Faith, Hope, and Charity: Three Blind Virtues in a World gone Mad

One of the best books on philanthropy is Give Smart: Philanthropy that Gets Results, by Tom Tierney and Joel Fleishman. Witty and eloquent, as well as passionate, erudite,  and practical. One thing they say goes around and around in my head: Philanthropy is related to love, but "love is blind." Meaning that we also need to plan prudently for best results from any given investment of time, money, or effort. Agreed. Point made. Point taken.

But what all is blind?

  • Love is blind
  • Faith is blind
  • Hope is blind
  • Fate is blind
  • Justice is blind

And the list of God's attributes, all blind as a stump, goes on and on. Prophets and tragic heroes, all are blind.  Sometimes even I as a Theorist have been blind, without recognizing it until later.

When aggregate net positive results for our planet are not going to come, or will come too late, maybe we had all better be blind, or go mad. Only blind love, and faith, allows for blind hope. And without blind hope, how can we lift our hands to support the results we know will not suffice without divine intervention? Maybe delusion is better than blindness. At least blind optimism keeps us positive.


Back Story on Tess, the Castle, and Audrey's Real Dad

Omniscient Side Bar

Many of you have asked about Audrey's mother, Tess, and how she became to rich, and how she came to live so isolated a life in the Old Castle, and how for that matter The Happy Tutor, the most disreputable of men, was ultimately hired as Audrey's Protector and Mentor. That seems to show very bad judgment on the mother's part. I can explain it all, but it is awkward.

In telling you the stories I will be sharing information that is strictly confidential, some of it disturbing, and some of it tragic. Much is a secret - a very dark secret - from Audrey herself. For me to publish it like this on the internet for all to see, and perhaps for Audrey to stumble upon is clearly reprehensible. Yet, unless you know the back story you will have no way of understanding how Audrey is the way she is, and how ugly the world is that she is destined to save. My only excuse is that I, as Omniscient Narrator, by long standing literary convention, am allowed to whisper to you, The Intended Reader, as my confidante, over the heads of the characters. You and I will know things that the characters do not. That is (I checked this with Dr. Amrit Chadwallah, Senior Adjunct in Charge of Hidden Meanings in Wealth Bondage) called "dramatic irony." How Audrey rises or does not rise to the level of understanding you as Wise Reader and I as Omniscient Narrator share, will determine the Genre of our Tale. If Audrye's understanding rises to include and even transcend our understanding it will have, our story will, a triumphant ending, even if it ends in tragedy, all hopes dashed, all heroes dragged dead by their feet from the stage, while I alone remain to speak the disillusioned epilogue. If she does not rise to our shared understanding, then, well, at best we have farce, and at worst the ethos of dead winter, naturalism and blighting irony. So, you see, you need to know the disabling truth towards which dear Audrey sleepwalks the Castle, in search of the man will never find, not her Dad for Hire, the Happy Tutor, but Real Dad, her natural father. Mother never mentions father. And her body language says that question must never ever be raised. It makes me so sad. I wish I did not have to share this post. But it is what we writers call, "the donnee," the given. How it works out, beats me. I hope the next Omniscient Narrator they bring in will find a solution. I just know that Audrey must someday learn and transcend these bitter truth so she can save the world. It is for that Tutor will mentor her.

Warning

The Back Story below was written late at night on Prozac, professionally adjusted by a Qualified Physician. I also  had chugged two or three beers (Malt Liquor), and had steeled my resolve, and dulled my despair, by reading more than  twenty-five motivational quotations on Linked-In and Twitter. Unless your meds are dialed in just right, or you are well self-medicated, or have just read a good positive mental attitude book, or at least one Listicle on what Successful People Do in the Presence of Suffering Humanity, I would suggest you skip the rest of the next section, particularly the last paragraph, before I return with an Authorial Aside. Thank you.

