Erenlai - Daring to Take Risks 勇於冒險
Daring to Take Risks 勇於冒險

Daring to Take Risks 勇於冒險

True wisdom helps us to take risks… True wisdom weighs the risks and shows us how to face them.Here is advice and experiences that will help you to decide when to take risks and how to survive them. An alternative cookbook for success!

有趣的人生不是多少冒點險的呢?我們活在這世上的短短數十年裡,你是隨時迎向挑戰,還是躲在安全的框架中希望人生就此一帆風順呢?帶著冒險精神生活是需要智慧跟勇氣的!

 

 

 

Thursday, 27 September 2007

Experimenting with the Extreme

There are situations in life where we have to go beyond our limits. It might go with extreme suffering, hardships or challenges. We might get from it a feeling both of acute pain and exhilaration. The ones who are able to go through it often say that the experience has made them perceive in a new light the basic facts of death and life, and has helped them to better understand themselves and the meaning of their existence.
Many of us are attracted by extremes, and try to recreate something of the experience of the Extreme, even if it is on a small scale. It can go through mountain climbing or another sport, it can mean challenging oneself with further study, it can be traveling to regions that attract us and frighten us at the same time.

But there are also whole populations that survive under extreme conditions. Living in the depth of the Amazonian forests is one example. Dwelling in mountains so high that oxygen level is only 40 percent of the norm provides us with another example. (Of course, this is different form extreme conditions that derive from war, epidemics or famine, which are supposed to reign only for a period of time.) Populations living under extreme climates strike our imagination: they seem to reveal to us something about the nature of Man, they challenge our limitations. And, indeed, it is sometimes under extreme climates that Humankind comes up with its most striking cultural and artistic manifestations.
 
 
“Renlai Monthly” October ’07 issue deals with two “experiences of the Extreme.” One in the Amazonian forest, isolated from the world by rains for a good part of the year, and another with one of the most remote Tibetan populations, at thee frontier of Tibet, Qinghai and Sichuan, where altitude and life conditions are so extreme that the life expectancy is somewhere around 35. These experiences of the Extreme are not only the ones of the population, but the ones of the photographers who go there. We have let them express themselves, not only with words, but first and foremost with photographs. These photographs speak of the experience of the persons they encounter and, at the same time, of their own experience. When dealing with the Extreme, words are not sufficient, and images speak to the heart in another fashion.

To tell the truth, there might be some unhealthy fascination with the experience of the Extreme, and being human largely means to recognize one’s limitations, to find a balance, and to recognize the wisdom inherent to the “middle way.”. However, such recognition has to be accompanied by a pervasive tension towards the Eternal and the Infinite that dwell in our heart. Testing one’s limits and making peace with them are twin elements of human growth.

(Photo by Liang Zhun)

Thursday, 27 September 2007

競技場上容不下女人?

運動的精神在於自我挑戰,而不是你輸我贏的競爭;體育運動應是充滿人性的,而不是培養自私、攻擊與暴力的性格。

現在的體育運動強調競爭與輸贏,追求「更高、更遠、更快」,但是卻不強調肢體的柔軟、協調、優美與團隊合作。因為,當運動與男性特質畫上等號,情感表達的特質就會遭受壓抑。而且運動教練往往是男性,以勝利為最重要的目標。運動,原本應該是一種最忘我的身體高峰經驗,卻變成你輸我贏的競賽。
此一現象在選手的訓練過程中最為明顯。在球隊中,男子球員必須絕對服從教練(年長男性)的指導,必須將球隊與勝利放在最高的位置,要杜絕外界的誘惑(尤其女性),並且要經得起痛苦的訓練與比賽過程,選手受到要求不斷地施加痛苦在對手甚至隊友身上。在運動場上要展現出最陽剛且堅毅不屈的精神,在球場上表現得「像個娘們」成為男球員最大的恥辱,而某些教練還會利用擺放女性衣物(如胸罩)在球員的衣櫃中來表示該球員太過軟弱。在這樣的價值觀底下,女性如果強調人際互動或道德價值更勝於個人成就,會被認為沒有好勝心;如果強調個人成就,又會被視為沒有女人味。
運動中的男性價值也展現在為男選手加油的女性啦啦隊角色。啦啦隊除了十分強調身體外表,更加強了女性「陪伴」的刻板印象。啦啦隊員當中雖然也有男性,然而都屬於「競技啦啦隊」,而非純粹在場邊加油的角色。在啦啦隊裡面,男性通常必須負責諸如拋、接等動作,展現其肌力與耐力,而不是搔首弄姿、舞蹈性成分高的「女性」動作。參加啦啦隊的男性,即便他是如何的輕盈,都不可能被拋擲或像女生一樣站在人形金字塔頂端,洋溢著可人的微笑,因為沒有人能夠接受男人如女性般輕盈。總之,在運動世界裡,男性氣概的展現在於身體的強壯,擁有肌肉代表擁有權力。
無論如何,運動應該是人性的,參與運動的結果,不應該在培養自私、攻擊與暴力的人格;運動的精神應該在於自我挑戰而不是彼此競爭。
很多男同志小時候很難想像自己以後可以成為運動員,因為男同志與運動員形象是互相抵觸的,這也使得他們缺乏正面典範。既使有運動員是男同志,他也必須隱藏蒙混(passing)像個異性戀者,因為這是一個異性戀主宰的社會,尤其在運動界。若不如此,可能會危及他在團隊中的地位或工作。
台灣的性別研究在近二十年來辛苦經營,其成就已經超越許多鄰國的表現,然而在體育學術界仍然著重選手技能的研究,甚少關心運動中的情意表現,從女性主義觀點來研究運動與體育,恐怕輕則被認為不夠學術,重則讓人敬而遠之。期許有更多的女性主義者能夠加入運動研究的行列,因為我們都是體育教育的接受者,以及運動的主體。
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註:本文部分內容發表於《兩性平等教育季刊》2006年7月號。

Thursday, 30 August 2007

"Agugai"!

