I ignored the markets
for the most of today, although I did add a bit to my bullion position 'on the dip'
as they say, and took a little off the more
volatile portion of my short equity
hedge. Today was a good day to avoid the noise and reconnect with the broad perspective.
I spent part of the day rereading Dean Church's biography of Sir Francis Bacon from
my library. I first came across Church in references and
descriptions of him from his contemporaries. I have of
course read his Oxford
Movement. He is an interesting man, and was a
notable Dean of St. Paul's among
This introduction to his biography
of Bacon excerpted below struck home as somewhat emblematic of many of the
figures of our own age, if not the generation itself, although I am quite certain that most of the public characters it might describe were not nearly so gifted as Bacon, being largely creatures of privilege, so they might
not have sold themselves so cheaply or tragically as the great man did. They merely
serve the system that raised
Tragedy must entail the fall either from
greatness, or from the failure to realize the greatness of potential. On the whole, I think Messrs. Geithner and Bernanke are fully valued, as they say, and then some. As for Obama, there is still some
question, but it does not
easily maintain a foothold. As for the rest, tools and cravens, soon and well forgotten as empty souls, dried leaves on cobblestones.
We are a people in need
of moral giants but served,
alas, by what we have deserved.
"All his life
long his first and never-sleeping
passion was the romantic
and splendid ambition after
knowledge, for the conquest
of nature and for the service of man; gathering up
in himself the spirit and longings
and efforts of all discoverers and inventors of the arts, as they
are symbolised in the mythical
He rose to the highest place and honour; and yet that place and honour were but the fringe and adornment of all that made him great. It is difficult to imagine a grander and more magnificent career; and his name ranks among
the few chosen examples
of human achievement.
And yet it was not only an unhappy life; it was a poor life. We expect that
such an overwhelming weight of glory should be borne up by a character corresponding
to it in strength and nobleness. But that is not what we
No one ever had a greater idea of what he was
made for, or was fired with a greater
desire to devote himself to it. He was all this. And yet being all this, seeing deep into man's worth, his capacities,
his greatness, his weakness, his sins, he
was not true to what he knew.
He cringed to such a man
as Buckingham. He sold himself
to the corrupt and ignominious
Government of James I. He was
willing to be employed to hunt to death a friend like Essex, guilty, deeply guilty, to the State,
but to Bacon the most loving
and generous of benefactors.
With his eyes open he gave himself up without resistance to a system unworthy
of him; he would not see what was evil
in it, and chose to call its
evil good; and he was its first and most signal victim."
R. W. (Dean) Church, Francis Bacon