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Tuesday, 12 May 2009 01:35

To Meditate is to Listen

And other ways of calming the mind

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Tuesday, 05 May 2009 00:13

Meditation is an active 'living the moment' process

Julia Anderson introduces her influences in meditation.

For more information on ’The Work’ by Byron Katie, click here to visit her website.

Eckhart Tolle is the author of the book ’The Power of Now’.

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Thursday, 23 April 2009 23:42

A little county goes a long way

When many of us think of Taipei, the area that encircles the Taipei city is not what would usually come into mind. Though more and more, it is seemingly obvious that one should pay attention to the land space that is home to over 3,8 million people. This location is none other than the Taipei County.

The county controls ten county-controlled cities(縣轄市), nineteen townships (鎮) and a thousand over villages (里) which include some of the key tourism areas such as Tamshui, Wulai and Fulong. In the time of the Dutch colonisation, the principal inhabitants were the people of Basay, the Attayals emerged in the south of Taipei County soon after. Han Chinese eventually immigrated to the region in the mid 17th century, and aboriginals were consequently compelled to assimilate or immigrate to the mountainous regions.

It was not until the late 19th century that the term Taipei came into use to describe geographically the location of Northern Taiwan, and the cities of Hsinchu, Yilan, and Danshui formed under Taipei’s government. Shen Bao Zhen (沈葆桢), the imperial envoy of the P.R.C under request, set up the Taipei government/bureau (辦務署) which governed Hsinchu, Danshui, and Yilan.*

Taipei County experienced further change and division following the Japanese occupation in 1895, Keelung, Yilan and Hsinchu were established and Danshui emerged shortly after. From 1897, the Taipei bureau (辦務署) was abolished and all thirteen counties of Taipei – Shilin, Xinzhuang, Huwei, Jingwei, Taoziyuan, Sanjianyong, Shulinko, Zhongli, Keelung, Jingbaoli, Dingshunagxi, Shuefanjiao – came under the jurisdiction of the Taipei administration (轄區).*
 
During the reformation in 1920, the Taipei county became attached to the state of Taipei (台北州) whose administration was overthrown during the war in 1945. The years that proceed the war involved the re-grouping of different cities into a larger area: The Keelung area and the Qidu area became known as the city of Keelung, while Danshui, Shilin and Beitou were under the planning of the Yang Min Shan Management Bureau, formerly known as the Cao Shan Management Bureau.*
 
In the 50s’ Taipei County saw more and more reforms concerning the arrangement of cities, townships and villages into counties and eventually became the Taipei County that we have today. With the vision of a Greater Taipei in mind, the current Taipei County government wishes to include all townships and villages into the limits of Taipei City and become known as a whole administrative region.

*Names of townships and villages in Chinese: Keelung (基隆),Yilan (宜蘭),Hsinchu (新竹), Shilin (士林), Xinzhuang (新庄),Huwei (滬尾), Jingwei (景尾), Taoziyuan (桃仔園), Sanjianyong (三角湧), Shulinko (樹林口), Zhongli (中壢), Keelung (基隆), Jingbaoli (金包里), Dingshunagxi (頂雙溪), Shuefanjiao (水返腳), Qidu (七堵), Yang Min Shan Management Bureau (陽明山管理局), Cao Shan Management Bureau (草山管理局)


Thursday, 23 April 2009 20:49

From Shanghai to Athens

In this article (in French), Benoit Vermander explores the changing nature of the city as a "political laboratory", wondering whether the philosophical ground on which the Greek city was conceived and built is still relevant for framing the nature and mission of contemporary metropolises.
Download here the article (In French)


Wednesday, 22 April 2009 23:31

Blood river train

When time works against us
and weighs at the heart
somewhere in a foreign land,
night turns to day, and
the fashion in shop windows
I pass on my way from work
in Paris, London or New York
where I live into djellabas, the smell
of restaurants into kuskus
on market day,
hands out, stretched
to accept this gift of walking
in the shadow of African people,
with their fear of anchored boats
on coastal fronts. History
is in the present. On
a young night that is day
I go inland where spear fights musket,
and I join the battle on the river
that filled with blood, our phagocyte
impi sieging their laager in anger.
On the metro of the morning,
Le Monde in my hands and
work on my mind, there’s always
a part of Africa that yearns
for me, for my presence, my flesh,
beyond the clatter of the train
needling beneath the capital
into the reconciliation of our time,
before the evening of my days.

