Saturday, April 17, 2010

On the Fence

June '09 Beirut, Lebanon. Fence covered in political posters of Prime Minister Saad Hariri.

I am still on the fence about killing the blog.

My thoughts as I wander through the world often drift to [bxA] globalization, the information age and being overwhelmed. Celebrities are checking into rehab for anxiety. Prescription drugs are the new pot.

This is what happens when people think too much.

We’re overwhelmed and too busy to notice. There’s too much to do. Too much information. We’ve gone overboard, and I don’t mean in the cool-fun Goldie Hawn / Kurt Russell kinda way.

When I started at the bank in Houston almost ten years ago, one of my favorite bosses told me about when he started as an analyst 10+ years earlier. Before the internet analysts had to walk to the library and get archived newspapers on microfiche to research historical stock prices of the companies they covered.

July '09 Houston, Texas USA - Skyline shot from a Ferris wheel car at the downtown aquarium.

In 2000, we were punching the 3-letter stock ticker into our keyboard and pulling up Everything There Is to Know about our companies available on various financial news websites. Instantaneous results.

Then there was my grandmother who, when she was alive, went to three different family owned stores to get her weekly groceries: bread from the bakery, meat from the butcher, that kind of thing. She didn’t have a dishwasher. My sister and I were exasperated by these inefficiencies.

Karma yoga is when you do a task slowly in selfless service with full devotion. Even if you’re not expressly on a path to enlightenment, it gives your mind a chance to chill out.

Photo: October ’09 – Sivananda Kutir Ashram, India. Keren from Tel Aviv doing daily karma yoga outside my dorm. I would love to visit her in Israel but then I couldn’t go back to Lebanon with an Israeli stamp in my passport.

There was a time in my life when these profound duties were called “chores” and I didn’t have the money to outsource them to Molly Maid or fly to foreign countries where swamis would assign them to me.

Those ten minutes it took my former boss to walk back from the library to the office circa 1980s were minutes his mind got to process and reflect on the historical stock price – the zig zag line not unlike a heartbeat on a monitor, showing spikes during booms, dips during busts – and in the case of the bank’s energy portfolio, the ever perplexing story of the world’s dependence on fossil fuels.

Photo: Militant groups in the Niger Delta target multinational oil firms (2008).

The more information we have, the more there is to think about and the less time there is to think about it.

April ’10 – Ko Phi Phi, Thailand.

Unless we stop for a while.


Anonymous said...

Ha, I often think about MD's comments about how life used to be - almost every time I go by the Houston downtown library. And you're right, there is way too much information to properly process these days. But good information in a fun format is rare. So keep up the blog!


Anonymous said...

Keep the blog! I hang on every word you write. You are the best.


Nad said...

You know why I loooove this blog? Because I read something you wrote, and I say to myself: it's exactly the way I feel, but I wasn't able to express it in words.

Anonymous said...

By golly gosh you are not a 'fence sitter' Ali Flint; you are a beacon, a beacon that throws light upon new frontiers, such delightful frontiers for us to enjoy through your artful photography, your poetic prose, your beautiful descriptives; you not only have the "gift of the gab", you also are fortunate to possess an 'eye' that captures beauty in its most naked, basic & innocent WILL maintain your blog dearest Ali, if not for us out here in the follower's 'etherland', then for yourself, for what you started you must continue with until you know you have experienced all and can absorb no more.....good luck with that, only peace is wished for you,
Rosalyn x's

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to add that most of us want you to keep the blog for our own selfish reasons; a way to hear from you and travel the world with you! But, I trully think that you have a real talent for writing and you should give some thought to making it a career.I put you ina class with Hemmingway, F.Scott and Zelda and your other favorite authors.Give it a try and see what happens. Buz

Anonymous said...

You cant quit now! Look how far we have gone together.You just dont end it here!Sorry was having a panick attack