Many people who were in the Fisherman’s Wharf in Tamshui near Taipei on July 29th will recognize the word meaning “hello” in the dialect spoken in Orchid Island. Aborigines on the shore were proclaiming the approach of the Orchid Island rowers in their last leg of their ascent up the North coast of Taiwan, reaching for their final destination after one month of sailing.

At one o’clock in the afternoon, many Taiwanese out for a Sunday walk at the harbour saw a small wooden boat with a distinctive shape on the horizon. With a closer look, they could distinguish 13 rowers in armors, wearing wooden hats. The red, white and black patterns painted on the boat clearly identified the aborigines of Orchid Island, a minority tribe living on a small island in the Pacific, South East to Taiwan.
It was a kind of boat built to catch the silvery flying fish around the island, and one that many Taiwanese had never seen for real before.

The same morning, the boat launched at Shaluen beach 沙崙, 30 kilometers away. As the rowers were getting ready, I was overwhelmed by everyone being in a state of great excitement. Surrounding the boat, after the ritual prayer and an impressive war cry, they suddenly, in a joint effort, pushed the boat into the sea and jumped in. Very soon, we could barely see its silhouette from the shore.
Near by, many kids were playing on the beach, not aware of the historic importance of this event in the lives and the culture of Orchid Island’s people.

I heard of the boat expedition for the first time when I went to Orchid Island with a good friend in April this year. Many locals told us about the preparations of a big event planned for the summer.
Sixteen years ago, Aborigines started to build the biggest traditional boat made on the island over a hundred years. During its construction, people came up with the idea of giving it a strong symbolic value: the boat will sail beyond the flying fishes areas, aborigines will row all the way up to Taipei and spread the culture of the small island.

The challenge was big; there were 600 kilometers of rowing ahead, enough to discourage most people. But the Orchid islanders have been sailors for generations and they were eager to participate in the expedition. The four main villages on the island set up four teams of rowers which took turn one after the other. They built their strength through unity.

Orchid Island since 1980 was often a news headline for the nuclear waste dump in the Southern part of the Island. The locals saw in this trip an opportunity to give a more positive image of the island.

While economic growth, in the last decades, has changed the face of Taiwan, people of Orchid Island seem to have slipped through the net, and their lives did not change. While I was there with my friend, we enjoyed sleeping on a house’s roof and reaching the sea for a morning bath before eating tasty sweet potatoes our neighbor offered us.

However, economic needs catch them up. Shilan, a 26 years-old-guy we met, explained us that most young people like him, are extremely attached to this island, but do not find more than a seasonal activity in Orchid Island. They need to go to Taiwan to find some work for the rest of the year.

He further said the boat trip was also a chance to bring back all generations of Orchid Island people to their roots and work together on a common project: introducing a way of living in real harmony with nature to the Taiwanese.
The stopovers of the boat along the East Coast of Taiwan were many opportunities to do so.

When the rowers finally reached Tamshui harbour, their dark faces, burn by the sun for rowing many days under the heat were lightened up by their families on the shore.
It is with great emotion that everybody acclaimed them.

Dancers from the aboriginal tribes of Hualien celebrated their success with traditional festivities. The last powerful scene of the day happened when the boat was taken out of the water to be brought by the rowers to the front stage.
With the final family picture shot, the aborigines turned a page of history of the Orchid Island people. The sunset marked the end of a long voyage.
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Monday, 20 August 2007

Taking the Chance Out of Chance

At precisely 6:05 PM on August 1, 2007 in Minneapolis, Minnesota a bridge on Interstate Highway 35 crowded with rush hour traffic suddenly broke apart and plunged into the Mississippi River sending cars tumbling into the water and killing passengers unable to escape. At least eight innocent persons had the unexpected misfortune of being in the wrong place at the wrong time in spite of the fact that they were doing what was very proper and right, minding their own business, obeying all the traffic regulations and carefully avoiding anything that might endanger others.

Things like this happen all the time. No one has any absolute guarantee when leaving home in the morning that he or she will return in the evening. What are the odds that such a thing could happen to you? Based on figures given in Wikipedia for the year 2002 when the world population was about 6.2 billion, on an average about 155,610 people died every day. The odds that you would have been one of them were about 39,840 to 1. So you can breathe easy. The chances you will die today are just as low.

And the chance that you might die today due to an accident is much, much lower. Only an average of about 12,920 people died each day due to accidents in 2002 which means the odds that you would have been one of them were about 495,240 or 908,200 to 1 depending on whether you are male or female. So the chances are very high that you will never die the result of an accident. The chances are also in your favor that you will not die today, but no matter how healthy or careful you are, a day is coming when you are going to be one of those declared dead.

In the United States, the state government sanctioned California Mega Millions Lottery at regular intervals pays out jackpots of at least 12 million dollars each time. The odds of winning the jackpot are only 175,711,536 to 1, yet millions and millions of people pay out $1 to $20 a ticket for a chance to win. The odds of your dying on drawing day are actually 4400 times higher than your odds for winning the jackpot. The odds for winning the lowest prize, however, are about 40 to 1, which means that 39 out of every 40 people come away empty-handed. Yet they buy the tickets anyway. Why? Because even the chance of 1 in 40 is worth the risk. No one who has won can forget the thrill and excitement of winning. And there is always that hope for one of the big wins. What would happen if everyone decided that since there are 39 out of 40 chances that they will lose, they will not participate? Then 40 out of 40 will win nothing and the California Education system, which benefits from the proceeds of the lottery, will be left with nothing. Everybody loses.

Every moment of every day whatever is happening to us at that precise moment is a chance occurrence. What were the chances that all those people in the bus with you would ever be together in that one place? What are the odds that that stranger from another country would end up sitting next to you, who have never seen him before, and you have never before been in that seat? What are the chances that you will both get off at the same stop or will sit next to him tomorrow if you take the same bus or that you will ever meet again or become friends or even end up married to one another as actually happened to a friend of mine who met a stranger on a train? Such things happen every day.

The odds are infinity to one that the precise alignment in your body of atoms and cells at this moment will ever occur exactly the same way with the same cells again, because there is too much irreversible movement. That didn’t prevent the exact chance alignment at this moment from happening as it did. It was just out of your control. Not wholly so, however, because you were actively and deliberately controlling the movement of some parts of yourself, making you somewhat responsible for at least some part of that alignment.

