Cultivate the self through reading

Updated: 2014-04-23 06:57

By Zhu Yuan(China Daily)

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It is undeniable that the rapid development of the Internet has greatly expanded the channel for people, youngsters in particular, to read, and it has made it easier for many to get in touch with whatever books or other reading materials they are interested in. In a broad sense, digital reading has prompted many who might never have purchased a book to read online and therefore has substantially increased the number of book readers.

But what we should never forget is the fact that the Internet has not only widened the channel for reading, but also made it easier to give in to the temptation of engaging in various kinds of materialistic enjoyment. In the past you had to visit the house of a wealthy family to get to know how they led their lives, but now by watching a video clip, you can get to see inside. There has never before been anything like the Internet, which has shrunk the world to a global village. And never before have people had such easy access to lifestyles that can easily stir up their desire or ambition.

So instead of accumulating their knowledge and cultivating their personality by reading, many opt instead to seek the easiest and quickest way to strike it rich or simply get whatever they want in the easiest manner. Many just become restless when they cannot tackle the difficulties or hardships they meet in the real world.

That may partially explain why so many youngsters can hardly tear themselves away from computer games. And that's why some youngsters come to blows with others just because of a minor conflict, which should have otherwise been settled by the exchange of apologetic phrases. That also helps explain why so many officials know no limit when seeking personal gain by abusing their power to the almost extreme. With a mentality of pragmatism and expediency that has been characterized by the disillusion with the political ideals before the 1980s and the obsession with material interest in the past more than three decades, Chinese people find it easier than ever before to get lost in the pursuit of a life goal. The development of the Internet has just consolidated this trend.

Many people lack the patience and a peaceful mind necessary to read for the cultivation of their personality and for gaining an inner force to resist the temptation of the outside world, although such a need has never been so urgent.

That is the paradox Chinese people face in reading.

The author is a senior writer of China Daily.


(China Daily 04/23/2014 page8)

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