Boom or Bust?

The world is coming to an end. The world is progressing to a wonderful singularity which will lead to an era of untold happiness and technological wonders. These seem mutually contradictory. Very smart people can write very convincing arguments for either scenario. But which is right?

I think I have a natural bias towards expecting the collapse. A la Sir John Glubb and The Fate of Empires, I see that all empires before the current Pax Americana have collapsed, and assume that the trend will not be broken and conclude that the American Empire will end.

However, we’ve (to my knowledge) never gotten this far technologically. The Roman empire was technologically comparable to some of the empires that preceded it. But following the industrial revolution, each successive major empire has been substantially more technologically advanced than the one previous to it. This technological distinction provides the basis for explanations that assume the cycle of collapse will break.

But people are still running the show. And the fate of empires is not due to their trinkets, but due to the character of their constituent peoples. So, given that technology requires societal support in order to advance, it seems to me that societal decay is as much a threat to the increase of technology as it is to the increase of an empire’s power and vigor. I don’t want society to collapse. If it does, I will not be around long enough to see the next power form and grow. My hope is a Rome-like restructuring from chaotic republic to a ruled monarchy. My hope is for renewal.

But, I’m not a very hopeful person.

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DIA triangle breakout

Screen Shot 2018-03-22 at 9.33.09 AM
Standard disclaimer, be smart with your own money, blah blah blah.
I haven’t been putting that much time or energy into the market recently because I don’t care about money anymore.
However, ever since late January, the market has been more interesting than it has been in years, and the formation I’m seeing on the Dow Jones index is just so blindingly obvious that I felt I should point it out.
We have a symmetrical triangle here. Textbook explanation of such is:
  • they usually do not make it all the way to the apex (where the lines cross) before breaking out up or down
  • they can break either direction
  • they often go out of bounds for a day or three and then come back to the boundary (a re-test) before going on to continue the direction they broke out in.
  • volume usually decreases as the triangle forms
  • they come with a measuring stick/projected move. The height of the triangle on the left end is the distance you can expect it to move once it breaks out.
Given all that, this seems like it lines up to the textbook explanation perfectly, so it’s high probability, though certainly not guaranteed, that the upcoming week or three will see the price on this chart (DIA) come down to the 230-225 range, at least for a brief time.
I bought some out of the money puts on this yesterday. I might buy some more if/when the price re-tests the triangle boundary in a few days. Do with this information what you will.

Faith and Reason

Modern heathens like to view faith as irrational. They say people believe in God in spite of the evidence. They say we use “faith” as a dodge to avoid rational thought. But my experience is just the opposite.

You see, faith is hard, not easy.

And everyone who has ever struggled with laziness, gluttony, lust, or any other temptation to do something they know they shouldn’t do knows that being irrational is easy. It’s rationality that is the hard thing. It’s easy to be unfaithful. It’s hard to stay true.

We know, rationally, that God exists, that He loves us, and that we depend on Him for our very lives. But it takes faith to actually trust this; to act as if this is really true. In this way, faith is more like trust in reason than like some blind ignorance of facts. Faith is the strength to act out our rational beliefs. Faith is the ability to bring our body and our mind into accord. Without faith, we will say one thing and do another. Without faith, we are all made hypocrites.

But with faith “you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move.”

Suffering and Sin

From la wik:

Propitiation, also called expiation, is the act of appeasing or making well-disposed a deity, thus incurring divine favor or avoiding divine retribution.

(Yes, I know, starting with a definition, how uncouth.)

When put that bluntly it almost sounds crass. “You think you can bargain with God? You think you can earn your salvation?” But this is exactly what Christ did for us on his cross. In fact, this propitiation through sacrifice is the central act of the Old Testament religion, which Christ did not “come to destroy… but to fulfill.” The idea that we can bargain with God; that if we do certain things he will respond in a certain way, runs throughout the whole of scripture. Abraham bargains God down from 50 to 10 righteous men needed.  The people of Israel marked their doorposts with blood to avoid being struck down by God. The priests made bloody sacrifices of lambs and doves on the regular. Jesus tells us to “knock, and the door will be opened,” and to be like the persistent widow. James tells us that “The prayer of a righteous man has great power to prevail,” apparently in contrast to the prayer of an unrighteous man. The fundamental Christian claim is that Jesus died to save us from our sins. What do we mean by this? Apparently we mean that Jesus suffered, and that suffering mitigated the wrath that our sins have earned from God. Suffering negates sin.

There is an intrinsic connection between sin and suffering. “The wages of sin is death,” is it not? Thus it seems that sin necessarily creates suffering, the only negotiable part seems to be on who that suffering falls. This seems true “on multiple levels of analysis.” Sin creates suffering on the immediate, personal level in that it harms others, and our relationships with others. Sin also creates suffering on the spiritual level in that it deserves God’s wrath, which separates us from God.

But the relationship between suffering and sin is not one-directional. Going through suffering can actually negate future sin. This is essentially what Jesus did for us on the spiritual level, but it works even on our own personal level as well. When we suffer the worldly consequences of our sin, we occasionally learn from that suffering and avoid that sin in the future. In this way it is “exactly right” to say that suffering negates sin.

This leaves us with a weird cycle where sin creates suffering, which suffering then negates sin. I think that if we fully understood the nature and mechanics of this cycle, then the problem of evil wouldn’t be a problem. Why does God allow evil and suffering in the world? Because he’s trying to get rid of sin, I would guess, but here we’re at “the limit of my ability to articulate” reality.

