Permabears and permabulls
Today's tribal zealotry demands people pick a side ...resisting is a superpower
“Solitude is strength; to depend on the presence of the crowd is weakness. The man who needs a mob to nerve him is much more alone than he imagines.” -Paul Brunton
Welcome to 2023. This year will be better, because to be completely honest last year could not have been worse on multiple dimensions. Quietly harder than the pandemic for many due to a myriad of reasons, myself included. Anyway, I thought we had hit maximum tribalism a few years ago on social and in media but that malignant condition continues to persist. How childish and arcane to submit your personal sovereignty to mob behavior. I’m assuming majority of you reading are not like this, as this Substack and none of us cave to such barbaric and frankly infantile demands.
In similar fashion all around us we have people who are permabullish and permabearish certain concepts and ideologies. But the truth nearly always rests in the middle. For trading, you will hold onto positions unnecessarily long if you maintain such an outlook and overcommit your identify to something. For work, you will blind yourself to biased views as opposed to being ‘like water’ and able to flow with forces bigger than you or your company. ‘We cannot change the winds we can only adjust the sails’ is a platitude, but sometimes platitudes exist for a reason.
You don’t even have to agree with an opposing side to at least spend the time to learn why it is people are married to an opinion or idea. In fact, this is a superpower: when everyone leads with emotions and fights blindly for things without sight of anything outside their ego and worldview, you can at the very least be a conscientious and informed observer. And even if you decide to pick a debate or invest in something with zealots, now you can at least know soberly what the weaknesses are and decide to go in dispassionately and emotionally uninvolved. Permabulls and permabears recognize no such things.
Be weary of those who are blindly committed to a side and remain closed off to new or differing opinions or evidence. We live in a complex and multivariate world, one in which people are relentlessly trying to boil things down to single issues in order to rile the masses to their side. A percentage of the population will never understand nuance and so this will be forever exploited. Perhaps you wish to play this game and actually pit one side against the other. It is sometimes an effective course of action (in many cases too potent, in ways with unforeseen and adverse affects). So with this, do not go in blindly and clearly know what the endgame is (without this, you open yourself up to great reputational risk, which you must be acutely aware of and guard against vigilantly). I still almost never would advise this, for you are basically lowering yourself or your company to the same, banal levels of populism. You may only succeed in putting any thinking humans off. For making bets you believe there is asymmetric payoff from, there’s almost zero upside to publicly proclaiming allegiance to one side of zealotry. Best to play the crowds quietly here, as it is almost certain you cannot control them. At worst, you could even lose yourself to one side and throw off your rational internal, unbiased view (marrying ideas is dangerous).
I hope you have an excellent year and work hard to take continued stock of your personal beliefs and how they affect your decision-making and worldview. I do believe we are quietly through some of the ‘worst times.’ Again the permabears don’t full grasp just how much damage was inflicted on people during the pandemic and following years. It was relentless. The fed’s actions did not actually help much at that point. None of it was healthy or sustainable. No one actually likes the end stages of bull markets (financial or otherwise) especially when they coincide with events that aren’t psychically bullish for the population. But bad (and good) times do not last forever. I am not saying there is a bottom in this or that chart/sector nor advising anything financially, but I do believe we have at the very least turned a metaphysical corner.
In a world demanding you conform your identity, beliefs and ultimately perspectives and bets to be binary choices dictated by amplified fringes, it makes zero sense to lose your perspective and rationality to such chaos. While the most Machiavellian among us may thrive in such times, even to them it is not ideal for such a situation to persist. Our strength is to remain vigilant and not to submit to the irrationality of the mob: personally, professionally with family and friends.
Happy New Year, I wish all of you the best and a prosperous 2023.
So true! Good touchstone for the new year.
Also, I agree that while the financial worst is likely behind us that doesn’t mean that there is still continued discomfort for the foreseeable future.
Beautifully said below Adam, wishing you a terrific 2023!
“I hope you have an excellent year and work hard to take continued stock of your personal beliefs and how they affect your decision-making and worldview.”