"The real trouble with this world of ours is not that it is an unreasonable world, nor even that it is a reasonable one. The commonest kind of trouble is that it is nearly reasonable, but not quite. Life is not an illogicality; yet it is a trap for logicians.

"It looks just a little more mathematical and regular than it is; its exactitude is obvious, but its inexactitude is hidden; its wildness lies in wait."

- G. K. Chesterton

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Very astute observation, and completely applicable to the stock market . . .

Category: Psychology, Science

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

31 Responses to “Quote of the Day: Logic”

  1. Monday_cynic says:

    RE: Stock market

    This trasnlates to me as ‘I’d rather be lucky than smart’ :)

    I just hate it when (cough) (Mark Cuban) (cough) some people mistake the former for the latter…

  2. pmorrisonfl says:

    I sent this quote to a couple friends over the weekend… it took me a second to remember that I’d picked it up from John Mauldin’s “Sea Change” article… any chance you found it in the same place?

  3. Anon says:

    From “The Paradoxes of Christianity”: a defense of Christianity against the claims of rational Modernists. The illogical truth versus the logical falsehood.

  4. 12th percentile says:


    its wildness lies in wait

    I’m thinking its getting tired of waiting and should be here shortly.

  5. wnsrfr says:

    In software, we hate most what looks to be compatible, but isn’t…would rather have things break immediately than subtly and secretly…like a browser incompatibility that only shows up when certain conditions appear “every once in a while…”

  6. alexd says:

    It is logical to think that markets which are mainly influenced by illogical beings (or machines programmed by them) will often prove to be illogical.

    Or as it has been said
    In the shorterm the market is a voting machine, in the long term it is a weighing machine.

  7. PeterR says:

    12th percentile wrote:

    “its wildness lies in wait.

    I’m thinking its getting tired of waiting and should be here shortly.”
    _______________________________________________

    Yup, this is the crucial phrase IMO, and the wildness may indeed find us shortly.

    I am typing here left-handed after shoulder surgery so allow me to refer to two crucial thoughts by directing you to the link via my name below:

    1. Warren Buffett’s “Hair Trigger” notion; and

    2. John Mauldin’s “The Black Swan” notion, referencing the book by the same name which is listed on the right side bar at this site.

    [Click on my name below and see Buffett quote under the first chart, and Black Swan thoughts at the middle of p. 5 to bottom.]

    Repeat this phrase ten times as you go to sleep tonight:

    “Its wildness lies in wait.”

    Sleep tight!

  8. rickrude says:

    the use of grammatical double negatives,
    and the lack of brevity and clarity
    indicates the author is stupid.

  9. KP says:

    Everything is logical and can be described by mathematics.

    We as humans just don’t have the mental resolution to be able to take it all in, even IF we had perfect information from the outset.

    We generalize and assume because in order to have any progress at all, we simply must. I believe that our margins of error will continue to shrink, albeit at a very slow pace relatively speaking.

    A good example is hurricane trajectory and intensity forecasting. All the data we need is completely observable in the theoretical sense, we just don’t yet have the capacity to capture, store, and process it all yet….but we are getting better and better all the time.

  10. peter from oz says:

    rick rude must be a quant and a modestly educated one at that
    he can’t read perceptively or analytically
    good quote barry
    but like all of them its in the eye of the beholder
    rgds pcm

  11. PeterR says:

    KP, where does chaos fit into your apparent theory of predictability?

    What refinement of your mathematical theories could have predicted 9/11/01 well ahead of time, and all its wake, including:

    – the exact impact locations of the four planes

    – where every piece of debris was transported and is now buried

    – how much scrap steel was sold, to whom, and who profited from it and how much

    – where every cell of every missing human being is now located

    – what each and every headline on every issue of every world newspaper has said, and will ever say about this event

    – get the drift here?

    The notion that everything is analyzable, and predictable, by some mathematical or other paradigm, is so absurd.

    Don’t you see that?

    Chaos rules!

    Hah!

  12. Justin says:

    “tails,” make me rich!

  13. Norman says:

    Psychobabble. Updating an old saying, “This quote and $1 will be me a cup of coffee.”

  14. pmorrisonfl says:

    > Everything is logical and can be described by mathematics.

    That’s a long-held view (see Plato) that’s recently (last century) come under attack by radicals like Werner Heisenberg, and Kurt Godel. Chesterton’s point-of-view pretty closely describes what the mathematicians and physicists have discovered about math’s relationship to the world.

