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  Idleness , Bad Habit

  There are some that profess Idleness in its full dignity, who call themselves the Idle, who boast2 that they do nothing, and thank their stars that they have nothing to do; who sleep every night till they can sleep no longer, and rise only that exercise may enable them to sleep again; who prolong the reign of darkness by double curtains, and never see the sun but to tell him how they hate his beams; whose whole labor is to vary the postures of indulgence3 , and whose day differs from their night but as a couch or chair differs from a bed.

  These are the true and open votaries of Idleness, for whom she weaves4 the garlands of poppies, and into whose cup she pours the water of oblivion; who exist in a state of unruffled stupidity, forgetting and forgotten; who have long ceased to live, and at whose death the survivors can only say that they have ceased5 to breathe.

  But Idleness predominates6 in many lives where it is not suspected; for being a vice which terminates in itself, it may be enjoyed without injury to others; and is therefore not watched like Fraud, which endangers property, or like Pride,which naturally seeks its gratifications in anothers inferiority. Idleness is a silent and peaceful quality, that neither raises envy by ostentation, nor hatred by opposition; and therefore nobody is busy to censure or detest it.

  There are others to whom Idleness dictates7 another expedient, by which life may be passed unprofitable away without the tediousness of many vacant hours. The art is, to fill the day with petty business, to have always something in hand which may raise curiosity, but not solicitude, and keep the mind in a state of action, but not of labor.

  No man is so much open to conviction as the idler, but there is none on whom it operates so little. What will be the effect of this paper I know not: perhaps he will read it and laugh, and light the fire in his furnace; but my hope is that he will quit his trifles, and betake himself to rational and useful diligence.



  It is a plain fact that we are in a world where competition is going on in all areas and at all levels.This is exciting.Yet, on the other hand, competition breeze a pragmatic attitude.People choose to learn things that are useful,and do things that are profitable.Todays college education is also affected by this general sense of utilitarianism.

  Many college students choose business nor computing programming as their majors convinced that this professions are where the big money is. It is not unusual to see the college students taking a part time jobs as a warming up for the real battle.I often see my friends taking GRE tests, working on English or computer certificates and taking the driving licence to get a licence. Well, I have nothing against being practical. As the competition in the job market gets more and more intense, students do have reasons to be practical. However, we should never forget that college education is much more than skill training. Just imagine, if your utilitarianism is prevails on campus, living no space for the cultivation of students minds,or nurturing of their soul. We will see university is training out well trained spiritless working machines.If utilitarianism prevails society, we will see people bond by mind-forged medicals lost in the money-making ventures;we will see humality lossing their grace and dignity, and that would be disastrous.Id like to think society as a courage and people persumed for profit or fame as a horese that pulls the courage.Yet without the driver picking direction the courage would go straight and may even end out in a precarious situation .

  A certificate may give you some advantage, but broad horizons, positive attitudes and personal integrities ,these are assets you cannot acquire through any quick fixed way.In todays world, whether highest level of competition is not of skills or expertise , but vision and strategy. Your intellectual quality largely determinds how far you can go in your career.


  Chinese Undergraduates in the US

  Each year, elite American universities and liberal arts colleges, such as Yale, Harvard, Columbia, Amherst and Wellesley, offer a number of scholarships to Chinese high school graduates to study in their undergraduate programs. Four years ago, I received such a scholarship from Yale.

  What are these Chinese undergrads like? Most come from middle-class families in the big urban centers of China. The geographical distribution is highly skewed, with Shanghai and Beijing heavily over-represented. Outside the main pool, a number of Yale students come from Changsha and Ningbo,swhereseach year American Yale graduates are sent to teach English.

  The overwhelming majority of Chinese undergraduates in the US major in science, engineering or economics. Many were academic superstars in their high schools - gold medallists in international academic Olympiads or prize winners in national academic contests. Once on US campuses, many of them decide to make research a lifelong commitment.

  Life outside the classroom constitutes an important part of college life. At American universities the average student spends less than thirteen hours a week in class. Many Chinese students use their spare time to pick up some extra pocket money. At Yale, one of the most common campus jobs is washing dishes in the dining halls. Virtually all Chinese undergraduates at Yale work part-time in the dining halls at some point in their college years. As they grow in age and sophistication, they upgrade to better-paying and less stressful positions. The more popular and interesting jobs include working as a computer assistant, math homework grader, investment office assistant and lab or research assistant. The latter three often lead to stimulating summer jobs.

