Mired In A Slough Of Despond

Ah, Neighbour Christian, where are you now?

Truly, said Christian, I do not know.¹

Markets up, markets down, dollar up, dollar down, jobs up, unemployment down, sovereign concerns, hot money flows, oil, copper and gold.  Where do we go from here?  Where is HELP!

It is difficult to read the omens at present.  And those who claim to know the future don’t.  Whether we fear a resurgent China or an authoritarian Iran, a crumbling Euro or a securitization portfolio we can’t unload, we must continue to make the best of it, take charge of our destinies, plan as well as we can, and adapt as new data are revealed.

As in life, sometimes you simply have to keep plowing forward.  You may be in a slough of despond, but only because you are seeking to become more than you were.  Don’t panic.  Just because you’re down in the first quarter doesn’t mean you can’t win the game.

Savings rates have to increase, deleveraging must take place, and spending must be reined in, all while avoiding the paradox of thrift that can also keep us in the mire.  Still, optimism, faith, and perseverance will get us out.  And as for HELP, we can all play that role by looking for ways to assist others in getting out of the muck.

“Mögest du weiter darüber nachdenken. Laß dich aber warnen, du Wißbegieriger, vor dem Dickicht der Meinungen und vor dem Streit um Worte. Es ist an Meinungen nichts gelegen, sie mögen schön oder häßlich, klug oder töricht sein, jeder kann ihnen anhängen oder sie verwerfen. Die Lehre aber, die du von mir gehört hast, ist nicht eine Meinung, und ihr Ziel ist nicht, die Welt für Wißbegierige zu erklären. Ihr Ziel ist ein anderes; ihr Ziel ist Erlösung vom Leiden.”

“You should think about this further. But be warned, oh seeker of knowledge, of the thicket of opinions and of arguing about words. There is nothing to opinions, they may be beautiful or ugly, smart or foolish, everyone can support them or discard them. But the teachings, you’ve heard from me, are no opinion, and their goal is not to explain the world to those who seek knowledge. They have a different goal; their goal is salvation from suffering.”²


¹  John Bunyan, The Pilgrim’s Progress, 1678, Part I, Section 1

²  Hermann Hesse, Siddartha, 1922, First Part, Gotama (Said by Gotama to Siddhartha).  Translation by: Gunther Olesch, Anke Dreher, Amy Coulter, Stefan Langer and Semyon Chaichenets

Ah, Neighbour Christian, where are you now?
Chr. Truly, said Christian, I do not know.Ah, Neighbour Christian, where are you now?Chr. Truly, said Christian, I do not know.

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