Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Gold: A Bet on Dramatic Irony
Greece is about to default on 150 billions euros of debt. Will they or won't they? What is going to happen? Can the European Union avert this disaster?
This is the modern way of looking at the unfolding Greek Tragedy. It is built on the modern predilection for "Suspense." Suspense leads us to believe that a series of twists and turns will unfold, built on choices made by the central character. Flawed characters will make flawed choices, strong character make strong choices. This gives power to the illusion that Humans are in control.
It betrays a fundamental misunderstanding of Tragedy.
According to the principles of Tragedy: Greece is currently in Default. The whole audience knows Greece is in default. The unfolding drama that ensues is a matter of watching the actors (The Greeks debtors and the world banking system that lent them the money) struggle mightily against the inevitable conclusion: Disaster, Ruin, Death
This is the principle of Dramatic Irony. The audience understands the situation in the way the actors can not. It reflects the idea that Humans are not in control. There is a Divine Order. All we can do is hope not to upset it. Our hopes will be in vain. Because man is Vain.
Man's vanity, Hubris leads him into constant struggle to assert his will over the human condition. He does not realize that the human condition is struggle: Polemos.
Modern man has turned even the word into a virtue. We call it Passion: a quality to be admired and emulated. The word means struggle: a condition to be suffered - at best, with dignity.
So what does this have to do with gold?
Well, gold is for those who see the world in terms of Greek Tragedy, rather than Hollywood drivel. Gold is for those who see Greek Drama, the European Drama, and the unfolding US drama in terms of Dramatic Irony rather than Suspense.
These are Dramas in which the conclusions are known. They can not be averted. They have been written into the script in accord with the laws of human nature. All we can do is prepare for the inevitable. And hope to derive a measure of catharsis.
I will say - from a purely modern perspective - that Catharsis is a whole lot easier with a little gold in vault.