left corner left corner
China Daily Website  

Wisdom is seeing life for what it really is

Updated: 2015-01-14 15:47
By Raymond Zhou (China Daily)

Other than ignorance, the tendency to see a place as either pure good or pure bad is rooted in a stubborn inability to absorb the complexities of the real world. The world does not abide by either-or rules. Even a simple thing like littering has a full gamut of variations. Coupled with other factors, it may have so many dimensions as to dwarf the imagination of the creators of the theoretical physics-based movie Interstellar. We tend to simplify matters by winnowing less significant details from the discussion. But we should remind ourselves that the golden nuggets of wisdom are distilled from real-life experiences that are often messy and hard to grasp.

Last year, I staged a play I had written earlier, titled The Ring Road, part of which was based on what I know personally. It features a Chinese couple who live in Silicon Valley. The husband wants to come back to China, listing all the things he finds unbearable stateside, like the glass ceiling for Asians and pure boredom for the middle class, and the wife counters with a litany of objectionable phenomena in China, such as pollution and the unremitting competition in Chinese schools.

I invited some friends to the dress rehearsal and their feedback disconcerted me. Some said my play was too pro-American and some too anti-America. I tried to explain that I did not have any political agenda either way, but I stopped midway. Instead I told them not to see it as an allegory, but as one man's journey through a real place, or more accurately, journeys of various characters I created from my observations.

We all have our little prisms through which we see the world and which we cannot discard completely. But the ability to see a place for what it truly is, not what it is supposed to be, relies on the assiduous accumulation of knowledge. Only under the mountain of knowledge and impartiality will globs of prejudice crumble.

The writer is editor-at-large of China Daily.


For more stories by Raymond Zhou, click here

Previous Page 1 2 3 4 Next Page

  • Group a building block for Africa

    An unusually heavy downpour hit Durban for two days before the BRICS summit's debut on African soil, but interest for a better platform for emerging markets were still sparked at the summit.