• Assumption is literally the mother of all f....

    Assumption, as one of my best friends and soon to be ex housemate (we're still good friends, I think) eloquently put it "is the mother of all f@*k ups".

    And if you think to the amount of times you have assumed something for it to be true compared to it being false, you will, in no doubt, be mostly inaccurate.

    I am currently reading "the black swan" by Nassim Nicholas Taleb. The book discusses random events that underline our way of lives, which are impossible to predict. Think, Pompeii AD79, 9/11, the tsunami of 2004. Effectively Taleb is trying to break you away from fear of what you can never foresee is going to happen to embracing and eventually taking advantage of uncertainty.

    So what's this got to do with assumption?

    Taleb discusses assumption in the book in some detail. Some scientists will assume that because there is a direct and logical pattern to certain events, this in turn means we can predict or foresee what's going to happen, and then avoid it from ever happening. The problem is, these random events (which Taleb calls, Black Swans) are different, and we can only ever use assumption as a mechanism to understand how human behaviour may be should something occur, but even then, depending on the magnitude of the event, we will not know until it happens.

    Taleb looks into an interesting area, and it's relevancy to the caveman. (Now some of you will know that I have changed my diet significantly in the last 6 months to be caveman esque.) The black swans of our ancestors were no greater than discovering new food sources, animals, and habitats. The impact of these black swans would have been significant to cause change to their lives, but purely based on survival.

    Our black swans have a far reaching impact. You only have to look at the state of the world markets to understand that uncertainty, coupled with assumption can seriously screw everything very quickly; and whilst we as humans have survival mechanisms in place, the way we deal with it varies in extremes.

    Our genome hasn't change much in the last few millennia, hence why the modern diet has such a negative impact in a lot of ways, but it also leads me to believe that as humans we weren't designed for this much uncertainty in our daily lives. So, I guess we have to take heed of what Taleb is saying, rather than fearing the future embrace today, embrace what we don't know is going to happen, and when it eventually does, don't assume; do something about it.

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