Suspicion and Believing

April 16, 2014
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People who have little knowledge but assume themselves to have a lot always find life irritating.

I demonstrated this as true two or three years ago when I thought of myself erudite and became disgusted and irritated about hypocritical people, those with impure motives. I appreciated William Golding’s Lord of the Flies, longing to be as perspicacious as the author was. I struggled towards that direction, at least as far as I was concerned.

There seemed to be an innate incompatibility between my friend Eve and me. When she said, “how benevolent the billionaire is!” I would deride her naivety with my eyes rolled, “He intended to fulfill his sense of achievement and gain reputation from people who, like you, are too naïve and will choose his products in the future. What dummies people like you are to admire him!”

Things were doomed to change when I mocked supporting education in underdeveloped areas, considering it only served to decorate the teachers’ resumes and senses of achievement, disturbing remote students’ life, and bestowing on them unrealistic illusions about fortune. As a result, they would live more despondently after the beautiful bubbles were pierced and gone with the wind. Eve, failing to persuade me, invited me to support this education with her.

“Another chance to encounter with people’s selfishness! Another chance to justify my view and to be disappointed and indignant!”I moaned to myself as I had usually done before. Eve asked me: “How can you authenticate that you are right without experiencing it yourself?” My willingness to be right won over my disdain. Finally, with reluctance and reserved satire, I went on my trip to Ganzi, a hilly and remote area with mixed nationalities of people living there.

I didn't realize that the whole experience would be a bomb to me, not just because I saw some of the most frustrating lives in the world, but because I saw the true meaning of supporting education, the meaning which was beyond teaching local students’ knowledge and giving them money. This experience totally changed my attitude towards aid-education and, as I later realized, changed my opinion towards the whole world.

But at that time, I just sneered and felt sorry about the students who were on holiday when we arrived and then convened by the organizers of this trip in the school by design. Indignation flaunted it victory in my body when students arrived in the early morning because I thought they were utilized as tools or costumes to add to urban people’s resumes.

I asked Eve to teach first and went out of the classroom to have a deep breath. I met with students from Ganzi surrounding one of the teachers from cities. The students were asking about lives out of the mountains, in which students sleep 5 or 6 hours a day, the same as they do, and adults struggle, the same as their parents do while impecunious John Davison Rockefeller became the oil baron and disabled Konosuke Matsushita started his business empire.

I suddenly realized our advantage over the local adults, who spent their whole lives in the mountains, to be teachers: we are from a world which is stressful in its own way but, different from theirs, full of possibilities with hundreds of people fulfilling their dreams through hard work. That’s why we help teaching in remote areas: to give them courage and hopes by showing them that they are not the only ones struggling for lives and myriad forms of possibilities of changing their lives. Strangely, we teachers even didn't realize our courage and possibilities ourselves in the past. It was the experience in Ganzi that reminded us we had myriad opportunities for changing but always failed to catch them.

My thoughts digressed when the organizer summed up our trip. Did it matter that some teachers only wanted to get something to write on their resumes if so many benefits were brought to the local students and us? Did it matter that some beneficiaries only cared about their reputations and commercial benefits if the poor students could go to school and more people would be influenced to raise money for the rural students? No, it didn't, of course.

I started doubting my cynical way of thinking. As a small girl, I had believed everything I had heard and seen when I had known nothing while as a teenager, I believed nothing I heard and saw when I assumed that I knew everything. The former had made me feel betrayed while the latter gave me an excuse not to pay, not to love and not to cooperate. I really can’t tell which harmed me more. I still doubt people’s motives now, but I pay more attention to the consequences of their deeds. I admit that although starting from a self-serving motive, people can help the world and change themselves if they conduct the right things. The world is not a fairy tale as I thought in the past but a more complex drama in which people help themselves while helping others. Moreover, people’s motives can be more complex than I thought. They adulterate hopes to gain and hopes to give. Whatever motivates them, the deeds which can help the world should be praised.

Finally, the girl who was cynical and couldn't bear too much reality is gone.

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