Back Story on Tess

Tess was an only child who grew up on an Army base, or actually went from base to base, as her father, who eventually rose to Sergeant was redeployed. Her mother worked as a cashier in the commissary. Tess learned to make friends easily and give them up easily, as nothing ever lasts more than a year or two. As an only child she was considered strange, and in fact, as they said in those days, "retarded," meaning late to develop. When the other children her age were lisping, she was silent. When they could say "dada" or "momma," she had nothing to say. When they could speak in complete sentences, she was only humming. For her third birthday she was given a child's plastic clarinet, or horn, a "Melodica" with a few large, brightly colored keys. The first time she blew it made an off-key sound. The second time, a good note. The third time a perfect sound. And then sound after sound, until the house was full of music, tunes never played before. Only when her music was perfected to her own satisfaction, did she begin to use English. Her first words were a complete sentence, "Mother, where is father stationed this time and when do you expect him back?" For her fourth birthday, she was given a second-hand flute; and where other kids might carry a snuggy, she always carried her flute, and played to the trees, the flowers, the snows, pets, goldfish, all creatures great and small, who recognized in her tunes their own lost voice, or the timeless music of the spheres. The animals  came at her call, and would sit crouched at her feet. The wind hummed back, and they would play a duet.

In first grade came ABCs and 1 + 1. But no sooner did she see math, than she was reminded of it. It was as if she was recalling what she had known in some other time and place. The school had a library, and the solitary child went down the math books, some on shelves so high she needed to borrow a chair, stand tippy-toe on the seat, and reach up, up. By fourth grade, she had remembered trigonometry, algebra, and calculus. In high school she was introduced to basic economics, and began to plunder the library again. It was all math, and math is all music. She heard math and heard economics as tunes, and could improvise with it, as if it were jazz. By college she was done with college, graduating Summa Cum Laude at 19 with a BA in Math, and minors in Music and Economics. By 20 she was the youngest person and only woman on the trading floor of a viciously competitive Wall Street firm, my current employer and generous patron, Wealth Bondage. Her trades resolved like tunes. She would hear the counter-party play a note, and she knew how it resolved. Her limit for trades rose win by win, until one day, without permission, she bet the company and brought down the Central Bank of Germany, as Soros had the Bank of England. At 20 she was richer than Koch or Gates.

Of course there was a dinner, for the top leadership of the firm, at a five star restaurant in NYC to celebrate the world historic trade. Tess, the solitary, had had no time to date, and no interest in drinking. Math was intoxicating enough. In her honor came three champagne toasts, one before each course. She felt compelled to drink each toast. She could remember, later, being bundled into a limo. Apparently there was an after party, for the rank and file traders, her peers, almost all young and male, on the trading floor, where she would awaken, next morning, in a fetal position, disheveled and half undressed as the sun rose over the Hudson, and blazed on her disgrace through the plate glass. She never went back. Not to the firm, or the city. She was ashamed, and even with family, would never speak of the event. So, now, wealthy, she lived in a hotel in Paris, then Brussels, then as the pregnancy ripened, she found the Old Castle, and purchased it for her confinement.

Authorial Aside

That is all I can bear to tell you. I may know more, but thank God, I have blanked it out. All I really know is second hand from the rumors outside the building, near our Dumpster, where the traders smoke, and brag.  How much of what they boasted of is true, I will never know. You now know what I know. The rest will be easier, maybe. Except for how poor Audrey will ever learn the truth of her Real Dad. That is the state of the world she must save. Not a dream world. Our world. I am just happy to be back on the payroll.


