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 Asunto: El síndrome de Trasilo (en inglés)
NotaPublicado: 27 May 2018, 17:54 
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Registrado: 10 Jun 2011, 21:52
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Me gustó mucho el texto que encontré en https://web.archive.org/web/20171003074 ... asyllus.md

No sé si durará, así que he decidido copiarlo y pegarlo aquí, y que me busque el autor si quiere...

As a fifteen year old high school student at Liceo Classico Jacopo Stellini, I was once assigned as a homework the following bit of translation from ancient Greek, a short story from the Varia Historia by Claudius Aelianus a second century AD Roman who wrote in Greek as I, an Italian, now write in English.

Θράσυλλος ὁ Αἰξωνεὺς παράδοξον καὶ καινὴν ἐνόσησε μανίαν. ἀπολιπὼν γὰρ τὸ ἄστυ καὶ κατελθὼν ἐς τὸν Πειραιᾶ καὶ ἐνταῦθα οἰκῶν τὰ πλοῖα τὰ καταίροντα ἐν αὐτῷ πάντα ἑαυτοῦ ἐνόμιζεν εἶναι, καὶ ἀπεγράφετο αὐτὰ καὶ αὖ πάλιν ἐξέπεμπε καὶ τοῖς περισωζομένοις καὶ ἐσιοῦσιν ἐς τὸν λιμένα ὑπερέχαιρε: χρόνους δὲ διετέλεσε πολλοὺς συνοικῶν τῷ ἀρρωστήματι τούτῳ. ἐκ Σικελίας δὲ ἀναχθεὶς ὁ ἀδελφὸς αὐτοῦ παρέδωκεν αὐτὸν ἰατρῷ ἰάσασθαι, καὶ ἔπαυσεν [p. 71] αὐτὸν τῆς νόσου οὗτος. ἐμέμνητο δὲ πολλάκις τῆς ἐν μανίᾳ διατριβῆς, καὶ ἔλεγε μηδέποτε ἡσθῆναι τοσοῦτον, ὅσον τότε ἥδετο ἐπὶ ταῖς μηδὲν αὐτῷ προσηκούσαις ναυσὶν ἀποσωζομέναις.Claudii Aeliani, Varia Historia, 4.25

Thrasyllos from the deme Aiksône endured an incredible and novel madness. For he left the city and went to the Peiraia and stayed there. He believed that all the ships that sailed in were his and he wrote down their names, checked the list when they left and rejoiced when they returned safely to the harbor again. He spent many years living with this sickness. When his brother returned from Sicily, he took him to a doctor for treatment and he freed him from that sickness. But he often remembered the avocation of his sickness and used to say that he was never as happy as when he took pleasure at the sight of ships that weren’t his returning safely. English translation by Sententiae Antiquae

There are some delightfully humane details in this story: possibly the earliest recorded instance of trainspotting (with ships instead of trains), the loving brother who returns from Sicily for an intervention, an apparently very effective mental health specialist, etc...

But the reason why this story came back to mind recently is what substance abusers apparently refer to as 'a moment of clarity': the realization that a greater and greater proportion of the people I interact with or I follow on Twitter are the modern version of Thrasyllus (and, thus, in all likelihood, so am I, if it is true that one becomes the average of the people one spends time with).

Present day ships come in different categories and there is much to learn about oneself from one's personal tastes in these matters.

The most recognizable such ships today are called Tesla, SpaceX, Uber, Facebook, Google, ... and more often than not set sail from the Bay Area: every time they come up with an innovative idea or product, us Thrasylli (Θράσυλλοι?) rejoice and spend the next few days (around the proverbial company water cooler, or online) updating each other on what others, not us, have accomplished.

Another easily recognizable type of ship are software/technology stacks: Ruby on Rails, Hadoop, Docker... You know you are a Thrasyllus (or a Thrasylla) if you have ever spent any time extolling the virtues of any of these to someone else but you have never actually deployed anything based on them (you are a fractional Thrasyllus if you have tried, once, to download one of these stacks on your computer and play with it, most likely giving up without any concrete results after a few hours).

