Antifragile

Antifragile

"Crucially, if antifragility is the property of all those natural (and complex) systems that have survived, depriving these systems of volatility, randomness, and stressors will harm them. They will weaken, die, or blow up. We have been fragilizing the economy, our health, political life, education, almost everything... by surpressing randomness and volatility.
Just as spending a month in bed (preferably with an unabridged version of War and Peace and access to The Sopranos' entire eighty-six episodes) leads to muscle atrophy, complex systems are weakened, even killed, when deprived of stressors. Much of our modern, structured, world has been harming us with top-down policies and contraptions (dubbed "Soviet-Harvard delusions" in the book) which do precisely this: an insult to the antifragility of systems.

This is the tragedy of modernity: as with neurotically overprotective parents, those trying to help are often hurting us the most.

If about everything top-down fragilizes and blocks antifragility and growth, everything bottom-up thrives under the right amount of stress and disorder.

The process of discovery (or innovation, or technological progress) itself depends on antifragile tinkering, aggressive risk bearing rather than formal education."

 

Antifragile - Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Blowing Up Your Life

Blowing Up Your Life

"Big stands for greatness - extraordinary results. Pursue a big life and you're pursuing the greatest life you can possibly live. To live great, you have to think big. You must be open to the possibility that your life and what you accomplish can become great. Achievement and abundance show up because they're the natural outcomes of doing the right things with no limits attached.

Don't fear big. Fear mediocrity. Fear waste. Fear the lack of living to your fullest. When we fear big, we either consciously or subconsciously work against it. We either run towards lesser outcomes and opportunities or we simply run away from the big ones. If courage isn't the absence of fear, but moving past it, then thinking big isn't the absence of doubts, but moving past them. Only living big will let you experience your true life and work potential."

 

The One Thing - Gary Keller with Jay Papasan

Morals & History

Morals & History

"Moral codes differ because they adjust themselves to historical and environmental conditions. If we divide economic history into three stages - hunting, agriculture, industry - we may expect that the moral code of one stage will be changed in the next. In the hunting stage a man had to be ready to chase and fight and kill. When he had caught his prey he ate to the cubic capacity of his stomach, being uncertain when he might eat again;

Insecurity is the mother of greed, as cruelty is the memory - if only in the blood - of a time when the test of survival (as now between states) was the ability to kill.

Presumably the death rate in men - so often risking their lives in the hunt - was higher than in women; some men had to take several women, and every man was expected to help women to frequent pregnancy.

Pugnacity, brutality, greed and sexual readiness were advantages in the struggle for existence. Probably every vice was once a virtue - i.e., a quality making for the survival of the individual, the family, or the group.

 

Man's sins may be the relics of his rise rather than the stigmata of his fall."

 

The Lessons of History - Will & Ariel Durant

Old vs. Young

Old vs. Young

"So the conservative who resists change is as valuable as the radical who proposes it - perhaps as much more valuable as roots are more vital than grafts. It is good that new ideas should be heard, for the sake of the few that can be used; but it is also good that new ideas should be compelled to go through the mill of objection, opposition, and contumely; this is the trial heat which innovations must survive before being allowed to enter the human race.
It is good that the old should resist the young, and that the young should prod the old; out of this tension, as out of the strife of the sexes and the classes, comes a creative tensile strength, a stimulated development, a secret and basic unity and movement of the whole."

 

The Lessons of History - Will & Ariel Durant

The Nature of Achievement

The Nature of Achievement

“No creator was prompted by a desire to serve his brothers, for his brothers rejected the gift he offered and that gift destroyed the slothful routine of their lives. His truth was his only motive. His own truth, and his own work to achieve it in his own way. A symphony, a book, an engine, a philosophy, an airplane or a building – that was his goal and his life. Not those who heard, read, operated, believed, flew or inhabited the thing he had created. The creation, not its users. The creation, not the benefits others derived from it. The creation which gave form to his truth. He held his truth above all things and against all men.

His vision, his strength, his courage came from his own spirit. A man’s spirit, however, is his self. That entity which is his consciousness. To think, to feel, to judge, to act are functions of the ego.

The creators were not selfless. It is the whole secret of their power – that it was self-sufficient, self-motivated, self-generated. A first cause, a fount of energy, a life force, a Prime Mover. The creator served nothing and no one. He lived for himself.

And only by living for himself was he able to achieve the things which are the glory of mankind. Such is the nature of achievement.”

 

The Fountainhead - Ayn Rand