The 19th Century American Philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson was so right when he wrote in that famous essay of his – “Self Reliance”, that “Envy is ignorance, imitation is suicide”.
Why in the world would the Mango tree envy the hibiscus flower? Or the palm-tree envy the Iroko? It does not really make much sense, you know? It is sheer ignorance of its potentials that makes a palm tree complain about not having flowers. That was what Emerson meant by “Envy is Ignorance”, and Imitation? Suicide. You kill the potential of the orange seedling if you want it to imitate the flower in the corner of your office. It may not be immediately obvious, and it may never be. But something dies in the species that imitates another of a different kind. Continue reading