Aug 4, 2011

The Shit Hits The Fan Fund 2.011 (The Quest for Low Beta)

I've been waiting for this mini crash to start a new fund...:)
My goal, as always, is to outperform the S & P 500

Trent Rock presents The Shit Hits The Fan Fund 2.011 (The Quest for Low Beta)

Jul 18, 2011

Inflation Falls: Is the Economy Saved or Doomed?

Inflation in June fell for the first time in a more than a year. The Consumer Price Index (CPI), which is the government's most widely watched gauge of what the things average Americans buy cost, fell 0.2% last month. The drop was mostly driven by a fall in gas prices, which were down nearly 7% alone in June. The question is whether this is a good sign for the recovery, or another sign that we are headed for a double dip. Are we at the end of the soft patch, or the beginning of a worse patch?

Inflation Falls: Is the Economy Saved or Doomed?

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) decreased
 0.2 percent in June on a seasonally adjusted basis, the U.S. Bureau
 of Labor Statistics reported today. Over the last 12 months, the all
 items index increased 3.6 percent before seasonal adjustment.

In contrast, the index for all items less food and
increased 0.3 percent for the second consecutive month.

Consumer Price Index - June 2011 

Jun 30, 2011

Peppered Dr. Pepper Beef Jerky Recipe (Economists Can't Cook, Series 2, Vol IV)

Ode to Nancy Reagan II
I like to use TOP ROUND roast. I "temper" (partially freeze) the roast and slice it by hand. With the grain, against the grain, thick, thin, whatever you prefer.......

For every one lb. of beef:
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. cayenne pepper powder (optional)
1-2 tsp. salt
1 capful liquid smoke
1/2 cup Dr. Pepper
Crushed red pepper (optional)

Put sliced beef and mixture in a large bowl. Add enough water to cover the beef. I usually marinate my jerky meat overnight. I think the Dr. Pepper is kind of acidic and will cook the meat if left too long. So I only marinate the Dr. Pepper jerky about 4-5 hrs. (I am going to marinate my next batch overnight and see what happens. Hopefully it is not some beef mush!!!)

When you have the beef strips on the rack you can sprinkle crushed red pepper on one side (or both) if you want that extra umph!!

Food and Cooking @

Apr 28, 2011

The Perfect High

The Perfect High

There once was a boy named Gimme-Some-Roy... He was nothin' like me or you,
'cause laying back and getting high was all he cared to do.

As a kid, he sat in the cellar...sniffing airplane glue. And then he smoked banana peels, when that was the thing to do. He tried aspirin in Coca-Cola, he breathed helium on the sly, and his life became an endless search to find the perfect high.

But grass just made him wanna lay back and eat chocolate-chip pizza all night,
and the great things he wrote when he was stoned looked like shit in the morning light.
Speed made him wanna rap all day, reds laid him too far back, Cocaine-Rose was sweet to his nose, but the price nearly broke his back.

He tried PCP, he tried THC, but they never quite did the trick. Poppers nearly blew his heart, mushrooms made him sick. Acid made him see the light, but he couldn't remember it long. Hash was a little too weak, and smack was a lot too strong. Quaaludes made him stumble, booze just made him cry, Then he heard of a cat named Baba Fats who knew of the perfect high.

Now, Baba Fats was a hermit cat...lived high up in Nepal, High on a craggy mountain top, up a sheer and icy wall. "Well, hell!" says Roy, "I'm a healthy boy, and I'll crawl or climb or fly,
Till I find that guru who'll give me the clue as to what's the perfect high."

So out and off goes Gimme-Some-Roy, to the land that knows no time, Up a trail no man could conquer, to a cliff no man could climb. For fourteen years he climbed that cliff...back down again he'd slide . . .
He'd sit and cry, then climb some more, pursuing the perfect high.

Grinding his teeth, coughing blood, aching and shaking and weak, Starving and sore, bleeding and tore, he reaches the mountain peak. And his eyes blink red like a snow-blind wolf, and he snarls the snarl of a rat,
As there in repose, and wearing no clothes, sits the god-like Baba Fats.

"What's happenin', Fats?" says Roy with joy, "I've come to state my biz . . .
I hear you're hip to the perfect trip... Please tell me what it is. "For you can see," says Roy to he, "I'm about to die, So for my last ride, tell me, how can I achieve the perfect high?"

"Well, dog my cats!" says Baba Fats. "Another burned out soul, Who's lookin' for an alchemist to turn his trip to gold. It isn't in a dealer's stash, or on a druggist's shelf... Son, if you would find the perfect high, find it in yourself."

"Why, you jive mother-fucker!" says Roy, "I climbed through rain and sleet,
I froze three fingers off my hands, and four toes off my feet! I braved the lair of the polar bear, I've tasted the maggot's kiss. Now, you tell me the high is in myself? What kinda shit is this?

My ears, before they froze off," says Roy, "had heard all kindsa crap; But I didn't climb for fourteen years to hear your sophomore rap. And I didn't climb up here to hear that the high is on the natch, So you tell me where the real stuff is, or I'll kill your guru ass!"

"Okay...okay," says Baba Fats, "You're forcin' it outta me... There is a land beyond the sun that's known as Zabolee. A wretched land of stone and sand, where snakes and buzzards scream, And in this devil's garden blooms the mystic Tzutzu tree.

Now, once every ten years it blooms one flower, as white as the Key West sky,
And he who eats of the Tzutzu flower shall know the perfect high. For the rush comes on like a tidal wave...hits like the blazin' sun. And the high? It lasts forever, and the down don't never come.

But, Zabolee Land is ruled by a giant, who stands twelve cubits high, And with eyes of red in his hundred heads, he awaits the passer-by. And you must slay the red-eyed giant, and swim the river of slime, Where the mucous beasts await to feast on those who journey by. And if you slay the giant and beasts, and swim the slimy sea, There's a blood-drinking witch who sharpens her teeth as she guards the Tzutzu tree."

"Well, to hell with your witches and giants," says Roy, "To hell with the beasts of the sea--
Why, as long as the Tzutzu flower still blooms, hope still blooms for me."
And with tears of joy in his sun-blind eyes, he slips the guru a five, And crawls back down the mountainside, pursuing the perfect high.

"Well, that is that," says Baba Fats, sitting back down on his stone, Facing another thousand years of talking to God, alone. "Yes, Lord, it's always the same...old men or bright-eyed youth... It's always easier to sell 'em some shit than it is to tell them the truth."

