Capitalism has destroyed our belief in any effective power but self-interest backed by force.
(George Bernard Shaw)
In the last few days, I've been feeling a caustic mix of astonishment, anxiety, "Told ya so!", and anger at the empire-crumbling frenzy in the U.S. I'm also working hard to step back and witness the mess with a calm, contemplative eye. The I Ching, as always, is a sturdy source of sanity; my mind is swinging back and forth between Hexagrams 14 (GREAT WEALTH) and 15 (MODERATION). I consider myself fortunate to be an ordinary person who has no investment in money-mucking machinations. Life itself, as the wise among us know, is the only wealth worth engaging with.
My original family's fortunes swung up and down with the moods of the international markets; my father, sadly, was all about business. He was very much a man of his generation and culture; his conditioning and character (and the need to support a wife and four children) compelled him to work, work, work to a corrosive extent. He missed so many ordinary pleasures.
The shadow-side of Hexagram 14 is all over the news right now, isn't it? A sane response to the bailout panic, as George Santayana wrote, "is to look upon the judgment of society, its prizes and its pleasures, with the serenity and sadness of one whose treasure is elsewhere and whose eyes have held the vision of better things."
The greedy one gathered all the cherries,
while the simple one tasted
all the cherries in one.
(Mark Nepo, The Book of Awakening)
("Greed," by eggstudio, via flickr.com. Photo: 7art-screensavers.com)