May you live in interesting times*

“May you live in interesting times” is said to be an ancient Chinese curse, a projection of the cultural tendency towards risk aversion associated with many Asian countries. For these cultures, or so it goes, interesting times refer to an unwelcome uncertainty, ambiguity, or lack of stability–“Better to be a dog in a peaceful time than be a man in a chaotic period” (another Chinese saying**). A more familiar way to think about it may be along the lines of “better safe than sorry,” an approach to negative outcome reduction that deals with mitigating known issues ahead of time.

Maybe it’s just my youthful vigor (or just my casual nihilism), but I can’t imagine the point of a world that is uninteresting. This doesn’t mean that we (the big we, the human race) have to be in constant conflict. But a world of stability and complete risk avoidance is a world that is stagnant. It is a world that is petrified, ossified. Without risk, there would be no innovation. No new ideas. It would be boring. And to be bored, is to be dead.

So, with my little slice of the Internet, I’ll try to keep things interesting. 🙂

*As is readily found around the Internet, it is likely that this saying is, in fact, apocryphal. Still, Chinese or not–and I’m not a huge subscriber to “ancient wisdom”– it neatly embodies a sentiment towards risk and uncertainty. Also, sayings aside, there is some research to show that Asian cultures do tend to be more risk averse.

**This one seems to be real.

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