Friday, August 30, 2013

More on the Subject of Outdated Quotes.

I recently read an article on FB about outdated quotes, and this is what I have to say about them: Many people in other countries, particularly developing ones, love American quotes and look to them for guidance to how to live life. They like posting them on Facebook. However, it must be kept in mind that such quotes were written by famous and well-off people in the USA, and they were mostly written a long time ago. Famous and successful writers and psychologists can only give advice to people of the same class and those in relatively similar country. Their advice may not be applicable to regular people in regular countries. For example, a rich, famous American person can say-'they don't like me, so it's their problem'. Which is Ok for him/her because he/she has enough money to go to meet other people and has plenty of other choices. But if someone does not like a poor person, it's that poor person's problem because he can get fired and lose his job. Or someone can even shoot him. Another quote is " Be Yourself". If you are rich and live in a politically free country like the US, you can be yourself. But if you are poor and/or live in a dictatorial nation somewhere that persecutes people like you, you'd better not advertise what you are too much. You can be arrested and even killed. If you are an employee and try to "be yourself" at work, you will break some office rule and end up outside the door. A quote like "everything happens for a reason" is another such not-universally-applicable quote. Must have been again written by a very fortunate and rich person from a place that never experienced bombings, kids burning in incendiary flames, etc. How about the tsunami in Japan and the radioactive water being pumped into our oceans now. Where is the reason to that? The quotes about "God putting people in your path for a reason", or "Everything is a learning experience" are again incomplete. How about the 9/11 attack? You sit in the office, and suddenly God puts in your path people at the cyclic stick of an airplane to ram into your building and the whole place catches fire, and you are burning in molten metal and kerosene? Did God put those people there for a reason, and is this a learning experience for you? And other 3000 people who died a horrible death including those jumping out of windows? How about drones bombing innocent families having a wedding? Is this a learning experience for those innocent people? What kind of nonsense is that? The quote about "people who judge you by your past do not belong in your present" is again of the same variety-- if people judge a well known American by his past, he can easily go some place else and meet someone else and reject those people. But these rules don't apply well to average people, even in the USA because they have fewer choices. For example, if one has a criminal record in the US- it's on a nationwide database and even though it's in the past, no one will hire him. So, yes, those people who don't want to hire him don't belong in his present, but no one else will hire him, so he's screwed and the quote will not help him. In my opinion, it's much better to look towards folk proverbs and wisdom of one's own culture and social class to be guided by. That is if you need quotes at all. It's much better to use one's own judgement based on one's unique set of circumstances. A lesson learned by some rich, successful and famous person 40-50 years ago in the USA may not be applicable to you in your country ( or even in the USA) in 2013.

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