Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Human value just like shares....

The power of positive thinking. Yes, this is the topic of this post.

I've been drawing my energies from negative thinking for too long. Sure, telling myself that I must push myself harder just 'so that I can say something proud/emerge victorious/be rightfully arrogant in a revengeful way right in the face of my critics' may be highly motivational. But it's motivation by dissonance; it's a negative kind of motivation that is not good for the soul, and not good for one's health.

Now, I've mastered a Taoism-inspired kind of self-motivating approach: one that stresses harmony within oneself and with nature. There will always be people who cannot stand the fact that you have a 'good life', and my recommended response will be this: 'Yes, I am lucky and I have a good life. Any problem with that?' Should one be made to feel guilty somehow just because he has a good life? What is a good life anyway? The suffering that one has to endure is often known only by himself and people close to him....

One thing that a person must learn to get used to in this practical world is that your bank account and your source of income very much determine the kind of treatment and verbal remarks that you receive from people whom you interact with. In other words, cash - its presence or absence, amount, and the rate of inflow - affects the quality of your social experiences.

Thus, a person's value can be analogized to the value of a portfolio of shares. Our value as human beings fluctuate like the value of particular shares in the stock market. When things are going well for you and people can see that that is the case, they will not be nasty to you; in fact, they will be pretty nice and especially polite to you. When you appear to be struggling, some people will take this as an indication that your 'value' is going downhill, and so they become careless when they interact with you. I am not saying that people will intentionally try to put you down. Instead, my point is that they may carelessly say things which put you down, since you are (at least at that point in time) not someone who could help them very much, or someone whose affiliation will benefit them very much. This implies that people operate very much in the present, rather than the past or the future.

I have personally encountered such treatment before. When I did well for O-levels and entered 'triple science' stream of a good junior college, everybody was nice. When I did badly for A-levels, they became nasty overnight.... And when I did well at university, they were nice again. When I was struggling with my masters (due to some personal problems), they thought that I would most probably fail and were nasty again. Thank goodness I got 'distinction' for my Masters, despite struggling along the way! In retrospect, I'm puzzled why people think that an excellent outcome cannot be the result of intense struggle.

In any case, I've learnt the hard way, that life is not all that rosy. A person who is idealistic because he hasn't been through hell exhibits what I call untested idealism. And the world therefore appears very rosy, with nothing to lament about. A person who has his idealism destroyed, later revived, and finally tempered with realism exhibits what I call tempered idealism. And the world therefore appears as it is - with all its 'sham, drudgery, and broken dreams' - but nonetheless 'still a beautiful world'. At least this is what I hope would be the case.

Lastly, forget about pleasing people, because the goalposts will shift once every few years....from the grades you get and the schools you go to, to the name cards you hold and the number of grands you earn. Why tire yourself with such petty comparisons?


Blogger Dorothy said...

I like your post :) Tempered idealism is somehow 'prettier' than pure idealism. And battle scars are nice in a way *grin* So ignore the battle wounds (inflicted by your critics 'careless' behavior') for now, and show them off after you've succeeded. Tell your grandkid stories that goes, 'Last time Grandpa worked hard at my studies, but people laugh at me. But look at me now!'. Haha, just a thought.

Wed May 04, 04:30:00 PM 2005  
Blogger Heavenly Sword said...

Thanks, Dorothy :-) Hope to be able to live that long!

Sat May 07, 03:55:00 PM 2005  
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