Kardashians vs. the military


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In his latest book, Antifragile, Nassim Taleb describes "antifragility" as follows:

"Some things benefit from shocks; they thrive and grow when exposed to volatility, randomness, disorder, and stressors and love adventure, risk, and uncertainty. Yet, in spite of the ubiquity of the phenomenon, there is no word for the exact opposite of fragile. Let us call it antifragile. Antifragility is beyond resilience or robustness. The resilient resists shocks and stays the same; the antifragile gets better."

Reality-star entertainers such as the Kardashians (or the Robertsons for that matter) tend to be antifragile because any received publicity – positive or negative – works to their favor by expanding their fame and fortune. Like a science fiction Blob, the more you attack them, the stronger they grow.

Nuclear generals, while ostensibly "powerful" in the conventional sense, operate at the extreme opposite end of the spectrum in hyper-fragile land. Any aberrant behavior or misstep can immediately lead to their downfall:

http://www.cnn.com/2013/12/20/us/michael-carey-investigative-report/index.html?hpt=hp_t3

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I think "durable" is a suitable antonym for "fragile". Resilient works, too.

And it's true, military offices are held to an excruciating standard. I heard the Command Master Chief of the ship I'm assigned to say, on more than one occasion, "Gents, all I ask is no one does anything to get my face put on the cover of Navy Times."

When I started out in the military, I remember looking at the rank on the collar of senior personnel... I remember exactly what my thoughts were.

Man, that must so awesome to be that senior.

God, what a cool life they must lead!

There must be so many perks they enjoy.

It must be so nice to be able to walk down the hall and be senior to almost everyone you pass!

I'll bet no one messes with him!

Now, as a guy who enjoys most of those perks and is senior to most of the folks I pass in the hallway, I see a very different people when I looka t folks senior to myself.

God, I can't imagine the headaches they have to deal with.

I wonder how much time away from their family *they've* spent.

That poor bastard... he'll be in this weekend for sure.

Jesus, he doesn't look like he slept at all last night.

I don't ever want that guys job.

I was talking to a guy a couple years ago... he was the Operations Officer for the unit I was at - a LtCol (prior enlisted), and we were both talking about our potential futures. When he talked about possibly becoming a full-bird Colonel, I asked him if he thought becoming a General was a real possibility for him.

I was a bit surprised at how emphatically he scoffed. "I wouldn't be a general if you paid me a million dollars a year."

He went on to explain that once you're a general officer, he military owns you in a way you could never imagine. Everything you do is scrutinized. Every foreign dignitary that visits your area, you and your wife will be having dinner with. You can get fired for things done by people you've never even met. You have to look perfect all the time - everyone is watching and looking to you to set the example of excellence. Judgment must be exact. Character must be beyond reproach.

Do you like porn? Better not bring that up in public. Ever smoked a j? Bury that secret. Are you an imperfect human? Better not be. You are not a general only while at work, you are a general at all moments of every day.

The President and senior politicians lead similar lives. It's ridiculous.

I can't stand reality TV. It doesn't surprise me that Palin thrives in that environment. If by some fluke she were to make it back into some relevant political position, I guarantee she would bring the reality TV cameras in with her. She fits that "antifragile" description perfectly - all she has to do is keep using her catch phrases, winks, and "you betcha's" and no matter how many times she's caught bumbling when she goes off-script will matter. She's going to have a loyal legion of followers for the rest of her life.

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Sounds like a combination of Jack D. Ripper, Commander of the SAC bomb wing in Dr. Strangelove...Or...[come on you know the rest]:

and George Patton, who, apparently had the lowest per capita casualty rate of any comparable American unit in WWII.

A...

Post Script:

However, before I endorse him, pursuant to the "Greg Rule," I would have to see nude photos of the two (2) women, to ensure that I shared his values in an extremely important philosophical area...what did Ayn opine about:

But, in fact, a man’s sexual choice is the result and the sum of his fundamental convictions. Tell me what a man finds sexually attractive and I will tell you his entire philosophy on life. Show me the woman he sleeps with and I will tell you his valuation of himself.

