The characteristic of the first sort of religion is imitation. It insists on imitation: imitate Buddha, imitate Christ, imitate Mahavir, but imitate. Imitate somebody. Don't be yourself, be somebody else. And if you are very stubborn you can force yourself to be somebody else. You will never be somebody else. Deep down you cannot be. You will remain yourself, but you can force so much that you almost start looking like somebody else.
Schools teach you to imitate. If you don't imitate what the teacher wants you get a bad grade. Here, in college, it was more sophisticated, of course; you were supposed to imitate the teacher in such a way as to convince the teacher you were not imitating, but taking the essence of the instruction and going ahead with it on your own. That got you A's. Originality on the other hand could get you anything -- from A to F. The whole grading system cautioned against it.
Robert M. Pirsig
If God spares us as a father does his son, let us imitate God. It is natural for children to imitate their parents. Let us imitate God in this one thing: As God spares us, and passes by many failures, so let us be sparing in our censures of others; let us look upon the weaknesses and indiscretions of our brethren with... a more tender, compassionate eye. How much God bears with us!
I've been telling my students, 'Imitate, imitate.' And they say, 'Well, what if I plagiarize, or what if I'm not original? I want to be myself.' And I always tell them, 'Your self will shine through'... If you allow yourself to feel deeply and honestly, what you say won't be like anyone else.
...we have more faith in what we imitate than in what we originate. We cannot derive a sense of absolute certitude from anything which has its roots in us. The most poignant sense of insecurity comes from standing alone and we are not alone when we imitate. It is thus with most of us; we are what other people say we are. We know ourselves chiefly by hearsay.
They are, as it were, train-bearers in the pageant of life, and hold a glass up to humanity, frailer than itself. We see ourselves at second-hand in them: they show us all that we are, all that we wish to be, and all that we dread to be. What brings the resemblance nearer is, that, as they imitate us, we, in our turn, imitate them. There is no class of society whom so many persons regard with affection as actors.
It is a very grave matter to be forced to imitate a people for whom you know-which is the price of your performance and survival-you do not exist. It is hard to imitate a people whose existence appears, mainly, to be made tolerable by their bottomless gratitude that they are not, thank heaven, you.
James A. Baldwin
I could sum it up in one thing: A guy has to be what he is. He's got to coach and have a philosophy based on his own personality. You see too many coaches trying to imitate other coaches, trying to be someone else. It's all right to emulate the qualities of good coaches but I don't think you should imitate. You've got to be yourself.
As a result of his experiments he concluded that imitation was a real evil that had to be broken before real rhetoric teaching could begin. This imitation seemed to be an external compulsion. Little children didn't have it. It seemed to come later on, possibly as a result of school itself. That sounded right, and the more he thought about it the more right it sounded. Schools teach you to imitate. If you don't imitate what the teacher wants you get a bad grade. Here, in college, it was more sophisticated, of course; you were supposed to imitate the teacher in such a way as to convince the teacher you were not imitating, but taking the essence of the instruction and going ahead with it on your own. That got you A's. Originality on the other hand could get you anything - from A to F. The whole grading system cautioned against it.
Robert M. Pirsig
No Lutheran will ever be as fully expressed as Martin Luther. No Mormon will ever realize her potential the way that Joseph Smith did. No Muslim will ever be more righteous than Mohammed. No Christian will ever be more perfect than Christ, no Jew more law abiding than Moses. Millions - even billions - of people do honor these amazing men by following their example, trying to emulate them. Yet what is interesting is that if a person were really intent on following their example they would refuse to be constrained by their example. That is, if you really want to imitate Joseph Smith or Mohammed or Martin Luther you would never become a Mormon or Muslim or Lutheran. You would, instead, start your own religion in which you subordinate tradition to your own convictions and revelations. You would trust in yourself enough to create rather than imitate
Solving problems is a practical skill like, let us say, swimming. We acquire any practical skill by imitation and practice. Trying to swim, you imitate what other people do with their hands and feet to keep their heads above water, and, finally, you learn to swim by practicing swimming. Trying to solve problems, you have to observe and to imitate what other people do when solving problems, and, finally, you learn to do problems by doing them.
A few people have ventured to imitate Shakespeare's tragedy. But no audacious spirit has dreamed or dared to imitate Shakespeare's comedy. No one has made any real attempt to recover the loves and the laughter of Elizabethan England. The low dark arches, the low strong pillars upon which Shakespeare's temple rests we can all explore and handle. We can all get into his mere tragedy; we can all explore his dungeon and penetrate into his coal-cellar, but we stretch our hands and crane our necks in vain towards that height where the tall turrets of his levity are tossed towards the sky. Perhaps it is right that this should be so; properly understood, comedy is an even grander thing than tragedy.