Shao Yunan shook his head and said, “I don’t agree with Mr. Kang’s words. In my opinion, being an official is not the same as contributing to the country, let alone a condition for progress. The precondition for social progress is productivity and science and technology is the first productive force.”
“Productivity? Science and technology?” People who heard this word for the first time were inexplicably interested in it. Jiang Kangning was the first to say slightly eagerly, “Yunan explain clearly what you mean by productivity?” What is this science and technology?”
Elder Cen’s expression was also much more serious as he stared at Shao Yunan. Shao Yunan pulled Wang Shijing to sit down, drank some water to moisten his throat, and began to speak.
Shao Yunan did not explain from a philosophical point of view what productivity was and why science and technology was the first productive force. In an easy-to-understand way, he developed from ancient peoples who used stone tools in ancient times to people who now – for him still ancients – used metal tools to lead productive lives. Productivity in a narrow definition was the ability of human beings to create wealth. It was also that the ability to create wealth depended on the technological conditions of the society in which one lived.
“Studying is not to gain fame or become an official, but to broaden our horizons and learn to think. The development of society, the evolution of production tools, including the change of dynasties, are all because people can think and not because of how many people become officials.
The ancients used stone and thought it was too heavy, so was there anything better than stone? Then they discovered metal and learned to use it to make their lives easier. People used rakes to hoe the ground, but it was too hard. So was there a way to make hoeing easier? Then someone thought of using livestock and invented the plow. All the progress of human society was because human beings can think. It’s all because we have this… Shao Yunan pointed at this head.
“Books let us learn to think in different ways, so people who don’t study have a stiff and rigid way of thinking. Naturally some of them might not even think much. But it’s not that people who don’t read can’t think, it’s just that people who study think more and think more consciously. If every student thinks more about how to make our productivity more advanced, how to make our country progress more, and how to make our society more civilized rather than how to become an official, then there is hope in the country and in the court.”
“Scholars, farmers, merchants, and commerce, everyone has a different division of labor. A scholar-official in court must be better than a farmer in handling major national affairs, but he may not necessarily be better than a farmer at growing crops. An architect can draw beautiful architectural drawings, but if there were no builders to build it, it would only stay a beautiful drawing. But just builders are also not enough; they need building materials. But where do building materials come from? It also requires other people to make these building materials and merchants to bring these building materials from different places to a single location, so that these materials needed for construction can be guaranteed.”
“Therefore, there should not be a difference in the status of the scholars, farmers and merchants, but only a difference in the division of labor. Without farmers to grow food, we would have no food to eat; without cloth merchants to weave cloth, we would have no clothes to wear; without soldiers to protect the country, we would be in turmoil; without teachers to teach, we would not be able to pass on our knowledge and culture; without officials to manage the country, the country would become a mess; without merchants to circulate goods, we would be poor in goods.”
“That’s why I said, ‘In 360 professions, there are experts in every field. Every field will have corresponding outstanding talents.’ We teach students in order to produce outstanding talents in 360 trades, not just to make them become officials. Only when talents from all walks of life gather together will they drive the development and progress of society.”
“Throughout history, the vast majority of people who have driven society forward have not been officials. If our scholars only think about becoming officials, it is actually a failure of our education. A true scholar should know astronomy and geography, read ten thousand books, and travel ten thousand miles. Hold the pen to write and then abandon the pen to be a soldier; worry about the world before the world’s worries; and be happy after the world’s happiness. Such a scholar is a true scholar.”
“Good! Good one ‘Worry before the world’s worries and be happy after the world’s happiness’! Good!” Elder Cen slapped the table with force, his face turning red because of his excessive excitement. The others were also not much better, especially Jiang Kangning and Kang Rui. Shao Yunan’s last words, which were from ‘Fan Zhongyan’ hit Jiang Kangning’s heart like a heavy hammer. The three students were also giving Shao Yunan amazed looks.
“Brother Yunan! What you said is too good! I am ashamed of myself! Listening to your words, I am really becoming too ashamed of myself!” Elder Cen’s eyes even became somewhat watery. If all scholars could do this, how could the Great State of Yan not be strong?
Shao Yunan stood up and respectfully bowed to Elder Cen in a respectful manner, then he said, “Elder Cen, what I have said is only theoretical. The real implementation can only rely on educators like you and Mr. Kang, who would teach more ambitious scholars and spread knowledge to people. It also needs to rely on clean officials like Big Brother and soldiers like Shijing to ensure the stability of the country and guarantee the development of the country. It also needs scholars like you three to take actions and merchants like Brother Jiang to make our country richer and make people’s lives richer, so that we can give more effort to development.”
“No, your so-called ‘theory’ is equally important. Listening to you, I am enlightened. As you said, if every scholar only wants to be an official, it would be a failure of education… a failure of the teachers. Elder Cen stood up, pulling Shao Yunan’s hand and holding it. “My son, this old man has already made a decision. You can’t recognize others anymore.”
Shao Yunan smiled and dragged Wang Shijing with the other hand. “Elder don’t forget your other son.”
“Haha! The two of you… this old man wants both of you!” It was actually his blessing to have such two sons! “Yunan, would you like to come to White Moon Academy as a teacher?”
Kang Rui spoke out, his attitude towards Shao Yunan was already very different so when he mentioned this Elder Cen immediately said, “Yunan should come to the academy as a teacher. White Moon Academy, County School, whatever you choose.”
Edited by: Jaisland