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The Narrative Fallacy

Nassin Nicholas Taleb, 2007, The Black Swan, Penguin Books: 63

The more random information is, the greater the dimensionality, and thus the more difficult to summarize. The more you summarize, the more order you put in, the less randomness. Hence the same condition that makes us simplify pushes us to think that the world is less random than it actually is. And the Black Swan is what we leave out of simplification. (p69)

Narrativity can viciously affect the remembrance of past events as follows: we will tend to more easily remember those facts from our past that fit a narrative, while we tend to neglect others that do not appear to play a causal role in that narrative. (p70)

our misunderstanding of the Black Swan can be largely attributed to our using System 1, i.e., narratives, and the sensational - as well as the emotional - which imposes on us a wrong map of the likelihood of events. (p83)

The way to avoid the ills of the narrative fallacy is to favor experimentation over storytelling, experience over history, and clinical knowledge over theories. (p84)