Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Structures Are Meant ... To Crumble

image by andres_ol, sxc.hu_*


* Mayan ruins in Tonina,Chiapas, Mexico

New Structures Are Struggling To Rise

The year 2008 will not be forgotten in a hurry. The omens hinted at "interesting" times at the beginning of the year itself. And as we entered deeper into its months and weeks and days, we have seen structure after structure crumble. While the Hadron collider proved to be a non-event - much ado about nothing actually, well at least for the time being and let's wait for the actual collision to occur -, look around you, and you will see the dust and the debris and the detritus everywhere, of structures that were old and established, venerated and celebrated.

_*


An Associated Press clip on YouTube - AIG bailout with a USD 85 billion infusion by US Govt.

Easy it is for anybody to deride the men and women who were supposed to have been bulwarks against the eventuality of these crumbles. It is quite obvious that these people are now knee-jerk reacting to the unfolding events, and there is no sign, as yet, that they have got on top of things and are in control. The scene right at this moment resembles a horse rider who has been yanked off the saddle, reins having slipped away from the hands long ago, the rider's one foot in one stirrup, the rest of the body being dragged on the ground, the horse wildly galloping to god-knows-where. And the rest of the world, jaw dropped, eyes unblinkingly-wide-open in horror, wringing hands, watches helplessly, wondering where it will end, and when the rider will get back into the saddle, if at all. The problem is not eased by the fact that there are these other horses on the ground, and all their girth straps are inter-connected, so if one horse goes wild and throws off its rider, the other horses panic too and follow suit in one massive synchronized failure.

The Federal Reserve headquarters in Washington, DC - wiki_*


The imposing structure of Federal Reserve headquarters in Washington, DC, courtesy wiki. In the eye of the present storm.

So is AIG going to be the last bailout? Fingers are already pointing towards the likes of Washington Mutual, and somebody is already eyeing to buy it, in case it becomes available for sale. As I type this out, Dow Jones industrials has dropped more than 200 points. Shares of AIG have fallen by half.

Washington Mutual Branch office in San Jose, California - wiki_*

Washington Mutual Branch office in San Jose, CA. In a few days' (hours'?) time, we will know whether WaMu will be required to be bought by yet another bank in yet another bailout process.

This crumbling of structures is not happening in financial markets alone. It is there everywhere, even if the manifestations are not so stark and explicit like the electronic trading board of a stock exchange. Social mores are changing. Definitions of what is acceptable and what is not are shifting. What was shocking and taboo and prohibited a few days ago has now become passe. Conservatism is taking a battering as never before - and yesterday's radicalism is becoming today's hidebound and dogma.

image by bizior, sxc.hu


What this all means - is that we are experiencing change and churn at a scale that our present set of generations has never known. I wouldn't say we are "paying a price for evolution" - but we are definitely evolving, yes. And whatever new world will emerge when the change and the churn subsides, will definitely be for our individual and collective good. Meanwhile, if we are really, really alert, we can actually take advantage of this downturn and use it to transform our life.

image by andres_ol, sxc.hu

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