Thursday, August 01, 2013

One of these days I really must renew my membership in the Procrastinator’s Society

The Fabian Society, which I was previously only vaguely familiar with as a group of elite British socialists, was named after the Roman general “Fabius the Delayer”, due to the group’s emphasis on gradualism. An explanatory note appearing on the title page of the group's first pamphlet declared:
For the right moment you must wait, as Fabius did most patiently, when warring against Hannibal, though many censured his delays; but when the time comes you must strike hard, as Fabius did, or your waiting will be in vain, and fruitless.
They have not been very influential in the US, probably due to this guy.


http://www.canadafreepress.com/images/uploads/FabianWindow-1.jpg


I learned this via Taleb's Antifragile (p122). He is pro-procrastination, and I tend to agree with him. Those earnest lifehackers using technology and tricks to make them perform their hamster-tasks more arduously and continuously kind of sicken me.
Since procrastination is a message from our natural willpower via low motivation, the cure is changing the environment, or one’s profession, by selecting one in which one does not have to fight one’s impulses. Few can grasp the logical consequence that, instead, one should lead a life in which procrastination is good, as a naturalistic-risk-based form of decision making….Using my ecological reasoning, someone who procrastinates is not irrational; it is his environment that is irrational. And the psychologist or economist calling him irrational is the one who is beyond irrational.

1 comment:

scw said...

"The Fabian Society, which I was previously only vaguely familiar with as a group of elite British socialists...have not been very influential in the US, probably due to this guy."

I'm not so sure. They weren't very influential in the U.S. even before that guy was born.

Why not? It seems to me that it is just like a "group of elite British socialists" - beneficiaries of English "public" (i.e., private) school education, with its traditional emphasis on the classics - to name their society after an ancient Roman general, of whose existence the supposed working-class beneficiaries of socialism are largely unaware, and to whom the name therefore makes no sense.

This is symptomatic of a political movement led by the intelligentsia for the ostensible benefit of the proletariat. The reason the latter (at least in the U.S.) have been so generally indifferent to the leadership of the former is that they do not see much improvement in having intellectuals rather than capitalists as bosses.

As for procrastination - I always liked Oscar Wilde's line "Punctuality is the thief of time."