Mass Psychology II

Mass Psychology applied on Investing

This is a very fascinating field for if you understand it you can truly lead a very fruitful and full life. To truly understand mass psychology one must fully understand oneself; in other words, one must be willing to strip oneself to the bare bones and in doing so examine all one’s weakness and strengths with equal intensity. One cannot sugar coat one’s weakness and then apply thick layers of honey to one’s strength. If anything one should be more willing to downplay one’s strength and emphasize one’s weakness for it’s the areas that we are weak in that hold us back and not the areas that we are strong in.  School and society teach us a total bunch of nonsense when they state that one should hide one’s weakness and manifest one’s strength; it’s, for this reason, the world, in general, has not learned anything and its for this reason that we are still barbarians. The only thing that has changed is the clothes we wear to disguise our primitiveness, other than that the cave man mentality still dominates.

I have read a lot of good books over the years but as far as I can remember at least going back 12-15 years or more I have never been so fascinated by a book where I wanted to savour each and every page of it. I would find interesting tit bits here and there or several paragraphs or even several pages that reached out and compelled me to go through slowly for fear of missing something valuable but never the entire book. The last time I read a book to its entirety savouring each and every page was probably in my 20’s. I stopped doing this is for the reason that I could no longer find any book that was compelling enough to read each and every single page until I stumbled on a very old book by chance very recently.

I was in small town in Connecticut (I usually take random trips to observe individuals as it helps in assessing what the markets are doing and where they might go) and stumbled upon this small used book store.  I almost feel guilty for having paid the paltry sum of 1.50 for such a truly insightful book that I went back to this store and bought several other books which I will almost definitely speed read in order to feel that at least I partially paid a fair price for this book.   This book was written in the 1500’s yet the man that wrote this book, in my opinion, is brilliant to say the least; he was born several hundred years before his time and almost all his insights are applicable today.  Over the course of the next few weeks we will list excerpts from this book and then we will reveal the name and the author of this book.  I know many of you will want the info immediately but this way you get to understand and appreciate this book for the true value it carries and not treat it as just another book.  I would personally rate this as one of the greatest books I have yet read and one of the best in dealing with the concept of mass psychology.  This gentleman probably deserves the title of being the father or better yet the Grand father of mass psychology.  As they say if one cannot understand oneself then how can one ever hope to understand another?

A young man ought to break the rules in order to rouse his vigour and keep it from rusting. There is no course of life so stupid and weak as that governed by unalterable rule and discipline. If he takes my advice he will occasionally kick over the traces. Otherwise, the slightest debauch will put him flat on his back and make him a social nuisance. The nastiest quality in a decent man is fastidiousness and a stubborn devotion to the eccentric behaviour and all behaviour is eccentric if it’s not pliable and supple.

Our young man should be able to do everything but love to do nothing but the good. Let him laugh, play and wench with the prince. I would wish that even in debauchery he outdid his companions, so when he refused to indulge in a vice it was not because he lacked the knowledge or power but simply the will. A man should not be ashamed not to dare or to be able to do what he sees his companions doing. Such a one should stick by the kitchen fire.

When was Socrates asked: what is your country? He did not answer “Athens”, but “the World”. His fuller and wider imagination embraced the universe for his city. He extended his knowledge to society and his friendship to all mankind unlike ourselves who look no further than end of our nose. The vast world which some men now think is but one among many of its kind is the mirror in which we must look in order to know ourselves in our true scale.  And this world, in short, is the book my young scholar must study.

Pythagoras used to say life resembles the Olympic Games: a few men strain their muscles to carry of a prize; others bring trinkets to sell to the crowd for a profit; some there are (and not the worst) who seek no further advantage than to look at the show and see how everything is done. They are spectators of other men’s lives in order to better judge and manage their own.

These are my lessons. The man who applies them will profit more than the man who merely knows them. When you see such a man, you will hear him; when you hear him, you see him. God forbid says someone in Plato, “that philosophy should mean learning a pack of facts and discouraging on the arts”. Hegesias once begged Diogenes to read a certain book.  “You are jesting”, Diogenes replied, “surely you prefer real to painted figs, why then don’t you choose living lessons rather then written ones?”

It may happen that our pupil will prove to be a contrary fellow. He may prefer to hear a silly fable rather then a wise discourse or the true story of a notable voyage. While his playmates fire to the beat of a martial drum, he may respond to the tub-thumpings of a circus clown. Perhaps he will find it less delightful to return dusty and victorious from a battlefield then stroll home after winning a match of tennis.  In that case, I see only one remedy. Even though he be the son of a duke, either his teacher should strangle him at an early hour or if that can’t be done without witness, he should be apprenticed in some nice town to a pastry cook.

Published courtesy of the Tactical Investor