Monday, May 10, 2010


Where Are We At?

2008-03-06 008 by Reb Akiva at Mystical Paths

We live in a time of information overload and chaotic world events. The world of today is not what it was 4 years ago (stable financially), 10 years ago (one world power stability), or 25 years ago (two world power stable standoff).

The United States is in serious decline. The political question of which administration and which policies set up the current decline is irrelevant. The question everyone wants to know is, will it recover? The answer is a simple no. I could write a long analysis of why not, but to make it short and simple (on the physical level): the conditions that caused the problem have been overcompensated for destroying the prime engines of growth, the cost of recovery steps has been so high it will hobble any future moves, and the political and spending priorities now in place reduce the US’s worldwide influence.  The US is in a similar decline as it was in the late 70’s, in the latter parts of which news agencies started reporting the “misery index”. Will the US recover from an unusually bad down swing, or like the British Empire of the 19th century will it stabilize but at a much lower level than the past?

disasters_till_2008 World disasters are up. Or are they? Are more bad things happening, or does a 24 hour news hype cycle merely rush to find every bad thing happening and report it LOUDLY? Of course, if you hear about a volcano two weeks ago, major flooding last week, and a massive oil spill this week, it certainly seems things are getting worse. (The graph to the left, worldwide disaster statistics for the last 100 years says it IS getting worse.)

The economic gyrations are not limited to the US. This week we see the beginning of major instability in the EU. Turns out a number of EU states have been spending at a rate far beyond their tax base, and suddenly have run out of lenders to support it. Complicating it, the citizens have become used to a high but financially unsustainable level of government services, and are (violently) resisting reductions in services that countries can no longer afford to provide. (It’s like something out of an Ayn Rand novel.)

Once again (repeated from 2 years ago) we find the world economic system on the edge of the cliff.

In the midst of all of this, what’s the world’s major preoccupation? Israel! The US president, in ways big and small, is pressuring Israel and the Jewish people to divide Israel, give up Jerusalem, and do everything up to and including committing national suicide. The EU piles on periodically, with Britain threatening Israel for defending herself in ways that cause collateral damage, and then threatening her for defending herself in ways that don’t cause collateral damage. And Iran. Besides the nuclear drive and threats of genocide, we now find direct reports that Iran is arming Israel’s enemies with unconventional weaponry and preparing them to attack.

So I’m asked, where are we at? Is it time to run? To Israel? From Israel? Should I sell my house? Cash out my investments? Buy what? Gold? Where can I turn???

Is the war of Gog uMagog here? Is Moshiach here? Is the Geulah shelayma here?

Dear friends, we are not navi’im (prophets) – nor is ANYONE else. All we can do is watch trends, see how they line up to the words of the prophets of the past, and listen to the words of our gedolim and mekubalim – and see if there are hints in putting all together. And still be surprised when the hidden things jump into the open.

We _seem_ to be in a time where many world events are fulfilling biblical (and talmudic) prophecy. The world financial situation is not over and _seems_ about to take another big turn for the worse. The U.S. domestic situation is going to continue to grow worse, but each month puts more people’s homes, businesses, and retirement investments at greater and greater risk. The tolerance of Jews is declining while Muslim tolerance is increasing even while they perpetrate attacks!

It’s a good time to come to Israel, and still a time one can come b’kovod (in a respectful manner – with their assets if they remain). But the world is turning on Israel. We will be forced to stand with Jerusalem, Torah and Hashem or stand with the world while they would destroy us.

Will this happen with bloodshed, or just heavy handed diplomacy and tears (as Gush Katif)? Some say the former (G-d forbid), some the latter, and some that with just a hairs breath more effort we can turn it to a pleasant path.

Confusing. I haven’t done this well. Perhaps I’ll try to express this better tomorrow.


joshwaxman said...

am i correct that that graph comes from here?

the date rangem and import, is the same...

Shiloh said...

So true Akiva. One Talmudic prophecy fulfilled several years ago is one from tractate Sanhedrin where the rabbi's are talking about the 7 year cycle and the coming of the Mashiach. They discuss how the events have occured many times before except for 1, the sounds from heaven. Are we there yet, debate still goes on. We struggle daily of when to jump the galut ship. I remember on shabbat afternoon, maybe 7 years ago, the Rabbi was speaking and out of the blue stated quite confidently that haShem has sent the answer before the problem exists. Does that mean we will reach the geulah the easy way, so far it does not appear that way as we still as a nation don't look to Him. (You know my stance on that). Does it mean it will be incredibly bad in accuality, hopefully not, though it will look pretty bad. Zechariah 12 and 14. At night I get excruciating pain in my midsection whether I eat or not, medicine does nothing, music helps tremendously to rid the stress. Just like when the second intifada began I became incredibly ill. Let's hope for the best.

Anonymous said...

thay said war by summer 5770

Akiva said...

My data source is EMDAT, the UN based International Disaster Database and Center for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters -

Even so, I do consider the data carefully. For example, there is a wonderful chart on the human impact (damage, injury, lives) of disasters which has gone through the roof. Yet, so has the population and people living in higher disaster areas (like living on the coast in hurricane country), so I discount that chart.

I took the general chart of All Reported (Major) Natural Disasters from 1900, going up through 2008.

I am not talking about or referring to global warming (which certainly has nothing to do with volcano, earthquakes, tsunamis, etc - though tectonic implosion might.)

Someone sent me some links that show the same but interpret otherwise... "A look at the number of volcanoes active per year, over the last few centuries, shows a dramatic increase, but one that is closely related to increases in the world's human population and communication. We believe that this represents an increased reporting of eruptions, rather than increased frequency of global volcanism: more observers, in wider geographic distribution, with better communication, and broader publication."

This is indeed an interesting point. Are there more disasters, or is there more reporting, attention to, and observing of disasters? Some of the rapid growth certainly seems to be our world wide interconnect and the ability to report them. Is that the cause of the increase in the statistics? I'm not aware of any research clarifying one way or the other. In the above report I read, they even wrote "we believe".

joshwaxman said...

"We believe that this represents an increased reporting of eruptions, rather than increased frequency of global volcanism: more observers, in wider geographic distribution, with better communication, and broader publication"

yes, this was the point i was going to make. in 1900 there was no Internet. now, the local is projected globally. certainly, when you compare with the number of people killed in natural disasters, the numbers trend downward.

joshwaxman said...

though of course you raised this point yourself in your post.


Neshama said...

Akiva, a wonderful post, but just the first installment, I hope. Please continue, after giving it time to settle on the neshoma. After Shema, over night works for me, answers sometimes arrive in my morning email - from Shomayim not google - to gain perspective.

Timing is great. It may be time to get the money out of America, but some banks have already CHANGED their 'transfer' regs. So, cash is the next best thing.

Shiloh said...

Neshama, cash is ok under 10 grand. Now they have wonderful body scanners so good luck getting more then that through. Where I am, you can wire up to 10 grand without paperwork still.

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