Mar 15, 2011

Stop The Presses!! (The Myth Of The Exploding US Money Supply)

So yes, the US government is running a massive $1.5T deficit, however, by any metric of money supply we can see that this is barely offsetting the continued de-leveraging that is occurring across the US economy. We are certain to see higher rates of inflation in 2011 (especially if oil prices surge higher), however, it is not an accurate portrayal of reality to conclude that the USA is “printing money” uncontrollably and flooding the world with dollars that will lead to hyperinflation. That is simply not the case and the data speaks for itself. At best, we are barely printing enough to offset the destruction of de-leveraging….

The Myth Of The Exploding US Money Supply

Mar 5, 2011

Gold Lords (He Who Has The Gun Gives The Orders)

Convert all the drug organizations to gold mining firms. Sounds good to me :)

Guerrillas and their paramilitary adversaries have long been involved in mining, often using it and related businesses like cattle ranching to launder money and to extract extortion payments. But military intelligence officials and residents here say that new factors, like the success of American-financed coca eradication projects and the price of gold, have pushed rivals in Colombia’s long drug war to focus elsewhere.

In Colombia, New Gold Rush Fuels Old Conflict

Gold Lords

Feb 23, 2011

Dart-throwing Chimpanzees (On Economic Forecasting)

There was one significant factor in greater prediction success, however, and that was cognitive style: “foxes” who know a little about many things do better than “hedgehogs” who know a lot about one area of expertise. Low scorers, Tetlock wrote, were “thinkers who ‘know one big thing,’ aggressively extend the explanatory reach of that one big thing into new domains, display bristly impatience with those who ‘do not get it,’ and express considerable confidence that they are already pretty proficient forecasters.” High scorers in the study were “thinkers who know many small things (tricks of their trade), are skeptical of grand schemes, see explanation and prediction not as deductive exercises but rather as exercises in flexible ‘ad hocery’ that require stitching together diverse sources of information, and are rather diffident about their own forecasting prowess.”
Financial Flimflam: Why Economic Experts' Predictions Fail

“If the professional economists can’t predict economies and professional forecasters can’t predict markets, then what chance does the amateur investor have? You know the answer already, which brings me to my own ‘cocktail party’ theory of market forecasting, developed over the years of standing in the middle of living rooms, near punch bowls, listing to what the nearest ten people said about stocks.

In the first stage of an upward market – one that has been down awhile and that nobody expects to rise again – people aren’t talking about stocks. In fact, if they lumber up to ask me what I do for a living, and I answer, ‘I manage an equity mutual fund,’ they nod politely and wander away. If they don’t wander away, then they quickly change the subject to the Celtics game, the upcoming elections, or the weather. Soon they are talking to a nearby dentist about plaque. When ten people would rather talk to a dentist about plaque than to the manager of an equity mutual fund about stocks, it’s likely the market is about to turn up.

In stage two, after I’ve confessed what I do for a living, the new acquaintances linger a bit longer – perhaps long enough to tell me how risky the stock market is – before they move over to talk to the dentist. The cocktail party talk is still more about plaque than about stocks. The market is up 15 percent from stage one, but few are paying attention.

In stage three, with the market up 30 percent from stage one, a crowd of interested parties ignores the dentist and circles around me all evening. A succession of enthusiastic individuals takes me aside to ask what stocks they should buy. Even the dentist is asking me what stocks he should buy. Everybody at the party has put money into one issue or another, and they’re all discussing what’s happened.

In stage four, once again they’re crowded around me – but this time it’s to tell me what stocks I should buy. Even the dentist has three or four tips, and in the next few days I look up his recommendations in the newspaper and they’ve all gone up. When the neighbors tell me what to buy, and then I wish I had taken their advice, it’s a sure sign that the market has reached a top and is due for a tumble.”

Peter Lynch, One Up On Wall Street

Even if they did, they would shy away from forecasting. The main advantage that academic economists’ have over professional forecasters may be their greater awareness of established relationships between factors. What is hardest to forecast, though, are turning points – when the old relationships break down. While there may be some factors that signal turning points – a run-up in short-term leverage and asset prices, for example, often presages a bust – they are not infallible predictors of trouble to come.
Why Did Economists Not Spot the Crisis?

The actual year-end 10-year yield was 31% higher than the average of the economists' estimates made less than three months earlier.
An Economic Forecasting Fiasco: What Pro Economists Predicted For QE2 And Treasury Yields

The truth is that our knowledge of the complex system called the economy is woefully inadequate and may always remain that way. We ask too much of economics. Even our best attempts to measure the job impact of the stimulus spending make this clear. In November of 2010, the CBO estimated that the stimulus had created between 1.4 and 3.6 million jobs. Not a very precise estimate.
Congressional Testimony on the Stimulus 

The discussion largely centers around the weak version which says that, while market prices may not always be a great guide to real economic forces, their movements are not systematically predictable. At every moment, prices reflect all the forecasts of all the market participants who, between them, have access to all potential information and ways of utilizing it. A price moves only when new information arises. But to be truly new, this information has to be unpredictable—otherwise it is simply an inference from information that already exists. Because the information is unpredictable, so is its effect on prices. The randomness of price movements in turn implies that no one can outperform the market in betting on where they will go.

I have no problem with this. The fallacy arises when this argument is invoked to deny the possibility that economists can identify bubbles in real time. If you’re so smart you can spot a bubble, why aren’t you rich? If people could spot bubbles with any predictability, then the EMH would be wrong—but we know it’s right.
Why the Efficient Market Hypothesis (Weak Version) Says Nothing about the Ability to Identify Bubbles 

One way to interpret this is that the economics profession was not fully accounting for the economy’s human element, an element that can’t be reduced to mathematical analysis.

The relatively few professional economists who warned of the current crisis were people, it seems, who not only read the scholarly economics literature, but also brought into play more personal judgment: intuitive comparisons with past historical episodes; conclusions about speculative trading, price bubbles, and the stability of confidence; evaluations of the moral purposes of economic actors; and impressions that complacency had set in, lulling watchdogs to sleep.
 A People’s Economics 

The This American Life  program reported that massive and sophisticated computer modelling of economic forecasts results in not particularly high levels of accuracy. There is too much chaos in the world – chaotic randomness, including national and global political events – for modelling to be that effective in increasing forecasting accuracy.

Also, the program reported that the forecasters find it very difficult to admit that their forecasts are wrong – their egos get in the way when they need to revise their forecasts.
Witches, ghouls and economic forecasting 

Economic forecasting delusions

Forecasters collectively have tended to make the largest
errors during periods that included either turning points
in the business cycle or significant shifts in the trend rate
of growth of labor productivity. Large changes in oil
prices—apart from their role in precipitating business
cycles—also cause errors in forecasts of inflation.