Wednesday, 22 April 2009 20:12

Global and Compact: the Future of Metropolises

In 1991, a book by Saskia Sassen, The Global City, signaled the coming of age of metropolis as key actors of the globalization process. Information technologies, intimately linked to the globalization process, were producing a phenomenon of “metropolization”, i.e. an accrued concentration of services and decision centers in giant cities that form together a “global network.” London, San Francisco, New York, Tokyo, Beijing, Shanghai… Such metropolises are indeed the places where the future takes shape – they are also those that provoked and nurtured the current financial crisis…

Nowadays, more than half of the world population lives in cities, and a growing number lives in very big ones. The ills that come with it are well known: slums are growing, the countryside sees its vitality depleted; the accumulation of powers in metropolises erodes the power of nation-states and international organizations; the fierce competition between giant cities may generate useless investments; and finally, even in democratic countries, local governments (especially the ones managing metropolitan cities) are not always fully accountable.

At the same time, global cities can be agents of sustainable development, and thus lessen or even reverse the social ills they are creating, if they become at the same time compact cities. Compact cities are the ones that invest in state-to-the-art public transportation systems, water sanitation and green housing projects. Compact cities are also places where the integration of populations from different background is fostered through educational, social and cultural policies. Finally, compact cities design developmental strategies with an integral and humanist outlook. Amsterdam and a few other cities are tentative model to this approach.

Besides, global cities show a propensity to learn from each other. “Good practices”(lease of bikes, green building techniques, patrimony conservation) are observed and reduplicated from one metropolis to another. The networking between cities can thus become a positive aspect of global governance. This will also mean that cities will progressively enlarge their outlook, paying more attention to the impact of their policies on their fragile hinterland.
If metropolises become at the same time “global’ and “compact”, there is a chance that urban development will be sustainable indeed. The fact is that giant cities have already become driving forces of globalization. The challenge remains to assess and to shape the model of globalization that they will eventually impose on all of us.

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Tuesday, 21 April 2009 19:43

The montagnard people of Vietnam

Northern Vietnam, bordering mainland China, is the village of Sapa. Sapa is known for being the coldest area in Vietnam. Not only for that, in this town and area, live the Black Hmong and Red Dzao tribes. People from these tribes are easily recognizable from the traditional clothes they wear.

The black Hmong wear black and dark blue clothing, and their hands are often all blue from dying fabric.
The Red Dzao wear black and red clothing, and a red scarf winded around their head, held by silver pins, with tassels and small bells hanging over the neck. They also shave their hair up on the forehead as well as their eyebrows.

Both Hmong and Dzao wear beautifully handmade silver jewels, which they sell all around the village of Sapa, along with fabric, clothing, bags, shoes and etc – all of it handmade.
One would think that they dress like that only for show in order to sell their products, and then go back home and dress “normally”. As far as you walk, drive or ride your bike around Sapa, people all dress and work according to their traditions, even in the most remote villages.

A few hours ride away from Sapa is Bac Ha, famous for its market, where another tribe lives – the Flower Hmong. Most are dressed in pink, with a bit of red, blue, yellow, black, green, and orange, thus the name.

Bac Ha is, like Sapa, a very popular touristic place, but the people seem to pay little attention to the tourists. Of course they do try to sell their products to foreigners, like in every other country, but they still maintain their way of living, and you will see people buying horses, dogs, fruits and vegetables in their traditional outfit, taking little notice of the cameras shooting them.

The village of Sapa is a good place to have an overview of the Montagnard (mountain tribes) still living in Vietnam, and most importantly, one that has yet to be contaminated by western culture.

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Thursday, 09 April 2009 20:19

International Events and Urban Development

Large-scale international events, such as World Expos, Olympic and Para Olympic Games, International Fairs, world political or economic summits, have become a leading factor in the shaping of the image of a city as well as on its urban and cultural development. The way a city represents itself and the way other communities look at it are partly linked to these international events and articulate into a “narrative” that, step by step, shape an identity, both local and global. No wonder such events generate a fierce competition among cities and that such events are often awarded at extravagant prize.

Thus, from the start, a cautionary word is in order. If there are indeed a good number of “success stories” linked to the organization of a local event, there are also many stories in which the hassle of the organization process, the exorbitant rise of local axes, debatable urban construction, low attendance and post-event recessions might have on the whole a more negative impact than a positive one.

Furthermore, we are now in the midst of a severe international crisis, and nobody knows how long this crisis is going to last. It might indeed generate extra public spending, but also more parsimony in expenses, both private and public, less international travel, and, on the whole, a cautious attitude of all partners involved. If international events were a fixture of urban development during the last three decades or so, I doubt that it will truly keep this function in the foreseeable future.