"400 Families own 61%? What about my Share?" asks Audrey

Audrey is a serious child. She has seen on Momma's iPad a report, The Forbes 400 and the Rest of Us, by Chuck Collins and Josh Hoxie. "With a combined worth of $2.34 trillion, the Forbes 400 own more wealth than the bottom 61 percent of the country combined, a staggering 194 million people." "You Liar, Tutor!, she exclaims. "You said yesterday Momma owns it all and I will inherit it all!" Tutor corrects her, "No, I said Momma owns, or will soon own, 51%, a controlling interest." "So how come 399 other families have so much? It's not fair! How can I rule and save the world if 399 other families have so much? That is a lot of people. They will make all kinds of trouble." Tutor assures her that since she is only 9.6, and Momma is a genius, and money tends to consolidate, by the time she is 21, no single other family will have more than a teeny-tiny minority interest, with little or no voting control. "Whew!" says Audrey. "That's better. 400 families! You had me worried, Tutor. 400 families could never agree on anything. They can't even agree on Global Warming, and the Polar Pears are dying. I saw it on National Geographic." Tutor picks her up and carries her wriggling to the Great Hall and shows her the oil paintings of the many Kings and Queens he has tutored, as Princes and Princesses, since 1475.  "Look, Princess, 400 Noble Families is why the world needs a Strong Queen. Some day you will be Queen Audrey, The First, and your picture will go in the gallery. The 400 families are like the Dukes and the Earls in the olden days. You will repeal the Magna Carta and rule them with an iron fist. That is why we have a Dungeon, Sweetie. And I am very good with an axe!" Audrey makes an iron fist and swings it mightily. "Exactly, kid. The world is already a better place for having you in it. Now, let's calm down, it's time for your nap. Has Momma ever taught you your prayers?"


Preparing Audrey to Inherit, Rule, and Save the World

Audrey's Mom, the Warrior Queen of Wall Street, living in the Old Castle, maybe in a tax haven, or just  in exile, will soon own a controlling interest in the world. Audrey will inherit the world, either outright or in trust. Based on the Family Values Exercise conducted yesterday by Tutor, Mother made, or has caused to be made, a pennant with a globe, with Own Rule Save  under it, to fly from the Old Castle's battlements, and to serve as an Escutcheon on a shield displayed in the Great Hall. It will also guide the Family Constitution, as the guiding, in fact the governing, document for the Empire. Tutor's role now, as Audrey's Mentor-of-Last Resort, or Dad-for-Hire, is preparing this obstreperous heir, now 9.6 years old, for her future duties in owning, ruling and saving the world, for our benefit and that of our families, as well as all creatures great and small.

Mentoring Audrey is hard work for even Tutor. Audrey (except when she is depressed and won't eat or get out of bed)  wears everyone out. The last time I heard from Tutor, he had placed Audrey in front to the wide screen in the Movie Room, with the banked, reclining, leather seats. There she sits, alone, next to her big Raggedy Ann doll, in the front row. Both have red hair. Raggedy Ann's curls in ringlets. Audrey's stands more or less straight up and straight out. Audrey's little legs, like those of her doll on the adjacent seat, are extended on the recliner's footrest. The two are watching their favorite movie over and over. Tutor has tried Cinderella, The Little Mermaid, Snow White, and other age-appropriate, heir-friendly, cultural capital building fare, but the only movie Audrey and Raggedy Ann want to see is Thelma and Louise. Over and over. At least it keeps Audrey relatively stationary, not quiet, necessarily, but stationary.


How Highest Values Get Planned for a Family that Rules us All

Tutor, after decades in the Dumpster, has been trying to work his way back into a real paying job in Wealth Bondage. The going thing today is called "Family Governance for Flourishing Families." Flourishing Families are not mine or yours. I know you do have a family and it may flourish, for all I know or care, but this is Shop Talk. Flourishing Families means families with net worth north of $100 million, high fee tolerance, and enough dysfunction to support a Long term Engagement with Value Pricing based on Results. It means helping families who govern a disproportionate share of the world's assets to govern themselves, as individuals and as families. Noble Families. Noble Professions. Our noble trade. Tutor having served as what was once called a "parasite," in Ancient Rome, meaning a hanger on and flatterer in wealthy, noble, families, and as  Courtier in the time of Castiglione, as well as a World Class Fool, has a pretty good basic understanding of how to emerge as The Most Trusted Advisor, in the court of King or Queen, a Rogue among Knaves, but he has a hard time seeing Audrey, and Tess, her mother, as anything other than human.  To think of lovely daft Tess, who grew up on an Army base, with a father away at war, as a Patron or noble client is hard. Audrey is just a kid. He wants to do right by them, while preserving as much wealth in The Bank of Wealth Bondage as possible, so as to do well by doing good, if he can, for himself and his employer.

