Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Illusion of Control

On a wall in Kiev:
a sculpture of the cat Behemoth
from the novel The Master and Margarita

Professor Woland: "I'm sorry . . . but in order to be in control, you have to have a definite plan for at least a reasonable period of time. So how, may I ask, can man be in control if he can't even draw up a plan for a ridiculously short period of time, say, a thousand years, and is, moreover, unable to ensure his own safety for even the next day? . . . Yes man is mortal, but that isn't so bad. What's bad is that sometimes he's unexpectedly mortal, that's the rub! And, in general, he can't even say in the morning what he'll be doing that very night."

from The Master and Margarita
by Mikhail Bulgakov
translated by Diana Burgin & Katherine Tiernan O'Connor


And an excerpt from To A Mouse
by Robert Burns

But, Mousie, thou art
no thy lane, [not alone]
In proving foresight may be vain;
The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men
Gang aft agley, [go oft astray]
An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain,
For promis’d joy!

Still thou art blest, compar’d wi’ me
The present only toucheth thee:
But, Och! I backward cast my eye
On prospects drear!
An’ forward, tho’ I canna see,
I guess an’ fear!

i.e., Control is but an illusion.

P.S. See also "Take This Quiz" & "Transfixed"

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