Chinese literature of officialdom


The Living Force
FOTCM Member
While trying to increase my understanding of China, I learned there is a literary genre called literature of officialdom or shorter officialdom lit which is fiction in which the stage or action is occupied by fictional civil servants and public officials.

This post includes an introduction, some reviews, an excerpt from the book being discussed and a comment on the excerpt including for instance a part of the first few paragraphs of the Constitution of the Chinese Communist Party.

To introduce the subject, there is first a general description from The Civil Servant's Notebook / Wang Xiaofang written by Rosie Milne who defines the genre:
The Civil Servant's Notebook / Wang Xiaofang
I’d never heard of officialdom lit until I read The Civil Servant’s Notebook, by Wang Xioafang. It is, however, a much beloved genre in China – or so I gather from the English on-line edition of The People’s Daily, where reporter Mei Jia recently wrote that officialdom novels frequently top bestseller lists, generally sell 100,000 copies, and often see sales soaring into millions.

Mei Jia speculated this popularity reflects Asian readers’ keenness for books that show them how to prosper in the world: “Experts say readers look to the books … to learn workplace skills.”

Alas, The Civil Servant’s Notebook probably disappointed Chinese readers looking for a leg-up, as though it surely qualifies as officialdom lit, it is hard to read it as a guide to winning promotion.

However, Mei Jia offered a second explanation for the popularity of officialdom lit, quoting Fudan University professor Zhang Taofu as saying the craze shows Chinese people's ongoing fascination with political power: "The lack of full transparency in power operations in a sense raises public curiosity in digging out the dirt behind the scenes. That's why officialdom novels are popular.”


Chinese readers choosing The Civil Servant’s Notebook because they wanted dirt won’t have been disappointed: Wang offers a tale of corrupt civil servants in a scramble for political prestige and personal gain, and never mind the public welfare. He writes with an insider’s authority, since he was private secretary to Shenyang’s deputy mayor from 1997-1999, during which time his boss achieved infamy for losing millions in public money in Macau’s casinos – he was later sentenced to death for his crimes. Wang was found innocent of involvement and left the civil service to set up shop as a writer. He has since specialized in re-examining his career through the lens of political fiction. The Civil Servant’s Notebook is the first of his 13 novels to be published in English. Eric Abrahamsen translated it, and various English language editions are available in Asia - I read the one from Penguin, Australia.

You might worry a book set in the world of Chinese local government will put you to sleep, but The Civil Servant’s Notebook is probably sensational enough to satisfy even fans of Dan Brown: skullduggery, seduction, and a money-grubbing Buddhist entrepreneur all feature.

The plot revolves around the personal notebook of a high-up official, who works in provincial government. Its exposure to the internal enforcement brigade initiates a hunt for the anonymous writer. The hunt makes everyone in the civil service jumpy, from lowly researchers to vice-mayors. Not even the most practiced of civil servants can predict just who will outmaneuver whom, and, indeed, whether anyone will remain unscathed.

Wang tells his tale through multiple narrators, including contributions from The Office Chair, The Office Desk, The Government Square, The Name Card, and so on and so forth. It’s an interesting way to tell a story, and this novel provides an interesting insight into modern China.

More reviews
The Economist
began their article, possibly and interview, with a picture of the author holding the book. It begins:
Literature of officialdom
The civil servant's novel

Cracking open a story both fascinating and repellent

REGISTRATIONS for the civil-service exams reached a record high this year of about 1.4m, 20 times what they were a decade ago. The perquisites of life in the civil service make it look like a “golden rice bowl” to many. But in fact Chinese officialdom is something more like a poisoned chalice—or so says one of the country’s bestselling authors. His fiction exposes the self-serving corruption, greed and ferocious politicking that passes for life among China’s politicians and bureaucrats.

A northeastern city in Dongzhou province needs a new Mayor, and there are plenty of hungry candidates eager for the top job. And as the mandarins of the local Communist Party go through the motions of selecting their candidate, the secretive corridors of government are awash with insinuation and subterfuge. Dangerous factions begin to form around the two contenders and longstanding rivals, the Vice-Mayors Liu Yihe and Peng Guoliang. Devious plots, seduction, and bribery are all on the table in a no-holds-barred scramble for political prestige and personal gain.

