unbounded

Tag Archives: adversity

Life, on your terms

I recently spent an afternoon with a friend of mine in China, who is the Communist Party Secretary of small city. Whenever we get together, we always share a few pots of tea and talk candidly about our two governments. This time, we discussed at some length whether the purpose of government is to control (his idea) or to serve (my idea). He said, “We serve people by controlling them, otherwise there would be chaos. After all, life for most people, is not easy. Continue reading

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The strenuous life

“If you are rich and are worth your salt, you will teach your sons that though they may have leisure, it is not to be spent in idleness; for wisely used leisure merely means that those who possess it, being free from the necessity of working for their livelihood, are all the more bound to carry on some kind of non-remunerative work in science, in letters, in art, in exploration, in historical research—work of the type we most need in this country.” — Theodore Roosevelt, Speech before the Hamilton Club, Chicago, April 10, 1899 Continue reading

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What’s Your AQ?

Ah Q Spirit or low AQ? (image: Sweet Briar College Gallery)

Ah Q and his low AQ
(art:Sweet Briar College Galleries)

When I first heard about AQ, it was in China, and I thought it was somehow related to the story of Ah-Q, by the father of modern Chinese literature, Lu Xun. In “The Real Story of Ah Q”, the title character is a coward and petty thief, who is frequently getting beat up by everyone including other thieves. Yet Ah Q believes that he is superior to all of his tormentors, and that every time he loses, he wins. Though this story was written in the 1920’s, there was a popular book recently in China about the “Ah-Q Spirit”, which suggested that Ah-Q’s way of thinking actually helped him to survive, first by taking the route of surrender against superior odds, and by creating a positive self-image of that motivated him to face his miserable existence.

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