Why is it so hard to find philosophical or technical depth?

Does anybody find themselves, either in their personal lives or professional lives, lamenting this fact? For example, you are having a moment of salient philosophical flow but it is difficult to share this idea, even with others who you know would be interested if they weren’t so damn distracted with bulls*it? Of course, they will point to the usual work, wife, kids, responsibilities, etc., but does this really mean you need to shut down that portion of your brain, that you must stop having the late-night coffee shop conversations which fueled your collegiate inspiration?

Separately, but I believe related, is conveying a technical matter to work colleagues, or worse, superiors. I find it extremely surprising how many fellow charterholders will just throw their hands up, with no desire to continue pursuing a technical path or solution, in some instances, fruitlessly believing that there must be a “simpler answer,” even when it is clear that there is not? How do we, as analysts, purge the world of this “three-bullet point” nonsense-speak that pollutes my ears on a daily basis?


@Destroyer asks “Why is it so hard to find philosophical or technical depth?”

The question is answered within your post, it won’t be difficult to find people with desire to explore or even listen to matters with any or substantial philosophical or technical depth “if they weren’t so damn distracted with bulls*it” . Why it is so?

The population we (professionals in the age group 25 to 50) interact are competing to be first in the band wagon of “on-oner-onest” (read as “on – honour-honest”) race. First striving to be “on” (the band-wagon?) by attending ivy-league schools (all other choices are second best option so to be availed only when not able to get it but can always be justified by citing circumstantial reasons, rightly or wrongly!) and getting some dignified alphabets to add after the name (to prove I have it in me and) to be a member of (presumably) ‘elite’ gang who think they know the best. Once arrived then somehow target a job with 5 or 6 figures return within 3-5 years (if possible with the corner cabin!) and get busy with demanding tasks and hectic routine for retaining ones position once he/she is on the ship. Where is the time and energy reserve to spend (fritter away) to go into questions with philosophical or technical depth as it has to be at the cost of some more valuable (may not be necessarily worthy) pursuit and thought processing (often totally mundane from philosophical or deeper technical point of view) ? It is easier to get there but certainly much more tricky to remain there or go further above. So, you draw a blank here in your search!

The moment one is “on” it his aim immediately shifts to ”oner” i.e. get the honour (he thinks he should achieve) at any cost. (S)He is fighting for position, status and recognition within his/her circle to broader professional community. It is no longer enough for him/her to be a CEO or CFO, he/she wants to be on the Board of Governance and one among the top decision / policy makers and wants to be invited to prestigious clubs/ gatherings and top-level meetings (where exploring the higher prospects and opportunities is more of a priority than the real agenda itself!). Many on AF highlights the need for ‘net-working’ for new entrants but it is at this stage that networking pays most dividend and is more reciprocal in harvesting gains. But the competition is tougher as the as the pyramid of honour is narrower as you go higher and one has absolutely no priority or time for any real in depth philosophical or technical aspect of any issue or matter (though to prove one’s higher knowledge and understanding can speak for hours on deeper philosophical or technical aspects of anything under the sky, from finance to ‘meaning of life’ in a seminar or meeting/ gathering!). Do you expect find the type of individuals you are looking for in this strata? Even if you find someone it will be a person who wish to prove his/her superiority and pooh-pooh your suggestion / view or even solution(or in worse case, to use your idea to patent in his/her name and earn dividends from it without your knowledge.Hard luck!