It is the same with that chance encounter on the bus. It was unintended chance that brought you two strangers to sit next to one another, but it was you who choose to get on the bus at that time, it was the stranger who had somewhere to go on the same bus at that precise time, so the chance encounter only happened because it wasn’t only by chance that you two were traveling in that place at that time. To go a step further, it might have been purely unintended chance that brought you two strangers together that once or crossed your paths again at some later time, but if you become friends and especially if you eventually marry, it could only happen because you didn’t leave it to chance any more but deliberately intervened and manipulated what finally occurred.

At every single moment of our lives, there is a coming together of persons and things, places and events that will occur exactly like this just this once, never to be duplicated, impossible to have been predicted exactly, a chance occurrence with odds so high they can’t even be calculated or expressed. At any moment something may happen or something intervene that will end or change our lives. We live in a world and in circumstances that are not under our control, but this doesn’t mean we have no control over our lives. Most of the time we get through the day without major accident. We manage to get our work done and achieve our goals. And when things do go wrong, it isn’t always by chance or due to someone else or something else, but because we ourselves made a mistake or did something that changed the equation and interfered.

If there existed a super computer that kept track of every particle of matter and energy and was able to project the path of each item and plot the actions and interactions of every encounter, could it predict the exact location of every particle ten years from now? Only in those parts of the universe beyond the reach of humans or any other living things that have the power to react unpredictably. Maybe we are immersed in a sea of elements and events that are beyond our control, but so long as we have the power to control how we react, we can and do alter the inevitability of what bounces off us.

Living with risk is an inescapable part of life. Every time we get on an airplane, we cannot be absolutely sure it will not be the next plane to crash. Every time we drive down the crowded freeway or just get in a car we cannot be absolutely sure we will get out alive or uninjured. What can we do about it? I suppose we could refuse to fly or to drive or be driven. Besides making our lives incredibly inconvenient and damaging world economy should everyone do the same, it would only mean we will die some other way or only experience other forms of accident. Destroying every banana in the world might eliminate slippery banana peels, but that would only mean that if we slip it will be on something else.

But this doesn’t mean that there is nothing we can do. Though many of the things that happen to us are unforeseen and unavoidable, many accidents happen because of carelessness or lack of attention or because someone neglected or overlooked some essential detail. Instead of feeling sorry for falling victim to so many unavoidable events, we should be proud of all the times that our carefulness and diligence and attention spotted dangers and avoided obstacles and guided ourselves and others to safety.

I don’t believe in Fate in the sense that the Creator planned out in advance every event of my life and predetermined the directions I would take at every turning point.

Certainly, many of the events in my life were not of my choosing and beyond my control, like the time and the place of my birth. Some were disruptive, like the bouts of illness. Many were pleasant surprises and welcome diversions, like the coming of friends and the opening of new opportunities.

You can call the above occurrences my Fate, if you will, but with one important difference. Though they happened without my intention or control, I always had some responsibility over what happened next, so the ultimate effects of these events on my life and my subsequent actions were at least in part determined and modified by me. I am not the creature of my Fate. I am the result of my responses to Fate.

I don’t believe in Destiny, either, in the sense that I was predestined to reach whatever goals or accomplishments or failures that have occurred in the course of my life. Even my final destiny, Heaven or Hell, depends upon my choice and my behavior.

I believe that the key to my destiny is in how I use the talents and opportunities that life presents me with, how I respond to the world around me, how I react to the things that happen to me, how I deal with the people around me, how I handle the problems that beset me, how I enjoy the blessings I receive and cope with the losses and sufferings I experience.

This doesn’t mean I do everything right, but it explains the motivation that drives me. But at least I am doing something that is my choice under my direction for which I have responsibility, so it is no longer just a blind chance consequence.

Yes, we live in a world where we are subject to forces and events that are out of our control, we interact with people whose conduct, behavior and intentions are often unpredictable and sometimes erratic. At any moment something might happen that will end or alter our lives or interfere with our plans. Such things do happen without our permission with no opportunity of choice or refusal, but not what happens next. The way we respond, the actions we take are what determine our destiny and decide our fate. We are not what we are because of what happens to us, we are what we become after it happens.
Drawing by Bendu

Wednesday, 25 July 2007

平路談台灣創造力

We are 2700 meters up on the plateau of Liang Shan or “the Chilly Mountains”. It is noon, the weather is very hot, and the sun “bites” people as the Chinese like to say. We have worked all morning long to install water pipes which are going to bring water to about thirty houses. You may have ADSL internet but here, in the 4th and 5th brigades of Yangjuan, there soon will be 7 communal taps which will make happy all the ones who have to cope with the water chores. It is very hot but it is comfortable under the shadow of the adobe houses. Then I am invited to come in very naturally, to take a break. This is not really a lunch break. Every day around here, lunch is reduced to its simplest expression. But we just celebrated the Torch Festival. Each family killed a pig, a lamb or at least some poultries. So we sit down, the women bring a pot of rice and left-over meat.
We have been celebrating these days, and it would be most surprising if we could not find some bottles of beer left, maybe even some cases. Here we are, the miracle happens, everyone has his own bottle, and well, courage is back!

In the adobe house, decoration and furniture are reduced to the minimum: a portrait of the grand helmsman, a cupboard, some stools and, over there, in the house of the head of the brigade, a color television. We don’t have running water yet, but we have satellite TV. Collective or individual, the dish antennas are everywhere in the Chinese landscape and pick up the national channels very well.

We are eating and talking while the small screen is uttering its stream of images and music. Sometimes, when nothing is holding the attention of anyone, someone changes to another channel.

The conversation goes on nonchalantly. And then, someone dares to give an opinion: this TV doesn’t offer anything good, at least nothing that relates to our life here. I can only agree with that. With more or less 1000 US dollars income per year for most of the families, the slimming courses offered by the advertisements are useless in the area!
Actually, I am the only one embarrassed…and concerned. Suddenly, we finally surf to a different program “The Story of a Bear”. It is a French movie about a Pyrenean she-bear, which fools two hunters and escapes protecting her baby. The conversation stops. Everyone is suddenly fascinated. The she-bear, running for her life, snatches her bear cub from the clutches of the hunters. A story like this one really tears you at your heartstrings!

