“August, die she must.” That line from Simon and Garfunkel’s song “April Come She Will” has always ripped my heart out. I love summer like nobody else and physically feel the pain of it ending every time. But this year I’m just ambivalent. Is there even summer anymore?
One of my partners at Cabana, Michelle Alsobrook, shares an office with me. Over the years we have seen each other’s highs and lows. For the record, she has probably seen a lot more of mine. She is awfully solid. Last week she came in and was really shook. Michelle comes from a military family. Her family has fought for all of us more than once. Her husband is a career Marine. What we have all seen in the tragedy that is Afghanistan struck her in way that caused me to stop. Through all the craziness, anger and fear of 2020 and 2021, it was Afghanistan that broke through with her. The death of thirteen young heroes and hundreds of other innocent lives, the recognition of a hopeless and lost cause, and a defeated ideal that has been taken for granted. She of course didn’t say it like that but it was in her face and in her voice.
It got me thinking about how we all experience things in our own unique way. Always shaped by our lives, relationships, and personal stories. Truth and fact become dynamic. On July 18, 1930, Albert Einstein and the Indian philosopher and Nobel Laureate, Rabindranath Tagore, met outside Berlin for a recorded conversation between two of the greatest living minds. They talked of the mysteries of the universe, life, and our existence as human beings. One of the things they grappled with was the idea of universal truth and whether it can or does exist, absent the context of us humans. After all, for a truth to be a truth it must be recognized as such. Without our witness there is nothing to do the recognizing. Their analysis and insight are worth anybody’s time (if there is such a thing) to ponder. I suggest you pour a tall beverage beforehand. Today, I read another quote which touches on the same idea.
“Opinion is the lowest form of human knowledge. It requires no accountability. No understanding. The highest form of knowledge is empathy, for it requires us to suspend our ego and live in another’s world. It requires profound purpose lager than the self.”
This has been attributed to Plato but was likely written first by Mary Anne Evans, a nineteenth century English poet. She went by the pen name George Eliot.
No matter who said it, I believe it to be true. Maybe what we are all so sure about is not the truth so much as our opinion of it. Maybe we could all use a little more empathy. Maybe like Dr. Einstein and Mr. Tagore suggested we should do a little more looking up and out rather than looking down and in. I am going to try this out. Maybe I won’t take losing summer so personally. I am afraid others have lost a lot more.
For those who are interested, the market keeps climbing higher despite all naysayers and voices of reason. Market breadth has improved over the past week and that is usually a good thing. Markets that finish the first half of the year strong often tend to finish the second half strong. Keep in mind that September is traditionally the weakest month on the calendar for financial markets, and we are due for a pullback, if for no other reason than that it’s been a while.