Thursday, April 02, 2009

Counter Arguemnt for Barbell Strategy

A couple of posts ago I talked about the Barbell Strategy which was to put 90% of your efforts into hyper-conservative efforts and then put 10% into highly risky. I have recently read the following quote that would challenge this idea.

Courage is the mean between recklessness and cowardliness. Here, narcissists are also at both extremes, never in the mean. Indeed, they are often bold or inordinately daring. Their inflated sense of superiority propels them to recklessness; for they are subject to fantasies of omnipotence and unequalled brilliance, and they feel that they are above the law. And it is this sense of superiority that allows them to underestimate the intelligence and determination of their adversaries.20 But they are not brave; they are cowards at heart. They lack the courage to gaze upon the dilapidated specter of their true selves, nor can they bear to look into the eyes of one who has discovered their true nature. They inspire terror only because we recognize that the inhibitions that govern the impulses of normal healthy persons are completely lacking in the pathological narcissist. They are psychopaths.21 The terror they inspire is a source of narcissistic supply that contributes to their sense of existing, which they need to counter the sense of their own nothingness, created by their immoral and unrepented choices.DOUGLAS MCMANAMAN

Not a good sign that the type of strategy that I just described in my barbell post is similarly described in reference to narcissism. Especially when reading Taleb's book I felt that there was a touch of narcissism to his writing.

I think Taleb's answer would be that the problem is that we do not know the scale of risk. It is unsure where the center point is between recklessness and cowardliness. It isn't even sure if there is a true linear scale. Because risk is fundamentally an unknown, making the center unknown, this is the precise reason the barbell principle is needed.

The other problem is that this theory doesn't really work for depicting Jesus' life due to him knowing the risk and were real courage resides. So my answer is that I don't know. I am going to have to think about it.

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