A third type of ship (you can see we are now climbing up a hierarchy of connoisseurship which, as Kieran Healy reminds us, is what thrives best in settings where judgment is frequent but measurement is hard) are really big ideas that someone else, not us, had the genius to translate into something concrete enough to have a chance to bring about radical changes. Things like Deep Learning, Prediction Markets, Bitcoin or Ethereum. You know you are a Thrasyllus if you have ever enthusiastically explained Prediction Markets, Bitcoin or Ethereum to someone else but, if called to the blackboard, wouldn't be able to explain how a market scoring rule or a Merkle Tree work (negative points if you work in politics and you call it a 'Merkel' Tree).

As Aelianus had recognized two millenia ago, Thrasyllus' Syndrome is actually one of the most pleasant forms of delusion around (particularly for Thrasyllus himself, as he himself recognized after he was 'cured') because it is generally cheerful and future oriented (or perhaps cheerful because future oriented, or future oriented because of the need for cheerfulness).

It certainly beats (for all involved) negative mind states such as invidiousness, misplaced sense of entitlement, pessimism.

But it is a delusion nonetheless because, like living surrounded by fancy stuff bought on credit (i.e. money that others, not you, have earned), it creates an illusion of accomplishment. And because it is a waste of human capital: any amount of time you devote to rejoicing about and commenting on what others have done (but you couldn't have) is time you are not devoting to things you could do something about (or to learning in depth and practicing those skills that would allow you to do something about things).

So, where does Thrasyllus' Syndrome come from, and what to do about it?

I suspect it comes from working in environments where one does not feel one can make a difference or take pride in one's work or see one's skills measurably improve over time. It is probably what John Ruskin and William Morris, had in mind when they denounced the alienation that results from the loss of artisanal skills. (And yes, this would be a good time to (re)read Zen and the Art of Motorcyle Maintenance)

As to what to do about it, two independent remedies come to mind.

The first one is a very simple check: what part of the thing that enthused me today do I understand in sufficient detail that I could apply it to create tangible value in my own environment within the next week, month or year? How could a trusted third party verify that I actually have done so, at the end of the week, month, year?

La Rochefoucauld was probably onto something like this when he drily observed that philosophy triumphs easily over past and future evils but can't do much about the present ones.

The second is again based on the idea of surrounding oneself with the type of person one wants to become. Stealing a page from successful substance abuse treatment programs (about which, admittedly, I know much less than I should to be writing about them: another Thrasyllism, perhaps) one could set up a system of 'buddies', i.e. people with whom you have made the pact that you will (affectionately but firmly) call each other out if you ever spot one another going (full or fractional) Thrasyllus.

Friends don't let Friends Thrasylling.

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 Asunto: Re: El síndrome de Trasilo (en inglés)
NotaPublicado: 28 May 2018, 09:08 
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Registrado: 10 Ago 2011, 20:39
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Si hubiera que tomarlo de modo extremo (o como dice ahí, creo, porque habla de impedirse comentar logros de otros) sería una contradicción mostrarlo y comentarlo. Él mismo se contradice al mostrar el logro de un escritor antiguo y el de si mismo, entre otras cosas (links).

Supongo que el problema es cuando las personas pasan demasiado tiempo comentando lo que hacen otros. Pero quien escribió el artículo mezcló 2 cosas diferentes... O es que Thrasyllus no es que realmente creyera que los barcos eran suyos, sino que simplemente anotaba cosas al respecto. No dice que se haya querido subir a un barco "porque es mío". Y la gente que comenta cosas de otros tampoco es que diga "es mío".

No entendí lo de
"y que me busque el autor si quiere..."
¿Quieres que te lo busquemos?

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Si no puedes hacerlo, intenta primero hacer algo más simple aunque similar.


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 Asunto: Re: El síndrome de Trasilo (en inglés)
NotaPublicado: 29 May 2018, 01:00 
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Registrado: 10 Jun 2011, 21:52
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Sé quién es Stefano Bertolo

Puede que si lo ha quitado de Internet no le haga gracia que yo lo ponga otra vez

Bueno, que me busque...

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 Asunto: Re: El síndrome de Trasilo (en inglés)
NotaPublicado: 29 May 2018, 02:00 
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Registrado: 13 Oct 2010, 18:30
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Ubicación: Bogotá
Pero debe haber una imposibilidad real que provoque semejante conformismo.


En todo caso, la felicidad es una puta.

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