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Guest Post: Failure: Don't Despair, It's The New Normal

Tyler Durden's picture


By Charles High Smith from Of Two Minds

Failure: Don't Despair, It's The New Normal

As our institutions fail, they will take down many individuals with them. Don't despair: the failure is systemic, not personal.

As the U.S. economy fails on a systemic level, it is pushing individuals into a deep sense of failure. Feelings that one has failed one's family and oneself can feed a despair profound enough to trigger thoughts of suicide, and for many vulnerable people, thoughts lead to action.

In a terrible irony, those who do take their own lives are often those with the highest sense of responsibility and highest personal standards; their sense of failure is crushing in ways that less responsible, more laissez-faire people cannot imagine.

The systemic failure of the U.S. economy is pushing many to the brink of despair, as they interpret their own financial failures as personal rather than as the result of a system-wide decline stretching back decades. The need to explain this systemic failure is part of what drives me to write this blog day after day, month after month, year after year--to help people understand the roots of our national and global failings.

Despite these multiple systemic failures, I am an optimist, and I wrote Survival+ to not only illuminate the roots of our institutional failures but to lay out guidelines for bypassing those institutions as they devolve and collapse.

I have addressed this many times, for example:

The Next Golden Age, Part I (July 28, 2010)

The Next Golden Age, Part II (July 28, 2010)

The Central State (Federal government) and the Federal Reserve are both failing institutions. Their policies, assumptions and mindsets have only one end-state: devolution and collapse. After the old institutions have imploded, some new sustainable, honorable version may arise; this is possible but not guaranteed. Nobody knows the future, and life is contingent.

Institutions are like organisms: they have a life-cycle and exist in a wider ecology. Our current institutions are in the Failing Stage of their lifecycle, where simulacra "reforms" and facsimiles of "change" are presented in lieu of true systemic refomation.

This strategy is based in the institution's politics of experience: real transformation would require their constituencies to lose some measure of income, power and perquisites, and since every fiefdom within the institution will deploy all its formidable resources to self-preservation, then real reform is rendered impossible.

I have addressed this numerous times over the past five years, for example:

What's Different Now (July 12, 2007)

Complexity: Bureaucratic (Death Spiral) and Self-Organizing (Sustainable) (February 17, 2011)

The Lifecycle of Bureaucracy (December 2, 2010)

The basic mechanism of this expansion and fatal resistance to reform/change is "the ratchet effect": expansions of staff, reach, power and revenues are frictionless and exciting--the cog wheel of bureaucracy advances easily. But when the institution expands beyond its carrying capacity, beyond the efficiencies reaped from advancing complexity and scale, i.e. to mission creep, bloat and sclerosis, then any reduction in staffing, reach, power and revenues are resisted with iron fortitude and the desperation of an organism fighting for its life.

I prepared this chart to illustrate the life-cycle of bureaucracy:

As revenue declines and pressure for real reform mounts, the embattled institutions find that propaganda and facsimiles of reform are "cheaper" "solutions" than real reform. This is the key driver behind the flood of propaganda, bogus statistical "proof" of "recovery," and all the phony "reforms" laid out in 3,000 pages of befuddling bureaucratic self-preservation.

Real reform would mean powerful constituencies would have to take real reductions in staffing, power, benefits and in their share of the national income. Rather than reveal this double-bind--reform is impossible but the Status Quo is unsustainable--the institution deploys its gargantuan resources to laying down a smoke-screen of bogus "reforms," distracting sideshows and ginned-up statistics to "prove" that "we're really changing things around here, yes-siree, and things are getting better and better, every day and in every way."

But it's all deception and lies. Nothing has truly been changed or reformed; another layer of self-preservation has been added to an already bloated defense of perquisites and power.

America's institutions are like stars about to go super-nova. They have increased in size to the point where their mass guarantees that once their energy source (as measured in fossil fuels and money) falls below a certain threshold, the institution will collapse inward on itself.

Until then, the best that we can do is to avoid official entanglements, lower our own cost basis, pay off debt owed to the Death Star Financial System and reduce our dependency on the institutions which are currently expanding in the final stages before they go super-nova and implode.

And don't take it personally if things fall apart around you. We're all doing our best, but we can't control everything around us.