Today, against his own better judgement, and in imitation of all the best models, he is conducting  Values-Exercises, to help Tess and Audrey clarify their values, much as a Corporation must, if it is to succeed over time, and Build the Brand, so the Corporation can have Perpetual Life. It seems only appropriate, in the Old Castle, to use the Crest Exercise. The last time he used that was teaming with Seneca, that time with Nero. The exercise went well enough, but ended badly for Seneca soon after; badly for Rome after that, going up in flames; and finally for Nero, too, driven to suicide by fear of rebellion. Tutor was lucky to escape with his own life and swore he would never prostitute himself again like that, preferring to sell his fanny in back alleys than his learning in the house of Lords and Ladies. So he has been reluctant to go back to the values exercise, but as Lear said to Cordelia, "Nothing will come of nothing." Tutor has not much left to lose. Self respect long gone. No longer young enough to peddle his fanny at a decent per diem, hourly, on retainer, or for a modest percentage of assets under management. We all do what we must to survive. Don't judge my mentor, The Happy Tutor, harshly. Think of all the profane things you have done yourself' and why you did them, even when you knew better. It is the way of the world. It is how things are. You can't change it. You may say that The Happy Tutor is a high class whore, or maybe not so high class. He does not deny it. What makes you any better?

"Tess," Tutor asks, "if you and Audrey had a crest, like a school crest, or an ancient heraldic crest, what would be the central symbol?" He goes to the flip chart to take notes with a magic marker he has borrowed from Audrey.  The fumes always make him a little dizzy, so he holds the marker, when not in use, pointed at the floor. Audrey, meanwhile, is tumbling up and down the floor, somewhat distracting to Serious Conversation among Grownups about Ultimate Family Values. Tess, likes brainstorming exercises, as long as they are done quickly and result in action. She suggests a flute, since she is so musical, then maybe mathematical formulas, since she hears numbers as music, then a flute whose notes are dollars, cents, euros, since money seems to come to her call, as the waves, and birds, and fishes might have answered Pan's flute, or as the rats and children followed the sound of the Pied Piper.  "Sounds good, Tess. Wonderful! we can work with that," says Tutor, sketching a flute with money blowing out of it. 

Tutor is about to wrap up phase one of the values exercise, the emblem, and move on the phase two, the motto, when Audrey the Rabbit, who is bouncing now rather than tumbling, has a better suggestion. "Momma, why not a globe? Why not the whole world?" Somehow that seems so right! "Urbi et Orbi" exclaims Tutor, as would be natural for an ordained Catholic Priest, however worldly, down on his luck, and dissolute. "Hunnnh?," asks Tess, who great gifts do not include Latin. It means City and Planet, as when Rome ruled the world, explains Tutor, sounding like a Tutor in Earnest, or even a Chaplain. "No! We don't want any stupid Latin on our crest!" says Audrey. "We are real life people; not Romans. We have to speak English like a real person!" So, this is the perfect transition to the phase two of the Ultimate Values Exercise, or as Tutor thinks of it, The Guided Discovery of the Summum Bonum, for cultural illiterates with ungodly amounts of cash, who would not know Truth, from Beauty, or Profit from Virtue if they had to pick one out of a police line up.

"Tess, and you too Audrey, if urbi et orbi is too old fashioned, or high-toned, what two words, or three, would hit off your values, the ones you actually live by, or aspire to live by?" The Rabbit has become a Warrior, a Ninja, doing what appears to be T'ai Chi. Short attention span. ADD, big-time. Tutor wonders when they are going to put that girl on chill pills. He hopes never. Meanwhile, Tess is free associating to the image of the Planet floating in Space, which Tutor has drawn on the flip chart. She  exclaims, decisively, "Own." That certainly sounds right. The point of all points, the meaning and purpose of life, is to own more and more. And, ideally all.  But it looks awkward to have the globe, with only one big word under it, Own, as a family's heraldic crest. "What might be another word that goes with that, Tess?" "How about me or I?," she asks. "Or, 'Forever.'" "OK," he says, making a note of the word 'I,' "but how about one more too?" She says, "I Own it." "Well," Tutor agrees, "that about says it all. But would it sound more noble," he suggests, "in the Royal Plural? 'We Own It.'  It is more literal than one might wish, since Tess does own it all, or will soon, but who needs poetry since we live in modern times and speak good English. "What about Forever?, asks Tess, you left that part out. Can we have four words as our Ultimate Values? 'We Own It Forever'? Or how about 'We Own All Forever?'"

