“Everybody gets so much information all day long that they lose their common sense.”
— Gertrude Stein, in the 1920s
“Generally speaking, if you’ve been vaccinated, all we’ll need is a copy of the vaccine card. If you haven’t been vaccinated, it’s a more significant matter.”
That’s a declaration from our Human Resources department, which is getting ready to enforce President Biden’s vaccine mandate. Anyone who wants to work in the office will need to have the proper paperwork — either saying they took the vaccination… or they’ve tested negative for COVID.
The irony of the situation isn’t lost on us. Our company — which prides itself on the ideals of independence and self-determination — is kowtowing to the “barbarians of specialization” in Washington. There are other thoughts and expletives that come to mind. Ahem, as shoddy as they may come across, we do have our standards.
On the other hand, the policy, or policies, that come from a highly centralized government, a centralized corporation, are completely out of our control… and fighting them would be costly. In time and energy, mind you. We all have the same 24-7 to deal with, daylight savings notwithstanding, so it’s wise to choose on which issue to shovel your might.
Now, I know some readers aren’t going to accept the idea. I expect a few angry letters to Feedback@TheFinancialReserve.com denouncing us for not taking a firm stand against the mandate.
We’ll also hear from folks who are angry that we’re even questioning vaccinations — berating us for not “doing our part” to end the pandemic.
For the record, we are all vaccinated — families included — and we oppose the mandate. Good enough? My guess is no. Hence our ruminations this week.
Emotional reactions to things out of your control are exactly what our guest Ian Silverberg recommends you avoid.
Mr. Silverberg, you will recall, is a long-haul Reserve member who’s developed an idea he calls intentful living — which involves making decisions based on what is possible and attainable within the constraints of the external world.
“I think one of the things we have to accept in this life,” he tells me, “is that our modern society creates a tremendous mismatch between our environments and our biology, and our genetics for that matter.”
Basically, our everyday lives subject us to more stimuli than our DNA has evolved to handle.
Just consider the amount of new information that’s thrown at you each day — from news sources, social media, even conversations with friends. It’s “absolute information overload,” Ian says. He calls it Modern Society Syndrome… which we’ll abbreviate to MSS.
If you’re suffering from MSS, you’ll tend to filter the information you’re getting based on your beliefs and feelings. Once you’re emotionally invested in a certain set of facts, you shut everything else out. “You don’t open your eyes,” Ian explains.
MSS takes us “further and further away from being able to see all sides of a story. We’re all in our echo chambers.” The echo chamber feeds us information on things we can’t change, leading to stress. Stress isn’t good for your health. And it leads to bad decisions. Then “those bad decisions lead to bad outcomes,” Ian says, “and the cycle continues.”
Bill Bonner had a similar take in the early days of The Daily Reckoning. Back in 2002, he wrote:
The world is awash with “information” — so much that it is impossible to master it all. Instead, people pick and choose bits and pieces of information that suit their purposes. The new “Information Age” does nothing to change this. It merely increases the costs of getting rid of unwanted information.
But paradoxically, Ian says the solution to MSS is actually more information. Ian explains this in context of his Reserve membership.
“Early on,” he says, “one of my challenges with Agora was, ‘wait a minute, if I read this guy, I’m hearing one thing. If I read that guy, I’m hearing another thing.’”
Ian’s remedy has been to be “intentful’ about which information you choose to use. There might be a firehose of facts and data, yes. But if you know what you’re trying to achieve, it makes the choice on what to read easier.
You want to understand the Fed and money printing? Read Jim Rickards.
You want to understand how tech trends anticipate meteoric companies on Nasdaq? Read George Gilder.
You want to know how to turn popular culture into crypto profits and a bit of spare time to hang with the fam? Read James Altucher.
Want to know about development of vaccines and the chip shortage affecting supply chains? Read Ray Blanco.
Want to know how to trade options on chart trends and indicators? Read Alan Knuckman and Greg Guenthner.
We’re all processing information in real time. It’s advice that has a price attached. It’s wisdom we all seek.
The erstwhile Information Age gradient:
In that order.
We strive for wisdom.
Founder, The Financial Reserve
P.S. Joe Biden, the umn, president, will be making his second trip to Baltimore tomorrow. He was here two weeks ago to push the Build Back Better legislation. Now he’ll be appearing at the Port of Baltimore, pretending the infrastructure legislation will magically fix America’s supply chain woes.
More cranes, perhaps? (Source: Wikipedia.)
I’ll be on my way to New Hampshire for a long overdue visit with the fam… so apologies in advance if tomorrow’s missive is truncated.