Saturday, November 17, 2012

The Deceitful Lineage Gimmick

You never hear people claim he holds the lineage of Issac Newton or Albert Einstein. In fact, all scientists learn from these great predecessors. They learn the basics but add new discoveries and this is the way knowledge grows. You are never fooled and cheated by scientists who claim to have the secrets that they would not disclose. With no disrespect to predecessors, they say, "We see more because we are standing on the shoulders of giants." 

On the other hand, the Chinese tradition is to respect their teachers to the extent that they are infallible and whatever they teach is the truth and nothing but the unchanging truth. If we generously assume that we can master 90% of what we learn from our teacher, then the tenth generation lineage holder knows practically nothing. Well, it does not mean that after learning from our teacher we should not teach as we know only 90% of what our teacher knows. As a matter of fact, if a teacher encourages his students to discover new things all the time, he can easily surpass his teacher. This is what I expect of my students.

The lineage game is only a cheap commercial gimmick. If you hear someone claim that he holds the secret from a certain lineage and that no one else except he and perhaps other indoor disciples of his lineage know the secret, then you can conclude that he is a con-artist and an imposter. To lure people to learn from him, he would say that your teacher is leading you to walk the wrong path. When you ask what is the right path, he would say it is a secret which he discloses to those who deserve - meaning who pays a hefty fee to become his selected indoor disciple. This is really disgusting. 


1 comment:

Ting-Foon Chik said...

Dear Joseph

Whilst it is true that it is Chinese tradition to respect the teacher, meritocracy is also a Chinese tradition. The officers of the empire were selected from those who did well in the eight-legged exams regardless of birthright. I am of the opinion that meritocracy helped sustain a continuous Chinese civilization despite wars, natural disasters, famine and other upheavals.

Talking of birthright, in the UK royal family, both history and current affairs indicate that the heirs to the throne are trained from an early stage about their role in life. The 'spares' often get into trouble because they know they have a title but it is the older sibling who gets the crown.

Best Regards,