CBO’s Economic Forecasting Record: 2010 Update 

The result? More often than not, the dart board beats the traditional, technical analysis methods of trading stocks! One group of dart-board investors beat the S&P 500 without fail for 12 consecutive years, and realized an impressive 23.4 return on their dart board stock selections
Astrology and the Stock Market: “Astro Investing” 

Feb 1, 2011

And sailors will soon again be able to afford a stripper in every port! (U.S. Inflation Goals 1933 Style)

1942 OWI Poster

The purpose should also be to keep wages at a point stabilized with today's cost of living. Both must be regulated at the same time; and neither one of them can or should be regulated without the other.

At the same time that farm prices are stabilized, I will stabilize wages.

That is plain justice -- and plain common sense.

Fireside Chat 22: On Inflation and Food Prices (September 7, 1942)
Franklin Delano Roosevelt

Contrast with:

A 10-minute short film produced by the MGM studio to be played in movie theaters across the country. Pete Smith explains (with graphs!) how FDR’s inflationary policies are going to help the economy.

“And sailors will soon again be able to afford a stripper in every port! . . . What inflation has done before it will do again! . . . What a man! And what a leader! Yowzer! Happy days are here again!”

Misunderstanding Inflation through the Years

Inflation in 1933 (explained by MGM Studio)

Jan 25, 2011

George Orwell "Politics and the English Language" 1946

Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.
Never use a long word where a short one will do.
If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.
Never use the passive where you can use the active.
Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.
Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.

George Orwell

Politics and the English Language

Most people who bother with the matter at all would admit that the English language is in a bad way, but it is generally assumed that we cannot by conscious action do anything about it. Our civilization is decadent and our language — so the argument runs — must inevitably share in the general collapse. It follows that any struggle against the abuse of language is a sentimental archaism, like preferring candles to electric light or hansom cabs to aeroplanes. Underneath this lies the half-conscious belief that language is a natural growth and not an instrument which we shape for our own purposes.
Now, it is clear that the decline of a language must ultimately have political and economic causes: it is not due simply to the bad influence of this or that individual writer. But an effect can become a cause, reinforcing the original cause and producing the same effect in an intensified form, and so on indefinitely. A man may take to drink because he feels himself to be a failure, and then fail all the more completely because he drinks. It is rather the same thing that is happening to the English language. It becomes ugly and inaccurate because our thoughts are foolish, but the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts. The point is that the process is reversible. Modern English, especially written English, is full of bad habits which spread by imitation and which can be avoided if one is willing to take the necessary trouble. If one gets rid of these habits one can think more clearly, and to think clearly is a necessary first step toward political regeneration: so that the fight against bad English is not frivolous and is not the exclusive concern of professional writers. I will come back to this presently, and I hope that by that time the meaning of what I have said here will have become clearer. Meanwhile, here are five specimens of the English language as it is now habitually written.
These five passages have not been picked out because they are especially bad — I could have quoted far worse if I had chosen — but because they illustrate various of the mental vices from which we now suffer. They are a little below the average, but are fairly representative examples. I number them so that I can refer back to them when necessary:
1. I am not, indeed, sure whether it is not true to say that the Milton who once seemed not unlike a seventeenth-century Shelley had not become, out of an experience ever more bitter in each year, more alien [sic] to the founder of that Jesuit sect which nothing could induce him to tolerate.
Professor Harold Laski (Essay in Freedom of Expression)
2. Above all, we cannot play ducks and drakes with a native battery of idioms which prescribes egregious collocations of vocables as the Basic put up with for tolerate, or put at a loss for bewilder.
Professor Lancelot Hogben (Interglossia)
3. On the one side we have the free personality: by definition it is not neurotic, for it has neither conflict nor dream. Its desires, such as they are, are transparent, for they are just what institutional approval keeps in the forefront of consciousness; another institutional pattern would alter their number and intensity; there is little in them that is natural, irreducible, or culturally dangerous. But on the other side, the social bond itself is nothing but the mutual reflection of these self-secure integrities. Recall the definition of love. Is not this the very picture of a small academic? Where is there a place in this hall of mirrors for either personality or fraternity?
Essay on psychology in Politics (New York)
4. All the ‘best people’ from the gentlemen's clubs, and all the frantic fascist captains, united in common hatred of Socialism and bestial horror at the rising tide of the mass revolutionary movement, have turned to acts of provocation, to foul incendiarism, to medieval legends of poisoned wells, to legalize their own destruction of proletarian organizations, and rouse the agitated petty-bourgeoise to chauvinistic fervor on behalf of the fight against the revolutionary way out of the crisis.
Communist pamphlet
5. If a new spirit is to be infused into this old country, there is one thorny and contentious reform which must be tackled, and that is the humanization and galvanization of the B.B.C. Timidity here will bespeak canker and atrophy of the soul. The heart of Britain may be sound and of strong beat, for instance, but the British lion's roar at present is like that of Bottom in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream — as gentle as any sucking dove. A virile new Britain cannot continue indefinitely to be traduced in the eyes or rather ears, of the world by the effete languors of Langham Place, brazenly masquerading as ‘standard English’. When the Voice of Britain is heard at nine o'clock, better far and infinitely less ludicrous to hear aitches honestly dropped than the present priggish, inflated, inhibited, school-ma'amish arch braying of blameless bashful mewing maidens!
Letter in Tribune
Each of these passages has faults of its own, but, quite apart from avoidable ugliness, two qualities are common to all of them. The first is staleness of imagery; the other is lack of precision. The writer either has a meaning and cannot express it, or he inadvertently says something else, or he is almost indifferent as to whether his words mean anything or not. This mixture of vagueness and sheer incompetence is the most marked characteristic of modern English prose, and especially of any kind of political writing. As soon as certain topics are raised, the concrete melts into the abstract and no one seems able to think of turns of speech that are not hackneyed: prose consists less and less of words chosen for the sake of their meaning, and more and more of phrases tacked together like the sections of a prefabricated hen-house. I list below, with notes and examples, various of the tricks by means of which the work of prose-construction is habitually dodged.
DYING METAPHORS. A newly invented metaphor assists thought by evoking a visual image, while on the other hand a metaphor which is technically ‘dead’ (e. g. iron resolution) has in effect reverted to being an ordinary word and can generally be used without loss of vividness. But in between these two classes there is a huge dump of worn-out metaphors which have lost all evocative power and are merely used because they save people the trouble of inventing phrases for themselves. Examples are: Ring the changes on, take up the cudgel for, toe the line, ride roughshod over, stand shoulder to shoulder with, play into the hands of, no axe to grind, grist to the mill, fishing in troubled waters, on the order of the day, Achilles’ heel, swan song, hotbed. Many of these are used without knowledge of their meaning (what is a ‘rift’, for instance?), and incompatible metaphors are frequently mixed, a sure sign that the writer is not interested in what he is saying. Some metaphors now current have been twisted out of their original meaning without those who use them even being aware of the fact. For example, toe the line is sometimes written as tow the line. Another example is the hammer and the anvil, now always used with the implication that the anvil gets the worst of it. In real life it is always the anvil that breaks the hammer, never the other way about: a writer who stopped to think what he was saying would avoid perverting the original phrase.

