We Were Soldiers Once … And Young

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A boy passes an oil field set aflame by retreating ISIS fighters ahead of the Mosul offensive in Qayyarah, Iraq.
CARL COURT/GETTY IMAGES

I get a lot of mail. Every now and then, though, I get an email that I can’t handle, that is asking questions that are so deep and so profound about what it MEANS to live in a fallen world, that is written with such keen yet unpolished first-hand observations … that I have no choice but to publish it.

Those emails are almost always by soldiers.

There’s a long tradition of the soldier/writer, going back to Xenophon and the Anabasis (March of the Ten Thousand). Xenophon wrote his chronicle 2,500 years ago, and it’s as fresh and as meaningful a book as any you will read today.

Yeah, tell me again how far humanity has “progressed” over time.

There are too many outstanding soldier/writers to even begin to list here. And by soldiers I don’t just mean warriors, but also firefighters and police … protectors all. In hopes of starting a conversation, I’ll call out two books that have been particularly meaningful to me – Matterhorn, by Karl Marlantes, and Young Men and Fire, by Norman Maclean.

I’m publishing these unpolished emails (actually, one comment and one email) verbatim, with zero editing by me. I’m doing this because, like I say, they’re asking questions (either explicitly or implicitly) that I can’t answer.

I’d like to ask YOU, the Epsilon Theory reader, to join in this conversation so that WE can figure this out TOGETHER. I know that sounds corny and hokey to some, but this is what being a pack is all about.

And yes, I know that posting a comment here requires a Premium subscription. That’s entirely intentional, because I have yet to meet a troll or a creep who’s willing to pay real money to spew online. But if you want to comment here and you can’t afford the subscription, then email me at ben.hunt@epsilontheory.com and I’ll post your comment for you.

Here’s the first soldier story, the very first comment to appear on Epsilon Theory:

Just wanted to say thank you. Grew up dirt poor but smart as shit and got sucked into the worst of our narrative-driven ‘elite’ institutions (Ben Bernanke was my econ professor – vomit).

Went to actual war a few times in the interim for my troubles. I remember being on a patrol base in Iraq, late 2008, a few random explosions here and there to punctuate the discussion of the US economy falling apart. Telling my soldiers (a bunch of 18-year-old kids from shithole places in the south and midwest like me) how those guys knew what they were doing, necessary to save the economy, yadda yadda yadda. They called bullshit, I disagreed at the time. They were right. Heaps and heaps of bullshit.

Wife has a similar story. Both of us spent the better part of a decade wasting our lives ‘changing the world’ for big tech and big law. We lit it all on fire a few years ago and haven’t looked back. Have a three-year-old daughter now and have tried to live something close to what you have here since she came around. Couldn’t put it into words as well as you have. Godspeed.

P.S. You should read the Stormlight Archive if you can spare time for a fantasy epic- best encapsulation of how to be a decent human in a fallen world I’ve read in a very very long time. 
 – Joseph McConnell

And here’s the second soldier’s story, a long email that deserves your attention. And mine.

Hello Dr. Hunt. I am hardly an investor or acolyte of the financial industry but have been following Epsilon Theory since sometime in 2016 prior to the election. I’m not sure if I initially stumbled onto one of your podcasts or perhaps it was that photo of the Iraqi boy on a red bicycle, framed by an oil-field inferno near Mosul, that crossed my twitter feed. Either way, I recognized the hallmarks of an honest broker and have followed ET since. Honesty seems to be a universal characteristic among outsiders.

I am writing to say that I would like to be among your pack, however, I am still presently trying to adopt or adapt to the context of civilian life in America. You see, I too am another ex-military officer who not so long wore a uniform and participated in many things that can only truthfully be described as worse than useless. I took note that the very first comment beneath Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can’t Lose was scribed by a fellow service member who has similarly abandoned the path of conformity. In my own case, I joined the Army in 2006 already aware that it was a substantially harmful context to try and work within. Even today, I still cannot fully account for the impulse that makes me seek out those places I don’t really belong, but it sounds close enough to some instinctual version of Kant’s do right and perish.

