Life

Reading and life

  In the 1990s, when I came back from studying abroad, bookstores began to close one after another, and only recently did they start to pick up.
  In fact, we Chinese are a nation that loves books very much, and the tradition of loving books is also passed down in our daily language. For example, a scholarly family, a family of book etiquette, if we praise a person, we will say that he is bookish, or even say that “everything is inferior, only reading is high”. Our ancient books also reflect this. “The Analects of Confucius” has a total of 20 chapters, and there is no strong logical relationship between chapters and chapters. However, it is by no means accidental that “Xue Er” is placed in the first chapter of “The Analects of Confucius”. The first chapter of “Xunzi” is “Encouraging Learning”, and there are many less famous works in ancient times, which often start with “Encouraging Learning” or similar titles. Why? Because we ancients believed that the key to being a human being is whether to read or not.
  The significance of reading to the ancient Chinese The ancient
  Chinese thought deeply about themselves. This thinking is similar to that of other major civilizations and religions in the world, that is, they believed that human beings are a very dangerous animal. Our ancestors had a pretty deep understanding of the dark side of human nature. Let’s look at the three representatives of Confucianism. Confucius’ “The Analects of Confucius” has a total of 15,900 characters. There is a sentence that appears twice: “I have never seen a person who loves virtue as much as lust.” Of course, this sentence cannot be understood literally. Confucius here is actually It means that “lust” is innate (“Eating and eating men and women, one can learn without learning”), while being fond of virtue can only be cultivated through long-term hard work and a certain amount of education. Through the teachings of teachers and learning in schools, people will know that it is impossible to rely solely on human instinct to honor parents, be humble to the elderly, take care of children, and love women. Virtue needs to be cultivated in order to become “second nature”. This is a very long process.
  Mencius said: “The reason why human beings are different from beasts is a little bit.” Translated into vernacular, it means that there is not much difference between human beings and beasts, and a little difference means that human beings have moral conscience. Mencius made it very clear that moral conscience needs to be cultivated. So he has another sentence: “If a person has chickens and dogs, he knows how to seek it; if he has reassurance, he doesn’t know how to seek it. There is no other way of learning, just ask him to be reassured.” Why do people study? When people read books, they want to be at ease. Each of us has a moral conscience, but that only means that each of us has that possibility, that we can acquire it. A person’s moral conscience needs to be cultivated through long-term humanistic education.
  Xunzi, the third representative of Confucianism, said bluntly: “Human nature is evil, and those who are good are hypocritical.” Things will want to take. The reason why we are able to put others first before ourselves, and to sacrifice ourselves for others, is a virtue that can only be acquired through conscious effort after a very long process of studying and studying.
  Kindness depends on acquired human effort, and the first step of human effort is reading. Therefore, the ancient Chinese said that reading is for understanding. On the first day when parents send their children to school, they kowtow to the teacher. Because we Chinese know that what our parents give birth to is our body, and the teacher (the embodiment of civilized education) makes us a person who understands reason and complete sense. To this day, although I don’t pay attention to those things now, people’s subconscious mind is very powerful. If they see a person who looks like a scholar arguing in public, people will scold: “You are still a scholar!” Higher? Because it is not an exaggeration for those who do not know, scholars should understand these principles.
  Secondly, we ancients also discovered that human beings are not as good as many animals in terms of natural talents. Not many animals are fast enough, not strong enough, with sharp claws and sharp eyes. With our own fur, it is very difficult to survive the winter. But why can man win in nature? Because people can pass on the experience and knowledge accumulated from generation to generation through education and reading, and then improve on this basis; on the contrary, although animals have many abilities and talents that are beyond our reach, they are uneducated. There is no language, no writing, and no books. They cannot have something unique to human civilization – reading and education. Therefore, we can only repeat the instincts of our ancestors from generation to generation, and cannot break through or surpass them. Therefore, our ancestors discovered very early that human civilization is passed on through reading.
  Today we have many means to preserve civilization, including CDs, films, thermostatic chambers, modern printing technology, and digital technology. However, if one day human beings are not willing to read these books anymore, then CDs will be a pile of plastic, film will be a pile of chemical materials, and books will be a pile of waste paper. Civilization needs people to pass it on. It doesn’t mean that it is enough to just put the books there. If no one reads the books in the warehouse, it is just a pile of paper. So reading is important. If no one reads, books will be over, and this civilization will be over.
  So are we in danger now? have. For example, “Zuo Zhuan”. Reading “Zuo Zhuan” is of course very difficult. You have to look up a lot of dictionaries, read a lot of reference books, and even ask a lot of people for advice. But if people today don’t read it, problems will arise within a generation, and soon, a generation will only be twenty-five years old. If one day, no one in China can understand the book “Zuo Zhuan”, in a sense, “Zuo Zhuan” will cease to exist.
  Qin Shihuang “burned books and pitted Confucian scholars”. By the time of the Han Dynasty, many ancient classics had disappeared, but fortunately some elders and scholars stored the classics in their brains by reciting their memories. Many of the pre-Qin classics we see now are preserved in this way. down. When the world was peaceful in the Han Dynasty, those masters of Confucian classics recorded the classics in their memory, and only then did the books today exist, or they would have been lost. Therefore, civilization is fragile and fragile, and if no one likes it, it will disappear. The ancient Chinese realized the fragility of civilization a long time ago, so for thousands of years, they not only made reading very important, but even made it sacred to a certain extent—the emperor must take the lead Studying, at least in theory, those who do not study and fail to pass the imperial examination are not qualified to be officials. All these measures are creating an atmosphere and consolidating an idea, that is, reading is the foundation of being a human being.
  Again, we Chinese have always admired educated people since ancient times. A person who behaves politely and speaks with gentle demeanor is always secretly admired. Our ancestors have seen that it is difficult to cultivate a person’s inner temperament, speech and behavior, and these also depend on reading. Reading can change a person’s temperament, and dealing with people can make people feel like a spring breeze; talking elegantly, others will feel that they can learn a lot of knowledge even if they chat with you. All these have made our ancients attach great importance to reading and respect scholars.
  Reading is related to human life.
  Regarding reading, we modern people certainly have a lot of understanding, and we can talk about it from many aspects. Most of them are practical, such as buying some reference materials for a certificate, buying a book to read how to decorate, buying a book to learn how to trade stocks, buying a book to learn how to raise pets… These are all Some practical books, read them for some practical purpose, not for your own education. There is a second category of reading for entertainment. The third is to read books only when you are bored, which is not within the scope of consideration. True reading should be conducive to the improvement and perfection of individuals; it should be conducive to the promotion and development of civilization.
  Reading should be related to our life. Mr. Wang Yuanhua got glaucoma in his later years and could no longer read books. He told me several times, people like us, if we don’t read books, what’s the point of living? In his view, not reading is tantamount to the end of life.

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