Said it otherwise, the problem nowadays is not to replicate success stories, as conditions and contexts are rapidly changing, but rather to reflect on the way international events are presently desirable and, if so, how they can be integrated into an integral and sustainable city development.

An “integral’ development refers to a process in which (a) all parts of a urban territory are treated as a systemic whole and regarded as equals, (b) the interactions of cultural, social, environmental and economic developments are taken into account, paying special attention to the negative aspects that transportation planning for instance could have on habitat, tradition and ecology; (c) the actors share a long-term vision of their common future that does not rely on events and deciders from the outside. In other words, integral development fosters the inner vitality of a territory. As to “sustainable” development, it refers to a time concept: whatever the attractiveness of such or such event, or of a strategy of rapid development, the basic question that animates the decision-makers should be: what city are we preparing for our grandchildren? It is surprising to see how this simple question might sometimes change the perspective, and weigh on the course of action that was originally planned.

Large-scale international events and the shaping of urban culture

For some time now, it has been recognized that an international event taking place in a given city is truly successful if and only if the city population feels truly involved into it and plays the role of actors in the preparatory process as well as during the event proper. The Olympic Games of Sidney certainly were remarkable on that respect. International events should help in the fostering of a participatory local culture.

The question remains: what is a participatory local culture, and how requiring should decision-makers and actors be if they truly want to make sure that their city becomes a model of local democracy in all preparatory and implementation processes?

The point, here, is not only that there is a moral and political imperative to require citizens’ approval on the choices that ground their future, it is rather that active citizens’ participation is favorable to higher-quality local development. Ensuring a continuous flux of information and feedbacks, enlisting the cultural riches of actives, informed citizens, diversifying the resources that contribute to a more balanced model of development, all of this has remarkably long term effects on a city’s overall health and level of consent. Citizens’ participation is per se a factor of sustainability: it reduces risks of corruption, hasty decision or dominance of industrial lobbies. It ensures that concerns about air and water control, schooling and quality of life are sufficiently taken into account. It helps to envision a larger array of alternatives on developmental issues and to balance the economic, social and cultural dimension, all of these dimensions being necessary for achieving humane, integral growth. Finally, citizens’ participation raises their overall level of satisfaction, as participants feel that the city that takes shape under their eyes is really theirs, and that they are the actor of the public space in which they work and live.

Said in another way, the first asset that a city should make use of, when planning for its future, is the cultural diversity that exists in its midst. Enhancing diversity is the best strategy for fostering sustainability. Now, international events can be a positive factor for enriching this participatory local culture - or they can impede its healthy development. I suspect that often such events have been an impediment, whatever the discourse on citizens’ participation. First, most of the time, citizens are not consulted when it comes to cities applying for hosting such or such an event. Second, they have no say in the budgetary choices that are subsequently made. Third, their participation is often reduced to playing tour guides to the international guests who will come to the event.

On the other hand, the hosting of international events indeed enriches the worldview of local citizens confronts them to a variety of experiences, and makes for a richer, prouder local consciousness. At the end, the quality of the event (the way manifestations are managed and enriched, the meaning of the event taking place, its inclusion into the public space and respect for the history of the place and the memory of its inhabitants) is what will help a city to nurture a richer and livelier local culture through international events. Let me stress that international events per se are not sufficient for enriching local culture. Quality management is truly the key. And quality management is largely independent from budgetary investment. Conceptual imagination is the rarest and most precious resource. In that sense, the sooner you make citizens participate in the event, the richer the event might become. Therefore, it is better to plan citizens’ participation from the start rather than limiting it to the implementation of the event proper.


Large-scale international events and public constructions

The set of principles I just sketched out when it comes to local cultures largely applies to public constructions. The principle of “sustainability” has special relevance when it comes to building for international events. Looking back at previous large-scale international events, it is obvious that the improvements most beneficial on the long term to ordinary citizens were the ones linked to investments in the transportation system.
When we look at developed Asian cities today, we see that the network of public transportation is fairly well planned and advanced, even if much work is still to be done. But, obviously, a change of framework and priorities is neither desirable nor feasible. Furthermore, it does not seem that these cities are lacking much in large-scale public buildings. Where is the need most pressing? It is in the field of private buildings that would be ecologically friendly and aesthetically harmonious. It is in the reworking of our public space around residential and industrial areas at the periphery of the centers of power. In other words, the bettering of our urban environment goes through a series of small-scale improvements, oriented towards green buildings and modern industrial zoning. If this diagnosis proves to be true, then it becomes quite difficult to discern in what way international events are truly helpful in the process of the integral and sustainable development.