But, when the personal notebook of a high-up official is exposed to the powers that be - the government's own internal enforcement brigade – its humble pages initiate an office wide manhunt for the anonymous notebook sender, casting a suspicious eye over everyone from lowly department researchers to Vice-Mayors. But what the culprit fails to foresee is that they have started the ball rolling on an investigation that threatens to swallow everyone, including themselves, into the eye of a political storm the likes of which have never been seen in Dongzhou. Not even the most practiced of civil servants can predict just who will outmaneuver the consequences, and it is likely that no one will remain unscathed.

In the spirit of Andrej Kurkov comes a satirical absurdist blend which blurs the boundaries between fact and fiction in China's halls of power. Penned by a former insider, The Civil Servant's Notebook offers a glimpse into the distorted psyches of those who roam those guarded halls. Told through multiple narrators, Wang Xiaofang crafts a unique and complex tale of official mischief where civil servants prioritize personal welfare over public welfare and 'serve the people' is just about the last thing on their minds…

Amazon reviews: The Civil Servant's Notebook (China Library): Xiaofang Wang: 9780734399588: Books

The Civil Servant’s Notebook by Wang Xiaofang : The Leeds Centre for New Chinese Writing has several well considered reviews worth reading.
One post on the above page is written by Andy Thomas who has this to say:
That Wang Xiaofang is qualified to describe corruption in China is not in doubt, because of his Civil service career prior to his debut as novelist. We are told in his biography of his service to a Provincial Deputy Mayor who was sentenced to death for gambling away public money. It’s Wang’s first novel to be translated into English.

A novel that only concerns modern China would be interesting enough. But this novel offers more. In a series of soliloquies, the administrative and political characters, with their trappings of seating arrangements, vehicles, office equipment and writing instruments, come in turn to the stage he has constructed and lead the story along. I found it easier to follow the soliloquies by indexing the characters.

But Wang shows us that in China, and by extension in England, and, for all I know, in every civil service anywhere in the world, there is something malignant at the heart of government that is most evident in the pursuit of rank and status by favour. It does not have to be corruption in the sense of illegal or immoral financial advantage, nor is it necessarily progressive to a conclusion, as in decay or a cancer, but it is a malignancy, a tumour, that absorbs energy and life, and in so doing destroys honesty, joy and achievement. Its weight is felt in those murky waters between the political and the senior administrative. It sleeps in that space where policy and direction is developed. It is the reason why ordinary people are suspicious of their government.
So this is a partial guide to senior management. A visiting classmate from the young cadres training course – the Party’s version of combined Leadership and Ideological training, also present in Chinese state industries – talked about “the five things a good disciplinary cadre could not fear: death, imprisonment, demotion, expulsion from the Party and divorce”; we are advised. “If you want to achieve something in your official career you have to brave death, imprisonment, demotion, expulsion from the Party and even divorce otherwise you will live in fear”.

There is a token Chinese awareness of Western ethical and political philosophy, evident in quotations from The Prince, and as in references to Aristotle, Montesquieu, Locke, de Tocqueville, Rousseau and even Hegel. They are quickly discounted in favour of “The key to politics is actually very simple: follow your leader” say the Staples to the Stapler. But I was struck also by the account given by another inanimate object, the fountain pen, who wrote “the world might be conquered with the barrel of a gun, but it is ruled with the barrel of a pen”. This side reference to a famous quotation from Mao is self-evident in any record-keeping. It is the archive of a decision that is really the decision, as any good Secretary knows. “The pen is the primary tool of leadership”.