OPERATORS OR VERBAL FALSE LIMBS. These save the trouble of picking out appropriate verbs and nouns, and at the same time pad each sentence with extra syllables which give it an appearance of symmetry. Characteristic phrases are render inoperative, militate against, make contact with, be subjected to, give rise to, give grounds for, have the effect of, play a leading part (role) in, make itself felt, take effect, exhibit a tendency to, serve the purpose of, etc., etc. The keynote is the elimination of simple verbs. Instead of being a single word, such as break, stop, spoil, mend, kill, a verb becomes a phrase, made up of a noun or adjective tacked on to some general-purpose verb such as prove, serve, form, play, render. In addition, the passive voice is wherever possible used in preference to the active, and noun constructions are used instead of gerunds (by examination of instead of by examining). The range of verbs is further cut down by means of the -ize and de- formations, and the banal statements are given an appearance of profundity by means of the not un- formation. Simple conjunctions and prepositions are replaced by such phrases as with respect to, having regard to, the fact that, by dint of, in view of, in the interests of, on the hypothesis that; and the ends of sentences are saved by anticlimax by such resounding commonplaces as greatly to be desired, cannot be left out of account, a development to be expected in the near future, deserving of serious consideration, brought to a satisfactory conclusion, and so on and so forth.

PRETENTIOUS DICTION. Words like phenomenon, element, individual (as noun), objective, categorical, effective, virtual, basic, primary, promote, constitute, exhibit, exploit, utilize, eliminate, liquidate, are used to dress up a simple statement and give an air of scientific impartiality to biased judgements. Adjectives like epoch-making, epic, historic, unforgettable, triumphant, age-old, inevitable, inexorable, veritable, are used to dignify the sordid process of international politics, while writing that aims at glorifying war usually takes on an archaic colour, its characteristic words being: realm, throne, chariot, mailed fist, trident, sword, shield, buckler, banner, jackboot, clarion. Foreign words and expressions such as cul de sac, ancien regime, deus ex machina, mutatis mutandis, status quo, gleichschaltung, weltanschauung, are used to give an air of culture and elegance. Except for the useful abbreviations i. e., e. g. and etc., there is no real need for any of the hundreds of foreign phrases now current in the English language. Bad writers, and especially scientific, political, and sociological writers, are nearly always haunted by the notion that Latin or Greek words are grander than Saxon ones, and unnecessary words like expedite, ameliorate, predict, extraneous, deracinated, clandestine, subaqueous, and hundreds of others constantly gain ground from their Anglo-Saxon numbers(1). The jargon peculiar to Marxist writing (hyena, hangman, cannibal, petty bourgeois, these gentry, lackey, flunkey, mad dog, White Guard, etc.) consists largely of words translated from Russian, German, or French; but the normal way of coining a new word is to use Latin or Greek root with the appropriate affix and, where necessary, the size formation. It is often easier to make up words of this kind (deregionalize, impermissible, extramarital, non-fragmentary and so forth) than to think up the English words that will cover one's meaning. The result, in general, is an increase in slovenliness and vagueness.

MEANINGLESS WORDS. In certain kinds of writing, particularly in art criticism and literary criticism, it is normal to come across long passages which are almost completely lacking in meaning(2). Words like romantic, plastic, values, human, dead, sentimental, natural, vitality, as used in art criticism, are strictly meaningless, in the sense that they not only do not point to any discoverable object, but are hardly ever expected to do so by the reader. When one critic writes, ‘The outstanding feature of Mr. X's work is its living quality’, while another writes, ‘The immediately striking thing about Mr. X's work is its peculiar deadness’, the reader accepts this as a simple difference opinion. If words like black and white were involved, instead of the jargon words dead and living, he would see at once that language was being used in an improper way. Many political words are similarly abused. The word Fascism has now no meaning except in so far as it signifies ‘something not desirable’. The words democracy, socialism, freedom, patriotic, realistic, justice have each of them several different meanings which cannot be reconciled with one another. In the case of a word like democracy, not only is there no agreed definition, but the attempt to make one is resisted from all sides. It is almost universally felt that when we call a country democratic we are praising it: consequently the defenders of every kind of regime claim that it is a democracy, and fear that they might have to stop using that word if it were tied down to any one meaning. Words of this kind are often used in a consciously dishonest way. That is, the person who uses them has his own private definition, but allows his hearer to think he means something quite different. Statements like Marshal Petain was a true patriot, The Soviet press is the freest in the world, The Catholic Church is opposed to persecution, are almost always made with intent to deceive. Other words used in variable meanings, in most cases more or less dishonestly, are: class, totalitarian, science, progressive, reactionary, bourgeois, equality.

