Black Swans

I learned a new definition and tag the other day: “Black Swan.”

What is a Black Swan? As best as I can decipher a Black Swan has three attributes:

  1. The event is unpredictable (to the observer).
  2. The event has widespread ramifications.
  3. After the event has occurred, people will assert that it was indeed explainable and predictable (hindsight bias).

These three Black Swan components can comprise a positive or negative consequence, or both. But it is primarily the second component that makes the event historic for the ages.

The origin of the term “black swan” in order to characterize such events I found intriguing. Prior to 1697, not one Western civilization country had observed any black swans in existence. This gave rise to the blind notion that such creatures just didn’t exist. Hence, the term became used to describe situations of impossibility and in my own estimation, egocentric innocence.1 And then it happened.

After a black swan was indeed observed in western Australia in 1697, the egocentric innocent assumption was disproved. Since then, “black swan” now describes situations where (premature) perceived impossibilities have later been disproven and those false egocentric paradigms have been shattered. Thank goodness for elapsed time and losing our supposed, imposed innocence.

If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.

And Robert Browning called it “sin.”

There are many Black Swan events throughout human history, more than you might think or that you were unaware of or not privy to and as it were was classified as “Strategic Subterfuge” by higher powers. The latter is much more prevalent than one might imagine. Some examples include:

  • Rise of the internet
  • The personal computer
  • The Georgia (1829) to the Black Hills (1874) Gold Rushes and others
  • Battle of Little Big Horn
  • World War I
  • Discovery of fossil fuels then electricity and AC vs. DC
  • Discovery of nuclear fission
  • The dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 or
  • The collapse of Spain’s global Empire over the 18th- and 19th-centuries
  • The 15th-century Columbian Exchange
  • The September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on targets in the U.S.
  • COVID-2019

The inventor of the term “Black Swan,” Nassim N. Taleb, underscores the point that the black swan event depends upon the observer. A Thanksgiving turkey sees its demise as a black swan, but the butcher and guests dining do not.

It’s important to draw the distinction between a black swan event and a crisis. Not all black swan events are crises, any lottery winner will attest to that. And not all crises are black swan events. Terrorist attacks are an almost daily occurrence worldwide, but the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 were of unprecedented magnitude and unpredictability, hence their characterization as a black swan. Additionally, I have included COVID-19 because it meets all three criteria for being a Black Swan event. Yes, its ramifications are just as widespread as other black swan events and in hindsight it was obviously predictable and quite explainable; by all reputable, established, global medical experts. COVID-19 only became a global pandemic, especially lethal inside nations of defiant egocentric ignorance, and without question clearly fulfilling criteria #2 above as a direct result of defiant sectors of the human population. The fact that this pandemic is still not under control and behind us can only be blamed on our chosen, willing defiance and ignorance.

However, Mr. Taleb disagrees with me and anyone else calling COVID-19 a Black Swan. You can read his argument in The New Yorker entitled The Pandemic Isn’t A Black Swan But A Portent of A More Fragile Global System. It is an excellent article that I recommend reading. Though Taleb disagrees the pandemic is a black swan, he is correct in pointing out that there are clear reasons why humanity, nations, and governments are all too often repeatedly unprepared for them. This denial or chosen innocence/ignorance by populations gives more credence to the above framed quote on how costly the chosen apathetic mindset becomes.

Moving along now to the distant history in the ancient Levant.

~ ~ ~ § ~ ~ ~

I want to add another Black Swan event to the list that many in the Western Hemisphere and the U.S. will want to take exception. What is it? In a word: Christianity. Several of my regular blog followers will have a general idea as to how and why I add 4th-century CE (and after) Christianity. You’ve read enough of my blog-posts over these last 10-years to know how and why I would label it as a firm, strong holder of being a Black Swan. Listing all the verified, contextual evidence as well as the likely plausible conclusions based upon the said exhaustive interdisciplinary components, it is in my mind without question a Black Swan. Specifically the event? The 17-year disappearance of Yeshua bar Yosef from the Greco-Roman—not the Jewish account, but the Roman—canonized New Testament. This event caused and causes an entire host of many further problematic ripple-effects fragmenting and eventually destroying Christendom’s veracity.

If you did not know about or had not heard of a Black Swan event as I had not, now you know. What are some Black Swans you can recall or comprise as one? Feel free to share them below!