The experience of deploying to Afghanistan is what forced me to finally acknowledge that the decision-making driving so many absurd outcomes in this century was not something that could be significantly affected or influenced from abroad. I hardly used to give a whiff about US domestic policy until its effects became unavoidably concrete. My youthful conceit was that I always preferred and sought to live outside of the US. No surprise, I wasn’t born in the US and spent much of my formative years in other countries. But it was quite a failure of imagination on my part to have successfully separated the realms of foreign and domestic for so long. Historical reality, more commonly referred to as war, managed to kill off that notion. And soon after returning from deployment, my coping mechanism of choice became a steadfast search for better information sources to reveal something about what the hell was happening in our new millennium? Accountability has gone out of style. All institutional and even individual failures are being administrated out of existence. Creditors and shareholders afforded the status of super-citizens. And at some point human determination itself became wholly irrelevant to the infallible logic of markets.

When did this all happen? Wasn’t somebody supposed to be guarding the walls of our social contract while my generation was still crawling towards maturity? Or have we been doomed since Karl Polanyi found a name for the total transformation of societies into markets. Ya know… I watched the movie Network (1976) at some point during my ROTC college years, but the relevance of Ned Beatty’s speech to Howard Beale’s character didn’t really sink in at the time. (https://youtu.be/yuBe93FMiJc) I even had a few great professors during my time as an undergrad, including my military history instructor, who did right during one of our after-class discussions and actually told me the answer to the following question: What is the most significant threat to US national security? I responded with typical noise like nuclear proliferation or domestic terrorism or long term ecological devastation. But then he just told me—the greatest threat to our security was a majority of Americans not understanding how the world works. It’s stuck with me ever since. Although it took me quite a awhile longer to really consider the scope of its implications. And still longer yet to consider that I should attempt to do anything about a global security environment that what was inherently being shaped by a collection of pathologies and power at home.

Afghanistan repaired that deficiency. Pretty soon I was devouring obscure panel discussions on youtube with hilariously small numbers of views. Podcasts like Dan Carlin, Radio Open Source, and even the wayward likes of Joe Rogan became far more compelling than anything to be found on NPR or NYTimes. Mark Blyth, Ambassador Chas Freeman, Andrew Bacevich, Barbara Ehrenreich, David Dayen, Walter McDougall, Thomas Frank, and numerous others like yourself became the voices I could assign some measure of trust. Quite an education and minus any insultingly inflated tuition fees. The end result of which, in addition to the incredible narrative arc that culminated in the 2016 election, ultimately convinced my wife and I that we needed to set aside our old desire to transition into foreign aid/development work. Somehow, dealing with the same set of troubles here at home seemed the only honest thing left to do. Besides, neither of us are crass enough to tell anybody in exotic foreign locales how to fix themselves when our own house was on fire.

So, we decided to stay in the relative liberal refuge of the Pacific west coast and have once again been trying to put ourselves to use. My wife has always remained the more practical between us and immediately returned to work as a nurse. I struck out to support all manner of progressive campaigns and activist candidates that want to see something better for people being preyed upon by this increasingly abusive economy. Not surprisingly, I put in my share of support for Sen. Sanders in the lead up to 2016 and have continued on other like-minded efforts since. That guy others like him represented the same sort of leadership and courage that I recognized in people of conviction with whom I had served in uniform. Nevertheless, I still largely remain an outsider to any sort of excessively branded party politics. And thus far I haven’t been successful in being co-opted into either civilian public service or paid political work. Ideological discipline, or let’s be blunt and call it conformity, has never been one of my strong qualities. Even though I was damn good at soldiering, that was only because I carried a good reason with me in addition to a heavy pack. When that reason retired, so too did I from the military. Too soon to have any actual retirement either.

Presently, my particular mixture of ardent loyalty and stark realism has only been tolerated in a volunteer capacity. Evidently, transitioning into administrative or technical public service in my state or locality seems to pretty much require the same academic pedigree as any civilian who never did time in the military. Also, I think some of us veterans remind technocrats a little too much of what failure looks and sounds like. I certainly know the value of losing, and the way I encounter hardship and loss is quite different from those who suddenly felt that the world became dangerous as of November 9th, 2016. Maybe it’s from getting onto a Blackhawk for the last time every time, or maybe from growing up in places with intense human suffering and poverty, but I seem to have a far more horrific sense of humor than the most of the urban metropole really wants to hang around with. Let alone alongside of. Thus I have not found my pack even among the crowd trying to steer our way back to some socio-political balance. Reading your missives on a regular basis is not helping either.

