Thought on car crash

I was driving 7:30am on the way to work. Usually traffic is super smooth but today I was stuck for 20 mins. When I was approaching to the corner of the work place, I saw 3 cars crashed and fire truck and toll trucks are stand by. This is the 2nd time of car crash at the same place since I worked here from last Sep.

But lucky that no one hurt (but one of the car have the front smashed very bad) and cars were quickly get tolled. People who came later don’t even know there were accident happened. Of course cars drive through won’t know anything about it.

Somehow it gave me a very nasty uneasy feeling. Not that I feel unsafe but the tininess of individual and incident make me question the meaning of life, and most importantly how we live and what we means to be.

Three years ago, I have experienced a similar thing brought me to the above questions. A homeless guy was found dead with his body stuck in the Charity bin. It was guessed that he wanted to climb in the bin but his upper part of body trapped and he couldn’t move in or out. He died because he can’t breathe. His body was found 6am when a motorcyclist passed by. His body had been quickly removed and later the bin was removed as well.

I know this because I am one of the early bird to work (I use to go to work from 5:30am). So very few people knew there was once a charity bin and it has been removed; Not many people knew the bin removed because it killed one of our human fellow. Regardless the motive of climbing into the bin, this is a very sad incident. It makes one feel sadder if we realise that not many people know about it or will mourn for this man.

Each of us, is not very important, regardless how good we feel about ourselves. What we did, what we said, what we hate or like, what we are planning to do, what we own, what we lose, what opinion we hold in our minds—they are just not that important. They are important only when they are linked to ourselves, with “The Subject”. So not just our feeling but our actions and related impacts are subjective.

So it leads back to the original question—how we suppose to live since everything is not that vital and significant. I don’t have an answer but my guess is we need to follow our hearts to live the way we like.

But this is not easy. My husband and I are planning to have baby and really want to adopt unconventional way to raise kid. But we got all the kind suggestion that our thoughts are just too unrealistic and romantic. Once we have kid, our thought would very likely change. We will do everything we can to earn more money to send the kid to the best school, tutoring and saving for their future, not able to do things that we like etc. This gives me a bit of panic because for one thing it sounds a lot of stress and for the other, this is not the life I want. Even children are one of the important parts of our life, their life and our life are not the same and sometimes can be irrelevant.

If I die, only those who loved me will mourn for me and remember me for a while. But after all these people pass away or as time goes by, no one will remember me. I then become nothing. My existent or the proof that I have once live, will be officially non-exists.

Why we try so hard to push ourselves to live a “better life” and then push our kid to be one of “the best”? Can we just live happily and with less worry and competition? Can we spend our time on enjoying life then just work and work and work? Can we do something different-something good to this world? Because at the end, we will not exist once the Death put the seal on the end of our life?

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魔法版的現實遊戲

《哈利波特》里,從muggle的世界,到魔法學校,到鬼魂派對,沒有本質的不同,都是一個又一個現實社會的複製–充滿bully、嫉妒、揶揄和不懷好意。但這也是《哈利波特》的魅力所在–不忌諱和迴避人間的醜惡和人性(特別是兒童之間)的惡。

類似的兒童文學作家Roald Dahl的作品,一直受到各種爭議。特別是不少學校認為孩子讀了Dahl的書會更加反抗權威和叛逆。

這讓我想到《神奇隊長》里Harper跟丈夫極力迴避在孩子面前談Ben一家的事情,認為死亡、自殺、憂鬱症等等話題兒童不宜。世界上有兩種人,一種人認為兒童是比成年人低級的動物,所以對兒童的言行應該有所區別;另一種人認為兒童跟成年人是平等的,應該誠實平等對待。主流社會是傾向第一種理解,而往往是後一種理解才能獲得兒童真心喜愛。

