Black Swans

I didn’t know that black swans really existed except in the imagination until we saw one in St. James Park. My companion took me to see one but we couldn’t find it on the waters. He returned and there it was. Perhaps such a sighting is a reminder that nothing can be predicted neither for better nor worse but in these cataclysmic days of loss perhaps a solution even to the impossibilities of the Ukrainian war will be found. I like Taleb’s theory

What we call here a Black Swan is an event with the following three attributes.

First, it is an outlier, as it lies outside the realm of regular expectations, because nothing in the past can convincingly point to its possibility. Second, it carries an extreme ‘impact’. Third, in spite of its outlier status, human nature makes us concoct explanations for its occurrence after the fact, making it explainable and predictable.

I stop and summarize the triplet: rarity, extreme ‘impact’, and retrospective (though not prospective) predictability. A small number of Black Swans explains almost everything in our world, from the success of ideas and religions, to the dynamics of historical events, to elements of our own personal lives.