Thursday, November 19, 2009

Mao on Complacency and Conceit:

9. Conceited people cannot forget their merits. They hide their own shortcomings and disregard other people’s strong points. They often compare their own merits with other people’s demerits, thereby drawing satisfaction. When they see the strong points of others, they say ‘Not much,’ or ‘Nothing to make a song and dance about.’

10. In fact, the more one overrates oneself, the worse the result is likely to be. Leo Tolstoy, the great Russian writer, put it humorously:

‘A man is like a mathematical fraction, whose actual talent can be compared to a numerator and his own estimate of it to a denominator. The bigger the denominator, the smaller the fraction.’

11. Modesty is a necessary virtue for every revolutionary. It benefits the people’s cause whereas conceit leads the people’s cause to defeat. Therefore modesty is an expression of one’s responsibility to the people’s cause.

12. A revolutionary in name and practice must be able to: First, respect the creativeness of the masses, listen to their views, and regard himself as one of the masses. He must not have a single grain of selfishness or exaggerate his own role and must work honestly for the masses. This is the spirit which Lu Hsun describes as ‘Hanging my head low, I willingly serve as the young people’s ox.’ This is modesty.

http://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/mao/selected-works/volume-9/mswv9_09.htm

4 comments:

Nevin said...

Modesty and humility is not in fashion now days. If one is seen practicing these virtues, one is portrayed as either stupid or gullible.

From my personal experience, I am reminded of these two important qualities during times of difficulty such as when my child's health is in danger... Otherwise, I am as forgetful and thoughtless as the next person. :(

I wonder how humans can be reminded of the fragility of life without the oppression of religion?

Mehmet Çagatay said...

Hi Nevin,

I'm sorry about your daughter's health problem. I read it on your blog a couple of days ago. The reason that I didn't left a comment was I couldn't think anything to say beyond the standard phrases of consolation. I hope your daughter may recover soon.

Prevailing capitalo-democratic ideology dictates decisive distrust for people. But its distinctive characteristic resides in the well known Maoist dictum "confidence in the masses" but with a reversal which consistently put emphasis on confidence as long as masses have confidence in dominant social relations. Therefore, an individual vis-à-vis other stages a neurotic play in which symbolic exchange is interrupted by the doubt whether this or that person complies with dominant subjective positions. Just imagine a bunch of aspiring pros obsessively trying to figure out the tells of other players but have no interest in what is actually going on in a peculiar poker game. Daniel Neagranu once related his astonishment when he once came across a table of astute amateurs focused in tells but have little or no knowledge about the fundamentals of poker. This is what is happening in modern society.

As regards to religion, I'm surprised that people generally think that religion simply functions to remind us our human conditions that we incline to forget. Actually it works in the exact opposite way. Religion emancipates people from human limitations by serving as an instrument of denial.

Best,

Renegade Eye said...

Mao had someone else write for him.

In my group, we're discussing China. Now that it's industrial, it has the world's largest working class. That makes the China question important.

Mao based his revolution on Stalinist Russia. He only nationalized the economy, because capitalists fled to Taiwan.

I'm not against conceit, if it is backed up by deeds.

Nevin said...

you said: "Religion emancipates people from human limitations by serving as an instrument of denial."

I have to think about this sentence a little... it reads a little like an oxymoron...

So are you saying, religion helps us deny certain realities of the human condition therefore we use religion as an excuse?

Sorry, I am lost.... And so sorry if I am off topic here...