Posts Tagged ‘Innovation’

The Islamic Vortex (Part 3b)

“This time is different” is a slogan designed for derision. Greer set me back onto it again, but it’s familiar background hum, and could have come from anywhere. In it’s most typical usage it applies to the psychology of business cycles, as the epitome of bubble denial, which is to say: investor hubris. (This book might be the best known example.) With blunt irony, it is placed in the mouth of a fool, who is prompted to declare that things won’t turn out the same this time around (so of course they will). It’s what somebody is expected to say shortly before losing their shirt.

There are a few quite simple things that can be said about the presumption, whether learned or instinctive, that things will almost certainly not be different ‘this time’.
— It is a cognitive stance that conforms almost perfectly with the dominant sense of ‘wisdom’.
— It is strongly aligned with the heuristic that history has important lessons to teach us (and that the lessons of deep history are especially profound).
— It is skeptical with respect to Utopian schemes of improvement.
— It has an emotional correlate, in aversion to enthusiasm.
— Every civilized (or even merely cultural) tradition has an identifiable version of it.
For all these reasons, it has a reactionary bias, due to its affinity with everything that resists the progressive impulse and its fantastic illusions. It remembers that change has happened before, and what happened when it did. Even when explicit, relevant memory is lacking, it assumes that tradition incorporates wisdom, and thus provides a bulwark against reckless enthusiasm. It is unmistakably biased, because there has been enough past to make it so.

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August 3, 2013admin 21 Comments »
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