Triplet of Opacity

Posted: February 18, 2016 in History & Sociology, Uncategorized

The human mind suffers from three ailments as it comes into contact with history, what I call the triplet of opacity. They are:

  • the illusion of understanding, or how everyone thinks he knows what is going on in a world that is more complicated (or random) than they realize
  • the retrospective distortion, or how we can assess matters only after the fact, as if they were in a rearview mirror (history seems clearer and more organized in history books than in empirical real­ity)
  • the overvaluation of factual information and the handicap of authoritative and learned people, particularly when they create categories—when they “Platonify”

 

~Excerpt from “The Black Swan; The Impact of the Highly Improbable” by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

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