Or maybe they are. I very much appreciate the cold water assessment of Things Fall Apart and the burgeoning attempt to try and organize around a process. Not because I was a military staff officer who dealt in doom and gloom predictions and applying a deliberative decision-making process, but because I actually do believe that the rifts America is experiencing are here for good reasons. Hefty chunks of people are being discarded and dismissed by an economy that finds little competitive logic in engaging with them in any dignified or humane manner. The utterly stunning growth and advancement of the 20th century truly was incredible but appears to have been built upon the relatively low-hanging fruits of modernity. The last vestiges of shared experience that nurtured sufficiently broad solidarity and national identity were surrendered right along with the US manufacturing base. And in the National Intelligence Council’s most recent unclassified assessment, aptly titled Paradox of Progress, its introduction describes a human world that is operating on countless competing realities.

One other tidbit of wisdom that I remember sharply from college days came from French ex-resistance fighter turned philosopher Jacques Ellul—complexity will become the greatest enemy of democracy. I can’t assign any tremendous blame upon a majority of Americans who didn’t magically upgrade themselves to better understand and adapt to an unprecedented rate of progress. As Rick Perlstein once commented, “I respect the aristocracy of learning… but there has to be a place for people who, you know, aren’t brilliant.” I do not reserve any such comparable forgiveness for a majority of elected officials who purposefully misunderstand or misrepresent the world we live in. As such, they proliferate a world that would just as soon delete entire communities and populations like obsolete data from a computer recycle bin. Ever since last year’s 500th anniversary of Luther’s theses I’ve been wondering where would any new set of reforms be nailed to? There is no more church door, no more physical location where flesh and blood human beings can assert ourselves as the proper source of how we wish to encounter our fate. I remember a guy named Rory Stewart who once traversed across all of Afghanistan and later Iraq on foot. He eventually became an British MP and years before Brexit remarked that “there is no power anywhere” in modern Britain. Such it is with our own constituents and fellow citizens being attacked by their inboxes and other abstractions. Most are left to defend themselves only with five physical senses and an assortment of antiquated public institutions. At least those feudal pitchforking serfs could generally determine that power was consolidated in some baron’s nearby castle.

So I applaud all attempts like yours to look at the systemic wreck we are facing with a notion to nonetheless stay human along the way. Although I have more options and flexibility than many others of my peer group, I continue to find it challenging to adapt to a good path from here. Public service would still suit my personality and abilities well, although hiring managers can tell that I’m not well-suited to just pretend we can patch-work our way along until a liberal notion of “normal” returns via the ballot box. A gentleman writing for The Baffler recently commented how the Colorado River Research Group is recommending that authorities and organizations no longer use the term drought to describe the ecological changes happening in the American southwest. That term suggests a temporary deviation from normal. Aridification is much more appropriate. (https://thebaffler.com/latest/this-is-not-a-blip-timms)

Returning to more schooling remains available through the GI Bill, yet I have grown intensely skeptical at the lack of meaningful output from academia. Also the aforementioned tuition scam really is insulting. Last year I worsted myself sufficiently to pursue a law degree but was so late in applying that the local university could only use me to pad its waitlist. Given the drift of the American courts especially during the past few weeks, I’m having a hard time seeing how leveraging the law will involve anything more than playing piecemeal defense against the growing exercise of consolidated power. At best, the training and credential are likely something that would be still recognized by the professional class for some other eventual employment. But I am trying to identify additional viable options that may answer the moment. I’ve never had a problem doing things I didn’t particularly like as long as I could identify a right reason for it. But it’s certainly grown harder to find those reasons than it was in 2006 when I joined the Army.