30 or 40 years ago, Yangjuan was surrounded by forest. Then China needed its raw materials to develop, and here as anywhere else the forest which was protecting so well the bears from the clutches of the hunters has been cleared of trees and exploited to death.
40 years ago, one could still see bears in the forests behind Yangjuan. People of my age told me that. And they were not scary-stories from their childhood.
At the hottest time of the day, in the adobe house, bear and beer: very good!
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Yangjuan and Pianshui Villages

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Thursday, 19 July 2007

WWF panda does kungfu

Here are two short clips by Jim Vieille and Tom Gargonne who deliver a very punchy and direct message : is it so difficult to do the right thing for the planet? Watch the panda behind your back before leaving your house without turning off the lights or the AC…

 

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Thursday, 28 June 2007

Ronald's Laws for Righting Wrongs

In 1948 or 1949 an army captain Edward A. Murphy, Jr. a research engineer at Edwards Air Force Base in California coined a phrase which has become a popular adage named after him.

Murphy’s Law: “If anything can go wrong, it will.” This acknowledges the fact that things often don’t turn out the way we want them to. An unexpected glitz or overlooked contingency, an unprepared for deviation or a last minute change, some interference from outside: There is no end to the list of things that can go wrong. What Murphy’s Law tells us is that such things happen all the time so we should be prepared for them.

What we need are also some laws that tell us what to do when things go wrong. This is why I have coined the following Laws. They take up where Murphy’s Law ends.

Ronald’s First Law: “When something goes wrong, it’s time to do something right.” First, count to ten. Don’t let anger, depression, sadness, humiliation, or disappointment rob you of your cool or your determination. Second, face the problem, fix it, if you can, or put it behind you.

Ronald’s Second Law: “After every wrong, there is a right somewhere.” When something goes wrong and you can’t fix it, leave it. There is a way out. Every roadblock has a detour. There is always a way around or a new destination to plan. For every door that closes another opens somewhere else. This new door may or may not lead to the same place, but you have to go on with your life as well as you can.

Ronald’s Third Law: “You have to look away from trouble to see around it.” Remember the fly that dropped from exhaustion battering against a pane of glass right next to an open window.

Ronald’s Fourth Law: “Every barrier has the potential of beginning a detour to something better.” The best things are sometimes the good things that happen after bad things occur.

Ronald’s Fifth Law: “When something goes wrong and you can’t fix it, fix yourself.” To get out of trouble, don’t deny it; leave it behind by moving forward. There are good things ahead if you turn away from the bad. Pick yourself up and set a new course.

Ronald’s Sixth Law: “Where there is shadow, there must be light.” It takes light to cast a shadow. To find that light, you need to turn away from the shadow. The pot of gold is not at the end of a rainbow, but in the sun shining in the rain.

Ronald’s Seventh Law: “You have as many hands and feet as you have friends.” It is good to stand up for yourself and to take matters into your own hands, but the more hands you have for pulling the load, the easier the effort, to say nothing of the good company uplifting your spirits.

Ronald’s Eighth Law: “Frenzied hands fracture friendships.” Don’t overstretch your strength or that of your friends. Even God rested on the seventh day.

Ronald’s Ninth Law: “The value of a package is the contents, not the wrappings.” What goes wrong doesn’t make you bad. Only you can do that if you fall apart.

Ronald’s Tenth Law: “If it doesn’t have an exception, it isn’t a law.” There is no way to control all the things that happen to us. We just have to put all our energies into doing what we think is right. If it turns out wrong, then try again. At the end of our lives we won’t be judged by how many times we did things right, but by how many times we tried.

(Photo by C.P.)

Thursday, 28 June 2007

我相信

我相信,一个人如果要真正解决自己的问题,首先必须懂得超然地看待自己的问题,以开放、谦和的态度,让其他人同样能够看到这些问题。当问题被人所分享时,问题就会被承担。分担问题,需要两个前提:(一)能够把困难点说给别人听,同时愿意接受别人的帮助。(二)懂得分担别人的困难,聆听他人的困难,当自己遇到困难时,反过来比较容易说清楚自己的症结所在,别人也比较容易理解你的问题是什么。
若要懂得给予,必须先学会接受;若要懂得接受,必须先学会给予。
我相信,不同的人、不同的国家与不同的文化之间,彼此是能够交流的。我和许多国家的志愿者工作,学习到很多宝贵的经验。这些志愿者来到我这里学习,他们先前的经历与想法我并不知道。我学会了很多,因为我学会如何教他们:许多年轻的外国志愿者对中国有错误的刻板印象,有的自己没有真正体验过群体生活,还有许多人有自己的心理问题。虽然说他们是来帮忙的,但他们也需要人帮他们。我很愿意带他们,我很有耐心地做,他们带来了许多贡献,很多时候并不是他们事先所预期的。我们很难知道,当我们给予的时候,什么是最宝贵的东西。对我来说,当我们交流的时候,也就是一个人接受被人改变的时刻,个人往前推进,整个人类的发展也随之往前迈进。
我相信,人类需要多样性。文化、习惯、生活经验的丰富多元能够确保生命的丰厚与延续。我不喜欢一致化,我喜欢丰繁、跃动、颜色与意见的多采多姿。
我相信社区。我喜欢看到有人在社区照料弱势团体,我喜欢看到地方上筹办的节庆活动,我相信一个地方开始展望自己的视野、梦想,就是从养护一个小公园或是共同做一件事情开始。我相信建立社区人际情谊有助于推展多样性。如果每个社区都长得一样,我会很难过。我希望中国不管哪一个社区、村落、乡镇,都能够延展自己与众不同的特色。
我相信可持续发展。我相信可持续发展将使我们更加注重既有的资源,使我们用水不浪费,改善生产习性与消费习惯,尊重大自然的平衡,不乱砍树…我相信,如果我们能重视社区与多样性,中国必定能够成为经济发展模范,成为一个朝向人性发展并尊重大自然的发展模范。对我来说,照顾弱势、维护大自然平衡两者同样第一优先,而且是道理相通的挑战。
我相信,我们都越来越「变成」我们自己。我们必须要有信心,从自己做起;我们必须跳脱自己的局限,不断朝向变成自己的道路前行。我知道我自己还有还很多事要看要学,我并不能说自己是个完人。当我不断探索他人丰富的 一面,我就会把这些丰富面逐渐纳于己内,我越来越变成我自己。我希望我变成我自己的同时,在与你同行的路上共享人间博爱。

