Monday, October 10, 2011

Blue Bear

Some time ago, I read the book: Blue Bear. It's a book written by an Alaskan guide who worked with a photographer to try to get a picture of the elusive Glacier Bear, with a blue tint that live in Alaska. It's a beautifully written book. I was talking to my family about fear today and it reminded me of this quote from the book:
I could hike through the mountains with complete peace of mind. I could camp without worry. But what a dull place Alaska would be! Here people share the land with bears. There is a certain wariness between people and bears. And that wariness forces upon us a valuabe sense of humility. People continue to tame and subjugate nature. But when we visit the few remaining scraps of wilderness where bears roam free, we can still feel an instinctive fear. How precious that feeling is. And how precious these places, and these bears are."
I think fear is a useful and human emotion. It keeps us humble, this knowledge that we could be decimated at any moment, a reminder of our mortality. It's also an emotion that those on Wall Street have completely sanitized themselves away from. Instead of taking risky bets with their own money, they can profit off of short-term profits made from other people's money. They are insanely well compensated and now have an explicit backing from the US taxpayer on the downside. They have no reason to fear, many of the bears in their lives have been annihilated. I would have to know one of these rich investment bankers better to know if their lives are now dull as a result.  This quote is good on many levels beyond this one, of course.

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