The Fox and the Crow: A Society Teaches Children Being the Fox

A mindset encourages manipulating people in Eastern Asia

May 3 · 3 min read
Photo by Ray Hennessy on Unsplash

The Fox and the Crow

There was a crow flying in the forest to find something to eat. Luckily, it found a piece of cheese. It picked up the cheese and flight on a tree preparing to finish its delicious food.

Meanwhile, a fox came and said to the crow: “You are a beautiful bird and must have beautiful voice. Why don’t you sing for me?” The crow was flattered so that it decide to sing.

After the crow opened its mouth, the cheese fall down and was eaten by the fox. The fox laugh:” Your voice is ugly. All I want is just your cheese, you fool!”

This classical fable teaches us don’t be fool as the crow and knowing yourself’s shortcoming that you won’t be tricked by the unrealistic compliment.

However, there is another teaching with the similar story in Eastern Asia.

Afanti and Bay

In East Turkestan, there was a clever guy named Afanti, one day, he went to a rich and stingy merchant named Bay to borrow a cooker to cook.

Few days after, Afanti returned the original cooker plus a smaller cooker. Bay asked: ”I only borrowed you one cooker, where does the smaller one come from?” Afanti replied: ”Congrats, your cooker just gave a birth, this is its son.” Bay accept the small cooker happily.

Another day, Afanti asked for a cooker again. This time, Bay gave him a golden cooker and expected it will have another birth.

However, few days after, Afanti came with nothing: ” Unfortunately, your cooker died in childbirth.” Bay doubted: ”How can a cooker die?” “How can you believe a cooker can have birth?” Afanti answered.

This story teaches us how be “smart” to manipulate the rich and gain their property.

Eastern Asian value this kind of wisdom that manipulate your opponent’s logic or habit to force them acting for your own interest.

Zhuge Liang and Sima Yi

The most famous strategist in Chinese history, Zhuge Liang, one day, he only had one of a hundred amount of army than the enemy. For surviving from the huge attack, he used Empty Fort Strategy to open the gate and play zither on the gate.

It tells the enemy general Sima Yi that Zhuge has no hope to against, but the Sima ‘s power in the empire is based on the need to against Zhuge’s invasion. Once Zhuge fails, Sima will be likely to lose power. Therefore, Sima said that there might have ambush in the fort and retreated his army.

In the contract of western civilization that values brave, honesty and self- expression, Eastern Asian civilization values strategy, sophism and thought reading.

This basic mindset fills with the fields from the government to livelihood and it impacts the way Eastern Asian see what human is. Moreover, I consider that it’s why Eastern Asia has a deep non-theist tradition of philosophy but still hard to accept humanism and its institution such as democracy, human rights and liberty.

To be continued……

Photo by Tyler Quiring on Unsplash

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Kevin Chin-wen Feng

Written by

Common humanism only loves human’s virtues, but mine is to love human’s vices, and to think in depth about how to use these vices to make the world better.

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