[FoRK] Dangerous Thoughts

Jeff Bone < jbone at place.org > on > Sat Mar 25 21:34:15 PST 2006

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about a serious ongoing situation that  
was occurring with me / threat to my well-being of previously unknown  
proportions.  That situation and its effects have not completely  
played out yet;  it was my intent to write quite a bit more about  
this on an ongoing basis as things developed.  Plans have changed;  I  
have been advised not to write anymore about this as it unfolds.  I  
wanted to close the loop, though, so instead of the full epic I'll  
merely toss a few random thoughts into the mix here.

The world can change - significantly - faster than anyone can  
anticipate.  Life is not a Gaussian distribution;  the events and  
experiences that most influence and effect life are always the  
outliers.  Expect fat tails.   As the change-curve accelerates and  
the first derivative increases in magnitude, one must be prepared for  
a wider and wider range of challenges and necessary responses.   
Lazarus Long was more right than wrong.  Ender played his game  
correctly, given his priors.  Speculating about / anticipating the  
worst-case scenario is never a waste of time.  And the old adage "the  
market can remain irrational longer than you can remain liquid"  
doesn't just relate to finance.  There's a LOT more irrationality out  
there than most of us would-be rationalists would care to admit ---  
and sometimes irrationality requires a symmetrical response.

Indeed Sagan was right:  we do largely live in a demon-haunted world,  
lit dimly by the fragile flickering of the candlelight of  
rationality.  Don't ever fool yourselves otherwise.  And those demons  
--- insubstantial and false though they may be --- steer the forces  
of history, both personal and social.

Take care.  Be prepared.*


* there may be fringe benefits in the exercise of this preparation.   
I've learned a lot --- in a lot of previously-unknown and - 
uninteresting areas --- in dealing with this situation over the last  
3.5 weeks.  Good things can come from bad circumstances.

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