There are no Words

I just feel the need to write tonight.

On Thursday afternoon I heard the shocking news of tragic cycling accident that killed a new congregant from our synagogue Dr Henri Sueke a 36yr old father of 4. You can read more about the tragic event on this link. This man a pediatric ophthalmologist, a committed husband and father and deeply religious was one of the good guys; taken so young.

I have just come home from a lecture which was dedicated in his honour, and I wanted to say what an inspiration his wife has been to me and the community in general. In her darkest hour on Thursday night after only hearing of the tragic news a few hours earlier she asked her family to bring her to the synagogue so that she can hear words of Torah to comfort her sorrow. I happened to be there learning with my rabbi and so she joined us in our learning. Tonight at the lecture in her late husbands honour she was there connecting to the people offering her comfort and to the one on high and doing all she can to honour her husband memory.

When someone is good to the core it shines through no matter the circumstances. While I don’t know Dani personally I know her. What I mean is I can sense an incredibly strong, courageous women who has an unbreakable spirit.

May her and her family be comforted amongst the mourners of Zion.

Who Needs Sleep with a Python

Last week we celebrated the jewish festival of Shavuot where the custom is to learn ancient jewish text through the night (tikkun leil). For the last many years I usually flake out around 2.am and feel to soft to push harder out of fear of the grump I am likely to be around the family the next day.

This year was different I was on fire, my concentration was razor sharp and I felt light and engaged throughout the long night and due to the winter in the southern hemisphere we could only begin the morning service around sunrise 6:15am. In short (actually it was quite long) it was a great night.

Over the last week I have also rekindled my interest in learning a programming language. I have had many failed starts with C# but have a fairly decent beginners knowledge in R. I am not sure exactly where this interest has come from but I want to learn a more general purpose language that will be strong in the quant space but equally strong in web and other programming tasks. I have decided on Python an excellent open source language that all who use it say its syntax is the most intuitive of the languages and its power is awesome.

There is a reason why I juxtapose this latest interest with my “tikkun leil” evening over Shavuot. The human mind is so incredibly powerful that it is able to overcome (push aside) many physical necessities, at least for a period of time. I have become so engrossed with my Python learning curve that I have hardly slept the last week or so. I am so enthused and keen to learn, that sleep is not something that is coming into the equation too often.

So what is my point? It is really simple, when you are focused and inspired many needs (often superfluous needs) that may seem insatiable when your mind has spare capacity tend to not get the energy to have the same negative influence over your life. Of course there is the risk of becoming too one sided and losing your equilibrium, but the point I am making is that having an interest, a passion, a goal is so important in life as it serves to keep the minds “spare capacity” occupied and less likely to get up to mischief.

 

Conditional Probabilities

I have mentioned many times over the years that my view on the markets is that they are essentially random. We cannot tell what will happen tomorrow or the next few days with any degree of certainty. However for those interested in something a little more scientific with a probability more certain than the toss of a coin; you need to think in terms of conditional probabilities.

Look for circumstances whereby certain conditions are present and make sure the data sample is representative and large enough to cater for a very wide range of circumstances. In the chart below John Hussman has put together some research that resonates with where I am holding in my market world view.

wmc150518a

 

The Rise After the Fall

Today I read an absolutely brilliant article about Frank Lowy and his greatness.

I want to relook at my post yesterday which cast Frank’s fall from grace in a negative light, and give it a more positive spin. The article I read today which resonated strongly with me spoke endearingly how once again Frank picked himself up and carried on with his never say die attitude.

franklowyfall

Most 80yr olds who take a fall like this, assuming they survive, usually spend the next few months in hospital. Well Frank gathered himself and within a few minutes was back up on the stage presenting the trophy. The following day he was nursing a bruised shoulder but otherwise in good shape. Now that is either very lucky or exceptionally tough. I will say it is a combination of both!

The takeaway for me from these two posts is to be careful not to fall into the trap of looking for major pivotal moments that are under heavy archetypal influences. The temptation is to see it as a fall from grace, as its theme fits so well within the context of archetypal moments. Then it can be followed like today’s positive post as another step in the Hero Archetype whose never say die attitude keeps being invoked in major archetypal type themes like falling from grace on the world stage only to pick oneself up.

We can draw the very same parallels when analyzing the markets. For instance in today’s context with markets at all time highs. The market commentators/researchers who have a bearish bias are looking for any archetypal sign to pin the TOP to, but just like I was quick to make the call about Lowy yesterday, today I am seeing his fall in positive way and far from calling it the end it may be the beginning of another reinforcing story of triumph which could be the same in the market context.

In order for one to draw conclusive inferences from archetypal type events, one needs to see clusters of complexes reinforcing the message of the influence of the prevailing archetype. Just like markets at different time intervals display sometimes contradicting messages so to with archetypes. On a 10 minute bar chart the market could be bearish whereas on a daily chart it could be extremely bullish. So when making calls on archetypes one has to also determine which archetypal force field is dominant at a particular time. For example a person may live their life like Frank under the influence of the hero archetype, however there may be shorter moments or periods where the innocent archetype is more dominant. The question one can then determine when taking a more macro view of the persons life is what archetype best defines this persons character through their life.

 

Fall from Grace

At yesterday’s Australian Soccer League grand final billionaire Frank Lowy was the dignitary chosen to hand over the winners trophy.

Things didn’t go exactly according to plan click on the link to see Franks fall.

The man is 84 so firstly thank God he is ok but there was something so comically funny about his fall. Frank is so highly regarded where ever he goes and is someone who has been a pillar of the Australian Jewish community  and the community at large. As a holocaust survivor he has beaten all the odds and some.

The point I wish to pick up on is how the psyche strives for balance. I don’t know this for sure but as an observer this is a man with an enormous EGO. How embarrassing that this fall was captured on TV and has been cast all over the world on TV news broadcasts.

Life is such a great leveller. On a more pessimistic doomsday type level could this be an archetypal type message that we have seen the end of his GREATNESS?

Community Work

Yesterday my 12 yr old son did 3hrs of community service by working at a market for a local charity.

This was not done from the goodness of his heart at least not yet, as it is compulsory for year 7’s at his school. What a wonderful idea I believe. We know from ancient teachings that by doing certain activities even against our will we often come to appreciate the activity and go on to do it with our own freewill later on.

I could visibly see my son enjoying the accolades from people in the community thanking him for his efforts.

It also got me thinking about some of our friends and acquaintances who always seem to be giving to the community at the expense of their own personal and family time.

My wife and I are community people and do our fair share to help. However I am far from selfless. I tend to pull back when I sense the service has encroached too far. I am mindful of keeping a balance. Does this mean I am placing to much SELF into the equation?

I think the answer is partly yes, but I have noticed that there can also be a lot of EGO in being the selfless community man/women. The constant patting on the back from the community can be just as big a drug as running to the pub every night.

Bottom line: balance is the name of the game. Having said that, I tip my hat to all those community minded people without you we would never have a functioning society.