Live Well — Love Much — Laugh Often — Learn Always

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28 thoughts on “Black Swans

    • I’m pretty sure I agree with you here JZ. 🙂

      Rarely, if ever, is our meager lives here on this Pale Blue-dot of a planet, in this incomprehensible daunting Cosmos clear-cut black and white, yes or no, or Binary or Monistic (Monisms). As Jim alludes to below, the spectrum of life and its cause-n-effects are indeed FLUID, degrees of separation, and in a state/condition where all things are touching, are connected someway, somehow… as in Quantum Entanglement. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  1. What may seem like chaos at your level is perfectly harmonious at a different level or broader level of magnification. Take your bloodstream for an example; there is a constant battle going on where microorganisms—fight to the death 24/7. A life of constant pressure. But without that battle you would have poor health or none whatsoever. But if you zoom out, life at the next level is beautiful.
    You ever fly into a new city at night? From above, the lights, the skyline heightened by the twilighted backdrop. But down on the ground we see a completely different picture. The city is dirty, homeless parks and areas set aside for garbage and fecal to be tolerated. But those are equally as necessary as the other. Every thing is good or bad, depending on you level of magnification. But the entire organism is functioning perfectly and every single piece needs the other.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Not where death is conquered, but as you can plainly see from every measurable statistic humanity is improving bit by bit. IQ’s are up, extreme poverty is incredibly at historic lows. Violent crime is down and more-so than any time in history your chances at living out a long and natural life are better than ever. Sure there are setbacks, but humanity is improving.
        The organism may not be refined in the way you’re thinking. Maybe ‘tuned’ to our best chance at survival.
        Really, every single thing that seems like conflict at one level is harmony at another. Just depends on what level of magnification you choose as the correct one.

        Liked by 1 person

        • …from every measurable statistic humanity is improving bit by bit. […]

          Sure there are setbacks, but humanity is improving.

          Agreed. As I’ve blogged about recently and over the last couple of years:

          Oscar Winners of Science
          21st-Century Humans More Peaceful and…
          A Cure is Here

          The organism(s) of Homo sapiens on planet Earth are by several measures, doing above average. With exceptions in a number of domains. 😉 Sure.

          Nevertheless, we creatures, as a whole, are absolutely HORRENDOUS Superorganisms coupled without mastering (in the least) the multi million-year social habit of Eusociality to escape or survive Earth’s next Extinction Event. Many species of animals/organisms have survived more than one catastrophic EE on this planet. Extremely impressive. We still see some/many of our own kind as expendable, worthless, and undeserving of finding then harnessing every single human being’s gift of Superorganism contribution. Many/Some of those perceived distinctions are entirely false and ill-conceived! Because of this, our highly vulnerable, ignorant defiance and mental-illnesses of egocentric innocence or arrogance of one’s self, family, community/nation, and sociopolitical or wealth identity, humanity’s future survival is indeed always in doubt, always fragile despite the fact that too many believe THEY them self are immune or “above such catastrophes.” Any level of life lost is justifiable and “acceptable losses” if 600,000 or 1-2 million humans die prematurely because of a global pandemic, or asteroid strike, or a worldwide out-of-control weather system passes the point of NO RETURN due to man-made Climate Change and wholesale indifference, or some other number of Black Swan events. 😔

          And these events I’ve mentioned are large, very noticeable. But what about the one’s unseen and that don’t impact our own wallets, jobs, and bank accounts? For example:

          How many humans foolishly take too many things, too many conditions for granted as if it will always be Business As Usual with everyone happy and smiling? There’s a very remarkable reason why some 20-50 other animal species on Earth have not just survived more than one Extinction Event, but have thrived after them. Are we doing the same? For each other… every single human being as these other creatures have been doing for millions upon millions of years? 🤦‍♂️

          Liked by 1 person

  2. 🤣🤣🤣 OMFGoddesses!!! SHUT THA FRONT DOOR, be still my thumping heart and spinning dysfunctional head!!! 😵‍💫

    Why thank you Ma’am. I’m honored you read the entire 896-word post! I’m so thrilled! 😁 You have nothing more to say? Nothing to contribute or discuss further? 😉 ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  3. We still see some/many of our own kind as expendable, worthless, and undeserving of finding then harnessing every single human being’s gift of Superorganism contribution. Many/Some of those perceived distinctions are entirely false and ill-conceived!”

    You really think so? You’re a big history buff , right? Take D-day as an example. Thousands storm the beach and die, ultimately every soldier used as pawns or as self governing patriots (volunteers) Can you tell me which one served the purpose better than the other?
    If one is used as a pawn it is because they are a pawn. Regardless of opinion, there is a pecking order in all life forms. The hierarchy is just as necessary as the lowerarchy.

