Not long ago, in an interview conducted at his home – the Butner Federal Correctional Institution, in North Carolina – the convicted fraudster Bernie Madoff said something surprisingly profound. “I have… no decisions to make,” Madoff, who’s scheduled for release in 2139, told Barbara Walters. “I know I will die in prison. I lived the last 20 years of my life in fear. Now I have no fear because I’m no longer in control.”
In all honesty, the interview hardly gave the sense he’d seen the light, and I suspect the world’s not yet ready for a book entitled The Spiritual Wisdom of Bernie Madoff. (If it ever is, I’ve got a great marketing wheeze: the first 100 buyers get 80% off; everyone else pays full price, gets no book and never sees their cash again.) Still, his insight’s worth mulling. All anxiety stems from the fear that we’ll lose what we have, or that the future won’t be what we want. It seems rational to quell the fear by winning those battles. But perhaps an equally effective, even preferable, solution might be to lose them, decisively and irreversibly – eliminating the sense of fearful struggle by eliminating the struggle altogether.
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