Archives for posts with tag: Taleb

We’re in the middle of a crises.
Some people believe the crises has been only triggered by the virus. And that it has been mainly caused by ‘globalization’.

I beg to differ. In part.

The crises was indeed triggered by the virus.
But the fact that we are so fragile isn’t the consequence of globalization.
Only by what we have done in the given circumstances.

It wasn’t globalization itself which had made us fragile.
Globalization only extended the opportunity field we had at our disposal.
It was our way of developing those opportunities which had made us fragile.
We had chosen ‘financial efficiency’ over ‘resilience’.
We had chosen to increase profit instead of making it ‘more and more sure’ that we’ll be able to survive.
In a sense, we have been acting as if we’d lost touch with reality.
With the hard reality….

There is nothing to suggest that we knew what we were doing. Then.
But we won’t have any excuses left once that we will have reached the other side.

This ‘lack’ of philosophers can be explained in two ways.

Nobody = among those with enough ‘brain power’ – cares enough any longer about finding the raison d’etre for which we toil on this Earth.

Not enough of the regular people find this subject interesting enough to keep alight the flame of the discussion.

The consequence being that freak ‘intellectual monsters’ have occupied the front stage and drive the ‘unsettled’ among us to utter insanity.

nuts

My take on the matter being that we live in a different world that we used to.
One where both the explanations mentioned above hold almost equal sway.

Thinkers do not touch the subject with the same vigor as a couple of centuries ago because knowledge has become vast enough so that very few people dare to look from one (putative) end to the other.
Commoners do not care much about the subject because they have become rather complacent. Day to day life no longer poses the same challenges as it used to, to the tune that most people, including the not so well of, do not feel such an ‘urgency’ about tomorrow as the one felt by our forefathers.

What we have is a total lack of workable ‘world visions’.

Usually in time of crises new ideas were presented to the public, some of them took roots, and the (local) world enjoyed a fresh start.

For instance when the Athenian democracy reached its crises point Plato came up with a whole concept that influenced the thinking of Europe for the next two and a half millennia.
I’m not going to discuss here the ups and downs of his teachings but the very fact that enough people followed them, and that his ideas survived for so long, means that there was something there. In the ‘cooperation’ between the philosopher and his followers.

The last inflection point happened sometimes in the XIX-ht and XX-ht centuries. Darwin, Hegel, Schopenhauer, Marx (the philosopher and the sociologist, not the political activist), Adam Smith, Durkheim, Max Weber, Einstein, Popper, Kuhn, Maturana…

Now?
Zilch!

Not that people do not think anymore.

Take Nicholas Nassim Taleb for instance. Or Jared Diamonds, Robert Prechter and Neagu Djuvara – to name but the first three who crossed my mind!
Yes, each of them had their relative moment of glory but not any near of what each of them really deserved!
Maybe because none of them had actually engaged in an all out effort to redefine human understanding on matters? Knowing that we are not yet ready to embark on a new project?

Have we become so lazy?

No, I cannot accept such a thing.
We’ll surely grow out of this. Fast!

 

You know the joke about the proverbial glass.
The optimist sees it as half full, the pessimist as half empty while the ‘realist’ grabs it and ‘enjoys’ whatever is in it.

Something of the same nature happens with the whole planet. Optimists are happily careless about what’s going on, the pessimists are terrified about the future and the ‘pragmatists’ are callously using resources as if there is no tomorrow.

To me this whole situation looks like a tree house. All three kinds of people live together in it and use as sustenance the sap of the tree limb where the house was build.
Only the branch is slowly withering away. The pessimists moan about this but don’t do anything really significant, the optimists don’t care while the pragmatists have already made plans for another house on a higher branch.

There is one small problem though. As time goes by the lower branches wither away. The tree, now old, is left with very few leaves so it can no longer grow new branches nor feed its inhabitants.
At last the hungry survivors decide to climb down and search for another tree. Yeah…but they are too high in the air to jump and the branches bellow … are no longer there!

No, I’m not desperate nor Malthusian. I’m convinced that human ingenuity can solve problems far more complicated than the ones we are facing today. Only we have to start facing them instead of turning our heads the other way.
And we’d better start solving the existing problems without adding new ones. (Iatrogenics, see Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s Antifragile…http://www.amazon.com/Antifragile-Things-That-Gain-Disorder/dp/1400067820)

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