Sophistication is actually a burden

Friday, June 22nd, 2018

Nassim Nicholas Taleb is not that ascetic:

One day, I went with someone to dinner. I wanted go to a taverna, and, “Oh, no. We’ve got to go to a better restaurant.” So I ended up having a meal, which you have to realize the look of a meal in a three-star Michelin restaurant. We sit down. There’s farming people, microscopic organs. It’s work, we’re doing work. You’re concentrating, afraid, biting too much, and you get all this sophistication for nothing.

Then I realize that as people get rich, they get controlled by the preferences, they’re controlled by the outside.

It was $200 a person. I said, “OK, I’d rather pay $200 for a pizza and would pay $6.95 for the same meal except that by social pressure.” This is how we use controlling preferences. It’s the skin in the game. You discover that your preferences are… People are happier in small quarters. You have neighbors around you and narrow streets.

I’d rather eat with someone else a sandwich, provided it’s good bread — not this old bread — than eat at a fancy restaurant. It’s the same thing I discovered little by little. Even from a hedonic standpoint, sophistication is actually a burden.

Aside from that, there is something also that, from the beginning, you realize that hedonism — that pursuit of pleasure for pleasure’s sake — there’s something about it that gives me anxiety. On the other hand, doing something productive — not productive in the sense of virtual signaling, but something that fits a sense of honor — you feel good.


  1. Lucklucky says:

    A bit of Jordan Peterson in it.

  2. Bob Sykes says:

    Is it just me, or is Talib borderline incoherent?

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