20 August 2017

Stocks and Precious Metals Charts - Essere Umano - Being Human

"What has become of King Don Juan?
And the Princes of Aragon,
What has become of any of them?
What remains of our handsome nobility?
And of the many fads and fashions
They brought with them?
What remains of their jousts and tournaments,
Gilded ornamentations, fancy embroideries
And feathered tops?
Was all this insignificant waste?
Was it anything but a season's fleeting touch of green on the fields?"

Jorge Manrique

"To some who were confident of their own righteousness and achievements, and also looked down upon and despised others who were less accomplished, Jesus told this parable: ‘Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ''God, I thank you that I am not like other people – robbers, evildoers, adulterers – or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.''

‘But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, “God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”

‘I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.’"

Luke 18:9-14

Pride, intended as a recognition of our achievements and superiority, ironically diminishes our fullness as human beings, and often quite dramatically so.   Pride can make people act in ways that, from a distance, seem very pompous and silly.

And among these proud ones there are often those who not only go beyond a simple agnosticism and indifference to the vastness of creation, but actively refuse to acknowledge anything greater than themselves.  And they do so almost with a kind of fervor, aggressively despising any forms of observance among others as a weakness of mind and character.

They proudly build their castles,  made of money and honors and power, on the weak sands of their own ego and worldly achievements.   That form of worldly pride is easier for us to understand.   We see it clearly in the self-proclaimed elite of our time.   The balance of things may only be restored for them by the four last things, the hard realities which are irresistible, even to the mighty.

But less obvious perhaps is the spiritual form of pride, that reduces us into a distorted order of things that would be equally silly if it were not so insidious.   Spiritual pride blinds us to our own faults, of course.  But even worse than that, it leads us to magnify and fix ourselves upon the faults of others.

In doing so we seek to justify our own imagined achievements, and at the same time dismiss our bad treatment and low regard for them.   There is no person who is spiritually proud whose heart will serve as a home for the Holy Spirit, the spirit of humility, and mercy, and of love.  They are too full of the law, and of judgement, and of the trappings of righteousness, and themselves.

Pride makes us think that we are a superior example of all creation, a model for others, if they were only able to rise above their weakness.   Even if we acknowledge a greater God intellectually, or so we think that we do, in fact we are accepting Him on our own terms, terms that we ourselves have set, and often in a very legalistic manner.    God becomes the perfection of our own goodness, and not the other way around.  This is the leaven of the Pharisee, the exacting experts of the law, as noted so often in the gospels, and in the parable above.

Spiritual pride leads to a lingering spiritual death.   It turns the living being into a whited sepulcher, all bright and polished on the outside, proudly ornamented with scrupulous attention to detail, and ostentatious adherence to the letter of the law—  but inside full of corruption, and festering foulness, and 'dead men's bones.'

This is all too common among those whose love is directed to the rituals and the forms of religion, but wanting nothing to do with the human realities of it, the acts of mercy to others which are the second great commandment.  It is a sickening romance with the self, unto death.

But Jesse, isn't this just what it means to be human?   If Mother Teresa had decided to heck with the poor and the dying, and run off to join a reality cooking show in Hollywood, to seek her own fame and fortune, wouldn't that only be human?

No.  There is a difference is between the things that people may do that are beneath their calling to be fully human, and what they do that strives to achieve the fullness of their humanity.  It is the general lack of moral aspiration and the glorification of that perversion of individuality which is selfishness that marks our time, as it has done so many times in the past.  It distorts our vision, and makes the saints incomprehensible, laughable, almost repulsive and contemptible to us.   And it is a sickness, unto the lingering death of a soul and of a society.

Gold tried to break out above 1300 on Friday and was turned back toward support.

Stocks had a 'dead cat bounce' on the Friday option expiry after the big decline of the day before.

See you next week.