Education is a Branch

Taleb notes in Skin in the Game that “Education is a luxury good.”

Organized education in a society is a result of wealth and success, not the other way around. The school of hard knocks is a much better educator toward actual success, and the modern University system is more of a parasite than an engine. It is a massive wealth transfer from the middle class to bureaucrats and real estate developers.

Organized education is not the root from which springs progress and civilization, but rather one of the branches. And probably a branch that needs to be trimmed back.

Nothing is more annoying than a branch that thinks it’s the whole tree.

Short Lives are a Grace

From Skin in the Game:

If humans were immortals, they would go extinct from an accident, or a gradual build-up of misfitness.

According to the Bible, this is, indeed, what happened. When humans could live almost 1000 years, we got so bad that God had to wipe the slate clean with the Flood. Something similar happened with the Tower of Babel. Lifespans had begun to shrink, but Shem still lived for 600 years and mankind had to be dispersed, or else the evil they would be able to accomplish would be considerable.

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Pretend Benevolence and the Code of the Coward

Pretending to love the poor half a world away is a common problem, especially in an age where everyone is trying to signal their virtue. Like the old saying goes, “Everyone wants to save the world, but no one wants to do the dishes.” Nowadays, it can be properly modified to say:

Everyone wants to post pictures and memes about saving the world, but no one wants to do the dishes.

This is just a slight intensification.

Both NN Taleb in his Skin in the Game and C.S. Lewis in his Screwtape Letters highlighted the phenomenon.

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