I found this chance comment by George Soros very interesting: a whole society may be contemplating something profoundly irrational - and you don't realize the absurdity of it all until you step out and question the basic premise! From an interview on PBS with Bill Moyers:
GEORGE SOROS:Well sometimes we get carried away. I mean, you know, let's say in the Middle Ages, people were religious. And so they had tremendous discussions about how many angels can dance on the eye of a needle. Now, if you believe that angels can dance then that's a legitimate question. And this is exactly what has happened here. You thought that you could slice and dice and engage in this kind of financial engineering. And it became very, very sophisticated and got carried away.