Tuesday, July 22, 2008

On The Importance of Living (and not dying or killing)

The Importance Of Living The Importance Of Living by Lin Yutang

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
Lin Yutang, Rumi, Martin Buber, Lao T'se, Jesus, Buddha, Rabindranath Tagore, Gandhi...these are the words that can heal our troubled world. In a sensationalized world, the reader of Lin Yutang's great classic will learn how to enjoy merely sitting, lying in bed, reading, writing, walking, and nearly everything one can do that harms no other or self.

For my money, the most important part of "The Importance of Living" is where he discusses, at some length, the non-soldier, and all the good and necessary qualities contained therein. Not exactly a non-soldier, but a scamp, and a "wayward and incalculable" scamp as he lovingly calls it, is, an essential spice in life, and, he argues, to be particularly treasured. As Erich Fromm once said: "Civilization began with an act of disobedience, and is likely to end in an act of obedience."

Lin Yutang, Rumi, Martin Buber, Lao T'se, Jesus, Buddha, Rabindranath Tagore, Gandhi. Where is the soldier? Where the follower?

Libraries and bookstores are filled with books praising soldiers and dutiful followers. I needn't add to it, lest future generations think that is all there is. One mustn't forget the lowly but wise huckfins of the world, for they are the flowers that get mowed down, but surrender their scent and beauty even as they die.

Dr. Yuyang's words are as if spoken to you by a trusted friend. I'd even say that his style might well serve as an excellent alternative to the hateful spew emitted daily on really bad radio stations like WBT, who fill the air with Rush and other serial prevaricators.

You will not regret having purchases this book, and you will probably never part with it either...especially now that China is playing a larger and larger role in our present and future. Have at it. Enjoy your transformation.

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