Equally, the descriptions of gambling in Macao, of property deals, of placing supportive news articles in the “internal reference pages” of otherwise published newspapers, offer a very specific Chinese context for this tale. Choosing mistresses from the office staff seems to be a common pursuit untouched by Western debates. But the people who can do the Mayor most harm are the anti-terrorism unit. The cuckolded husband of a pretty and ambitious secretary, bored by her marriage and made pregnant by the Mayor, can scarcely hide his delight when his surveillance in Macao provides the evidence of her seducer’s gambling guilt and financial corruption, and although he comes out of deep cover too late to prevent his divorce, he is the hero of the entire episode. To him, financial corruption and acts of terrorism are the same threats to China. So the losing Mayor is detained administratively in barracks and, after some political interference, later executed, as it is evidently normal to do, with no discussion of the morality of so doing.

I am reminded by the work of Robert Greene, in his cynical identification of the strategies of war, the techniques of seduction, and in his unlikely alliance with the rapper 50 Cent, because Greene’s books appear on the shelves not only of historians but of aspiring senior managers. This novel by Wang Xiaofang deserves to stand on the same shelves. He is worthy of an audience with civil servants across the world, not only because he shows that China is tackling financial corruption in its own system, but also to advise them against chasing the chimera of power without personal restraint.
The reviewer suggests writing down the characters, and I agree, as a couple of the other reviewers express the difficulty with handling the many different characters and their Chinese names. Andy Thomas mentioned the story of the Fountain Pen which appears in the middle of chapter two as one of the narrators. I would not say this section is characteristic of the book though.

The Fountain Pen.

IF THE SERVANTS of the people are unable to think with their fountain pens, then what use do they have for the heads on their shoulders? The world might be conquered with the barrel of a gun, but it is ruled with the barrel of a pen, though you all seem to have forgotten what a pen is for.

Let me tell you: I am the embodiment of thought itself. I'm not for drawing idle circles. A great Western thinker once said that all human dignity arises from thought. Thought begins with a pen, and thus I am your dignity. But you seem to have forgotten me altogether.

Wake up! I am the torch that lights the way of your official career. Without my illumination, you'll be led astray! I'm not trying to frighten you. Just browse through history history is written with a pen. You all want to go down in history, right? Well, without me you'll be denied the tiniest share of immortality! Those who cannot think with a pen are mediocre. Civil servants who cannot think with a pen will never become politicians, much less statesmen. Don't bother telling me you don't want to be a statesman or a politician, that you're happy being a regular old civil servant. I know you could never be satisfied with being ordinary. If you could, you'd have your choice of careers. Why insist on being a civil servant? Even as a plain civil servant, if you want to carry out your duties successfully, you will need to learn to think with a pen.

You are the executors of the nation's policies, you are promulgators, you are sowers, you are service personnel. It is not only official doc.u.ments you author (state policy and law), but it is human relationships, it is righteousness, fairness and justice. Use your pens to write the beauty of human life, to scourge its ugliness and evil!

I am a ship that can take you to your ideal far sh.o.r.e. I am an ocean that can broaden your minds and hearts. I am a mountain that can elevate your souls. I am medicine that can cure the mediocrity of your heart. Don't you yearn for the heights? You won't be able to climb up there. You can only fly up like an eagle. Spread your wings. I am the pinions of your soul.

I should remind you, however, that if you don't have lofty aspirations you should never perch above the abyss like a bird. Soaring into the sky can bring joy to the heart, but it can also bring terror to the soul. Ambition is not enough in politics. You also need wisdom. It's a game of both heart and head.

You public servants who have lost the pen, how will you travel with me? Don't ask me whence you've come; I care only for where you are going. But I can tell you where I've come from. Remember well: I come from truth. I am at once the author of truth and its servant. I would never dare place myself above truth. Would you?

I will help you, of course. Don't think that I'm merely a pen. I tell you, my ancestors and all the rest of my kind are your mirrors. Don't you often say that history will be the measure? You could also say that the pen will be the measure, and if you regularly use me to inspect yourself, that self will not be lost.

Power will not only spin your head, but it will distort your soul. Public servants who have forgotten what a pen is are already standing at the edge of a cliff. The mountain across from you rears up into the clouds and a pyramid gleams at its peak. It lures you with its glow, but without me as your wings, don't even think of taking a single step forward! Do you think there's still time to pull up short? Just try it! That stone beside you has already tumbled down, and by the time you hear the echo it will already be shattered into dust. Do you want to plunge after that stone? Feel your heart and see if it is still beating!

