After watching Red Cliff (which led to me writing The Importance of Being Smart), I decided to read Romance of the Three Kingdoms, the historical novel upon which the movie is based. I’ve been familiar with Romance of the Three Kingdoms for more than ten years since its PC game was my favorite game, but I never read the book itself (here is an electronic copy of the book).
One thing I notice throughout the book is the level of warfare and violence at that time. There was almost no time of peace. The warlords always fought each other even for seemingly simple matters. And the level of violence was horrible. Those who faced death penalty suffered brutal deaths. The winning party could do whatever they wanted to the losing one.
This happened not only in China, but also in other civilizations. You just need to watch movies like Apocalypto to understand what I mean.
It makes me grateful that we live in the world we live today. Sometimes we take the quality of life we have for granted, but we now live in a world that is way more civilized and prosperous than it was.
I’m not saying that the world today is perfect; there is still a lot of room for improvements. But the scale and intensity of violence today are much lower than they were in the past. We now have things like the Geneva Convention that keep things under control most of the time. People in most parts of the world can live peacefully without worrying about warfare or torture.
This gives me a good reason to learn history: to realize how much better our life is today and be grateful for it. Sometimes you might want to complain about small things that go wrong in your life. But you should realize that your life today is way better than those of billions of people in the past. You have many more things to be grateful for than to complain about.
Photo by Dmitry Kichenko