Recently I spoke with a geologist/conservation consultant who took all his money out of the stock market in 2005 and believes that the stocks will start sliding again in October and go another 60% down. This seriously frightened me. Almost haunted me with a daily bite since I heard it, that I shouldn't believe the news that things are getting better.
Today I was a guest at a Fisher Investments Client Seminar. The audience was assured that while the future might not be bright, growth will continue as it has since the 9th of March. The bear market during the 1929 crash went down 86% in 33 months. The bull market that followed showed 120% growth in just the first 12 months that followed after it started in June 1932.
The market went down 56% since October of 2007. Between March 9th through August 25th of 2009 we've gone up 52%. I walked out of the lecture feeling more trust in the financial process than I've had in a long time. Not only that... I started to really look at how I view all of life.
Make no mistake. I am not an economist. I'm not an investor. I've been a "fatalist" and I'm beginning to see the error in my ways and how this dark overview has robbed my life of much joy and possible adventure. I never thought of myself as a fatalist... someone who accepts that "every event is inevitable." A conspiracy theorist? Yes. A person who has been fearful of the future, that the sky would fall, that the government would fail us, that the greed, hateful and selfish sides of man would win out over the compassionate, understanding and forgiving sides. Yes, I have to admit this is true.
Where did it start? Was someone else in my family a 'fatalist'? No. My family put their nose to the grindstone, worked hard, and made a life that the American Dream offered all people. So why did I choose of my own volition to stay as far out of the rat race as I could possibly get? Why did I study political psychology and then muffle my voice the minute it wanted to be heard?
When I look at what the world must have seemed to my soul during my formative years, I start to get a unique picture. Three months before I was conceived, our President Eisenhower left office with these words, "...we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist." I know you are thinking, three months prior? If our soul is ever present and my soul was wanting to come in, maybe it knew what was happening here... Maybe?
During the first two years of my life our country was going through the Cuban Missile Crisis. Surely there were subconscious fears that something so dangerous in our backyard could come and disintegrate us all in a heartbeat. These were fears that were aroused at that time in the national and personal psyche. I wasn't in school yet, but before I went to school and certainly during the years I was in school, I remember air raid drills and hiding "under my desk". When I was three years old Kennedy was shot and our family, as did much of our country, stopped moving that one weekend and stayed glued to the television to mourn the 'loss of hope.' I believe it was Walter Cronkite who described JFK's passing in that way.
When I was between five and eight the anti-war movement got lots of coverage and caused perhaps the first loud resistance to our government's handling of the Vietnam War, and in fact, how we handled war in general. When I was nine men landed on the moon, soon followed by boys and girls the age of my baby sitter wearing psychedelic t-shirts (while chewing psychedelic inebriants, what did they call that? Dropping Out?) and dancing in the mud at Woodstock.
As a child I didn't know any of this consciously. But when I was a tween at camp I remember hearing the impeachment process over the loudspeaker and seeing a picture of tricky Dick waving his arms as if in victory as he was whisked away on a helicopter.
One president warned us. Another president was murdered. Martin Luther King was killed the same day my great grandmother Rosie died. Then JFK's brother was murdered. Then a President was caught in the biggest lie of all and the cover up and brought down any trust that remained in the government at that time.
Could any of this have had an influence on why I got involved with politics early, and then removed myself less than ten years later?
When I was fifteen I watched Three Days of the Condor and it changed my life. For three days I could barely speak. From that day forward the conspiracy theorist in me was born.
When I interned on the hill and Congressman Clarence D. Long responded to my question of what I could do to save the planet he said, "I'm just glad it's you and not me, because we screwed it up so much there won't be any fixing of it."
After a weekend of watching the country learn about all the secretive and not so secretive miracles Senator Edward Kennedy provided for his constituents and people in our country, it makes me wonder why I ever doubted that public service could be a noble choice. Here was a man with flaws who constantly worked to redeem himself and do wonderful things for the common man. What a concept that a human being can grow and change and become the person they can be.
I dropped out. I was one of the young determined to make things better. When I became fully conscious I became fully afraid. I don't believe being unconscious is the answer. I'm not exactly sure what is, but I'll keep you posted.