Tuesday, May 29, 2007
A Summary Statement on The Black Swan
I've been musing about Taleb's book the past few days (probably because a review is due soon for the periodical Books and Culture), and two key words have come to mind: humility and providence.
Now I've already posted about providence: that the concept of the Black Swan--and especially its randomness--may seem to collide directly with the Christian Church's commitment to God controls the world. If the pattern of history makes no sense, then is God really bringing any sense to it? But the doctrine of providence actually does not commit Christians to asserting that we understand history, only that God does. The famous statement from Paul that "God works all things together for good" (Romans 8:28) never goes on to describe how we see God's plan clearly unfold before us. And this brings me to humility. Taleb correctly points out that, in a world of management and scientific predictability, we are blind to the fact that we know so little about the highly improbable events that significantly affect our life and our world. Similarly humility before God's will is the call of the Christian Church. Or as the prophet Yogi Berra put it so well, "It is tough to make predictions, especially about the future."