June 25, 2008

Messy reality

Salil Tripathi writes about crisis, danger, and opportunity (in the financial market, in particular but the thoughts apply to life in general, I think):
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.

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.
I also like this quote which PV Narasimha apparently said after the dissolution of the Soviet Union:
“Choices are easy when no options are left.”
Well said. And well-written, Salil.


Salil said...

Thanks, Sanjeev. Indeed, that was the point, to take the issue beyond economics and finance, and look at it from a broader, "life" perspective. Thanks again...

Salil Tripathi

Sanjeev said...

Somehow, probably due to the mood I was (am?) in, the last two paragraphs of your write-up struck a chord with me. Also, that PVNRao quote. So, I read it completely with a broader life perspective...skipping over the financial/economic lessons.

Btw, the last lines were supposed to read: "Well said. And well-written, Salil."

Somehow, it read Well sai..well-ritten-Salil" or something like that. Its fixed now.

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