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February 4, 2008
April 22, 2008
An uncomfortable notion I can't escape:
Writers are not just responsible for
what they literally say, but rather the
way that they're actually read. It's
not about words on the page, it's about INTO_THE_BRAINPAN
ideas placed into human minds, and what
happens with those ideas once they're
there. Perhaps notably:
a lot about people
reading him wrong.
One criticism: "The Black Swan"
plays into the hands of macho
gamblers: damn the experts, I've heard it suggested
full speed ahead. that Rumsfeld with his
"known unknowns and unknown
Taleb doesn't really have a lot unknowns" babble was
of positive advice for how to showing that he was a
live your life. Taleb fan.
The best he can do is claim that Would Taleb count him
he is debunking harmful as a disciple?
Isn't the Bush regime
And when those delusions are gone, a good example of trying
how do you live? to live in "Extremistan"?
It appears that you're supposed to
(a) avoid learning about
anything in detail
(b) trust your instincts
And this does sound a bit
much like Bush and company...
Taleb himself gets near this
issue near the end of his
Long Now lecture (Note:
he does not say this in
the book "The Black Swan").
He suggests that in the realm of
ideas it would be best if we
We should stick to traditional
religion, because it fills a
void that might otherwise be I call this the "big lie"
occupied by something more theory of religion: we
harmful, e.g. psychotherapy. know it's nonsense but it
helps keep the little
people in line.
Can one rank belief systems So, how about:
in terms of harmfulness?
We should accept the
statements of the
that's preferable to
And once Taleb has shot the risk of falling
down traditional for an even worse set
investment advice, then of liars.
Taleb may not intend to He claims to be
provide a justification a humanist, and
for the know-nothings has become an
to know less, but it's Granted that there enemy of reason.
inevitable is indeed a problem
with the don't-know- And a rather, stupid
as-much-as-they-thinks. clumsy enemy at that:
who is going to be
persuaded by this
You gotta work hard.
You gotta be lucky,
Which attitude should be encouraged?
Which attitude does Taleb encourage?
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