之前跟公司同事聊天,說到各自童年在學校受到的bulling,被人called names,取笑侮辱,暴力,在我身上的例如勒索恐嚇和差点发生的性侵犯。如今我們可以笑談以前的童年陰影,是因為經歷過這些,成長為堅強的女性。再遇到類似的事情,我們不會怨天尤人,而是積極反抗。我們都同意一點是:學校雖有各種不愉悅和黑暗,但是卻是踏入社會的第一步。孩子在學校學到的知識反而是其次,主要是認識人和社會的複雜性,自己如何跟外界作connection。家長延遲孩子認識這個好壞混雜的世界,其實也是徒勞。

生命力持久的兒童文學,不是那種暖得不行、沒有惡人的fairy tales,而是跟成人世界密切相關的故事。跟面向成人讀者有所不同的是,兒童文學如同透過萬花筒看的現實世界,更加魔幻和神秘。

共產主義的虛偽

在Walking in the Shade(by Doris Lessing)裏,萊辛提到-

What communism inherited was not merely the fervours but a landscape of goodies and baddies,the saved and the unredeemed.We inherited the mental franework of Christianity.Hell:Capitalism;all bad.A Redeemer,all good-Lenin,Stalin,Mao,Purgatory:you can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs(lagers,concentration camps,and the rest).Then paradise…then heaven…then Utopia.

我曾經指出毛犯下了反人類的罪行,但直到現在,依然有人崇拜他。甚至有人說,中國人多,如果不是共產黨這樣中央集權,高壓執政,就無法團結和發展,沒有今天物質昌盛。就如萊辛說的,似乎殺人、勞改、秘密拘捕、禁止言論自由,都是合情合理的。也有人說,共產主義不好,那麽资本主义也好不了多少。資本主義好不好是一回事,共產主義好不好是另一回事,老是扯別人下水,有意思嗎。而且世上沒有完美的事情,社會制度也一樣。資本主義偽善,共產主義更加虛偽,不願意承認毛的罪行和六四屠殺就是一個很好的例子。在死不承认罪行上,共產黨跟日本不承認南京大屠殺,不相伯仲。

共產主義之所以更大危害,是因為共產主義不允許別人的批評,也不能容許根本上的改變。共產社會制度的基礎是,黨承載人類幸福最高願望,只有黨可以給人民自由和公平,所以黨高於一切–高於法律和人道主義,凌駕個體差異和訴求。假如党承認人們提出的各種批判,那麽就等於承認黨並不是最完美的。既然這党做不好,我們還要它幹嘛?於是黨的合法性就會得到質疑,就有下台危機。試問黨又怎麼會願意乖乖放棄手上的權力?

西方的資本主義政權,也有各種毛病,但因為允許多黨存在,這個黨做不好,起碼過2-4年后,人民有機會選別的党試一下,起碼有改變的權力和選擇。起碼我們也真的有那麽一人一票的權力,而不是像在中國,糊里糊塗的不知道人大代表從何而來。老百姓看黨年年開大會,也不在乎會上說什麼,反正都一個樣,只是不太自由和更加不自由的區別。

甘於平凡的勇氣

Ann Patchett在This is The Story of a Happy Marriage里寫自己成為作家之路。上過創意寫作(creative writing) 學堂,畢業后謀生。做過女招待,以為只是體力消耗,不影響腦力活動,但結果總是太累或太少閑暇而無法寫作;嘗試過當教師,以為朝九晚三的,有大把時間寫作,可是卻因為教學,榨盡腦汁而連思考寫作的血值都沒有了。體力勞動又好,腦力勞動又好,人的精力有限,時間有限,工作謀生,必然會扼殺寫作空間。需要創意和大量思考的事情,需要大量的自由去滋養,但經濟條件一般的人,無法無視謀生,追求夢想之路必然艱辛。(體力活和腦力活我都做過,深切明白Ann的無奈)

最絕望的倒不是上面所說的。在排除經濟問題后,儘管非常努力,也有可能永遠寫不出故事,永遠都一名不值。同樣是搞爵士樂,《醉鄉民謠》是赤裸裸的人生現實,《La La Land》是一齣童話。人總是不希望直面現實而喜歡夢幻美好的東西。Ann說寫作就像美麗的蝴蝶飛啊飛,想將這美捕捉和保存,但一旦用針釘在紙上就把她弄死了,標本的美是殘缺的美。自己腦海中的景象,跟文字表達出來的,永遠存在鴻溝,只能儘量拉進鴻溝而無法消除。所以她建議年輕人不要負債讀文學學位,不要將人生賭在“總有一天我會寫出偉大作品”上,也是有道理的。

人生和藝術,孰重?

either: 人的一生是有限的,拼命去實現自己夢想才沒遺憾。

Or: 人到底最重要是生活,因為藝術是以人生為土壤,生活都弄不好,何以談藝術?

