My dad claims “communication is with the listener,” usually after he says something absurd he’d rather not own. I believe most men born before 1970 are biologically incapable of apologizing … “I’m sorry” is admitting defeat to the universe. My dad also often says “perception is reality.” These are two sides of the same coin: We hear what we want to hear — or what the powerful want us to hear. Trump and Elon’s flying monkeys create a reality for them, perceiving every imbecilic action as leadership or part of a genius plan mere mortals don’t have the capacity to understand. Subsequently, their perception/reality: They alone can save us.
Psychologists Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman earned a Nobel Prize for their research into how we create subjective realities. They identified unconscious patterns of thinking — they called them “cognitive biases” — that can lead us to illogical and irrational decisions. In my experience, strong institutions help protect us from these biases. Wealth and success, however, feed them.
Living in a penthouse apartment in the Bahamas with his friends and Adderall, taking breaks to be fellated by the most powerful men in finance or read love letters from Sequoia Capital … what was SBF’s reality? Was he commingling funds between distinct corporations unbeknownst to customers (i.e., fraud) or cross-collateralizing appreciating assets to make others wealthier and the world a better place (see above: genius)? Pro tip: There is an objective truth … and it’s the former.