Reason why you can’t be smarter, better, stronger, etc

Friday 1 October 2010, 6.28am HKT

EVERYBODY wants to be smarter, stronger, faster, richer, better-looking, choose the qualities you like best, whatever.

Everybody wants to be a genius. The next Einstein, the next Rembrandt, the next Hemmingway, the next Messiah if that could be had.

There’s a fine line between wanting to be and trying to become.

Wanting to be is just plain stupid. You can’t. The ultimate reason is this:

Your past made you into what you are now.

That’s a pretty galling fact for those who think they are in control of their own destinies.

You become a certain type of person with a certain type of beliefs and reactions if you had been born in a certain time in a certain place and spent your formative years (basically from age 11 to 19) at the certain place and time.

If you had been born or bred in  (say) the 1930s in Germany, you’re most likely to be a reactionary conservative (for want of a better description) and takes time for you to get used to the presence of people not of your own culture or history.

Likewise, had you been born or bred in the 1960s or 1970s in (say) the south of England, you’re likely to be a liberal Tory or a liberal Labour supporter, fairly conservative in taste but simultaneously into countercultural stuff, fairly conscious of your social station (class), easygoing, and quite comfortable with subcultures such as Teddy Boys, Mods, hippies, punks, skinheads, the New Wave, emos and the like.

Your past made you into what you are now.

Everyone wants to be better than they are now. It’s only natural. As the Chinese saying goes, “Man hopes to ascend high, the waters works to flow down.”

Ultimately, we can only hope to improve what we already have at hand, inside ourselves, no more, no less.

To want to be better, smarter, stronger, faster, richer, better-looking or whatever, there is one quality in you that you have overlooked:

You are deeply flawed to begin with.

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