附加的多媒体:
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Thursday, 28 June 2007

我相信

我相信,一個人如果要真正解決自己的問題,首先必須懂得超然地看待自己的問題,以開放、謙和的態度,讓其他人同樣能夠看到這些問題。當問題被人所分享時,問題就會被承擔。分擔問題,需要兩個前提:(一)能夠把困難點說給別人聽,同時願意接受別人的幫助。(二)懂得分擔別人的困難,聆聽他人的困難,當自己遇到困難時,反過來比較容易說清楚自己的癥結所在,別人也比較容易理解你的問題是什麼。
若要懂得給予,必須先學會接受;若要懂得接受,必須先學會給予。
我相信,不同的人、不同的國家與不同的文化之間,彼此是能夠交流的。我和許多國家的志願者工作,學習到很多寶貴的經驗。這些志願者來到我這裡學習,他們先前的經歷與想法我並不知道。我學會了很多,因為我學會如何教他們:許多年輕的外國志願者對中國有錯誤的刻板印象,有的自己沒有真正體驗過群體生活,還有許多人有自己的心理問題。雖然說他們是來幫忙的,但他們也需要人幫他們。我很願意帶他們,我很有耐心地做,他們帶來了許多貢獻,很多時候並不是他們事先所預期的。我們很難知道,當我們給予的時候,什麼是最寶貴的東西。對我來說,當我們交流的時候,也就是一個人接受被人改變的時刻,個人往前推進,整個人類的發展也隨之往前邁進。
我相信,人類需要多樣性。文化、習慣、生活經驗的豐富多元能夠確保生命的豐厚與延續。我不喜歡一致化,我喜歡豐繁、躍動、顏色與意見的多采多姿。
我相信社區。我喜歡看到有人在社區照料弱勢團體,我喜歡看到地方上籌辦的節慶活動,我相信一個地方開始展望自己的視野、夢想,就是從養護一個小公園或是共同做一件事情開始。我相信建立社區人際情誼有助於推展多樣性。如果每個社區都長得一樣,我會很難過。我希望中國不管哪一個社區、村落、鄉鎮,都能夠延展自己與眾不同的特色。
我相信可持續發展。我相信可持續發展將使我們更加注重既有的資源,使我們用水不浪費,改善生產習性與消費習慣,尊重大自然的平衡,不亂砍樹…我相信,如果我們能重視社區與多樣性,中國必定能夠成為經濟發展模範,成為一個朝向人性發展並尊重大自然的發展模範。對我來說,照顧弱勢、維護大自然平衡兩者同樣第一優先,而且是道理相通的挑戰。
我相信,我們都越來越「變成」我們自己。我們必須要有信心,從自己做起;我們必須跳脫自己的侷限,不斷朝向變成自己的道路前行。我知道我自己還有還很多事要看要學,我並不能說自己是個完人。當我不斷探索他人豐富的 一面,我就會把這些豐富面逐漸納於己內,我越來越變成我自己。我希望我變成我自己的同時,在與你同行的路上共享人間博愛。



Thursday, 28 June 2007

我相信

我相信,一個人如果要真正解決自己的問題,首先必須懂得超然地看待自己的問題,以開放、謙和的態度,讓其他人同樣能夠看到這些問題。當問題被人所分享時,問題就會被承擔。分擔問題,需要兩個前提:(一)能夠把困難點說給別人聽,同時願意接受別人的幫助。(二)懂得分擔別人的困難,聆聽他人的困難,當自己遇到困難時,反過來比較容易說清楚自己的癥結所在,別人也比較容易理解你的問題是什麼。
若要懂得給予,必須先學會接受;若要懂得接受,必須先學會給予。
我相信,不同的人、不同的國家與不同的文化之間,彼此是能夠交流的。我和許多國家的志願者工作,學習到很多寶貴的經驗。這些志願者來到我這裡學習,他們先前的經歷與想法我並不知道。我學會了很多,因為我學會如何教他們:許多年輕的外國志願者對中國有錯誤的刻板印象,有的自己沒有真正體驗過群體生活,還有許多人有自己的心理問題。雖然說他們是來幫忙的,但他們也需要人幫他們。我很願意帶他們,我很有耐心地做,他們帶來了許多貢獻,很多時候並不是他們事先所預期的。我們很難知道,當我們給予的時候,什麼是最寶貴的東西。對我來說,當我們交流的時候,也就是一個人接受被人改變的時刻,個人往前推進,整個人類的發展也隨之往前邁進。
我相信,人類需要多樣性。文化、習慣、生活經驗的豐富多元能夠確保生命的豐厚與延續。我不喜歡一致化,我喜歡豐繁、躍動、顏色與意見的多采多姿。
我相信社區。我喜歡看到有人在社區照料弱勢團體,我喜歡看到地方上籌辦的節慶活動,我相信一個地方開始展望自己的視野、夢想,就是從養護一個小公園或是共同做一件事情開始。我相信建立社區人際情誼有助於推展多樣性。如果每個社區都長得一樣,我會很難過。我希望中國不管哪一個社區、村落、鄉鎮,都能夠延展自己與眾不同的特色。
我相信可持續發展。我相信可持續發展將使我們更加注重既有的資源,使我們用水不浪費,改善生產習性與消費習慣,尊重大自然的平衡,不亂砍樹…我相信,如果我們能重視社區與多樣性,中國必定能夠成為經濟發展模範,成為一個朝向人性發展並尊重大自然的發展模範。對我來說,照顧弱勢、維護大自然平衡兩者同樣第一優先,而且是道理相通的挑戰。
我相信,我們都越來越「變成」我們自己。我們必須要有信心,從自己做起;我們必須跳脫自己的侷限,不斷朝向變成自己的道路前行。我知道我自己還有還很多事要看要學,我並不能說自己是個完人。當我不斷探索他人豐富的 一面,我就會把這些豐富面逐漸納於己內,我越來越變成我自己。我希望我變成我自己的同時,在與你同行的路上共享人間博愛。