Large-scale international events and regional cooperation

One of the most interesting developments in the history of international events is the association it sometimes creates among what I would call a “network of territories.” After all, the virtualization of the world also positively affects international events. Conferences, summits, or even international trade fairs can happen simultaneously in various parts of a country, or even various parts of the world - sharing events, using large screens, exchanging data and news, sharing costs and benefits also. One of the best recent examples has been the European Football Cup jointly organized by Switzerland and Austria. Let us also remember the World Cup jointly organized by Korea and Japan.
Cities should look for opportunities to organize exactly this kind of cooperative, regional events while conjointly asking themselves “what kind of international events will prove to be more meaningful on the long run?” Let me just mention a few field around which the future of humankind might be at stake, and which may be subsequently privileged when sponsoring international events:
- green buildings, and environmental innovations and regulations in general;
- the future of islands and coastal areas in face of global warming;
- the social responsibility of entrepreneurs;
- conflict resolution and peace building;
- the follow up of the Millennium Objectives, especially in the field of access to clean water and quality medication to all;
In other words, it is not enough to organize international events, the point is to show a real international spirit, one oriented towards global challenges and creative ways of tackling them.
International events are meaningful and helpful as long as they promote three basic objectives:
- cultural diversity and creativity;
- sustainable development
- citizens’ empowerment.

International events should not be looked after for the sole objective of enhancing a city’s visibility in the international arena. The first step in the process should be to look whether the planned event fosters indeed the objectives just mentioned and to decide accordingly. This way, much waste could be avoided, the events’ implementation would be creative and participatory, and the efforts finally deployed would prove to be truly fruitful


Tuesday, 31 March 2009 07:36

科學眼光看見的島嶼家鄉(2)

--不願面對的真相

如果海平面真的像某部電影所說的,上升三十五公尺,臺灣會發生什麼事?
倘若真的有這一天,臺灣地圖就要重繪了。臺北盆地變成「臺北湖」、宜蘭平原變成「宜蘭灣」,而臺南市則全軍覆沒。
不過,在感到驚嚇之前,有些事情我們不能無視。在漫長的地球歷史中,海平面升降有如家常便飯。一萬八千年前,海平面還曾經比現在低一百三十公尺呢。相較於此,三十五公尺好像也沒那麼驚天動地了。由於海平面原本就有週期性的升降,因此當前海平面上升究竟屬於自然現象?還是人為造成的?其實學術界並沒有定論。
就算罪魁禍首是人類好了。也許早在海水淹沒臺北盆地以前,人類已經搭建起高高的海堤,將海水阻隔在外。如此一來,「臺北湖」都還不一定會形成呢。



本文亦見於2009年4月號《人籟論辨月刊》

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Monday, 30 March 2009 07:22

想像力‧台灣

字典裡說,所謂的想像力,是一種以心智的創造力面對並處理現實的能力。關於這一點,詩人狄金生(Emily Dickinson)另有一番介說。她形容自己棲身於可能性(possibility)當中,說那是「比現實(prose)更美好的居所」。佛斯特 (Robert Frost)不也說過「詩(poetry)隨著轉譯而失去」之類的話嗎?這樣的話似乎暗示著,詩裡存在著某種只能意會卻無法言傳、只能藉由想像力來捕捉的東西。

但或許話應該反過來說吧?應該說,「想像力伴隨轉譯而生」,轉譯的過程似乎正是想像力現身之處。當我們努力用自己的語言,透過自己的感受,對自己解釋社會曾經教導我們的事物,我們若不是發現曾經滋養我們的古人智慧有其限制,不然就是在其中發現新的真理。把古老的真理「轉譯」成新的語言,會打開一扇窗口,讓人發現新的風景。替他人闡明自己所瞭解的事物和感受,也是這種轉譯的例子。這種交流的空間,也是「共同想像力」興起的地方,會創生改變的動力。

這一期的《人籟》裡,我們踏上一段關於想像的旅程。我們暫且放下「如何培養、發揮想像力」的老生常談,也不太過追究那些因為勇於發揮想像力而成功的故事。相對地,我們在這段旅程裡,將「想像力」還原到它最素樸的形式──想像力是一種心智的創造力,不論發揮想像力的結果是成功還是失敗,人心的力量都在那些過程裡相互激盪,擦出了火花,開啟了新的視野。