This evolved into quite a message and I thank you for reading all the way through. I hope it has helped to betray whether I may be one of the pack and perhaps that can lead toward something useful. Because I chose to pursue a path that is not frequented by many intensely thoughtful individuals, conversing directly with others like yourself has been disappointingly rare in my professional life. So I would greatly value hearing your thoughts on how an ex-Army officer in good health with no debts and a loving wife might continue to fight the good fight. I don’t think it’s overstating to say that deciding to stay in America was the most dangerous assignment we could have adopted. Thus far, the only two instances of a firearm being directly targeted at either of us have both befallen her in the line of duty as a healthcare professional. So I’ll take whatever cleared eyed advice I can get for how to survive and thrive in our great and terrible US of A. Hopefully with full heart and full life along the way.
 – T.E.

Your comments and thoughts are welcome. Please.


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Mark Kahn
Member
Mark Kahn

I certainly don’t have the (or, probably, any of the) answers to this wrenching cri de coeur, but one thing kept echoing in my head as I read it – The Wall Street Journal’s Dan Henninger Editorial from 1993 “No Guardrails.”

I am not promoting the editorial here as either an answer to the many issues raised or as something I personally agree with in whole, but I think it could be part of the discussion and I think T.E. would find it interesting.

Here is a link: https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB122521124435776541

Ben, if T.E. doesn’t have a subscription, it is legal for you (or me, but I don’t have his email) to email the article directly to him; it isn’t legal, I’ve been told, to post it to a public site without permission (so I won’t). I’m looking forward to reading what others in our pack think about all of this.

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Clark Venable
Member
Clark Venable

Thank you so much for that link, Mark. Remarkably prescient.

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Mark Kahn
Member
Mark Kahn

Glad you enjoyed it. This line from T.E.’s piece is what started Henninger’s article pinging in my head: “When did this all happen? Wasn’t somebody supposed to be guarding the walls of our social contract while my generation was still crawling towards maturity? “

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ET82
Member
ET82

Now I know where the use of ‘no guardrails’ came from. Hat tip, Mark. It is always instructive to learn about another one of the waypoints from the past which continues to influence the present. My reading of ‘No Guardrails’ makes it out to be an excellent example of how individual actions or personal behaviors can be deliberately conflated to camouflage larger structural faults which significantly influence horrific outcomes. A sentence that immediately jumped out at me: “In our time, the United States suffers every day of the week because there are now so many marginalized people among us who don’t understand the rules, who don’t think that rules of personal or civil conduct apply to them, who have no notion of self-control.” My brain immediately rephrases: The United States suffers every day of the week because there is now so much concentration of power among those who don’t acknowledge any rules, who don’t think that rules of fair play or social responsibility apply to them, who have no notion of limiting individual self-gain. A lot of my bewilderment about the present state of affairs derives from looking at the intense consolidation of economic and political power in America. This relates also to where ‘social contract’ is used in my letter, as I am picturing the largely expired deal that was on offer to many working Americans in the latter half of the 20th century. As the story used to go, if you work hard and play by the rules… Read more »

Christopher Beirn
Member
Christopher Beirn

“And most of the teenage girls in the Midwest who learn about the nuances of sex from magazines published by thirtysomething women in New York will more or less survive, but some continue to end up as prostitutes on Eighth Avenue.” We’re supposed to infer cause and effect here? The Devil Wearing Prada made her do it??

Yes, I’m a WSJ subscriber and yes, I make a point of regularly skipping its editorials. This sententious and superficial recitation of cherry-picked history is a good example of why.

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ET82
Member
ET82

After looking up ‘No Guardrails’ another editorial that struck my mind was Buckley Jr.’s soul chilling ‘Why The South Must Prevail’ from 1957. There is a version of it is currently available here: https://adamgomez.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/whythesouthmustprevail-1957.pdf

In it, the very fine person of Mr. Buckley makes a rather compelling case why self-restraint and control, up to sanctioning the use of violence, do not apply in defending one’s civilization against the intrusion of an inferior human presence. After reading the piece, the warning from Maya Angelou was truly welded onto my understanding of America: “When someone shows you who they are believe them; the first time.”

