My Current Read:

Salman Rushdie - Midnight's Children


On Progress

The best mogul skiers don't push the envelope with new tricks.

No, a person with the possibility of making his way to the podium will not risk trying a double-backflip at the risk of botching the landing and losing his position.
The reward for landing a brand-new trick is never high enough to counter the risk associated with trying it.
So the double-triple-quadruple-backflip will be done by the guy who knows he has no shot at a medal. He might have had a lousy first run and is out of podium possibility and has nothing to lose. Or it may be done by the guy who knows he needs some colossal trick, perfectly executed, to push him back into medal contention.
The recipe for progress is as follows: 1 unit of Having-Nothing-To-Lose, 1 unit of Desperation. Combine ingredients according to circumstance. Season with gumption accordingly.

Yet once that seal has been broken, and the trick has been tried, then it will become necessary for the medal-bound skiers to add this to their repertoire. Bob Dylan said all that needed to be said with regard to this matter: “He not busy being born is busy dying.”

And the cycle continues: New tricks will appear courtesy of those with no chance to really succeed, or those in a state of mad desperation—putting them in the ideal position to try new things. Those new things will be tried, and the elite caste will learn them and incorporate them and execute them flawlessly to win more medals, as the innovators find themselves again in the same situation—with nothing to gain and nothing to lose, spinning this wheel around and around and around.

So it is with evolution: progress is made by those out of the running, or those desperate enough to take risks, while prolonged success is enjoyed by those with a keen enough eye to spot the envelope-pushers and add their advancements into their own repertoire. This caste has too much to lose to ever try a new thing until it becomes clear their advantage is at risk.

Rarely will a person emerge who is of the elite cadre and trying things never been done before. This breed is a rare and reckless one and often acknowledged as such. Too infrequent are they to be considered in the scheme of evolution without turning it into a discussion of the black art of predicting where lightning will strike or what lottery numbers will come up this week.

Take my word for it:
5     9     22    31   48   49

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