Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Irrational Exuberance

As we watch Alan Greenspan leave his post as Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board after 19 years, everyone’s talking about his famous phrase “irrational exuberance,” his term for the tech stocks bubble of the 1990s.

No doubt I’m not the only blogger this week (and maybe a few preachers will get into the spirit) contemplating that phrase and the wonder of it. I can’t help it, and if it’s a cliché by now, forgive me!

ir·ra·tion·al adj.
1. Not endowed with reason.
2. Affected by loss of usual or normal mental clarity; incoherent, as from shock.
3. Marked by a lack of accord with reason or sound judgment: an irrational dislike.

exuberance noun
1. joyful enthusiasm 2: overflowing with enthusiasm [syn: enthusiasm, ebullience]

Of course I’m not thinking about economics, like he was, when expressing these words in the same breath. I’m thinking about the utter joy I feel, in spite of the darkness in the world. And it's irrational because it's not of the mind!

If we listen to our minds, then all the bad news is the end of the story – especially when we worry about the future.

What is beyond the bad news? What is beyond the loss of job, loneliness, financial pressures, relationship trouble, disease, environmental disaster, war, depression, grief?

If there is something beyond – someOne -- then we have to get out of our heads (yes, Nicholas) and into the Other.

Art from album "Broken Existence" by
00 PAEBAC 00 (artist unknown)

It’s hard work. And I’m not just talking about the Power of Positive Thinking. I’d call it something like Powerful Being.

I’d call it Irrational Exuberance.


Nathan Hart said...

Ruth! yes. ya know, ever since your post last week about experiencing beauty in the ordinary things of life, i have been thinking about it. a LOT. i went and re-read chapter 3 of The Divine Conspiracy (by Dallas Willard) because it talks about this world as a "God-bathed world." then, i read a book called Velvet Elvis, in which there is a section about noticing the connectedness of life. even in death's all adding up to a forthcoming sermon on my podcast, inspired by you!

i think i'm gonna do a word study of the hebrew word ruach, which in the Bible means three different things: (S)pirit, wind, and breath. Spirit, wind, and breath! it's all the same word. ahhhhhhh (that was a breath).

okay, you got this ministers wheels a'spinnin'.... ;)

Ginnie said...

I love it! Nice to see Nate's wheels spinnin' on your post, Ruth :)

Once again, I delight in how you bring these thoughts together. Let's hope Greenspan's phrase sticks around as his legacy for a long time!

Ruth said...

Nate, I love that: "a God-bathed world."

And connectedness: I've actually come to believe that "sin" always stems from thinking of oneself as "other," separate. From God, and from people.

I hope you'll let me know when/if you post your sermon so I can read/hear it.

Boots (Ginnie): Thanks!