chapter  4
19 Pages

Life, society, arts, literature (生活, 社会, 艺术, 文学)

ByLiwei Jiao

享受生活 283 (enjoy life) became a mindset for many Chinese people only after the economic reform starting in 1978. Before that, they could not separate work and life (工作和生活). Their purpose in life was as simple as 吃得苦中苦, 方为人上人 284 (if you wish to be the best man, you should be able to withstand the bitterest of the bitter). Simply put, their purpose in life compromised two things: to 吃苦 285 (endure hardships) and to be considered 人上人 286 (upper class). When the Westerners say, ‘this is life (这就是生活),’ you can feel their willingness to accept what life has bestowed them. For many ancient Chinese, life (生活) was to live (活着). 287 The 1994 Chinese movie To Live (活着) presents a good depiction of the purposes of Chinese lives.

#47 Legacy (功名); #83 Posthumous titles (谥号); #124 Bad habits (恶习)