Two Fierce Men’s Approaches to Reading: Kang Youwei and Qian Mu

Yesterday, I went to Beijing Botanical Garden and paid a visit to Liang Qichao’s tomb. Today I saw a paragraph: after Liang Qichao married his wife at the age of 17, he thought the years would pass so peacefully until he met Kang Youwei. Liang Qichao was only 17 years old when Kang Youwei met him, and Kang Youwei was already 32. At that Time, Liang Qichao had already won the imperial examination, while Kang Youwei was still a mere scholar. The encounter with Kang Youwei changed Liang Qichao’s Life path. Before meeting Kang Youwei, Liang Qichao easily won the examination for the scholarship, but after meeting Kang Youwei, Liang Qichao went to the examination for the scholarship and hung up.

Qian Mu once commented on Liang Qichao, saying that he was extremely talented, but not solid in his studies. This was obviously due to Kang Youwei. Liang Qichao was a high-profile person, but if compared with Kang Youwei’s atmospheric and bold style, Liang Qichao seemed rather low-key and introverted. When Liang Qichao first met Kang Youwei, he was like the riverboat in Zhuangzi’s fable meeting the god of the sea – he was instantly conquered and killed by Kang Youwei’s powerful aura and unfathomable knowledge – Kang Youwei had read too many books and was too deafening to pull up.

Kang Youwei was a fierce reader. To what extent? There is nothing he does not understand. As long as others understand things, he understands; even if others do not understand things, he also understands. Therefore, Liang Qichao’s tricks were completely out of hand in front of Kang Youwei – they were directly shaken away by Kang Youwei’s powerful internal force. Kang Youwei’s style is similar to today’s “school bully”. The reason why he could become a schoolmaster was that his method of study was very “trendy” – he did not follow the traditional path of study at all. He did not follow the traditional path of learning, but rather resembled today’s hegemonic professors who are flipping through referees and publishing papers. If Kang Youwei were in the economics world today, he would be Acemoglu, and because his approach to reading was so advanced, he died a horrible death at the time, and it took him many years to pass the imperial examination.

Kang Youwei reading and learning has several characteristics. First, the recognized first-class paper he considered second-class, recognized second-class paper he considered first-class. For example, others read “Spring and Autumn” to “Zuo’s biography” as the clan, Kang Youwei to “Rams biography” as the clan. The same is true in the field of calligraphy. In short, he wanted to be different from others. Second, Kang Youwei was extremely efficient in his reading. In other words, he was very eager to get what he wanted. The most typical example is that when he taught his students to read, he calculated how many days it would take to finish almost every book. He thought that the introductory books of Confucianism were “The Biography of Gong Yang” and “The Traditional Dew of Spring and Autumn”, which could be read in a few days by the average person, and in less than a month by those who were not gifted. In his opinion, the hundred schools of scholars and sons could be read in a month or so. Thirdly, he believed that one should study the science of catalogs. In other words, even if you can’t read all the papers, you have to remember the names of all the papers – so that you can refer to them when you write and publish your own articles. (I suddenly thought of Han Han writing “Triple Door” that time to take a small copy of the allusion to the story, hey.) Fourth, he is not biased at all. Even if you mention the coldest major in any university at that time, he will also study that major. He studied not only zoology and botany, but also mechanics, thermodynamics, optics, electricity, and chemistry, not to mention calculus. In addition, diplomacy and international relations were also his forte – holy shit! Now you can easily understand why Liang Qichao kneeled down to him at the first meeting.

