This post relates to NTTATS, but focused on our experience of life, and in particular our experience of volatility.
I have a core hypothesis that humans appreciate order, that we, in anticipation, expect our experiences to proceed linearly from our past, in an orderly progression, and that in retrospect we "smooth" experiences in our memory to make the past seem more orderly than it appeared in the moment.
Let's talk through some examples.
Consider your sleeping patterns. How many hours do you sleep at night, taking as your data set the last 3 months? 7 hours? 9? Chances are you have a pretty good idea of your average night's sleep. But dipping into the specific data will vary considerably. If the average is 8 hours, but some nights you linger an extra half hour awake, playing Bejeweled on your phone, but still wake up at the same time. That's a 6.25% difference in minutes slept! And in the moment, when you wake up with 6% less sleep, you may well feel grumpy about it. But two months later, that incident of less than average sleep will have faded in your memory to seem more or less the standard.
Now consider your moods (or those of someone in your life); looking back over those same 3 months, you may recall being "mostly" happy/content or sad/grumpy, but my suspicion is that your recollection will be seriously colored by your mood at the current moment. And further, that your expectation for your mood in the near future proceeds primarily from your current state.
The upshot is this (I know this post is wordy, but my mind has been clouded by a sinus infection for days...) - the natural world and our experience of it exhibit significant volatility. Everything observed closely reveals this volatility, but both society at large and our minds individually seek to flatten out or smooth the data to make it seem less volatile. Put another way, we try to make the chaotic look orderly.
As with NTTATS, this volatility idea seems really obvious to me after talking it out, but when I first became aware of the concept it seemed novel. And as with NTTATS, I'm struggling a bit to put into words the practical application of the knowledge. I think that in both cases the real value is to alter our working expectations to accommodate a reality where the future will necessarily not proceed exactly per past experience.
We need to internalize that volatility is the rule, and not the exception, and then so many frustrating things about the world will look differently.
Let's flesh this out in the comments. Maybe the pressure in my head will subside soon and I can be more coherent.