Financial Alchemy

I have great admiration and respect for Jacques F. Vallée, Ph.D. as an investigator, analyst, and theorist in the field of UFO studies—Ufology. I have read every book that he has written on the subject over the past fifty years. I also knew that he is a computer scientist and venture capitalist. So, when I saw that he had written a book about finance and personal prosperity, The Four Elements of Financial Alchemy: A New Formula for Personal Prosperity (2000), I ordered a copy. The fact that he had used the elements of Earth, Air, Fire, and Water as the framework for his prosperity strategy was intriguing. However, I was soon disappointed to find that “alchemy” was used loosely, as a contrivance for offering the standard uninspired advice that: it is a good idea for investors to diversify their investments. That is not, however, the way Howard Hughes—who followed his path of excitement—played it.

The essences, or archetypal values, of the elements of alchemy are not, in my philosophy, correctly represented in the book, and some of the advice and information is flawed and far from constituting a financial philosopher’s stone. Yet the book offers practical guidance from one veteran investor’s perspective, so it is not without value. My intention here is not so much to criticize Vallée’s book, which reflects traditional western occultism, as to suggest a more enlightened way to analogically apply the elements of alchemy to achievement of personal prosperity. Applying Noetitek™-aligned conceptualizing of the alchemical elements helps guide one’s investment activity in a way that will suit his or her individual desires. Accordingly, I have no one-size-fits-all prescription to recommend. As Vallée wisely points out: the investor’s personality must be factored into the equation.

In my analysis, Vallée’s use of the above-stated four elements (although there are five, really, including Aether) to metaphorically represent increasing levels of risk and associated reward—from the earth-type to the water-type to the air-type to the fire-type—results in misguidance because, in truth, the four elements are more like four aspects, or four sides; they are accurately represented by the tetrad, a geometric figure having truly correspondent qualities because both the tetrad and the elemental set express the foundational metaphysical qualities emergent from root ideational ingredients for SEA’s Omniversal construct. As such, these qualities are embedded in everything, and everything is currency and transactional—matter and energy. If you put that tetrad inside a sphere (for the fifth element), with all points touching the sphere, you would have an excellent symbol for the metaphysical “philosopher’s stone.”

Dr. Vallée classifies Earth investments as “solid;” Water investments as “liquid;” Air investments as “ambitious;” and Fire investments as “volatile,” which is a western occultism-derived classification scheme supporting a systematic approach, but it lacks the perennial functional nature of the non-hierarchical Omniversal root qualities of these fundamental elements. Tetrahedral power is provably demonstrated in objective physical reality by the geodesic dome, which, unlike other structures, becomes stronger rather than weaker with increasing size. This truth makes the sphere-encased tetrahedron the perfect visual metaphor for an enviable investment portfolio created by considering investment qualities corresponding to the five interrelated and inter-reliant elements, qualities revealed in the following paragraphs.

What kinds of investment attributes are represented by each of the alchemical elements?

Earth investments are best conceived of as including physical possession—multisensory experiencing—of: gemstones (especially blueprinted stones), precious metals, and/or other rare and scarce objects and significant artifacts. These include various kinds of collectibles, from coins and stamps to investment-grade paintings and sculpture; rare books; period furniture and similar antiques; as well as certain automobiles and other vehicles—cultural collateral. The most valuable Earth investments are the ones that are naturally produced, portable, concealable, and convertible (i.e., gold can be fashioned into wearable jewelry, and gold jewelry can be reduced to bars of gold). The greatest risks related to these investments are: fraud on the part of traders/sellers, theft, physical damage, and costs involved in valuation and storage/safekeeping.

Air investment holdings are best conceived of as: various symbolic forms (conveying the idea) of value, such as paper money/cash; intrinsically valueless coin; transaction and non-transaction bank accounts; promissory notes; stock certificates; corporate and government bonds; annuities—as well as certain insurance policies; business contracts; and other inked excretions on paper or held electronically. Air investments are important and necessary for daily transactions; in the acquisition and expansion of Earth, Fire, Water, and Aether investments; for facilitating routine expenditures; and they are sometimes advantageous with respect to preservation of Earth investments. All Air investments are equivalent to promises, the values of which vary and are subject to defalcation, devaluation, disagreement, and disappearance.

