Excerpted from the preface of Skin in the Game
Skin in the Game is necessary to reduce the effects of the following divergences that arose mainly as a side effect of civilization: action and cheap talk (tawk), consequence and intention, practice and theory, honor and reputation, expertise and pseudoexpertise, concrete and abstract, ethical and legal, genuine and cosmetic, entrepreneur and bureaucrat, entrepreneur and chief executive, strength and display, love and gold-digging, Coventry and Brussels, Omaha and Washington, D.C., economists and human beings, authors and editors, scholarship and academia, democracy and governance, science and scientism, politics and politicians, love and money, the spirit and the letter, Cato the Elder and Barack Obama, quality and advertising, commitment and signaling, and, centrally, collective and individual.
But, to this author, is mostly about justice, honor, and sacrifice as something existential for humans.
Let us first connect a few dots of items the list above.
Antaeus was a giant, rather semi-giant of sorts, the literal son of Mother Earth, Gaea, and Poseidon the god of the sea. He had a strange occupation, which consisted of forcing passersby in his country, (Greek) Libya, to wrestle; his trick was to pin his victims to the ground and crush them. This macabre hobby was apparently the expression of filial devotion; Antaeus aimed at building a temple for his father Poseidon, using for material the skulls of his victims.
Antaeus was deemed to be invincible; but there was a trick. He derived his strength from contact with his mother, earth. Physically separated from contact with earth, he lost all his powers. Hercules, as part of his twelve labors (actually in one, not all variations), had for homework to whack Antaeus. He managed to lift him off the ground and terminated him by crushing him as his feet remained out of contact with his mamma.
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