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Encounters with Predators

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This weekend a friend took me out on his boat. The waters off the Jersey were calm, with waves under two feet, so we went out about a mile or two, just off Stone Harbor and Avalon, doing a bit of fishing, but mostly just enjoying a nice day. But afterwards, recalling what I saw, I started thinking economics.
While we were out on the ocean I saw what seemed to be a lot of fish jumping out of the water. As we got closer, I could see that there was a huge school of "bait fish." They were five to ten inches long. But underneath the surface I could see silvery blue glints of bigger fish-- half a yard and bigger, swimming at high speed, plummeting into the mass of bait fish-- they looked like bunker to me-- grabbing quick bites. I didn't get any photos, but here's a youtube of what it looked like.

Actually, this is what it looks like from underwater. The impression of big fish roving into the bait ball, grabbing bites at will made me think of our economic system. It's really not very different. The big fish may not eat the little fish but they swim the waters with a very different attitude, taking what they want, when they want it. Their friends in high places, like former Attorney General Eric Holder, now back to being an attorney defending bankers, give them all the room they need to do whatever they want.
My lesson in predation had multiple levels. The "ball" of bait fish would move whenever we'd bring the boat up close. We human predators (we WERE fishing) couldn't catch anything there. All our technology didn't help. Earlier, I'd caught one decent sized keeper flounder (and half a dozen that were too small, thus thrown back.) We were going to have it for dinner. My friend went to gut and clean the fish while I helped put the covers on the boat. He came back with bad news. When he was almost done filleting the fish, a seagull swooped down and in one grab, stole three of the four fillets he'd cut. At that point, with not enough left for dinner, he threw the last fillet to the gulls.
In the ocean, above the ocean, predation is the norm, the way of survival. Predator fish, predator birds. That's the way it is.
It feels that way living in a world of disaster capitalism, where the predators smile before they rip your life apart with medical bills or bad cops stealing tuition from kids. The system is built to empower the big fish to take and to protect them while they are at it.
My friend did catch a shark-- about five feet long, maybe 30-40 pounds. From the pics we Googled, it looked like a bull shark. We didn't want to bring it on the boat, so we cut the line and let it loose, kind of like Eric Holder did with the sharks he caught-- again and again and again. The difference is that with Holder, I think there was an indirect payoff. For us, outside of the thrill of the catch, there wasn't a payoff.
Shark-- caught and released
Shark-- caught and released
(Image by rob kall)
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What are the lessons from this?
The world is full of predators. Some see you as just another bait fish in a giant ball/school, to be eaten. Some steal from you. Some, just coming in contact with them is enough to cut bait and move away. And some, you can outsmart, catch and eat. Or you can become a vegetarian and opt out of the process. Thoughts? Metaphors?
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Rob Kall is an award winning journalist, inventor, software architect, connector and visionary. His work and his writing have been featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, CNN, ABC, the HuffingtonPost, Success, Discover and other media.

Check out his platform at

He is the author of The Bottom-up Revolution; Mastering the Emerging World of Connectivity

He's given talks and workshops to Fortune 500 execs and national medical and psychological organizations, and pioneered first-of-their-kind conferences in Positive Psychology, Brain Science and Story. He hosts some of the world's smartest, most interesting and powerful people on his Bottom Up Radio Show, and founded and publishes one of the top Google- ranked progressive news and opinion sites,

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Rob Kall has spent his adult life as an awakener and empowerer-- first in the field of biofeedback, inventing products, developing software and a music recording label, MuPsych, within the company he founded in 1978-- Futurehealth, and founding, organizing and running 3 conferences: Winter Brain, on Neurofeedback and consciousness, Optimal Functioning and Positive Psychology (a pioneer in the field of Positive Psychology, first presenting workshops on it in 1985) and Storycon Summit Meeting on the Art Science and Application of Story-- each the first of their kind. Then, when he found the process of raising people's consciousness and empowering them to take more control of their lives one person at a time was too slow, he founded which has been the top search result on Google for the terms liberal news and progressive opinion for several years. Rob began his Bottom-up Radio show, broadcast on WNJC 1360 AM to Metro Philly, also available on iTunes, covering the transition of our culture, business and world from predominantly Top-down (hierarchical, centralized, authoritarian, patriarchal, big) to bottom-up (egalitarian, local, interdependent, grassroots, archetypal feminine and small.) Recent long-term projects include a book, Bottom-up-- The Connection Revolution, (more...)

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