So, how much did he know about these professional disciplines? There is a paragraph in “Nanhai’s Teacher’s Record” in which he gives a lecture on mathematics to his students. After reading it, it dawned on me. He said, the Westerners study mathematics first study the point, then trigonometry, then the open square, cut circle, ellipse, curve, parabola, rows, to the rows and calculus is the more advanced place in mathematics. He also said that the original Geometry of the West and the Chinese Zhou Thighs were almost the same time, but the Zhou Thighs were weaker than the original Geometry. But he didn’t give students a detailed lecture on calculus. He only concluded that there are two important and practical parts of mathematics, one is logarithm and the other is algebra. Logarithms can look up tables, while algebra requires calculations. At first I couldn’t figure out where logarithms were practical, but then I understood that he pulled logarithms to be decorative – if he said only algebra, everyone knows that he is not unique, if he said only logarithms, everyone doesn’t know, so it is not rare, so he must say something that everyone knows part of, and everyone doesn’t know part of. At the end, he concluded that algebra can be written, can be beaded, compared, bead calculation is not as good as written, because the bead calculation is not corrected wrong. Then, there is no more, his math class is finished.

Qian Mu is also a fierce reader. (Mr. Qian Mu is also the late scholar I admire most.) Qian Mu’s reading style was very different from Kang Youwei’s. He read every book completely from beginning to end. When he was a young man, he was always greedy for more books, and he put down many books after reading the beginning. Once when he was reading the Book of Han, he suddenly felt that there was nothing to be gained by reading this way, so he read every book from the beginning to the end. Qian Mu’s style could be called “learning to respect” – he knew all the references by heart. And the most incredible thing is that he has read a lot of books while reading every book extremely carefully. It is not too difficult to dabble in many if one is as frenzied as Kang Youwei in memorizing bibliographies and references. Although Qian Mu was not as much involved in Western studies as Kang Youwei, he was able to achieve proficiency in many fields at the same time in secondary studies. This is due to Qian Mu’s vision of scholarship.

Mr. Qian Mu’s vision of reading and learning was extremely sharp and his skills were superb. He was able to distinguish clearly what issues were important, what issues were secondary, and what issues were irrelevant. For example, when he first learned calculus, many scholars were doing a sea of problems to find the integrals, but Qian Mu derived all the formulas, theorems, corollaries, laws, etc. from beginning to end. He didn’t waste a bit of time on the dispute of side problems at all. Confucius said, “My way is consistent. Qian Mu’s path of studying and learning is “consistent”.

There is an example that best illustrates this point. Qian Mu’s brilliant book “The Chronology of the Sons of the First Qin” begins with “A Study of the Birth Years of Confucius,” a question that has been litigated by scholars for two thousand years, which means that it is practically insoluble. In other words, it is practically unresolved. Qian Mu does not list any evidence at all, but rather lists the names of the documents that have been used to argue both sides, and then mentions a story by Han Feizi: two people argued about an unanswerable question, and the one who rested afterwards won. Therefore, Qian Mu said that according to this method, we should take the latter, and pointed out that the birth year of Confucius was only a matter of his personal life span, and it had nothing to do with the rise and fall of the world’s fortune, the transformation of historical records, the advancement and retreat of people, and the academic changes.

I saw this and thought it was awesome – could there be a better solution than this? The funny thing is that today there are still professors in universities who write papers on the topic of Confucius’ birth year, which has been unresolved for 2,000 years, and publish them in third-rate magazines. What is even more ridiculous is that there are still people on the Internet who say that Qian Mu “tossed and turned for half a day and did not test anything, but also said some cool words”, thinking that Qian Mu did this is The reason for this is that he is “blindly delaying his efforts”.

This is like two students preparing for the GRE, one in the wild model test wild red light at the same time, but also do not forget to laugh next to the word preparation of the one, that memorization of words is “blind delay efforts “The first one is the one who has the red light for the GRE. The first thing you need to do is to memorize the words, or is the practice exam the way to go? Figure out this problem, almost know what is the reading of “this”. The “book” should be learned to learn to “serve this”, and the road is born.

Finally, I would like to conclude the topic of “reading” by quoting Confucius as usual.

If you recite 300 poems and give them to the government, you will not reach them; if you make them to the four directions, you will not be able to focus on them; although there are many, what do you think?