2 years ago
orenshani7
in English · 9,120 Views
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To change the system, use the system.
Everybody know the saying, "Even a thousand miles journey, begins with one step", which is attributed to Mao Zedong. Fewer know that this is not the original saying. Among his many notorious habits ( and certainly not the worst of them ), Mao used to steal other people's sayings and twist them to sooth his needs. The original saying appears in the Tao Te Ching, the masterpiece book of Laozi ( circa 600 B.C. ) , and its correct translation to English is, "A journey of a thousand miles, begins beneath the feet". Its a subtle but an important difference. While Mao's version is about endurance, the original version bares a much deeper message about acceptance. What Laozi meant to teach us in this saying, as in the whole chapter 64 of the Tao Te Ching in which it appears, is that in order to make changes, we must first accept the present situation. Without this acceptance, our efforts are doomed to fail. Wait a second. I know exactly what you're thinking now. You're thinking that this can't be true. That if you are not completely fed up with the present situation, why would you bother to change it? I know that this is what you think, because it is very natural, and maybe even reasonable to think so. But here is what this way of thinking misses - Change is not an exceptional thing. Change is normal. Everything changes all the time. The thing is, that in order for change to be useful and constructive, it has to be understood and accepted, as part of the system. Think about it. If things are as they always were, what happened that you are all fed up with them all of the sudden? Isn't it, that while you were thinking that the status quo was maintained, something was gradually getting worse? What would happen, what would you do, if you were aware of that? So to change the system, use the system. It's like how the automobile was first a horseless carriage, and how Linus Torvalds gradually created Linux out of something else. All systems are broken, but that's exactly what enables them to adapt and change. Destroying the old order to build a new one, may seem like the bold and just thing to do, but as the case of Mao's culture revolution and many other cases show, this is not the right way to bring about positive and sustainable change.
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4 comments
@orenshani7 I really commend you for this piece. It is thoughtful and absolutely correct! In order to be able to change things for the better, one must understand what plagues the current system. How can we learn that? Experience. What I also loved about this piece was how it makes a the correct point that in order for us to produce change the right way, we must accept that change is constant. If we stop perceiving change as a stop and go kind of thing, we will be able to see just how change will naturally happen whether we want it or not. So we should guide change to be positive...
thanks @goyo. I must admit that it's a little deep for me. I'm going to have to read it a couple more times and mull it over to decide what I really think about it. :-)