    Everyone seems to know the world is going to hell. Have we shown we can do anything about that? When the next omega man takes his last breath, which of these ideologies will endure?

    As we see hominids have surfaced at least five times that we know of, humanity in some form will rise again from the earth. How long it sleeps will be inconsequential, for when it arises and anew it will take thousands of years to realize this has happened before. I’m sure they will try to do something about it too, but death (no matter how long the cycles and waves) will happen. And when it does the collective consciousness can sit on the shelf for eons until the universe “peoples” again. Nothing that can only happen once can ever happen at all. So there!

    Liked by 1 person

      • No worries. Just try to keep in mind how much of your way of thinking is influenced by Hebrew religion. It is a lot, even in your prior comments. It’s so thick on us we don’t even realize it. That is the real point. Even science does it on a regular basis. Our premise of how we interpret the world is spoiled from the get-go.

        Liked by 2 people

        • Jim, your comment about the influence of the Hebrew religion brought a question to mind. Perhaps you could address it on your blog since PT’s topic isn’t quite along these lines.

          In your opinion, how have the Eastern religions affected interpretations of the world?

          Liked by 2 people

        • Jim, and as I was considering your mention of ‘my way of thinking is (heavily thick) on [you guys]’… I did want to clarify that a bit for readers here who may not know as much (or too much?) about our years of WP interaction on religious subjects, in particular the Christian Faiths.™ I think it important to add for clarity, if I may. 🙂

          Why do I lay on Hebrew/Jewish thinking thick with my comments or posts? It’s simple really. Here are the basic, verifiable, key historical facts:

          1) Jesus (or Yeshua) was clearly Jew/Hebrew; specifically Homeland (Palestinian) Sectarian Jewish steeped heavily in Late Second Temple Judaism/Messianism (vs. Rome & Hellenism).

          2) Of the world’s eight (8) largest popular religions/faiths, the two top dogs—Christianity and Islam—are heavily Jewish in origin, i.e. the ancient Abrahamic religions.

          3) The other Abrahamic religion, the one MUCH LESS KNOWN, makes up only a tiny percent (0.2% to 0.275%, maybe?) of the world’s population!

          Due to way too many reasons WHY… Christianity and Islam have gone to great (extreme?) lengths throughout the last 2,100 years to separate themselves—even going much further to completely deny any similarities in some cases—from Judaism. At times it would appear to neutral outsiders that Islam/Christianity react to Judaism as if Hebrews were/are contaminated with leprosy or some type of lethal, toxic cooties! 😄

          This leads me to #4:

          • They’ve done this so much on SO MANY levels over two millenia that now today THEY don’t even understand, on basic levels sometimes/often, their very own origins, i.e. their own roots, seeds, and soil. As a consequence, they don’t even realize how flawed, problematic, and bogus so much of their core doctrines and values are… in reality, TOTALLY Jewish, and/or Greco-Roman, and/or purely Persian-Sumerian!

          So Jim and everyone else following, this is why I am obliged to “lay it on thick” my Friend. After all, I am a former educator and therapist in Psych/A&D rehab, yes? 😉 🤭

          Liked by 2 people

  4. Jim —

    From our above conversations about Hebrew influences within my and/or Western society’s point-of-reference…

    Just try to keep in mind how much of your way of thinking is influenced by Hebrew religion. It is a lot, even in your prior comments. It’s so thick on us we don’t even realize it. That is the real point.

    I have a slight inkling that I may not be fully understanding your arrival at me (of all people) having a “heavy Hebrew” point-of-reference, at least in my comments. I would never claim to be an authority on Jewish history, Jewish/Semitic language, culture, and their vast chronological epochs of mostly defeat by outside conquering influences dispersing them to all corners of the known world at those particular times. I do know this, unless you are born into Judaism—whichever specific form, branch, or sect of Judaism during your lifetime and YOUR geographical location—and all the endless nuances of ancient Hebrew (of the Tanakh), Late Second Temple Hebrew (Mishnaic), up through so many cultural upheavals until you have today’s version, Modern Hebrew, which includes a wide variety of foreign tongues, words, dialects, and connotations. The Israeli State (Zionist Palestine) today is putting forth a massive effort to reinstate a more pure form of Hebrew (Rabbinical Zugot and Tannaim Periods?) for obvious “godly holy” reasons.