My tendency is to also to avoid high profile editorializing in the present era. This crosses the board from the likes of WSJ to the more eloquent technogrifters installed at The Atlantic. Minus those smaller holdouts and independent gambits trying to produce hard nosed reporting, almost any publication or information source that still upholds a pretense of objectivity comes across as increasingly absurd to my eyes and ears. However, I have to admit that Megan McArdle’s faultlessly civilized viciousness really is an impressive achievement of prose. She can almost make one believe that prudent protective measures against deadly building fires are a wasteful theft from property owners because renters could potentially lose their lives in some other unrelated manner.

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Eric Cheung
Member
Eric Cheung

It appears the first soldier pulled himself out of the system while the second soldier is trying to reintegrate back in. People like the readers of Epsilon Theory are a special sort. We kinda recognize the “matrix” that makes up the fabric of society, yet we cannot bend it to our will. We can’t wish for ignorance either. Soldiers discover this through the context of war which makes it all the more challenging. I’ve personally found that understanding more of this “matrix” that makes up the nature of humanity actually gives us freedom, but not in the traditional sense. It gives us freedom of choice because the choices we make are actually our own. We understand the consequences of our actions (as much as we can) while majority rarely does. If we have a goal in mind, it’s actually attainable in a very meaningful way through this authentic version of choice. With this choice, I’ve personally resolved to “love my neighbor” but not in the hokey sense. Rather, I’ve resolved to love my neighbor, even in the irrationality of their humanity, even in their limitations (although, I too am not without sin, in need of forgiveness). They truly don’t know better and for many of them, they never can (biological limitations are real). But it’s okay because I love them. And when it’s time, I’ll show them a little more of “the matrix” if they want, if it helps. When I take this resolution to the sum of the entire… Read more »

Jane VanFossen
Member
Jane VanFossen

To T.E.: Your commentary spoke volumes to me, a Navy retiree who’s a few decades further down life’s road (and much closer to journey’s end) than you are. Here are some random reactions and thoughts. 1. By relentlessly searching for the voices to whom you “could assign some measure of trust” you’ve discovered one of same keys that I have. My list of trusted sources is very different from yours, but the process is the same and that’s what counts. Obviously, our lists overlap to include Ben Hunt and Rusty Guinn. Since you’re a pack member, I’ll extend trust to you and get to know some of your intellectual mentors. 2. Re the political, especially since the 2016 watershed: I find it more and more meaningful to focus on the local while keeping a weather eye on the global and national. I reside in a politically “progressive” corner of my home state and have spent the past couple years paying close attention to what’s happening in this small democratic laboratory. I now know the perpetrators of oppression, from both political parties, by their names and by their votes. For me, political sanity lies in the local and the specific. When action is needed, I align with fellow citizens to try to make incremental change. (Or at least, to raise our voices against unfairness or wrong-doing.) I’ve abandoned hope for a remote, abstract messiah like Senator Sanders. 3. Re the financial. I aspire to independence as I age. That means not… Read more »

Rusty Guinn
Admin

This is wonderful.

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Thor Abrahamsen
Member
Thor Abrahamsen

I have always felt more comfortable standing on the outside of common discourse, observing in. Few of the developments I have witnessed in the world-narrative over the course of my adult life has made intrinsic sense to me, the spark of questions rather than answers. But questioning the narrative is often a lonely position. Fortunate and privileged enough to have, mostly, avoided the gyre of economic and social hardship bestowed upon many by the self-absorbed few, my despair of what we have become is more for a fear of the world my daughters will inhabit than my own. Sitting in Norway, it would be presumptuous of me to expect more than a distanced view of the deterioration of the Empire, a land I have lived in and whose people I have had a long-standing love affair with. But what happens over the pond will also shape us, as it has done for the entirety of the modern world. These letters, as well as the totality of Ben and Rusty’s work, invokes in me a feeling of belonging and companionship. I think that in the pack I have found some of my people, albeit ones that seem staggeringly better read than myself. The goal of this ramble, and as it is early Sunday morning, I do not yet presume that my mind had a goal in commenting when it started, is perhaps nothing more than to let you know that you have a friend on a distant shore, who reads and… Read more »