Sounds very Gregish to me? What do you think?

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But, in fact, a man’s sexual choice is the result and the sum of his fundamental convictions. Tell me what a man finds sexually attractive and I will tell you his entire philosophy on life. Show me the woman he sleeps with and I will tell you his valuation of himself.

Sounds very Gregish to me? What do you think?

Another unfortunate example of Rand opining on a subject she knew little about. She assumed that her everyone's internal workings, motivations, and psychology must naturally be the same as her own, and she apparently never questioned that assumption.

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Rand assumed that her everyone's internal workings, motivations, and psychology must naturally be the same as her own,

Or the opposite. See (I meant to write "flair" not "flare," but she had a lot of "flare" too).

Another reference in a minute.

See, and also the next post for examples of the Rand technique I call proclaiming of opposites.

Ellen

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I think "durable" is a suitable antonym for "fragile". Resilient works, too.

Ack! Don't let Taleb hear you say that - he has a tendency to blow his lid over such misunderstandings (common and forgivable IMO if you haven't read his works). Taleb created the term "antifragile" because he emphatically felt resilient and durable were not suitable antonyms for fragile. Those characteristics lie at "point zero" of his fragile-antifragile spectrum and are the property he calls "robustness" - a mere tolerance for disorder and shocks. Antifragile describes something actually improved by shocks and randomness over time - a very biological/libertarian concept.

He went on to explain that once you're a general officer, he military owns you in a way you could never imagine. Everything you do is scrutinized. Every foreign dignitary that visits your area, you and your wife will be having dinner with. You can get fired for things done by people you've never even met. You have to look perfect all the time - everyone is watching and looking to you to set the example of excellence. Judgment must be exact. Character must be beyond reproach.

Some of what you're describing is fragility; some of it is just additional responsibility. It is possible to be antifragile but also have additional demands on your time.

I can't stand reality TV. It doesn't surprise me that Palin thrives in that environment. If by some fluke she were to make it back into some relevant political position, I guarantee she would bring the reality TV cameras in with her. She fits that "antifragile" description perfectly - all she has to do is keep using her catch phrases, winks, and "you betcha's" and no matter how many times she's caught bumbling when she goes off-script will matter. She's going to have a loyal legion of followers for the rest of her life.

Celebrity figures tend to be antifragile (not always - depends on the nature of their fame and income), but political figures are usually fragile. Palin operates in both realms, so I think her fragility/antifragility depends on which realm we're talking about. She's antifragile in the sense that many "scandals" that would ruin the typical politician would overall improve her celebrity and profitability (e.g. nude photos), but it's not true that she's impervious to all shocks, like the Kardashians are. For example, if Palin were caught on tape saying things unflattering to Tea Partiers/libertarians, she would be severely harmed by that.

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Astute observations, Ellen. And I think you are onto something important with that.

What to say about someone who assumes that all those who do not fully agree with everything I accept must therefore support everything I'm against?

Yet, we see a lot of that in her writings.

And it explains why the orthodoxy can hate the Brandens despite their having been in a better position to understand Objectivism and Ayn Rand than anyone else alive.

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Rand assumed that her everyone's internal workings, motivations, and psychology must naturally be the same as her own,

Or the opposite. See (I meant to write "flair" not "flare," but she had a lot of "flare" too).

Another reference in a minute.

See, and also the next post for examples of the Rand technique I call proclaiming of opposites.

Ellen

Parameters. How does one attain any certainty without defining the parameters?

If one starts in a fog, everything is always foggy.

(Albeit that you made very good points.)

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Parameters. How does one attain any certainty without defining the parameters?

If one starts in a fog, everything is always foggy.

(Albeit that you made very good points.)

So the way to define parameters is to invent them? Great.

Ellen

So say some. I've been waiting for authentic rebuttals of those inventions by anybody who wants to try.

Still waiting...

