Taleb Koans

In considering policy and politics, it’s important to separate the ideas of purity from practicality. For example, Nassim Taleb tweets:

Many of those said to be unbribable are just too expensive.

The perception (ideal) is drastically different from the reality (practicality), and that could spell disaster somewhere down the line. It’s always important to be honest about who and what you’re dealing with, and understand the gap between perception and reality.

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2 Responses to Taleb Koans

  1. You need to expound on your observation. I personally believe that Perception IS Reality and it is subjective to the individual or majority rule. Examples; If I were on the planet alone, my perception, opinion, and rule would be the set standard. I would dictate for myself- what reality is as my perception dictates. Athiests believe there is No God. That is their perception. Should they seize power of the world they would see that as much of the population adhere to their perception of reality- creating a majority rule. It would take the individual to hold a different perception for themselves. You can replace “athiests” with any other distinction, political or religious and the statement still holds weight. In the tweet you provide I personally see it saying that everyone has a price- though some set their own too high to be reached by those not truly determined on the purchase. I agree to tell you the truth- because my perception of mankind is that he is ultimately self serving and corruptable. Appeal to a man’s personal desires, offer that man a way to get away with it- and most men in control of something, a gatekeeper so to speak, will take the bribe and let you in.

    Most, won’t do what Jesus would do, as the question asks. And most- probably think he was a fool for not cutting a deal when he could have.

  2. Aaron says:

    Individual perception is subjective; but there’s also an obvious external reality. Whether or not this is technically “objective” isn’t particularly important. I found the thought interesting, because getting your perception aligned with reality is an important determinant when real circumstances change.

    If you’re relying on someone’s virtue to keep them loyal, and someone appears with the purchase price, suddenly your circumstances have drastically changed. If you understand your allies’ price, you can react to the new circumstances much more productively.

    I was thinking in terms of regulatory structures; there’s an assumption that bureaucrats will work for the ‘public good’ (whatever that is), which people often assume is the same as too pure to accept a bribe.

    I think the debacle with the Minerals Management Service shows what happens when your perceptions don’t match our reality.

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