Monday, August 15, 2005

Should A Tree Be Known By Its Fruit or Its Root?

A few weeks ago I put the abovementioned question as my MSN screenname, to the puzzlement of many online contacts. To begin with, I saw Shze Wei’s acronym one day and I thought that was interesting...

Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit
(Goh, 2005)
So I was wondering... eih, why is the rationale like that? Is the tree’s worth manifested by its fruit alone, and do we always overlook all the other parts that constitute what we know as a tree? The trunk, the root, the branches, and even the twigs?

In all the seriousness, I really don’t understand. So in a while, I came up with this question.
Should A Tree Be Known By Its Fruit or Its Root?
(Yew, 2005)
Now here’s the relevance of the question. I kind of related it to how a person judges another person, having been intrigued by the way of human judgment as time goes by. I have never tried to claim that I am mature, just and level-headed, because I know I am not. I have always been involved in some ridiculous banterings in which I was arguing for arguing’s sake. In many instances, I have lost my cool and I even resorted to sarcasm and personal attack in order to vent my anger. But among all these immature sides of mine, I have always reckoned myself to be rather forgiving when it comes to being offended by others, be it intentionally or unintentionally. To be specific, I am pretty sure that I have never been angry to a person simply because of an action without an intention.

But to my disappointment, it seems that some people simply don’t care... I don’t know why, but getting angry at somebody is always the easiest way out when somebody else irritates them. As a simple test, let’s say somebody who’s supposed to attend a personal meeting with you, turned out half an hour late, and appear to be happy without a hint of remorse on his face.

What will be your first reaction to him? Or rather, what would be the first emotion that catches you?

For many people, as I have observed, the first emotion would be–no other than anger, sometimes disappointment or even resentment. Yes, he has not been living up to his or her words, so logically, he is indeed culpable and deserves getting a straight face from us. Or at least, that is what we thought.

But have we given a chance for him to explain? Have we found out the reason before we let the anger unleash, occupy us and probably contribute to yet another prejudice?

No, most of the time we don’t. For we always judge from the impression and the action, just like how we often recognize a tree by its fruit rather than its root. Probably he is late because he helped a victim in an accident, who knows? I know this is kind of cliche, but let’s just suppose it’s indeed the case, and mull over it.

Let’s see how many times we have been angry to our friends when things are done unintentionally or even with a good intention. I think we may lose count, because we don’t even care about the intention. In actual fact, we simply get angry like a knee-jerk reflex. But by any means, it does happen all the time. Just like how we feel that we are misunderstood by others at times, that’s exactly what we are always doing to others too–judge someone before he can defend himself.

So, may I ask again, should a tree be known by its fruit or its root? I have always believed that, in any case, the nutrient of the fruit always comes from the root. So when the fruit irritates us, let’s count to five, and think of the root. It may help.


Anonymous said...

this is the first time i'm posting.=P this post made me think quite a lot.i was grumbling to dad about the you know...and dad told me he might have his own concerns.难言的苦衷.hmmmph.
alas,your post doesn't stop me from being angry and displeased.

your old friend in alor star

smartaleck said...

Hmm... I would think tht certain parts of ur this post is aimed at sniding me n saying tht i m unreasonable, but then of cz, it could be pure coincidence.. Most of wat u say is true, but then again, for instance the one abt being late.. yes, he could have tons of reasons for being late, but shd at least be remorseful for wasting the others' time, no matter hw strong a reason behind his tardiness, or hw its not the slighest fault of his.. even more demanding ppl would say, well, its his responsibility to be on time, so its his fault tht he's late, no matter wat.. N in my case, well, haha.. can say u are sort of scapegoat, so sorry, if u really feel tht u are being misunderstood, or unreasonably accused.. but then u r still a good fren, regardless of wat happened.. N i wont say tht it was a burst of anger on my part, cz i had the whole day to consider any perspective.. maybe i am not subjective enough. maybe we jz have diff points of view.. No offence meant.. hehe..:P N i will adjust my "unreasonable" expectations towards others n be more demanding towards myself instead.. for instance force myself to study :P

youngyew said...

anonymous: Thanks for your comment! Hmm... Actually I would have felt the same if I were you, really. It’s hard to be you, you know... I agree that in any case, what the headmaster did was intolerable for you. You know his intention, don’t you? As in, the reason he made you do the things that you did, it’s pretty obvious. But it’s not acceptable for me, and you certainly have had your own share of pain. Pity you girl... I hope that you will soon escape from this unnecessary “service”.

smartaleck: Have not been seeing your comment for a long time... :D For the “not remorseful” part, it was not included initially. The reason I added that part was to elicit an emotion of anger in everyone, because some people won’t necessarily get infuriated even his friend is half an hour late. SO the “not remorseful” was there so that everyone reading that will get angry. :D

If I cancel that part, we will still have trouble... Even when the person is a bit remorseful, sometimes the friend who waited would still be angry. Or worst comes to worst, sometimes we offend others unintentionally, of course we won’t even know people got angry and hence no remorse feeling. And the friend would still get angry.

If the person who gets angry shows it to the person, I would say it’s rather good. The worst thing that could happen is that we offended a friend but he/she keeps everything inside and pretends to be happy onthe surface. And then, when he/she goes home, he/she might go on a personal blog and curse me all he/she wishes, and get pissed internally.

youngyew said...

Smartaleck: Oh ya, by the way, the post wasn’t directed to you, I swear. It was just a general observation of mine.

day-dreamer said...

I have different answers (to your question) in different situations. It depends.

Like what you said, most people count on the fruit to know the tree. They hardly dig out the roots in order to identify the tree, and this is where that hurts the most. Why can't people find out the truth behind everything before condemning other people so ruthlessly?

However, it is not easy to search for the "roots" to know the tree. Hence, many people might not be bothered. Why the trouble? "If a papaya grows on that tree, it's a papaya tree lah!