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Old 02-20-2011, 09:03 AM
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recycle
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Antifragile

WHAT SCIENTIFIC CONCEPT WOULD IMPROVE EVERYBODY'S COGNITIVE TOOLKIT?

The above question was posed on The Edge: World Question Center. Nassim Nicholas Taleb (The Black Swan guy) presented an answer that has some meaning for my recovery. He presented three categories of systems: Fragile - systems that suffer from variation. Robust - systems that can handle variation. Antifragile - systems that thrive on variation.

Fragile – My (job, spouse, dog) sucks, and I feel like using.

Robust*– My (job, spouse, dog) sucks, but I can handle it.

Antifragile – My (job, spouse, dog) sucks, but this is an opportunity to strengthen my recovery by….

There are other good responses to the question that are relevant to recovery, but Taleb’s resonated with me. 'What do I do when my ass is falling off?' Do I just weather the variation, or do I seek ways to strengthen my recovery. The theme of 'there are no problems, just opportunities' seems to be cropping up a lot for me lately. It is more or less common sense, but sometimes having a label helps to solidify a concept.


*[I would argue that there is no real difference between this example of robust and fragile other than the magnitude of variation. I think Failure Tolerant is probably a better description of a system that functions other than in a fragile mode. 'I lost my (job, spouse, dog) that sucks, but I can handle it.' Meh – Taleb did not define variation, and it would weaken his linguistic argument, and nobody is asking me to answer questions on the Edge, so I’ll be quiet.]
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