Tutor has, as a trained Rhetorician, to explain the Rule of Three. Big concepts are best presented in Three. Not two. Not one. Three. "How about 'We Own Forever.'" Positioned in a little arc, with Word Art, beneath the planet, it is clear that Own means Own all. Tess is impressed. This Tutor is clearly Wise Counsel. He can really cut through the crap. A strange man, with a weird sense of humor, a big pain in the ass, often, but clearly a man of Great Sagacity and Learning, but down to earth, too, a realist. He got the Core Values down to three words in under 15 minutes. She may give him a smoked ham as his Holiday Bonus.

Tutor is folding up the flip chart paper, grateful the preliminary exercise in the touchy-feely stuff is over, and that he has something to feed to the legal, trust, investment and accounting animals in the Wealth Bondage Back Room, so they can build a plan from the Core Values Statement down, to Tools and Techniques, then Tactics, Time Lines and Metrics. He has done his sorry, soul destroying job; he has sold his birthright for a mess of pottage; and is about ready for a drink and, if all goes well, some fun time with Molly Flanders, the new Upstairs Maid, when The Ninja strikes, again. "Rule it! Momma, let's own and rule it too!" Audrey, grins, makes a pointing motion like a politician working the crowd. Then she gives the thumbs up sign. Then she stands erect, fist raised in victory, like an Insolent Olympian getting the gold medal. "Tess? Own and Rule? Does that sound right to you?," asks Tutor. It does of course.  Tutor is thinking just how much beer, and whether there will be capon, and if buxom Molly is as good as she looks. He has about had it with values exercises; and the fumes from the magic marker are making him nauseous. He wants to disengaged tactfully.

"Well, then, good job! We have all we need for today. We can reconvene when we have a sound plan that supports our highest level values, 'own and rule.' Excellent. Now, if you Ladies will excuse me....." But no. The Ninja, who just raced out of the room, has morphed into Joan of Arc. She returns with her plastic helmet, grey, the helmet of a Medieval Warrior, or Saint, jammed down on her stiff, bushy red hair; and she is holding her long plastic broadsword, brandishing it. "Momma! Wait! We cannot just own and rule the world. Please, Momma, we must save it too!" It is a very poor idea and complicates the crap out of Dynastic Legacy Planning for the Animals in the Backroom at Wealth Bondage, and Tutor knows it is a big mistake; it is mixing apples with oranges, hard and soft, reality with BS, and he knows the back office Legacy Planning Software does not support it, and the boilerplate won't work for such a multi-dimensional set of goals, and that it will all be custom work, and the back office Animals are going to roll their eyes and snort at "Save the World," but Tess is already nodding lovingly at Audrey, and the only thing between Beer, Capon, and Molly (the three highest level value words now on Tutor's personal escutcheon) is wrapping up the exercise and Ending on a High Note. So, Tutor summarizes, "Under your planet floating in space we now have, 'Own Rule Save. Do we need commas? I think not. Congratulations, Ladies, I think you nailed it. Give yourselves a round of applause. Now if you will excuse me, I must be off to my cold, dark cell for prayers and feasting, I mean fasting...."

"What a Wise and Virtuous man," says Tess. "Do grow up, Audrey, to be good like Tutor." Maybe she will and maybe she won't, but Audrey is turning cartwheels, like a Dallas Cowgirl. "Own it, yeah! Rule it, yeah! Save it, yeah!" Leg kick on own it. Leg kick on rule it. On save it, her hands shoot straight up. Touchdown! Up and down the room, over and over. You would think she would get tired. She should sleep well tonight.