The last strata trying to be on the “onest” (i.e. honest) bandwagon are the ones who have by now have enough wealth and position in the society achieved through sheer manipulation of figures, buying out weaker competitors and/or exploitation of some idea/innovation at the cost of less ambitious people in the society. Now they wish to be iconic figure for the common oodles. They have enough wealth (and money) to spare to start a charity, donate for causes (from local church to international AIDS eradication programme) ) just get the honour and social recognition as a ‘great personality’. Now the aspiration is for the stamp of approval and recognition for social greatness and personal prominence (as they have already achieved more transient goals of life by now) . This is the strata who percolates the idea of “there must be simpler answer” even if apparently there is none and the people lower the line simply pushes this thought downwards without even thinking twice (where is the time and moreover, it is a dictum from the top!). But, fortunately some of them may have the time and inclination to listen to your standpoint with philosophical or technical depth ( as for him it really a matter of patronising than listening to it) but mostly persons like you with solutions /opinions with higher philosophical or technical depth find it not worth the effort to get their views across to this genre due to the not so easy accessibility of these people. Net result is you still have no one to listen to you!

So, your desire to “purge” the world of this “three bullet point” speakers (or promoters) is not only misplaced but also an unrealistic dream as long as you are in the “on” or “(h)onur” strata and after that you will be one of them and so it will be an irrelevant thought for you too.

Find children of really wealthy people. They have lots of time to sit around and talk about “ideas”

The implication of your response is that idea people are not value-add. Why does being an idea person mean not being a “doer?”

If I examine the most truly interesting people I know, they are of the entrepreneurial variety, men and women who came up with the idea and put it all on the line to see their dreams to fruition – not some guy employed by another person or firm that came up with the ideas and now is a highly-compensated desk slave. That person is a latecomer who has read the ideas of others and now thinks he knows the game.

Mygos, there are some on here that would regard your post as a wordy load of baloney – but not me, my friend. I actually appreciate your thought process behind your response.

Check this out, I think you are describing the notion of increasing opportunity costs of time for somebody who gets more and more successful – is that another way of putting it? If so, I agree. Now, what I struggle with is that when you find yourself in the higher “stratas,” as you say, people seem to lose energy for new idea generation. Your response is predicated on the notion that once somebody finds their “avenue” into the higher stratas, that, hey, this is the ticket, no more idea generation for me! And that, basically, somehow this avenue is infallible once they follow that idea – there is no chance the plan could go bad and they would have to come up with another avenue in life.

Now, I agree, in some cases, the trajectory for this person could be irresistible and the person would not be motivated to focus on anything else until that goal was attained. However, for most people in life, is this really the case that their avenues work out as planned? How many “successful” people have you seen, who have all the markers of success (including the ones you still aspire to based on your current strata) who are completely unfulfilled? If you ask me, their misery is nothing other than the disease of being forced to live in a mind of incomplete thoughts – they have lost their sense of wonder. They are leading the unexamined life.

too long. can someone please give the cliff notes version

Nope, just take the hacksaw brah. You wouldn’t get this post anyway as it’s not Top 2 MBA, 3/3 CFA, IB, SS ER, AM, etc.

Do you have trouble finding people who are interested in discussing deep thoughts, or do you have trouble finding people who are interested in discussing deep thoughts with you?

Finance has some deep people (Soros, Grantham, Buffet, JDV), but they are washed out by many many more who just want lots of money and will do pretty much anything to get it.

Maybe you are looking in the wrong places?

  • Bullet points are great.
  • They are like graphs.
  • They convey the most amount of relevant information in the shortest amount of space.

I didn’t read any of that rambling, too long. Just go hang out with different people. IE, not finance people. Finance people on the whole are boring.

and they will fck your ex behind your back

You say that like it’s a bad thing.


Yes, I tend to agree with what you say ,”they are leading a unexamined life”. Plato’s Apology, which is a recollection of the speech Socrates gave at his trial, quotes him saying, “ The unexamined life is not worth living for a human being. (ho de anexetastos bios ou biôtos anthropoid) “. Socrates’ claim makes a satisfying climax for the deeply principled arguments that Socrates presents on behalf of the philosophical life. There is a lot of truth to that statement.