What I do know is that “God works all things together for the good of those who love Him,” so our suffering serves a purpose, just as the suffering of Christ on the cross served the greatest purpose–the conquering of sin.


If you’re wondering why I kept linking to https://jordanbpeterson.com/ on seemingly random phrases, it’s because those are particular quirks of his speech patterns that he says over and over in his lectures, and as I was writing this they sprang unbidden to my mind.

A prayer for wisdom

Fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge;
Lord, help me to fear you!
Wisdom cries aloud in the street;
Lord, give me ears to hear her.
Lord, Most High, I lack wisdom,
But you give to all generously and ungrudgingly,
So, In your name, Lord, I ask:
with what faith I can muster,
spurning all doubt,
please grant your servant wisdom,
that I might please you.

Best society

A simple rule for determining what makes society good: Does it produce saints?

Does abortion being legal make more people act saintly, or does it encourage selfishness? How about contraception?

How did getting divorced ever make someone a better person?

Does neutrality with regard to religion and religious practice (aka, separation of church and state) result in more saints, or more snide atheists?

Does constant bombardment of digital entertainment lead people towards sainthood or towards idiocracy?

Does Democracy or Monarchy produce the most saints?

Does the welfare state produce any saints? Any at all? Or does private charity do that?

Has anyone ever felt even the tiniest bit more saintly because of public schooling?

Does legal weed produce more saints? What is weed good for?

Do militarized police encourage anyone toward saintly brotherhood, or does it promote enmity between civilians and law enforcement?

Does social media draw you closer to God or just wrap you in your own little bubble?

Does political correctness help anyone to be more saintly? Or does it induce low level fear?

In what way do the endless conveniences of modern life help anyone on their journey toward sainthood?

How does the abundance of junk food make anyone a better person?

What spiritual gain do we get from our day jobs? Is sitting in a cubicle the way towards God?

Are the saints all equal? Or are they all unique? Should we promote equality, or should we promote personalized goodness?

How does voting draw you closer to God?

What spiritual gain comes from going to a club? From drinking to excess?

 

The best society is the one that produces the most saints per capita.

 

Is there even one American saint?

Need in order to

Rollo says you need sex. He admits you don’t strictly need it in order to stay alive; it’s not a need like air, water, or food. But he does continue to refer to it as “the need men (and by association women) have for sex.” And Rollo is certainly not alone in modern society in viewing sex as a need.

Here’s my problem. The word “need” is meaningless without the follow on “in order to.” I need air in order to breath, and thereby stay alive. I need money in order to buy things. I need strawberry milkshakes in order to satisfy my craving for sugar. But if I just said “I need air, money and strawberry milkshakes,” then the word need is stretched beyond all usefulness.

So, what do we need sex in order to do? Well, we need it in order to satisfy our physical urge for it, but that seems circular. We need it in order to propagate the species, but given the way Rollo and most moderns are addicted to contraception, it doesn’t seem like that is really their goal in sex. Let’s see what he actually says in defense of our need for sex:

The unhealthy disconnect here is that human beings do in fact need sex. We can attach other ephemeral aspects to the sex act (or masturbation if that’s the only recourse), like love, emotion, commitment, etc., but on a base level your body needs sexual release in one form or another. Yes, you can willfully override the need, just like you can overcome hunger while you’re fasting or on a hunger strike, but the need is still the operative in that act of will. Once hunger, breathing and thirst are satisfied, sex is the single most influential drive the human species (really, most any species) is motivated by. Society is driven by sex, cultures evolve around it and personal achievements, as well as horrible atrocities are the result of our inborn prompt to satisfy our sexual urges.

I still don’t see an “in order to” explicitly laid out, so I’m left to conjecture on my own. Maybe I’ll be totally wrong about what he actually thinks we need sex for, but I don’t think that my remarks will be too far off from what the average dude nowadays thinks.

Moderns think we need sex in order to be happy. Sure, Rollo goes to great lengths to show us how sex isn’t super meaningful for him, but still, the underlying current of his whole essay is that, without sex, you will be miserable. So, maybe a rephrase is in order: Moderns think we need sex in order to avoid misery. “Sex may not make you happy, but lack of sex will definitely make you miserable, so you do need sex,” they seem to say. This is just a more moderated form of hedonism. Duh, moderns are modern. Modernity assumes hedonism. Moderns are hedonists.

However, given that Rollo places sex right after air, water, and food, it seems like a pretty universal claim that humans need sex. Which means that any exceptions would contradict his theory.

There are a lot of exceptions.

Jesus Christ, the Blessed Virgin Mary, St. Thomas Aquinas, and literally hundreds of thousands of monks and priests and nuns throughout the last two thousand years. Sure, not every monk was celibate. Not every monk was happy. But plenty were, and are. Sex was clearly not necessary for their happiness. So what gives? Is the litany of saints just a litany of people with defective sex drives? Or is sex maybe, you know, not a need in the way that Rollo thinks it is?

Basically, Rollo assumes hedonism to be true, and then reasons that hedonism is necessary for happiness. Well, I assume hedonism to be false, and then reason that hedonism is not necessary for happiness. But Rollo paints himself as some “just the facts, maam” reporter giving us emotion-free logical analysis, when really he’s just another modern under the delusions of his own false ideologies.

Does Rollo make many good points? Yes. Should people read his stuff to understand basic male-female dynamics? Probably. Is he neutral and impartial? Ha! Not even close. Is sex necessary? Not in order to be happy.