兩者似乎都很有道理。要具體到個人的衡量和取捨。有得必有失,只不過個人如果覺得失去的是可以承受,得到的還是值得的,那就沒問題。

我覺得,追求自己夢想,力求完美,是一種捨身的勇氣。而甘於平凡,也是一種勇氣。現代人自我意識很重,在競爭激烈的環境下,普遍認為不斷往上爬纔是有勇氣和鬥志,不管是普通工作或藝術,這種往上的傾向很嚴重。很少人會心平氣和說,自己是普通人,滿足自己平淡的生活,沒有過多理想,不一定要創造些什麼。沒目標和理想,在很多人眼中,是不上進和失敗。我以前也是這樣想,所以心境不安,總覺得做什麽事情,如果不做出成績,則是失敗和不值得。

但如今,我比較傾向甘於平凡的勇氣,覺得生活比藝術重一點點。甘於平凡,讓我更能平靜地嘗試和學習,關注生活,是因為我覺得有益他人的行動,比文字上的人文關懷要有力得多。儘管如此,哪一天能夠生活和藝術不再是平衡不交集,能夠和諧結合,哪真是天大的幸運吧。

素描

在FB和在豆瓣都不時看到有人對素描的輕視,甚至有人還創造了“中国式素描”的名詞。

作為一個繪畫愛好者,我無時無刻感覺到大量素描練習的必要性。我覺得素描的最大作用是:構圖、線條和明暗。因為是黑白,要表現出畫的對象,就只能靠這三樣。有顏色的圖片和景象,可以看到不同的色塊,深色,淺色,明亮色,偏粉的色,其實不太能夠看到各自色塊的“力度”。用黑白,就能夠去除色塊干擾而專注于力度。例如海岸景,岩石的咖啡色和海水的深藍色,要用素描的黑色表達,究竟哪個該更深色?對力度的掌握,可以避免例如在畫彩色畫時過亮或過暗的錯誤。

大量的素描,也能夠加深對構圖的把握,在水彩等彩色畫的草稿階段,可以更加簡潔準確下筆(減少用橡皮擦的次數和後期修改)。特別是創作複雜畫面的作品,素描功底就更加重要,相當於人腦中的資料庫調動,畫的多,積累的素材就更多,下筆更容易。

批評素描的人,認為素描不能讓人產生有創意的作品,素描太精細,也很束博手腳(大師們的素描大多不是精細型),所以浪費時間在精雕細琢的素描上不值得。我覺得,素描跟創造力沒太大關系,如上所說,素描最大作用是積累素材,打好基礎。也有素描也很有創造力的。創造力在於人,不在於素描這個工具/手段。對後面一點部分同意。素描太精細,的確會有反作用,而中國學院派學生,在精雕細琢的素描上花了太多功夫。在畫畫過程中,我感覺到,下筆需要膽大心細,也就是敢放開畫,但在重要的細節上也要花功夫。但對細節的照顧是有側重,有主有次,而不是一律都細緻。但話說回來,畫畫不能靠學校,或單靠老師。即使學業上要求所謂“中國式素描”,學生在業餘也可以按照自己意願大膽練習創作。老是責怪外部環境,是不成熟的標誌。

我看到有好多專業的或業餘的畫畫朋友,有創意,有意境,有個人風格,有持之以恆的努力。所以我對中國的畫畫並不感到悲觀。畢竟畫的好不好是一回事,成不成名是另一回事。高手在民間呢!