Friday, June 15, 2012

A Lesson in Individuality


Hantan was a prefecture in Chao-Kuo (which was located in Hopeh Province of Mainland China), during the WArring States period (403-222 B.C.)  The people of Hantan were renowned for their prowess at walking.  A young boy in Yen-Kuo (also in Hopeh province(, admiring their skills, decided to go to Hantan and study the walking methods of the local people.
   After a long and arduous journey, he finally reached his destination.  He immediately began to scrutinize and imitate the walking postures of the pedestrians.  However, not only was he unsuccessful in his attempt, but he also completely forgot his own original walking style.  Therefore, he had no alternative but to crawl home.
   This fable is drawn from the teachings of the famous Chiense philosopher Chuang-tze.  The story is a metaphor that teaches us not to emulate the actions of others, lest we lose the unique characteristics that make us individuals.

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