Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Life of Half and Half

I have a book which I re-read on a continual basis in bits and parts called, "The Importance of Living" by Lin Yutang, who is one of my favorite authors. There is a section in the book that I have been wanting to write a post on for some time but each time I start it I just can't restate it better than Mr. Yutang, so I have simply chosen to type out a paragraph that seems to sum up the whole essay. For me this essay has helped put a lot of my life, and more pointly, my life in food into a better perspective. "Those are the best cynics who are half-cynics. The highest type of life afer all is the life of sweet reasonableness as taught by Confucius' grandson, Tsesse, author of, 'The Golden Mean'. No philosophy, ancient or modern, dealing with the problems of human life has yet discovered a more profound truth than this doctrine of a well-ordered life lying somewhere between the two extremes-the Doctrine of the Half-and-Half. It is that spirit of sweet reasonableness, arriving at a perfect balance between action and inaction, shown in the ideal of man living in half-fame and semi-obscurity; half-lazily active and half-actively lazy; not so poor that he cannot pay his rent, and not so rich that he doesn't have to work a little or couldn't wish to have slightly more to help his friends; who plays the piano, but only well enough for his most intimate friends to hear, and chiefly to please himself; who collects, but just enough to load his mantlepiece; who reads, but not too hard; learns a lot but does not become a specialist; writes, but has his correspondence to the 'Times' half of the time rejected and half of the time published-in short, it is the ideal of middle-class life which I believe to be the sanest ideal of life ever discovered by the Chinese. " So there it is, a picture of how I would like to see my life.

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