Monday, 28 May 2007

台灣與歐洲:過去的互動與未來的追尋

我們對世界的了解以及對世界的認知,有很大一部份是來自學校教育。在台灣,我們從小就知道人類有四大古文明,分別是埃及、美索不達米亞、印度和中國;後來又認識希臘、羅馬文化的發展與擴張,接下來就是歐洲的興起。首先是文藝復興的風潮,帶動藝術、文學、科學等方面的躍升;密集的創造活動先在義大利萌芽,很快就傳遍歐洲各地,逐漸導致空前的全面革新;歐洲自此步上康莊大道,以強盛的力量稱霸世界數百年。從這個時期開始,歐洲人入主整個亞洲,挾著排山倒海的威勢,改變了亞洲人集體的命運,所造成的影響既深且遠。
我們對歐洲的認知雖然基本上是由事實出發,但其中難免摻雜想像的成分。對我而言,而且我相信這個印象也是一般人普遍接受的,那就是歐洲人在科技方面,無庸置疑的以優越性作為基礎,在武力、權勢、財富各方面都凌駕各國。歐洲人運用科技發展出強大的武力,曾經以「殖民」的方式,佔領地球上大部分的地區,也迫使其他國家遵循他們的指揮,接受他們的政治霸權和文化影響,甚至改變原有的生活方式。
台灣和歐洲的首度接觸,正是在人類文明史上堪稱一大里程碑的大航海時期。1544年,自歐洲往東航向中國東南沿海的葡萄牙船隊,在經過台灣海峽時來到台灣,望著連綿翠綠的崇山峻嶺大喊著:「Ilha Formosa!」不久之後,西班牙人、荷蘭人先後靠岸登陸,在台灣建立政權,後來,英國和法國軍隊也來到台灣。而伴隨武力和貿易勢力來到的,是歐洲的傳教士和探險家、博物學家,西方的建築、宗教開始出現在台灣,也使得台灣的風土民情開始被歐洲人所認識。
台灣雖然不像亞洲其他地區歷經西方殖民帝國主義的長久統治,卻未能倖免的被日本殖民長達五十年。日本結束幕府時代所展開的明治維新,不僅向歐洲學習如何船堅砲利,也積極擷取民主制度、議會政治、甚至包括都市整建、藝術文化等各方面的新知識、新價值觀。
日本統治台灣的五十年期間,不僅使台灣徹底改觀,在台灣人身上也留下非常深遠的影響。換句話說,透過日本人的媒介,我們在很多層面上接受了西方文化,就像日本人接受西洋文化一樣。我父親是畫家,他於1928年考進東京美術學校,受到印象派繪畫很大的啟發,他非常喜愛西洋畫,尤其是法國的繪畫藝術。由於自小耳濡目染,我也開始了解歐洲另一個重要的面向,也就是藝術創作,以及狹義所稱的文化。
歐洲文化吸引人去崇拜、學習,影響巨大。我們對歐洲的文學名著大都耳熟能詳,這些名著也幾乎都有中文譯本;歐洲著名畫家的作品也都有中文畫冊出版(雖然印刷的品質良莠不齊);我自己也深愛歐洲的古典音樂,並全心深入鑽研。我們在各方面都想追隨歐洲的流行風尚,我們覺得它是華麗、名貴、現代的極致表現。這種主流文化主宰著我們的品味,經常讓我們毫不懷疑地照單全收。
無論直接或間接的接觸,台灣和歐洲曾經有過長達三、四百年的淵源,直到第二次世界大戰後,來到台灣的國民黨政府,將中華民國的實際治權在台灣這塊土地上確立下來,同時因為法國於1964年與中華人民共和國建立外交關係、隨後歐洲各國與中華民國斷交的骨牌效應,讓台灣隨著國民黨政府轉身迎向美國,同時在絕對的「親美」政策下,逐漸對歐洲產生隔閡,美國文化開始大舉進入台灣,在困難的國際孤立處境下,台灣青年學子絕大多數選擇到美國留學,只有極少數的人會到歐洲去深造。
台灣原本是人類大航海時代東亞重要的據點,自身與外來文化的交互激盪下,有著豐富且多元的發展底蘊,這原是創造「台灣新文明」的一大契機,然而國際現實和國民黨專制統治,不僅影響了台灣和歐洲的第二波對話,更因為獨尊中原道統、壓抑在地母語和文化,使得年輕一代的台灣人竟不知自己家鄉的事物,對世界和台灣這塊土地的認知,可謂窄化到了極點。
因為受到父親影響,我在十六歲時就選擇到歐洲學音樂,考進法國巴黎音樂院,在我的偶像德布西、白遼士等偉大音樂家曾經駐足學習的地方,完成童年以來對音樂的夢想,但是這種對所謂的音樂的想像,竟然在第一次上課時,被老師很狠的戳破。
班上同學絕大部分是法國人,老師問我對自己國家的音樂有沒有足夠的認識,還要我唱幾首代表歌曲,記得當時我就楞在那裡,腦中除了台灣人朗朗上口的「望春風」這首歌謠,其他則一片空白。那真是一記當頭棒喝,也逐漸讓我明白,學習別人的東西再怎麼出色,還是贏不了別人;對於祖國台灣,我也因為無法像別的同學那樣瞭解自己的國家,感到非常羞恥。這段深刻的經驗,促使我1975年後回到台灣,展開了一段尋根台灣文化的歷程。
接下來,又在許多年之後,因為職務關係,以及年輕時候的歐洲經驗與印象的連結,在文化藝術以外,能夠用不一樣的眼光去看待歐洲。昔日眾人腦海中輝煌燦爛的歐洲,以及後來因為美國崛起而比較黯淡模糊的歐洲,在歐盟積極整合運作下,再度於世界舞台展現再造文明的企圖心,而這一點,台灣注意到了。
2007年3月25日,歐盟成立屆滿五十週年。五十多年來,歐洲從共同市場發展為異中求同的聯盟組織,想要實現歐洲人民共同的願望:自由、和平、永無戰爭,同時也在政治、經濟、國防、環保各方面,逐步成為一個發展共同體。鞏固了所謂的「剛性議題」合作關係後,最近二十多年,它又慢慢涉入教育、文化的「柔性力量」領域,到了1992年,馬斯垂克(Maastricht)公約充分賦予歐盟許多新的權力,其中包括「文化領域」,並且為「文化」量身制訂法條(128條),讓各國在文化藝術的合作,成為有法源依據、以及被認同和遵循的共同目標。
於是我們看到在形塑「歐洲品牌」下的歐盟文化合作,首先是確立年度「文化首都」的方案。歐洲理事會自1985年起,舉辦「歐洲文化首都」活動,每年推選一或二個具有文化觀光特色的城市,舉辦演藝展覽等文化活動,後來由歐盟支持接辦,配合整體觀光宣導,讓這些城市藉著文化藝術重現生機,多采多姿的各種藝文活動,也成為年度旅遊的最佳賣點。
其次,1997年的「阿姆斯特丹公約」中,重新紀錄歐盟第128法條,並修改為151條,其中強調歐盟應該支持所有基於尊重和倡導歐洲文化的多元活動,這也是一項法律上的義務,從此,「文化」成為歐盟的重要議題。根據這個151法條,系列引導性的文化計畫次第展開,包括1996-1999年鼓舞藝術文化創作與合作的「萬花筒計畫(Kaleidoscope)」、1997-1999年支持書籍出版與閱讀翻譯的「亞里安(Ariane)」計畫,以及1997-1999年推動世界人類遺產及歐洲獨特性相關政策的「拉菲爾(Raphael)」計畫等。這所有的活動在千禧年時達到目標的頂峰,那就是為了為期七年、預算達到2.3億歐元的「文化2000」大計劃,它提供贊助經費給所有的藝文合作專案,以提倡多元文化分享、建構大歐洲共同文化圈。
