Begin reading at the bottom.
When you finished (or read it the first time), did you feel pain?
Many do. That pain is evidence that we're connected. We imagine these two young men; we imagine or remember our own losses. That's Spiritual. Even those of us who do not know these people nevertheless feel their pain.
I need to pause here. I do also want to say how heartbreaking it was to hear, and express my condolences to those who knew Vijay personally, his family and Mike in particular.
I'm drawing connections into the financial world after the jump.
But now let me say on a technical level that we have designed a system for making decisions that excludes spirituality. This is why, when we envision finance and economics to do social good, we need to remember what that truly means.
Soros has recently announced that he is founding a new organization to study new ways of thinking about economics. But in these or other "new" ways, we must be able to accomodate, explicitly, the emotional repercussions of death; as well as the spiritually significant work of caring for the weak, or the young and old.
It's seductive to imagine we can push "quality of life" to the point that one day we just keel over and die, possibly without ever burdening another person. In reality, even if we're well to the point where we contract a terminal illness, still that will represent months if not years of physical and sometimes cognitive decline. And even in the best possible quality-of-life circumstances, the death of beloved people will leave a spiritual sadness when they are no longer near.
You can see this in the healthcare debate, which has fixated at times on what we will do with the elderly: will we be pragmatic or spiritual? And pragmatic is extrapolated to murderous, while spiritual is extrapolated to lunatic. But the reality is that we need to have solutions that incorporate both the pragmatic and spiritual. We need to evaluate our success as a culture on whether our systems incorporate the full range of human function.
I leave you with a fascinating TED talk discussing how social media builds intimacy, and how this is related to the way work has been done since industrial revolution: