Erenlai - Harmony and Conflict 和諧與衝突
Harmony and Conflict 和諧與衝突

Harmony and Conflict 和諧與衝突

Is Asia a continent of harmony or discord? How much harmony do we really want?  These materials explore the tensions and creative forces in families, schools, politics and society.

亞洲真的是一個和諧之境嗎?在亞洲,引發衝突與創造和平的文化條件與西方國家有什麼不同呢?亞洲要如何靠智慧找到兩者的平衡呢?

Monday, 11 August 2008

An American Perk

One of the perks of being American in Taiwan is being able to cash in on the general appreciation of the Chinese here for most things American, the general dislike and bewilderment at the crazy policies and behavior of President Bush being an exception. This is not always appreciated by non-Americans here who are always being mistaken as Americans.

In a recent article of the Frenchman Benoit Bouquin on cultural diversity he recounts his mixed feelings when young Chinese students mistake him for being an American. As an American in Taiwan over fifty years ago, being called American naturally made me feel good. It was also certainly better than being pointed out as a “foreign devil” or “big nose” which in those days was just as common. My Spanish companions, of course, hated to be called American, but I just laughed at them until one day I visited Chutung where the only foreigners were Spanish and the students pointed at me and said “Spaniard.” Then I knew what they were feeling.

As an American I was always approached by bold students eager to practice their English. This, too, must have bothered my Spanish friends who were forced to learn English because the Chinese language course was only taught in English.

My Spanish companions quite understandably spoke among themselves in Spanish every chance they got. One day they were on a public bus chatting away in Spanish while a group of Chinese boys sitting behind them were listening very carefully. When the Spaniards got up to get off the bus, they overheard one of the Chinese boys say “Wasn’t that great? We just had a free English lesson.”

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Tuesday, 27 May 2008

How well do you drive?

Learning how to drive a car is becoming more and more common as more and more families and individuals now own their own vehicles, convenient for them, perhaps, but making the traffic congestion worse and worse. It is not hard to learn to drive, especially with automatic transmissions, but that doesn’t make everyone automatically a good driver, given such a wide range of attentiveness, reaction time, mechanical handling skills, relaxation or tension, fear or confidence, aptitude and attitudes and temperaments. There are the speed demons and the cautious crawlers, the patient manipulators through traffic jams and the rude ones always cutting you off as they dash frantically from lane to lane in their perpetual hurry.

To be a good driver requires a modicum of manual control and attention to detail. To be a safe driver requires a high level of alertness, quick reactions and responsible avoidance of potentially dangerous speeds and conditions. When you get behind the wheel, you are not just putting your own life and that of your passengers on the line, but the lives of everyone your car draws near.

Given my present state of paralysis, there is no way I could now safely handle a vehicle on the highway, but for three years while studying rehabilitation in the United States I did buy my own van and had it fitted with hand controls and a lift gate for my wheelchair, so that I could travel about independently. What freedom it was to drive myself whenever I wanted to go somewhere without having to find a driver free to take me. How proud and satisfied I felt when I, who had always previously had to be picked up by others, could now go and pick others up. But I mustn’t kid myself, I was never a good driver, just a mediocre one with the good luck of not being involved in only one minor accident. My mother never had much confidence in my driving, because the very first time when I was in high school and my dad took me out for a driving lesson, I hit a tree.

Several scenes haunt my memory. There was the time that I forgot to raise up the lift gate on the side of my van, so that if I had pulled out into traffic, it would have struck anything near that side of the van. Fortunately, just as I was about to enter the street a passerby alerted me to the danger. Then there is the time that I in the darkness of midnight hurtled down the freeway at 140 km an hour with a load of sleeping passengers unaware of my recklessness. Finally, there is the time that I took my mother on a ride in a desert in Arizona and turned onto a dirt road I had taken before, but this time I somehow got off the road and soon realized I was going across the open field without any road in sight and the ground getting so soft I was afraid to stop. I didn’t dare tell my mother anything was wrong, but we would have been in a lot of trouble, because it was late afternoon in wintertime and the desert often got down to below freezing during the night. Then fortunately, I saw the top of a truck pass by behind some bushes a few yards away and found the roadway again. I never told mother the danger we had been in. Maybe she never wanted me to know she knew.

So be grateful that you can drive and always drive cautiously and carefully. Safety depends not just on you, but on all the other vehicles and road conditions that you just have to hope will not interfere with your progress.

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鬼针草

在南佛罗里达,这种草叫「乞丐虱」。我认为若把那一大丛野草铲除掉,草坪看起来就会好得多…

史汀森(William R. Stimson)撰文 Nakao Eki 翻译

我远从世界彼端来到台湾,在此地发现了鬼针草(Bidens pilosa)。这种野草遍及热带地区,是过去许多年间令我在南佛罗里达、加勒比海及中美洲地区步履维艰的物种。
在南佛罗里达,这种草叫做「乞丐虱」(beggar’s tick),因为它所结的大量瘦果每枝尾端都有著两条萼,会像「魔鬼沾」一样黏在裤脚、袜子和鞋带上。这种草一旦出现,就得煞费苦劲去把它们拔掉,否则就会长到满地都是。这植物会入侵草坪,深深扎根,以它那脆弱的茎基和强有力的根部,顽强抵抗被连根拔起的命运。因为若想要把这种植物从草坪上拔除,往往就会拔断了茎的基部,根却还是牢牢地植在土里。在惊人的短时间里,这野草就又会长回来,而且盛壮如昔。
而在台湾这里,有一天我跑出门去,因为当时住处对街公共图书馆前的草坪,被一大丛这种碍眼的植物给搞砸了。从我写作的窗口看出去就是那片草坪,我认为把这一大丛野草铲除掉的话,草坪看起来就会好得多。我奋战许久,费尽了力气和技巧,搞得满手都是土,手指十分酸痛,才把这东西连根拔起,得以胜利起身。我将那一大丛难看的野草丢在艳阳下的柏油路面上等死,就在这个时候,一个台湾小女生蹦蹦跳跳地横过草坪,兴高采烈地跑向附近我没注意到的另一小丛野草,欣喜地开始将那雏菊般的白花和黄花一一摘下。
很久以前我便知道这个物种在热带地区横行霸道,而直到那一刻之前,我都已经全然忘记,自己在这个小女孩的年纪,也曾经认为这种植物很特别,花朵很美丽。这小女孩十分锺情地将这些花朵做成一把漂亮的花束,使我不期然忆起了这一切…
我站在那里看著,当小女孩的父亲走过来牵了她的手走下街道,我看著她是怎样珍惜地将她的宝贝花束握在另一只手里。他们两人正好走过我丢在路面上的那一大丛蔓草,却早有一辆车开过去将它碾得粉碎了。
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附加的多媒体:
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Wednesday, 30 April 2008

鬼針草

在南佛羅里達,這種草叫「乞丐蝨」。我認為若把那一大叢野草鏟除掉,草坪看起來就會好得多…

史汀森(William R. Stimson)撰文 Nakao Eki 翻譯

我遠從世界彼端來到台灣,在此地發現了鬼針草(Bidens pilosa)。這種野草遍及熱帶地區,是過去許多年間令我在南佛羅里達、加勒比海及中美洲地區步履維艱的物種。
在南佛羅里達,這種草叫做「乞丐蝨」(beggar’s tick),因為它所結的大量瘦果每枝尾端都有著兩條萼,會像「魔鬼沾」一樣黏在褲腳、襪子和鞋帶上。這種草一旦出現,就得煞費苦勁去把它們拔掉,否則就會長到滿地都是。這植物會入侵草坪,深深扎根,以它那脆弱的莖基和強有力的根部,頑強抵抗被連根拔起的命運。因為若想要把這種植物從草坪上拔除,往往就會拔斷了莖的基部,根卻還是牢牢地植在土裡。在驚人的短時間裡,這野草就又會長回來,而且盛壯如昔。
而在台灣這裡,有一天我跑出門去,因為當時住處對街公共圖書館前的草坪,被一大叢這種礙眼的植物給搞砸了。從我寫作的窗口看出去就是那片草坪,我認為把這一大叢野草鏟除掉的話,草坪看起來就會好得多。我奮戰許久,費盡了力氣和技巧,搞得滿手都是土,手指十分痠痛,才把這東西連根拔起,得以勝利起身。我將那一大叢難看的野草丟在豔陽下的柏油路面上等死,就在這個時候,一個台灣小女生蹦蹦跳跳地橫過草坪,興高采烈地跑向附近我沒注意到的另一小叢野草,欣喜地開始將那雛菊般的白花和黃花一一摘下。
很久以前我便知道這個物種在熱帶地區橫行霸道,而直到那一刻之前,我都已經全然忘記,自己在這個小女孩的年紀,也曾經認為這種植物很特別,花朵很美麗。這小女孩十分鍾情地將這些花朵做成一把漂亮的花束,使我不期然憶起了這一切…
我站在那裡看著,當小女孩的父親走過來牽了她的手走下街道,我看著她是怎樣珍惜地將她的寶貝花束握在另一隻手裡。他們兩人正好走過我丟在路面上的那一大叢蔓草,卻早有一輛車開過去將它碾得粉碎了。

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Friday, 28 March 2008

The Anatomy of Communication

In every instance of communication there are three indispensable elements: the sender, the message that the sender sends and the recipient, the one for whom the message is intended. Unless the sender is face to face with the recipient and they speak the same language, the message needs a messenger, courier or medium to deliver the message and a route for the message to traverse. That makes five elements, namely, the sender, the message, the messenger, the route and the recipient, each of which is subject to many variables.

The sender. The sender of the message does so for some purpose such as to greet, inform, respond, request, blame, threaten, please, anger or refuse. The sender probably has some specific intended reaction and/or response that he/she wishes the message to produce in the recipient and composes the message accordingly.

The message. The sender might personally compose and write the message or dictate it for someone else to record or might just tell some trusted associate the gist of what the message should say, so that the actual composition is done by another, but approved and signed or sealed by the sender. If the recipient speaks a different language, the message must be translated either before it is sent or later after it is received. If the message is to accomplish its purpose, it must accurately convey the sender’s intentions expressed clearly and unambiguously, unless it is intentionally designed to confuse and deceive.

The messenger. Once the message is ready for sending it requires someone to deliver it or some other medium for its transmission. Nowadays some important messages are still delivered in person by couriers or other designated official representatives, but usually there are governmental postal services, special private companies like DHL or UPI or FedEx, to say nothing of telephone, FAX and e-mail. However the message goes, it needs to be received in good condition, unopened and not tampered with. In some cases the message and the messenger must travel accompanied by gifts to render the recipient amenable and/or to pay whatever taxes, tolls or bribes might be necessary to enable the message to go on its way.

The route. There are many paths available, cables, wireless, satellites, airline routes, roadways, railways and sea routes, which are generally safe and reliable, but still subject to delays and detours to say nothing of accidents, piracy, theft or other interventions that can result in destruction or loss of the message. In olden times when so many ships were lost at sea and many routes were overrun with brigands and pirates or hostile natives or belligerent enemies, it was not uncommon for messages and messengers to fail to reach their destinations. Such failures still occur today, but fortunately on a greatly reduced scale.

The recipient. When the message arrives at its destination it must be accepted and delivered to the designated recipient. For the communication to be complete, the recipient must receive the message and fully understand what it was intended to say. He or she may first need to have the message translated, which if done inaccurately might lead to erroneous conclusions. Whether or not the message produces its intended reaction and response it is out of the control of the sender, but only in the hands of the recipient and his/her advisors.

From the point of view of the sender, the communication is a success, if its content is received by the recipient and its intended reaction and response are achieved or at least there is no response or repercussion that is undesirable or harmful. From the point of view of the messenger, success is when the message finally changes hands at the destination, especially if it is done expeditiously without pain, duress or injury. From the point of view of the recipient, the communication is a success if it clarifies an issue or produces a response or result that the recipient regards as appropriate.

With so many variables, it is amazing that so many communications successfully arrive and understandable why so many do not. One might feel anxious or threatened or lazy or hesitant to begin the communication process, given all the factors to be considered and all the things that might go wrong, but like a journey, whether it is short or very long, it still begins with a single step and continues a step at a time. The runner doesn’t halt after each step, but proceeds on his/her way until it is time for a rest or the endpoint is reached. Before the trip begins, the wise runner will have made whatever arrangements are necessary in order to reach the destination. And so should it be for the communicator. If you have something you want to say, just say it the best that you can, send it on its way as safely and quickly as you can and then sit back to await the response.

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Friday, 28 March 2008

Mind your manners

In a previous essay called The Anatomy of Communication I wrote about the elements that go into the communication process. It was concerned with the composition and delivery of the content of a message. But that is not the only way one person communicates with another. Your very presence, gestures, behavior and appearance also deliver messages that may or may not be intended. The very fact that you approach in person may say a lot about the importance of the contact or the importance of the person contacted. The way you dress, your facial expression, style of speech, the way you stand or sit or eat all convey information about yourself and your attitude and your respect or lack of it toward the one contacted.

This article is about the ways we behave that might please or displease, attract or repel the people around us. In this regard there are three terms commonly used: manners, etiquette, and politeness.

Manners or more properly good manners are sort of unwritten norms of behavior that are intended to put people at ease and smooth social relations. How often I heard my mother saying to me as I went off to a party or some other social function “mind your manners.” She meant “don’t be impolite”, “behave yourself”, “don’t forget all the proper etiquette we taught you for eating at table”, “know your place and act like a little gentleman”.

The social norms for interpersonal behavior are different from place to place and usually in a state of flux. It is still good manners to say “excuse me” if you interrupt someone or bump into them or just want to pass by causing them a little inconvenience. It used to be good manners for someone young to stand up and yield his/her seat to an elder. Nowadays it is considered more and more impolite to smoke in the presence of nonsmokers. There seems to be a growing number of people who consider it bad manners to speak on a cell phone in a crowded place or even to let it ring in a church or meeting. These norms usually arise through gradual consensus as some form of expression or behavior is accepted as pleasing and respectful and its negation or opposite seems impolite or offensive. A stranger’s ignorance of these norms or deliberate violation of them can be taken as rude, disrespectful or hostile.

Etiquette refers to issues connected with social decorum, such as proper ways to speak or act in public. Etiquette embraces sets of accepted and expected behaviors, many of which have been inscribed in printed rules of etiquette. There are etiquette rules for eating and drinking, for dealing with officials, for how to act in public places; there is office etiquette, business etiquette, internet etiquette (netiquette), etc.; etiquette can govern when and how to speak, what to wear, what is considered rude or inappropriate. The so-called rules of etiquette can be quite arbitrary, are seldom universal or applicable all around the world or in every cultural or social group. They develop and become codes of conduct gradually through common acceptance and expectation.

Persons are not born with the rules of etiquette instinctively embedded in their personalities. What they do hopefully possess is an instinct to please others and be accepted by others, so they absorb through observation and instruction the proper ways to speak and act according to their station in life and social class. Thus, as they grow up they learn what is expected of them and how to deal appropriately with others in order to please them and get from them what they desire for themselves in return.

There is a time and a place for everything and if you don’t know what these are you might get into trouble. When is it acceptable to use slang or swear? When is it right or wrong to wear shoes or remove your shoes when you enter a church or a mosque or enter a Japanese or Chinese friend’s house? Don’t go to a formal American banquet without coat or tie unless you are a Filipino wearing a barong tagalog or an African wearing a traditional robe, but even then you might get into trouble if the host is a prejudiced or insensible ass. When and where is it appropriate to eat with your fingers? What places require coat and tie or refuse entrance to those in shorts or barefoot or sleeveless or shirtless? When and how soon afterwards might you be expected to acknowledge a gift or write a thank you note? When and where might arriving late for an engagement or appointment be considered impolite? Is it good manners or bad manners to telephone someone very late at night or very early in the morning or to arrive unannounced at a person’s doorstep?

Politeness is the practical application of good manners and etiquette. Its expression depends upon the social status, cultural values and practices and the choice of vocabulary and expectations of the one addressed. Politeness is a sign of respect, face-saving, and shows the polite person is aware of his/her station and wishes to conform to the expectations of the person addressed. Any speech or behavior, intended or not, that violates what the person approached considers polite behavior will be taken as impolite or at least inappropriate. In some places, like in Japan, the very vocabulary of politeness is different for different levels of social class and position; in some places as in France it is impolite to use the singular form of “you” to others than family, close friends or peers; in some cultural groups to look into a person’s eyes is impolite, while in some others it is impolite not to look at another’s face; in some places politeness requires standing in the presence of another or removing one’s hat or bowing, shaking hands or avoiding physical contact, etc. Thus any time you need to approach someone of another culture or nationality, it is a very good idea to find out first how you should act and what to say, so you don’t commit any faux pas or cause embarrassment.

Sometimes, however, there are persons who are deliberately impolite and use bad manners to make a statement. There are those who consider it demeaning or hypocritical to have to conform to another’s pretensions. It is a way of saying “I despise you”, “I don’t like what you stand for”, “I spit in your face”, “I don’t need you to tell me what to say or how to act”, “I’m just being myself and if you don’t like it, that just too bad”, etc. Well, it’s a free world. If that is what you think and how you want to act, it’s your call, but don’t expect to make many friends or gain any respect or acceptance or cooperation from those who don’t speak and act as you do.

The social repercussions of bad manners and impropriety underline the importance of etiquette and politeness for maintaining understanding and peace in the world.

Unless you are about to encounter a different unknown culture, you probably don’t need to buy a special book of etiquette or rush to the internet for particulars. Anyone with good will and common sense and powers of observation should have a fairly good idea of what is appropriate and acceptable behavior in his/her own environment.

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Friday, 28 March 2008

Postmodern civility

There are rules of civility for every time, every place and every culture… Politeness is to be reinterpreted, reinvented and lived in new fashions according to technological and social evolutions… How can we all behave with more civility in the public spaces that we are passing by in today’s world? Let me just list a few issues for the sake of our common self-examination….

Airport civility: Nowadays, once you are stuck in an airport you generally wish you never went there… Congestion, shortage of security personnel, annoying boarding procedures, stress all around you… all of this makes airports a kind of portable hell…Hard not to get angry or frustrated… And yet, airport drama is not to be blamed on airlines or airport operators but rather on clueless passengers. Some people are just infuriating travel companions, because they never thought about how to manage their travel and the one of the people they will meet with. For instance, we now all know when we are going to be asked to remove belt or shoes, so it’s best to plan ahead. Do we need to travel with all these laces or belts with metal buckles? Cannot we make sure in advance that our pockets are free of change? Do children really need their own suitcase? Also, do so many people need to check their Blackberries while waiting in line?... Airports are truly the place where efficiency and good behavior become one and the same thing. I do not need smiling travel companions, I need efficient and quick-minded ones. Of course, if she or he can also offer a smile, suddenly the airport hall does not look so awful after all… Hell is sometimes closer from paradise than we would think.

Emailing etiquette: Emailing is far too easy…Mass email’s first problem is that information spread that way is often not accurate and can create a big problem for people whose name has been associated with the massively-spread rumor, even when the sender’s intention was not malignant. So, don’t hit "forward" to everyone in your address book before you check out the veracity of mass e-mails. A strange development of the plague of mass emails is that it hits the working place in a most dramatic way: people are inclined to send every bit of information to all their colleagues, and we are often immersed in a mass of irrelevant bits of news that do not help in the least the efficiency of our common work. Information used to be a rare commodity. Information and spam are now closely related commodities. So, it is not the abundance of information that makes us work in an efficient way, it is rather the care with which we check and distribute information. Talkative people can become awful bore. The same applies to abundant, mass emailers.

Phones and planes. Now, this one is a tricky one… Even when they hide for doing so, some plane passengers are now sending text messages and e-mails. A few companies are preparing to go one step further and break the taboo: once a plane has reached its cruising altitude, passengers will be able to switch on their cell phones and make and receive calls. On some companies, the new system is already on trial… Actually, surveys have found that many passengers are very much against the idea, but others have said that they would very much like to text, access the internet or make calls. We are still in the testing stage. Some low-cost carriers are now allowing limited Wi-Fi service on board, but not voice calls, while Air France is already starting to test voice service. Technology is not a problem any more, but the rules governing its use will have to be decided by passengers and airlines. Will there be a new battle on civility raging on the air? The question is especially tricky as airports and planes bring together people from different cultures and nations. One more reason for treating this possible change in rules and etiquette with as much caution as possible…

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Friday, 28 March 2008

A Noxious Weed

I came over here to Taiwan on the far side of the world and found the pantropical weed Bidens pilosa, a species that in years past I had stumbled across in South Florida, the Caribbean, and Central America. In South Florida it’s called “beggar’s tick” because each of the small thin seeds it produces in startling abundance has two clasps at the end that enable it to attach velcro-like to pant-legs, socks, and shoe-strings. The seeds have to be picked laboriously off when one comes indoors, otherwise they get all over everything. The plant invades lawns and sends down deep roots. It resists being pulled up by a strength in the roots and a weakness at the base of the stem. When someone tries to uproot one of these plants from a lawn, the base of the stem is apt to break off, leaving the roots firmly planted in the ground. In a surprisingly short time the weed grows right back again, as big as ever.

Here in Taiwan, I went out of my way one day to pull up by the root a huge unsightly clump of the plant despoiling the lawn out front of the public library across the street from where I lived at the time. The window of the room where I wrote looked out on that lawn and I felt that to get rid of the big weed would be an improvement. It took all my strength and tact to get the thing up by its deepest roots. After a long struggle, I rose from my knees in victory, with soiled hands and sore fingers. I tossed the big ungainly weed on the pavement to die in the hot sun. Just at that moment, a small Taiwanese girl scampered across the lawn in glee to another smaller clump nearby that I hadn’t noticed. With joyous delight she set about picking the white and yellow daisy-like flower clusters one by one.

Having learned long ago how aggressive a weed the species is around the world in tropical places, I’d completely forgotten until that instant that when I was that little girl’s age, I too had thought this plant special and felt its flowers to be so pretty. Seeing the way the little girl lovingly fashioning a pretty bouquet of the flowers made me unexpectedly remember.

I stood there and watched, as her father took her by the hand and led her away down the street, the way the child so lovingly clutched her precious posy in her other hand. The two of them walked right past the big sprawling plant I’d tossed in the street. A car had already run it over and crushed it.

William R. Stimson is an American writer who lives in Taiwan. His other published writings are posted at www.billstimson.com


Thursday, 27 March 2008

在乎與過去和解

我們看影片《再見曼德拉》,我們問曼德拉將給2008年的台灣什麼啟發?
2008年2月24日,【曼德拉與南非族群和解】座談會在時報文教基金會與台灣促進和平基金會主辦,佳映國際娛樂與人籟論辨月刊協辦下熱烈展開。
三位主講人談曼德拉的感染力與實踐力,並從南非族群和解的範例汲取靈感,相信您可以讀到台灣新作為的推展方向。

沈秀臻 整理

面對台灣的歷史共業
政治大學台灣文學研究所長陳芳明

曼德拉來台灣訪問的時候,我接待過他。我在一九九五年見過曼德拉,那時我在民進黨服務,我擔任文宣部主任。
他講話和藹可親,他的英語講得像影片中獄警模仿的那樣,影片中的曼德拉詮釋得很傳神。從影片中我們看到曼德拉被監禁了二十七年,後來在一九九四年當選總統。這段期間剛好是我讀大學、研究所,被列入黑名單後從海外回來的時間。這部影片勾起我很多回憶。
如何從影片對照台灣的局勢?影片中曼德拉說「看不到的傷害最難處理」,我從一九八○年代開始成為二二八研究者,我深有同感。這十年來由於政黨輪替的關係,許多機關檔案的史料與檔案現在都公佈了,但研究轉型正義的人並不重視,這是很奇怪的文化現象。
所謂轉型正義,就是一個年代從威權轉為民主時,開始面對並討論過去造成傷害的因素,使得過去不正義的事在民主時代得到糾正。對於六十年前發生的事,今天我們到底追究什麼?我們要怎樣的正義?如果這些議題變成消費的名詞,把正義換算成選票,永遠找不到正義。
整個南非為何得以順利轉型?這樣的提問讓我們面對台灣實際的經驗。政黨輪替之後,台灣喪失了協商文化,對話與討論的文化。我們的領導人必須為台灣建立對話與討論的文化。南非戴克拉克願意與曼德拉談,曼德拉願意與戴克拉克談,但前提是他自己必須是自由身。
如果國民黨一直在逃避歷史,而民進黨一直在追討歷史的話,對話無法出現,這樣過一百年我們還在原地踏步。
台灣的改革傳統從國民黨時代已經開始。戒嚴令由國民黨發佈,解除戒嚴令也是由國民黨發佈。我個人認為政黨輪替其實本身已經完成一次轉型正義,人民用選票對威權做了一次裁判。
談二二八事件時,除了寬恕之外,我們必須面對台灣的歷史共業,不論是加害者或是受害者,這些人的子孫必須在這塊土地繼續活下去,我們進入二十世紀,我們還要進入二十一世紀。
一個不會反省歷史錯誤的社會,一定會重複過去的歷史錯誤。影片中曼德拉被釋放的狀態,不只是肉體的釋放,也在精神以及心靈上同時自我釋放。我們必須從歷史的囚牢中自我釋放出來,才能以持平的態度談轉型正義。

回顧曼德拉的策略與人格
中央研究院社會學研究所研究員吳乃德

曼德拉被監禁二十七年,但他成為一個運動的象徵。
曼德拉是南非武裝衝突的起始者與推動者司令,他是非洲民族議會(African National Congress, ANC)的靈魂人物,有一陣子他穿西裝拿手槍,並組織民族之矛。剛開始非洲民族議會走的是甘地式非武裝的路線,曼德拉將這樣的計劃改為武裝路線,他不願為了被釋放而放棄武力鬥爭。
非洲民族議會(African National Congress, ANC)在通過自由憲章之前,原先走的是激進路線,欲建立純粹黑人的南非,經過曼德拉的努力,才修改路線,走向族群和解,可見曼德拉對南非的貢獻。後來,非洲民族議會遵守和解的精神,不建立黑人政府,而建立黑人與白人都有機會當總統的政府。
曼德拉具有下列的人格特質:願為理想而死、與人為善、認識自己的缺點而務實等等。

揭開傷疤醫治傷口
婦女教援基金會創辦人

曼德拉說過:「我離開了囚房,我從邁向自由大門的監獄走出來的時候,如果我不能把悲痛與仇恨放在我身後的話,那麼我仍然留在監獄中。」南非大主教屠圖這樣形容曼德拉:「他是寬恕與和解的化身,他是個高風亮節而且胸襟寬大的人。」從南非局勢的扭轉,我們看到曼德拉為了理想維護人權,維護自由,維護正義而赴湯蹈火。
南非真相與和解委員會扮演重要角色,它如何籌組並成功運作呢?一、國際社會的制裁瀕臨界線,國內流血對立的鬥爭到了極點。二、曼德拉願意寬恕與和解,面對過去的痛苦、仇恨與不公義,以國家的團結與和解建構國家的核心。三、發揚非洲的班圖精神,強調你我一體,互相依存,密不可分。四、宗教信仰的幫助。
真相調查委員會由不同領域、種族、專業、年齡的十七個人組成。聽證會開放、透明,場場開放給媒體採訪。屠圖大主教請求受害人到聽證會陳述。司法設有大赦,加害人可申請大赦,但必須出庭把事實說出來。加害者不須負民事、刑事責任或行政責任。補償工作由南非政府負責,六年來補償的金額達到四億七千七百萬元。整個南非族群和解的運作機制為調查真相,提出道歉,做出賠償。不但看過去,還在維護民主自由的前提下展望未來。
南非處理的經驗是否能給台灣借鏡呢?目前就二二八以及白色恐怖,我們基於立法給予道義上的補償。除了查案之外,我認為還需要做口述歷史。我們設有二二八條例,本來是補償,今年改為賠償,賠償金額最高為六百萬。除此,照顧遺族、設立紀念碑,舉行紀念會,更重要的是當家的總統向被害者與被害者家屬道歉。至於是否追究當年的責任,這就涉及追究的範圍、對象與方式。被害人與被害人家屬的意願是首要考量,他們願意追究或放棄追究的意願必須被尊重,同時顧及社會大眾的意願與想法。這些都需要調查、討論,並一步步凝聚社會共識。
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Wednesday, 12 March 2008

政治学者不是历史学者

杨昊 撰文
写于2007年1月18日

Political scientist are not historians(政治学者并不是历史学者)...是 Colin Elman与Miriam Fendius Elman两位ASU政治系的年轻学者,就国际关系研究与国际史研究途径及关切的差异,所落下的注脚。这段话,其实还有下文"..., nor should they are(或者说,政治学者也「不该」被视为历史学者)"(2001: 35)。这短短的四个字,甚至比前一句的主张更加强烈、也更具批判意味。

在探讨这句话的实质内涵前,或许,我们可以仔细想想英国政治哲学家Thomas Hobbes的著作与论述,以藉此理解政治学者的思考逻辑。众所皆知地,Hobbes在1651年出版的The Leviathan是他最具代表性的著作。相较之下,很少有人会知道,在他尚未出版The Leviathan之前,他是第一位将希腊版的History of the Peloponnesian War带入英语世界的译者。

对于Hobbes而言,战争的纪录与史实的叙述,让他了解人类世界的现实与残酷。在The Leviathan一书中,他极力开始主张政府作为维系稳定秩序的绝对权威之重要性。Hobbes认为,人类自然状态中,因恃强凌弱而产生的各种暴力与战争,都将危及人类的生命安全。为了确保自身的安全,人们将权力透过社会契约授予足以统领社会、确保秩序的国家,以脱离自然社会的混乱状态,从而让人们所构成的社会,能够进入在主权国家确保下的秩序与稳定的状态。

Hobbes对国家起源的分析,立基在强而有力的简单假设与推论基础之上。尽管后世政治学知识社群将Hobbes定位成政治哲学的代表人物,但类似的概念化(conceptualization)过程,俨然成为后世「政治科学」(political science)知识体系建立的重要依据。

尤其在国际关系领域中,这种将微观层次的个体需求与个体抉择,反映在国际社会与国家生存的实际状况中,并进行行为类比与预测的主张,其实可以从现实主义学派(realist school,包括结构现实主义)的基本假设中一窥究竟。无论是Hans Morgenthau或者是Kenneth N. Waltz,现实主义者大多坚信Hobbes所谓的自然状态,将会是导致人类社会莫名悲剧的关键因素。据此假设所建立的后续推论、演绎甚至是批评,其实一再强化国际关系「理论化」(theorizing)过程在相关研究中的关键地位。就此,大部分的国际关系研究均期望透过理论主张的建立、或者是基本变数(variables)的界定、变数关系的厘清,以推导出一系列足以解释(explain)大部分事实(facts)、或者预测(prescribe)特定国际现象未来走势的分析架构。

国际关系学科领域对于理论角色的重视,其实只是政治科学长期关切理论研究的缩影。几乎大部份政治学者所关切的是,如何从一系列模式化的行为或事实发展中,整理出最关键的因素,并建立起精简(parsimonious)的模型(无论是statistical或者是formal),来解释在特定范畴中最为复杂的现象。 就此而论,在手法上,「理论」的引导角色成为了整个政治科学(特别是国际关系)知识体系中,最重要的一个环节。

相较于政治科学的特殊学科关切,以及政治学者在研究过程中对于理论的高度重视。历史学者则有截然不同的期待。历史学者强调的是对各个事件(events)的了解、对于整体现象的描述、以及对于时序演进的精准掌握。他们的贡献在于反映现实,以更中立、更全面的角度来重塑历史的原貌。类似的关切,基本上与政治学者有一定程度的出入。至于理论的角色、定位以及功能,对于历史学者而言,他们认为只是某些特定的学者用来观察现象或解释事实发展的「一个」观点,只能反映出特定学者的世界观(worldviews),甚至,在极端的理论思维下将呈现出偏狭与事实不符的论述主张。

或许,Elman & Elman在"Political scientists are not historians, nor should they be"这句话里所要表达的,其实是对现今政治学研究社群有更多的期待以及更多的提醒,而非对某些不愿被实证主义(positivist)教条所箝制的政治学者给予无止尽的苛责、也不是在道德上批评历史学研究的不是。个人以为,这句话的言外之意,其实只是希望现今的政治学者能清楚了解自己的学科定位,并且在众所认定的研究责任上有所坚持。

如果一位国际关系学者宣称自己在政治科学的思维逻辑下从事相关历史分析,但在通篇研究成果上只反映出杂乱、无系统的叙述性历史资料堆砌;类似的文献非但将会无益于社会「科学」的知识累积,更加无助于我们对真实世界的了解。

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Thursday, 28 February 2008

Sweet memories

When I face this mention “of an unknown father”, I am brought back to memories which are sweet and heavy at the same time. I had been raised by my grand-parents without knowing who my parents were. It was countryside and we were quite isolated so that this situation never bothered me, until my second year at primary school…

Suddenly, I had a mother, along with two little brothers and a little sister and most of all they were accompanied by a “father”. Is it because blood ties are so strong that I and my brothers and sister became very close in no time? Why then did my relationship with my mother look more like the one between a sister and her little brother? Maybe because our age difference was not that big and also because she couldn’t prevent herself from feeling guilty towards me, so she couldn’t accept me as her son. As for the man who was called “dad” by my brothers and sister, he was still a stranger to me.

Then there was a day when he and my mother had an argument. He took his bicycle and asked me if I wanted to go for a ride with him. At this time, the idea to go have some fun was enough to convince me, and the both of us went to the park which surrounds Chengching Lake close to Kaoshiung. He remained silent and gloomy all the way along. When we arrived to the Zhong-xing tower in the park, he started to tell me with a very sad voice that he was alone when he arrived in Taiwan, he met my mother in Taipei and they got married at the city hall. He had never heard of my existence and couldn’t accept it when he knew about it. But now in his heart he loved me, he just couldn’t find the way to express himself. He also talked about the place where he came from, his family, his pain of being parted from them, also the problem of the age difference between him and my mother, the misunderstandings with his step family… He had no one to talk to, except to me.

On our way back, I sat behind him, my arms around his waist, my heart was warm again. Finally, I also had a father, he just couldn’t tell it to me. I had the feeling of having grown up all of a sudden. The dearest impression left by my father is the image of us two sitting on Zhong-xing tower: it is a warm and beautiful recollection that I will never forget.

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Wednesday, 27 February 2008

走出埋怨家庭的智慧

家庭,就是不管你排行老几,也不管你的身分地位为何,都有当家作男女主人的机会,即使是七仙女的老七、考过最后一名的考生都机会均等。

沈秀臻 撰文

大家都认为家庭是组成社会的基本单位,然而法国哲人李维史佗(Claude Lévi-Strauss)还进一步提出家庭是对社会的反叛。他的看法点出了家庭与社会之间的基本矛盾,组成家庭的人往往以为自己尽了社会责任,但更可能反而把社会摆一边。

* * *

有一次上照相馆洗照片,看到身旁等待的妇人有对焦虑的双眼。她手上拿著小孩被虐待后的照片,无助地问隔天早上可不可以早点拿。后来我才知道原来是被老师毒打的。小孩的屁股、大腿、小腿、下背部,浮现深浅不一条状的紫色淤痕,看来下手很重。柜台小姐没有什么特别反应,只是照例行公事般处理,并对她说,明天早上可以很早领照片,不忘报以亲切的微笑。对这位柜台小姐来说,这位妈妈的痛苦是透明的。因为她不是柜台小姐的自己人,所以没有感受。如果说被打的是自己的孩子,或者是自己的亲戚,可能就会牵引起感觉的神经。牵引感觉神经的关键词是「自己人」。

自己人形成细胞膜

自己人就是家庭与家族,自己人形成一个细胞——家族细胞。细胞吸收氧气,吐出二氧化碳。自己人的细胞膜画出一个无形的界线,画出自家人与外人,或者说一个圈圈,将认识的人与不认识的人予以划分。就像我们到超市买东西时,柜台似乎隔出两个世界,柜台内的对话并不是可以穿透的,柜台内的人对柜台外的人只会说欢迎光临、谢谢光临,柜台内的对话似乎并不是柜台外的人可以任意插入、渗透的,如果忽然加入柜台内的对话,柜台内的人可能会觉得很奇怪。除非和柜台内的人成了朋友,否则很难加入柜台内的对话。「自己人」与外人有了一道无形的界线,外人只有在成为自己人的时候,才会被裹入界线之内。社会上的小圈圈也不是很容易欢迎新人,家族形成一个不太容易接受异物的细胞,其最大原因可能在于「比较」的防卫心理,通常灵敏过度。

比个不停

说起「比」,比较的内容繁杂多样,通常很具体,小至身高、体重、眉毛长短,大至读书、赚钱、交的朋友、社会上的地位。小时候考试比名次,才艺竞赛比才华。儿女受到父母「疼爱」的高低也是可以纳入比较的一个项目。长大了,比女友的美貌,比男友的经济实力。毕业后比学历高低,比薪水数字,比帐户存款,比房地产多寡。结婚比谁嫁给金龟婿,也比谁娶到贤内助。等到生了孩子,又开始拿孩子来比。以上种种,都是每个家庭的「比拼」过程,落入这个轮回真叫人神经紧张又无法自拔。
许多华人很喜欢把自己变成外国人,可能是因为自觉这份「比」让自己高人一等,也可能是因为逃离这份「比」而感到身心自在。自己告诉自己:「结婚很幸福。」——意思是说:「我还是比别人幸福。」
华人就这样过著比个不停的生活。「家庭」细胞膜之内个个杰出,人人竞争。华人有「一盘散沙」的称号,因为家庭或是某个团体所形成的细胞膜,会将外界(班级、社团、某个熟悉的圈子、结交的朋友)的引入,作为比较的筹码,以示自己的杰出。然后,再把自身家庭的条件作为在其他团体中比较的参考值。这样,不论哪一个团体都很容易分化。
家庭是比赛的竞技场。每个人就像是参加奥运竞赛,一出生后不自觉地神经开始紧张,因为恭喜婴儿出生的道贺声就等于裁判吹响的哨声,宣告比赛开始,大家要拼命往前跑。比赛的项目并不重要,重要的是赶快跑。怎么跑不重要,比赛得第一最重要。许多选手到了年老时才对自己的人生感到疑惑,不明白为什么要如此拼命,等跑到终点时才怀疑悔恨,觉得自己好像跑错了竞赛项目,领错了奖杯。说要坚持自己喜欢的竞赛项目其实也不敢,总怕赢不了,落得一场空。
我们不能说西方社会的家庭中兄弟姊妹不会发生比较的情形,大致说来可能是因为比较的基准点不同。西方社会的个人通常比较愿意接受自己条件的限度,从这个限度出发和人比。华人追求的可能是完美而不存在的形象,除了要和自己比,还要顾及外在的议论系统,所谓外在的议论系统是由身旁的人、邻人、认识的人、自己人、一群即将要共同生活的人暗中形成的意见,简直成了不可能的任务。于是,大夥儿越比越辛苦,越比越痛苦,比到忘了我是谁。

埋怨家庭

「比」让人忘了什么是不同的个人需要,而且通常陷于枝节,见树不见林:最让华人在相处时产生困扰的,可能就是水电费,租房子时一旦分租,可以吵个不停的就是水电费,其中最大的原因应该来自于比。例如有人喜欢安静,有人喜欢聚会,喜欢安静的认为喜欢聚会的找了太多朋友用电,喜欢聚会的认为喜欢安静的看书看太晚。事实上,比起几千元甚至上万的房租,水电费不过几百元,吵的内容更可能只牵涉几十元的差异而已。我们却有办法为了这几十元勾心斗角,心结一深,没完没了。这些在社会上的吵法,通常就天天在每个家庭内上演:计较对方太爱讲电话浪费钱、怪罪孩子怎么不喜欢打扫等等。所谓的怨偶,也是来自于比。比谁委曲求全,比谁为对方牺牲多,「埋怨」成了日常的礼仪,「埋怨」催讨的是幸福。家中的婆媳问题往往也是如此。婆媳间的较劲很具体:比早起、勤俭、勤劳,比谁省了一百元。事实上,比的程度强烈与否端视各个细胞膜对异物的产生的抗体强不强,抗体强的比较排外的,其症结大多是因为见不得人好。
见不得人好是因为自己过得不好,不知道自己需要什么,又唯恐自己比输了,所以天天活在比的炼狱。
比会让家庭成员产生离心力,而家庭与家庭之间也会因为「比」而产生埋怨。社会上因每个家庭拥有的资本不同,因此相处的出发点各有差异,这也是每个文化都会发生的事。然而,华人家庭之间的相处,争吵会往上蔓延的情形可能就在别处比较少见。举例来说,有两个学生,一个念清华大学,一个读交通大学,两人从小是邻居,于是共赴新竹分租房子。两人因水电费不和大吵,父母本有孩子资质差异的心结,自卑心作祟的结果演变成两家互不来往。
当人与人之间的问题无法在社会上得到合理的解决,的确会产生怨怼,社会提供相当的协调机制抒解,处理怨怼所引发的枝节,司法当然是一个管道。但许多纷争尚未发展到法律阶段时,我们往往会想起乡里调解会及社会工作者。对于外来物,基本上家庭像细胞一样会产生抗体,对抗外来的人士。所以,一旦家庭发生事故,官方的社会工作人员常常只能事后陪家暴的受害者上警察局,似乎无法给予受害者进一步的辅导与帮助。终究其原因,可能是无法快速变成家庭的圈内人。根据一位社区工作者的看法,目前以「懂得求助的家庭个案」与「事后追踪的案件」占大多数,不懂得求助又还没被发现的其实还有更多。由民间组织发起的社区工作和乡里调解会一样,比较能与民众接触,然而变成圈内人又会遇到人我界限难分,面临是否过度干预家务事的困扰,分寸很难拿捏。这一切就要从家庭与社会的关系谈起。

家庭与社会

传统的儒家思想里,「君臣、父子、夫妇、兄弟、朋友」,家庭就占了三个位置。任教于加拿大多伦多大学哲学系的沈清松教授,对思索中西文化、哲学、思想的比较与会通贡献卓越,特别强调儒家思想并不局限于五伦双向的关系,它还超越双向独特的关系,建构普遍性的关系(注1)。其基本核心由个人的德行出发,「修身、齐家、治国、平天下」由个人的圆满、到家庭圆满的观照,并推展对其他人的幸福、对天下人安危的观照。所谓「仁者爱人」(《论语.颜渊礼义》):「弟子入则孝,出则悌,谨而信,泛爱众,而亲仁」(《论语.学而篇》)。因此,我们会从「心中有仁」、「以仁待人」到「以仁传仁」。
不论儒家、佛教、道教甚至民间信仰,一般华人都会有所谓「功德」的概念,其功能近似「仁」的概念。一般都认为华人缺乏公共伦理及公共团体,更批判在家与国之间缺乏社会的向度。事实上,公共伦理,所谓的「第六伦」——人群与自我的关系,也就是在家族外的人与人之间的关系,可能向来都以「仁爱」、「慈悲」、「功德」的概念在默默运作著。这些观念让人从而向外开放,从细胞膜的内部走到外部。这样的概念近似于基督宗教中的「爱」的概念,但是并不那么直接。常民文化中的「功德」概念,就像是国画中的「意境」,意境不在画中又在画中,功德彷佛很抽象却又处处都在。举个例子来说,传说佛教有所谓的大悲水:敬拜观世音菩萨、诚心为人祈福的人在持诵《大悲咒》时,往往依礼节在旁放一杯开水,据说这样的水具有疗效,可以给亲友喝,其功能近似法国西南部路德教堂的圣水。有关疗效的问题并不是本篇文章的重点,但是我们可以看出自我与亲友的情感是透过经文这般迂回的方式得到连结。就像所有的善事一样,关于大悲水还有一个推论,就是这样的关怀基本上会「回向」众生:这也就是说除了被关怀者会得到祝福之外,读经文的这份功德会转向众生。然而,众生又好像很难等于身旁擦身而过的陌生人:众生太抽象,陌生人又太具体,具有威胁感。众生是一个概念,就是「不在细胞膜之内的所有外人」。「功德」可以穿透细胞膜,直接由自己人转到外人,建立细胞膜内与外的关连。由此看来,华人比较重视的是为人处事中不为人知,也就是没有被人看见时所产生的影响力。
东华大学族群关系与文化研究教授余德慧(注2)思索「中国人」特有的心理,主编「中国人的心理」系列丛书。为了避免陷入意识形态之战,在此说明这里的「中国人」泛指的是华人的意思,但取材上以台湾社会为对象。这项探索、研究是一项新的田野调查、整理与分析,其视野横跨心理、宗教、人类学,重视华人的文化现象中自我与群体关系的解释。对于书中举出许多华人家庭亲情黏结的例子,想必华人皆有同感。
对于中国人的黏结心理,我在此提出的「功德」观念具有加乘的作用,因为华人家庭里的成员的总寿命是随著家庭成员的修行而增减的,父母的作为会影响到子女的寿命,子女的品行也会影响到父母的岁数。这样一来,一个家庭成员不仅仅要为自身的寿命负责,对于家庭其他成员的寿命也是无形中要负起责任的。一般华人看起来都比外国人来得年轻,一个三十岁的女孩可能被看成二十岁。成熟年龄可能不是一个人的年纪,而是一家人年纪全部加起来的平均值。于是,华人陷在又黏又比的文化情结。

「比」与「黏」

《家庭会伤人:自我重生的新契机》(注3)一书揭露了家庭的负面实相,家庭其实并不像大家想的那么美好,这本书的作者是约翰布雷萧(John Bradshaw),美国知名的心理辅导专家,同时也是电视节目主持人。书中对家庭上下关系的交互影响有精辟的分析,希望人们追溯自身感受、习惯的来龙去脉,但是阅读这本书时必须避免把错全部怪罪给别人,引用时必须注意不同文化背景及大环境的因素。
布雷萧认为「不健全家庭」的特性有两个,不是过分黏结,家庭成员之间的界线混淆,就是界线过于严密,彼此无法亲密。姑且不论这样的定义是否健全,因为应该没有一个人敢说自己很健全,或是说自己的家庭很「健全」。不过,华人家庭中的「黏」正符合了第一个特性,而第二个推论说明了华人之间的「比」的问题。这两个特性在华人家庭是并存的:父母亲希望和孩子同处同一阵营,却培养出孩子阳奉阴违的面具性格。比较又制造了疏离感,孩子可能很久才回家一趟,两代之间鲜少有对话与交流。
黏的问题造成人我界限不分,也因此每当华人听到父母辈或是家族中的长者过世的消息,就会如同天崩下来了,变得消沉而无法承受,同时这样的消息会引发自己对人生的重大思考。为什么会这样呢?因为家族细胞膜变小了,细胞膜内的人会更加孤单无援。再者,生长在家庭黏密的人,长者的意见与想法呈现某一部分的自我,亲人的离去代表某部分自我的丧失,等于自己死了一次。这时需要重新面对自己的过去,并且为自己的未来寻找新的方向。
比让家庭成员分散,给予每个个体自我的空间成就自我,而功德、信仰、共同的价值观使得一个家庭聚合,例如全家一起做弥撒(礼拜)、祭拜可以塑造家庭的整体认同。因此,家庭这个细胞膜透过「比较」、「功德」得到呼吸,在此并没有吸入营养、排出废弃,类似氧气、二氧化碳的比喻,而是一种开合的比喻。国际竞赛就是群体之间的比,把对方纳为比较的对象时,整个群体反而团结了起来。
辅大法国语文研究所教授李友仁曾在授课时表示,过去华人的群体并不重视个人的自我表现,然而群体的整体进步就是个人的进步。由此看来,虽然自我与他人的界线重叠不分,自己想望的自己可能是他人心中的形象,「黏结」的力量仍旧维系了整个家庭,并具有道理规范的力量。比较则是推动整个群体进步的动力,给予个人静下来思考、反省、创造的空间。

自我实现

然而,现在大家都强调自我实现,自我实现早被视为现代化的普遍价值。沈清松教授在《追寻人生的意义:自我、社会与价值观》(注4)中谈到人类致力于现代化的原因,是因为其中有许多值得人类奉献的价值理想。举例来说,现代化、社会正义、自由、平等、资讯流通、工作与休闲的均衡等等。以上这些特质都是在现代社会中所产生的新价值。自我实现是不可逆的趋势,但却可能让华人家庭变得更黏更比,在此举出几项对华人家庭的发展趋势具有良性意义的建议:

一、尊重人我界限,建立「信任」与「谦让」的模式:对方不好,并不代表自己就好,重要的是清楚人我的界限与差异。「黏」、「比」的最终容易使人无法真正地亲密。建立自我意识、勿过度干涉人我界限是首要之务。
「信」的模式可能是华人较为适应的模式。诚者,信也,孔子曾说人而无信,不知其可。而在《老子.知有章》记载:「故信不足,焉有不信。」,信只有全信,没有半信。信可以培养有自信、懂节制的人,也才能对人懂得体谅、尊重而不会陷于枝节。培育个人的良知与记忆,才能超越虚假、黏结、爱比较。「信者」让说谎的人面对自己的过错,培养讲诚信的男女,而非只想打垮人的自信。「谦让」让人懂得调整,无关乎年纪与学历,懂得谦让,家庭关系才会轻松自在。
「分享」、「沟通」的确十分很重要,但如果还有想「赢」的心理,群己关系还是难以推展、改善。

二、顺性发展:对于自我才能的开发,曾任张老师出版社总编辑王桂花提出以下的反省:「西方社会对下一代的教养是预备自身与下一代分裂的过程,也就是培养子女具有脱离父母而独立自主的能力。」但是我们问的问题是:「如果照自己的想法走下去,会带来什么样的结果?」(注5)《道德经》第五十一章可以提供相关答案,对于不同世代的理解很有帮助:「道之尊,德之贵,夫莫之命而常自然。」这个法则应用在今日,有很丰富的内容。它代表了对社会价值多元发展的重视。个体能就其性向发展其潜能,家庭也能够尊重个体的差异,包容多元的意见。常自然就是顺性而为,顺性并不是任性,而是以礼真正去探索、开拓个体与群体的发展。
现任国策顾问的柴松林教授,曾是消费者基金会公益组织创办人,他给了青年人许多话,很值得提出来讨论。他提到读书不是为了交换价值,把读书当成求取生存的一种工具:「让痛苦的人减轻痛苦,让缺乏的人得到满足,让不合理的都消失,让盼望中的得到实践。」这表示让对方过得好是自己的一项能力,但过得好并不只是物质生活而已,还必须顾及正义、责任及个人不同的精神需求。

三、内在精神的充实:有人认为长久的婚姻与家庭往往来自共同的价值观。价值观包括信仰、见识、涵养、共同的事业或兴趣、愿意和对方走下去的意愿。
四、向社会开放:多认识、参与社会的活动,健全、稳定家族细胞之外的社会细胞,如公益团体、登山团体等等;与外界来往有助于活络家庭生活的脉动,让比能够导向良性的方向。我们必须体会到社会是一个有机体,一个人如果生病了,不能放弃任何一个器官,因为器官是人体运作的一个部份。社会也是,我们不能放弃社会上的任何一个人。如果社会出现问题,我们也不能视而不见。解决社会问题的能力有助于解决家庭问题。

* * *

「比」是华人自我安抚的最佳方式,并为自己找到人生的定位点:我虽然学历不高,但是我潜心研究古书,延续上一辈谈吐优雅的教养;虽然我不懂古典音乐,但是我热爱流行歌曲,每首都能对心爱的伴侣弹唱自如;虽然我开卡车,但是我不吃槟榔,为子女树立诚实做人的榜样。
良性的「比」能够使自己开放,让自己在人生地图上中搜寻、定位、确认、再确认,找到才能与性情的经纬度,知道什么是自己要坚持的,正如牛顿所说:「精确是世界上最美的语言。」
面对家庭与婚姻,必须先面对自己。如此,我们才会懂得去认识另一个成长背景不同的人、共同建立家庭、教育下一代,而不是凭藉外在的身分地位作为行事的参考。懂得自我追寻的人才能懂得让对方追寻自我,鼓励孩子活出自我、悦纳他人。人生很长,每个人在每个阶段的发展都不同,维系人在一起的动力是磁力而不是繁华。当自己不再迷途,就会懂得欣赏自己真实而自在的生活,良性地「黏」著家人。走出家门吧!遥想、涵纳、面对每扇窗户后面的故事,无论是美好或是丑陋,也许光满,也许灯灭。抬头望星空时,以惊讶之心和敬畏之心,对星空说出赞美的语言。

原载《人籁论辨月刊》第十期,2004年11月。

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注1.沈清松(Vicent Shen), "Harmony Among Men, Nature and God. - A Comprehensive Vision of Optimal Harmony"(三层存在关系与充量和谐论),国立政治大学哲学学报第三期,1996年12月,页1-31。
注2.见「中国人的心理」系列,余德慧策划:《中国人的父母经:黏结与亲情》、《中国人的幸福观:命运与幸福》、《中国人的面具性格:人情与面子》、《中国人的爱与苦:牺牲与求全》,此一系列皆由张老师出版社出版。
注3.约翰布雷萧,《家庭会伤人:自我重生的新契机》(Bradshaw On : The Family-A Revolutionary Way of Self-Discovery),张老师出版社,1993年。
注4.沈清松,《追寻人生的意义:自我、社会与价值观》,台湾书店,1996年10月。
注5.《中国人的面具性格:人情与面子》,张老师出版社,1987年,页18。

附加的多媒体:
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