Archive for » November, 2012 «

Equanimity

 

Being free of pain, strife and fear is all to the good. Equanimity is the state of mind that runs counter to turmoil. The tranquil life of sustained peace, to which we may aspire, demands that we are ready to give the effort needed to reach it. We can then take mishaps in stride and be the envy of those types who seem to flap so easily at mere trifling tides. The deepest love that consumes us we’d relinquish with ease, when we reach that state of equanimity – well above the mundane crowds.

The gain is clear for all to see: a serene and tranquil life. But is there a catch to watch out for in all this serenity?

To be at peace in face of loss may mean we cannot engage too fully. One might even say that being distant is being a mere observer – and confusing that with living. Being duped into taking seriously what keen people know is mirage may not altogether be bad – akin to enjoying matches that we do not know are fixed. True, we may be unenlightened, treating trifles as being grave. But it could as well be the best way of partaking in what life offers.

A snail may feel no attachment to lover or tomorrow. It may not grieve when lover leaves or notice the link now broken. No mirage warps life’s reality for snail, or even sparrow? But how are they superior to people who may cry? We who are quite capable of getting carried away should perhaps make complete use of this ability. To miss the fuss and live removed is to strike a poor bargain. Rebuffing joy and sorrow for fear of risk of pain may amount to no more than simply outwitting oneself – seeking refuge in abstract calm and losing it completely. Should we let go the highs and lows, in fear of life’s sweet sorrows?

 

The fools’ market

 

The grip of beauty is strong and arresting,

               the desire to see kindness consuming.

It’s strange we should harbour such feelings

              despite knowing life has no real meaning:

we might as well be swept up engaging

              in the stock market, madly profiteering.

 

The stock market is always profitable for the few who are able to manipulate it. That’s true of any country – and goes without saying, I suppose. Other than members of this small clique (who may or may not be nationals of the country in question) it is also a good field in which to fool around, if one is quite stupid.

Given that fools, by whatever definition, aren’t less materially well off than the smarties, this is not an argument for avoiding the stock-market. One reason we go into this market is to make money without effort. (Wanting to make more money is itself a foolish pastime, if we already have more than we can spend. But that subject is not the focus of these few paragraphs.)

The main reason why fools spend energy accumulating increasing, and pointless, fortunes is probably that they want to prove (to others and to themselves) that they aren’t stupid. Talk about irony.

There is symbolic value too, in playing the market. If you are rather badly off, just the fact that you deal in shares sets you above the rest who are satisfied buying tickets on weekly sweepstakes or placing bets on horses running races in countries you don’t know.

Symbolism attracts the wealthy too. They are able to reach greater heights by increasing the size, diversity and value of their portfolio. One can even become the equivalent of the true wine connoisseur. This comes from being recognized as having penetrating understanding of the fundamentals and extraneous risks and opportunities, as a result of which one foresees unerringly how things will move in the short and longer term.

Among other reasons for ‘brainy guys’ to spend energy and time amassing burdensome wealth is the need to show that they are not just clever but powerful too. The underlying drive may be the desire for significance or the need to prove a point.

The biggest draw is probably the allure of the gamble, particularly dazzling for the lazy.

So the stock market beckons us all.