September 17, 2016

IYI: The Intellectual Yet Idiot by Nassim Nicholas (The Black Swan) Nicholas Taleb


The Intellectual Yet Idiot (IYI) is a production of modernity hence has been accelerating since the mid twentieth century, to reach its local supremum today,

along with the broad category of people without skin-in-the-game who have been invading many walks of life. Why? Simply, in many countries, the government’s role is ten times what it was a century ago (expressed in percentage of GDP). The IYI seems ubiquitous in our lives but is still a small minority and rarely seen outside specialized outlets, social media, and universities?—?most people have proper jobs and there are not many opening for the IYI. Beware the semi-erudite who thinks he is an erudite.

The IYI pathologizes others for doing things he doesn’t understand without ever realizing it is his understanding that may be limited. He thinks people should act according to their best interests and he knows their interests, particularly if they are “red necks” or English non-crisp-vowel class who voted for Brexit. When Plebeians do something that makes sense to them, but not to him, the IYI uses the term “uneducated”. What we generally call participation in the political process, he calls by two distinct designations: “democracy” when it fits the IYI, and “populism” when the plebeians dare voting in a way that contradicts his preferences. While rich people believe in one tax dollar one vote, more humanistic ones in one man one vote, Monsanto in one lobbyist one vote, the IYI believes in one Ivy League degree one-vote, with some equivalence for foreign elite schools, and PhDs as these are needed in the club.

These self-described members of the “intelligenzia” can’t find a coconut in Coconut Island, meaning they aren’t intelligent enough to define intelligence hence fall into circularities — but their main skill is capacity to pass exams written by people like them. With psychology papers replicating less than 40%, dietary advice reversing after 30 years of fatphobia, macroeconomic analysis working worse than astrology, the appointment of Bernanke who was less than clueless of the risks, and pharmaceutical trials replicating at best only 1/3 of the time, people are perfectly entitled to rely on their own ancestral instinct and listen to their grandmothers (or Montaigne and such filtered classical knowledge) with a better track record than these policymaking goons....

The IYI subscribes to The New Yorker. He never curses on twitter. He speaks of “equality of races” and “economic equality” but never went out drinking with a minority cab driver. Those in the U.K. have been taken for a ride by Tony Blair. The modern IYI has attended more than one TEDx talks in person or watched more than two TED talks on Youtube. Not only will he vote for Hillary Monsanto-Malmaison because she seems electable and some other such circular reasoning, but holds that anyone who doesn’t do so is mentally ill.
- - by Nassim Nicholas (The Black Swan) Taleb Read the entire, whole, complete without excisions bloody thing at Medium or be known throughout all eternity and the twelve heavens as an intellectual piker.

Posted by gerardvanderleun at September 17, 2016 7:02 PM
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

Who is the third fellow supposed to be?
I certainly hope no one thinks of placing
Franz Kafka among those other two destructive morons!

Posted by: Kauf Buch at September 17, 2016 11:19 AM

The third person is the collective for the human race. We are reaching the end and there is no lift to the cosmos.
And worse, the price of beer is rising.

Posted by: Vermont Woodchuck at September 17, 2016 11:51 AM

Reading "The Black Swan" is mandatory before anyone can talk economics or markets in the modern age. An education in one book. The math/statistics is fascinating as well.

Posted by: Terry at September 17, 2016 1:59 PM

Line 12 erudites up in single file and march them down the middle of Ghetto St, Chicago at midnite on any Saturday and in less than 1/2 an hour you will see a conversion occur before your very eyes.

They will all become dirt people or they will all be killed, none will return home as erudites, guaranteed.

Posted by: ghostsniper at September 17, 2016 2:50 PM

IYI thinks information is knowledge, thinks knowledge is understanding, confuses understanding with wisdom, and presents his ignorance as stupidity and his stupidity as lucidity.

Posted by: Howard Nelson at September 17, 2016 6:46 PM