Diary 62

Tuesday, May 19th

Many years ago, as a doctoral student, I studied the writings of Joseph Conrad. One tale sticks in my mind. It’s called “Typhoon”. It seems more relevant than ever today.

In the tale a small ship sails, unknowingly, into a typhoon.

When the storm is at its highest, Jukes (the First Mate) goes looking for the crew. He finds them cowering in a safe place between the decks, convinced the ship will sink, where they are indulging in what Conrad calls, “Do nothing heroics”. 

That seems to me to be a good description of some of the more pessimistic folks on facebook, who are convinced that everything is shot to hell and want only to tell us how bad it all is.

In the story Jukes kicks those sailors out of their sheltered spot, and gets them working to save the ship. The ship weathers the storm, though not without damage.

We are, today, surrounded with many sad and frightened and negative voices.  It’s OK to feel that way. But I cannot believe it’s OK to let that get in the way of managing this ship until the storm is over. I like to try to encourage those who are despairing; I try to do what I can; and not give in to fear. Nothing was ever made any better by despair.