 


A Note on my Omniscience

It really has gotten to be a sore point with me too. Wealth Bondage, my Corporate Patron, is taking Gifthub in a new direction in the hopes of goosing sales to the world's wealthiest. Tutor's work with Audrey is now supposed to be my total focus.  To make it work, since he is in the Old Castle now with Audrey, in Scotland, and I am here in NYC alone in the Dumpster at the corner of Wealth and Bondage, I have to somehow intuit or know all that happens inside and outside the characters far far away. To make it worse, the real Omniscient Narrator, who played such a big role in Wealth Bondage in the 19th century, has long since been terminated, as a relic of an earlier era. My role traditionally was stooge, dunce, knave, pious fraud, unconscious incompetent, and convenient butt of all jokes. My assigned role was to build a bridge of understanding between the Intended Reader and our Omniscient Narrator. Now, with the job cuts I have to double in both roles. Making it more difficult are the many lobotomies, and strong, mind and heart numbing drugs, needed to make me more normal and more representative of the target demographic.

How can I know what Tutor is doing or thinking? How can I see inside to the Values that animate his client, Tess, she who owns 51% of the world's wealth, and her daughter, Audrey? Add to that the whole endemic problem of confidentiality. In our line of work we are sometimes called a Consigliere, a most trusted advisor, who is nearly adopted by the family, as Tom Hagen, JD was by the Corleone Family in The Godfather. The first rule of unrepetant power, beyond justice, is omerta. If I were to breathe even one word of what is actually happening in that Old Castle, I would within the day "sleep with the fishes." What happens in Wealth Bondage stays in Wealth Bondage. The less the general public knows as to how their world is governed by one Flourishing Family who owns a controlling interest in the planet, and is now planning to pass it on forever in a Dynastic Trust,  the better.

Now you might ask, how, then, do I dare name names? Tess? Audrey? Easy! I am Omniscient like all the loquacious frauds of 19th century fiction, like Flaubert, or George Eliot, or Dickens. I make it all up. Each character, and I myself, the unreliable narrator of Gifthub, who has usurped some poor stooge's name, the Phil Figure, are figments of my imagination, as All Powerful, All Knowing God of my Creation, living here in the Dumpster. None of this is as it seems; none is real. It is a parable and a reading test. If you as Intended Reader, Confident Consumer, and Citizen, can make neither head or tails of my cock and bull story, my lies inside lies, how can you possibly make sense of the nonsense you see on the news, or Twitter?

Look, within the constraints under which I am working, I am doing the best I can to be open, honest, candid, frank, accurate,  and transparent. I am risking not only my career, my reputation, my sanity, to even hint at what is actually happening in the Old Castle, and at the many conferences I attend, if only as a waiter, on Planning for the Highest Wealth Clients.  I am risking my very life to help you, ordinary people, who depend on the Omniscient people like me, to understand how it all works, before it is too late for democracy, civilization, humanity. You can be sure, then, "The Old Castle" as such does not exit. We speak here only of fictions. Any assertion to the contrary does my Immortal Art a great disservice. To the extent you understand, we are both screwed. To the extent we can plead under oath that neither of us knows anything, the safer we are. Even under torture, I will steadfastly maintain I am completely out of touch with reality. I suggest you do the same. The truth is our best defense.


Audrey, the Indominable

Tutor and she, his 9.6 year old, red-haired, charge are sitting today in her Dumpster which is really her huge wooden toy box, in her big drafty bedroom in the Old Castle, with a coverlet pulled over the top of the box, to make their warm, secret place. They face each other, amidst her treasures, her puppets, masks, puzzles, and books, with his long legs outside her short legs. Between her outstretched legs she has a wooden pegboard, with a hammer. He is helping her with Family Values. She is whacking the round pegs and square pegs with the hammer, harder and harder, and yelling “F..k!,” louder and louder. He, as her Morals Tutor, has explained good girls do not say “F..ck” out loud. Good girls say “f.ck” to themselves so quietly no one can hear, and say “O phooey” out loud. To which she whacks a round peg so hard it squirts through with one blow. "F.ck you!" Tutor has gotten much the same reaction from the Queen Mother when he asked her about her Values, the one she wishes to pass on to Audrey, along with 51% of the world's wealth. (He did not tell his Generous Patron, that she should correct her vernacular; she said, “O f..king A!,’ not another f…king values exercise; you f.cking moron; do you think I am a f.cking idiot?” He said, “No M'am, I mean yes, M’am, sorry M’am, it won’t happen again, M'am.”) Now he is constructing a business plan, or Family Constitution, to govern the entities which will soon govern a controlling interest in all the world’s wealth, given how well Tess, the Queen Mother, is doing trading commodities. “F..k  U” is the Constitution’s highest level principle. He and Audrey are working down the pyramid through mission, strategies, to practices, family culture, action plans and Metrics for Success. When they present their handiwork, crayoned on a legal tablet, to Mother, it will be a Family Meeting. If Momma laughs as she kicks Tutor’s behind, then all will be well. Two silly grownups and one serious child, dancing in glee, two kicking one, united in their values.