You are missed, E.M.K., every day: When an Old Friend Takes Her Own Life  (December 1, 2007)


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Wed, 05/04/2011 - 17:35 | 1240393 mynhair
mynhair's picture

I will take it personally, in that dips far out of my reach, did it to me.

Wed, 05/04/2011 - 22:03 | 1241674 Ahmeexnal
Ahmeexnal's picture

"This is John Galt speaking."

Wed, 05/04/2011 - 17:32 | 1240395 Xibalba
Xibalba's picture

ANOTHER margin hike in silver?!?!?! We're closer to the brink that most realize....

Wed, 05/04/2011 - 17:36 | 1240404 mynhair
mynhair's picture

The more hikes, the merrier.

Wed, 05/04/2011 - 17:36 | 1240399 Timmay
Timmay's picture

Soooo, Sell?

Wed, 05/04/2011 - 17:33 | 1240400 nope-1004
nope-1004's picture

In a terrible irony, those who do take their own lives are often those with the highest sense of responsibility and highest personal standards;


That's why a white collar bankster criminal will never commit suicide.

Wed, 05/04/2011 - 17:57 | 1240569 andybev01
andybev01's picture



The only people who have such a great sense of despair over what they deem to be 'failure' are those whose yardstick only measures the accumulation or loss of 'wealth'.

Lighten up, open the door, step outside and take a friggin' walk to the park and revel in something real like a beautiful day.

Wed, 05/04/2011 - 18:24 | 1240756 topcallingtroll
topcallingtroll's picture

Its only money.

Relationships are more important.

We can live well on rice beans potatoes and cornbread if we choose.

Thu, 05/05/2011 - 05:50 | 1242256 uhb
uhb's picture

+10.000.000 Points

Wed, 05/04/2011 - 18:03 | 1240632 sabra1
sabra1's picture

no, but we can surely assist!

Wed, 05/04/2011 - 21:45 | 1241605 flacorps
flacorps's picture

For them there are wicker head baskets...

Wed, 05/04/2011 - 17:35 | 1240405 economessed
economessed's picture

I, for one, wish we could fail faster.  The slow motion "extend and pretend" & "fake prosperity" variant of failure we have is getting in the way of the sustainable future I so anxiously await.

Wed, 05/04/2011 - 18:09 | 1240660 cossack55
cossack55's picture

Roger that, econo.  Hard Times by Studs Terkel is a oral history of the great depression #1.  Written in 1970, many of the key players were still alive.  Interviewed big players, small players, and everone in between. Some interesting insights into the suicides at that time.  Well worth the time, not some dry history tome.

Thu, 05/05/2011 - 02:31 | 1242155 I Am The Unknow...
I Am The Unknown Comic's picture

+1 economessed  This is like having to go to the dentist every day for years for the same root canal.  I mean, really, please, just fucking get it over with already.   

Wed, 05/04/2011 - 17:37 | 1240414 Rainman
Rainman's picture

Money managers are dissing the banks......can't understand what's inside the box.

Wed, 05/04/2011 - 17:38 | 1240416 lolmao500
lolmao500's picture

But but but revenues are increasing!

Wed, 05/04/2011 - 17:42 | 1240445 Sokhmate
Sokhmate's picture

I declare the Keynesian experiment a successful failure. Thanks.

Wed, 05/04/2011 - 17:44 | 1240462 TraderTimm
TraderTimm's picture

If you don't have reserves, despair is plentiful. The corollary is those who do, rarely care about those who do not.

It is partly about pride and the overwhelming circumstances beyond their control. It is a hell I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy.


Wed, 05/04/2011 - 17:42 | 1240465 Timmay
Timmay's picture

Silver bears, Silver bears, it's Christmas time in the city....

Wed, 05/04/2011 - 18:22 | 1240726 topcallingtroll
topcallingtroll's picture

Not to be a troll

but even if the bull in silver is still intact it could be up to 18 months before achieving new highs.

Meanwhile you get to watch everyone else make money whether it is a couple of months or much longer.

It is hard as hell not to puke up the silver in an eventual capitulation, but almost as hard is to continue to buy on the way down. Those who oppose high priced silver want to make this as painful as possible.