    But I cannot emphasize enough how traditional Orthodox Jews who are deeply fond, protective, and affectionate (by default secretive with it to Gentiles?) of their oral history that eventually made it upon papyrus. I would and NEVER presume to be “heavily Hebrew”! That would be such an enormous insult to Hebrews. Furthermore, I don’t have the slightest inclination TO BE a Hebrew expert who lays it on thick. 😉 I think now I may not have made myself crystal clear in my above four bullet-points as to why NO ONE, not even self-proclaimed or Catholic/Protestant seminary graduates and ministers/priests and bishops—let’s include the effin Pope as well; it makes no difference!—can ever, NEVER EVER separate their Yeshua bar Yosef from his deeply Sectarian Second Temple Judaism/Messianism. In fact, in my humble limited many years of research, study, and current knowledge of ancient Judaism and Hebrew, along with secondary Aramaic, of the Levant… today’s early Greco-Roman Christianity cannot even been legitimately called “Judeo-Christianity.” It represents NOTHING of the sort.

    Perhaps it is my energy, my conviction, my UMPH (with my back into it?) that comes across in my comments and blogs? And the whole reason I’ve begun conveying this energetic conviction about Jesus’/Yeshua’s Jewishness is because far too many modern Christians don’t even want to acknowledge it in the least! They have an entirely REINVENTED religion based upon NOTHING that was actually Yeshua bar Yosef’s teachings, reforms, and rescues for HIS OWN PEOPLE’S lost Hebrew Judaism of long, long ago. Too many “Christians™” today want to keep their horse-blinders firmly on, straightforward, and pretend like what took place in Judea, Syro-Palestine, and Jerusalem had nothing to do with their Greek “Christ.” Hah! And that is indeed true, ironically. 😄

    Anyway, I guess I’m a little surprised that you think/feel I’m “heavily Hebrew/Jewish.” Because I couldn’t be further from that in my actual life, lifestyle, and naughty thinking. 😈 😉 hehe


    • I could be wrong, but I got the impression Jim was talking about your mode of thinking.—the way you interpret the world in the first place. I think Jim is saying even when you’re making secular points they still show an unacknowledged influence from a so-called Hebrew mode of thinking.

      Maybe it’s the way your post implies some kind of flawed condition inherent in humanity (their egocentrism, inability to work together as a superorganism, etc.) that needs to be fixed.

      That’s what I think Jim might be getting at with the comment, but I definitely could be wrong. He would have to elaborate.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Thank you CR. I am always grateful for your exceptional input, feedback, and perspective, especially when it comes to Judaism. You probably knew that already, but if not… thank you. 🙂

        I accept fully that I often/sometime have a serious struggle expressing myself in writing—it was never my strong suit—and I do SO MUCH BETTER in-person, face-to-face. Hence, you could be perfectly correct about “my mode of thinking.” I wasn’t thinking of it, as well or as flawed as I could introspectively as ‘from a Hebrew mode of thinking,’ for the simple reason that I was certainly not born into nor trained-educated in Judaism, of any form! I came at it from a purely Pagan direction first, then a Fundamental Christian direction in seminary at Reformed Theological Seminary (Clinton/Jackson, MS). In fact, I still consider myself very much a struggling Novice at it all, at best! 😄

        That said, because of my personal approach to this fascinating history—the first years of Judeo-Christianity—that absolutely had/has deep roots, seeds, and soil in Late Second Temple Period Judaism/Messianism… that I get a little perturbed (to say the least) when present day Christians talk as if their Yeshua bar Yosef had NOTHING to do with his family’s, practice/faith, and God’s heritage! It was this indifference and chosen apathetic dismissal that really poked my goat or mad bull. 🤭 I mean, that’s where my “conviction” and enraged passion is coming from. It’s utterly arrogance and snobbish of the highest order NOT to acknowledge Yeshua’s deep, DEEP Homeland-Palestinian desire to clean-up and reform the Temple and its worship, etc. He was most certainly NOT looking to start an entirely different religion steeped so heavily in Greco-Roman or Hellenistic components!!! Nothing of the sort… and this can be gleaned at least from the Dead Sea Scrolls and other non-canonical texts and evidence of the Roman Empire!

        But perhaps I am getting frustrated with myself and my lacking writing skills of an elementary level. 🤦‍♂️😄

        Nevertheless CR, a kind regards and thanks for your feedback. I truly appreciate it Sir.


        • I tend to agree with CR. It’s not so much that you come across as “Jewish,” but that your analysis of religious matters often include a great deal of Jewish history/events. And, as you well know, they are the folk that started the whole “God” thing.

          Since Jim tends to take a more “neutral” view of religious thinking/beliefs, I can see the impetus behind his comment.

          Liked by 1 person

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