Why are your expressions so cold? Because you have lost me, you have lost thought, lost your intelligence, lost your wisdom, and have nothing left but a cold heart. How can your flesh remain warm when your blood has cooled? If you aren't warm-blooded you'll never understand what is meant by 'the people'. I'll tell you, 'the people' consists of both you and the common folk. Collectively, you are fish and water, you are one. Don't ever think of yourselves as officials, otherwise 'the people' will no longer be whole.

It's been a while since you wrote the words 'the people', hasn't it? I mean since you wrote them with feeling, since you engraved them on your heart. Simply writing the words down is meaningless. Since you call yourselves the servants of the people, 'the people' must be the entirety of your soul!

The ambitious will say that 'soul' is simply a synonym for the body. Those who are numb of spirit will agree: the soul is simply another form of the body. True public servants would snort in disdain, because they use pens as scalpels, to cut open the body how much more so the soul under the shadowless light of the spirit. One thing is for sure: those ambitious people who have forgotten the people have no souls, and the souls of the numb of spirit will truly become their bodies. There's something I want to say to those who scorn the soul: they scorn it because they are prostrated before it in worship. But who is it who has created this scorn and this worship? It is those who abhor the pen, of course. They worship the soul because they themselves have none, and because they have no soul they naturally scorn it. If only you were to use a pen to illuminate these soulless bodies, they would instantly regain their original form, and that mad, pitiful ambition would vanish like smoke.

Do you know the difference between greatness and insignificance? It's no more than a pen; a single fountain pen. You may laugh at my presumption, but that's because you've never troubled to look to the stars. A nation needs someone to be looking to the stars. Maybe you did once. So which is more insignificant: political power or the stars? Your answer is perfectly obvious, and that's the lure of politics. Only now do I understand why you would enter politics: because politics is mesmerising. But politics is meant to be sought, not pursued. The world is divided into a near sh.o.r.e and a far sh.o.r.e. The near sh.o.r.e is reality, the far sh.o.r.e the ideal. Pursuers will never depart this sh.o.r.e, and only seekers can hoist the sail of idealism.

By what means do we seek? You will say 'thought', which is quite correct, but what do we use to think? Now we're talking about me again. Some take my meaning and are quietly exultant, thinking I will bring them glory. But they're dreaming. No matter how important I may be, I will never become a shortcut for those who pursue. I should warn you: there has never been such a thing as a shortcut to success. Why should you use me to think? Because I am the feeler, the root, that your own brain was too lazy to send forth. If you want to really think, you'll need to root yourself in the soil of the people's practical lives. The poet Ai Qing once said, 'Why are my eyes so oft full of tears? Because I love the land so deeply.' That's land, remember. Not mud, not marble, not floorboards, and definitely not the flooring of your sedan. 'Land' can mean many things, of course. It can mean fields, it can mean factories, it can mean schools and communities and oil fields and mines. Do you understand? It means real life, real experience! Only by standing on that kind of land can I send forth my feeler of thought into the soil and allow you public servants to experience real knowledge.

How long has it been since you stood upon the land? Do you remember the fragrance of the soil? I know that the ignorant and ambitious have long since forgotten. If your speeches never stray from the script, why not pick up the pen and try writing them yourself? I've already said a pen is not for marking circles or writing signatures. You're not superstars, so why pretend? Learn from practical experience, but think with the pen.

Remember what a great man once said: 'Leadership can be extended most broadly with the pen. What is written travels farthest, and the process of writing refines and concentrates the thoughts. The pen is the primary tool of leadership.'

Plainspoken words to be sure, but that's real insight. Who said that? It was the master architect of China's 'Reform and Opening Up'. He insisted time and again that the pen is the primary instrument of leadership, one that would have to be mastered in order to lead one's comrades. I'll tell you, wielding the pen is not a technical issue, but rather a basic principle of leadership, and a crucial influence upon peace and prosperity. Don't think I'm making too much of this. The lessons of history should be heeded. Grasping power means grasping a pen. The authoring of essays has long been known as 'the heart of statecraft, and the work of immortality'.