Howard Wetsman
Member

I’ll say right up front that I don’t have anyone else’s answer. I don’t know anyone else’s truth. For me, the assumption of a social contract was also a point of great confusion. I joined the Navy, in part, to fulfill my part of it. Even in the 80s I could see the beginnings of abandonment of it by those in power, but I didn’t recognize that then. We now seem to be in headlong flight from whatever unwritten social contract I thought I was part of when I joined. The idea of service instead of self-service seems to have gone out of American politics. Perhaps this is a long cycle; perhaps it’s part of a permanent decline. I don’t think we can see that from here. I had a choice when young between medicine and law. I chose medicine because it was about real stuff, and, even then, law just seemed to be elite people arguing about stuff they made up. Now, unfortunately for my daily piece of mind, I don’t see medicine as much different as I saw law back then. I have no idea where you can best serve, T.E. Politically, I’ve abandoned the two part system and am Libertarian. I’ve met two broad groups of people who so identify. One, I call small “l” libertarians. They want their rights, their money, and their guns and have realized that they need to engage in political action to secure them. I’ve also met big “L” Libertarians who are… Read more »

Joseph McConnell
Member

I’ve been wrestling with how to respond to this post for the last several days. I was the first poster on the original “Clear Eyes, Full Heart” post and this letter struck my heart deeply. It’s many of the things my wife and I have struggled against, without the massive benefit of some of the gifts we’ve been given. It’s both a reflection of some of my worst fears about our nation and where we’re heading alongside the things that I think made us great in the first place. T.E., my heart goes out to you. I have no answers, but I’ll try to share some of what I’ve learned. First, I preface everything I say with some background. We’ve been blessed, our story is NOT the story of most simply because the advantages and access we had are not broadly available. Take anything I say in this context. My wife and I come from pretty simple backgrounds. However, we were both smart as whips and through the sorting mechanism that strains the best and brightest out of most of our communities we found our way to Princeton for undergrad. I paid for it through an ROTC scholarship. I made my way through the Army from 2005-2009, most of my time spent in Iraq. We both ended up and Stanford (her for Law School, me for Business school) and spent about a decade out in San Francisco. She worked for the biggest of big law – Jones Day. I spent… Read more »

Molly Trombley-McCann
Member
Molly Trombley-McCann

So much of this sounds so familiar. I have a similar combination of “ardent loyalty and stark realism”. I desperately want a community I trust with a shared goal I believe in. Give me comrades and a good cause and I will give you everything I’ve got. I’ve spent most of my life so far joining organizations in search of this, only to be disappointed. I point out dysfunction and inconsistency in good faith, I raise concerns in open forums for the group to tackle, and I become a problem real fast. I am practicing, with much discomfort and uncertainty, the process of carefully evaluating people before giving them my energy, and evaluating them even more before giving them my trust. It means going slow(er), which is hard for me. It also means I have to value myself enough to disqualify people, which is also hard for me. As for that liberal notion of “normal” that’s never coming back: I continue to learn that some people simply will not engage with the systemic collapses we’re facing. Trying to force these people to reckon with what is happening will only make you both miserable. Instead, connect with other people who are already engaged, already reckoning. One of the best things I get from Epsilon Theory is a sense of connection to people who aren’t looking away, but also haven’t collapsed into despair or bitterness. I’m also wondering how to do work that actually has meaning. I’m not a vet, but I… Read more »

ET82
Member
ET82

[General note from T.E] I have since been added to the pack and will make time to respond in kind to all the voices here. The responses truly are wonderful and thoughtful which is exactly what we can hope for. If anything, the internet does facilitate for disparate individuals to connect across otherwise insurmountable distances/experiences. Generating sustainable community value across that expanse is still very tough to pull off, and like anybody else, I’ve arrived here with earnesty and modest expectations. Good things can happen, let’s see.

The purpose of my letter to Dr. Ben was specifically seeking advice around pursuing a type of employment in the federal service. On his recommendation, I agreed to withhold using my full name for the time being. I welcome anybody who challenges that decision as I very much believe we’ve arrived in a time that demands far more speaking out despite the excommunication it can trigger from legacy institutions.

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LudwigvonMises
Member
LudwigvonMises

Interesting thing about that Ned Beatty speech in Network is that most of those companies aren’t around anymore. Yes, there is something beyond the shadows we see on the wall of the cave, but that is not it.

