skimming through your blog, i have an interesting conncetion to make
you mention the idea that human capital is constant and systems can create perfect outcomes
Right, the idea is “people are what they are”.
Which is true enough for practical purposes if you have no power to hire, fire, or affect reproduction.
von Neumann basically figured out how to do this with vacuum tubes (figuring out how to get constant, high-performance from inconsistent, low-quality parrts)
hence, the modern computer
i wonder if this assuption consciously influenced management thinking
Von Neumann was, in my opinion, the highest-IQ person who ever lived.
So while I appreciate that a smarter person can make more with bad parts, I would advise management against trying to generalize his accomplishments as repeatable processes.
especially since he was dealing with identical parts with identical specifications
Von Neumann had a de facto eidetic memory. If all the parts had different specs, he would have just memorized them.
Bismarck is a great example of a highly intelligent highly capable person who nonetheless built a system only he could work
and his successors had no idea how to handle it
hence why Germany went from being unbeatable for decades to getting beaten up by everyone for decades
How certain are you of that judgment?
I’ve also heard that Bismarck was a giant among men, but there was a lot going on around Germany at the time.
You could make the same argument about FDR if you didn’t know anything.
Which I don’t.
Bismarck was a remarkably adept statesman who was able to naviagte the web of european politics quite deftly, though this shited over the course of his liftime as once fluid dynamics among the other powers ossified
very condensed, low-res overview
bismarck navigated it, his successors didn’t, and everybody else figured out how to gang up on germany
Comparison to Talleyrand?
Talleyrand is a personality I’ve previously gotten my head around.
bismarck had a much more dramatic impact, talleyrand’s impact was in preventing the upheavalas of the french revolution from ultimately changing anything about european balance of power
france went from being a massive disrutpion that got beaten up by everyone to being the key guardian of peace and order in europe effectively overnight
mostly due to talleyrand
How aristocratic of him.
So Bismarck is more of a Caesar character.
yeah, the caesar comparison is apt
especially considering that he was the beginning, not the end, of a serious of upheavals that ultimately coalesced in a new order
Does he have any lists of sayings I can look at?
Hmm…maybe he was the true inspiration for Emperor Gestahl in Final Fantasy 6.
I may have to update my anime analysis!
sometimes it’s hard to pinpoint a single clear inspiration
the titular Strangelove in Dr. Strangelove is thought to have been inspired by herman kahn, henry kissinger, werner von braun, josef mengele, and a number of others
“Be polite; write diplomatically; even in a declaration of war one observes the rules of politeness.”
That’s the most melonheaded thing I’ve ever read.
it’s so civilized, i love it
I should perhaps modify that to say there’s a strong strain of nobilid in it.
There’s never a better time to be polite than when you’re thrust into Faerie.
politness is a proxy measurement of discipline, self-control, and pro-sociability
and class status, but it’s more interesting to dig into ehy it’s a class makrer
Among the Fae folk there’s a time to be bold and a time to be cautious, but there’s never a good time to forget your manners.
I came to this realization when I imagined myself at dinner with the Rothschilds.
generally, the more dangerous the situation, the greater the importance of politeness
you never know what snap judgement someone might make about some barely perceptible thing
There’s also a sort of lawfulness about it which is more about respecting the spirit of the law.
And I think just a general sense that it’s easy to give deadly offense in a strange land, e.g. by offering your left hand to an Arab to shake.
very easy to get killed among honor cultures
Having read through the Bismarck quotes, I’d put him on a level with Talleyrand.
Different personality for sure, but equal wit.
both, cold, calculating, and far-sighted, both titans in their time
like i pointed out, the more fascinating difference is that one was revolutionary and one was counter-revolutionary
neat trick to pull off…leaving a counter-revolutionary legacy when one’s career was made by the french revolution and one was long-time minister to napoleon
And the opposite in the case of Mr. Conservative.
we are all full of contradicitons, and great ment are full of great contradictions
grand accomplishments often have a certain irony about them
Oh oh! For example, going to the moon with science, we empirically proved that science isn’t real because the moon wasn’t real.
Why does he (and Emperor Gestahl) have such an Eastern despot flavor?
perhaps effective control always ends up looking the same
i saw a video the other day discussing how wing chun as paractied when practioners actually spar frequently and intesely looks a lot like other forms of kickboxing
when its just people waving their arms, it looks like its own unique thing, but when its tested in the ring it ends up similar in form to muay thai or wahetevr
Oh, great example.
still its own unique thing with its own quriks, but the form more reflects the function
so i would speculate that a certain type of “i am the supreme decision-maker” leadership ends up looking the same across cultures/politicl systems when it is effective
as all happy families are alike and all unhappy families unhappy in their own way, perhaps all effective authoritarian rulers are alike, and all uneffective ones ineffective in their own way
So this is what happens when you combine ultimate political talent with an existential appreciation for military strength.
this probably overlooks the german parlimentary system of the time and bismarcks domestic political genius but it’s a good “broad strokes” hypothesis
I think you’ve hit it right on the nose.
Really great insight here.
The Promethean is merely high-IQ, adaptive, and pragmatic.
i might add system-oriented with a knack for complicated political or business issues, but that seems to add extraneous detail instead of cutting to the true essence
succint yet comprehensive summary. well-done
Thank you. I’m trying to also put into words the almost anti-philosophical motivations of such men.
I’m inclined to appeal to my distinction of positive and negative moralities.
Bismarck and co. are motivated by very simple, libidinous sentiments expressed strongly through exceptional talent.
Same with Eastern despots.
That falls under a strong positive morality influence, and is probably helped along by a lesser negative morality influence.
I.e. The only resistance to action is foresight, not fear. (This wouldn’t be entirely true though, I’m exaggerating for effect.)
but there’s cetainly some truth to it
it’s easy to experience this when you enter certain kinds of states
instant action without time for thought, and you only process what happened later
Martial arts again being a good example.