Can you handle watching silver drop to high twenties in a long slow downward grind? Think about what you can tolerate and plan accordingly.

Wed, 05/04/2011 - 18:28 | 1240763 Timmay
Timmay's picture

Hmmm, you must be thinking the U.S. dollar will survive....

Wed, 05/04/2011 - 18:54 | 1240915 Absinthe Minded
Absinthe Minded's picture

"Can you handle watching silver drop to high twenties in a long slow downward grind?"

Absolutely, I bought most of my silver in thlow to mid teens and I'm sure a lot of these good old boys did a lot better than I did. Bottom line, do you see this getting any better? Do you see how they can pay off all of this debt without making the dollar worthless? I'm an optimist but to put this as nicely as possible we're not half empty or half full, we're fully fucked.

Wed, 05/04/2011 - 21:29 | 1241558 Id fight Gandhi
Id fight Gandhi's picture

Some old timers or chart readers are looking back at the old peak and still view it as a commodity not alternative to fiat. I think they are the ones in denial that paper money can rebound and all will be ok.

The debt of the country isn't going down anytime soon and there's really no hope for growing tax revenue.

Wed, 05/04/2011 - 20:07 | 1241262 Re-Discovery
Re-Discovery's picture

Just as it isn't a profit unless you sell.  It isnt a loss unless you sell.  I added today, in retrospect, at the wrong time.  Then bought several stocks at session lows and bounced right back.  I also have bigger longer term positions I never touch.

I could buy and forget.  Or I could just wait til its lower.  Either way, it IS going higher than the old highs.  (And I didnt see anyone else making money today.)  If everything goes down, Silver's coming back faster.

Wed, 05/04/2011 - 21:15 | 1241514 Bicycle Repairman
Bicycle Repairman's picture

"Can you handle watching silver drop to high twenties in a long slow downward grind? Think about what you can tolerate and plan accordingly."

It won't be a slow grind.  Then there is this: Fuck you.

Thu, 05/05/2011 - 00:11 | 1241981 Diogenes
Diogenes's picture

Looking forward to it if I am so lucky. Missed the boat @ $16 - $18.  Will load up if I get a chance like that.

Thu, 05/05/2011 - 02:47 | 1242165 I Am The Unknow...
I Am The Unknown Comic's picture

I would jump for joy at the chance to buy again at $17.  I don't think that is going to happen unless the New World Currency happens to also be called "dollar" and is denoted by "$" 

Meanwhile, I bought May 6 $41 SLV puts yesterday at a decent price.  I had no idea margin hikes were coming and I hope this gives me some profits on the way further down.  This is total F*ing B*shite what is going on, but I hope to capitalize on it as it goes further down.  If my June $45 SLV calls expire worthless I will be one pissed off mofo.   

Thu, 05/05/2011 - 03:55 | 1242203 Urban Redneck
Urban Redneck's picture

If someone didn't capitulate after '87 or '08 or the intervening corrections they are not going to now.  If they are buying silver in the first place, they might also be less concerned with keeping up with the Joneses and their fiat profits.  However, if someone recently came to the silver market to lose their virginity riding the volatility machine, then they are fucked.  The veterans in the market learned to embrace the suck a long time ago.

Wed, 05/04/2011 - 17:43 | 1240483 Seasmoke
Seasmoke's picture

i never understand if people think the powers have messed them up so bad that they have no other options, why they dont take a few of them with them......i doubt i will ever get that feelingof despair as i love to fight, but if i do, i promise i will not be going solo

Wed, 05/04/2011 - 18:10 | 1240667 I Got Worms
I Got Worms's picture

Joe Stack says Hi.

Wed, 05/04/2011 - 18:13 | 1240670 topcallingtroll
topcallingtroll's picture

So would you just take out your boss?

Maybe a grandma and a couple of kids at Lubys?

Or would you have the balls to attempt to go to the lair of one of the beasts?

Thu, 05/05/2011 - 00:25 | 1241985 Diogenes
Diogenes's picture

You don't understand depression. You get to the point where you look forward to death the way others look forward to a Caribbean vacation, for the same reason.

If you are still capable of caring about anything in this world you aren't there yet.

