Don Quixote Acts

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Just because a Jewish nerd with a seemingly scary hair-do said this, it doesn’t necessarily become untrue.

On a personal note, insanity is worth pondering. Like when you know you are not talented and there are certificates to prove it, and you still persistently make elaborate plans to get over it. Like the economist who interprets and interprets knowing fully that he cannot predict a thing, but still makes elaborate plans to ride over it. Like the retail investor who systematically invests all his savings into a market, knowing fully that when the meltdown comes he’s neither a bull nor a bear but a pig, which gets slaughtered – but still makes elaborate plans to average out.

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Insanity makes you immobile and wandering at the same time, cluttered and focussed at the same time – like nothing else matters and with no idea how much this thing in hand matters. Like you do the same thing again and again and expect different results. Insanity can be controlled but as Hulk said, once you are in it, you just don’t want to control it, but quit it. And one day the glass ceiling may break, the dead weight on the shoulders may shift – but it doesn’t sufficiently prove that insanity makes sense.

One day you get the load off a bit

One day Paul Krugman wins the Nobel Prize! (Here I’m plain happy that I could relate to the face I see in the syndicated Hindu every week; perhaps a columnist I regularly look forward to)

One day the market beats all expectations and surge 800 points; if you have a dog in this, you are certain to expect.

But neither of this proves that insanity has a point. Perhaps the point is to wait till the elaborate plans end. Like to wait till chapter seventy two of book four when Sancho Panza and Don Quixote gets home.

10 Responses to Don Quixote Acts

  1. Nikhil Narayanan October 14, 2008 at 12:21 am #

    Brahma,
    (Tried commenting last night, did not work, delete if duplicate)
    Paul winning the prize was like someone next door winning, such a familiar face, thanks to the Hindu.
    Plus, check his blog post when he won the prize,too much!
    Speaks volumes on him. Superb!

    -Nikhil

  2. Nikhil Narayanan October 14, 2008 at 12:22 am #

    Damn! Comments with hyperlinks are not posted. Nonsensical way to find spam, stupid WP.
    http://snipurl.com/4c9us
    Trying again.

    -Nikhil

  3. Ajay October 14, 2008 at 3:02 am #

    Lol….do I detect a certain helplessness over the Category 10 storm raging in the financial markets?

    I would like to say that it can’t get any worse, but with the market about as predictable or logical as the Mad Hatter, I won’t!

    Good muse!

  4. jay October 14, 2008 at 8:16 am #

    Bvn & Nikhil,

    If there is an economics thinker I wish people would read, it is Nassim Taleb. He deals with what you have talked about in his books. The below link is a good intro to his works.

    http://www.gladwell.com/2002/2002_04_29_a_blowingup.htm

    Krugman seems to have done a lot of technical work and his peers seem to agree he deserves the prize. But a lot of his NYTimes columns have been pulled out of his backside. Some are so bad, they are laughable.

    He is no Amartya Sen by a mile.

    I wish the Hindu would syndicate David Brooks rather than Krugman.

    t c.

  5. Nikhil Narayanan October 14, 2008 at 8:25 am #

    Jay,

    Krugman was not awarded the prize for his columns,right?Those are just what he felt like writing and never a research paper.
    How can we judge him by his NY T columns?

    Agreed, Nassim Taleb is a must read.
    Amartya Sen is miles ahead, true.And he was an obscure guy before the prize unlike Krugman.

    -Nikhil

  6. jay October 15, 2008 at 1:30 am #

    Nikhil –
    reg prize – agree. We can’t judge by his (bloviating) colmns :-). Tatz wat I said too. I just think his generic writing is nothin’ that great.

    Amartya was obscure? I cannot disagree more. He was perhaps the biggest economics celebrity even before he got the prize.

    Also, his generic writing is about three light years ahead of Krugmans. His work stands on its own as a philosopher, social scientist, ethicist.

  7. Nikhil Narayanan October 15, 2008 at 1:33 am #

    Jay,
    Pardon my ignorance. My scale is me knowing someone. I was not following Amartya then may be. May be Paul is like the guy next door, thanks to The Hindu.

    Generic writing, Amartya does not write for the lay reader. Krugman writes for the normal NY Times reader.

    -Nikhil

  8. BVN October 16, 2008 at 7:30 am #

    Nikhil,

    “Agreed, Nassim Taleb is a must read.” I dont think so. I haven’t even heard of this guy, and if I havent heard – it pretty much means he is NOT important! Cmon man I thought I was the biggest intellectual snob here 🙂

    Jay, some good comparisons there man! then again as Nikhil said, Krugmans writing style though skewed is pretty lively and makes economics a light read, thats why i like him. yeah when Paul won, it was like the guy next door! Sen is on some pedestal – and may be i dont like him that much because he is old.

    Ajay,
    “do I detect a certain helplessness ” yes you do…ninte aa thirontharathe flat pandaramadangi 10 lakhshathinu vittu povumbo njanum parayam

  9. Nikhil Narayanan October 16, 2008 at 8:31 am #

    @BVN
    LOL! Unfortunately,I have read some writings by Nassim Taleb and had fortunately met Jay sometime back.
    Nassim is a famous guy man!
    Basically, Jay is much much well read than me, I figured.
    Pinne avanum maayi odakkan pondallo!

    -Nikhil

  10. Rover October 16, 2008 at 1:06 pm #

    BVN,
    Insanity, however unsettling, ejects inertia and that is only use.

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