Mao Zedong had a far better grasp of education than Zac Smartboy ("The Poppletonian", 17 February). Smartboy claims that "one doesn't need to eat the whole of an apple or a banana or a peach to establish its quality". In contrast, Mao suggests that "if you want knowledge, you must take part in the practice of changing reality. If you want to know the taste of a pear, you must change the pear by eating it yourself." ("On Practice", 1937, in Selected Readings, Peking, 1971).