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Larger scheme of things?

中国日报网 2014-07-18 11:07


Reader question:

Please explain “larger scheme of things” in this: “In the larger scheme of things, if we have 15 million gallons coming in, what is another 1 million?”

My comments:

Let’s put it another way:

If we know we are going to have 15 million gallons (of oil?) to sell and profit from, would we mind another 1 million?

In other words, the gain or loss of 1 million gallons sounds huge by itself, but in comparison with 15 million, a still larger sum, 1 million becomes a small number.

Therefore, “in the larger scheme of things”, 1 million becomes insignificant.

“In the larger scheme of things” is a variation of the expression “in the grand scheme of things”.

If you were a Christian and they told you your own scheme (or plan) is a small scheme and God’s scheme were the grand scheme, you’d immediately understand the concept.

The concept being, of course, that your own scheming (planning, conniving and conspiring) may make you feel self important and all that but in terms of being effective, your efforts often turn out to be much ado.

Much ado about nothing, that is.

In comparison, God’s plan is the ultimate plan for you and everyone else and it is always His plan that works.

I’m not religious in the Christian way. I do not trust the Christian God, or any other such man-made deity. I trust Mother Nature instead. Therefore I prefer the Chinese saying that one’s own calculations never beat those of Heaven.

In Chinese parley, you see, we say that it is the plan of heaven that counts. Your own cunning tricks are just that, mere tricks that won’t really get you anywhere.

Not anywhere that matters, that is.

The Chinese expression may sound too fatalistic to some, but my point is that it is a similar concept to the Western idea that somehow the human endeavor is often futile and thankless in the grand scheme of things.

Anyways, just remember that whenever someone says something is so and so in the scheme or larger, greater, grand or overall scheme of things, they mean to say that it is really unimportant, or at any rate less significant when you put it in perspective.

In other words, it looks smaller in the big picture, after you have considered everything and analyzed the matter from all angles.

Or put it another way, you’ll see things more clearly if you care to look beyond the obvious and above your own immediate self interests.

You’ll see more that way.


Okay, here are media examples to put “the scheme of things” into better perspective:

1. Condemning the Fox News Channel as a warmonger that’s agitating for a U.S. attack on Iran, documentary filmmaker Robert Greenwald and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders announced an “online viral video campaign” Wednesday calling on television news organizations “not to follow Fox down the road to war again.”

Greenwald, the director behind “Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch’s War on Journalism” and “Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price,” has compiled a new three-minute video that mashes clips from Fox's coverage of the 2003 invasion of Iraq and its aftermath with recent coverage of possible U.S. military action against Iran.

The video and an accompanying “open letter” to ABC, NBC, CBS, MSNBC and CNN -- viewable at www.FoxAttacks.com -- urge news organizations to ask tough questions about administration policy on Iran and say citizens should pressure them to do so.

Three telephone messages to Fox in New York seeking comment were not returned Wednesday.

One media observer said the video lacked balance and journalistic credibility. “They are accusing others of doing what they have done, which is to stitch together multiple snippets of video and very short sound bites to make an ideological argument,” said Bob Steele, the Nelson Poynter Scholar for Journalism Values at the Poynter Institute school for journalists in St. Petersburg, Fla.

Take this as one small piece of a 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle in the larger scheme of things,” he said. The video has clips of U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton, Fox host Bill O’Reilly and others warning of the potential for a U.S. war against Iran, spliced together with graphics that say “Sound Familiar?” and “Other networks followed Fox’s lead on Iraq.”

In one clip, CNN correspondent Christiane Amanpour says during an interview that CNN was intimidated by the administration “and its foot soldiers at Fox News.”

“We felt it important right now to raise awareness and ask the media to please ask the hard questions, before it’s too late,” said Greenwald. “We’ve focused on TV because they are the ones who have the greatest, quickest input. But over time, we will be asking and expanding this to all media.”

- Senator, filmmaker campaign against Fox News, AP, August 23, 2007.

2. CARINDALE taxi driver Gerry Belcher has been awarded for his service to the disabled community, but he could be forced out of business if proposed changes to the taxi subsidy scheme are approved.

In last month’s Budget, the State Government announced a $400 cap per person per year on the scheme, which subsidises taxi fares for people with severe disabilities.

The move would save the Government up to $7.5 million a year, but is now under review.

Mr Belcher, who won the Carers Queensland Great Employee Award in 2011, said many taxi drivers relied on the subsidy scheme for employment.

“My day is usually booked up early by regular subsidy scheme clients. I don’t know if I would survive without it,” he said.

“I am not the only one who will be affected. There are many drivers who predominantly rely on this work.

“It’s going to affect me but also the people with disabilities who rely on it to go out. These outings keep them active and sane.”

Carindale’s Karen Munro said her husband Neil was just one of more than 10,000 Queenslanders who could be affected if the decision was not reversed.

She said she could no longer get her husband, who suffers from Alzheimer’s, around in the car and Mr Belcher’s services were the only way that they could get out and about.

Mrs Munro said they only used the taxi about once a week, but the subsidy would still not be enough.

“Getting Neil to places is only possible with the help of Gerry and to see him go out of business would be terrible,” she said. “For so many people, these taxis are the only way of getting out, and $400 is nothing in the larger scheme of things.”

Mrs Munro said she was luckier than some who would be extremely disadvantaged by the change.

“For many people who rely on the pension, it would be really dire,” she said.

- Taxi subsidy scheme cut threatens lifelines of Queensland’s disabled, News.com.au, October 03, 2012.

3. Facebook is personal. Work is professional. Different worlds, right?

Well, probably not as far as your young employees are concerned. According to a new survey of Facebook data by Millennial Branding, a “personal branding” advertising agency, young people keep Facebook only nominally personal. While 80 percent of those aged 18-29 list a school affiliation, only 36 percent list an employer affiliation.

The catch? Young people have “friended” an average of 16 colleagues each, according to the study, which was released Monday.

This means that even if they don't officially associate their Facebook persona with work, Gen Y’s personal and work lives are blended, all the same.

In theory, this could be problematic. Post a photo from a Saturday night party and it’s like posting it on the company bulletin board.

But in the grand scheme of things, your young employees’ tendency to friend their colleagues on Facebook is part of a broader shift in the way we live. As people move between employers frequently (and Gen Y are job hoppers, spending just over two years at their first jobs, according to Millennial Branding), their loyalties are not to institutions, but to people. You and your colleague may work together now, but sooner or later, both of you will likely jump ship. One of you may later recruit the other at a different organization, use the other as a vendor, use each other as sources of information about different companies, possibly become business partners, or friendly competitors.

However the professional relationship unfolds, though, you can always be “friends.” Work and life are a mishmash now, and Gen Y’s Facebook friends reflect that.

- Can coworkers be Facebook friends? CBSNews.com, January 9, 2012.




About the author:

Zhang Xin is Trainer at chinadaily.com.cn. He has been with China Daily since 1988, when he graduated from Beijing Foreign Studies University. Write him at: zhangxin@chinadaily.com.cn, or raise a question for potential use in a future column.



Food chain?

Follow the money?

Behind the eight ball again?

Reading the riot act?

Keep his power dry?


(作者张欣 中国日报网英语点津 编辑:陈丹妮)



Raw end of the deal?


Keep his power dry?


Reading the riot act?


Behind the eight ball again?


Follow the money?


Food chain?

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