Be wise. Be brave. Be tricky. (slithytove) wrote,
Be wise. Be brave. Be tricky.

Dr. Seldon, there's a Mr. Mule here to see you

Daniel Drezner, a political scientist, notes the 100th anniversary issue of the American Political Science Review. This caught my eye: one of the articles evaluates whether the academic political scientists publishing in the APSC over the past century were clued in to the major emerging world-historical trends of their time.

Short answer: no.

Papers from the early teens of the 20th century displayed no inkling that a World War was only a few years away. "In this same time period, the Review was filled with articles putting a favorable emphasis on international law as a means toward peace." Many papers from the 1920s and 1930s focused on the League of Nations, ignoring the rise of Nazism and German expansionism, right up to the invasion of Poland in 1939. The collapse of the Soviet Union in the late 1980s also caught political scientists by surprise.

Bear in mind that the men who wrote for the APSR probably knew more about politics and international affairs than anyone else. They were the 'best and the brightest' of their day. And still, they were oblivious to (retrospectively) obvious, major trends of their time.

I've come to believe that in the realm of politics, technology, business, and human social developments, it's simply impossible to predict more than about five years into the future. I have no idea what the Middle East is going to look like in five years. I have no idea what kind of technology I'll be using, beyond that it will probably be electronic and digital. I don't think any businessman can predict what his business will be doing more than five years away. I don't think any commentator can predict whether the Democrats or the Republicans will win the voters' approval more than five years away. I can't predict whether the economy will be good or bad. I can't predict what kind of books will be at the top of the best-seller lists. I can't predict what the hot political issues will be, and I seriously doubt anyone else can, either. And I can think of many bad predictions made by highly educated and respected men, which have (to the relief of those men, I'm sure) been largely forgotten.

We hurry into the future as if into a dense fog, able to see scarcely further than our arms can reach. I think our best bet is to be flexible, adaptable, willing to switch our tactics, and never be afraid to acknowledge change when it happens, even if it's something we didn't anticipate. And to be undismayed when the world doesn't turn out as we hoped it would.


meaning: body, trunk, torso

胴回り == doumawari == (noun) girth, waist measurement
胴忘れ == douwasure == (noun that can take する to act as a verb) lapse of memory, forget for the moment

Left radical is 'flesh/of the body' (肉). Right radical is 'same' (同), here acting phonetically to express 'big'. The big part of the body is the trunk. Henshall suggests as a mnemonic: 'Torso is of same flesh as the body.'

Info from Taka Kanji Database
List of compounds including this character from Risu Dictionary

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