Now that I have made this catalogue of swindles and perversions, let me give another example of the kind of writing that they lead to. This time it must of its nature be an imaginary one. I am going to translate a passage of good English into modern English of the worst sort. Here is a well-known verse from Ecclesiastes:
I returned and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.
Here it is in modern English:
Objective considerations of contemporary phenomena compel the conclusion that success or failure in competitive activities exhibits no tendency to be commensurate with innate capacity, but that a considerable element of the unpredictable must invariably be taken into account.
This is a parody, but not a very gross one. Exhibit (3) above, for instance, contains several patches of the same kind of English. It will be seen that I have not made a full translation. The beginning and ending of the sentence follow the original meaning fairly closely, but in the middle the concrete illustrations — race, battle, bread — dissolve into the vague phrases ‘success or failure in competitive activities’. This had to be so, because no modern writer of the kind I am discussing — no one capable of using phrases like ‘objective considerations of contemporary phenomena’ — would ever tabulate his thoughts in that precise and detailed way. The whole tendency of modern prose is away from concreteness. Now analyze these two sentences a little more closely. The first contains forty-nine words but only sixty syllables, and all its words are those of everyday life. The second contains thirty-eight words of ninety syllables: eighteen of those words are from Latin roots, and one from Greek. The first sentence contains six vivid images, and only one phrase (‘time and chance’) that could be called vague. The second contains not a single fresh, arresting phrase, and in spite of its ninety syllables it gives only a shortened version of the meaning contained in the first. Yet without a doubt it is the second kind of sentence that is gaining ground in modern English. I do not want to exaggerate. This kind of writing is not yet universal, and outcrops of simplicity will occur here and there in the worst-written page. Still, if you or I were told to write a few lines on the uncertainty of human fortunes, we should probably come much nearer to my imaginary sentence than to the one from Ecclesiastes.
As I have tried to show, modern writing at its worst does not consist in picking out words for the sake of their meaning and inventing images in order to make the meaning clearer. It consists in gumming together long strips of words which have already been set in order by someone else, and making the results presentable by sheer humbug. The attraction of this way of writing is that it is easy. It is easier — even quicker, once you have the habit — to say In my opinion it is not an unjustifiable assumption that than to say I think. If you use ready-made phrases, you not only don't have to hunt about for the words; you also don't have to bother with the rhythms of your sentences since these phrases are generally so arranged as to be more or less euphonious. When you are composing in a hurry — when you are dictating to a stenographer, for instance, or making a public speech — it is natural to fall into a pretentious, Latinized style. Tags like a consideration which we should do well to bear in mind or a conclusion to which all of us would readily assent will save many a sentence from coming down with a bump. By using stale metaphors, similes, and idioms, you save much mental effort, at the cost of leaving your meaning vague, not only for your reader but for yourself. This is the significance of mixed metaphors. The sole aim of a metaphor is to call up a visual image. When these images clash — as in The Fascist octopus has sung its swan song, the jackboot is thrown into the melting pot — it can be taken as certain that the writer is not seeing a mental image of the objects he is naming; in other words he is not really thinking. Look again at the examples I gave at the beginning of this essay. Professor Laski (1) uses five negatives in fifty three words. One of these is superfluous, making nonsense of the whole passage, and in addition there is the slip — alien for akin — making further nonsense, and several avoidable pieces of clumsiness which increase the general vagueness. Professor Hogben (2) plays ducks and drakes with a battery which is able to write prescriptions, and, while disapproving of the everyday phrase put up with, is unwilling to look egregious up in the dictionary and see what it means; (3), if one takes an uncharitable attitude towards it, is simply meaningless: probably one could work out its intended meaning by reading the whole of the article in which it occurs. In (4), the writer knows more or less what he wants to say, but an accumulation of stale phrases chokes him like tea leaves blocking a sink. In (5), words and meaning have almost parted company. People who write in this manner usually have a general emotional meaning — they dislike one thing and want to express solidarity with another — but they are not interested in the detail of what they are saying. A scrupulous writer, in every sentence that he writes, will ask himself at least four questions, thus: What am I trying to say? What words will express it? What image or idiom will make it clearer? Is this image fresh enough to have an effect? And he will probably ask himself two more: Could I put it more shortly? Have I said anything that is avoidably ugly? But you are not obliged to go to all this trouble. You can shirk it by simply throwing your mind open and letting the ready-made phrases come crowding in. The will construct your sentences for you — even think your thoughts for you, to a certain extent — and at need they will perform the important service of partially concealing your meaning even from yourself. It is at this point that the special connection between politics and the debasement of language becomes clear.
In our time it is broadly true that political writing is bad writing. Where it is not true, it will generally be found that the writer is some kind of rebel, expressing his private opinions and not a ‘party line’. Orthodoxy, of whatever colour, seems to demand a lifeless, imitative style. The political dialects to be found in pamphlets, leading articles, manifestos, White papers and the speeches of undersecretaries do, of course, vary from party to party, but they are all alike in that one almost never finds in them a fresh, vivid, homemade turn of speech. When one watches some tired hack on the platform mechanically repeating the familiar phrases — bestial, atrocities, iron heel, bloodstained tyranny, free peoples of the world, stand shoulder to shoulder — one often has a curious feeling that one is not watching a live human being but some kind of dummy: a feeling which suddenly becomes stronger at moments when the light catches the speaker's spectacles and turns them into blank discs which seem to have no eyes behind them. And this is not altogether fanciful. A speaker who uses that kind of phraseology has gone some distance toward turning himself into a machine. The appropriate noises are coming out of his larynx, but his brain is not involved, as it would be if he were choosing his words for himself. If the speech he is making is one that he is accustomed to make over and over again, he may be almost unconscious of what he is saying, as one is when one utters the responses in church. And this reduced state of consciousness, if not indispensable, is at any rate favourable to political conformity.
In our time, political speech and writing are largely the defence of the indefensible. Things like the continuance of British rule in India, the Russian purges and deportations, the dropping of the atom bombs on Japan, can indeed be defended, but only by arguments which are too brutal for most people to face, and which do not square with the professed aims of the political parties. Thus political language has to consist largely of euphemism, question-begging and sheer cloudy vagueness. Defenceless villages are bombarded from the air, the inhabitants driven out into the countryside, the cattle machine-gunned, the huts set on fire with incendiary bullets: this is called pacification. Millions of peasants are robbed of their farms and sent trudging along the roads with no more than they can carry: this is called transfer of population or rectification of frontiers. People are imprisoned for years without trial, or shot in the back of the neck or sent to die of scurvy in Arctic lumber camps: this is called elimination of unreliable elements. Such phraseology is needed if one wants to name things without calling up mental pictures of them. Consider for instance some comfortable English professor defending Russian totalitarianism. He cannot say outright, ‘I believe in killing off your opponents when you can get good results by doing so’. Probably, therefore, he will say something like this:
‘While freely conceding that the Soviet regime exhibits certain features which the humanitarian may be inclined to deplore, we must, I think, agree that a certain curtailment of the right to political opposition is an unavoidable concomitant of transitional periods, and that the rigors which the Russian people have been called upon to undergo have been amply justified in the sphere of concrete achievement.’
The inflated style itself is a kind of euphemism. A mass of Latin words falls upon the facts like soft snow, blurring the outline and covering up all the details. The great enemy of clear language is insincerity. When there is a gap between one's real and one's declared aims, one turns as it were instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish spurting out ink. In our age there is no such thing as ‘keeping out of politics’. All issues are political issues, and politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred, and schizophrenia. When the general atmosphere is bad, language must suffer. I should expect to find — this is a guess which I have not sufficient knowledge to verify — that the German, Russian and Italian languages have all deteriorated in the last ten or fifteen years, as a result of dictatorship.
But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought. A bad usage can spread by tradition and imitation even among people who should and do know better. The debased language that I have been discussing is in some ways very convenient. Phrases like a not unjustifiable assumption, leaves much to be desired, would serve no good purpose, a consideration which we should do well to bear in mind, are a continuous temptation, a packet of aspirins always at one's elbow. Look back through this essay, and for certain you will find that I have again and again committed the very faults I am protesting against. By this morning's post I have received a pamphlet dealing with conditions in Germany. The author tells me that he ‘felt impelled’ to write it. I open it at random, and here is almost the first sentence I see: ‘[The Allies] have an opportunity not only of achieving a radical transformation of Germany's social and political structure in such a way as to avoid a nationalistic reaction in Germany itself, but at the same time of laying the foundations of a co-operative and unified Europe.’ You see, he ‘feels impelled’ to write — feels, presumably, that he has something new to say — and yet his words, like cavalry horses answering the bugle, group themselves automatically into the familiar dreary pattern. This invasion of one's mind by ready-made phrases (lay the foundations, achieve a radical transformation) can only be prevented if one is constantly on guard against them, and every such phrase anaesthetizes a portion of one's brain.
I said earlier that the decadence of our language is probably curable. Those who deny this would argue, if they produced an argument at all, that language merely reflects existing social conditions, and that we cannot influence its development by any direct tinkering with words and constructions. So far as the general tone or spirit of a language goes, this may be true, but it is not true in detail. Silly words and expressions have often disappeared, not through any evolutionary process but owing to the conscious action of a minority. Two recent examples were explore every avenue and leave no stone unturned, which were killed by the jeers of a few journalists. There is a long list of flyblown metaphors which could similarly be got rid of if enough people would interest themselves in the job; and it should also be possible to laugh the not un- formation out of existence(3), to reduce the amount of Latin and Greek in the average sentence, to drive out foreign phrases and strayed scientific words, and, in general, to make pretentiousness unfashionable. But all these are minor points. The defence of the English language implies more than this, and perhaps it is best to start by saying what it does not imply.
To begin with it has nothing to do with archaism, with the salvaging of obsolete words and turns of speech, or with the setting up of a ‘standard English’ which must never be departed from. On the contrary, it is especially concerned with the scrapping of every word or idiom which has outworn its usefulness. It has nothing to do with correct grammar and syntax, which are of no importance so long as one makes one's meaning clear, or with the avoidance of Americanisms, or with having what is called a ‘good prose style’. On the other hand, it is not concerned with fake simplicity and the attempt to make written English colloquial. Nor does it even imply in every case preferring the Saxon word to the Latin one, though it does imply using the fewest and shortest words that will cover one's meaning. What is above all needed is to let the meaning choose the word, and not the other way around. In prose, the worst thing one can do with words is surrender to them. When you think of a concrete object, you think wordlessly, and then, if you want to describe the thing you have been visualising you probably hunt about until you find the exact words that seem to fit it. When you think of something abstract you are more inclined to use words from the start, and unless you make a conscious effort to prevent it, the existing dialect will come rushing in and do the job for you, at the expense of blurring or even changing your meaning. Probably it is better to put off using words as long as possible and get one's meaning as clear as one can through pictures and sensations. Afterward one can choose — not simply accept — the phrases that will best cover the meaning, and then switch round and decide what impressions one's words are likely to make on another person. This last effort of the mind cuts out all stale or mixed images, all prefabricated phrases, needless repetitions, and humbug and vagueness generally. But one can often be in doubt about the effect of a word or a phrase, and one needs rules that one can rely on when instinct fails. I think the following rules will cover most cases:
Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.
Never use a long word where a short one will do.
If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.
Never use the passive where you can use the active.
Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.
Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.
These rules sound elementary, and so they are, but they demand a deep change of attitude in anyone who has grown used to writing in the style now fashionable. One could keep all of them and still write bad English, but one could not write the kind of stuff that I quoted in those five specimens at the beginning of this article.
I have not here been considering the literary use of language, but merely language as an instrument for expressing and not for concealing or preventing thought. Stuart Chase and others have come near to claiming that all abstract words are meaningless, and have used this as a pretext for advocating a kind of political quietism. Since you don't know what Fascism is, how can you struggle against Fascism? One need not swallow such absurdities as this, but one ought to recognise that the present political chaos is connected with the decay of language, and that one can probably bring about some improvement by starting at the verbal end. If you simplify your English, you are freed from the worst follies of orthodoxy. You cannot speak any of the necessary dialects, and when you make a stupid remark its stupidity will be obvious, even to yourself. Political language — and with variations this is true of all political parties, from Conservatives to Anarchists — is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind. One cannot change this all in a moment, but one can at least change one's own habits, and from time to time one can even, if one jeers loudly enough, send some worn-out and useless phrase — some jackboot, Achilles’ heel, hotbed, melting pot, acid test, veritable inferno, or other lump of verbal refuse — into the dustbin where it belongs.
1) An interesting illustration of this is the way in which the English flower names which were in use till very recently are being ousted by Greek ones, snapdragon becoming antirrhinum, forget-me-not becoming myosotis, etc. It is hard to see any practical reason for this change of fashion: it is probably due to an instinctive turning-awayfrom the more homely word and a vague feeling that the Greek word is scientific. [back]
2) Example: ‘Comfort's catholicity of perception and image, strangely Whitmanesque in range, almost the exact opposite in aesthetic compulsion, continues to evoke that trembling atmospheric accumulative ginting at a cruel, an inexorably selene timelessness... Wrey Gardiner scores by aiming at simple bull's-eyes with precision. Only they are not so simple, and through this contented sadness runs more than the surface bitter-sweet of resignation’. (Poetry Quarterly.) [back]
3) One can cure oneself of the not un- formation by memorizing this sentence: A not unblack dog was chasing a not unsmall rabbit across a not ungreen field. [back]