  15. PeterR says:

    Yo, Norman

    “Psychobabble. Updating an old saying, “This quote and $1 will be me a cup of coffee.”

    Be me up, Scotty!

  16. curmudgeonly troll says:

    Cuban is an uncouth loudmouth, but he was smart enough to realize he got lucky, and not press his luck.

    Taleb got lucky (hit the jackpot on deep out of the money options), and has made a second career out of trying to prove it was because he was smart.

  17. Estragon says:

    I’m also in the quantum mechanical worldview camp, but I would like to know where Norman gets a decent cup of coffee for $1.

  18. PeterR says:

    Estragon,

    Please answer questions from my 6:29 pm post above about 9/11 predictability issues.

    Face the chaos!

  19. PeterR says:

    PS — please predict where every ocean wave into eternity will fall on every beach throughout the world [the Earth, not including all other celestial bodies which have water-like-waves, or will ever have them, through out the Universe -- let's skip that level of prediction for now].

    thanks!

    Posted on 24 September,

    Earth Year 000,000,000,002,007

    Perspective is everything.

    Hah!

  20. Estragon says:

    PeterR,

    I said I’m in the quantum mechanical worldview camp, in other words I see the universe as probabilitist and scale dependant. Your question implies a deterministic worldview.

    On the large view, and on average, I can confidently predict the all waves on earth will eventually cease to exist as waves of water on Earth. On a very small time and space scale, I can’t even be certain that every constituent part of a wave of water exists at all, only that the wave appears to behave as if they do.

    I’d still like to know where to get a decent cup of coffee for $1 though.

  21. KP says:

    Given enough information, and the intellectual capacity…anything can be predicted and just because it seems impossible now…does not mean it will always be that way.

    Remember when everyone *knew* the Earth was flat?

    So many formerly impossible things have become possible with the thanks going to people without small minds and imaginations.

  22. alexd says:

    Talleeb was lucky that the event (1987 crash) happened so quickly, not that it happened. His approach was like a very patient hunter.

  23. Dallas Fed chief Fisher says that easing inflation means it is possible the Fed can lower rates more. Oy!!! Does he have his head stuck in the sand or what?

  24. mhm says:

    Well, if you follow a more recent school of philosophy, logic is a subset of reason. Reason fully defines logic but logic cannot define reason in a significant level of completeness. Thus “Life is not an illogicality; yet it is a trap for logicians”.

    So if one lives only by logical thought s/he will be missing a lot from live, thus “…its wildness lies in wait.”

    And to me it never ends. There is always a logical barrier to break and a fresh bit of life to enjoy.

    Try it. Take anything you take for absolute truth and pick it apart. Start small or you’ll end up in a mental institution…

  25. rickrude says:

    Posted by: KP | Sep 24, 2007 5:42:40 PM

    rick rude must be a quant and a modestly educated one at that
    he can’t read perceptively or analytically
    good quote barry
    but like all of them its in the eye of the beholder
    rgds pcm
    ????????????????????????????????

    really ?? who here has studied university science, physics (quantum mechanics), chemistry ?? raise your hands ??
    Am I the only one of few ??
    Have you ??

  26. Norman says:

    RE: Estragon

    Well, you can go to Costco, buy a 3-lb bag of great Sumatra coffee and your cup of coffee will cost you 5 cents. Of course, at Star$$$$ you can get it with some steamed milk, etc for $4.

  27. with thanks to Richard Daughty:

    “Black Swans get washed away by Rogue Waves…”

  28. Winston Munn says:

    Chaos as used in theory does not mean unpredictable; quite the contrary. A chaotic system is simply one in which small variables affect the predicted outcome.

  29. worth says:

    Forms are the problem. As Plato postulated, Forms are what we use to represent a “perfect version” of something in our minds, even though no such thing exists. A perfect circle, or “beauty,” or absolute zero, or infinity, or the very instant of Creation (or what you crazy-cool scientists are currently referring to as the “Big Bang”). And there’s the disconnect – our math describes Forms, rather than reality. Chaos attempts to describe so-called “non linear” math and dynamics, but even the science and math of chaos uses traditional mathematical constructs (albeit in new and exciting ways), and thus they too are limited to dealing with “Forms” rather than with that most accurate description of affairs as laid forth by Chesterton 100 years ago: close enough to “perfect” to lure in the logicians and intellectually arrogant, yet not exactly perfect and therefore destined to forever be just out of reach of mankind’s arsenal of mathematical weaponry.