If there is something to desire,
there will be something to regret.
If there is something to regret,
there will be something to recall.
If there is something to recall,
there was nothing to regret.
If there was nothing to regret,
there was nothing to desire.
Let us touch each other
while we still have hands,
palms, forearms, elbows . . .
Let us love each other for misery,
torture each other, torment,
to remember better,
to part with less pain.
We are rich: we have nothing to lose.
We are old: we have nowhere to rush.
We shall fluff the pillows of the past,
poke the embers of the days to come,
talk about what means the most,
as the indolent daylight fades.
We shall lay to rest our undying dead:
I shall bury you, you will bury me.
(Translated, from the Russian, by Steven Seymour.)
நன்றி: Archive: Poetry: The New Yorker
1. “The Exception” by Christian Jungersen
Body Count: Books: The New Yorker: “In a Danish novel, office politics can be murder.”
This icy and affecting novel, with its juxtaposition of people trying to do good and yet behaving very badly toward each other, can certainly be read in many ways, but always with the vague unease that the privileged residents of Western liberal democracies feel about their comfortable lives. A onetime journalist and international-development expert named Gunnar observes, “We all know that the bottle of wine we’ve drunk tonight could have paid for vaccinating twenty kids and saving the life of at least one.” Soon enough, Gunnar has more to say on the broader question:
“I very much hope that the world will become a better place. And if it does, our grandchildren may look at us the way young people today regard the generation who collaborated with the Nazis. They’ll say, ‘I do not understand you.’ We will explain that life simply was the way it was. ‘Famines came and went and no one did anything about it. People died of hunger to provide us with cheaper coffee.’ We’ll have to admit that we knew but chose to do nothing about it.”
2. The Long March by Sun Shuyun
Briefly Noted: The New Yorker: Shuyun, a Chinese-born BBC documentary producer, retraces the route and interviews the few remaining survivors, in an account that shows the human cost of Mao’s revisionism
3. Prophet of Innovation by Thomas K. McCraw
Briefly Noted: The New Yorker: “After a series of dramatic turns (including stints as Austrian finance secretary and investment adviser to an Egyptian princess, and a tragic, arguably bigamous marriage), Joseph Schumpeter landed in the dubious sanctuary of Harvard (“despicable playground of despicable little tyrants,” he wrote), where he turned out several key texts in twentieth-century political economics. McCraw doesn’t get lost in the baroque details of Schumpeter’s story”
Think back to your last job search. Did you apply for dozens of jobs in search of the ideal position? Or did you send out a few applications and accept the first offer you received?
If you relate to the former, you’re a “maximizer,” according to research by Columbia Business School professor Sheena Iyengar. You take your time making decisions in hopes of homing in on the very best option. If you recognize yourself in the latter, you’re a “satisficer.” You end your search after finding a result that meets your basic requirements.
Iyengar’s research on a group of job-hunting seniors at 11 U.S. colleges and universities found that maximizers received more offers and had higher starting salaries. They were less satisfied with their jobs, however, and more likely to seek another job within a year.
So who’s better off, maximizers or satisficers?
“That brings up an ethical question,” Iyengar said in the “Columbia Ideas at Work.”
“What should we seek to maximize — people’s material welfare or their psychological welfare?”
1. Ideas at Work : “Doing Better But Feeling Worse: Looking for the ‘Best’ Job Undermines Satisfaction”
2. Ideas at Work : “Positive Illusions of Preference Consistency: When Remaining Eluded by One’s Preferences Yields Greater Subjective Well-Being and Decision Outcomes”
3. Quiz – Find out: Are You a Maximizer or a Satisficer?
4. Why More Options Make us Less Happy