而在歐洲高等教育區域的建構上,最受重視也是企圖心最強的,就是所謂的「布隆尼亞宣言」。它首先在1998年,由法、德、英、義四國教育部長簽署巴黎大學宣言,決定推動「學歷文憑一致化」;接著1999年,29國教育部門的首長於義大利發表布隆尼亞宣言,建立「歐洲高等教育區域」的共識;然後2000年,歐盟各國元首有鑑於全球化和知識社會帶來的挑戰,於高峰會中共同宣示將於2010年完成布隆尼亞宣言中的構想;2001年,歐盟教育界的領袖於西班牙商討推動策略,隨後由教育部長在捷克集會,決議各項討論,包括進行高等教育的體制統合、文憑學歷相互承認,以及特別強調「歐洲品牌」(European label)和歐洲面向(European dimension),希望在課程內涵及校園文化方面,既能保留並發揚各國的教育學習強項,又能彰顯整體歐洲的文化特色。
到了今年2007年3月,歐盟最新的「文化計畫:2007-2013」已經正式啟動,它以「跨越疆界、連接文化」為口號,同時撥付4億歐元的預算積極運作,讓歐洲主義下的歐洲公民團結一致,建構彼此間的文化認同,又能共享多元的發展果實。
歐盟在文化上的推動和作為,以及2006年6月揭幕的法國布利碼頭博物館(Musée du quai Branly),帶給我和許多台灣民眾深刻的印象,那就是「尊重並發揚多元文化的價值」。文化其實並無優劣之分,我以前常說,面對文化事務和相關建設,要用「加法」、「乘法」來思考,唯有這樣,文化的土讓才不會貧瘠,文化的花朵才能百花齊放、各展嬌妍。
台灣在1987年結束世界上最長的38年戒嚴統治時,承接了始自70年代鄉土認同運動和80年代民主人權運動所醞釀的能量,台灣社會及文化發展掀起大騷動,似乎想把過去長久積壓的種種一切盡情的釋放出來,這固然造成不少矛盾和衝突,但我始終深信,只要方向對了,核心價值掌握住了,台灣終究會得到正面力量的引領。
對台灣文化發展而言,2000年是一個重要分水嶺。民主進步黨獲得人民託付,終結國民黨五十年統治,也因此使得多元文化的價值被凸顯,一般所稱的四大族群,開始有了較公平的對待。對照於歐洲最近十多年來尋求多元分享和整合認同的歷程,我看見台灣也有類似的變化和行動,不禁覺得激動起來。
許多熱愛台灣這塊土地的人民從各方面去挖掘、整理、重建過去所失落的珍貴的東西,政府也在母語教育、國民教育、族群發展、文化振興等各方面,去填補以前執政黨所造成的遺憾。以我於2000年擔任行政院文化建設委員會主委為例,服務四年期間,總共輔導了將近200個社區,協助設立了大約200個分佈在各縣市的地方文化館,出版了包括歷史、文學、戲劇、美術、音樂等史料和人物的書籍達600種,以及興建台灣國家文學館、傳統藝術中心、台灣歷史博物館等,讓台灣珍貴的文物及檔案不再四處流浪,可以用國家的力量予以保存、維護、研究、以及發揚。
我自己覺得很幸運的是,能夠有機會從過去談「台灣」是絕對禁忌、走到今天「台灣學」成為台灣的顯學、以及國際研究議題的時代。
從上個世紀80年代以後,台灣首先由地方文史工作者和學術界的台灣史料研究者展開一連串的整理工作,奠定了「台灣研究」的基礎,之後,國小教育加入母語教學和鄉土教材,到了今天,高等教育機構裡約有17所與台灣研究相關的系所。而我自己則在1995年編寫出版了《台灣音樂一百年1895-1995》,又在2004年卸下繁重的文建會主委工作後,逐年發展「鑽石台灣」的論述。
台灣的土地僅僅佔全球陸地面積的0.023 %,物種的多樣性和特殊性卻佔全世界的十分之ㄧ。由於地理位置特殊,造就了台灣多樣的自然景觀和生態系統,不僅植物相涵蓋各種氣候帶,棲地和物種的多樣性,也成為世界之冠。另外,在這塊土地上,台灣擁有與南島民族同源的原住民族群,發展出屬於台灣特有的山海文化,晚近數百年來,源於歷史的偶然因素,則發展出中國漢族為主的平原文化、歐美西洋文化、日本東洋文化交融的必然現象。這些讓台灣就像一顆鑽石,小而美、小而晶亮,不容忽視。
2006年5月底,目前我所任職的國家文化總會參與主辦了一場名為「世界都在哈台灣」的歷史國際研討會,三百多年前與台灣互為領主國和殖民地關係的荷蘭,這時成了座上嘉賓,和其他國際學者共同分享他們的「台灣研究」。
另外,我還有一位法國友人,她是相當熱愛台灣的人類學學者,二十年前在指導教授提示下來到台灣,展開經年累月對於台灣南部地區民間信仰和社會組織行為的田野研究。她告訴我一些我不知道的台灣宗教習俗和儀典,讓我汗顏之餘,決心要好好瞭解自己生長的地方,於是,由國家文化總會策劃出版的「新活水雜誌」,在2007年1月和3月,分別推出「台灣十大民俗祭典」、「台灣原住民十大祭典」,讓我從過去由精緻文化的面向,進入更細微且精彩的庶民文化層面,去更進一步深入瞭解與欣賞台灣的文化之美。
這些年來於公於私的努力,使我因為過去政治禁錮的關係而無法在教室及生活中必修的「台灣學分」,有了彌補遺憾的良機,也讓我對於台灣得天獨厚的多樣性地理生態和多元的歷史文化所累積的瑰寶,更加珍惜。
我在一開始就表示,歐洲對於人類文明的躍升,有著十分重要的貢獻,從哲學、文學、藝術、科學、以致於影響近代史發展的民主思潮,歐洲一直是改寫歷史的先鋒,如今在歐盟大力推波助瀾下,藉由尊重多元文化價值、並創造新文明的宏大視野與行動力,企圖再一次展開建構歐洲價值的新紀元。
然而在此同時,我有一個深刻的感受,就是歐洲對亞洲乃至於台灣的認識和理解並不夠。年輕時在法國求學時,許多同輩的歐洲同學告訴我,他們讀中學的時候,從來沒有上過有關亞洲歷史、思想、宗教、藝術、古文明的課程,他們如果想知道,必須自己設法獲取這方面的知識。我們知道全世界的人口有一半以上住在亞洲,歐洲的學校教材裡對亞洲的忽視,表示當年的教育當局忽略了對其他文明和文化間的對話。另外,2004年10月,我隨著台灣外交部的國政宣達團前往英國、法國、德國、比利時,拜會政府及國會議員,發現許多人對台灣的印象很模糊,非常不了解台灣,但我也發現,如果用文化藝術的話題進行溝通或分享,很快就能拉近彼此的距離,同時也很快讓他們對台灣產生印象和興趣。
就在歐洲以教育和文化凝聚歐洲公民共識、建立大歐洲認同的時候,遠在千里之外的台灣,雖然是世界最大洋與世界最大陸地之間的小小島國,則同樣也在歷經政治和經濟的變革後,展開異中求同、整合認同的國族建構大工程,同樣也企圖以豐富瑰麗的文化藝術對內形塑人民共同的發展遠景,對外向世界展顏,這點,值得向來強調自由民主和文化優先的歐洲給予更大、更多的關注。
2008年台灣又將舉行總統大選,我想藉此機會誠懇表達心中深切的盼望,就是台灣未來的發展必須以文化作為核心價值,連同教育紮根的重要工程,一起創造台灣新遠景。在這方面,我們必須由早年跟隨美國的腳步,轉而建立自己發展的主體性,同時更應該重視並參考現在正在進行中的歐盟的做法,尤其要仔細檢視他們一個大計劃、大工程背後的哲學層次和思維的深度,以及整體實踐的邏輯和步驟,並且體認到其中的永恆價值。
當然,我同樣深切盼望,作為全球華人社會中在民主改革和文化建構這兩大核心價值上已經建立典範的台灣,能與歐洲有更積極的對話和更實質的互動往來,並且在世界的文化圖譜中相互締造更亮眼的成就!

