How not to help your friend

A Chinese proverb says:

"Do not remove the fly from your friend's forehead with an ax"

I like this saying, because at first i had the idea of smashing a fly with a fly swatter on the forehead of a friend ... I liked the imagination and I smirked.

On the other hand the saying makes me think. I would always help friends and I certainly would try to help friends appropriately. But who really knows what is best in the life of another human being? Basically nobody can know this in advance. So may be a boon starts being only sweet, may become terrible and may prove in the end probably to be disastrous.

So you know for example the phenomenon of addiction. When you help an addict by performing unpleasant tasks in everyday activities may result in the addict feeling rewarded in his situation. So he has a motive to possibly stay longer addicted ....

As always, it will be right if I would help people to help themselves. Without responding with exaggerated means to any problems thus slaying a friend in a figurative sense. The longer I think about it, the more meanings of the proverb are going through my mind ..... wise people, the Chinese ....


Jena Isle said...

That's a good proverb, can I borrow it later? A good metaphor. and a great post. The Philosopher is at work again.

Thanks for sharing.

A.V.C. said...

Dear rainer,

Asking this question indicates to me your touching upon a critical point where the macro perspective seemingly comes in conflict with the micro dito.

There is no reason in deciding to help.

And there is no reason in deciding not to.

Good post.

jhony etherington said...

i agree with this wise words..."it will be right if I would help people to help themselves". Do not give a fish to people but give them appliance to fishing..so they dont addicted

The Fearless Blog said...

Your post reminds me that some friends may NOT truly be "friends."

Finding a middle ground or the "appropriate path" is not easy, and yes in our attempt to "do good" we my actually "harm" those we care for and respect. However I believe in the end, honesty and true love "will" light the way.

Very interesting and thought provoking post.

Vivi-Mari Carpelan said...

Nice saying. That's exactly how I feel when people come with their belief systems that they push down my throat; I respond with a lot of defensiveness - no one has the right to come with assumptions about my path. By the way, I think your journey is esoteric not esoterical, but you should check it out :-)

Tania said...

Dear Rainer,
Great post and widsom. I feel the best we can offer another is love, compassion and understanding.

Ray Gratzner said...

Dear jena, please feel free to use any proverb as I did. Happy blogging my empress