The Olympics are on! They are simultaneously arbitrarily picked contests overseen by one of the most corrupt organizations in the world and a demonstration of human determination and physical performance.
There's two stories that stand out to me. In one of my favorite contests, snowboard cross, Lindsay Jacobellis finally won a gold medal in her fifth Olympics. In 2006, she had a huge lead but settled for silver when she prematurely celebrated with a grab on the last jump and fell. Would she have continued to compete for so long if she had won that race?
Eileen Gu won gold in the ski big air event. She was in third place before her final jump and landed a double cork 1620, a trick she had never landed before, even in practice. This is the purest test, knowing that you need to do something that you've never done before, and pulling it off.
Two things caught my eyes this week: Wordcel and Rhazzlekhan. You may not have heard of either of these and if you have, you're probably are thinking that I'm crazy and that they have nothing to do with each other.
The term "Wordcel" was invented recently and there's some drama and argument over what it means. You can google that for yourself. I see a wordcel as someone who argues with words rather than experimenting with reality. Like a stereotypical ivory tower academic.
Rhazzlekhan is the rapping alter-ego of Heather Morgan, who was arrested for laundering 120,00 bitcoins. She's being mocked widely, but there's a video of her giving a presentation on social engineering that makes me think there's a method behind the madness, dubious ethics aside.
So now you know what wordcels are and who Rhazzlekhan is and you still think I'm crazy.
I've been thinking of the idea behind wordcels for a while. I've come across the idea many times recently.
Names don't constitute knowledge
In this clip, Richard Feynman says "When you know all the names, in every language, of that bird, you still know nothing, absolutely nothing about the bird."
Ed Latimore - Book Smart vs. Street Smart
This is something that book smart people are uncomfortable with. They would like to be able to prove and predict everything before they move into a situation. Unfortunately for them, 100% certainty and guarantees are not representative of real life.
=> Article Here
Pierre Hadot, The Present Alone is Our Happiness
I learned at least one important thing at the time. Until then, in my literary, philosophical, or theological essays, I had fit together not metal but ideas. In this case, one can always get away with it, in one way or another, for concepts are easily malleable. With matter, however, things became more serious. No more give, no more approximating, no more or less artificial arrangements. This does not mean that no rigor is possible in the works of the mind, but it is very rare, and it is very easy to delude both oneself and others.
There's a big difference between talking about something and actually doing it - you can only learn by actually doing it. You can't learn to swim by reading a book. I've defaulted to talking about things rather than doing them. After all, if someone disagrees with you, you can say they're an idiot. If you can't do something, you're definitely the idiot.
I've struggled with this for, well, my whole life, but consciously for the last three or so years. How do you make the jump from the abstract world to the concrete? You can live in the abstract world, I did for most of my life. I had jobs where as long as I followed orders I got paid enough to do anything I wanted. It wasn't necessary to actually do anything.
Both Nassim Taleb and Seth Godin give frameworks for how to understand why this is a problem:
Nassim Taleb's - Skin in the Game
Studying courage in textbooks doesn’t make you any more courageous than eating cow meat makes you bovine. By some mysterious mental mechanism, people fail to realize that the principal thing you can learn from a professor is how to be a professor—and the chief thing you can learn from, say, a life coach or inspirational speaker is how to become a life coach or inspirational speaker. So remember that the heroes of history were not classicists and library rats, those people who live vicariously in their texts. They were people of deeds and had to be endowed with the spirit of risk taking.
Seth Godin's Control/Responsibility Matrix
But they don't tell you how to solve the problem. Taleb doesn't say how to take more risk, only why you should. Godin doesn't tell you how to move from the bottom left to the top right.
So how do you get over this hump, how do you move from the abstract to the concrete, the powerless to the creative?
This is where we turn to Rhazzlekhan. Surprisingly, she was actually a contributor to Forbes and she interviewed Awkafina, who told her, “Shamelessness is especially important for women because a lot of times it gets confused with courage.”
If you don't have courage, be shameless. And where does shame come from? Shame comes from your ego. Ego is the enemy.
No English Equivalent
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Have a great week,