  Student activities are another prominent feature of American college life. Each week there are countless student-organized events of all sorts - athletic, artistic, cultural, political or social (i.e. just for fun). New student organizations are constantly being created, and Chinese undergrads contribute to this ferment. Sport looms much larger on US campuses than in China. At Yale, intramural sports from soccer to water polo take place all year long; hence athletic talent is a real social asset. One of the Chinese students at Yale several years ago was a versatile sportsman. His athletic talents and enthusiastic participation in sporting events, combined with his other fine qualities, made him a popular figure in his residential college.


  I Want to Know

  It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for, and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.

  It doesn’t interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dreams, for the adventure of being alive.

  It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon. I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow, if you have been opened by life’s betrayals or have become shriveled and closed from fear of further pain!

  It doesn’t interest me if the story you’re telling me is true. I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself; if you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul. if you can be faithful and therefore be trustworthy.

  It doesn’t interest me to know where you live or how much money you have. I want to know if you can get up after a night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone, and do what needs to be done for the children.

  It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom you have studied. I want to know what sustains you from the inside when all else falls away. I want to know if you can be alone with yourself, and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.

  It doesn’t interest me who you are, how you came to be here. I want to know if you will stand in the center of the fire with me and not shrink back.

  I want to know if you can sit with pain, without moving to hide it.

  I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own, if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful, be realistic, or to remember the limitations of being human.

  I want to know if you can see beauty , if you can source your life from god’s presence. I want to know if you can live with failure, yours and mine, and still stand on the edge of a lake and shout to the silver of the full moon, “Yes!”



  there were a sensitivity and a beauty to her that have nothing to do with looks. She was one to be listened to, whose words were so easy to take to heart.

  I have thought about her often over the years and how she struggled in a society that places an incredible premium on looks, class, wealth and all the other fineries of life. She suffered from a disfigurement that cannot be made to look attractive. I know that her condition hurt her deeply.

  Would her life have been different had she been pretty? Chances are it would have. And yet there were a sensitivity and a beauty to her that had nothing to do with looks. She was one to be listened to, whose words were so easy to take to heart. Her words came from a wounded but loving heart, very much like all hearts, but she had more of a need to be aware of it, to live with it and learn from it. She possessed a fine-tuned sense of beauty. Her only fear in life was the loss of a friend.

  It is said that the true nature of being is veiled. The labor of words, the expression of art, the seemingly ceaseless buzz that is human thought all have in common the need to get at what really is so. The hope to draw close to and possess the truth of being can be a feverish one. In some cases it can even be fatal, if pleasure is ones truth and its attainment more important than life itself. In other lives, though, the search for what is truthful gives life.

  The truth of her life was a desire to see beyond the surface for a glimpse of what it is that matters. She found beauty and grace and they befriended her, and showed her what is real.


  Work and Pleasure

  To be really happy and really safe, one ought to have at least two or three hobbies, and they must all be real. It is no use starting late in life to say: “I will take an interest in this or that.” Such an attempt only aggravates the strain of mental effort. A man may acquire great knowledge of topics unconnected with his daily work, and yet hardly get any benefit or relief. It is no use doing what you like; you have got to like what you do. Broadly speaking, human beings may be divided into three classes: those who are toiled to death, those who are worried to death, and those who are bored to death. It is no use offering the manual labourer, tired out with a hard week’s sweat and effort, the chance of playing a game of football or baseball on Saturday afternoon. It is no use inviting the politician or the professional or business man, who has been working or worrying about serious things for six days, to work or worry about trifling things at the weekend.

  It may also be said that rational, industrious useful human beings are divided into two classes: first, those whose work is work and whose pleasure is pleasure; and secondly, those whose work and pleasure are one. Of these the former are the majority. They have their compensations. The long hours in the office or the factory bring with them as their reward, not only the means of sustenance, but a keen appetite for pleasure even in its simplest and most modest forms. But Fortune’s favoured children belong to the second class. Their life is a natural harmony. For them the working hours are never long enough. Each day is a holiday, and ordinary holidays when they come are grudged as enforced interruptions in an absorbing vocation. Yet to both classes the need of an alternative outlook, of a change of atmosphere, of a diversion of effort, is essential. Indeed, it may well be that those whose work is their pleasure are those who most need the means of banishing it at intervals from their minds.