於是,這是一趟觀看、思索、分享的想像力之旅。

Va’, pensiero, sull’ali dorate...
(思緒,乘著黃金之翼而飛吧…)





本文亦見於2009年4月號《人籟論辨月刊》

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Sunday, 29 March 2009 23:17

大人依舊需要的童話

美麗的童話是你我童年不可或缺的重要元素,
無論它來自床邊故事、書籍影視作品,或來自孤寂時刻的個人幻想天地。
儘管在日復一日充滿競爭、偽裝、防衛的社會中,
或許我們早已忘卻彼時望向世界的單純心思,及人與人的真誠相待,
然而,《崖上的波妞》卻將已然邁入成年的我們,不著痕跡帶回那段歲月…

在我幼年的一九七○年代,「卡通」是偶然才會在黑白電視上播映的短片。儘管它的劇情、畫面都非常單純,但它總是能吸引住我童稚的心,讓我看得目不轉睛、瞠目結舌,邊吃飯邊傻笑,飯粒灑得滿地。那,幾乎是童年最高級的視聽娛樂。
同樣的情境在日前進影院看《崖上的波妞》重現了!一邊喝著可樂、一邊與女兒分享爆米花,雙眼卻從未離開銀幕。時間倏乎而過,直至映罷戛然而止之際,方知自己吃得滿身爆米花碎屑。兒時情境重現,中年之心不禁啞然。
這部動畫電影的單純,連繫了數十年間的時空與感受,想來是深獲我心的重要因素。


憶及童年寂寞孤獨


多年以來,我個人觀看戲劇的行為模式,似乎總是採「對決」方式:試圖在繽紛多彩的畫面中尋求暗藏的符號,從轉折離奇的情節中搶先破解伏筆,猶如觀眾與編導的對決。這種「想太多」的態度,也許反映出成人世界的用心良「苦」,無怪乎看完電影或影集,總是困頓異常。但是,《崖上的波妞》似乎舉重若輕地解除我精神上的武裝,將我融入那海洋與陸地交界、水族及人類之間的童話世界。
去基督教化的人魚故事?父親虧欠兒子的償還?還是對於環境污染的再次控訴?這些觀看之前便知的先見之明,似乎未影響它引導我進入情境之中。我所得見的,一如每個孩子都曾歷經探索外界及結交玩伴的過程,其中總有無盡的驚奇與喜悅。可以共度時光的玩伴,究竟是人類或是動物?似乎未必是孩子考量的必要因素。
記得嗎?兒時寂寞孤獨之際,偶然相值的蟲魚鳥獸,無不可以成為傾訴對象;尚未完成「教化」的中樞神經系統,總是能超越諸多規範限制,描繪出雖不存在但幾乎接近真實的小宇宙,並且流連忘返直到錯過晚餐,父母持鞭召喚而來,才又一次回到「人類世界」。在波妞與宗介的二人天地中,不也是如此?

就是想和你在一起
價值,環境,童年,崖上的波妞,卡通,單純,宮崎駿,親子

至於到底是喜歡?還是愛?對於他們這樣的五歲孩子而言,似乎不構成困擾。因為心裡想的,無非就是能跟那個漂亮小女生(或是調皮小男生,我猜)一起上課、一起畫畫、一起玩遊戲。至於日後種種,乃至於對未來的許諾,則根本不在思考範圍中。
其實,相愛的本質,不就是想與對方常常在一起嗎?即令是大人的世界,不也這樣?宗介的媽媽理紗聽聞丈夫耕一又過家門不入,賭氣不已的心情正是如此!弄潮之兒尚且歸期不定,能夠跟相合意的人在一起,益發顯得可貴。
宗介保護波妞的決心,以及波妞想變成人類的希望,不就只是想要彼此為伴?親歷波妞變態過程,宗介卻依舊能夠接受真實的她,除了有真誠的心意,他似乎也不像成人一般,如此在意波妞是魚?是半人魚?還是人類?相較於型態差異或分界,宗介與波妞在乎的,只不過是「兩人能不能繼續在一起」。

真誠相對維繫初衷

這相遇時的初衷,正是他們能夠個別及共同度過各種難關,最後有「情」人終成玩伴的緣由。那種人與人純粹的契合,我想是《崖上的波妞》最值得珍惜的觀點。許多人將本片與《龍貓》(となりのトトロ)相提並論,原因除了兩者都以兒童為主角、敘事方式皆如童話,以及片中跨越人與自然(或超自然)的境界之外,它們的共通之處,正是這種單純心靈,讓孩子可以看到大人無法謁見的龍貓,也讓孩子能夠摒除人、魚界線,義無反顧地追求並承諾彼此共度的未來。
這樣單純地解讀,或許只是個人管見,未必是宮崎駿創作本意。但我認為,在愛情、親情或是友情的更前端,有一種人與人真誠相對的可貴情感。這種真誠相對的能力,或許正是我們隨著社會化過程久已忘懷,在競爭、合作及利益交換中,慣以偽裝、閃避、掩飾、防衛等等取而代之而喪失的能力。
最好的例子便是波妞之父藤本與曼瑪蓮夫妻相見前的焦慮。同樣也是人類與海族相隔兩界的戀情,為什麼讓他那麼惴惴不安?想來應該是看待彼此的態度不同,失去了雙方理應平等相待的初衷吧!

著墨親子幽默自嘲

親子關係顯然是劇中著墨甚深的另一點。宮崎駿是否藉此片修補他與兒子的關係?我無法從劇情中看出。但是藤本與波妞之間,卻像每一對父女的相處,總是亙古不變地令人莞爾。
例如父親費盡心力、引經據典為女兒取了「女武神」的名字——布倫希爾蒂(Brynhildr),女兒卻堅持使用宗介脫口而出為她取的名號——「波妞」。又如為了尋找女兒上岸後的蹤跡,藤本一路屏氣凝神尾隨理莎的汽車,卻不斷被沿岸垃圾弄得灰頭土臉,如同丑角一般,不得不令人覺得導演有藉機修理父親的意圖。不過這種「吾家有女」的情結既無法捨棄,也彌足珍貴,只有兩個兒子的宮崎駿想必無法體會。
即令是數十年來一向關注的環保議題,宮崎駿也透過神經兮兮、反應過度的藤本做了些微嘲諷。例如為了怕上岸的波妞過於乾燥,而四處噴灑的海洋深層水,竟被懷疑成為農藥(明明用的就是噴藥器,無怪乎啟人疑竇)。此外,對於世界因波妞魔力失去平衡,甚至造成月球近地,母親曼瑪蓮總是平靜以待;但父親藤本卻憂心忡忡,覺得世界將就此潰解(其實不過是女兒即將離開身邊而已嘛)!宮崎駿在此幽了一默,是否不再對環保議題嚴肅以對呢?微妙的表現手法留下許多想像空間。

聲音情感豐富畫面

選擇實力派演員擔任聲音演員(而不只是配音員),則是《崖上的波妞》另一個值得稱道的重點。除了兩位主角分別由童星擔任聲音演出,以聲音演出雙方家長的演員,更是陣容堅強:母親分別由演出日劇《長假》(LONG VACATION/ロングバケーション)的山口智子,及演出《女王的教室》(女王の教室)的天海祐希擔綱,各自鮮活地表現劇中人物個性;父親則分別由棒球明星轉戰演藝界的長嶋一茂及諧星所喬治(所ジョージ)演出,也展現出截然不同的父親典型。原汁原味的對白緊扣著情節發展,確實令我感受到超越語言限制的豐富表情。
吉卜力工作室起用明星擔任「聲優」,應屬《霍爾的移動城堡》(ハウルの動く城)中木村拓哉的演出最為著名。更早則可追溯至《兒時的點點滴滴》(おもひでぽろぽろ)的今井美樹及柳葉敏郎。這些成功的表演工作者藉由聲音表演搭配畫面,頓時讓動畫的表現更加立體。當然這並非絕無僅有的例子,如美國動畫也常由演員擔任聲音演出。但《崖上的波妞》的聲音演員,搭配得的確恰如其分(尤其是所喬治),讓觀眾得以享受更豐富的演出。

心馳神往童年質地

捨棄電腦動畫回歸手工的繪製方式,是本片為人注目與稱道的另一點,但個人獨鍾粉蠟筆構成的背景與設色。使用粉蠟筆畫畫,是我國小中低年級難忘的經驗之一。粉蠟筆比蠟筆更加繽紛多彩,也比水彩容易掌握;適當地使用粉蠟筆,更具有油畫般的效果。那是我唯一能夠享受繪畫的工具,也是足以代表童年的色彩與質地。它跟它的情節一樣,都具有良好的「還童」效果。
是的!這種讓成人回到童年的效果,就是波妞最大的魔力。它讓距離童話已然遙遠的我們,可以回想自己孩提時候的單純想法。或許它們在成人社會已一去不復返,但循著《崖上的波妞》留下的一些痕跡,或許可探尋出一些雖然遺忘但依舊存在的價值,讓我們重新檢視自己及這個世界。
一如《崖上的波妞》日文正式網站(official website)所言,本片是為了這個「精神病與不安的年代」(神経症と不安の時代)而製作。那麼就讓我們在這個混沌不清的世界裡,先設法看清自己,才有辦法面對一切。
宮崎駿想講的可能更多,但是對我而言,如此便已足夠。波妞讓我享受到回歸童年的快樂,尤其在如此不安的中年時代。


(本文劇照皆由開眼電影網提供)

Sunday, 29 March 2009 21:22

人生三問

即使身處滾滾紅塵,終日忙亂,在庸庸碌碌之間,
午夜夢迴,有時總不免自問:生而為人,生命的意義與價值究竟何在。
生命的實相,即存在於這些思索與追尋中,等待你我發掘…

任何一個人,不論他是誰,也不論他在社會上扮演什麼角色,更不論他是富貴貧窮或疾病健康,都總會在某個時候,必須面對自己生命的三個基本問題:我為什麼活著?我該怎樣活著?我又如何能活出我該活出的生命?

人生在世‧為何而活

第一個問題關切人生的意義與目的,涉及人「要成為怎樣的人」或「能成為怎樣的人」的問題。這個問題從提出到答覆都不簡單。以提出來說,人雖貴為萬物之靈,但要提出這樣的問題,是需要很多主客觀條件的配合才可能的。主觀上,一個人得有清明朗照的自覺與觀照能力,而且得不斷地去擴而充之這樣的能力,否則就很容易變成羅家倫在《新人生觀》一書中所說的糊塗蟲一樣,一輩子醉生夢死、庸庸碌碌地活著,而無法對自己或整體的存在產生疑惑,並發出驚嘆。
當然,人畢竟是一種靈性的存在,意義問題總會在某個時候襲上心頭,例如某個午夜夢迴、空蕩孤寂的片刻;或者,發生某種變故,好比失去所愛的時候。然而,如果個人所處的客觀社會是醉生夢死的;是小人群聚終日,言不及義的;是除了飲食男女、股票漲跌、統獨藍綠之外,不知死之將至,因而無法觸及精神上更深層次議題的,那麼,個人的意義探問將顯得突兀怪異,而且,很快地就會淹沒消失於現實社會的燈紅酒綠與忙碌雜沓之中。談知識經濟、談兩岸情勢,似乎比較正常而不奇怪…
為何而活的問題不容易提出,更不容易回答。古往今來許多有智慧的人都給過答案,各大宗教更是無不致力於這個問題的解答。不過,生命的答案,終究必須自己去尋求。由外而內的答案如果不能與由內而外的生命厚度相呼應,那麼,答案即使是正確的,恐怕也只能擦身而過,而無法與我們的生命相遇。
第一個問題是人生最根本的問題。人偶然有了生命,卻必然邁向死亡,如何在這必死的人生中,肯定活著具有意義與目的,實乃人生大哉一問。一個人是否提出這個問題,或者,在提出後是否能得到深切的體悟,都決定性地影響到他對後面兩個問題的提出與答覆。

突破陷溺‧該如何活

life_2009April02假設一個人在第一個問題上能突破成住壞空的無常,能不陷溺於虛無主義或享樂主義的羅網,能肯定生命具有某種雋永的價值、至善的境界、神聖的理想,值得人生死以之,那麼,他必然會關切第二與第三個問題。
第二個問題是人該怎樣活著的問題,攸關倫理與道德。不過,它也不只是倫理與道德的問題,或者,更確切地說,倫理與道德的問題從來就不只是關於做人與實踐的形而下問題,而更是與第一個問題相通相連的形而上課題。這是因為「人生應行什麼道路」與「人生有何目的」的問題是息息相關的。如果一個人在第一個問題的探索中,肯定生命有一個終極的目標或至善的境界,他接著會問的便是:哪條路會通向這個目標?哪條路又是「在明明德,在新民,在止於至善」的大學之道?
然而,在崇尚解構的後現代文化裡,提問大學之道或提問該怎樣活著的問題,是相當困難而嚴峻的挑戰。很多傳統的價值規範或禁忌都隨著「大家都這麼做」、「只要我喜歡,有什麼不可以」、「只要我敢,你又能奈我何?」的時代文化而快速地禮壞樂崩…,婚前性行為、婚外性行為似乎成了普遍而正常的現象。連部分倫理學家也開始主張雜交(promiscuity)的正當性,並設法合理化戀童癖(pedophilia)或人獸交的行為。很多所謂去污名化的寧靜革命正在悄悄進行中。以戀童癖來說,不少論述開始使用「跨代親密」(intergenerational intimacy)這樣的概念來中性化相關的行為。為了消除人們的「偏見」,娼妓的污名也已被「性工作者」所取代。與之相對的,「嫖妓」也有了「購買性服務」的新說法。

