Magens Bay --San Thomas

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


Years ago, I have the privileged to visit one of the oldest civilizations on earth, Chinese. Back then --life was pretty simple. Majority of the people were still following the culture that was passed down from generation to generation. One could still see the glimpse of ancient traditions in pretty much every corner you turned.

Same thing I noticed years later when I visited Greece. The Greeks were definitely one of the most amazing civilizations with many treasures left over from their ancestors. Nevertheless, they are one of the ancient civilizations that still exist in this world.

Something caught my eyes when I visited one of the oldest civilizations in the world, the Egyptian. Not until then, I have finally understood the dilemma behind --inheritance.

Occasionally now and then, we have read in the news that some tycoons or the rich and famous that would rather leave their wealth to some charities instead of leaving them behind to their descendants. I  have never understood the reasons behind --perhaps due to my ignorance or simply I am not that rich :-)

Not until my visit to the Egypt, an eye opening experience that I felt like somehow a light bulb has lighted up. It is in my humble opinion that one of the reasons behind the theory of inheritance was --identity. The tycoons want their offspring to find their own identity by struggling --perhaps with a better, and solid ground to begin with, but still able to find their own identity and strike a fortune. Only then, they can claim their own identity and put up their own flag on the mountain that they have climbed themselves instead of --being dropped off by by their parents' helicopters. Of course, there will always be an exception where some of the descendants are able to expand beyond their inheritance, but for the most part ...

The Chinese, the Greeks and the Egyptians share one thing in common --great inheritance. There is no doubt that these three ancient civilizations have been fortunate enough to inherit so much wealth and knowledge from their ancestors.And for years the Chinese were living off from their inheritance until much recent years that they finally came out from the shell and made their debut. And you all know where the Greeks are today. As for the Egyptians, they are in the midst of struggling to find their new identity and perhaps someday --will awe the world, just like their pyramids.

It has been an interesting journey, I say --visiting the inheritance from the ancient civilizations' point of view and I hope you enjoy it.

Until next stop,

Journey of Life



  1. "Inheritance" is an interesting concept. There is an age-old saying about family wealth: a family goes from sandals-to-sandals in three generations.

    Simply put, the first generation, through hard work starts poorly in sandals only, putting aside luxuries in building something. The second generation, taking the fruits of that work, rather than building, simply takes what it feels it is entitled to, spending on expensive leather shoes until... the third generation, lazy, greedy, and incompetent, returns to the poverty of sandals.

    All three of the civilisations you cite (China, Egypt, Greece) have experience this - at points in time being at the pinnacle of world wealth and power, but ultimately, through corruption, arrogance, and sloth (i.e., "we are the BEST, need to do nothing to maintain that, will always be the BEST, and are entitled by God, the fates, our own inherent superiority, to remain that way).

    All fell into torpor and poverty. The Egyptians have never really recovered. The Chinese, after a couple of centuries are starting to regain their position near the top.

    We've all seen this dynamic played out on a personal level - who doesn't know of a family where the parents built something that ultimately, their sons squandered. I agree that the most important, basic inheritance our children can and should receive is that of guidance and support to develop themselves; they are not entitled to our money, or wealth. To imply that they are is to hobble their ability to stand on their own.

    In Proverbs, there is a famous passage:

    "He that troubles his own house shall inherit the wind: and the fool shall be servant to the wise."

  2. I couldn't have said it better! Very UNFORTUNATE that "corruption, arrogance, and sloth .." have returned them to the 'poverty of sandals.'

    I was quite troubled --to the point that I was saddened, by the sites that I saw, especially in Egypt aside from its majesty temples and pyramids.

  3. Interesting post. What most upsets me is the lack of compassion what seems to have entered American politics. A civilisation is only as durable as how it cares for those in need.

    1. Interesting reaction. Do not wish to hijack the Journey so to speak, so I'll just make four quickie comments.

      1) I agree that it is a measure of the basic decency of a "society," how it cares for those "in need."

      2) "Society" and "the government" are hardly the same thing; Americans are, in my experience, the most compassionate, giving lot in the world - far, far more willing to give of their OWN time, talent, and treasure than many other putatively "compassionate" societies

      4) Forcing someone else to foot the bill for what we feel priorities ought to be (tax burdens placed on others as opposed to our own voluntary giving to charitable causes) is not compassion

      5) The definition of "in need" is likely open to wide interpretation. As an example, a child born with severe handicaps or an old-age pensioner who cannot work are truly needy. A student at an elite university (say, Georgetown Law School) who likely will graduate to a high-profile, high-pay job is not.