最令人感動的則是Charles Handy的《中年學童(Middle - aged school boys)》。他力陳人生應追求多重事業，不斷學習。
Lifelong learner would impress literary giant
The other day, I wrote in this column that novelist Natsume Soseki (1867-1916) declined a government offer to award him a doctorate. A detailed account of how Soseki felt about the title is given in the memoirs "Soseki no Omoide" (My memories of Soseki) written by his wife, Kyoko.
"The doctorate is a very dishonorable title that declares that the person may know somewhat about what they study, but knows nothing outside of his realm," he was quoted as having said.
Perhaps the wry remark was typical Soseki cynicism. Maybe there were many people who shared such views in the old days.
But a doctor who even Soseki, if he were alive, would approve of appeared on The Asahi Shimbun's "Hito" (newsmaker) column the other day. He is Sokichi Kametaka, former president of Kobe Steel Ltd., who received a doctorate in pharmacology at the age of 82. Kametaka had majored in economics and was an amateur in science. But after he retired, he spent 10 years on his studies to earn the degree. I am very impressed.
The businessman, who weathered oil shocks and recession in the steel industry, must also have a broad knowledge of "things outside his realm."
He lost his former wife to leukemia. His current wife was felled by a subarachnoid hemorrhage and suffered from the side effects of medication. The experience made him want to make better drugs and served as the driving force for his studies, Kametaka said.
Not many people go so far as to earn a doctor's degree but a growing number of people are eager to pursue "lifelong learning."
According to a recent survey by the Cabinet Office, the trend is particularly noticeable among people in their 60s. Apparently, this is because "baby boomers" who reached retirement age are enthusiastic about acquiring new knowledge. Learning is fun. The nourishment brought by knowledge and culture also makes life more profound.
Who was it that made the following remark? "I will ceaselessly keep on reading the one and only book called my life." In it, "reading" appears to mean "relishing." In other words, we should write our own life stories and relish them.
Wouldn't it be great if "students of advanced age" who retired from work came to write stories one after another that would impress even master Soseki?
--The Asahi Shimbun, July 22(IHT/Asahi: July 23,2008)