Give a man a fish and… you know you’ve opened a fortune cookie or work in education

A much quoted proverb which may be Chinese but may also just be from some dumbass in the Department of Chinese Sounding Proverbs out in Utah goes as follows:
Give a man a fish, and you feed him for the day, teach a man to fish and  you feed him for a lifetime. 

No, we won’t go into funny versions of this or other X a Y to Z and it will XZ, Y a Z to X and it will XY formats that are funny, but are done and better HERE.

What we want to explore is the philosophy behind this trite saying oft said in education (we’ll cut the guts out of “reinvent the wheel” at a later date) to promote some idea that teaching crap to dumbasses is the way to make the world a better blah blah blah.  Here is an alternative idea to this social construct to resource. If you take ten men and teach them to fish it will break down in this way.

  • One man will attempt to use the pole to pleasure  himself and will have it lodged in his colon and die having it removed
  • Two men will be so completely untrainable and take course after course but never seem to get it until they almost die of stupidity saved only by social programs where fish guts are turned into some kind of cheese and honey product given away from the back of a truck.  The Teach A Man to Fish trainer who has sixteen degrees attended countless train the trainer courses and is only paid if these two boobs improved in their test scores… she does not qualify for the benefits since she appears to be middle class…. so she starves to death grading papers written by all the other students who learned how to fish from her but she is paid only with 100% success which she cannot ever attain.  However, that is what we call “accountability” in education.
  • Three men can’t be bothered to fish, one hangs out all day in the back of a city corner store, the other a book store, the other a cafe – they collect SSI and between that and what they got for selling their poles, they get by.
  • One man will not be happy with only his fishing pole and will spend all the time he could be fishing building up ways to take the other fisher’s poles or creating complex ways of securing rights to waters, air, or fish so that he gets a fish for anyone fishing or using or thinking about any of these commodities without actually having to fish but now owns the “fishing model” and is being funded to develop new models all the time.
  • One man talks in the back of fishing class, passes notes, and is really in class just to find a girlfriend who he hopes will fish for him and only drops his line in the water when girls are watching – he only looks for huge fish that will impress girls and between catches (which could be years) brags about the time he caught the huge one.  This works for him, if only sexually, but he gets by.
  • Two men will fish their brains out.  These men will get up at the crack of dawn, think, live, and breath fishing all the time.  They both grow old early, hunched from spending hours looking into the water their skin cracked from salt and wind…  one man will find good fishing grounds and harvest a plenty.  The other man will struggle every day always hoping to make it but each day he has failed and has nothing to show for it but scars and sadness. 

That one sucuessful man who was taught to fish, he will end up supporting the rest and at the end of the day eat the scraps left for him.

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