繁複世界‧矛盾相向

澳洲最近有一個案例,男老師購買性服務時買到同校女老師,男老師沒事,女老師則遭教育局處分。事發之後各方議論紛紛。有人認為雙方都該罰,否則就是性別歧視。也有人認為雙方都不該罰,因為購買性服務與從事性工作是任何國民的基本權利。誠然,罰娼不罰嫖是一種不公平的對待與歧視,然而,從什麼時候起,嫖妓與性工作成為一種權利,一種即使老師也不應該被剝奪的權利呢?
再者,即使法律上真有這樣的權利,是否意味著道德上也有這樣的權利,使得購買性服務或從事性工作成為道德所允許、甚至所嘉許的行為?換言之,從事這樣的行為,成為邁向人生至善境界的一種生活方式?
此外,現代人的存在處境不是「複雜」兩字所能道盡。在這複雜當中,我們常常弄不清楚通往至善的道路何在,更不知道人生的方向應該何去何從。例如:可不可以從事操弄與傷害人類胚胎的醫學實驗呢?沒有人能認同為了醫學實驗而殺嬰,但何以科學家們競相拿人類胚胎來作實驗?這作法後面似乎預設了從受精卵、胚胎、胎兒、到嬰兒這條連續發展的過程中,有某些重大的差異可以證成其間的差別待遇。但這些差異是哪些呢?哪些差異能構成差別待遇的充分理由呢?
再好比面對長期癱瘓在床的病人,例如《點燃生命之海》(The Sea Inside)電影中那位受傷而全身癱瘓二十八年的西班牙人,或《潛水鐘與蝴蝶》(The Diving Bell and the Butterfly)裡的Elle前主編尚‧多明尼克,當他們要求自殺協助時,我們該做什麼?站在哪個位置上?Pro life或Pro choice?這些都不是容易回答的問題。明辨是非說來很輕鬆,但在不足外人道的人生點點滴滴中知善知惡,是不容易作的功課。這是人生第二個大哉問。

身體力行‧活出自己

人生第一問與第二問都是「知」的問題,第一個問題是有關人生目標與意義的「知」,第二個問題是有關人生實踐之道的「知」。不過,人生問題除了「知」之外,還有「行」的問題。一個人即使知道人生有值得追尋的目標,也知道通往目標的道路何在,但卻偏偏往相反的方向跑去,那麼,這所有的「知」都是枉然。
人為什麼會與自己想要追求的目標或想要踏上的道路背道而馳呢?這是因為人生誠然有很多事情是知難行易的,但也有更多事是知易行難,或知不易行更難的。人的情緒可能處在混亂易怒或沮喪憂慮的狀態,使得人做出他不該做的事;人的情慾也可能蒙蔽他的良知,使得人利令智昏或色令智迷。昏迷者知之而又不知,正是佛教所謂的「無明」,無明的人無力於知行的合一。顯然,如何統整情意以調和知行,使人知行合一,是每個人必須提出並解決的第三個問題。
第三個問題可以說是人生三大根本問題中最畫龍點睛的問題,它是知情意行是否統整(integrity)的問題,也是生命智慧是否能內化並落實為生活實踐的問題。唯有身心靈統整的人才能夠「誠於中,形於外」,活出應該活出的生命。
分開來看,上述人生三問各有其獨立之旨趣,不過,合起來看,它們之間是相互為用的。知之愈深,行之愈篤;行之愈篤,知之愈深。真知與力行之間具有一種良性循環,使得越明白的,越能去力行;而越能去力行的,也越能有真切的明白。這正是東西方宗教都肯定的「悲智雙運」的精義。

(本文劇照皆由雷公電影提供)





本文亦見於2009年4月號《人籟論辨月刊》

2009_04想閱讀本期更多精采文章,請購買本期雜誌!

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