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The 8 characteristics of people really educated according to Anton Chekhov

The 8 characteristics of people really educated according to Anton Chekhov

May 9, 2021

What does it mean, exactly, to be a cultured person? There are many cultural habits and concerns that we could identify with this group of people, and sometimes it is not very clear if these characteristics really tell us about someone's way of thinking or are simply a description of the ways in which they are expressed. his arrogance or vanity.

Sometimes, what we know as cultured people are only members of the upper classes who have had the privilege of being able to access books, films and other cultural products too luxurious to be paid for by the majority of the people. In others, what we call culture is a simple façade that is used to gain power of influence .


Both options were despised by the young Anton Chekhov, born in 1860, who would be one of the most important Russian writers in history. But nevertheless, Chekhov did believe in the existence of really educated people , and in one of his letters to his brother Nikolai he spoke about the eight characteristics that, according to him, define them.

The true educated people according to Anton Chekhov

Nikolai, who at the time when his younger brother Antón wrote the letter was 28 years old, began to be a recognized painter and people with studies began to be interested in him. Due to this fact, Anton Chekhov included in one of his missives to Nikolai a list of those that, for him, are the characteristics that define educated people , so that his brother could see to what extent he did not belong to that kind of circles.


In this way, Antón Chéjov tried to encourage his brother to undertake the lifestyle of the truly cultured people, away from any trace of vanity and superficiality, and to start working every day to train in that direction.

Beyond the intentions that 26-year-old Antón de Chéjov had at the time of writing this text (which can be found in Chekhov's compilation of letters), anyone can find in this list of characteristics a reasonable way to identify educated people. Below is summarized.

1. They are kind and respect each other

Chekhov claimed that, by default, everyone is treated with respect and kindness by educated people . That means that they never come to prejudge those who do not know and who are educated with everyone, without favors only to the people who can return them.


2. They show sympathy not only for beggars and cats

The educated people take the initiative to help others and they care about the people with whom they have established little or no contact.

3. Respect the property of others

The educated people they know that stealing is not the only way to damage the properties of others , and therefore pay all their debts.

4. Flee from the lie

Educated people do not lie even in the smallest details . They consider the lie as a lack of respect towards the interlocutor and they show themselves on the street as they are at home.

5. They do not manipulate or allow themselves to be manipulated by compassion

They are not afraid to arouse compassion before others , and neither try to produce compassion to take advantage of the favor of others.

6. Do not embrace vanity

The educated people they do not try to relate to other people for the simple fact that they are popular or powerful . Nor do they strut to speculate with their own public image.

7. Cultivate your talents

If they have a talent, cultured people strive to develop it, and sacrifice immediate pleasures for it.

8. They develop aesthetic intuition

They do not worry only about living life through a pragmatic sense of utility, but that they think about what they do in aesthetic terms . Therefore, especially if they are artists, they reject some habits simply because of the aesthetic appreciation they have over them.

Another conception of culture

In his letter, Chekhov emphasized the fact that the fact of becoming a cultured person or not is a matter of attitude , more than access to books.

Therefore, culture is defined as the property of interiorizing the most positive and socializing elements of the culture in which a person lives, not isolating themselves from others through the elitist barrier of access to luxuries. It is an idea that, today, we could claim more.


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