Russia dropping ordnance. Iran launching missiles. Stabbings in Israel. Suicide bombings in Turkey and lesser-known countries in Africa. That's right, folks, it's early fall, 2015 and you know what that means: Obamafest! So, tap a keg, pour some suds, hoist a stein, and go wild!
Don't get me wrong. I am not bitter and am not being sarcastic. I am happy as a clam. I'm living in a hard shell, out of site, below the surface, siphoning-in whatever I need to thrive and filtering out everything else.
I siphon-in (read, that is) a lot of first-rate history and classic, or modern, prize-winning literature, because writing by great thinkers and doers serves-up the good stuff. The stuff worth learning, knowing, thinking about, and remembering. The stuff I can use to filter, analyze, and try--just try--to understand what's going on in the world.
Charlie Munger, curmudgeonly business partner of Warren Buffet at Berkshire Hathaway, lauds constant reading as a way to acquire "models" with which to understand life. I like Charlie Munger. He thinks deep and flies commercial. At least, he did one Saturday afternoon some years ago, when he flew back to Los Angeles from a Berkshire annual meeting in Omaha on the same flight that my father and I were taking (I took my dad to the meeting, not that my father needed any wisdom about investing. In his own modest way, my dad, born in 1930, and raised during the Depression, did alright).
How, then, do I explain what's going on in the world today? Here's how: There's nothing new under the sun. That's from Ecclesiastes. If you have not read Ecclesiastes, you ought to. Pete Seger, the American folk singer, composed a song back in 1955, with lyrics taken nearly verbatim from Ecclesiastes. In 1965, the Los Angeles band, the Byrds, turned Seger's song, "Turn, Turn, Turn," into a Number 1 hit on the U.S. music charts. Fondly, I remember hearing "Turn, Turn, Turn," playing full-blast on the vintage, 45-single-record-playing juke box in the basement of my Dartmouth fraternity, late into the beer-sodden night, and early into the dark, mung-smelling hours before dawn.
Take it from me. If you want to understand the significance of today's events, turn, turn, turn, to Ecclesiastes. Just live and be happy. Happy as clam. It helps to grow a thick shell.