Wed, 05/04/2011 - 17:56 | 1240567 FunkyMonkeyBoy
FunkyMonkeyBoy's picture

"pushing individuals into a deep sense of failure"

- And rightly so, failing to stop fascism entrenching a once great land and people. Oh well, too late now, irreversible... let it burn before it infects the whole planet terminally.

Wed, 05/04/2011 - 18:13 | 1240669 cossack55
cossack55's picture

Gotta match?

Wed, 05/04/2011 - 18:15 | 1240694 jm
jm's picture

Is it really so wrong to feel a sense of failure when you fail? 

Let's say you live in a house that you haven't paid a dime in mortgage on for a year.  Isn't a sense of utter pathetic failure the appropriate prelude to getting your shit together?

Wed, 05/04/2011 - 18:36 | 1240814 cossack55
cossack55's picture

If the note is held by any of the TBTF or fraudclosure firms, I would feel a sense of VICTORY.  I would not be so happy if it was a small, local bank. 

Wed, 05/04/2011 - 18:44 | 1240849 jm
jm's picture

There is a lot of denial going on, and it is what is getting in the way.

Banks have a bailout, so they aren't willing to restructure mortage debt.

So people live in denial about their income, and they don't make their house payments.

Creditors and debtors both get subsidized.  Guess who pays?


Wed, 05/04/2011 - 18:46 | 1240869 Id fight Gandhi
Id fight Gandhi's picture


We used to be Captialistic nation where businesses that fail go out of business. Now, if you're part of the crooks you get the tax payers to bail you out.

These banks then have the nerve to call struggling people deadbeats when they don't pay the mortgage. Fuck them.

Wheres the fairness?

Wed, 05/04/2011 - 18:52 | 1240890 jm
jm's picture

If one can't pay the mortgage, stop the denial and live within your means.

Instead of all this end of the nation durge, people and need to get their head out of their ass and accept the reality of their situation.

There are worse things in the world that moving out of a house one can't afford. There's is no despair in that at all.


Wed, 05/04/2011 - 18:57 | 1240914 Id fight Gandhi
Id fight Gandhi's picture

The whole country can't live within its means. The solution is to borrow more, print money, keep debt servicing low. Why should the little guy do any different?

Besides these overvalued houses will just sit and rot. Better to have someone living in them.

Wed, 05/04/2011 - 18:58 | 1240933 jm
jm's picture

If there were no bailouts the price of houses would fall and people with capital would buy them and rent them to people that don't have capital.  This is how the market redistributes wealth.

Ultimately, the little guy can't do this because he is the little guy.  The big will fuck him in the end.  You can count on that.


Wed, 05/04/2011 - 19:34 | 1241130 oogs66
oogs66's picture

I agree 100 per cent! Though lavorgne (the db guy) and Erin Burnett were giddy over the prospect of bulldozing houses! Screw them. Let shit settle where it should and those who still have money buy it up.

Wed, 05/04/2011 - 20:00 | 1241237 Slim
Slim's picture

Honestly, with so many homeless and unfortunate people in this country/world, the day someone tries to implement bulldozing livable viable homes to help prop up prices due to oversupply is the day I go balistic.  Hell, you hear about rents rising right now and households doubling up - guess what, rent the shadow inventory for whatever the market will bare.  Issues largely done.  We have plenty of housing, it just needs to be distributed according to economics.  Those who are about to lose it or can't hang onto it (people and banks) need to barf it.  Want to use government money to incentivise people to live in and keep up those homes while it works out, go ahead but at this point stop funneling it through banks and do it openly in the communities to people who warrant it (i.e. not the guy who bought at 6x gross income living for free going on 2+ years while I'm funding him and his bank via my tax dollars).

Wed, 05/04/2011 - 20:45 | 1241404 QQQBall
QQQBall's picture

Really, is that what you are waiting for? Until then give them hell on the blogs. hahahahha

Wed, 05/04/2011 - 21:37 | 1241583 Id fight Gandhi
Id fight Gandhi's picture

At this point I honestly want people who can't afford or don't want to pay their mortgages to stay in their homes. The banks that made these mortgages would be gone if not for tax payer bailouts and accounting changes. There is no moral risk. That just the fear they try to put in everyone.