附加的多媒體:
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Thursday, 24 May 2007

內在自由的開荒刀

內在自由,並不只是能夠自由地選擇而已,它是在你意識中體會到自己存在的能力。

內在自由的成長是一個有機的發展過程。追尋內在自由是人性的一部分。人若懂得自己的軟弱,才能有信心能夠超越自己的限度,進而給予生命深度、興味以及意義。人若懂得捨棄自己原本擁有的東西,代表他看待人生的方式真實而滿盈。我認為這樣的人已經準備好出發前往一條美妙的路,那條路叫做內心自由的道路。
所謂內在自由,並不只是能夠自由地選擇而已。它是在你意識中體會到自己存在的能力,透過愛情、親情的陶冶,關注社會並投入行動,以及性靈的追求,你會變得有洞見,知所冒險,知所承擔,人性逐漸在你內成長。
自由並不是照亮路標的火把,使你得以循著既定的道路前進。自由,或者說真正的精神分辨能力,我認為比較像是一把開荒刀——讓你清除雜草,開闢自己的道路。刀子也可用來切割石塊,雕出自己所需的工具或是刻出夢寐以求的雕像。
刀子同樣也用來切斷臍帶。凡是努力追求內在自由的人,都將迎接一個嶄新的世界:在這個世界裡,凡日的一事一物都具有永恆的份量。你的「任務」並不在於一次完全地交付,而是要像結果實一樣,體驗探索與成熟的過程。世上的失敗、腐朽和死亡,都是探究與試煉內在自由的邀約。
內在自由無法贏取,也無法儲存。在你人生的賽局中最重要的就是要佩帶自己的開荒刀。要贏得人生賽局,規矩只有一條:當你佩有一把內在自由的開荒刀時,要相信你自己所發揮的力量。那麼,刀就是你的了。

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