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Anton Pavlovich Chekhov - 8 rules for educated person

A letter of A. Chekhov to his brother Nikolay, a very talented artist and a strong drinker.

MOSCOW, 1886.

You often complained to me that you "do not understand!". Even Goethe and Newton did not complain about this ... Only Christ complained, but he did not speak about his "I", but about his teaching ... You understand perfectly ... If you don’t understand yourself, then it is not your fault others ...

I assure you that, as a brother and a person close to you, I understand you and sincerely sympathize with you ... I know all your good qualities, like my five fingers, appreciate them and treat them with the deepest respect. I, if you want, as proof that I understand you, I can even list these qualities. In my opinion, you are kind to rag, generous, not selfish, share the last penny, sincere; you are a stranger to envy and hatred, simple-hearted, you feel sorry for people and animals, you are not echid, unforgiving, trusting ... You are blessed with something that others do not: you have talent.This talent puts you above millions of people, because on earth one artist only accounts for 2,000,000 ...

Talent puts you in a separate position: if you were a toad or a tarantula, then you would be respected, because everything is forgiven to the talent. You have only one drawback. In it is your false soil, and your grief, and your catarrh of the intestines. This is your extreme bad form. Sorry, please, but veritas magis amicitiae ... The fact is that life has its own conditions ... In order to feel at ease in an intelligent environment, in order not to be a stranger among it and not to worry about it yourself, you need to be brought up in a known manner ... Talent brought you to this environment, you belong to her, but ... you are drawn from her, and you have to balance between the cultural public and residents of vis-a-vis. The flesh of the petty bourgeois, which grew on the rods, at the reys cellar, on handouts, has an effect. Defeating it is difficult, terribly difficult.

Educated people, in my opinion, must meet the following conditions:

1) They respect the human personality, and therefore are always indulgent, gentle, polite, compliant ... They do not rebel because of a hammer or a missing gum; living with someone, they do not do this favor, and when leaving, do not say: you cannot live with you! They forgive both noise, and cold, and refried meat, and spiciness, and the presence of strangers in their homes ...

2) They are compassionate not only for beggars and cats. They suffer from the soul and from what you will not see with the simple eye ...

3) They respect the property of others, and therefore they pay their debts.

4) They are sincere and afraid of lies like fire. They do not lie even in trifles. A lie is insulting to the listener and it vulgarizes the speaker in his eyes. They are not drawn, they keep themselves in the street just like at home, they do not let dust into the eyes of a smaller brotherhood ... They are not talkative and do not climb with frankness when they are not asked ... Out of respect for the ears of others, they are often silent.

5) They do not destroy themselves with the intention of invoking others with sympathy and help. They do not play on the strings of other souls, so that in response they sigh and nurse with them. They do not say: they do not understand me! ..

6) They are not fussy. They are not occupied by such fake diamonds, as familiarity with celebrities, the delight of the oncoming in Salon’e, fame on porternymi ...

7) If they have talent in themselves, they respect it. They sacrifice for him peace, women, wine, bustle ...

8) They cultivate aesthetics. They cannot fall asleep in clothes, see cracks on the wall with bedbugs, breathe trashy air, walk on spattered floors, eat from kerosene. They try to possibly tame and ennoble the sexual instinct ...[...] Educated in this regard is not so kitchen. They do not need a bed from a woman, not horse sweat, [...] not a mind, expressed in the ability to inflate a fake pregnancy and lie without getting tired ... They, especially artists, need freshness, grace, humanity [...] .. They do not crack like vodka, do not sniff cabinets, because they know that they are not pigs. They drink only when free, on occasion ... For they need mens sana in corpore sano.

Etc. Such are the educated ... To grow up and not stand below the level of the environment in which you got, it is not enough to read only Pickwick and memorize the monologue from Faust. It is not enough to take a cab and go to Yakimanka to get out of there in a week ...

Here we need uninterrupted day and night work, eternal reading, study, will ... Every hour is dear here ... Traveling to Yakimanka and back will not help. We must boldly spit and jerk sharply ...

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