Tuesday Hatred: Luck Loves Balls and Balls Love Luck
“Techne loves Tyche and Tyche loves Techne”
Is what a German philosopher (Gadamer) reports a Greek philosopher (Aristotle) as quoting from ‘the poet'(which I’ll suppose to be Homer on account of the definite article). Just replace Techne with ‘skill‘ and Tyche with ‘luck‘, and the saying is the received wisdom of the lucky bastards who can afford to oligopolize the popular media.
I hate it (the latter). On the former I believe Homer, Aristotle and Gadamer (whilst lucky bastards themselves) to have something more nuanced in mind than making success and merit synonymous.
But to hell with nuance: the reality is that “Luck loves Balls and Balls love Luck”. Or (to construct an anachronism) – “Testes love Tyche and Tyche loves Testes”, because testosteron still makes the world go round as those unlucky enough to be born without an overdose of it feel every month in their paycheck. And I’m not only talking about women.
So if you want follow me on some fun facts on the importance of testicles for networking, my hatred continues below the fold.
No, no, none of the “men are better at networking”-stuff from me. Fish are better at swimming but that’s because they adapted to a given environment. “Men are better at networking” works because we are simply failing to adapt our environment – treating it as given. Well, if our successful friends really believe that positive discrimination because of testosterone is a god (or worse: a rationally) given fact then they also have to face that they think as if they have the brain size of fish.
“Testiculos habet et bene pendentes.”
Because this is the medieval truth on which modern meritocracy – want to admit it or not – is based. When somebody ‘testifies’ on your behalf you are admitted in the network. You are set apart from the crowd and get your ticket to the in-crowd. Nothing is more conservative than such a mechanism. This is probably why it’s so evolutionarily stable; when you’re mentioned in the right ‘testament’ luck will be smiling all the way. You will be working for something bigger than you, something that outlasts the mere you. And crushes those who are shit out of luck. Or merely contrarian enough to believe that – other than fish – we can influence the environment we live in, other than making it progressively hotter until everybody who can’t afford airco melts away.
Fuck the merit which is a mere by-product of luck and licking the balls of those who happen to have licked or sprung from balls that had enough accumulated luck to pontifically decide who gets a head start. No matter how many a fig leaf they produce via people who succeeded against all odds. No matter how much charity they dose out to even the odds from a trillion-to-one to a billion-to-one. No matter how much they convert money and genes into credentials of schools only money and genes can buy. Their network is the network that rules. Meritocracy is just another name for aristocracy just like religious institutions were just a variation on feudal institutions. The narrative changes but the water remains the same and we remain convicted to swim politely after them, in schools.
Sure, ability makes a difference between those who are born on the right side of the equation. I’m sure that any Bush who goes for president is a Bush on average more able than an average Bush. You can also marry into a network. Or pass via the stage of a made man. But this is but a trivial difference and the less luck has to do with it the more it will be the balls that will really make the difference. Before we now it psychopathy is an integral part of merit. Maybe it already is. Ruthlessness anyway is becoming something spoken positively of in press. It’s the kind of attitude that makes people successful enough to become charitable but dismisses them of ever listening charitably to anybody else.
“No luck, no balls. No balls, no luck.” Kinda sums up the political ideology of most of the ruling parties after about a century of democracy. Make sure they don’t die and the rest is up to them. If they kill themselves they just show their weakness. If they kill each other whoever survives at least has shown something.
Is it hopeless. No it isn’t. Because in some way Tyche does love Techne and Techne does love Tyche. There isn’t an empire that didn’t succumb under the pressure of its own decadence. And so it will go with the meritocratic empire because luck will dry up whenever true ability is blunted by generations of capitalistic stalemate. Let’s just hope it is not through another revolution. That is not only messy, it will also just create another empire.
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