Grrrr Give a Man a Fish

I think provencial wisdom which says that teaching to fish is better than giving a fish invites people to be callous and judgmental of others. I clearly see insult built into the message.

“Hey Buddy–Couldn’t help but notice you starvin’ there, like some runt dog who was one too many in the litter. You’re clueless about what it takes to feed yourself,aren’t you. The employment office is down the street. I’d give you some money for some food, but you know that wouldn’t do you any good. You would stink up your breath with Wild Irish Rose, and wine would just make you hungrier. Best of luck learning how to feed yourself. Wish I could take credit for teaching you, but no time. Gotta make a lunch date in ten minutes.”

What’s worse is that foreigners whether religious or corporate can go into the lands of a native people under auspices of teaching them to “fish” so to speak, while actually making a mockery of who these people are, if not utterly exploiting  their labor, stealing their natural resources., or signing them on to contracts for fertilizers and farming equipment that are impractical or detrimental to them in the long run.

Many valuable lessons have we all teach one another. But don’t go down to someone’s home on the lake and feign to teach him to fish. If you do, he would be wise to assume that what you’re really interested in is a new fishing spot.

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