“Life has its own conditions. For a person to be accepted as truly educated, he must be educated,” Anton Chekhov wrote to his younger brother in a letter. In that correspondence, Chekhov included a list of qualities that every cultured person should have. Cultured people, according to Chekhov:
1. They respect individual qualities and therefore are always polite, attentive, kind and ready to do favors.
2. They are sympathetic to everybody, not only to beggars and cats.
3. They care about things that can’t be seen and are willing to sacrifice themselves in order to help others.
4. They respect the property of others therefore immediately repay their debts.
5. They are sincere and spurn dishonesty. They don’t lie even in trivial things. Insincerity is insulting to the listener.
6. They don’t pretend to be something they’re not, they act the same way on the streets and in their homes. They don’t show off in front of their modest friends.
7. They don’t bother others with their uninvited intimacies. Out of respect for others they stay silent more often than they speak.
8. They don’t humiliate themselves to evoke sympathy. They don’t use others’ sensibility to get attention. They never say that no one understands them or nobody cares for them because those are contemptible and vulgar tricks.
9. They are not vain. They don’t care about false values, friendships and celebrities or about becoming celebrities themselves. If they do something significant, they don’t make it the most important thing in the world and they are grateful that they have access to places others don’t.
10. Really talented people always run away from crowds and advertising.
11. They have developed a sense of beauty and aesthetics. They don’t sleep in clothes they wore during the day and care about their hygiene. They control their impulses and don’t see the opposite sex only as a sexual object.
12. They strive for originality, elegance, humanity and they admire maternal feelings. They don’t get drunk. They stick to the principle “Healthy mind in a healthy body”.
For a man to be cultured, it is not enough just to read novels and visit a theater. The cultured person constantly works on himself and he/ she is not a narcisist, wrote Chekhov.