Archives for posts with tag: Nassim Taleb

A + B = C
Pythagoras Can Kiss My Butt (or) Here’s the Real A + B = C

A: “The safest general characterization of the European philosophical tradition is that it consists of a series of footnotes to Plato” -Alfred North Whitehead


B: ”The [Plato’s] doctrine that the world is made up of objects whose existence is independent of human consciousness turns out to be in conflict with quantum mechanics and with facts established by experiment” -Bernard d’Espagnat


C: nouns or millennia destructive process ‘objectifying’ language, projecting individual identity onto pieces of one’s surroundings, or dis-integrating environment; a result of the isolated projection of self or (ego) individuation by Western humanity exclusive of integration to a sentient, aware surrounding, where all environment had been/should be, social.

This likely had been going on for a very long time prior to Plato who merely organized what amounts to a (mistaken) idea and managed it into imperative. Subsequently adopted by Europe as its cultural driver, finally we arrive at what appears to be the end of Europe’s existence, about the time (now) Quantum Mechanics says this is all wrong.

Watching Nassim Taleb and Daniel Kahneman at…

…my impression is Taleb (whether he realizes it or not) is, in a nice way, saying (Western) language lies about the nature of reality, he gets that much right, and I see Kahneman in some sense struggling with the idea (I sense he is disturbed at the thought) people actually prefer it that way and they do, because it is comfortable. But, one could also observe hypothermia is comfortable, in late stage or final approach to a permanent state of sleep (that would be death.)

What I do not see (in the video or Western culture per se) is holistic approach to interpretation of reality in and of itself. Rather my impression is (Western) language, in its disintegrated state of nouns, is become the trap curtailing possibilities and Taleb simply provides sense of intelligent management within a spectrum of what amounts to cultural self-deceit, creating a sort of proposed ‘armored hernia’ in the failing Western structure one can retreat to; a retreat which must ultimately discover its’ own (the hernia’s) limitations. This is because chaos is part and parcel of the Western (Plato’s) construct. When rationality becomes extreme, this inflates chaos as result; both are result of segregation of the self from peer relationship to environment or the product of ego-individuation (Western or Indo-European perception of reality, i.e. Plato’s objectivity.)

When rationality, and resultant chaos, must symbiotically generate tension to point of cultural and consequent civilizational implosion, there should be nothing left in any case, and, ‘skin in the game’ notwithstanding, Taleb’s proposed management will simply be footnote to outcome of destruction. Severed from the gone-out-of-existence body (Western civilization), there is no ‘afterlife’ for what Taleb proposes. Accordingly, I would propose his solving this problem:

In any democracy, ethics, self restraint, tolerance and honesty will always take a second seat to narcissism, avarice, bigotry & persecution, if only because people who play by the rules in any democracy are at a disadvantage to those who easily subvert the rules to their own advantage (Ronald’s Maxim)

The alternatives? Judges? That didn’t work out for the Judaic tribes, top-down hierarchy was too attractive. Wise kings? For every wise king, there seems to have been two corrupt ones or arguably worse, greater numbers of incompetent kings as opposed to good ones, and is likely why that system didn’t sustain. Autocrats along the lines of the several caesars who replaced the Roman republic? That didn’t work out because personal (individual) ambition cannot know innate sense of restraint:

“The extension of the empire has meant the growth of private fortunes. This is nothing new, indeed it is in keeping with the most ancient history” -Gaius Asinius Gallus (from Tacitus, The Annals of Imperial Rome)

The problem here is, anyone aspiring to rule a hierarchy that is vertical is limited to role of predator in the food chain and that only works in a healthy state of nature where the predator is subject to immutable law keeping its own species in check; where wealth is measured in the health of one’s surroundings, more so than personal possession and accumulation of wealth or sustenance which must be recognized as transitory (day to day) and limited or the prey species vanish and the predator with it. Talib seems to sense fragmentary echo of this in his astute demand for decentralization but he has not solved the problem. A factually ‘healthy’ understanding likely had been last seen, in what has become today’s Western world, in ‘Old Europe’ or pre-Indo-European neolithic (Danubian) culture, ending perhaps 4,000 years ago, abruptly halted by Indo-European thought and associated individuated ego or drive to personal empire. Talib perseveres in this Indo-European trap.

The missing piece of the modern equation? Our experience is (or should be) part and parcel of a greater phenomenon than ego-individuation of humanity, where a process (ego-sustenance) blocks sight of one’s larger surroundings as sentient, aware, self-balancing and possessing a power of volition that could easily see us erased. Welcome to 2019.

A former Sergeant of Operations and Intelligence for Special Forces, Ronald Thomas West is a retired investigator (living in exile) whose work focus had been anti-corruption. Ronald is published in International Law as a layman (The Mueller-Wilson Report, co-authored with Dr Mark D Cole) and has been adjunct professor of American Constitutional Law at Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz, Germany (for English credit, summer semester 2008.) Ronald’s formal educational background (no degree) is social psychology. His therapeutic device is satire.


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