N=1? M=1? And What the hell is an Epistemocrat?

Individuality is the spice of life. Believe it.   Or, a better way of putting it, Cura Personalis.


A big, BIG hat tip is in order here to my good amigo Brent Pottenger, of the fine blog healthcare epistemocrat, as the bulk of this information is an unapologetic plagiarization of his fine work.   🙂  I include it here simply as a ready-reference; do check out Brent’s fine blog, though, for a more thorough and on-going examination of these themes.

So…what the hell is an Epistemocrat?

History: In his book, The Black Swan, Nassim Taleb defines an epistemocrat as “someone of epistemic humility, who holds his own knowledge in greatest suspicion.” For Jerome Groopman, this person continues to search for answers by asking, “What else could it be?” Richard Feynman recommends to “keep the door to the unknown ajar.” From Chester Newland’s perspective, an epistemocrat never stops “searching for human dignity.” Like Socrates said, “Wisdom is knowing how little we know.”

Epoche, a Greek word that translates as “suspending judgment,” lay at the heart of an epistemocrat’s quest.

Today, an epistemocrat is a person who, concerned with what he or she does not know, engages in life-long learning and erudition to hedge dynamically against and to embrace uncertainty.  That is, it’s the epistemocrat’s duty to question one’s own beliefs even over and above those of others.  Because only in this way can we be sure that we are, in fact, pursuing truth above all else.  As clear thought must be washed of bias and all preconceived notion.       

Essentially, an epistemocrat is a practitioner.  A thinker and a doer; a Jesuit-spirited “contemplative in action“, who respects (via paradoxes) the humble limits of being human and searches, via thinkering, for practical, real-world solutions that help us live and grow together in our increasingly complex and recursive world: diversify.

What is N=1/M=1 thinkering?

Thinking + Tinkering = thinkering.

It’s an approach to searching and acting that combines m=1 personal my-thology and n=1 self-experimentation. Personal my-thology encompasses all the unique thoughts, feelings, inklings, beliefs, and reflections that flow through your stream of consciousness each day: your m=1 thinking. Self-experimentation is awareness of all the feedback and insights perceived from daily experiences: your n=1 tinkering. Hybridizing these two activities produces the bimodal modus operandi of thinkering.

The m=1/n=1 notation captures and respects individuality when it comes to the art and science of living gracefully.

In essence then, these ideas form the underpinnings of an active pursuit of optimum physical culture; that is to say projection of the optimum phenotypical expression of one’s genotype into the world.

So take a cue from the philosopher and epistemocrat Michel de Montaigne, and continually as of yourself, “Que sais je?” or “What do I know?” The paradox here being, of course, that the ever more learned (and hopefully, as a correlate, wiser) one becomes, the more one realizes just how little he in fact does know.

Question yourself above all others, and in regard to others, “Believe those who are seeking the truth. Doubt those who find it.” – Andre Gide

Again, the preceding was intended simply as an overview, the specifics of which are fleshed-out and debated throughout the many posts you’ll find here.  Feel free to email me at [email protected] with any questions/comments/concerns that you feel don’t quite belong in the comments section of any particular post.  Or, hit me with something novel that you’d like for me to consider.  Persuade me; change my mind on a topic you feel that I’m missing the mark on!  Either way, I’d love to hear from you.

And remember this statement: 1 goal, four pillars, five Ts — you’ll hear it referred to quite often in these pages.

Heal thyself, harden thyself, change the world –