What Gang Aft Agley

It’ll be Burns Night this Friday, which in my house merits a dram or two more than the usual end-of-week celebration. It will involve no more haggis than the usual, which is to say, none. Most of all it will mean a great deal of poetry - Burns poetry - which is written in a way that all but forces you to try your hand at a Scottish accent. One of the great joys of marrying a theatre scholar is her shocking facility with such dialects, the result of studying under one of the best voice coaches in the world. My own attempts are less impressive.

All the same, bad accent or not, I’ll drink a toast to Burns. But a Burns Supper isn’t just whisky, haggis and poetry. It’s a meal of joy, melancholy and respectful remembrance of times and people now departed. In this house, this year’s will also be a Bogle Supper. On Friday, we will drink a toast to Jack, a genuine treasure who did more to make markets work for the individual investor than any person. Ever. He wasn’t just someone who was in the first place at the right time to capitalize on an inevitable idea. He made something happen that wouldn’t have happened otherwise, perhaps for many years.

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  1. Alignment may be akin to finding true North.

    How do you get to a that optimal state when the foundations are no more?

    The truth of the matter is that most of the things which draw people’s attention in their day-to-day experience, whether it’s names, titles, news stories, political parties, economics, history, philosophy, religion or what have you, consist entirely of mental noises firing off inside your head…made-up mental narratives which can be easily controlled by the powerful, and hardly anyone fully grasps this. If they did, both change and alignment would be easier.

    Navigating a society that is made of mental narrative is very much the same; if you don’t know which way’s up, you’ll get lost and confused. Before you can see the narrative matrix clearly, you might be aware that some narratives serve power and swat at them while you’re spinning through space, but you won’t have any solid ground on which to orient yourself for the purpose of forming a clear path forward toward a healthy state.

    Your first and foremost task as a fiduciary or being genuine, therefore, is to find solid ground on which to plant your feet while operating within a swirling sea of narratives and counter-narratives. Without this you’ll find yourself expending energy on ineffectual agendas, chasing shadows, attacking friends and advancing the interests of the enemy as you stumble around trying to fight a threat or status symbol you can’t even see clearly. You’ve got to figure out for yourself which way’s up. The only way to do this is to turn inward and sort out your own mental narratives in your own experience. This takes a lot of dedicated work, because there are many layers of tightly believed narratives which dictate one’s perception of the world that most people aren’t even aware of.

    Memes like “Inflated asset prices aren’t real wealth” or “fake news about fake news” are distractions, or obstructions to flow…

    “What’s your story?
    I don’t mean your personal history, relationship status or childhood traumas from your parents failures. I refer to your market narrative. What story or stories are you telling yourself to rationalize your investment posture and behavior?

    Its a legitimacy crisis…

    It’s all around us i.e. DC, Europe, Information, our jobs and its getting more chaotic and complex…TBD!

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