The title of this post is wholly lifted from the late, great Physicist Richard Feynman. There was a wonderful series of videos called the “Symphony of Science” which I highly encourage everyone to go check out.
If you’re new to this blog, which everyone is given the lack of curating for this beating heart on my end, you will come to see that it’s somewhat eclectic. Much like Hugh Hendry, I’ve changed my stripes over the years; unfortunately, mine have been for the better and Hugh’s, despite my respect for him, certainly for the worse.
What’s the point of this blog? James Altucher reminds us that the most interesting aspects of people’s lives are what he dubs the Hero’s Origins. Even as I’m typing this I’m reminding myself that the world doesn’t need another blog, or another podcast for blogs in audio form. I get that. But the theme of this website is “Seeing the Signal Through the Noise” which is becoming increasingly harder. For example, if you’ve used Internet Explorer at all (which I encourage you not to but if you’re in the boat I’m in some internally developed programs at work require it) you will notice article after article of utter nonsense and propaganda as soon as you click “launch”. Article after article of pure garbage, outlining what the average Kardashian ate for lunch. Where the hell did we go wrong? We’re at a point in human existence where we’ve never had access to more information yet we’re dumber than ever.
Admittedly, complaining about the plight of the species isn’t terribly helpful. The goal here is to help. As George Carlin says “if someone else is doing it, that’s not self-help, that’s help”. The website for this blog is admittedly ambiguous, combining the next thing that is said “at the margin” as well as paying homage to the only school of economics worth following, the Austrian school. The marginal revolution (which was already taken by Tyler Cowen) is also a great name, and a highly important part of human history. The Austrian’s illuminated the concept of subjective value, which is critical in understanding how we value the “stuff” we come across. Using the framework of subjective value, we can better understand overall human decision making (or, maybe more accurately, TRY and understand human decision making).
With all of that in mind, the purpose of this expose will be to present ideas that generally will have come into existence elsewhere, but much like a chef, will (hopefully) be fashioned in a way that is fresh, interesting and nourishing for the soul. If you haven’t read Steven Johnson’s “Where Good Ideas Come From“, I encourage you to start there and reflect not the ideas related to the Adjacent Possible. Scattered throughout the content will also be products I use that have greatly contributed to my overall well being. Most of the products pertain to health, because if we don’t have health, we have little hope. We truly are living in what Dicken’s referred to as “the best of times and the worst of times”. It’s amazing with just a few clicks to be able to have nearly any item under the sun delivered to your door in 2 days (less than that if you actually live in an interesting place – of which I do not). Other “ads” will link to those products and people that have greatly contributed to my overall mental health, generally with content that you didn’t learn in school and you (most likely) won’t hear from your colleagues. The sheer lack of intellectual curiosity amongst even the non-average person is disheartening. Good luck getting anyone that has been brainwashed under the standard paradigm of thought (Consumption led growth, low-fat diets, avoidance of the sun, the list goes on and on) to believe anything that they’ve never heard of. There’s no doubt that the psychological principal of “familiarity breeds acceptance” is a strong one. So my goal is to perpetually drip ideas on others that one day that level of familiarity for the obscure will gain some level of acceptance. However, I’m not naive enough to believe this is a high probability outcome. As I like to remind my colleagues, no one has ever been convinced by empirical evidence. There has never been a presentation developed in PowerPoint that was shown to the masses and by the end of that process convinced those in the audience of a 180 degree turn in what they believe. Never. As Tolstoy said “you can teach the most dimwitted man anything, but the most intelligent man nothing if he’s already made up his mind about how the world works”.
Like life, we should laugh, cry and at times be utterly pissed, but never ceasing to work toward that ever elusive truth. There is no end, there’s just a journey of continual improvement.