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ET82
Member
ET82

Seeing beyond the shadows on the cave wall takes a truly unique perspective. I’d say the best representation I’ve seen of it in modern media was from last years Twin Peaks: The Return. Watch Part 8 and see how David Lynch depicts where the Mother of All Evil comes from. Not since Kubrick’s ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ have I been impacted by motion picture imagery and sound in such a penetrating way.

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Vickie Stewart
Member

I felt this way back 1969/70 but did not do anything about it, sadly.

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ET82
Member
ET82

I’d that nobody properly schooled me on the mechanisms of power while I was very young. I was afforded tremendous opportunities to observe its consequences on the lives of others, but it was still from a distance. Emotive connections rather than concrete. It took a long time to find the linkages that pointed back to our economic, political, and social systems. And I’ll admit I avoided studying any of it for quite awhile because I already knew it would be utterly disappointing and repulsive. Experiencing some hardship needed to come first in order to acquire a taste for looking at nasty things. But still, I wonder if somebody could have confronted me earlier with the underlying reasons why our world works the way it does. Illustrated why it is that short of becoming a power, you would likely be crushed by it. Or at the very least, somebody could’ve given me some records by The Clash. I’d say there are always opportunities to perform that service for any number of disregarded youths. And if I ever get a work routine sorted again I’ll be looking forward to finding a context to do some youth mentoring. I think direct access to adults who won’t bullshit young people is extremely limited.

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ET82
Member
ET82

^^^^ I’d say that nobody…. ^^^^

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Tanya Weiman
Member
Tanya Weiman

I have been meaning to comment on this for a while. I saw the original comment that Ben referenced when it was posted and was very moved by it, and by the other post and the comments. I don’t profess to have any answers, but if any of these soldiers are in NYC I would be proud to share a coffee or other beverage.

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ET82
Member
ET82

A proper reason to go to NYC! Thank you ma’am. Just being willing and open to hear about this sort of stuff means a lot for me. I imagine the ET pack are generally serving in the ranks of the professional class but are also curious enough to question what’s happening to our world. That is tremendously valuable, tremendously hard to put into action. Good company and libations should always come first. We’ll have to settle for this digital drip-drip for now. The last time I went thru NYC was to interview with one of those high-profile humanitarian aid outfits in the spring of 2016. This is where I began to relearn that I connect way faster with people from or who have lived outside of the USA. The recruiter who originally brought me in was from the Netherlands. The actual interviewer was from the west coast. And despite my wife already being onboard there wasn’t a home for my kind there. It might have been the unfortunate topic of my former employer destroying a hospital in Afghanistan and killing several of their workers, although I thought it was a sign of resilience to be asked about it. But my primary guess is that describing myself and my wife as a dedicated unit was not perceived as desirable. The organization was not doing missionary work and wanted individual professionals. Couples don’t fit. Where do they in any professional context for that matter? Oh yeah, the military context. At least I… Read more »

DISCLOSURES

This commentary is being provided to you as general information only and should not be taken as investment advice. The opinions expressed in these materials represent the personal views of the author(s). It is not investment research or a research recommendation, as it does not constitute substantive research or analysis. Any action that you take as a result of information contained in this document is ultimately your responsibility. Epsilon Theory will not accept liability for any loss or damage, including without limitation to any loss of profit, which may arise directly or indirectly from use of or reliance on such information. Consult your investment advisor before making any investment decisions. It must be noted, that no one can accurately predict the future of the market with certainty or guarantee future investment performance. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results.

Statements in this communication are forward-looking statements. The forward-looking statements and other views expressed herein are as of the date of this publication. Actual future results or occurrences may differ significantly from those anticipated in any forward-looking statements, and there is no guarantee that any predictions will come to pass. The views expressed herein are subject to change at any time, due to numerous market and other factors. Epsilon Theory disclaims any obligation to update publicly or revise any forward-looking statements or views expressed herein. This information is neither an offer to sell nor a solicitation of any offer to buy any securities. This commentary has been prepared without regard to the individual financial circumstances and objectives of persons who receive it. Epsilon Theory recommends that investors independently evaluate particular investments and strategies, and encourages investors to seek the advice of a financial advisor. The appropriateness of a particular investment or strategy will depend on an investor’s individual circumstances and objectives.