Monday, December 31, 2007

Taking the Long View in an Unpredictable World: Chess Mastery Helps

Living in a developed country where the pace of change seems too fast can lull us into the illusion of progress. With the advantage of hindsight, change is chaotic and non-linear and often very slow in coming.

We are, in reality, just specks in the sand in the long course of human history. So, global events remind us such as Pakistan’s situation. Mahatma Gandhi fought his entire adult life for India to be owned and governed by Indians peaceably and together. The result was not what he imagined.

He envisioned a whole not a partitioned India. Almost 60 years since his untimely death, the decisions made then to divide India into two parts, reverberate today. Given Benazir Bhutto’s recent assassination and the stark contrast between Pakistan’s progress versus India’s, Gandhi’s long view appears to have had more merit as a possible sustainable option. We’ll never know. But one thing is for sure: one lifetime is not enough to celebrate progress in that part of the world.

Another thing stands out: leaders who see the whole, as a chess master does, stand a better chance of making good decisions that have few unintended consequences. That’s a big order in this complex world in which we live but it is the only way to proceed.

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