The Chinese using lanterns mounted on cattle during a night battle. Artist unknown - See more at: http://britishlibrary.typepad.co.uk/asian-and-african/2014/05/british-library-releases-over-200-japanese-and-chinese-prints-into-public-domain.html#sthash.khS9Labz.dpufThe Chinese using lanterns mounted on cattle during a night battle. Artist unknown - See more at: http://britishlibrary.typepad.co.uk/asian-and-african/2014/05/british-library-releases-over-200-japanese-and-chinese-prints-into-public-domain.html#sthash.khS9Labz.dpuf
If I have the chance, I like to start Sunday morning with "Meet the Press." I think it's a solid show and makes a good-faith effort to frame issues from a factual context, not just a political slant.
If you caught the show today, you heard about a number of troubling things going on in the world. From the downing of the Malaysia Airlines MH17, to Gaza to the boarder issue here at home, there is a LOT going on. Unfortunately, I did not hear any solutions today. Can't say I was surprised.
As I watched the show, I thought of the ancient Chinese curse: "May you live in interesting times." This phase has been around for a while and I've used it in the past. I like it because it is understated yet conveys a sense of "be careful, bad stuff is out there."
The Chinese is a culture that has been around for a long time and has a rich history of technological achievements which, by the way, happened way before many in the West. When you add that to the mix, "May you live in interesting times," becomes not just a clever quip, but has the endorsement of a grand, ancient society.
It's not surprising it has been used in the past by public figures. Bobby Kennedy said this in Cape Town, South Africa in 1966:
"There is a Chinese curse which says, 'May he live in interesting times'. Like it or not, we live in interesting times..."Yet here's the catch: It's not even Chinese. According to a variety of sources, this is something that got co-opted as a Chinese phase: Here's a thought on this matter from our friends a Wikipedia:
“'May you live in interesting times' is an English expression purporting to be a translation of a traditional Chinese curse. Despite being so common in English as to be known as 'The Chinese curse', the saying is apocryphal and no actual Chinese source has ever been produced. The nearest related Chinese expression is "宁为太平犬，莫作乱离人" (níng wéi tàipíng quǎn, mò zuòluàn lí rén) which conveys the sense that it is 'better to live as a dog in an era of peace than a man in times of trouble.'"
Wow, things are so upside down now that even a well-used statement is not what it has been held up to be. Man, what to do?
Well, I suppose we can still use and like the phase. I do happen to like it better than the quote about a dog in an era of peace. Here's another thought: Perhaps it is better to live in interesting times for it is how progress is made. If you look back at history, ask yourself: "What does history record?" I'd suggest it records struggles and the successful overcoming of such events. (It also can indict with brutal honesty when such struggles are not overcome.)
So let us not fear "interesting times." Instead, embrace them. After all, these times belong to us. We'll have to decide how we chose to deal with them. History will then pass judgment if we were up to the task. I'll fervently argue that if we make the future better for those who come after us, then history's verdict will be an acquittal on all counts.
Be well my friends,
The Chinese using lanterns mounted on cattle during a night battle - See more at: http://britishlibrary.typepad.co.uk/asian-and-african/2014/05/british-library-releases-over-200-japanese-and-chinese-prints-into-public-domain.html#sthash.khS9Labz.dpuf