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On Becoming Antifragile
The Second Installment of James' and Lynn's Discussion of Nassim Taleb's Antifragile Concept

The post is up at the blogspot. James, your piece makes me wonder what the world would be like if more boxers took up writing, or if writers took up boxing, or maybe if university professors were made to draw straws and fight to the death or lose tenure. Luckily, we have you!


Lynn, interestingly there was once a world where all men boxed and hence learned lessons experientally which now require our very smartest men to address from a theoretical stance. I have no idea what my IQ is, but it's probably dismal. I really think that I only hit concepts that elude others because I've lived two life times, thanks to not sleeping and now have the option of working fulltime as a writer. I do know numerous boxers who have aspired to writing, usually in fiction form, including John Coiley who writes music and has a novel published. It was once considered a no brainer that a writer had to box at some level. Louis L'Amour had a pro record with over 50 wins, I think. Robert E. Howard loved boxing with his friends. My friend Oliver is a boxer with serious writing aspirations. Hemmingway was obsessed with boxing to the point where he wanted to spar with Jack Dempsey on a cruise, which horrified Dempsey, because he was afraid he'd damage the writer.

In Archaic and Classical Greece, where virtually all of our advanced military concepts, poetics and philosophy come from, all free men wrestled from early boyhood and boxed from age 12 to 16, unless they wished to pursue it further. Alexander called his fellow conquerors of the world—who won their battles on the mental plane, predominantly—"The Boys from the Gym."

As the greatest proponent of Hellenic masculinity ironically brought the aging civilization to its knees and passed on [323 B.C.] and a hundred years of mercenary empires took its place, birth rates dropped as did athletic participation, which became professionalized, as in our time. In 212 B.C. the last great Hellenic thinker Arkhimedes, was butchered by a Roman while doing an equation. Even so, the link between the life of the mind and the plight of the fighter was not altogether lost. Lyko of Troas [The Wolf of Troy, circa 150, I think] was a highly regarded philosopher who was known for boxing, even with professional champions.

Thanks for your line of questioning, Lynn. You've made me think.

On Becoming Antifragile

Being a Bad Man in a Worse World

Fighting Smart: Boxing, Agonistics & Survival

Add Comment
LynnApril 25, 2017 3:34 PM UTC

Thank you, Ishmael!
IshmaelApril 24, 2017 4:31 PM UTC

James, really like the interviews with Lynn, good stuff.