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Rand wrote:

But, in fact, a man’s sexual choice is the result and the sum of his fundamental convictions. Tell me what a man finds sexually attractive and I will tell you his entire philosophy on life. Show me the woman he sleeps with and I will tell you his valuation of himself.

end quote

Balderdash. What if you valued material advantages? She could be talking about “arranged marriages.” (Daughter, Prince Gerald’s Dad only has a tiny kingdom while Prince Valliant’s Dad’s realm is larger with several port cities.) (Raj, the girl has a dowry of a thousand rubies! Who cares if she talks continuously?)

Rand could be talking about men or women who trade in the old spouse for a newer, better model, as do her heroines.

She could be talking about a man who marries a woman so that she can conceive children. Per Ayn’s quote, my philosophy of life would be nice mammary glands, a ten inch difference between a woman’s hips, waist, and bosom. And pretty eyes and a light sprinkling of freckles.

I think Rand would disapprove of lust for sexual reasons and highly approve of online dating sites where the shoppers can intelligently shop. The hell with all attraction for subconscious reasons. Who cares if she smells good!

Seymour you must only marry your own kind, so enroll in Jew Date and get off of meetsingles.com. Objectivists must only marry their own kind.

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Objectivists must only marry their own kind.

Not so sure that is a survival strategy, they do not seem to breed well...

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Parameters. How does one attain any certainty without defining the parameters?

If one starts in a fog, everything is always foggy.

(Albeit that you made very good points.)

So the way to define parameters is to invent them? Great.

Ellen

So say some. I've been waiting for authentic rebuttals of those inventions by anybody who wants to try.

Still waiting...

Tony, I don't understand your comment. Are you claiming that the opposites Rand proclaims here and here are accurate generalizations from evidence? If so, it's in your court to provide some evidence.

Ellen

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Parameters. How does one attain any certainty without defining the parameters?

If one starts in a fog, everything is always foggy.

(Albeit that you made very good points.)

So the way to define parameters is to invent them? Great.

Ellen

So say some. I've been waiting for authentic rebuttals of those inventions by anybody who wants to try.

Still waiting...

Tony, I don't understand your comment. Are you claiming that the opposites Rand proclaims here and here are accurate generalizations from evidence? If so, it's in your court to provide some evidence.

Ellen

They are accurate generalizations from my experience and introspection, and what I've seen of other people's lives.

All those states of mind she points to in your links (passive resignation, chronic guilt, self-doubt, disgust, boredom) delineated as extremes at one end - must exist in relation to something else, at the other.

For instance, as we can safely surmise she'd have viewed it, a mind is either alert, focused and conscious - or it's in a fog. No half measures.

Can one be half-guilty, half-fearful, half-self-disgusted? Well sure one can, but not for any length of time before it affects one's present and future happiness and self-esteem..

If one grasps that one's life (and all life) is not defined by these, and wishes to oppose them, one'd better have a crystal-clear idea of their obverse.

(Maybe one must have walked on the wild side for a period of one's life, to fully appreciate "the proclamation of opposites." I will add that the further out you go into No Man's Land, the nearer to a life or death situation existence becomes. A resultant compromise- of a half-life- is even worse. Can you get any greater opposites than between those?)

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For "anti-fragile" I suggest meta-stable or at least tough. Durable was a good suggestion, also. Avoid anti-concepts whenever possible; otherwise, you risk being unclear.

RB is clarifying to me (since his comments aren't getting through moderation) that anti-fragile is being misunderstood. That's partially my fault for conflating it with durability.

Durability is an imperviousness to damage.

Anti-fragility is actually a state in which a normally damaging situation (action/statement/blunder) actually actually makes the anti-fragile being stronger.

In other words, a durable person would be unaffected by a bullet. An anti-fragile person would absorb the bullet and be made stronger by it.

That was clear in the OP - I just didn't catch it.

He also made some comments regarding my assessment of Palin that I hope make it through moderation.

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Kacy,

Not trying. You are his bitch for now.

Seriously.

You have no idea the amount of whining going on backstage. This guy can't do anything with me, so he uses you.

Control freaks gotta control somebody. Can't control me, so he controls you.