Fire investments are best conceived of as: those tangibles and intangibles having aggressive, assertive, and forcefully protective qualities and utility. Whether the investor is a government or a natural or corporate person, an appropriate “weaponry portfolio” may include firearms, electronic gadgetry, physical fitness equipment, martial arts training, and other tools such as business consultant assessments, strategic plans, and treaties with ‘friendly adversaries.” These are monetarily valuable investments related to acquisition, protection, preservation, and prospering of every Earth, Air, and Water investment. Give Peace a Chance, “love your neighbor,” form alliances, but consider a full range of potential eventualities and consider hedging your bets. Captains of industry are masters at managing the Fire element.

Water investments are best conceived of as: all investments with values linked to local, national, and/or world economies, which rise and fall (inflate and recede). Cyclical fluctuations can be advantageous or disadvantageous depending on how a portfolio is managed. The water element affects Earth, Air, and Fire investments. Among others, Water-related investments include tangibles and intangibles that are deemed necessaries. Historically this has meant not only food, clothing, medical supplies, household items, and office supplies, as well as personal hygiene products, but also, counterintuitively, “luxury” consumables such as cosmetics, hair care products, and perfumes. Stockpiled bulk-purchase nonperishable necessaries serve as a hedge against downturns that affect all but the Aether investments.

Aether investments are the most valuable, most expansion-enabling across all investments, and least speculative or volatile. These investments are the short- and long-term intangible holdings of mind—mental assets, and they include inspired spiritual and psychic development as well as all forms of education/edification. When facing a fulfillment impasse, or wondering what to do next, read an inviting book or go to school and take a course or courses just because the subjects are fun to explore. Liberal Arts courses are highly recommended in the absence of strong calling to a more concentrated path of study. Weekend seminars can also open new doors, and vision-quests abroad are mind-expanding. Value gained will be more lasting, cherished, and personal-growth-producing than any Wall Street investment or 401(k) plan.

As footnotes to the above synopsis of alchemically correspondent investment qualities, the following will address some other important matters related to tailoring a personal prosperity plan:

(1) Speculative investments have been ordinarily defined as being the riskiest. Vallée calls them his Fire investments, investments that can go up in smoke. However, the larger truth is that all investments are speculative, at least relatively. No given investment and no type of investment is risk-free or a sure-thing—not even owning a bank. But, as Howard Hughes knew and every Bene Gesserit knows: Fear is the mind-killer (and vision demolisher). Anyway, the lower the risk, the lower the promised reward, and, more troubling: the lower the level of excitement.

(2) Liquidity is obviously a practical consideration in pursuing a personal financial strategy. Less obvious is that liquidity is conditional/situational—a matter of type, time, and place—and not flatly synonymous with Water investments. Gemstones, for example, may seem illiquid compared to funds payable on demand from a deposit-insured checking account, but gemstones can pay your way out of a hostile regime—think Jews escaping from Nazi Germany—long after the checking account has been frozen, emptied, or otherwise nullified. Many situations can permanently prevent or temporarily impede access to financial institution accounts, including demand deposit accounts—ask the citizens of Greece.

(3) Real estate seems like it should be classed as a solid Earth investment, but even the dirt itself may not be as stable as it appears (think sink-holes and mud-slides). Traditionally considered the biggest and best no-brainer investment for everyone’s portfolio, the real estate bubble that began bursting in 2006 showed millions of homeowners that mortgage-encumbered real estate can quickly become a negative investment (despite insurances)—in effect, valueless and worse. But even if there is no mortgage, real estate can be dramatically reduced in value or become a total loss due to: flawed title, environmental issues, confiscatory taxation, eminent domain action, depreciation, lack of market demand, catastrophic weather, etcetera. In other words, it is questionable whether something so illiquid—that also may never produce a net gain—should be called something more than a lifestyle preference.


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