Thursday, October 14, 2010

Of mice and men

Last night, as I was walking on a footpath by the river, I felt something softish roll under my left heel. It was a juvenile mouse (or some such rodent) which had fatally mistimed its dash across the path. It was still breathing, its body apparently split, with yellow stuff coming out. I didn't have the stomach to put it out of its misery and gingerly pushed it aside with the toe of my shoe and walked on.

Later in the evening, I chanced upon this passage, this cri de coeur, by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, with the section heading, "The world is unfair":

"Is the world that unfair? I have spent my entire life studying randomness, practicing randomness, hating randomness. The more that time passes, the worse things seem to me, the more scared I get, the more disgusted I am with Mother Nature. The more I think about my subject, the more I see evidence that the world we have in our minds is different from the one playing outside. Every morning the world appears to me more random than it did the day before, and humans seem to be even more fooled by it than they were the previous day. It is becoming unbearable. I find writing these lines painful; I find the world revolting." *

*The black swan: the impact of the highly improbable (Penguin, 2008), p.215.

[Something lighter next time. I promise!]