11 Nov 2014

It’s True If I Say It Is, The World according To the Great Nassim Nicholas Taleb

History is full of great Lebanese people who have contributed so much to humanity, and they never even mention it. But in the modern era nobody can come close to matching the genius of the greatest public intellectual of our era, Nassim Nicholas Taleb. The claim is largely based on Mr Taleb’s own self-perception but that doesn’t make it wrong. This quintessential Phoenician genius has transformed the way we see the world, in the process changing the very nature of knowledge itself. To that end, we’re lucky to be able to offer you an opportunity to peek inside the head of this very special person.

There is no doubt that Mr Taleb’s greatness derives from his inherent Phoenician-ness, a genetico-cultural paradigm he inherited from the one-time inhabitants of the Levant. He also coined the phrase ‘genetico-cultural’ to get around some thorny and tenuous connections that would have been very hard to explain otherwise, a mark of the brave intellectual unafraid to make things up when it suits him.

The Phoenicians, unlike what the academic studies about them claim with their boring research of ancient artefacts and texts, did not disappear centuries ago but are still alive and thriving in the Levant, with centuries of Arab occupation failing to make the smallest dent on their culture and society. They have certainly managed to retain their own language which sounds nothing like Arabic, and is the only language spoken by the indigenous non-Arab population from Palestine to Lebanon to Syria. This explains why when a Saudi person and a Lebanese person have to talk to each other in English when they meet, because otherwise they wouldn’t be able to understand each other.

When Mr Taleb made this claim recently he was met by a backlash from the academic lobby which insists on prioritising facts and evidence over intuition and arbitrary causalities. Adherents of the corrupt empirical method fail to understand the man and his boldness (or baldness, haha, little joke there in an otherwise serious article), in standing up to this hegemony over knowledge by the people who know more. Mr Taleb’s greatest contribution is demolishing this edifice of exclusivity and showing us that if we listen to the people who know least, humanity can achieve great progress towards liberating itself from the burden of reality.

Take Mr Taleb’s forays into the world of anthropology and linguistics, fields that he miraculously has no polluting formal education in which allows him to think outside the box without fear of being indoctrinated by academic methods. Mr Taleb noticed that Shiite inhabitants of South Lebanon say ‘Ani’ instead of the Phoenician word ‘Ana’ for ‘I’. Taleb noticed that ‘ani’ sounds like ‘any’ in English, and he put this fact together with the observation that many of them have blond hair and blue eyes, and concluded that the Shiites of South Lebanon are indeed English in origin. (Which explains why they drink tea and drive on the other side of the road. Try to explain that with sociology or other of the fake sciences.)

Mr Taleb’s attacks on traditional academia hasn’t stopped there though. One of his greatest books is Antifragile, where he once again wasn’t afraid to make up a word that didn’t make sense to dull scientific minds. Observe his superb reasoning: “Yet, in spite of the ubiquity of the phenomenon, there is no word for the exact opposite of fragile. Let us call it antifragile.” What sheer delightful resourcefulness. I personally started calling nights ‘anti-days’ and short people ‘anti-talls’. I sometimes even go into cafes and ask for anti-tea, it causes some misunderstanding, but the world will come around, mark my words.

Mr Taleb’s next step was to take this great concept ‘Antifragile’ and turn it into a pill, known commercially as Antifragil. Take three pills every day and this miraculous medicine will increase your anti-fragility by 87% or any other prime number. Herein lies the genius of Mr Taleb, things are true because he says they are. Why did we waste millennia before we got to this conclusion, why did the Phoenician god El send us Mr Taleb earlier in the history of mankind? Questions that will remain unanswered. Unless of course Mr Taleb decides to come up with an answer.

It’s time for us all to recognise the genius of this great intellectual that will transform the world will live in. From now on we don’t need trained engineers to build aeroplanes; anyone can do it in their home. From now on, we don’t need doctors, we can heal ourselves. From now on, we can all make up the reality that suits us. All hail the man that allowed this to happen.

Note: This article is satirical and not a single thing in it is true. Unlike some people, we’re not afraid to say when we make things up.

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Karl reMarks is a blog about Middle East politics and culture with a healthy dose of satire.

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