Throughout history, around the world, great statesmen have always taken care to cultivate their literacy. Ancient political doc.u.ments bore strict professional demands. What were those demands? It was required that an official with a particular function must personally author all doc.u.ments connected to that function. No ghostwriting or cheating would be brooked. It would result at least in demotion, possibly in further punishment.

Use the pen to unearth the deepest treasures of your heart. The thoughts of one can influence the many, and the thoughts of the many can influence a nation, or even the world.

Now you see what the way of politics is, don't you? It's simply the way of the pen. Never mind the black cap of office. I am your true crown. But not everyone can wield this crown. They say that whoever has popular support has the realm, and it is those who have thought that have popular support! I am the incarnation of thought. Stop raising up your monuments. I am already in your hand!

It's a shame that I and my brethren have been locked so long within your drawer. Those who have forgotten us are now seated sanctimoniously at office desks, in conference rooms, on sofas, in cars. They speak endless false words and spew forth empty phrases, and don't realise that in losing their pens they have lost their lives. You're laughing once again at my self-importance . . .

They are still breathing, to be sure, but life is more than just breathing. I have never drawn breath, yet I live forever.

Comment on the "master architect of China's 'Reform and Opening Up'" used in the above excerpt
Some hints in the book, can not be well understood without reading up on history including the ideological bearings of the Communist Party of China. For example in the above excerpt there was a mention of a master architect. A search for an explanation led to Reconsidering Deng Xiaoping the Reformer: What Did He Really Reform? which linked the honour of being a master architect to Deng Xiaoping, although with some reservations it seems, but for the present inquiry this identification will do:
In the world of Chinese Communist Party propaganda, the image of Deng Xiaoping (邓小平) has been molded into that of the master architect of China’s reform and opening up. He’s said to have helped China through two major transformations: the reform and opening up following the Cultural Revolution, and then the development of a market economy following his Southern Tour in 1992. Thus, in the mythology of the Chinese Communist Party, Deng is the second deity following Mao Zedong (毛泽东).
The above can be seen in the context of the Constitution of the Communist Party of China, which also places Deng Xiaoping in second place following Mao Zedong.
CONSTITUTION OF THE COMMUNIST PARTY OF CHINA Revised and adopted at the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China on October 24, 2017 General Program The Communist Party of China is the vanguard of the Chinese working class, the Chinese people, and the Chinese nation. It is the leadership core for the cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics and represents the developmental demands of China’s advanced productive forces, the orientation for China’s advanced culture, and the fundamental interests of the greatest possible majority of the Chinese people.
The Party’s highest ideal and ultimate goal is the realization of communism.

The Communist Party of China uses Marxism-Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought, Deng Xiaoping Theory, the Theory of Three Represents, the Scientific Outlook on Development, and Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era as its guides to action.

Marxism-Leninism reveals the laws governing the development of the history of human society. Its basic tenets are correct and have tremendous vitality. The highest ideal of communism pursued by Chinese Communists can be realized only when socialist society is fully developed and highly advanced. The development and improvement of the socialist system is a long historical process. By upholding the basic tenets of Marxism-Leninism and following the path suited to China’s specific conditions as chosen by the Chinese people, China’s socialist cause will ultimately be victorious.

With Comrade Mao Zedong as their chief representative, Chinese Communists developed Mao Zedong Thought by combining the basic tenets of Marxism-Leninism with the actual practice of the Chinese revolution. Mao Zedong Thought is the application and development of Marxism-Leninism in China; it is a body of theoretical principles and a summary of experiences, proven correct in practice, relating to China’s revolution and construction; and it is a crystallization of the collective wisdom of the Communist Party of China. Under the guidance of Mao Zedong Thought, the Communist Party of China led the Chinese people of all ethnic groups in the long revolutionary struggle against imperialism, feudalism, and bureaucratic capitalism, securing victory in the new democratic revolution and founding the People’s Republic of China, a people’s democratic dictatorship. After the founding of the People’s Republic, the Communist Party of China successfully led the people in carrying out socialist transformation, completing the transition from New Democracy to socialism, establishing the basic socialist system, and developing a socialist economy, politics, and culture.
For more news and information about the Communist Party of China, see The Communist Party of China Website,

