A Tale of Two Worlds

It’s never been easier to fail, and it’s never been easier to succeed.

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We have never been richer, and we have never been poorer. We have never been smarter, and we have never been dumber. We have never been healthier, and we have never been sicker.

Technological advancement has made it easier than ever to be at our best, and it’s made it easier than ever to be at our worst.

 overwhelming symbolism

overwhelming symbolism

The internet elicits this dichotomy well. At once, every piece of information is at your fingertips, and every porno is at your fingertips.

I’m at the library as I write this. In the cafeteria downstairs, my three dollars buys me a cupcake engineered to release insulin I didn’t know I had. It also buys me a protein shake, engineered to satiate muscles I didn’t know I had.

There has never been more of a consequence for making good decisions. And there’s never been more of a consequence for making bad decisions.

As such, the lifestyle gap is growing, and with it, the intelligence gap. A young man who is slightly more intelligent than his peers will make slightly better decisions, and since a decision is conspicuous now more than ever, he will be more likely to go to a prestigious university. There he will meet an intelligent, young girl. Since intelligence is mostly genetic (sorry, folks), they will have smarter children who will get the private school treatment. After all, their parents are at least making the median household yearly income of $50,000 every month.

The smart children are a shoe-in at the prestigious university where they will build upon what their parents have done, distinguishing their world even more. It’s everywhere at Columbia. While you’re brainstorming Mad Men finale predictions, they’re brainstorming start-up ideas. A master race of half-Asian, half-Jewish kids will be running the world soon.

This is called the runaway process. You only need a little advantage, and given the right conditions—conditions in which most people disadvantage themselves—it’s easy to turn it into a big advantage. It’s how we get peacock tails, Macbook Airs, and a small, self-selected group of intelligent and wealthy people.

I’ve been in the apartments of wealthy people in Manhattan ($10 million plus) and the one thing I notice, aside from the fact that rich people are by far the kindest and most generous people, is they all have a large bookshelf, and that bookshelf is full of books. Real books, the ones you read and learn from. Their children read all the time, too. They don’t need to go to the Montessori school. They only go because there’s tons of play room at the top of the food chain. It’s like how an orca will play with a baby seal before eating it alive.

This indicates a “this is water” kind of idea, an idea that permeates every level of our awareness that we don’t even see it anymore. That idea is this: whatever is going poorly in the modern world, the opposite is true in spades.

Taxes have rarely been higher than they are now, but there have never been more ways to get out of paying taxes.

Westerners are fatter than ever, but we’re also in better shape than ever. New York City has more bars than any city—none of which are named after Jews or Asians, by the way—and it has more gyms than any city, too.

Trashy television has never been more available, and quality television has never been more available.

I see this all the time in the guys I meet: they’re either doing really well or really poorly. There doesn’t seem to be much in between. They either know a lot, or they know nothing. They either love getting up in the morning, or they hate it. They either have more girls calling them than they know what to do with, or they haven’t been on a date in four years. They are either excited about their work, or they’re counting the hours until their next drink.

This is all a way of saying every moment of your life counts more now than it’s ever counted. At the beginning of the 20th Century, it didn’t matter so much. There were fewer options. Now, you can either develop a multi-million dollar idea or waste your life in a single afternoon.

It’s never been easier to fail, and it’s never been easier to succeed.

There are two worlds out there, and they’re growing further apart. You can either complain about the one you’re in, or you can do whatever it takes to get in the other world. We’re happy to have you and there’s plenty of room.

All the better if you’re Jewish or Asian.