Journal : Global Times (Chinese) Date : Author : Zhang Yiwu Page No. : NA

The term “lying flat” has recently become popular on the Internet, and some young people use it to describe their situation and mentality of taking it easy. This term is quite vivid and has multiple meanings. In a tangible sense, it is the expression of a sense of helplessness, the feeling of indifference to external influences; in the abstract, as an approach towards life, it describes a kind of open-mindedness and thinking about the meaning of life and the world. “Lying flat” is an expression of low desire to exert for any comfort, but also apathy in the face of social competition. It has a self-deprecating connotation but, at the same time, also some little smug satisfaction with things as they are.

In a society in which subsistence  food and clothing needs are met relatively easily, it is understandable that young people feel that upward passage socially is not enough. The “lying flat” attitude is the result of food and clothing needs being fulfilled through relatively simple and less time work , while the gains from upward struggle are felt to be uncertain. The so-called non-conflictual attitude towards the world stems from a feeling that it is useless to argue , the so-called wanting to be open to everything is often the result of feeling that all thinking is futile. Paying little, having peace of mind and enjoying a sense of comfort in daily life, is the key to “lying flat”.

The young people who have such a mentality of “lying flat” often betray a the blind spot towards social concern. They are not the elite of the bright and shiny workplace or acting stars, nor are they the technicians who can make a mark with a single trick, but ordinary young people. What they want, in fact, in “lying flat” is  to enjoy some kind of stability in the present, avoiding struggle and competition.

There is an understandable side to such thinking in a highly competitive society. Not all young people are willing to endure the hardship of strenuous work. However, as individuals, such an attitude towards life is, after all, rather negative. It will sap one’s fighting spirit, break one’s spirit, and make one’s ordinary life become e a muddled mediocrity, and of course, it is difficult to talk about more self-fulfillment. On the social plane, “lying flat” reflects difficulty in contributing positivity to society. Those who “lie flat” often attribute their mediocrity to society, which may not be a very reasonable attitude. Of course, it is not easy to struggle, but the  platforms and opportunities provided by society nowadays are unmatched by previous generations.

It is true that efforts may not be as rewarding as expected, but little by little, they will turn into positive accumulation. Although modern society provides better security for everyone, making a better life for oneself also requires hard work.

Society should certainly provide more channels and paths for ordinary young people to get more upward possibilities and get more rewards for their efforts. In particular, society should let them feel that they can be relatively well rewarded for their efforts and work honestly. If every bit of progress is recognized accordingly, then the passion for striving forward will gradually become the mainstream of society. This will have a positive effect on promoting young people beyond the “lie flat”. At the same time, in any society, the efforts and contributions of ordinary young people is the most important factor in the upward social mobility, but also a realistic path to transcend themselves and solve many problems in life. If you avoid the problem, the problem will not be solved.

China is the country with the maximum opportunity and possibilities in the world today. With readiness to exert yourself, you can lead a beautiful life.

(The author is a Professor at Peking University)




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