Audrey Gets Lessons from Goddess Athena in Being A Good Trust Beneficiary for the Private Bank of Wealth Bondage

My friend and mentor, The Happy Tutor, Dungeon Master to the Stars in Wealth Bondage, and Moral Mentor to Ruling Families,  is out and around doing Confidential Client Work, involving his new 9.6 year old charge, Audrey. (You may remember her from the newspapers a few months ago, for the Annie Oakley Incident, which caused international alarm. She had gone to the Halloween Ball at her Private School as Annie Oakley, with a long buffalo rifle she had borrowed from the Queen Mother's Gun Case in the Trophy Room. Audrey shot out the lights in the gym by mistake, is now on the Terror Watch list, cannot leave the Castle except with a tracking bracelet, and requires home schooling, since no school in the world will take her. It is a long story, involving almost every Trusted Advisor in the Registry of Trusted Advisors, all of whom got shut down by Ms. Audrey,  but that is why Tutor ultimately got involved as the last resort of a desperate UHNWI mother. He is good with the worst of the worst clients, the hardest cases in Flourishing Families. Whatever they have done, he has done worse. Acting out? Even Audrey cannot keep up with him, and so he earned her Trust, along with the vigilant suspicion of her mother, who is good person, with a gift for making money, who loves Audrey dearly, and only wishes she were less of a menace to herself and others.)

Audrey is sole heir apparent to a fortune that is rapidly approaching 51% of the world's wealth, a controlling interest in the planet. The prophecy at her nativity, spoken by the squint-eyed Scottish nursemaid attending Audrey's mother in the Old Castle, is that Audrey will save the world in the nick of time. I would like to believe that, and do believe it. If Audrey inherits, owns, and rules the world, there will be hope for us all, the rich and the poor, the just and the unjust alike,  as Tutor, in his role as her surrogate Dad-for-Hire, and Morals Tutor, and favorite Clown, is reinforcing all her worst habits:  idealism, a concern for the poor, a sense of silly fun, insubordination to properly constituted authority, a love of animals, disdain for hypocrisy, and distrust of Stupid Grownups, generally. But - and here I do need help from readers who may have experience in Family Governance for Governing Families - how can we prevent Audrey's  mother, The Warrior Queen of Wall Street, and her Most Trusted Advisor - the Villain of our Piece - I dare not mention his name, since he could make or break me or you as Advisors to Wealth,  but we call him the Godfather, though he prefers to think of himself merely as Consigliere, Secular Priest, and Regent, from arranging it so Audrey has only a Beneficial Interest in the All the World's Wealth? How can she inherit, rule and save the world, if it is all owned on her behalf inside a Dynastic Trust, whose corporate Trustee forevermore is The Private Bank of Wealth Bondage?

Sad to say, one of my peers here, a well built blond  from the Wealth and Wisdom Scene Room, who, in one of those togas exposing her left breast, generally plays Goddess Athena in the Pageant in which a young wealth holder is cast as Telemachus, and the Senior Corporate Trustee of The Private Bank of Wealth Bondage is installed in the role of Mentor, his brows encircled with ivy,  has already  been dispatched to teach Audrey her first lessons in The Art of Being a Good Trust Beneficiary. It starts with age appropriate training on being a good girl who is seen, not heard. Good girls do as told. Good girls say please and thank you. Good girls take lessons on right and wrong from The Wise and Virtuous consultants in Wealth Bondage who know what is best for little girls. Good girls do not eat with their fingers, or flip the bird when chastised for bad manners. Good girls do not read in bed after lights out with a flashlight under the covers. Good girls do not sneak down into the kitchen at 3 am to make blueberry pancakes, with butter and maple syrup, when it is not good for their diet, or for their teeth, and they have already been warned. Good girls do not pretend to be rabbits bouncing around the bedroom during nap-time. Good girls do not show their bum out the squad car window when taken away after shooting the lights out in the School Gym, by mistake.

