From the thinking trader, Justice Litle at Consilient Investor:
I would not give a fig for the simplicity this side of complexity, but I would give my life for the simplicity on the other side of complexity.
– Oliver Wendell Holmes
Expanding on the drawing from an earlier blog post (All About the Tails), I realized that the traditional bell curve shape isn’t quite right.
To demonstrate the power of the tails in terms of effort and result, it’s perhaps more useful to think of a runway (1), leading up to a complexity ramp (2), followed by natural acceleration beyond the high point of difficulty (3).
In trying to solve complex problems, or learn a complex skill set, the natural human tendency is to start at point (2), the base of the complexity ramp.
But when you begin there, odds of success are low. The task appears daunting, if not impossible; the ramp looks intimidating, staring you in the face as it does; and logistically, there’s no real way to handle the job from a standing start.
Making full use of the runway, in contrast, can provide the momentum you need to get up and over the ramp. (Length is not fully represented in the drawing; it should probably be longer.)…..
Talking about politics is often done as though everything is determined by structures and forces outside us, which move inexorably like glaciers…the best we can do is hop aside. This seems to me to be a hopelessly inadequate way of thinking.
The individual mind is a quantity we need to pay much more attention to. How it works, acts, is acted on, surpasses itself, solves problems, or sets them — thinking on those lines may get us to a better place than the usual moldy stalemate between ideologies — which for want of better thinking, we consider politics…
Techniques to improve our thinking and actualize the potential power of our minds are a powerful antidote to the idea that we are helpless in the face of structures. There is nothing obscurantist about this. Peak performance theories, among others, can tell you ways to resist the mass thinking that’s the real reason we turn to the state for everything….