By Elizabeth Prata
“May you live in interesting times”.
You may have heard this phrase attributed to the Chinese as an ancient blessing. It’s actually a curse, that living in UNinteresting times is more of a blessing than so-called interesting ones, which usually involve war, famine, or other disruption of some kind.
It never was a Chinese saying at all, whether curse or blessing. The closest the phrase came from is remarks made by Frederic R. Coudert at the Proceedings of the Academy of Political Science, 1939:
Some years ago, in 1936, I had to write to a very dear and honored friend of mine, who has since died, Sir Austen Chamberlain, brother of the present Prime Minister, and I concluded my letter with a rather banal remark, “that we were living in an interesting age.” Evidently he read the whole letter, because by return mail he wrote to me…
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