The Bed of Procrustes: Philosophical and Practical Aphorisms (Anglais) Broché – 7 juillet 2011
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Description du produit
If you want people to read a book, tell them it is overrated. - You never win an argument until they attack your person. - Nothing is more permanent than “temporary” arrangements, deficits, truces, and relationships; and nothing is more temporary than “permanent” ones. - The most painful moments are not those we spend with uninteresting people; rather, they are those spent with uninteresting people trying hard to be interesting. - Hatred is love with a typo somewhere in the computer code, correctable but very hard to find. I wonder whether a bitter enemy would be jealous if he discovered that I hated someone else. - The characteristic feature of the loser is to bemoan, in general terms, mankind’s flaws, biases, contradictions, and irrationality—without exploiting them for fun and profit. - The test of whether you really liked a book is if you reread it (and how many times); the test of whether you really liked someone’s company is if you are ready to meet him again and again—the rest is spin, or that variety of sentiment now called self-esteem. - We ask “why is he rich (or poor)?” not “why isn’t he richer (or poorer)?” “why is the crisis so deep?” not “why isn’t it deeper?” Hatred is much harder to fake than love. You hear of fake love; never of fake hate. - The opposite of manliness isn’t cowardice; it’s technology. - Usually, what we call a “good listener” is someone with skillfully polished indifference. - It is the appearance of inconsistency, and not its absence, that makes people attractive. - You remember emails you sent that were not answered better than emails that you did not answer. People reserve standard compliments for those who do not threaten their pride; the others they often praise by calling “arrogant.” - Since Cato the Elder, a certain type of maturity has shown up when one starts blaming the new generation for “shallowness” and praising the previous one for its “values.” - It is as difficult to avoid bugging others with advice on how to exercise and other health matters as it is to stick to an exercise schedule. - By praising someone for his lack of defects you are also implying his lack of virtues. - When she shouts that what you did was unforgivable, she has already started to forgive you. Being unimaginative is only a problem when you are easily bored. - We call narcissistic those individuals who behave as if they were the central residents of the world; those who do exactly the same in a set of two we call lovers or, better, “blessed by love.” - --Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Relié .
Revue de presse
[A] quirky, entertaining collection of aphorisms, covering everything from the web ("like a verbally incontinent person") to the injuriousness of doing too much work ("My idea of the sabbatical is to work for (part of) a day and rest for six") ... a wry, often hilarious glimpse. (Robert Collins The Times)
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This is short book, easy to read, and even when you disagree with Taleb, he is humorous enough not to lose you. Indeed, I find his aphoristic writing to be easier to read stylistically than his more journalistic and extended think piece works. In many senses, these aphorisms prove that Taleb is a practical philosopher, but not necessarily a precise or consistent one. Yet the theme of the need of epistemic humility and the robustness of moral and aesthetic visions versus knowledge claims dominate the value.
The title, The Bed of Procrustes,” presents an important idea, well presented in the Procrustes and the Postface: “We humans, facing limits of knowledge, and things we do not observe, the unseen and the unknown, resolve the tension by squeezing life and the world into crisp commoditized ideas, reductive categories, specific vocabularies, and prepackaged narratives…” (p. xii). And “Because our minds need to reduce information, we are more likely to try to squeeze a phenomenon into the Procrustean bed of a crisp and know category (amputating the unknown)…(p. 105); followed by “Out mental architecture is at an increasing mismatch with the world in which we life,” leading to what the author appropriately calls “epistemic arrogance….imagining the territory as fitting his map” (p. 106).
These are important insights worthy of much attention, all the more so with humanity moving into an era of metamorphosis posing much that is unprecedented and also inconceivable.
The main body of the book includes about 300 aphorisms, some more striking, such as on randomness (p. 58); and some less so, as on Latin, mathematics and wisdom (p. 79).
My recommendation is to read this short book (114 pages including the preface) in one sitting, which should take about one hour, marking select aphorisms as requiring deeper pondering. And then consider these at leisure as stimuli for thinking, so as to benefit from their quanta of wisdom.
Professor Yehezkel Dror
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem