’re heading in that direction.
I’d like to hear some thoughts on what could unfold, particularly in my world of financial advice, that could usher in that era…and maybe more importantly, what I could do as a participant in the industry to effect the type of change needed.

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