I cannot imagine how all this will end well for Mistress Athena, my esteemed colleague, Audrey, or Tutor. I can just see The Goddess trying to get Audrey to wear a nice party dress, white hose, and patent leather shoes.  Athena would do better if she could get The Happy Tutor to wear any clothes at all, other than that rolled up towel around his crotch, like (as Tutor points out) Jesus on the Cross. The only time he dresses respectably, in a worn black cassock, with scholar's hood, is to take confessions or give communion, or preach the sermon, or collect the offering in the Castle's Chapel, and only then as a sign of respect for his calling as a real priest, with a divinity degree from Oxford, circa 1500, where he roomed his senior year with Rabelais and Erasmus, carousing and whoring with the one, and fasting and praying with the other, until he got mixed up, from loss of sleep, and got sent down for a semester for whoring and feasting during Lent and fasting and praying during Carnival. All in all, though, he has done more in Mentoring the Heirs of Dynastic Wealth than all the great pretenders in our noble trade ever since. Only Falstaff, of the old crew, did more. Not that Tutor, or I, or Falstaff ever got any meaningful reward. Our goal, which has nothing to do with self advancement, has been to Save The World, starting at the top, because nearer to God, one Multi-Billionaire Dynastic Family at a Time. To keep the World's Wealthiest Families in Power for 100 years or more is its own Reward. As long as Audrey inherits outright, upon coming of age, a controlling interest in the world's wealth, and she has a free and liberal hand, then the world will be saved, and even ordinary people will not get any further exploited, just because they don't see it coming, or know the difference. Someday, God willing, all of us will cheer, "The Queen of Wall Street is Dead; Long Live Queen Audrey, friend of all including those who go in rags."


King Lear and The King's Men - Lessons on the Slippery Art of Family Governance

King Lear: The History Revealed by Fintan O'Toole, reviewed in The New York Review of Books.

Family Governance for Governing Families. The role of the artist, under a patron. The role of the King's Man. Support, absorb, refactor, and subvert, for the greater good. More power than a Wise Counselor in the traditional Courtier mode. More power than Parliament. Only an all licensed Fool could do more. Were I a wise man I would join Wise Counsel, giving sage advice to families as powerful as our former Monarchs, before we broke from English rule. 

The Wise make good use of literature, as of everything else. If they were wiser yet, they would be Fools. And perhaps The Happy Tutor could show them how. He is a Secular Priest, or actually a real priest, educated at Oxford as a cleric, since under Primogeniture (how our august predecessors beat the proverb, ashes to ashes, and rags to rags), he had to go into the army, become a judge, or be a priest and scholar, with a parish, or a school, or if lazy, as Tutor is, and a drunkard, and carouser, he could set up as a Morals Tutor to his noble neighbor's brats. Mentoring the Heirs, as we now say. The Happy Tutor is also the Lord of Misrule. So are our Wise Counsel, today, if by Misrule we mean the rule of the richest forever. Fool is one thing, Coxcomb, or Villain is another.

In Lear, do we pity the pauper at the base of Fortune's wheel as it turns, or the King at the top who must inevitably fall? When the highest and lowest trade places, 'handy dandy' who goes in ermine, and who in rags? Change places, and who is the thief, and who is the justice? Who is the sighted one? Who is blind?  Who is sane and who mad? Riddle me that, Wise Counsel. But more importantly, can we like Shakespeare, speak truth in riddles to power, and still be awarded our four yards of red cloth to wear the King's livery at court? So far Tutor, buck naked in a Dumpster, must await future delivery. Advantage Wise Counsel.

If I were to write my own Book on Wealth and the Will of God, I would add the epigraph: "Wiser are the Children of Darkness." And believe me, I have learned that to my own cost. Let it be a lesson to us all.