The Power of Story and Why Literature Connects Deeply With Our Soul

Love this interview…this 8-minute clip from Jordan Peterson and Russ Roberts succinctly show the power of story and why classical literature connects so deeply with our emotions.


The Strive For Wisdom – The Psycology Podcast – Kaufman and Jonathan Haidt

Thanks to The Psychology Podcast by Dr. Scott Barry Kaufman (interviewing Jonathan Haidt) for this definition of WISDOM Dierdra Kramer;

The most influential factor in the development of wisdom appears to be an openness to experience and different modes of representing experience. Wisdom appears to stem from a capacity to reflect on and grapple with difficult existential life issues.

Wise people are not Pollyannaish. They are willing to explore the shadow side of life and are capable of expressing the wide array of human emotions in such a way as to derive meaning. This fosters a general sense of hopeful-ness. They seem able to first embrace and then transcend self-concerns to integrate their capacity for introspection with a deep and abiding concern for human relationships and generative concern for others.

Consequently, they reflect global concerns in their understanding of human issues and also project a sense of ease with themselves and others, as well as warmth and compassion. Consequently, wisdom as currently defined and measured in Western Psychology appears to have benefits both for the mental health and well-being of both the sage and those who are impacted by the sage’s actions.

To put this in the form of poetry – Rudyard Kipling’s poem IF, read by Sir Michael Cane fits (once again, because it’s so personal to me!)


More from Kaufman;

Thus, wisdom involves exceptional breadth and depth of knowledge about the conditions of life and human affairs and reflective judgment about the application of this knowledge. In order to exert judgment about when knowledge is applicable in a complex, dynamic human sphere, it is important to reflect on one’s own subjective standpoint to consider alternative frameworks and to be receptive to alternative modes of representation


Wise people are particularly adept at taking the perspective of others and providing a safe setting in which others can explore their own values, thoughts, actions, and decisions. By all research accounts thus far, it would be a useful skill for society to promote in its citizens because of the generative concern shown by wise individuals and their ability to engage others in an accepting, compassionate manner without judgment.


Wisdom has been conceptualized as:

(1) a rare, highly exercised and developed form of cognitive expertise about the domain of human affairs that allows for multiple conduits or

(2) a constellation of personal attributes reflecting a high degree of cognitive, affective, and behavioral maturity that allows for an unusual degree of sensitivity, broad-mindedness, and concern for humanity.

Using either conceptualization, wisdom research shows that it is a rare achievement, most often evolving
from unusual life experiences that foster introspection, reflection on the human condition, and counseling others. Openness to experience is the most frequent predictor of wisdom. Wise people are also found to think more dialectically, exhibit generativity and compassionate concern for others, and accept life’s limitations. Wise people show less despair and less dissatisfaction by grappling with existential issues and finding purpose and meaning in adverse experiences.

When in doubt, turn to the Stoics

3 Stoic Principles for Greater Mental Strength and Resiliency

“Our actions may be impeded, but there can be no impeding our intentions or dispositions. Because we can accommodate and adapt. The mind adapts and converts to its own purposes the obstacle to our acting. The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.” – Marcus Aurelius
Article HERE

Demographics Of Japan – They Have A Problem.

My twelve arguments on the Decline of America. Demographics is destiny Japan style.

According to the UN’s most recent projections, the share of the Japanese population that was age 65 and older in 2015 was 26 percent. That compares to 14.6 percent in the U.S., 18.9 percent in France, 21.1 percent in Germany, and 22.4 percent in Italy. Further, Japan had a total fertility rate (TFR) — a measure of births per women of child-bearing age — of 1.41 from 2010 to 2015. Over that same period, the TFR was 1.88 for the U.S., 1.98 for France, 1.43 for Germany, and 1.43 for Italy. Japan’s TFR fell quickly in the post-war period, to 2.17 for the years 1955 to 1960, which was down from the TFR of 2.96 that the country experienced from 1950 to 1955. Most other advanced economies experienced much larger and longer “baby booms” after the war.

Japan has now experienced four straight decades of birth rates below the population replacement TFR of 2.1. Low rates of birth, and limited immigration, lead inexorably to a contracting workforce, which is debilitating for a pay-as-you-go pension system. Japan’s working age population — those age 20 to 64 — peaked nearly two decades ago. In 2000, there were 79.4 million people in Japan who were in this age group. By 2015, the number had dropped to just 72.1 million people. The UN’s median projection scenario forecasts Japan will have just 50.8 million people age 20 to 64 in 2050 — a remarkable 36 percent contraction over a half century.

