To Your Heart's Content

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Quote of the Week #2

"A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable but more useful than a life spent doing nothing." -GB Shaw

The moral: if not now, when? We put things off in life for so long that they soon become what we could have done rather than what we did in fact do. Why live in that area of fantasy where purpose is based on the potential of what you could do/have done and instead just go and do it....Of course, much easier said than done for many of us, right? And knowing when and where to draw the line is all-important.

Also, we as Americans/Westerners are quite privileged when it comes to quotes and beliefs like this. In China, this is next to impossible, not just for filial reasons and not making your parents lose face, but also because of opportunity, or rather, a lack of it. You can't just work in a restaurant for a few months and safe enough money to travel the world. Also, the mindset in China is to focus on a specific subject of study and therefore career, pursue it assiduously, incessantly, and arduously, graduate as early as possible, and begin your career, have your child, and save money for that child. There is very little flexibility within the societal structure. And even if there was, I am not sure the Chinese would appreciate, value, or accrue the benefits that we associate with new experiences and making mistakes. Or a better way to put it, now that I recollect a conversation with a Chinese acquaintance: The Chinese are more interested in stability, convention, adhering to strict rules, and following certain, direct paths. Americans, on the other hand, seek adventure, news ways of viewing the world, new experiences, and are constantly trying to outdo the other. We all strive to be different, to be unique, to be unlike the other. Not so here in China. Anyhow, in closing, I asked a Chinese acquaintance about a recent topic re: pollution in China. Her response: "I don't know, it's not my major."


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