The homeless will end up eventually on the government tab for benefits or jail - jail costs 30-40k per prisoner (last I heard) not including the social damage and economic damage a criminal does.

We have a two track economy going with fed money and outsourcing pumping to the rich, and the other getting royally screwed over.

Wed, 05/04/2011 - 23:18 | 1241880 ceilidh_trail
ceilidh_trail's picture

If people don't want to/ won't pay their mortgage, they should move on. I live within my means. I didn't buy the Mcmansion, drive a 12 year old truck, and continue to save and invest, and pay my bills. All choices that I make every day. Why should I subsidize a couple who bought more house than they could afford, drive a 2 year old and more expensive base price vehicle, buy every video game out there, continue to travel, go to movies and restaurant meals out? Answer- I SHOULDN"T! This is a true couple- they lost their house, blaming the bank and builder, and now live next door to me in the in -laws basement that they converted into a living space. Their kids run all over, hitting my vehicles with baseballs, run all thru my property, and scream and yell all day. God help this country as this will be the next generation... What ever happened to personal responsibility, respect for others private property and good citizenship???  Bottom line:  what are they teaching their kids?

Thu, 05/05/2011 - 00:24 | 1242001 wisefool
wisefool's picture

A keynsian would say that you are the irresponsible one. If you would have just bought a new vehicle, took a trip, etc that would have created a ton of jobs, and a ton of taxes. Then the folks you are talking about might have gotten one of those jobs, and been able to afford to stay in thier original house, and you would not have to deal with them.

<sarcasim> Basically, you brought this on yourself because you refused to participate in a virtuous cycle </sarcasm>

But you are going to pay for it anyway through escalating taxation and/or means testing. If you don't have debt, you are automatically richer than anyone who has debt. Regardless of the relative actual assests you each control. And that is the lesson every child in america is learning. Same old song every society sings when it wants a bunch of drama queens "running around" and "doing stuff" and "getting to work on time"

Thu, 05/05/2011 - 03:58 | 1242205 Law97
Law97's picture

Yes, but the lesson is not that people should have stopped paying their mortgages, but rather the banks should not have gotten bailed out.  We should all have to live under the fair rules of capitalism and suffer the consequences or reap the rewards according to the wisdom of our choices.

Wed, 05/04/2011 - 17:55 | 1240568 Yen Cross
Yen Cross's picture

I'll bet my P-Zeros on that one!

Wed, 05/04/2011 - 18:33 | 1240803 RunningMan
RunningMan's picture

This article resonates. It has been a difficult period. The fiscally irresponsible have it even harder. I have hunkered down for 2011, for this year will be worse than 2008. I watched a guy pulled off the train today with a suspicious bag... things will get far far worse before they get better. We are talking a decade of pain. I hope we all get through with our humanity intact. If any is left after being swallowed by greed and self-importance.

Wed, 05/04/2011 - 18:39 | 1240826 cossack55
cossack55's picture

I am willing to sacrifice any humanity I may still harbor for the cause of LIBERTY, only LIBERTY, and nothing short of LIBERTY.  The hard part is reestablishing ones soul on the other side.

Wed, 05/04/2011 - 18:36 | 1240806 SofaPapa
SofaPapa's picture

I am noticing increasing "little failures" around me.  Mistakes being made in paper systems (even to the sort of amusing point that one of my statements arrived with the paper upside down), people being unable or unwilling to do their jobs correctly.  These are always present, of course, but the number of them has been increasing lately.  The machine is dying, on all levels.

Wed, 05/04/2011 - 21:45 | 1241607 Id fight Gandhi
Id fight Gandhi's picture

No kidding. It used to be joke that someone could fuck up a cup of coffee, now it's a regular problem at McDonalds or any restaurant.

Around the office "oh, don't trust him with that, he'd fuck up a cup of coffee."

Half the time I eat out and order steak I end up getting it free. I order "well done" and it comes out pink. Then they grill it till it tastes like rubber or have to do it again wasting everyone's time at dinner. So I demand it free, and get it.