Jan 24, 2011

Ezra Pound On Economics

"In our time, the curse is monetary illiteracy, just as inability to read plain print was the curse of earlier centuries."
— Ezra Pound

Jan 16, 2011

The Cult of Personality (Marcellus Wallace and Alan Greenspan)

2 years ago I took the Myers Briggs personailty test. I decided to take it again. I went from a ESTP to a INTJ??? I went from The Promoter to The Mastermind.

All Rationals are good at planning operations, but Masterminds are head and shoulders above all the rest in contingency planning. Complex operations involve many steps or stages, one following another in a necessary progression, and Masterminds are naturally able to grasp how each one leads to the next, and to prepare alternatives for difficulties that are likely to arise any step of the way. Trying to anticipate every contingency, Masterminds never set off on their current project without a Plan A firmly in mind, but they are always prepared to switch to Plan B or C or D if need be.

Masterminds are rare, comprising no more than one to two percent of the population, and they are rarely encountered outside their office, factory, school, or laboratory. Although they are highly capable leaders, Masterminds are not at all eager to take command, preferring to stay in the background until others demonstrate their inability to lead. Once they take charge, however, they are thoroughgoing pragmatists. Masterminds are certain that efficiency is indispensable in a well-run organization, and if they encounter inefficiency -- any waste of human and material resources -- they are quick to realign operations and reassign personnel. Masterminds do not feel bound by established rules and procedures, and traditional authority does not impress them, nor do slogans or catchwords. Only ideas that make sense to them are adopted; those that don't, aren't, no matter who thought of them. Remember, their aim is always maximum efficiency.

