Merry Christmas, Chicken Littles!

  • So, who’s “Chicken Little”?
  • “Chicken Little” is a fictional young and diminutive rooster, who suffers from a reputation for being called crazy when he caused a panic when he thought that the sky was falling.
  • What’s a “Chicken Little” Syndrome?
    *" Have you ever read a news story online and thought to yourself, “Well that’s too bad,” and then went on to read the comments on that article and revised your opinion to, “Oh my God, the world is going to end any second now!”?"
  • "This is called Chicken Little Syndrome (The sky is falling!), and humans are, unfortunately, very adept at employing it. When an unfortunate but isolated mishap occurs, it’s easy to let your imagination run wild with all the possible causes and eventual consequences that will lead to Doom. DOOM!
  • "It might be funny (or disheartening—depends on your mood) to watch others do it, but sometimes you may find yourself doing the same.
  • If you’re dedicated to taking bigger and better risks in your life, it’s probably best to find a way to keep the Chicken Littles of the world at bay and away from your most important work.
  • The Bad News: In Chapter 7. of his little collection of articles called “Singularities of Stability Boundaries and the Principle of the Fragility of Good Things”, V.I. Arnold wrote: “It seems that in good situations a number of requirements must hold simultaneously while to call a situation bad any one failure suffices” In other words, for something to be Good** requires many things to be good, but to be a bad situation only one failure or shortcoming is necessary. Ergo: “The Good” is fragile, and “the Bad” is everywhere.
  • Given the Fragility of the Good, Humans are especially prone to become “Chicken Littles”.
  • The Good News: There is help; unfortunately, Science tells us that we have to kill “Chicken Little”.
  • To learn how, read: Killing “Chicken Little”: Measure and eliminate risk through forecasting. .
  • Once, you learn how to forecast it, then:
    • Avoid the awfulizers who say things like:
      • What you’re doing can never work.
      • If everyone lived like you, society would collapse.
      • If something goes wrong, you’ll be ruined.
  • Then, what?

I respond, “So?”

  • Context matters.

I’d still respond, “So?”

There are probably lots of people with lifestyles that if everyone followed them society would collapse.

  • I can understand:“So?” as a response to each of the *three “Awfulizer Comments”. The fact that you respond “So?” to the second “Awfulizer Comment” only seems to suggest that you’re more of an “Awfulizer” than not.

Except I wouldn’t say “So?” to the others because I have been found doing something that would never work and done things where if something went wrong I would have been ruined, so those might be valid points, but the second one is too generic to be of any use.

Hm, interesting post; thank you! I think my temptation, as an idealist, is to jujmp on a bandwagon to fix something. I think, for mself, (gulp), I can tangle that with my ego. If I don’t spend enough time outside of medicine with my friends and family, for example, I can wind up thinking I have to fix everything medically–and that that’s what’s most important. However, as many folks (not least my own patients) have shown me, death is not the ultimate enemy–and there is a lot more important than just bodily health.
In our very well-intended church, every hiccup on the world stage (even 8 years ago, when the number of famines, wars and earthquakes worldwide seemed to be an at all time low) seems to be a sign of the end times, and of Jesus’ coming back. (It’s helpful to remember what the world seemed like in WW1 and WW2; let alone the bubonic and Antonine Plagues; and even prior to the 1900s, when half of all children under 5 died from what are now preventable diseases). I’d like to read more, but there seems to be a tendency to a search for significance–we need to feel needed. It’s also probably normal, and even healthy to some extent, to look for the negative–but it’s so important to balance things. So, thanks to all who remind me that I’m insignificant!

In contrast, Jesus reminded us to put the least first, and the first (ourselves) last–that can be refreshing.



I certainly had many awfulizers in my life (don’t worry, not anymore), and I had no idea there’s a word for it! The article was certainly amusing, and at least now I know I’m not one of them.

In regards to possible riposte to no.2: not that anyone ever had guts to say it to my face, although I’m sure many did think that, but I would have said “there’s no such thing as society, as far as I’m concerned there’s just me and my family and the rest of you can…”
I will quickly add I don’t necessarily think like that (don’t look at me like that, many do) however if someone thinks of you like that, they don’t deserve to hear a nice reply. Next time try that:
I’d have an interesting answer for that, but I’m not interested in talking to you


This topic was automatically closed 6 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.