Wed, 05/04/2011 - 18:45 | 1240861 Rollerball
Rollerball's picture

I'd like to share a revelation I've had:

Wed, 05/04/2011 - 19:04 | 1240901 girl money
girl money's picture

Time for the Great Reset Button.

The one that the banks don't want you to EVER push.

This button is the nuclear button for banks because it sets off the realizations that...

Your family doesn't care how much money you make, but how much time they can have with you before you die.

Your neighbors never really cared what you bought or how you measured up, they had enough problems of their own.

You are not your job (or lack thereof).

You are not your bank account balance.

You are not the car you drive (or the bus you ride).

You are not your nice, neat flaming little shit.

There is never a good reason to go into debt, it steals joy from tomorrow.

There is joy in helping a neighbor that far surpasses the joy obtained from just another trinket from the mall.

Less stuff = more freedom.

No debt = woopie yahoo yeah buddy, MUCH more freedom.

Cheerfully, fiercely and defiantly live within your own means... because working to pay debt is not living, it's S L A V E R Y.

Fight on, ZH Community, and keep your ears and hearts open for friends and neighbors on the edge, less money, tighter budgets, even bankruptcy or prolonged unemployment -- these things are never reasons to end it all.

God's blessings are still the very, very best, and are free for the asking.

God bless you all.


Wed, 05/04/2011 - 19:27 | 1241099 Truthiness
Truthiness's picture

reset button bitchez!



Wed, 05/04/2011 - 21:49 | 1241617 Id fight Gandhi
Id fight Gandhi's picture

Remember the reset button Hillary had and it ended up being a joke because the translation was wrong?

It ended up saying "overcharged"


Thu, 05/05/2011 - 07:13 | 1242311 Steelpulse
Steelpulse's picture


Wed, 05/04/2011 - 19:11 | 1240995 stiler
stiler's picture

write on.

Wed, 05/04/2011 - 19:14 | 1241023 Slim
Slim's picture

...and yet somehow the world survived and things moved on.  Change is inevitable, it happens.  It's okay.  If you think the US is the only country that has issues or even that the US has the very biggest insurmountable issues of all, you are naive.  The odds of a complete societal fracture and the end of the world are pretty slim in that country. 

The overwhelming fear and paralyzing dread on this site honestly makes me laugh sometimes.  People need to lighten up - the world is and always has been screwed.  People fear the future and uncertainty, human nature/survival instinct and while we've become very good at surviving for it, the psychosis has dominated our thinking since the inception of the race.  Lately we've just been hiding/plactating this feeling with materialism as a distraction.  There will be change but most of you will be okay providing you don't get so depressed you hang yourself from the rafters.

Go outside, take a breath of fresh air.  Kiss your kids, read them a story, and tell them you love them.  You'd think we were on a collision course with the sun next week with the anxiety here.  And by the way, this comes from a guy who has always believed in storing rations of food/water/medication/protection and has an inherent skeptisim of all things MSM.  I'm not saying this to mock anyone but just lend some perspective here and help people actually enjoy their lives.

Wed, 05/04/2011 - 19:29 | 1241109 Truthiness
Truthiness's picture


Wed, 05/04/2011 - 19:29 | 1241122 RunningMan
RunningMan's picture

It is good perspective, and I share your paranoia-induced preparedness. That said, I think everyone, especially the ZHers, are looking to make sure no one takes what they view as the fruits of their labor, whether precious metals or fiat or just stuff. And increasingly, people are feeling like circumstances are beyond their control, and that is the stuff of panic, mayhem and war. I would argue this country has sacrificed an element of community that is difficult to recreate. We have a strange little family here on ZH, but it is still a kind of community that I look forward to. (CD's philosophical musings, Bruce's front line reporting, and even Leo's posts to remind us the world is not ending).

We should all lighten up, focus on what matters, but it does seem increasingly challenging. 

Wed, 05/04/2011 - 19:48 | 1241192 Slim
Slim's picture

I figured when I wrote that I'd get junked to all hell (didn't specifically mention physical gold so open invite).  It's nice to find some appreciation.

