In the first case the clear implication is that 'uninteresting times', of peace and tranquility, are more life-enhancing. The "hidden threat" theory implies that the wish is actually one of "May you experience much upheaval and trouble in your life."
While purporting to be a blessing, this is in fact a curse. It is widely reported as being of ancient Chinese origin, but is likely to be of recent and western origin, although it seems to be intended to sound Chinese, in the 'Confucious he say' mould.
The earliest citation that has yet come to light is U-Turn, a short story by Duncan Munro (one of the pen names of Eric Frank Russell), 1950:
"For centuries the Chinese used an ancient curse: 'May you live in interesting times!' It isn't a curse any more. It's a blessing."
It could be that Russell coined the phrase himself... or he may have heard it elsewhere. Nevertheless, we do live interesting times. Case in point:
1. Congress appears on the verge of some major law making, as the House yesterday passed legislation that would make it a crime to assault people because of their sexual orientation. Are we about to criminalize people's thoughts - and verbal expression of those thoughts - on one hand, while simultaneously creating a specially protected class within our "classless society"? What happened to "Equal Protection Under The Law"? I can't wait to hear the outcome of the first court challenge if this actually becomes law!2. Barack Obama, speaking on the eve of a major gay-rights march, told gay supporters on Saturday he would fight for their causes and renewed a pledge to end restrictions on their service in the U.S. military. Obama, who was referring to the policy prohibiting openly gay people from serving in the U.S. military, was seeking to shore up his support among gays and lesbians who backed him strongly during last year's presidential campaign. These first two items sound more like payback for political support, than decisions that are morally, ethically, or legally correct.
Many gay activists are frustrated Obama has not moved more quickly to carry out promises, such as overturning the "don't ask, don't tell" policy and repealing the , which bars the federal government from forcing states to recognize (the laws governing marriage fall under the purview of "States Rights" inasmuch as the 10th Amendment to the Constitution does not specifically give that right to the federal government).
3. Obama had the class to admit that he didn't deserve the Nobel Peace Prize, but not enough class to refuse it... and the $1.4 million that goes along with it, for doing absolutely nothing!. On top of that, we get to pay for his round-trip flight to Norway to accept it!
He got it for his campaign promises! They should rename it the Nobel Appeasement Prize!
4. The White House is still pushing hard for amnesty for as many as 20,000,000 illegal immigrants (I can still call them "illegal", right? It won't be a "hate crime" until it becomes law... supposedly). Even with the threat that as many as 50,000 doctors will quit medicine, the socialists continue to push. With 50,000 fewer doctors, from whom does our Congress expect the 20,000,000 extra patients to get their medical care?
Nowhere in the Constitution does it say that you have the right to never be offended, unhappy or just plain pissed off. The Constitution only guarantees opportunities... and then, only for those who are motivated enough to take advantage of those opportunities. Opportunity is the only thing one is entitled to for simply taking up space on this planet. Seeing that opportunity and taking advantage of it is up to the individual. It is not the responsibility of society to force feed it to them!