Friday, February 27, 2009

Fire This Time...

Let's see - GDP was revised down sharply and Citi is turning into an AIG-like black hole for federale money and purchases of houses is down hard and Eastern Europe continues to crater into debt default hell and violence.

If the model of socionomics proves to be accurate, then these are expressions of a deeply deteriorating social mood and that as this process continues, we should continue to see a roller-coaster of emotion - violent swings into optimism that are ground down by the long wave descent into a swamp of negativity that will burn itself out before the coming Renaissance.

The big picture stories are fun (or scary) to follow, but you and I should be just as worried about the localized expressions of this sour mass mood. The "news" is, in my opinion, just stories we tell each other to try and explain and act out the herding impulse that drives everything from the Rotary Club to entire societies. These "stories" have lot's of possible plot arcs and endings and that is why the memes that infect a society through television, art, books and speeches can, at key crisis points, lay out a direction for "stories" that can either lead to utter destruction or a cathartic cleansing.

That's why it is important to look for anecdotal items like this to help get a feel for what "story" we are going to find ourselves in over the coming years:

Arsonists Torch Berlin Porsches, BMWs on Economic Woe
By Brett Neely
Feb. 27 (Bloomberg) -- When Berlin resident Simone Klostermann returned from vacation and couldn’t find her Mercedes SLK, she thought it had been towed. Police told her the 35,000- euro ($45,000) car had been torched.

“They’d squirted something flammable into the car’s engine block in the gap between the windshield and the hood,” said Klostermann. “The engine was completely destroyed.”

The 34-year-old’s experience isn’t unique in the German capital. At least 29 vehicles were destroyed in arson attacks this year, most of them luxury cars, according to police. The number is already about 30 percent of the total for 2008. The latest to go up in flames was a Porsche, on Feb. 14, two days after a Mercedes was set alight in a public car park...

This sort of property destruction, the riots in Greece, the movement to occupy empty houses - they are the little "paragraphs" that build up into an epic novel.

There may come a time you have a chance to push the story line in one direction or another - a kind word, aiding someone in need, not allowing yourself to succumb to the passions of the mob - you can help shape events for the better. You can't stop the steamroller of history, but you can at least help lay the groundwork to limit its destruction in your tiny piece of the world. Another reason to be connected in your community.

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