A preview of the unpublished book A CIVILIZATION WITHOUT A VISION WILL PERISH: AN INDEPENDENT SEARCH FOR THE TRUTH by David Willis
LESSONS LEARNED BY THE AUTHOR (Part 9)
Who we are is more meaningful than what we do
In 2014 I had another life-transforming revelation when I was reading Your Soul’s Plan: Discovering the Real Meaning of the Life You Planned Before You Were Born by Robert Schwartz and found these words: “Each of us is a seed that was planted within our world’s current vibration. When we raise our own frequencies through the growth produced by life challenges, we raise the world’s frequency from within. Like a single drop of dye added to a glass of water, each person alters the entire hue. As we create feelings of joy, even if we do so while living alone on a mountaintop, we emit a frequency that makes it easier for others to be joyful. As we create feelings of peace, we resonate an energy that helps to end wars. As we love we make it easier for others, both those whom we meet and those who will never know of us, to love. Who we are is therefore far more meaningful than anything we ever do.”
Knowledge, understanding and wisdom
Knowledge and understanding come to us from two sources: science and religion. But we also need wisdom if we are to make progress towards building a long-lasting civilization. Today science dominates and tells us that if something cannot be appreciated by the five senses or cannot be weighed or measured it does not exist in any meaningful manner. It was not always like this. Edith Hamilton, in The Greek Way to Western Civilization expresses it in these terms: “In that black and fierce world a little center of white-hot spiritual energy was at work. A new civilization had arisen in Athens, unlike any that had gone before. There a light was lit that can never go out, that has indeed never been matched in the centuries since.” I found Some Answered Questions and other Bahá’í writings very helpful to start my education in how to balance science and the material, the religious and the spiritual in my life.
The fragility of the economic system
Thomas Friedman in The Lexus and the Olive Tree, published in 1999 tells us that:
On December 8, 1997, the government of Thailand announced that it was closing 56 of the country’s top finance houses that had been bankrupted by the crash of the Thai currency, the baht, because they had borrowed in dollars to lend to Thai businesses in the local currency.
These Thai investment houses were the first dominoes in what would prove to be the first global financial crisis of the new era of globalization.
The Southeast Asia recession had an effect on commodity prices around the world, transmitting the Southeast Asia crisis to Russia.
The Russian government had become heavily dependent on taxes from crude oil and foreign borrowers.
The Russians raised the interest rate on their rouble bonds from 20% to 50% to 70% to keep attracting foreigners.
Some hedge funds and foreign banks not only continued to put their own money into Russia, but they borrowed even more money at 5%.
On August 17 the Russian economic house of cards came tumbling down. The hedge funds, banks and investment banks that were invested in Russia were threatened with bankruptcy.
The hedge funds and trading firms had to raise money to pay back their bankers. Brazil, Korea, Egypt, Israel, and Mexico saw their stocks and bonds being sold by panicky investors, driving up the value of U.S. T-bonds.
The steep drop in yield on U.S. Treasury bonds crippled more hedge funds and investment banks.
Long-Term Capital Management, the mother of all hedge funds, sought ever more exotic bets with ever larger pools of cash, putting $120 billion at risk betting on the direction that certain key bonds would take in the summer of 1998. Its bets turned out to be wrong.
Without the knowledge of the U.S. government, Long-Term Capital Management – a few guys in Greenwich, Connecticut – amassed more financial bets around the world than all the foreign reserves of China.
In early August 1998, Friedman invested in a new Internet bank at $14.50 per share, seeing them soar to $27 and then drop to $8 because the bank held a lot of home mortgages and the markets feared that with the fall in interest rates in America people would sell off their home mortgages early.
It took nine months for the events on Asoke Street to affect his street. The trouble spread to one continent after another like a virus.
We are in the hands of gamblers
Long-Term Capital Management bet $120 billion of our money and lost. In September 1992 George Soros led the electronic herd to force the British pound down by 12% to its ‘right’ level, leaving Soros with a profit of $1 billion from a couple of months ‘work’. Governments are no longer in control of their currencies. No one is in control of the world financial system; it is now in the hands of gamblers. The chapter on Economics and Finance looks at how leading minds view our system.