All of us without exception must study. What shall we do if there isn’t enough time? If there isn’t enough time, we must squeeze in the time. The problem lies in cultivating the habit of study; once we have done this, we will be able to go on studying. I say these things first of all for the benefit of those comrades who have committed errors, but my words are also directed to all of us comrades, including myself. There are many things I haven’t studied. I am a person with many shortcomings, I am by no means perfect. Very often, there are times when I don’t like myself. I have not mastered all the various domains of Marxist learning. And, for example, I don’t know foreign languages well either. I have only just begun recently to study economic work. But, comrades, I study with determination, and I will go on studying until I die; when I die, that will be the end of it! In sum, as long as I am alive I shall study every day. Let us all create an environment of study. I think I can learn a bit too; otherwise, when the time comes for me to see Marx, I shall be in an embarrassing fix. If he asks me a few questions and I am unable to answer, what will I do? He is certainly very interested in all aspects of the Chinese revolution.
—Mao, Speech at Military Affairs committee and External Affairs Committee, 1959