In their careers, Masterminds usually rise to positions of responsibility, for they work long and hard and are dedicated in their pursuit of goals, sparing neither their own time and effort nor that of their colleagues and employees. Problem-solving is highly stimulating to Masterminds, who love responding to tangled systems that require careful sorting out. Ordinarily, they verbalize the positive and avoid comments of a negative nature; they are more interested in moving an organization forward than dwelling on mistakes of the past.

Masterminds tend to be much more definite and self-confident than other Rationals, having usually developed a very strong will. Decisions come easily to them; in fact, they can hardly rest until they have things settled and decided. But before they decide anything, they must do the research. Masterminds are highly theoretical, but they insist on looking at all available data before they embrace an idea, and they are suspicious of any statement that is based on shoddy research, or that is not checked against reality.
Rational Portrait Of The Mastermind

Jung Typology Test™

Famous INTJ's:
* Angela Lansbury - actress (Murder, She Wrote)
* Arnold Schwarzenegger - actor, Governor of California
* Arthur Ashe - tennis champion
* Augustus Caesar - Roman Emperor
* C. Everett Koop - former U.S. Surgeon General
* C. S. Lewis - apologist, author (The Chronicles of Narnia)
* Calvin Coolidge - American President
* Charles Rangel - politician, decorated war veteran
* Chester A. Arthur - lawyer, American President
* Chevy Chase - actor, comedian
* Dan Akroyd - actor, comedian, musician
* Donald Rumsfeld - former U.S. Secretary of Defense
* Dwight D. Eisenhower - American President
* Edwin Moses - Olympic gold medalist
* General Colin Powell - former U.S. Secretary of State
* Greg Gumbel - TV sportscaster
* Hannibal Barca - Military Commander
* Ivan Lendl - tennis champion
* James K. Polk - American President
* Jane Austen - author (Pride and Prejudice)
* Joan Lunden - Journalist
* Josephine Tey - English author
* Katie Couric - journalist
* Lance Armstrong - cyclist (seven Tour De France wins)
* Maria Shriver - journalist, wife to Arnold Schwarzenegger
* Martina Navratilova - tennis champion
* Michael Dukakis - former Governor of Massachusetts
* Orel Hershiser - baseball player (pitcher)
* Pernell Roberts - actor, activist
* Peter Jennings - journalist
* Raymond Burr - actor (Perry Mason), vintner
* Rudy Giuliani - former New York City mayor
* Sir Isaac Newton - Astronomer
* Susan B. Anthony - civil rights leader
* Thomas Jefferson - American President
* Veronica Hamel - actress
* William F. Buckley, Jr. - journalist
* William J. Bennett - politician
* Woodrow Wilson - American President
* General Ulysses S. Grant – Union general, American President
* Friederich Nietzsche – philosopher
* Niels Bohr – physicist
* Peter the Great – Russian tsar
* Stephen Hawking – astrophysicist
* John Maynard Keynes –
* Lise Meitner – chemist
* Ayn Rand – philosopher, author
* John F. Nash Jr. – mathematician, game theorist
* Norbert Wiener – mathematician, founder of cybernetics
* Nikola Tesla – physicist, engineer, inventor
* Glenn Gould – Canadian pianist and composer
* Stanley Kubrick – film director (2001: A Space Odyssey)
* Jean-Paul Sartre – philosopher
* Erik Satie – composer, pianist
* Helmuth von Moltke – German military general
* Isaac Asimov – biochemist, science-fiction author (I Robot)
* Theodore Kaczynski – infamous “Unabomber”
* Lewis Carroll – author, logician, mathematician
* Franz Kafka – author

* Calvin – Calvin and Hobbes
* Cassius – The Tragedy of Julius Caesar
* Clarice Starling - Silence of the Lambs
* Batman – Batman Begins
* Dexter – Dexter’s Laboratory
* Dr. Jonathan Crane - Batman Begins
* Dr. Otto Octavius (Doc Ock) - Spiderman 2
* Ellen Ripley - Alien
* Ensign Ro Laren - Star Trek: The Next Generation
* Ernst Stavro Blofeld - James Bond
* Gandalf - Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit
* George Smiley - John Le Carr character
* Hannibal Lecter - Silence of the Lambs
* Jigsaw – Saw films
* Marsellus Wallace - Pulp Fiction
* Michael Corleone - Godfather
* Mr. Burns - The Simpsons
* Mr. Darcy - Pride and Prejudice
* O-Ren Ishii - Kill Bill Vol. 1
* Phileas Fogg – Around the World in Eight Days (novel and film adaptations)
* Professor Moriarty - Sherlock Holmes antagonist
* Sherlock Holmes
* Reed Richards – the Fantastic Four
* Stewie Griffin - Family Guy
* Tom Hagen – Godfather
* V - V for Vendetta
* Vicious - Cowboy Bebop
* Victor von Frankenstein
* Vito Corleone – Godfather
* Willy Wonka – Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

The Ultimate List of Famous INTJs

I also took the Enneagram of Personality test. I scored as a FIVE. The Investigator.

Fives are alert, insightful, and curious. They are able to concentrate and focus on developing complex ideas and skills. Independent, innovative, and inventive, they can also become preoccupied with their thoughts and imaginary constructs. They become detached, yet high-strung and intense. They typically have problems with eccentricity, nihilism, and isolation. At their Best: visionary pioneers, often ahead of their time, and able to see the world in an entirely new way.

We have named personality type Five The Investigator because, more than any other type, Fives want to find out why things are the way they are. They want to understand how the world works, whether it is the cosmos, the microscopic world, the animal, vegetable, or mineral kingdoms—or the inner world of their imaginations. They are always searching, asking questions, and delving into things in depth. They do not accept received opinions and doctrines, feeling a strong need to test the truth of most assumptions for themselves.

John, a graphic artist, describes this approach to life.

“Being a Five means always needing to learn, to take in information about the world. A day without learning is like a day without ‘sunshine.’ As a Five, I want to have an understanding of life. I like having a theoretical explanation about why things happen as they do. This understanding makes me feel in charge and in control. I most often learn from a distance as an observer and not a participant. Sometimes, it seems that understanding life is as good as living it. It is a difficult journey to learn that life must be lived and not just studied.”

Behind Fives’ relentless pursuit of knowledge are deep insecurities about their ability to function successfully in the world. Fives feel that they do not have an ability to do things as well as others. But rather than engage directly with activities that might bolster their confidence, Fives “take a step back” into their minds where they feel more capable. Their belief is that from the safety of their minds they will eventually figure out how to do things—and one day rejoin the world.

