Sunday, April 10, 2011

Ego Trip

A man who has been accustomed to rely on it [the value of the currency] cannot help feeling its degradation as his own. He has identified himself with it for too long and his confidence in it has been like his confidence in himself. Not only is everything visibly shaken during an inflation, nothing remaining certain or unchanged even for an hour, but also each man, as a person, becomes less.

The natural tendency afterwards is to find something which is worth even less than oneself...It is not enough to take over an old contempt and to maintain it at the same level. What is wanted is a dynamic process of humiliation. Something must be treated in such a way that it becomes worth less and less, as the unit of money did during the inflation. And this process must be continued until its object is reduced to a state of utter worthlessness. Then one can throw it away like paper, or repulp it.

-Elias Canetti, Crowds and Power


Blogger billmasi said...

Welcome back!

Long time no see...

4/11/2011 10:50 AM  
Blogger Thomas Daulton said...

Also welcome back!

Your current quote cannily explains many things about the current budget sparring going on in Washington.

The bureaucrats & politicians (is there a difference anymore?) feel like they have no real economic/fiscal/monetary choices open to them -- real reform is unthinkable -- so the debate over budgetary minutiae and political scapegoats becomes intense.

4/11/2011 1:20 PM  
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Anonymous KAIMU said...


EGO TRIP indeed. Anyone here ever read the George Orwell short story entitled SHOOTING AN ELEPHANT? To me it is the best parable that explains EMPIRE. Its almost as if EMPIRE boils down to a collective ego. Of course Orwell wrote about the BRITISH EMPIRE, but there is an American one now.

When you think about all the peer group propaganda that we baby-boomers were subjected to from young children in public schools. The DEMOCRATIC YOUTH movement of sorts. Look at your wallet and those green pieces of paper and think how much ego and "human condition" makes up the buck ... If you hand any American a blank check they will fill it up with as many 9s as they can possibly fit in the $$ amount space. EMPIRE is as much about IMAGE as it is about EMPIRE.

The first paragraph of EGO TRIP sums up the US national monetary addiction quite well. As any addict knows you deny, deny, deny until you die!

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