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What I Learnt from Antifragile (III)

What Does Not Kill Me … Antifragility for the Collective

What does not kill me makes me stronger.
— Friedrich Nietzsche, Maxims and Arrows

The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places.
But those that will not break it kills.
It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially.
If you are none of these you can be sure it will kill you too but there will be no special hurry.
— Ernest Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms

That, in a nutshell, explains my learning today.
To become Antifragile, we need to understand be aware of what we do, our actions and then see who it ultimately benefits.

via Greek Myth Fandom

Antifragility, like I imagined in my head, was me getting stronger with every blow that life dealt me, Hydra like.
If you cut off one head, I would just grow another one.
But I realised that everything comes at the expense of something.
If I am growing Antifragile, something else has to give.
If there’s just nature on the otherside, we’re fine. But if there are people, then we better be careful about how we get Antifragile.

There’s also the notion of scale. Something small, dying to make the bigger collective stronger.
So there’s always a balancing act and a constant need to be observant.

This is how I imagine it, in a few scenarios in my life.

My cells need to die, my muscles need to tear in order that I build up my strength.
Here the individual is nature (my cells), dying in order to make me (my body, the collective) much stronger.
Imagine if that did not happen, if each cell decided, why should I die?
Actually, you don’t have to imagine.
That’s what cancer is.

If I die this year, I am insured. My folks get a hefty payout. (Antifragility for my family’s finances)
But the insurance company can only afford to do this, because they have money from a ton of folks placing the same bet as I did. That we would croak this year.
This is again the individual (me) benefiting the collective (the vast pool of people, who do not have enough saved, yet want to provide for their loved ones).

A nasty one is when someone uses this for their own benefit.
They win, but the collective loses.
Scams of various sorts come to mind here, where an unscrupulous person, takes advantage and become antifragile at the benefit of other people.

The flip side is the hero, where the individual takes risks and sacrifices to benefit the collective
Soldiers, Teachers, Firefighters, Tinkerers, Entrepreneurs are all examples of folks who sacrifice individually so that society as a whole benefits.

So this is what I learnt. To see how actions towards antifragility (mine or others) have ramifications on my life.
To always see if I or society benefit. Not someone else taking undue advantage.

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