Do we really know what forces are effecting the course of our lives?
Or are our perceptions so limited by what we think we observe that our whole concept of reality can shatter in an instant?
Can we learn to "expect the unexpected" only in hindsight, or can we awaken and learn to do so with foresight?
A Black Swan, (a term popularized by Nassim Nicholas Taleb in his book "The Black Swan"), is an event or occurrence that deviates beyond what is normally expected of a situation and that illustrates a severe limitation to our learning from observations or experience and the fragility of our knowledge.
One aspect of the black swan theory suggests that upon observing 100 swans the norm is to fixate on the one black swan (the black swan event) to the exclusion of the ninety-nine other white swans.
Taleb suggests that "9/11" might therefore be viewed as a "black swan event" in that its effect was to cause a fixation on the 1% of the time that there is a security threat to the exclusion of the other 99% of the time when there is no threat.
Conversely, Taleb also suggests that had an individual on the day before "9/11" instituted a security policy that prevented the attack, the actions of that individual (a white swan) would have gone unnoticed as there would have been no "black swan event" to bring the matter to attention. Therefore, "the hero who prevented 9/11 and changed the course of history" would never be recognized as having done so.
So, can we know what goes on in our own little pond while only paying attention to the extraordinary black swan and the ripples it leaves in its wake?
Or, can we awaken to recognize the effects the unremarkable white swans’ ripples have on our little pond as well?