Fives spend a lot of time observing and contemplating—listening to the sounds of wind or of a synthesizer, or taking notes on the activities in an anthill in their back yard. As they immerse themselves in their observations, they begin to internalize their knowledge and gain a feeling of self-confidence. They can then go out and play a piece on the synthesizer or tell people what they know about ants. They may also stumble across exciting new information or make new creative combinations (playing a piece of music based on recordings of wind and water). When they get verification of their observations and hypotheses, or see that others understand their work, it is a confirmation of their competency, and this fulfills their Basic Desire. (“You know what you are talking about.”)

Knowledge, understanding, and insight are thus highly valued by Fives, because their identity is built around “having ideas” and being someone who has something unusual and insightful to say. For this reason, Fives are not interested in exploring what is already familiar and well-established; rather, their attention is drawn to the unusual, the overlooked, the secret, the occult, the bizarre, the fantastic, the “unthinkable.” Investigating "unknown territory"—knowing something that others do not know, or creating something that no one has ever experienced—allows Fives to have a niche for themselves that no one else occupies. They believe that developing this niche is the best way that they can attain independence and confidence.

Thus, for their own security and self-esteem, Fives need to have at least one area in which they have a degree of expertise that will allow them to feel capable and connected with the world. Fives think, “I am going to find something that I can do really well, and then I will be able to meet the challenges of life. But I can’t have other things distracting me or getting in the way.” They therefore develop an intense focus on whatever they can master and feel secure about. It may be the world of mathematics, or the world of rock and roll, or classical music, or car mechanics, or horror and science fiction, or a world entirely created in their imagination. Not all Fives are scholars or Ph.Ds. But, depending on their intelligence and the resources available to them, they focus intensely on mastering something that has captured their interest.

For better or worse, the areas that Fives explore do not depend on social validation; indeed, if others agree with their ideas too readily, Fives tend to fear that their ideas might be too conventional. History is full of famous Fives who overturned accepted ways of understanding or doing things (Darwin, Einstein, Nietzshce). Many more Fives, however, have become lost in the Byzantine complexities of their own thought processes, becoming merely eccentric and socially isolated.

The intense focus of Fives can thus lead to remarkable discoveries and innovations, but when the personality is more fixated, it can also create self-defeating problems. This is because their focus of attention unwittingly serves to distract them from their most pressing practical problems. Whatever the sources of their anxieties may be—relationships, lack of physical strength, inability to gain employment, and so forth—average Fives tend not to deal with these issues. Rather, they find something else to do that will make them feel more competent. The irony is that no matter what degree of mastery they develop in their area of expertise, this cannot solve their more basic insecurities about functioning in the world. For example, as a marine biologist, a Five could learn everything there is to know about a type of shellfish, but if her fear is that she is never going to be able to run her own household adequately, she will not have solved her underlying anxiety.

Dealing directly with physical matters can feel extremely daunting for Fives. Henry is a life scientist working in a major medical research lab:
“Since I was a child, I have shied away from sports and strenuous physical activity whenever possible. I was never able to climb the ropes in gym class, stopped participating in sports as soon as it was feasible, and the smell of a gymnasium still makes me uncomfortable. At the same time, I have always had a very active mental life. I learned to read at the age of three, and in school I was always one of the smartest kids in academic subjects.”

Thus, much of their time gets spent "collecting" and developing ideas and skills they believe will make them feel confident and prepared. They want to retain everything that they have learned and “carry it around in their heads.” The problem is that while they are engrossed in this process, they are not interacting with others or even increasing many other practical and social skills. They devote more and more time to collecting and attending to their collections, less to anything related to their real needs.

Thus, the challenge to Fives is to understand that they can pursue whatever questions or problems spark their imaginations and maintain relationships, take proper care of themselves, and do all of the things that are the hallmarks of a healthy life.
Enneagram Personality Test 

Famous Enneagram Fives:
Performance artist Laurie Anderson, St. Thomas Aquinas, Issac Asimov,
Mohammed Atta, Gregory Bateson, Playwright Samuel Beckett, Osama bin
Laden, Dirk Bogarde, Author Paul Bowles, The Buddha, William S. Burroughs, Tim Burton, David Byrne, Albert Camus, Richard Chamberlain, Anton Chekhov, Agatha Christie, Van Cliburn, Montgomery Clift, Former CIA
Director William Colby, Michael Crichton, David Cronenberg, Marie Curie,
Daniel Day-Lewis, Charles Darwin, John Dean, Edgar Dega, Robert DeNiro,
Jacques Derrida, René Descartes, Joan Didion, Joe DiMaggio, Esther Dyson,
Aviatrix Amelia Earhart, Albert Einstein, Author Loren Eiseley, T. S. Eliot, the
cultural aura of England,
Ralph Fiennes, Chess player Bobby Fischer, E. M. Forster, John Fowles,
Greta Garbo, Bill Gates, Paul Gauguin, J. Paul Getty, Cybertech novelist William Gibson, Jean-Luc Godard, Kurt Godel, Jane Goodall, Glenn Gould,
Author Graham Greene, Alan Greenspan, H. R. Haldeman, Novelist Thomas
Harris, Stephen Hawking, Hermann Hesse, Hildegarde of Bingen, Alfred
Hitchcock, Anthony Hopkins, Howard Hughes, Charles Ives, Unabomber
Ted Kaczynski, Franz Kafka, Dean Kamen, Director Philip Kaufman, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Dean R. Koontz, Arthur (The Amazing) Kreskin,
Stanley Kubrick, C-SPAN's Brian Lamb, Mary Leakey, John le Carré, Author
Ursula K. LeGuin, Photographer Annie Leibowitz, Charles Lindbergh,
"American Taliban" John Walker Lindh,
George Lucas, David Lynch, Cormac McCarthy, Norman MacLean, Robert
MacNeil, Terence Malick, Movie critic Leonard Maltin, Author Peter Matthiessen, Novelist Ian McEwan, Larry McMurtry, Timothy McVeigh, Singer Natalie Merchant, Thelonious Monk, Vladimir Nabokov, Mathematician John
Nash, Actor Sam Neill, Sir Isaac Newton, Joyce Carol Oates, Author Patrick
O'Brien, Georgia O'Keefe, J. Robert Oppenheimer, Al Pacino, Italian sculptor
Paladino, Andre Previn, Thomas Pynchon, Keanu Reeves, Philanthropist
John D. Rockefeller, Jr., Phillip Roth, Oliver Sacks, Jean-Paul Sartre, Ebenezer Scrooge, Sister Wendy, Phil Spector, Albert Speer, Huston Smith, Poet
Gary Snyder, George Stephanopoulos, Actress Madeleine Stowe, Nikola
Tesla, Jules Verne, Max Von Sydow, Lars Von Trier, Colin Wilson, Ludwig
Wittgenstein, William Butler Yeats, Neil Young.

Enneagram Styles of Famous People
Compiled by Thomas Condo