:)

I was clear when I restricted him that I will not let his snark through, not let his control games through, that I would delete this stuff and let the interesting things through (at least sometimes), and I was clear that I will take my goddam time evaluating his posts.

He's pissed because I delete the snark and control stuff, and because he wants the approved posts approved faster. So he whines and tries this and that to get around the restrictions. For instance, he owned you just now and you fell for it like a two bit whore puts out for two bits. :)

The only way you can help him learn that he doesn't control OL (that is if he wants to post here, which is not any great value from my point of view) is to stop being his conduit. Or keep on if you like being his bitch.

You're actually kinda cute that way.

:)

Michael

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Kacy,

Of course he didn't ask you to.

He manipulated you into it.

It's a control thing and you fell for it.

btw - Aren't you the guy who broadcasted to the four winds--including right here on OL in about a bazillion posts--that you blocked this dude from communicating with you from everywhere because he was stalking you or something? The dude was bad faith and so on? Wasn't that you?

And here you are telling everyone what gets through and what doesn't get through in his moderated posts. You are in essence making his posts for him.

How on earth did you become aware of what's in them?

Hmmmmm?

And where did the urge to say this in public come from?

Hmmmmm?

You were played, pure and simple.

Stings, doesn't it?

:smile:

I wonder what else he's going to have you doing.

Michael

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Kacy,

btw - I'm doing the control game the hard way in his case--open and honest. He will not control OL, he will not set the rules here, and he will not disrespect me. I've made that clear to him and to you and the reader sees what I am doing.

He's doing the control game the easy way, by stealth, a few amateur persuasion principles (but they still work--just look at you :smile: ) and deceit.

I've had people like him destroy my projects all my life. They always appear when there's an audience and they love the limelight. He's a little too late in my life to be very effective because I know what to do with people like that. And if he keeps on insisting on setting the rules, manipulating people here on OL, etc., I will take stronger measures.

I just don't want people like that around me. There's a big Internet out there...

Michael

EDIT: btw - Sorry if some of this sounds like I am being hard on you. I keep getting weird private messages from this dude about how much he hates another poster on OL. (Seriously.) :)

I enjoy ribbing you and you tend to give it right back in a playful manner. This brings the forgotten corners of my mind back to the way people are in Brazil and the feeling is quite pleasant.

Here's an idea. Let's talk about something other than RB. The universe is wonderful and, like Ray Bradbury said (which I posted in a different thread), our role is to be the audience, a witness to it's miracles and applaud. This extends even the humans in it in all their grandeur and folly. I feel you (like others here on OL) know how to do that. I wish everyone did. :smile:

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Parameters. How does one attain any certainty without defining the parameters?

If one starts in a fog, everything is always foggy.

(Albeit that you made very good points.)

So the way to define parameters is to invent them? Great.

Ellen

So say some. I've been waiting for authentic rebuttals of those inventions by anybody who wants to try.

Still waiting...

Tony, I don't understand your comment. Are you claiming that the opposites Rand proclaims here and here are accurate generalizations from evidence? If so, it's in your court to provide some evidence.

Ellen

They are accurate generalizations from my experience and introspection, and what I've seen of other people's lives.

All those states of mind she points to in your links (passive resignation, chronic guilt, self-doubt, disgust, boredom) delineated as extremes at one end - must exist in relation to something else, at the other.

For instance, as we can safely surmise she'd have viewed it, a mind is either alert, focused and conscious - or it's in a fog. No half measures.

Can one be half-guilty, half-fearful, half-self-disgusted? Well sure one can, but not for any length of time before it affects one's present and future happiness and self-esteem..

If one grasps that one's life (and all life) is not defined by these, and wishes to oppose them, one'd better have a crystal-clear idea of their obverse.

(Maybe one must have walked on the wild side for a period of one's life, to fully appreciate "the proclamation of opposites." I will add that the further out you go into No Man's Land, the nearer to a life or death situation existence becomes. A resultant compromise- of a half-life- is even worse. Can you get any greater opposites than between those?)

Ellen: It was likely my top-spin return of serve, but it's "in your court" now. Without a response I have to presume I took the point, if not the set?

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