I definitely agree that uncertainty for most of the people currently in the world has never been higher.  It's been very stable for a long time for those in the US and the majority of Europe.  I think as people get older they gloss over the past (forget how bad it was) and overly focus on the present and uncertainty in the future.  You hear a lot of people reminisce about the free-love care-free 1960s, but really there were race riots, major social unraveling, near nuclear war in the cuban missle crisis, a president assassinated...1950s which many believe was the paragon of community and middle class success had kids in school doing nuclear drills hiding under desks and fallout shelters being built in backyards for many.  We can go back to massive world wars earlier in the century.  When I think about it, just about all of those issues are worse or would cause me more anxiety than what we are currently going through (and as cool as I post, I've lost a whole boatload of sleep these past years and definitely shortened my life - hence my firsthand analysis of the problem).

The issue is that life is always uncertain.  None of us are guaranteed even another 5 minutes.  A virus could come out tomorrow, spread accross the globe lying dormant for 60 days and wipe us all.  Hell look at Japan going through the tidal wave/earthquake/nuclear.  We assume away a lot of risk every day.  The issue is in balancing reasonable preparedness for the future (knowing there is no 100% coverage) and not overthinking it so much that we don't enjoy the limited life we have in the present.  Spending all your time protecting your life or valuables isn't much of a life and I don't think it would be worthy of protection.

I don't have much of a point beyond that but mainly it's about balance and just not letting the uncertainty overcome you with fear/dread.  It's just not that bad compared to so many other things.  And I really think that people are using that fear emotion to play on and manipulate others for their own gain which is just as bad as pretending everything is perfect to manipulate others for the same reason.


Wed, 05/04/2011 - 20:57 | 1241442 Mec-sick-o
Mec-sick-o's picture

I had an old friend that always had a sort of dark side humour to lighten my real and imaginary "tribulations".

"Hey, time is eternal, life is limited." and "What do you worry about? In 400 years nobody will care" were among his favourites.

It sounds harsh but somehow it snapped me out of my gloomy mood.

Wed, 05/04/2011 - 21:48 | 1241623 RunningMan
RunningMan's picture

Well, I'm a worrier, that's for sure. But you are right Slim that there will always be lots to worry about. The past always looks rosier than it was, and the future probably scarier than it will be. We can be prudent and still enjoy life and foster positive relationships. (And of coarse hoard silver and gold fearing the dollar collapse...)

Wed, 05/04/2011 - 22:08 | 1241686 Gyro Gearloose
Gyro Gearloose's picture

@Slim, You make some very good points.  I've often been guilty of saying how much better it it was in the 60's & 70's remembering so many good times and enjoying way more freedom than we have now.

However, an honest look at the downside reveals some real personal tragedys at that period, that time seems to lessen merely because I/We survived them making us stronger individuals.

Part of the present "paranoia" I think comes from the fact we're so inundated with so much negative imformation on so many levels it tends to distract us from living and keeping our prioritys in balance. 

It's so much easier smiling at the obstacles behind us than the as yet unsurmounted one in our path.

Wed, 05/04/2011 - 22:58 | 1241836 Mentaliusanything
Mentaliusanything's picture

When the things that bind you threaten to overwhelm just remember-

"Worry is a complete waste of emotion for is solves nothing and creates fear"

Best advise ever given and once I finally understood its power I have been set free.

Monster of the Id

Thu, 05/05/2011 - 00:21 | 1241995 Gyro Gearloose
Gyro Gearloose's picture

Exactly!  Worry is a form of sustained fear which paralyzes.  It should be shunned like the plague. 

Wed, 05/04/2011 - 19:21 | 1241076 MX_DOGG
MX_DOGG's picture

unfortunately the big govt parastite will slow the bleed just enough to keep us alive in misery. 

Wed, 05/04/2011 - 20:05 | 1241246 DeltaFunctionToronto
DeltaFunctionToronto's picture

Gold will in time be made available to the IMF and Western Central Banks in quantity to re-designate a standard reserve unit in ratio terms.

Hyperinflation will occur, but not with the ensuing consequences most here expect.

Wed, 05/04/2011 - 21:00 | 1241416 SwingForce
SwingForce's picture

TREASON, guilt, misplaced responsibility, its a terrible thing that Paulson hatched, and Geithner & Bernanke are perpetuating. So stay in your overpriced home (don't), with underwater equity, pay that loan to the bank that won't modify or refi, Do your CIVIC DUTY and BAIL OUT THE BANKS that wouldn't use the $Billions in TARP funds to help YOU! Assholes kill yourselves, all others Get Smart: Read Zero-Hedge.

