Thursday. 22/12/2022

The Monocle Minute

Image: Bruce Davidson

Opinion / Daniel H Pink

Out of the past

Regret can be a good thing if you treat it correctly. It isn’t exactly a positive emotion but if you’ve ever wondered why something that’s so negative is so ubiquitous, the answer is simple: because it’s useful. Sixty years of science tell us that regret can help us to become better negotiators and problem-solvers; it can also help us to find more meaning in life. Our leaders often feel the need to be invulnerable or perfect. I can understand the impulse: admitting to mistakes can get them clobbered on television or on social media. But they might also be making a tactical error. Research shows that people rarely think less of us if we reveal our mistakes and vulnerabilities.

On a broader level, we are also struggling with collective regret in the US. We must grapple with the reality that our country was founded by people who enslaved others. Meanwhile, in our schools, there’s a big debate on how we should talk about that fact. Some say that the past is the past and that we shouldn’t dwell on it; others argue that we are permanently scarred and irredeemable because of it. But there’s a way to acknowledge the less glorious elements of American history without sweeping them under the rug.

We should confront our past and ask ourselves how we can do better as a country. Regret clarifies what our values are and shows us how we can improve. Many of us haven’t been taught how to deal with these negative emotions. Americans are often over-indexed on sunniness. That said, people don’t need to feel happy all of the time. Our emotions help us to survive and they help us do better. We shouldn’t avoid them, let alone regret them.

Daniel H Pink is author of ‘The Power of Regret: How Looking Backward Moves Us Forward’. This essay appears in ‘The Monocle Companion: Fifty Essays for a Brighter Future’, which is out this week.

Image: Shutterstock

Diplomacy / Ukraine

Face to face

When Russia invaded Ukraine in February, Volodymyr Zelensky famously turned down a US offer to evacuate. As a result of that bold decision, Ukraine’s president has become the conductor of his country’s war efforts and a global icon. And so, as Zelensky (pictured) visited Washington yesterday for his first foreign trip since that fateful decision, he did so from a position of strength; a leader still standing after 300 days of war. Others prepared the groundwork: government officials, parliamentarians and civil society regularly brave the 24-hour trip out of Kyiv to seek support in foreign capitals and at international summits. This penchant for in-person diplomacy is one of the reasons why Ukraine entered Monocle’s Soft Power Survey in 10th place this year (see the December/January issue). At the very least, Congress, before which he gave a joint address, should reward Zelensky’s efforts by passing its annual spending package – complete with $45bn (€42bn) in additional aid for Ukraine – later this week.

Hear more about Zelensky’s visit to Washington on today’s edition of ‘The Globalist’ on Monocle 24.

Hear more about Zelensky’s visit to Washington on today’s edition of ‘The Globalist’ on Monocle 24.

Image: Getty Images

Defence / USA

Launch at last

After months of deliberation, the US has promised to equip Ukraine with at least one Patriot surface-to-air missile system. Delivery isn’t expected until the spring as the US will first need to train Ukrainian troops (in a third country) to deploy it. It’s actually pretty weird that the US has been laggardly in letting Ukraine have the Patriot, which no doubt would have helped to fend off Russian attacks on its energy infrastructure ahead of winter.

It is extremely effective: Saudi Arabia’s Patriot batteries have intercepted a huge number of missiles fired by Iran’s Houthi proxies in Yemen, and Israel’s Patriots have taken down projectiles and aircraft launched from Gaza and Syria – including, in 2018, a Russian-built Sukhoi Su-24 fighter jet belonging to the Syrian Air Force. Ukraine’s wish list of American kit extends still further: it wants F-16s, Abrams tanks and longer-range missiles. However, the US remains nervous about giving Ukraine the means to strike targets within Russia.

Image: Juho Kuva

Media / Finland

Voice of the people

As people in the village of Inari in northern Lapland make breakfast or hop in the car to work, many will tune in to Yle Sápmi, the Finnish national broadcaster’s Sámi-language service. Yle Sápmi is a fully fledged news service that produces television and radio bulletins, current-affairs programmes and documentaries. Much like the Sámi people, it transcends national borders and regularly co-operates with journalists in other countries.

Finland’s Sámi community is 10,000-strong but only 2,000 of them speak one of Finland’s three indigenous languages. “You cannot overstate how important it is for the Sámi to have a news service that shares their world view,” says its editor-in-chief, Maiju Saijets. “Common topics include Sámi self-rule and the truth-and-reconciliation process, which deals with the systematic destruction of Sámi culture and languages in the past.” The work at hand is about preserving Sámi identity as much as it is about reporting the news.

Read the full story in Monocle’s ‘Alpino’ newspaper, which is now on sale.

Fashion / Europe

Titanic team-ups

Collaborations have existed in fashion ever since Elsa Schiaparelli joined forces with Salvador Dalí in the 1930s to translate his surrealist art onto clothing and accessories. But in more recent history, many fashion collaborations have lost some of their creative spark and turned into routine marketing exercises.

There are, however, still exciting collaborative projects to discover. Danish textiles brand Tekla, for instance, has marked the festive season by teaming up with Parisian designer Jacquemus to create cosy sleepwear and bedspreads in striped patterns that recall Corsica, while watch-maker Zenith has married horology and skiwear by designing a watch and sleek ski jacket with Fusalp. In a saturated market, successful collaborations will no longer only be about creating noise but designers getting together to explore new territory, share know-how and create high-quality products.

Monocle 24 / Monocle on Culture

2022 in review

Robert Bound is joined by Kate Hutchinson, Mia Levitin and Tim Robey to round up the very best of this year’s albums, books and films.

Monocle Films / Paris

Alexandre Guirkinger

Mont Blanc is one the world’s most famous mountains – and its deadliest. We asked French photographer Alexandre Guirkinger to create a portrait of this peak and the people who dwell in its powerful shadow. In our latest film, Guirkinger speaks about the process behind the assignment and how he captured the mountain’s enthralling, luring mix of beauty and danger. Discover more with The Monocle Book of Photography, which is available to buy today.

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