What qualities make a person cultured

Anton Chekhov: The 8 virtues of cultivated people

Last update: January 31, 2017

Anton Chekhov was one of the greatest Russian writers. His stories, in particular, marked a turning point in literature. His greatest virtue is that he has managed to attach importance to the behavior of his characters and the relationships between them that transcended the course of the story. He had the ability to create an atmosphere of absolute realism in which such details stood out that otherwise often went unnoticed. He was a careful observer of human behavior.

He had no intention of teaching morality, but was still in his estate a letter he had written to his older brother and by giving him advice. The letter was written during one of his stays in Moscow and In it, Chekhov emphasizes the characteristics of really cultured people. It is still a text that is available as a Orientation and guidance for the highest human virtues serves.

We will now tell you what he advised and share with you some excerpts from the text.

1. Kindness, one of the virtues Chekhov values

For Chekhov, truly cultivated people are those “Who respect the personality of the person, and are always friendly, nice, polite and ready to give priority to others […]. If you live with someone you don't like and you leave, don't say,: Nobody could live with you. '”

A crucial characteristic of the culture is the way we interact with others. As great as the differences between two people are, this is no excuse to just argue and mistreat the other. Rather, it is advisable to avoid the conflict and move away when the contradictions appear incompatible.

2. Empathy for the sufferer

Chekhov says of cultured people: “They don't just have sympathy for the beggars and cats. Their hearts ache because of what their eyes can't see. " This means that they are deeply sensitive to the suffering of others, even when they do not show it.

A high level of culture implies a high level of understanding of people who are suffering. The word “culture” comes from the Latin word “cultus” and means “cultivation of the human mind”. A cultivated person is not indifferent to the pain of others.

3. Careful use of the wallet

Regarding material goods, Chekhov highlights: They respect other people's property and therefore pay their debts. "Taking on debt is first and foremost an act of good faith. One lends money to the other in the hope that it will be returned to him under the appropriate conditions and within the agreed time.

The way a person deals with his debts shows a lot of his personality. They are only made exceptionally and only because of a real need. Then they are served guiltily, because this is in the sense of the word.

4. Rejection of lies and falsehood

When it comes to lies and exaggerated demeanor, according to Chekhov, really cultivated people have the following characteristics: “They are sincere and fear the lie as they fear the fire. They don't even lie about small things. To lie is to insult whoever hears it and put them in a lower position than whoever utters it. You don't fool anyone. They act on the street as they do at home and do not make a name for themselves in front of their most humble comrades. They do not tend to gossip all the time, nor do they outrageously weigh on the trust of others. Out of respect for the hearing of others, they are more often silent than they speak. "

Lying and showing off are a form of cheating on other people. Sincerity, on the other hand, is a way of showing respect for the other. In turn, authenticity is a form of self-esteem and dignity. Accordingly, rumors and gossip should not be on the agenda of a cultivated person, as they are also a way of making others look bad.

5. Rejection of self-portrayal as a victim

For Chekhov, a cultivated person refuses to put himself into the role of victim, which is also a form of deception. He says: “Don't belittle yourself just to inspire pity. Don't tighten the strings of other people's hearts to make them howl and do something (or a lot) for you. "

Arousing compassion in others can have some obvious and immediate benefits. But in the long run a fraudulent strategy emerges which only reflects the little respect you have for yourself and that encourages the mistrust of others.

6. Rejection of vanity and showing off

Chekhov encourages reflection on the behavior that comes to light when one person has more money or power than others. At this point he says: “Don't display superficial vanity. [...] Just because they earn a few pennies, they don’t send themselves off to show off as if they were worth hundreds of rubles, nor do they brag about having access to somewhere that others cannot. ”

Developing a sense of arrogance for fleeting reasons like money or social privilege is only indicative of a limited development. These types of people value having more than beingand forever depend on external factors in order to be able to appreciate oneself.

7. Respect for one's own talents

Everyone in this world has talent. Much of life's work is to discover and cultivate it. Chekhov says of cultured people: “If you have talent, respect it. They sacrifice their sleep to him, the women, the wine, the vanity [...] Be proud of your talent. "

Talent is one of the greatest human treasures. You don't have to be a famous artist, or a successful businessman, to be able to say you have talent. Sometimes the gift is in the little things, in appreciating something or having the gift of understanding or helping others. When you discover your own talent, it is necessary to give it the highest value and fight for its development.

8. Measure and weigh the deeds

Chekhov says of the cultivated: “You develop an intuition for aesthetics on your own initiative [...] You try to hold back and refine your sexual instincts as well as possible. […] They demand freshness, elegance, humanity, the ability to motherhood, especially if they are artists […] They don't drink vodka all the time, they don't crave food all the time, because they are not pigs and they know it. "

These statements are a call to moderation and a voice of rejection towards physical and biological excesses. We humans are not automated organisms, but people who can and should give meaning to what they do, and that goes for even the most basic of actions.

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