Who woulda thunk it. Never would I have thought I’d be where I am, doing what I’m doing. It’s not the unqualified success that draws the sentiment, there is no success. It’s the manner in which my path has transcended the limits I wore around me. I’d never imagined I’d live in Switzerland. Climbing and skiing mountains are an aweful pleasure for a city boy from Bombay every day. And I’d never thought contact lenses could be so liberating. Or that a great shirt and a fabulous tie would make me feel like a giant. I never thought I’d go weeks without writing anything interesting, just answering e-mails. I never thought just working would lead you to sell your soul. I never thought I’d be so lazy.?
What do you think a person in the Bush administration who opposes this war should do?
I encourage people who are in the position now that I was in then — namely of seeing us about to embark on a wrongful, unjustified and illegitimate war that is a crime against the peace — to consider doing what I wish I had done in 1964.
That is, if they have documents indicating that the president is lying the public into such a war, they should take those documents to the Congress and to the press, and tell the truth — even if it costs them their clearance, their job, their career, even if puts them in prison.
— From the Salon Interview with Daniel Ellsberg, the man who leaked the Pentagon papers and author of Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon papers
One of the biggest struggles in every human life is challenging the status quo. It’s never easy, it’s rarely immediately rewarding, but doing the right thing hardly ever is. Nevertheless, we owe it to ourselves to think carefully about our role in every act. Every action or non-action we take is an act of will, and that’s not something you should squander in the short existence you have on this green planet. We never regret taking the right path. Even if you do go far on the wrong road, who exactly will your companions be? And where is the pleasure in consorting with people of weak morals?
It’s amazing how reading a couple of blogs makes me want to update my own site. Never thought of myself as so painfully pedestrian. Zurich gets drearier by the day. The trees bare their branches to the speckled grey sky. A patch of blue is something to exclaim over, like a little boy. Europe must enjoy some of the shittiest weather on the planet. On a positive note, I’m getting more D’arenberg wines so it’ll be a pleasantly groggy winter. My fireplace makes me feel medieval since I have to go buy fire-wood. The big decision is whether I go to the farm up the hill or get a neatly packed cardboard box from the super-market.
On some Sundays I feel as if I’m keep Gandhi’s vow of silence. My restlessness is at bay if I don’t call anyone and restrict myself to reading, answering correspondence and cooking. Ah yes, cooking’s become a pet hobby and I’m toying with the idea of turning mostly vegitarian. Most meat is mass-produced junk, and the the animals are treated cruelly with lives that are nasty, brutal and short. And why would one want to consume textureless ground up mystery-flesh? The epiphany came to me as I was cutting a large piece of beef.
Back to writing something on the webpage again. I’ve adopted the McSweeny’s motto. Some days there will be something here, and other days there won’t.
I’ve been reading Benny Morris’ excellent book Righteous Victims: A History of the Zionist-Arab conflict 1881-2001. Like most people I’ve become re-interested in the Middle East post September 11. I found myself talking to a lot of people about the Middle East and felt I had to brush up on my history. Though the book has a narrow focus, it does not deal with events outside of Israel, it is still a very valuable introduction to the most lasting conflicts in the Middle East.
For those who’ve been following along, the CFA is done now (at least the exams). I’ve also been spending a lot of time hiking around Switzerland. The sheer beauty of the mountains is one of Switzerland’s redeeming qualities. The souvenir stores full of kitsch are not. The Swiss have perfected the art of packaging local tall tales into cheap entertainment for bands of nodding tourists. On the other hand, my Swiss Army knife complete with altimeter is a source of seemingly endless joy.
I realize that what I was doing was writing a blog without really being aware of it. (Mar 30, 2002).
Wish I weren’t in Zurich. Then again, I wish the CFA was done with too. But I still don’t know enough about cash management with index futures. The only two good things about Zurich, I find myself saying over and over again, are the great prices for wine and cigars. Well, there is the view of the lake, and the woods above Kusnacht, and the cars on the street are way cooler, and it seems like trash doesn’t exist. But, in all other respects, it sucks. Oh joy, back to reading finance text-books.?
There’s one book you have to read today, Peter McWilliam‘s Ain’t Nobody’s Business If You Do: The Absurdity of Consensual Crimes In Our Free Society. This book is a transformative experience, a beautiful argument, and a fabulous read as well. You can read it on-line or buy it at amazon.com (In association with Amazon.com).
I’m getting good at peddling books for amazon.
How does one effectively flee the corporate coop.
I will shout the incoherent with the passion of a true believer from the top of the highest building I can find.
— From the ‘Rebel’s Own Anarchist’.
All of existence is a chase for a mood. Not one mood, or state of being, being in nirvana gets awfully boring, awfully quick. I run after various moods, at the drop of a hat. This is unconscious, which is perhaps why I call them swings, but I create some of them as well. There are desires, and I try to realize those desires, give birth to their satisfaction, which is inevitably another state. Language is woefully inadequate at expressing these states. The very word we use for them, emotions, is saddled with limits. Since it does not suggest inherent plurality, we know there is no stable state, and moods are ephemeral. What creates the mood, an ambiance, an environment, or the recreation of memory, a remembering. Or a remembering of a remembering. Can I yearn without knowing what it is I yearn for? What I seek must be known to me, through experience, having lived it in the past, having others create a living of it for me, as music, as writing does, and having it thrust upon me by a belief structure shared by fellow humans.
The lives I desire are an unending caress you neck to thigh,
Your breath in your skin next to mine in mine,
Your memory in my mind,
brought to the fore,
by the accident
Somewhere between the past
and the present
is the now.
The now is with us, are you now?
To be in the now is either to be stark raving mad or to walk with your god on the hot sand of a deserted beach.
I have a god, and her beauty has graced my nows, and my pasts, but never my futures.