Japan’s steady improvement in lifespans and its declining workforce has created tremendous financial pressure within the nation’s social security program. Japan’s system shares similarities with U.S. Social Security. It combines social welfare goals, which are met with income transfers, with an earnings-related benefit, and the system is financed mostly with payroll taxes imposed on current workers. Japan differs from the U.S. in that it chose to divide up its program into two tiers. The first is a flat-rate benefit, called the National Pension (NP), which gets half of its funding from a government subsidy financed outside of the payroll tax; the second is the earnings-related benefit, or Employees’ Pension Insurance (EPI).

….The reality is that Japan has no good options. When people live longer and have fewer children, the inevitable consequence is a shrinking pie from which to draw retirement benefits. The pie can be expanded by having workers stay employed longer, and the portion going to retirees can be reduced by having workers retire later in life. But these shifts won’t be enough to offset the effects of a rapid contraction of the workforce.

Greed and Money – Documentary (7 Deadly Sins Theory)

Do things make us happy? This documentary looks at our human desire for more and how it makes sense in today’s world.






A Worldwide Debt Default Is A Real Possibility – Forbes, John Mauldin

I’m a John Mauldin reader. His analysis is always deep, grounded in facts/data and he’s been in the financial world long enough to add a historical perspective to modern events. His series on the Great Reset (link below) is long but worth a read.

His recent article in Forbes explains where I think we are as a world economy. Since 2008 there has been a massive run-up in all sorts of debt. We never really took our medicine after the housing crash and instead inflated our way to a bigger potential issue.

The series of blog posts paint a picture of where we are as a State/County/City (pensions), Country ($21t in debt) and Globe (global debt to gdp is at 318%). There are ramifications for all the monetary policy. We can only speculate on the outcomes.


Forbes – Earlier this year, I wrote a series of articles (synopsis and links here) predicting a debt “train wreck” and eventual liquidation. I dubbed it “The Great Reset.” I estimated we have another year or two before the crisis becomes evident.

Now I’m having second thoughts. Recent events tell me the reckoning could be closer than I thought just a few months ago….


Here’s a note from Economic Cycle Research Institute’s Lakshman Achuthan:

Notably, the combined debt of the US, Eurozone, Japan, and China has increased more than ten times as much as their combined GDP [growth] over the past year.

Yes, you read that right. In the last year, the world’s largest economies are generating debt 10X faster than economic growth. Adding debt at that pace, if it continues, will boost the debt-to-GDP ratio at an alarming rate….

Mauldin’s conclusion;

This Won’t End Well

I am trying to imagine a scenario where this ends in something less than chaos and crisis. The best I can conceive is a decade-long (and possibly more) stagnation while the debt gets liquidated.

But realistically, that won’t happen because debtors won’t let it. And they outnumber lenders. For this reason, something like “the Great Reset” will happen first.

The rational course would be to delay the inevitable as long as possible. Yet in the U.S. we’re rushing it.

I’m also reading a book, The Day After The Dollar Crashes, by Damon Vickers and although the run up and political theories that are nothing new took 3/4th of the book to get to the ‘what happens when that happens’ part, Vickers hypothesis is an either we go back to a money backed by a gold standard or we move to one currency.  He does mention that we need to be very careful about a potential wag the dog war to deflect from the pain.

The Great Reset: How Should We Then Invest?

MAY 22, 2017

“A speculator is one who runs risks of which he is aware, and an investor is one who runs risks of which he is unaware.”
– John Maynard Keynes

“The biggest mistake investors make is to believe that what happened in the recent past is likely to persist. They assume that something that was a good investment in the recent past is still a good investment. Typically, high past returns simply imply that an asset has become more expensive and is a poorer, not better, investment.”
– Ray Dalio, founder, Bridgewater Associates, LP

A couple of documentaries that help to paint a deeper picture of money and the future:

End Of The Road – How Money Became Worthless


97% Owned – Economic Truth – How Money is Created

The Nature Of Money


The Flow

The Big Short – 2015



Frum vs Bannon in Toronto Munk Debates

This is a bit long, but it’s a good debate between the Republican Establishment and the Republican-Populist movement.  The sides have ratcheted up and this is a debate within just one side of the two party system. Similar debates are happening in the Democratic party between the Bernie Sanders wing and the Hilary Clinton wing of their party.  Sprinkle in the non-voting millennials and we have a recipe for a new America.

I’m hoping that there is a child in school right now that will bring sanity back to the public square.  My theory on the direction America is playing out.  Can the Elephants get their act together? Will the Donkeys find there a way? Who knows. Trump is a symptom of where we are as a society. The first Reality TV Presiden is playing out the drama and cliffhangers and manufactured tensions…just like you would see….on an episode of the Kardashians.  And we are supposed to be surprised.

I cued this up to 1 hour 20 minutes, but worth a listen to the whole thing.