Crisis, then, is a moment. That moment can be terribly painful. It could defeat — or transform — a person into someone sterner, stronger and wiser. We recall the cliché because we like success, and victors write history. The marginalized get forgotten, until an Amitav Ghosh comes along, writing about their pain with exceptional compassion, as in his new novel, Sea of Poppies. In a crisis, thousands lose; there is an element of randomness to those losses — we are fooled by the randomness of success. And we try to see a pattern, even if there is none. And we confuse a Chinese character, reading into it the meaning we want to read, and not the idea — and the gravity — it represents.I also like this quote which PV Narasimha apparently said after the dissolution of the Soviet Union:
Reality is always messy: options and alternatives that complicate our lives. We muddle through crises, emerging whole, somewhat wounded, often chastened, with the hope that we might be able to handle the next crisis. But, as every investment advisory notes, past performance is no guarantee of future success. And like all generalizations, it is only partly true — like this one.
“Choices are easy when no options are left.”Well said. And well-written, Salil.