Wed, 05/04/2011 - 20:59 | 1241435 SwingForce
SwingForce's picture

When the starving children cry, "Daddy why are you doing this to me?" be strong enough to say, "Its not me, its the Chairsatan". And put the knife down, put the gun away (dispose of it legally). Call your neighbor, we're all in this together, you ain't nuthin' special. Survival you can believe in.

Wed, 05/04/2011 - 21:03 | 1241473 New_Meat
New_Meat's picture

Dang, this reminds me of ol' Jimmah doing his thang:

- Ned

[Chris Matthews--speach writer, no wonder why his legs get tingles}

Thu, 05/05/2011 - 07:11 | 1242303 Papasmurf
Papasmurf's picture

Now,  no longer the worst president in history.

Wed, 05/04/2011 - 21:44 | 1241619 topcallingtroll
topcallingtroll's picture

Ok after interminable delay my plane is boarding.

Remember it is just a game.

It's only money.

Life is short and we take for granted the important things, our health and our families, until we risk losing them.

I would give all my money to be poor and 25 again!

Wed, 05/04/2011 - 21:48 | 1241625 Jovil
Jovil's picture

Some times I think we have it bad, but then I think of the tragedy of Japan. It is being spread all over the globe and our governments keep mum. They want us out shopping, consuming and not preparing for the build up of radiation in our soil, water, vegetables, milk, water, etc. Don't feel bad. Prepare! I tried getting a geiger counter online and they are all out. They have orders to be filled in 6 months.

Wed, 05/04/2011 - 22:01 | 1241667 borntokill
borntokill's picture

Had two things happen to me this week. One Ally Bank reposseseed my car and HSBC called to tell me they would take 50% of what i owe them on a settlement. Which is 1/2 of 7800.00 after I talked to the customer agent for a while they told me that things were so bad that no one was paying and that it didnt look good. Of course Ally Bank didnt care if I settled with them or not..the person i spoke to who was in another country...Phillipines she said..siad that cars were being repossessed all over the country. Ally Bank pathetic..losing my car is one thing but hiring people in other countries to do there dirty work and then escaping there debts by avoiding bankruptcy and becoming a bank..What a country!

Wed, 05/04/2011 - 22:23 | 1241743 Dr. Porkchop
Dr. Porkchop's picture

The diagrams are the lifecycle of an organization, or the stages of the sun becoming a red giant and swallowing us whole... not that we'd be around at the time.

Wed, 05/04/2011 - 22:29 | 1241765 lunaticfringe
lunaticfringe's picture

I found your real name Tyler- in a fit of investigative journalsm. Ya know the funny part? I didn't really care once I found it.

You bring balance to my life. A sense that all of this happy days bullshit is just bullshit designed to deceive us which it is. To lull us to sleep. You bring the yang to the government yin. You keep me sane.

Today, I got in an argument with a bunch of crazy mf'ers who were claiming that OBL had been killed years ago and that this was all just an election ploy. I burst out laughing because the problem with a government who lies to it's people every day is that on the rare occasion when the bastards are actually telling the are we supposed to know that??

Thank you TD and ZH. One for the road if ya got the time...


Wed, 05/04/2011 - 22:50 | 1241821 Dr. Porkchop
Dr. Porkchop's picture

Like the boy who cried wolf.

There's wisdom in these old traditions I tells ya.

Wed, 05/04/2011 - 23:38 | 1241915 malek
malek's picture

Good summary, and great conclusion.

Thanks, CHS!

Thu, 05/05/2011 - 02:59 | 1242176 honestann
honestann's picture

Do not dispair.  Convert all your paper assets into real, physical silver, gold, guns, ammo, survival supplies and productive equipment.  Then you'll be well prepared for the collapse, and better off than 99% of the population at large.

Thu, 05/05/2011 - 08:14 | 1242437 GeneH3
GeneH3's picture

The failure/implosion scenario reminds me of a book I read once. Oh well, who is John Galt. Time to shrug?

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