So lately, I’ve been trying to read a few books, one of which is The Black Swan by Nassim Nicholas Taleb (I’ve learnt the meaning of ‘polymath’ from his Wiki).
The main idea in his book is the effect of ‘black swans’; improbable or unlikely events which have a huge impact on the status quo. (This metaphor originated from the original concept of all swans being white, until a sole black swan was found. The discovery revolutionized the basic concept of swan-ness)
To put it simply, our lives are shaped by these unforseen, yet critical events, and not by the routine, expected ones. He talks about how no one foresaw major events: the fall of the Soviet Union, the worldwide economic crisis, along with many others. Basically, no one knows enough to predict the future.
I’m only halfway through the book, and yet, I’m forced to stop and rethink the way I construct knowledge, and essentially, the way I want to live my life.
Do I want to be a white swan or a black swan?
Is the choice even mine?
(As my friends start college, I read about birds. Hooray)