People in this world can be divided into two categories: those always working and those always making comments. The working ones never have time to idle away. Some may run a hotel, or do some business; some may open a factory or set up a school; others may be absorbed in scientific research, or devoted to military affairs or political issues. Right or wrong, successful or failed, they are always fully committed to their careers. Facing all kinds of risks(not because they neglect them, but mainly because they have the courage), and shouldering the responsibilities, they march forward, bravely and cautiously. They are risking their luck and their lives as well. They have neither time nor energy to comment on others. While attentively planning the future, they devote themselves wholly in hard work, leaving the embroidered stories and malicious gossips flying in the air. The commenting ones, however, usually work less, and even if they want to work sometimes, they simply are not capable enough. They are no better than anyone, but show admiration to nobody either. They blame either the heaven, or the earth, but never themselves. They dare not to take any risks, but they are also afraid of any hard work. They are gossip-mongers, making stories and spreading rumors, making you feel annoyed and upset. It's not because that you have hurt them, or disturbed them, or hindered them, but because you are working. If only you are working, he is there commenting. Everything is hard at the beginning. You have just started a new cause, needing encouragement and support, yet he is there pouring a jar of cold water or blowing a gust of chilly wind, making you worried or perplexed. But once you have succeeded, he is there again sharing your success without feeling a little ashamed of the discouragement he had given you.
Many people don't like using their mind but enjoy echoing the views of others. They often take it for granted that the working ones are wrong while the commenting ones are definitely right. However in all fairness, how can it be true? Not working itself is already wrong, and it is a blunder to hurt the hard working people.
From ancient time to the present, many great men have been commented on endlessly. Take the cases of Confucius, Emperor Qinshihuang, Empress Wu Zetian, Gengis Khan, Dr. Sun Yet-sun, Chairman Mao, Deng Xiaoping, etc.. Both positive and negative criticism have been made about them. They not only enjoyed compliments but also suffered slanders from all over the world.
When commenting on what's right and what's wrong, the commenting ones themselves don't really know what is wrong and what is right. They are simply demanding perfection. When criticizing the others' inability, they themselves are actually unable to do anything, but simply pretending that they know better. This can well be compared with the actors and spectators. A new program is always followed by large amounts of criticism from the spectators. But if a spectator is given a chance to perform, a disaster will surely happen. Diners are always commenting on the skills of the chefs while readers are always criticizing the writers. Another case in point is the forty-chapter sequel of A Dream of the Red Mansions , which were written by Gao E who did a nearly perfect job. Nevertheless there are always such people who claim to be the experts on the novel, criticizing the latter forty chapters as a wretched sequel to a fine work. What if we ask them to write the sequel? I'm afraid they can only make it worse. It's easier said than done.
Capable and wealthy people are always the focus of the society.
Capable people are usually marching ahead of others and may not be properly understood, hence causing various kinds of comments, more criticism but less support;
Capable people can easily succeed, thus causing both admiration and comments, more jealousy but less appreciation (only their good luck is recognized);
Capable people can be sought for help and attract the attention of the society, thus causing a lot of comments, more complaints but less gratitude (even though they didn't ask anyone for help, if only they were not able to help others in a satisfactory way, it's already their fault);
Capable people can also suffer setbacks (some even experience ups and downs many times), experiencing fully the warmth and coldness of the human world, more hurts but less helps.
Wealthy people are non the easier. No doubt there are cruel-hearted rich men, but it is also wrong to think that no wealthy people are kind-hearted. They are capable of devising and managing and they often need to take risks to get the chance. But who care about these?
Whenever a group are dining or entertaining, everyone will take it for granted that the rich should pay the bill instead of going Dutch. If the rich doesn't pay, then he'll definitely be regarded as a miser;
Among good friends and relatives, the rich should often help the poor, otherwise he will surely be blamed for his cruel-heartedness;
From the ancient times, people have been used to killing the rich to save the poor, without thinking about how the rich became rich and the poor stayed poor. The policy of “allowing some people to get rich” has balanced people's mind to some extent, but there is still a long way to go before we can get rid of “the hatred toward the wealthy”.
Capable people or rich people are just human, neither sages nor perfect men. They have their own faults, and they may also commit mistakes. But objectively speaking, some mistakes are forced on them, which are the expectations of the public. They are expected to do this or that, but when expectations become disappointments, they have to take the blaming. In fact, it's the public's fault to demand for perfection or counting on unrealistic expectations of the rich.
I encourage people to work, even though they may commit mistakes.
I advise those enjoying commenting to make some effort to do something for the others.
I hope people can make comments objectively instead of subjectively, without going to extremes, and not out of preference.
I also hope that the hard-working people do not care too much about what the others say, even what the others criticize. You should believe that public opinions will finally decide what's right and what's wrong. What we need is just time.
Translated by Zhang Baodan
June 25, 2004