The “HUBRIS” of the Wall Streeters Is Our Tragedy—

—another, as old as the ancient Greek understanding of their goddess, Themis, “Right Action”, disregarded in the highest echelons of American commerce. [I am following here the scholarship of John A. Sanford, Fate, Love and Ecstasy: Wisdom from the Lesser-Known Goddesses of the Greeks, 1995] Themis was equal to the spirit and will and voice of Mother Earth, the embodiment of justice. Disregarded and offended, She now exacts her payment. Her boundaries and limits are to be observed by all living creatures, the right order. The concept of “themis” was a personified abstraction in those ancient days. She had three daughters, (1) one of custom, law, and justice (Diké), (2) one of good order (Eunomia), and (3) one of peace (Eirene). Nemesis, or just retribution and vengeance, joined Themis in supervising human affairs. Those personifications symbolized their system, serving the memory of what their system was, inside the skulls of every citizen. A sort of cheat-sheet, mnemonic device, which every student cramming for an exam is familiar with.

Follow Themis and good fortune can be expected. Or else, the original sin of the human race, hubris, becomes instilled in the human mind by an exaggerated sense of personal pride and importance and leading to wanton violence and destruction for personal gain. I call it the blunt force trauma of excessive wealth, the major cause of the isolation of some beings from the society of people not so traumatized.

Modern forms, archetypes of those ancient mythological creations, live in our collective consciousness. They had the concept of the “spiritual eye” that saw the beautiful, the just, the reasonable, the concept of an active conscience, what I call a sense of the ideal self. My recent studies would similarly affirm the capacity of an inner narrative that is healthy or ill. Self awareness, sense of knowing thyself in comparison or contrast to one’s fellows. Therapy would require the re-development of that lost awareness. What clouded or darkened that “spiritual eye” was hubris, bringing on a person’s ruin.

Re-education, re-training our leaders of manufacturing and financial enterprises who have failed millions of the victims of their hubris must be some powerful chastisement that gets their attention. I have a sense that they indulge in horrible grumblings, when they congergate, about their sorry lot in having to “suffer” the humiliation of interrogations by Congress and the press, and riding public transportation to their dates with their executioners in th town square, with Mme de Farge clicking her needles while the heads roll.

(Since I wrote that, we have all seen the chastisement I mentioned, the “Occupy Wall Street” movements growing and popping up around our society, mobs on the march for the growing poor with an unquenchable thirst for retribution, to this day. There is the variety of such movements in the Middle East, as well, and heads are rolling.

Oh, the hubris of “leaders”, not easily cured with the killing of outlaw governance! We would all like to see a tyrant bow to the people’s will and voluntarily step down after a final appointment of a democratic interim leader.

One can only dream. The dark nature of absolute authoritarians is of an unthinkable character. I am convinced many leaders have those unthinkable thoughts, where most keep silent about them. Some of them are true believers who muse thus, “if only I had absolute power, I could install the absolute good for these people”. Only to become absolutely corrupted by that power, finally having the means to keep the populace at bay, at last.)

Published on April 25, 2009 at 2:47 pm  Comments (57)  


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