No man is an island, Entire of itself. Each is a piece of the continent, A part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less. As well as if a promontory were. As well as if a manor of thine own Or of thine friend’s were. Each man’s death diminishes me, For I am involved in mankind. Therefore, send not to know For whom the bell tolls, It tolls for thee.
Turning and turning in the widening gyre The falcon cannot hear the falconer; Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere The ceremony of innocence is drowned; The best lack all conviction, while the worst Are full of passionate intensity.
Surely some revelation is at hand; Surely the Second Coming is at hand. The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert A shape with lion body and the head of a man, A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun, Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds. The darkness drops again; but now I know That twenty centuries of stony sleep Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle, And what rough beast, its hour come round at last, Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
The thoughtful student, in scanning the religious history of the race, has one fact continually forced upon his notice, viz., that there is an invariable tendency to deify whomsoever shows himself superior to the weakness of our common humanity. Look where we will, we find the saint-like man exalted into a divine personage and worshipped for a god. Though perhaps misunderstood, reviled and even persecuted while living, the apotheosis is almost sure to come after death: and the victim of yesterday’s mob, raised to the state of an Intercessor in Heaven, is besought with prayer and tears, and placatory penances, to mediate with God for the pardon of human sin. This is a mean and vile trait of human nature, the proof of ignorance, selfishness, brutal cowardice, and a superstitious materialism. It shows the base instinct to put down and destroy whatever or whoever makes men feel their own imperfections; with the alternative of ignoring and denying these very imperfections by turning into gods men who have merely spiritualised their natures, so that it may be supposed that they were heavenly incarnations and not mortal like other men.
This process of euhemerisation, as it is called, or the making of men into gods and gods into men, sometimes, though more rarely, begins during the life of the hero, but usually after death. The true history of his life is gradually amplified and decorated with fanciful incidents, to fit it to the new character which has been posthumously given him. Omens and portents are now made to attend his earthly avaṭāra: his precocity is described as superhuman: as a babe or lisping child he silences the wisest logicians by his divine knowledge: miracles he produces as other boys do soap-bubbles: the terrible energies of nature are his playthings: the gods, angels, and demons are his habitual attendants: the sun, moon, and all the starry host wheel around his cradle in joyful measures, and the earth thrills with joy at having borne such a prodigy: and at his last hour of mortal life the whole universe shakes with conflicting emotions.
- The Life of Buddha and Its Lessons, by H.S. Olcott. 1912. Interesting passage. From the sublime to the mundane: Kanye West, along with many other popular rappers, thinks this song is about him.
Fantastic. Focus on the abject is reminiscent of Diane Arbus, without the exploitativeness that I find distasteful with Arbus. Love how Sherman by acting as subject and viewer, subverts male gaze, or perhaps better, acknowledges the reflexivity of the male gaze in a media saturated environment. The idea of exploring the construction of identity through a constellation of shared reference seems especially relevant in the age of social media.
“If you don’t believe you can do it you can’t. If you believe
you can do it, and that belief is founded on actual experience, on
truth, then you can. You cannot out-perform your self-image, unless
pushed beyond it by something out of your control. Progress and
overcoming can be driven by one or two acts: do the work, practice,
pay attention, improve performance to the degree that self-image
evolves, dragging performance with it, or take the headlong dive into
a situation you may not be equal to and hope to God you are more
capable than you believe.”—MFT (via brycedotvc)
Marina Abramovic doc on HBO was very good. (HBO2Go is great.) It gives some biographical context, covers the lead up to the show, and there is wonderful footage of the show itself. I blogged about the 2010 show here. The documentary also has great footage of her baller ass cribs including the Soho loft she sold for $3.2M.
Love this email newsletter Mergers & Inquisitions, about how to get into investment banking. I don’t have any interest in getting into investment banking, but I love the candid perspective. Read the below and ask yourself “How often do I fail at pattern recognition because the patterns are seemingly illogical or self-contradictory? Are your self-reflections prescriptive rather than descriptive? How will you reconcile that?”
How to Become a Hong Kong Movie Star
So, Greg, I get a lot of questions about how to break into investment banking, how to write your resume, and what the “magic bullet” is.
But I’ll be honest with you: sometimes I get really bored of writing about those topics.
So today I’m going to teach you how to become a movie star in Hong Kong instead - or at least how my plan to become a celebrity didn’t quite work out and how my 2 friends lost $2,800 in the process.
Once Upon a Time… I had just left Korea after living there for over a year, and I was visiting Hong Kong with some friends - they had a legitimate reason to be there (to see their family), while I was just tagging along and seeing if I could be an extra in the next Mission: Impossible movie.
We had been meeting and greeting and getting into some completely random stories (none of which are appropriate to share, sorry), when suddenly my friends got distracted by family business.
Their mother in New York sent them an email with a single line of instructions:
"Withdraw $2,800 USD in cash and give to relatives."
One small catch: the cash had to be in US dollars - not Hong Kong dollars - even though we were in Hong Kong and US dollars were 100% useless.
Mission: Impossible? If you’re Asian, this story probably seems familiar: getting tasked with doing favors for relatives you don’t like or have never met, simply because they’re family.
And you understand exactly why my friends’ parents wanted them to withdraw the $2,800 in US dollars, despite the currency being useless in Hong Kong: it was higher status.
Just like bulge bracket banks are “more prestigious” than middle-market or boutique banks, US dollars in Hong Kong were “higher status” than Hong Kong dollars, which in turn were “higher status” than the RMB used in mainland China.
That might have made sense in 1980 or so, but today it’s completely nonsensical considering the rise of China.
But it didn’t matter: my friends had a mission and they had to accomplish it, or face the combined wrath of all their family members.
Laughing on the Sidelines While my friends ran off to bank after bank, claiming that they needed $2,800 in US dollars and convincing the tellers that they weren’t money laundering for terrorists, I sat there laughing.
I pried a little more and found out that my friends’ family in NY and their family in Hong Kong had a tradition of sending each other equal amounts of money every year, but never actually buying real presents.
…which is sort of like entering “=5 - 5” in Excel rather than just leaving the cell blank or entering 0.
OK, But How Does This Relate to Investment Banking - or Movie Stars? This entire incident sunk my chances of becoming an extra in Mission: Impossible because I was tagging along as my friends withdrew thousands of dollars from banks during the day.
So if you want to do acting, don’t get started on a trip where your friends get sidetracked by a scavenger hunt.
But the relationship to banking is simpler: sometimes, stuff just doesn’t make any sense.
Why do bankers work so much? Couldn’t they just hire more staff?
Why do you need 500 revisions of one pitch book? Don’t you get diminishing returns after revision #21?
Why did they ask you what animal is closest to your personality in an interview? Does that have anything to do with your knowledge of valuation?
Why do bankers talk about cocaine so much without actually doing it?
Embrace the Illogical The answer to all of the above: “No one knows - it doesn’t make any sense.”
Rather than fighting the illogical culture, you need to embrace it if you want to get in and get ahead.