Saturday, 27 February 2016

On Achievement and a Philosophical Clash.

‘What did you achieve?’ they ask, ‘they’ being the people whose attitudes accord with received cultural norms.

‘What do you hope to achieve?’

‘State how you will achieve your goals.’

‘List what you see as your achievements in your previous position.’

Achievement, achievement, achievement is the watchword in our modern, dynamic culture, and there’s nothing wrong with achievement to those who are driven to achieve. It can be, and often is, laudable. But does it have to claim the right of exclusivity?

What of those who, like me, are not driven by achievement but by the need to experience as much as can be experienced in the prevailing circumstances? Does it have to be the case that those who achieve little in the accepted sense but seek to experience much in the living of a life should be considered failures?

It seems to me that this question is symptomatic of the clash between Confuscianist and Taoist ideology, and the modern world is essentially Confuscianist in its understanding of success. Seems I’m a Taoist at heart, even though I decline labels.

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