Sunday, February 26, 2012

Lin Yutang: "Earthbound"

The following excerpt doesn't really describe too many people in this country, does it? Or at least, it's not the way I hear people talking today--attempting to show how they are the real Americans.

"The situation then is this: man wants to live, but he still must live upon this earth. All questions of living in heaven must be brushed aside. Let not the spirit take wings and soar to the abode of the gods and forget the earth. Are we not, mortals, condemned to die? The span of life vouchsafed us, threescore and ten, is short enough, if the spirit gets too haughty and wants to live forever, but on the other hand, it is also long enough, if the spirit is a little humble. One can learn such a lot and enjoy such a lot in seventy years, and three generations is a long, long time to see human follies and acquire human wisdom. Anyone who is wise and has lived long enough to witness the changes of fashion and morals and politics through the rise an fall of three generations should be perfectly satisfied to rise from his seat and go away saying, "It was a good show,' when the curtain falls."

(To be continued)

-- Lin Yutang --
from The Importance of Living

Suppose a person who followed this sort of philosophy were to run for public office. I wonder what that person's speeches would be like. What would this person do in a debate?

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