DOWN TO EARTH

现代隐士的多样隐逸生活

The World of Chinese - - Contents - BY SUN JIAHUI (孙佳慧)

The sub­ject of an­cient poets and sym­bol of mys­tic wis­dom, the hum­ble her­mit is mak­ing a come­back in mod­ern China as the decades-long craze for ur­ban­iza­tion be­gins to wane. But it's not just moun­tain men—to­day's “her­mits” are also seek­ing spir­i­tual re­sorts in lux­ury re­sorts, while oth­ers form a new “cre­ative class” that's help­ing re­vi­tal­ize the coun­try­side

For the past three decades, China has em­braced a break­neck eco­nomic model that has pri­or­i­tized three main values—fam­ily, for­tune, and face. Some 690 mil­lion of China’s to­tal 1.35-bil­lion pop­u­la­tion now live in cities, where ca­reer prospects are con­sid­ered greater, and econ­o­mists ex­pect 300 mil­lion more to fol­low in the next 15

You ask me why I dwell in the green moun­tains, I smile and make no re­ply for my heart is free of care. As the peach blos­som flows down­stream into the un­known, I have a world apart that is not among men — Green Moun­tain, Li Bai

years; ninety per­cent now own their own homes, one of the high­est rates in the world. In­creas­ingly, though, young peo­ple are turn­ing away from the pri­or­i­ties of their par­ents. They’re less con­cerned with GDP growth and sta­bil­ity than they are with qual­ity of life, a bet­ter en­vi­ron­ment and a strong sense of per­sonal ful­fill­ment.

As the cities fill with mi­grants, many in the mid­dle class feel squeezed, left to won­der if there’s much more to life than morn­ing com­mutes, mar­riage and mort­gage pay­ments. For some, it’s sim­ply about giv­ing greater spir­i­tual mean­ing to their daily lives; oth­ers fa­vor as­pects of China’s an­cient past over the moral vac­uum of its ur­ban ma­te­ri­al­ism. And in­creas­ingly, many seek to find a bal­ance in be­tween—pur­su­ing en­tre­pre­neur­ial am­bi­tions with­out sac­ri­fic­ing the eter­nal hu­man de­sire for the peace and soli­tude of “the green moun­tains…a world apart.”

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