In The Republic (Book VII) , Plato tells the story entitled “The Allegory Of The Cave.” A dark underground cave where a group of people are sitting , chained to their chairs from an early age, with their backs to the cave’s entrance and all they can see is the distant cave wall in front. Their view of reality is solely based upon this limited view of the cave which but is a poor copy of the real world. Other people in the cave - Plato refers to them as the puppet-handlers and they are the ones holding those in the cave captive. (It is important to realize that the prisoners do not realize this–in fact, the prisoners do not even realize that they are being held captive since this existence is all they have ever known.) Walking behind the prisoners, the puppet-handlers hold up various objects found in the real world. Due to a fire that is burning the mouth of the cave, the prisoners are able to see the objects and each other only as distorted, flickering shadows on the cavern wall in front of them. Unfortunately, the prisoners can not see the actual objects or the puppet-makers . They come to believe that the shadows are the real objects instead of just an illusion. Their version of reality is totally distorted. Finally, one prisoner escapes and , he sees the objects that were creating the shadows. His education excites him and he returns to the cave with hopes of enlightening his fellow prisoners, only to be rejected and shunned. The truth which he shares is seen as lies as the prisoners do not want to believe him, for what he says invalidates their world. They balk at his newly acquired education and go so far as to kill him for his beliefs.

We, as humans, are constantly missing out on ourselves and our world. We don’t often jump at the chance to go a little further, to push the buttons a little more, and to ask a couple more questions. From birth, we have been placed within a cave. Our parents choose what we eat, what television we watch, and with whom we socialize. Even when we become old enough to make decisions, their genetic and moral imprint has been imbedded within us for years. On a larger scale, society is also a cave of itself. We are dictated by the media, the government, and by religion what to think, believe, and see. While we often think the decision lies within our own hands, it in fact does not. Our religious beliefs impact our moral thinking and our actions. While the laws set forth by our government rule what we can and cannot do. The last time you stopped at a red light, you may have been late for an appointment (may even be for CFA exam!), but the government mandates that no matter your schedule, you must stop. And the media - the shows you watch, the articles you read, and the images you see are all hand-chosen to create a certain type of thinking within society. Thinking for ourselves is discouraged as it may lead to a greater understanding of what we think we know. As with the man who escaped the cave, his fellow prisoners eventually kill him because he tried to share his knowledge. He is seen as a disruptive member of the community who instead of living complacently derives joy from upsetting the balance. In fact it may not be far from truth to say -the less we know, the happier we remain. The more we know, the less happy we are and the more depressing the world seems. Most of us m** ost of the time choose the comfortable familiar course. Change is unsettling and difficult. **** New ideas are not as welcome as it should be. **** Continuing to ask the questions and explore outside our comfort zones is a constant battle throughout our lives. You are trying to fight that battle.**

Hence your conclusion , “ their misery is nothing other than the disease of being forced to live in a mind of incomplete thoughts – they have lost their sense of wonder “. It has less to do with ”goals attended” or “successful people having or not having all the markers of success”. I strongly believe one may be in the highest strata only if he/she can escape from the cave!

Wow, mygos is the kind of person I want to B.S. over coffee with. Mygos, if you are a dude, I gotta throw the no homo disclaimer.

This conversation made me throw up in my mouth.

Did this cause an improvement in your overall breath freshness?

^ Yeah, you’re right. Let’s get back to conversations on CFA vs. MBA, how to springboard from dishwashing to M’n’A, Top 2 MBAs vs Hacksaw Programs, is a 780 GMAT good, how to bang your buddies girl, spewing poo with Oxy, and ESPN little league.

These are topics of real enlightenment. Forget this Socrates/Aristotle Ethos, Pathos, Logos bullsht.

Yeah, this is Freshman year intro to philosophy stuff at any fancy liberal arts college. Don’t be too impressed by it. If you were born so wealthy that you never had to worry about making money or taking care of your family, this is exactly the kind of stuff that you can spend your time worrying about. It’s great.

Let me know when you guys get to 19th century philosophy, I’ll get involved then. This allegory of the cave stuff isn’t really what I’m into.