With each and every derivation, the context and meaning of the original idea gets weaker.


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In the book Antifragile, Nassim Taleb writes briefly about the Lindy effect.

The longer something non-perishable (non-object, i.e. ideas, trends, etc.) has lived, the longer one could expect it to survive in the future.

This idea has an interesting not so obvious implication.

The longer an idea has lived, the more derivations it has. Meaning more people have restated it. And also, the more likely it is that you have stumbled across a derivation, rather than the root.

And here's the thing. With every derivation, the context and meaning of the original idea get weaker.

The more layers, the easier it is to misinterpret an idea.

So, the proper way to approach ideas is to dig through them and reach their roots. Why did something become "common sense"? How come a certain notion about something prevails in society? Or, getting more specific, what is considered "the right way to do things" in your area of expertise?

And why is that? What has led to this general conclusion?

Ayn Rand has put it brilliantly. Knowledge is hierarchical. Take any idea, and if you spend enough time digging through layers of legacy, you'll find its root.

The closer you get to the root, the more powerful and impactful the idea.

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