Sunday, July 15, 2007

Ambition and Friendship

I've heard this story once:

There were two young boys who were close friends in ancient China. They did everything together. One day, the boys were studying in a hut, sitting on the same rag. A parade passed in front of the hut. One of the boys looked out the window to watch the processions pass. The other boy has cut the rag in half, and never talked to his friend again. He kept studying and became a high-ranking government official.

This anecdote was told to encourage young children to study hard and become successful, even if it comes at a personal cost.

My reaction to this story is this:
  1. The guy who cut his friend off is an asshole.
  2. Couldn't he help his friend concentrate? The guy was just curious, you know...
  3. I don't think being a loner guarantees studiousness.
  4. Although he attained high status, I doubt that he would have made much of a leader.
Unless I'm missing the point, I feel that this story is likely to encourage pathological behavior in children who follow this boy's example. What the hell are people teaching children nowadays??

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