By Lethbridge Herald on January 20, 2024.
We usually make the value judgement by looking at the “size.” And “big” usually means good. We think anything big, big bank account, big crowd, big house are good things, better than small of course. We have to admit that‘s not always the true. The value we give to the notion of “big” is inflated and “small” is unfairly disdained.
A We have to pay attention to a Chinese proverb: “It’s better to be the head of a chicken than a tail of a cow.”
In my experience, working for a small organization was a happier experience where I was “somebody” but working for a big and prestigious one was not. Being close to the tail end of a big impressive animal means you get a lot of “s**t.”
Historian Arnold Toynbee predicted that the ants and bees will inherit the earth after we Homo Sapience become extinct. Those tiny life-forms know how to organize efficient co-operation. Not like ours that compete and destroy each other. Charles Darwin said, “The world will not be inherited by the big and powerful who can change it. It will be those who can adapt will inherit the earth, not those who destroy the weak.”
I reject the idea that bigger is always better. Neither do I believe that a big bank account is the surest way to happiness. I worry about our tendency to admire billionaires without question while wise persons do not get much attention because they make less money. We must realize that quality can not be measured by quantity. Often good quality products are more expensive but last longer than cheaper ones. In the end quality makes them less expensive.There is a story of a famous early 20th Century American preacher, Stanley Jones, visiting a small village in India. He had a conversation with a local pastor. Jones was delighted when the Indian friend asked him about his work in America giving him a chance to boast about his successful ministry.
He proudly spoke about his church’s big finances and the large crowd he attracted. The Indian looked puzzled. He had wanted to know how his church’s presence made the community kinder to the poor and friendlier to the strangers. It’s a sad day when even the spiritual values like love and mercy are measured by the size of bank account and the size of the crowd. Religion is not a business.
How have we managed to belittle ourselves by measuring everything by the size of a bank account? Is quantity more important than quality? Are many zeros better than one zero? Zero is nothing no matter how many there are. A thousand zeros still is zero. A sad fact about our popular way to measure value is based on the idea that larger numbers are better no matter how toxic or worthless they are. Numbers do not convey any notion of quality. Charlie Chaplin said in a movie about a serial killer something like, “If you kill one person, you are a murderer.
But if you kill 1,000 people (singlehanded), you are a legend.” Quantity does not define quality. At the Museum of Insects called “Insectoreum” in Montreal, there was once a feature exhibition about cockroaches. I was surprised to find that the universally disliked insect had existed on the earth for 340 million years after dinosaurs became extinct 66 million years ago. Scientists think that their ability to survive comes from their thin body that helped them hide in small spaces thus escaping the cataclysmic disaster that wiped out many other big and strong life forms like dinosaurs. Because they were small and could hide in the smallest spaces they survived. Small size let them escape the destructive force. Quality matters: That’s the truth.
Tadashi (Tad) Mitsui