So are you a black swan?

Huh…the things I find when looking for something else.

I was looking for information regarding black swans because I have a neat picture of them from our trip to Wisconsin Dells.


In my search, I came across this Wikipedia article about the Black Swan Theory

The theory was described by Nassim Nicholas Taleb in his 2007 book The Black Swan. Taleb regards almost all major scientific discoveries, historical events, and artistic accomplishments as “black swans”—undirected and unpredicted. He gives the rise of the Internet, the personal computer, World War I, and the September 11, 2001 attacks as examples of Black Swan events.[1][2]

The term Black Swan comes from the 17th century European assumption that ‘All swans are white’. In that context, a black swan was a symbol for something that was impossible or could not exist. In the 18th Century, the discovery of black swans in Western Australia[3] metamorphosed the term to connote that a perceived impossibility may actually come to pass. Taleb notes that John Stuart Mill first used the Black Swan narrative to discuss falsification.

I think…the highly gifted person is much like a black swan amongst a sea of white swans. I’ve seen it time and time again in my conversations with introspective, highly gifted individuals. The common thread is that it’s difficult to communicate with the bulk of their friends and loved ones. I think it’s because they are black swans amongst white swans. They feel set apart from the bulk of their contemporaries because they view the world in ways only other black swans could truly relate to, and there are statistically few (if any) black swans in their vicinity (of course in certain communities, like university towns and technological hot-spots like Silicon Valley and Research Triangle Park, you’re more likely to find those black swans).

Hmmm…reminds me of the book I’ve been meaning to check out called Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell.

Looks like I’ve more books on my reading list.


So as soon as I gazed upon the words “John Stuart Mill” above…what instantly crossed my mind?

Why, Monty Python’s The Philosopher’s Drinking Song
of course.

Immanuel Kant was a real pissant
who was very rarely stable.
Heidegger, Heidegger was a boozy beggar
who could think you under the table.
David Hume could out consume
Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel,
And Wittgenstein was a beery swine
who was just as sloshed as Schlegel.

There’s nothing Nietzsche couldn’t teach ya
’bout the raisin’ of the wrist.
Socrates himself was permanently pissed.

John Stuart Mill, of his own free will,
after half a pint of shandy was particularly ill.
Plato, they say, could stick it away,
‘alf a crate of whiskey every day!
Aristotle, Aristotle was a bugger for the bottle,
and Hobbes was fond of his Dram.
And Rene Descartes was a drunken fart:
“I drink, therefore I am.”

Yes, Socrates himself is particularly missed;
A lovely little thinker, but a bugger when he’s pissed.

— Monty Python

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