A Reflection on Reading & Writing
When people see things as beautiful,
ugliness is created.
When people see things as good,
evil is created.
Being and non-being produce each other.
Difficult and easy complement each other.
Long and short define each other.
High and low oppose each other.
Fore and aft follow each other.
~Laozu, The Dao de Qing
I went to school in China almost forty years ago. I was not a particularly good student, but I loved living in China--when China was a much more rural country than it is now. Back then there were few cars on the streets of Beijing and only one high rise building, the Beijing Hotel--almost ten stories high--where the few foreigners, business seekers and reporters in the city lived and stayed and drank and dissipated their days and nights away--or so it seemed to me. The Chinese people, aside from the communist party elite, were poor, but incessantly gracious, and few seemed unhappy. One night while visiting a Zhang Hong Nian a poet, artist and friend of mine, I asked how, in the face of such daily hardship, the average Chinese person maintained their dignity and sense of humor.