An important lesson of statistics

A word on statistics

by Wislawa Szymborska
(translated from the Polish by Joanna Trzeciak)

Out of every hundred people,
those who always know better:

Unsure of every step:
almost all the rest.

Ready to help,
if it doesn’t take long:

Always good,
because they cannot be otherwise:
four — well, maybe five.

Able to admire without envy:

Led to error
by youth (which passes):
sixty, plus or minus.

Those not to be messed with:

Living in constant fear
of someone or something:

Capable of happiness:
twenty-some-odd at most.

Harmless alone,
turning savage in crowds:
more than half, for sure.

when forced by circumstances:
it’s better not to know,
not even approximately.

Wise in hindsight:
not many more
than wise in foresight.

Getting nothing out of life except things:
(though I would like to be wrong).

Balled up in pain
and without a flashlight in the dark:
eighty-three, sooner or later.

Those who are just:
quite a few, thirty-five.

But if it takes effort to understand:

Worthy of empathy:

one hundred out of one hundred —
a figure that has never varied yet.




The drama critic

Everybody was enjoying the shadow play, until a deranged person stormed into the cave.

He insisted that the play he saw outside the cave is for some reason more beautiful, more profound, than the one we were enjoying up to now. Oh, these drama critics!

Of course, we¬†knew very well the play he was talking about. The script was mediocre at best, direction clueless and the acting, let me not even get started on that. All its profundity… just surface level. Like shadows on the wall.

Fortunately, the cave’s security pacified the madman and the shadow play could continue.


Source: Anaphoria