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Showing posts from May, 2014

Dreams & Freedom

I am a dreamer. I have heard this said about me both in a complimentary manner as well as in a derisive one. But who isn’t, or hasn’t once been a dreamer?  As my son Daniel once told me, “If you aren’t chasing something then what’s the point of waking up in the morning.”  As I see it, a dream is the ultimate personal expression and the pursuit of a dream is the ultimate expression of individuality and freedom.  Thus, I find nothing sadder than the idea of abandoning dreams, and no act more hostile than undermining, in word or in deed, another’s dream.

Festival of Faiths

Last week I had the great good fortune to be invited to a conference called Festival of Faiths in Louisville, Kentucky.  As the title implies, the conference had some spiritual and religious elements to it, but I would say that the prime focus was on identifying and thinking about the many challenges we face on earth these days. There was a large focus on both awareness and community, and I found these topics to be highly stimulating.

Banking and Shadow Banking

Words… what do they really mean?  What is banking?  What does a bank do, or what is it that a bank is supposed to do?  I’m 53 and in my lifetime I’ve witnessed a complete change in the banking system in the U.S.  When I was younger there were many banks, and some were even called “Savings Banks,” or “Savings & Loan’s.”  Then, banks were smaller and localized.  As recently as 25 years ago the nation’s largest banks had total assets in the neighborhood of $100-200 billion.  Today that number hovers closer to $2 trillion.   Back then there were restrictions on interstate banking, which could only be done by a very few federally chartered banks, who themselves had state supervised limitations on their activities.  Then, banks made loans to people and to businesses and funded those loans on their balance sheets mostly with deposits taken in from their mostly local depositor clientele.

Opposites

Last week I had some friends and family over for dinner. Before people had arrived I sat with my son Daniel and, while we listened to his band's music on my stereo, we wondered why it was that some people's efforts result in broad public acclaim while others', even when seemingly deserving, do not.  More specifically, as a music fan it perplexed me why his music, that I and an all-too-select group of others have enjoyed, has thus far not found broader appeal while so much lower quality work has.

Soon our thoughts moved on to the question of why we humans even care about acclaim anyway.  I asked Daniel what would be improved in his life if he was the biggest rock star on the planet. Yes, he would have more money but at 22 and being a rather non-material person we both agreed that not much would change in his personal life for the better. And yet, we also both understood that something inexplicable about that level of acclaim would be deeply gratifying.