//By three methods we may learn wisdom:
First, by reflection, which is noblest;
Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest//
But what will happen when we combine all these three?
Simulating is human nature. Confucius, the noble philosopher, taught us that there are three ways to learn wisdom: the smartest way is through logical reasoning, the hardest way is through painful experiences and the easiest way is through borrowing, copying (or whatever you might call it) effective templates. Nevertheless, the shortest way might not always be the safest way. Imitating can lead to some side-effects such as: misconception of true nature, deterioration of self cognitions and self values, to name a few.
First of all, following the same recipe does not mean we can bake the same cakes. As Jennifer Pozner stated in her debate, cigarettes do not equate liberation. “Acting” like a man do not make a woman a man (you know that I mean). Why do we have to abandon our rights to wear alluring high heels and fascinating dresses? Trying to simulate outer appearance of a man is nothing more than a childish role play. In order to grow stronger, you should study why the dominant groups earn their superior positions and enhance your own weaknesses by applying those learned information.
Moreover, once you get used to imitating, you are merely perpetuating a bad habit of the brain: lack of self-reflection. Take the design cognition as an example. Vivo city in Singapore is much more than a landmark, designed by the prominent architect Toyo Ito, the building itself is a cathedral for architectural students to adore. I carried that expectation when visiting Vivo city HCM and it was quite a shock. In fact, I feel like being in the Crescent Mall nearby. Its remarkable thing, the sky park playground, seems attractive to locals but still an awkward competition with the original one. Sometimes, when relentlessly chasing “rainbow”, we forget to involve our own cultural reflections to the universal identical formula of “modernism”.
Last but not least, copying is the best way for concealing one’s tastelessness. Modern fairy tale begins with heart-breaking princes who poses pale V-shape faces and cutie manga lips. For that reason, our young men are under pressure of being that adorable societal model and it is a very good news for cosmetic and surgery industries. Manipulated by mass media, the new male generation (in Vietnam and some Asian countries) are losing the ability of illuminating their inner characteristics. Step by step, they deeply involve in the game of “copy and “paste”, borrowing different features from different people without wondering about relevancy. It is, indeed, writing a thesis without citations. Having too many taste mixed together means possessing no taste at all.
Indisputably, imitating is not solely a bad thing. Nevertheless, we should know how to use it with considerations. Think of it as we are solving an equation with variables: carefully follow instructions, fully understand algebraic strategies and be ready for all exceptions that might occur.
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