A comment on a comment: Xi Jinping on the importance of The Communist Manifesto
As can be read above, Marxism is important and that is meant in earnest, as one also can find an article from 2018 where Xi Jinping puts emphasis on The Communist Manifesto
Xi stresses importance of The Communist Manifesto
Xinhua | Updated: 2018-04-24 13:29
BEIJING - Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, has stressed the importance of studying The Communist Manifesto.

The purpose of reviewing The Communist Manifesto is to understand and grasp the power of the truth of Marxism and write a new chapter of socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era, Xi said Monday when presiding over a group study session of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee.

It's also for the purpose of firming up Marxist belief and tracing back to the source of theory for a Marxist party to maintain the advanced nature and purity, Xi said.

The ability of the whole Party to solve the practical problems of contemporary China with the basic principles of Marxism should be enhanced.
It's necessary to "apply the scientific principles and the spirit of The Communist Manifesto to the overall planning of activities related to the great struggle, great project, great cause, and great dream," he said, calling The Communist Manifesto a monumental work that has a scientific perspective on the development of human society and was written to benefit the people and seek liberation for humanity.

The Communist Party of China is a loyal inheritor of the spirit of The Communist Manifesto,
Xi said.

Xi called on the Party to foster stronger confidence in the path, theory, system, and culture of socialism with Chinese characteristics, and adhere to the ideals and convictions of the Communists, to fear no risks and never be confused by any interference.

Xi urged Party members to "stay true to our founding mission," always put the people in the most prominent place in their hearts, work hard for the people's interests and happiness, and promote well-rounded human development and all-round social progress.

Xi called for commitment to safeguarding and promoting China's development interests, and opening wider to the outside world.
Xi stressed that China should push the international community to jointly shoulder the responsibility of the times, and cooperate to respond to challenges brought by economic globalization.

China should make economic globalization more open, inclusive and balanced so that its benefits and opportunities are shared by different countries, social strata and groups of people, said Xi.

To lead the people in the great social revolution and achieve national rejuvenation, the Party must carry forward the spirit of reforming itself, said Xi.
The Party must not waver in its determination, lower the requirement or cut the efforts in ensuring full and strict governance over the Party, Xi said.
Xi noted that the Party must always preserve its character of a Marxist governing party, always remain ahead of the time, and always be the backbone of the Chinese people and the Chinese nation.

Xi urged Party members to solve problems with new ideas, new thinking and new methods, and learn from excellent practices, asking them to increase their understanding of the laws that underlie governance by a Communist party, the development of socialism, and the evolution of human society.
More efforts should be made to develop Marxism in the 21st century and in contemporary China, and write a new chapter of adapting Marxism to the Chinese context, Xi said.

Xi called for efforts to further study and interpret the works of Marxism, popularize them and have them embraced by hundreds of millions of people.
China; attacked from without (via CIA run jihadist lunatics) and attacked from within via Grand Mind Programming.

The more I learn, the more I think that it's a both ends against the middle kind of arrangement. That China is under unfair propaganda attack but isn't the Winner we want or deserve for Planet Earth. The genetic standards are fine, possibly even preferable in terms of energy conduiting, but the cultural programming is loaded with limiting factors which make me very glad to live in the West. 4D STS has had thousands of more years to sculpt it into the perfect food species, whereas the West, I think might have always been a sort of "boot loader" designed to self-destruct once its mission is complete.

Kind of how the Islamic fundamentalists got/get tons of support and promotion from the CIA since their proxy value in Afghanistan made itself clear, the final intent was never to allow them a place at the table once their purpose has been fulfilled.

When the C's say that 4D STS loses in the end, that modern day Atlantis will fail, ("Once, long ago, a mythical empire called, 'America' sank beneath the waves.") I don't think that necessarily means China should be looked to for salvation.

