Thursday, December 27, 2007

Society - A religion?

I had an interesting discussion with a friend of mine about religion the other day. It actually started off because we were looking for interesting topics to talk about. I have always found that religion, as a topic of discussion seems to evoke a great deal of passion in people and this was no different. However, while arguing my point I tripped upon an idea that got me thinking.

As part of the discussion I was asking the question – How can we bring people together under one umbrella of norms? If religion is not the binding factor then what else could it be? What is it that holds a society together and why do we all conform to the norms of society? There are basic rules in society that we do not question. We all seem to walk the line on those ideas. Killing and stealing are the most obvious crimes that we consider as an evil in society. But what is it that makes us work under that assumption? Who sets the rules of society and based on what factors do we modify those rules? If religion is not the foundation upon which we come up with these rules then what else?

Can a society by itself be the religion? Can we all come up with a set of rules that is not influenced by religion and create a society purely based on social norms? How would that society be structured and what would be the greatest influencing force in such a pure atheistic society? Did the first cave man, who tried to organize a society, come up with religion as a tool to organize?

Like Yul Brynner concluded in the “King and I”- Is Puzzlement!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Stunning

One day I was getting ready for work and happened to look out into the patio. This is what I saw. I guess the little fella got to work earlier than I did.


Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Market Schizophrenia

If you buy now you are catching a falling knife. If you don’t buy in a down market you are missing your opportunity. If you sit on the sidelines your cash is depreciating. If you don’t put cash in your portfolio you are over exposed.

The markets are at it again. It is the end of the year and everyone is trying to talk everyone out of the market. There are analysts galore who believe that Armageddon is around the corner. Global meltdown is only a heart beat away and the Federal Reserve chairman has no understanding of the markets. There are bankers peddling new instruments that handle “convexity of the mortgage losses” and “calculus of the…” Whatever!

In the past six years that I have followed the markets, CNBC and other business media outlets seem to take investing as a contact sport rather than a calm and calculated activity. The last time I felt this way was when I was walking down the aisles of Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas. Apparently, I am doomed if I do and damned if I don’t. And then there is the calm voice of reason. When asked what he thinks about the rate decision by the Fed Warren Buffet replied, “It doesn’t make any difference for a long term investor like me”.

It seems to me that he is the only one around here that does not suffer from delusional Schizophrenia. The sane voice of reason is always the easiest to comprehend. Like Russell Crowe (John Nash) says in “A Beautiful mind”, “She can’t be real because she is just not getting old”.

Just like Nash I too will pretend that I cannot see and hear the wild screams of a market gone wild.