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There are at least two types of mianzi's. One, the material type. Second, the ethical type. |
Just that in the chase of progress, the first is increasingly dominating the second.
Not hard to see why. Modern society has less openings to nurture and cultivate the ethical mianzi because everyone is too busy to stop and cogitate or too coaxed by the need to find financial security to think why the ethical mianzi is superior. Although much social altruism can be practised (donating to the poor, helping the needy, being present for the lonely etc), how much time in a 9-5 day does one have to do that? Weekends are open, but the battery needs to be recharged and if one doesn't have much surplus money, there is so little that can be individually done to alleviate the suffering of others. Herein lies a failure of modern society. Something which can be changed. A new system to channel and build and disburse the inherent social altruism in men and women so that their ethical mianzi can grow healthily.
The material mianzi however is forever trying to reign. Fuelled by the big bucks of advertising. Whose sole mandate is to control the last frontier - the mind of the consumer. In a cycle of innovate-sell-innovate-sell. In one way it's useful - because it creates progress. In another way it's not so good - because it depends on the notion of branding to create the perception of value and make things easier to sell because branding triggers the association in the mind with a family of desired qualities. At its apex, branding creates mental hooks to hook the consumer to want something in disproportion to his capability to pay for it, or its intrinsic functional value. Yet all the world works like that; a bad thing can become a collective unspoken standard that spin-offs innovation and what is commonly called material progress. To cut the matter to the core, live within one's means, understand the meaning of opportunity cost (paying for something with money which could be used in something else) and remember how materialism can change one's character to be either shallow or profound.
Such as with the coal mine owner. Men die. Money made for him he throws onto the gambling tables of Asia; the casino operators are more than happy to send a personal jet to ferry the idiot to sumptuous dinners of sharks fin and abalone in luxuriously-appointed hotels so that the blood money he carries with him can be splattered in the very places on earth where the 'house always wins in the end - because it operates on human hope built on greed'. Greed that forgets back home lives have been snuffed out so that he can fall into his own bottomless pit.
Such as with the car buyer. He asks for the price of the ferrari. With the girl model as well.
And then there's the case of some tycoon in London who spent some thirteen million pounds sterling - on a wedding. While back home the people were walking the streets bedraggled, weak from malnutrition, ill from lack of medicine.
The need for mianzi has consumed all proportion. The sense of what is right and wrong has vanished.
Have i been talking of some past era when men were less learned or socially conscious of their actions?
No, the examples are recent. In this 21st century.