Look at what Robert Pirsig did. That gun-toting, beer-guzzling, motorcycle-riding, unrepentant smoker who wrote the Zen and the Art of … book that launched a thousand new age fantasies brought Zen philosophy into the prosperous Western mainstream as much as any swami or guru. It was inevitable that, some forty one years after the book’s release, we now have the possibility of a Zen Secretary of the Treasury swearing office in early 2017. The Dali Lama of derivatives, billionaire hedge fund manager Mark Spitznagel, is now on Rand Paul’s team. Spitznagel is an Austrian adherent, that is a devotee of the Austrian School of Economics. To orthodox economists a mere fringe cult. To it’s members they are the key to economic freedom. But Spitznagel takes it to another level: he is a Zen Austrian – perhaps it should be abbreviated as a Zentrian – not to be confused with a centrist which he is not. His book, the Dao (or Tao but Dao is the more acceptable pronunciation of the Chinese apparently) of Capital promises to revolutionize our economic processes like Marx’s weighty and nefarious tome attempted to do some 150 years ago.

Clear your mind of the immediate and change dimensions. You must learn to “perceive a long span of forward moments” and visualize far ahead in time. Stop shouting and pointing on the trading floors of Chicago; you are trapped in a paradox that Swami Spitznagel will solve for you. But you must learn to carefully tread the path. You see, time is a series of coordinated “now” moments like “beads on a string.” Got it? Worried about deflation? Inflation? Unemployment? You are trapped in your paradox. Celebrate the paradox and follow Swami Spitznagel. Late on that project at work? Tell your higher-ups that time is not exogenous, but in fact the endogenous primary factor of things, and that patience is a precious treasure.

Ok, he is a billionaire who started in the pits of Chicago at 22 years old, and he did predict the crash of 2008, but so did others. What would Mark Spitznagel do for the American economy? While he is a very successful trader who understands profoundly the psychology of markets, does that make him a good advisor? Or a good potential Secretary of the Treasury? We will all have time to find out, and to puzzle over his tome, the Dao of Capital, which is entertaining and confusing for those of us who are not born traders. Rand Paul has certainly made a splash with this announcement. Or is that a Zen dive into an intertemporal mind shift?

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