I think by 'winning' it means that people all over the globe tip the balance by rejecting the programming. I don't think lines on maps are the defining element in this war for souls. There are plenty of good and decent people in the East and West.


Chinese fascination with "Officialdom Lit" reminds me of people's fascination with royalty through the age of medieval Europe. -The peasants know where the power is, where the lines of force which dictate their lives runs, and so their mythology tends towards romanticizing it. Dream of marrying prince charming, of evading the Sheriff of Nottingham.|

In the West, we have have similar interests, but differently focused. We have the Court Room drama, Police dramas, and Hospital dramas. Kind of points to where our beliefs about power reside.

Is that a good thing or a bad thing?
I grew up in China, very rural, would be labeled the very example of commoner. We immigrated here to the US when I was 7, so I grew up basically 2pac californian. I was not much aware at that age of communism propaganda, but eventually learned some about it after college. Of course getting bits here and there, and finally really learning about world history of developing political and governing systems. My final lesson from all I can surmise is still western orthodox Christian oriented( G, Boris, and like). The dilemma being how to rule sheep once separated into our own state of ignorance/contradictions; that we actually exist in a STS state with 3rd density sts soul potentiates that lean towards 3rd sto; and 3rd sts op's. My understanding is one can and do live a life of wanting to unite and live peacefully with empathy for all. The other, 3rd sts op, can only focus on linear time and meeting physical body needs, and only mirrors' the real wants of the other half, who live with an semi empathy state, as a perfect illusion for soul growth of both groups.(karmic as some would say)

I wanted to give that background info, as I read the above. I highly suggest reading some light novel genre's in xanxia and wuxia, or best yet(not really) the daily update novels, haha 😅 they waste a lot of time. I found them recently, 4 years ago now, but has hugely impacted my relations to Chinese culture and its 4-6 thousand years of nearly unbroken history and developments. Not to waste time, but this started with my evolution 20+ years ago of exposure to anime, then manga and light novels of Asian cultures, all while absorbed in our westernized dramas and video games. Pure Fantasy living I know, but partly why I m writing this; for they all tug at human relations and applicable life lessons from reality throughout time and space. That is one drawback I have with this reality ever since birth, that we are brainwashed and mostly exists on a linear time paradigms, so most ideas and entertainment fall short on exploring and extrapolating on such, very limiting IMO. That is also why I like some of these light novels, it sometimes goes beyond it. They are all cookie cutter The Heroes story, but all go into acquiring some form of powers through cultivation. This would be in line with the actual reality of those gentry scholars, officials, knights, scribes, etc, and heroic sages, lord, authentic man, as mention above. What I like about all of them is they do not miss a beat on including all the forms of dramas that people go through, but the main twists having all wise words and idioms only chinese characters and long culture can provide, and in this modern age they mix in western things and even pc speech or the lack of. One warning, they all have, as all Asian cultures do, have strong clan and family backgrounds. As much as they are allow to bring up any issue known to man, we are still talking about communists China, so absolutely there would be no mentions of party politics in it. As much as I want to believe it is set up that way so fans don't have to be reminded of their cruel reality and need read these to escape it, I m 100% absolutely sure it is party controlled, much like mockingbird CIA operates. You really get to know what is off limits to discuss inside the red curtain, eg religion is a big no no. I know I can't do this genre justice by writing one paragraph, but I do appreciate the laughs, love dramas, action, intrigue, and always getting to the epitome of 3rd density variable physicality power! Here is just one site and a recommendation of one of my favorites, with its original writing style and deep deep look at one man's journey through his amazing struggles.

actually two, the above link is to one thats a light hearted and good starter. the one below is the crafty one I like, but takes a bit more literary effort to get into. Amazing how good, and I can't stress this enough, are these translators that work for free can do so for words and language that spans every issue known to man and throughout Chinese history, I mean the research they have to do for some historical or wise idiom that the best priest have to crack their heads open over. But translated perfectly well to readable English terms and western thought, most of the time, I have had to goggle some that just boggles the mind.

There are shorter ones and really light hearted ones, just depends on the genre's you like to read. They all have lots of eastern culture at the very least. Enjoy!
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