Educated people


maxresdefault (1).jpgChekhov wrote this letter to his brother:

“You have only one defect…your extraordinary lack of education…Educated people in my opinion must satisfy the following conditions:

1. They respect a man’s personality, and therefore are always tolerant, gentle, polite, yielding. They do not make a riot about a little hammer or a lost rubber; living with others they do not make a favor of it, and when leaving do not say. ‘It is impossible to live with you!’ They excuse noise, cold. over-roasted meat, and witticisms, and the presence of other people in their house.

2. They are compassionate, and not only with beggars and cats, for they grieve in their soul for what the naked eye does not see…They do not sleep for nights so as to help their parents pay for their brothers’ studies, to buy clothes for their mother..

3. They respect other people’s property and therefore they pay their debts.

4. They are pure in heart and fear a lie as they fear fire. They do not lie, even in trifles. A lie is humiliating to the listener, and it debases the speaker before his own eyes. They do not show off; they behave in public just as they behave at home; they do not throw dust in the eyes of humbler people, and do not make up soul-to-soul conversations when they are not asked. Out of respect for other people’s ears they are often silent.

5. They do not belittle themselves to arouse the compassion of others. They do not play on the strings of other people’s souls so that they shall sigh over and fondle them. They do not say: ‘People do not understand me!’ Because all this produces a cheap effect; it is vulgar, musty, false.

6. They are not vain-glorious. They do not care about such false diamonds as acquaintanceship with celebrities, shaking hands with the drunks, the raptures of a well-met fellow at the salon, popularity in public houses… Doing a farthing’s worth, they do not walk about with their briefcases as if they had done a hundred rubles’ worth, and do not boast of having been admitted where others are not admitted.”

Above is an excerpt from a book called “If You Want to Write” by Brenda Ueland.  In my 28 years of walking on Planet Earth, not once have I come across a single soul that meets ALL of these conditions. Being an educated person, by Chekhov’s definition, seems like one hell of a goal to achieve, and I’ve got a loooooong way to go.


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