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The Art of Loving

写书评的几个读者似乎都用错了力。他们不约而同集中火力指责作者把爱情局限在男欢女爱里,可却忘记当时同性恋是一种病得治。若真要以政治正确来评价作者的话,他确实不太合格,但问题不是出在上面, 而是用man指代了男人又等同于human概括掉了全人类。吊诡的是,这些咬文嚼字看似很顶真且英语是母语的读者却没有一个看得见。

作者是大名鼎鼎的弗洛姆,看过心理学的应该都知道吧。他的另一本著作更加有名叫《逃避自由》,中心大意是虽然现代人好像是自己的主人,然而无论是生活工作学习休闲其实都身不由己。譬如,宣传平等的初衷是为了不论男女老少人人都能变得整齐划一如此这般才可以保证“缺了谁机器都能转”。在择偶上,弗洛姆认为大家面对的也是同样的一个幻象,以为在自由恋爱在从心所欲,可自己的理想对象也恰恰是被社会给规范定义好的了。譬如从改革开放时的寻找高仓健再到后来的文艺青年再到今天的霸道总裁。标杆是表象跟着时代发展会演化,内核却更骇人,和商品/劳动力市场的交换方式一模一样,即根据自身条件尽可能地在婚姻市场上换购到利益最大化的伴侣。

Two persons thus fall in love when they feel they have found the best object available on the market, considering the limitations of their own exchange values.

作者心目中的爱是一门艺术,和掌握绘画、音乐一样也要得经过理论和实践,但至关重要的前提是要有成为大师的强烈愿望。

随后又将爱细分成5类,分别是Brotherly love , Motherly love, Erotic love, Self-love 和Love of God。想不到的是,作者会用盲人摸象来说明东方宗教的独特性。第一次读这个成语时自己还是个有口无心的小学生,很多年后再听见一个外国人解文说字别有一番意味。

父母之爱对人的成长很重要,但灵魂要达到健康成熟的基础还须把这爱与自身融合一体。母爱是无条件的,但有一个无法控制的前提——必须是母亲的儿女。父爱是有条件的,不过却可以通过取悦模仿等方式来争取到。大概现在熊孩子多也因为所有亲人给予的爱都是无差别无条件的。前几日看电影Collateral Beauty,主题是帮助父亲走出女儿早夭的阴影。我比较悲观,想既然有collateral beauty,就一定有collateral damage。比方说后来夫妻俩又迎来一条新生命开始全心全意照顾小朋友,当某天再打开影碟机看到大女儿在扁扁的一帧帧图像中欢笑蹦跶是不是会惊觉出即便是世界上最无私、最伟大、最真挚的父母之爱原来也是可以遗忘转移完全放下的!只从这一假设来思考,我就信服作者说如果爱只是与一两个特定的人建立关联,那么就根本无法克服与生俱来的孤寂分离和恐惧。可是我仍然没有信念自己终可以圆满地步入博爱的崇高境界,据作者说这才是对付生存焦虑的唯一武器。

至于爱的实践,篇幅非常短,有点象冥想有点象放之四海而皆准的套路——即 patience, concentration, art of listening 和overcoming narcissism。

快到结尾处有一段不太起眼的评论,似乎与本书的主旨关系也不太大,但我却非常喜欢。

I should add…that just as it is important to avoid trivial conversation, it is important to avoid bad company. By bad company I do not refer only to people who are vicious and destructive; one should avoid their company because their orbit is poisonous and depressing. I mean also the company of zombies, of people whose soul is dead, although their body is alive, of people whose thoughts and conversation are trivial; who chatter instead of talk, and who assert cliché opinions instead of thinking.

文中提及的trivial conversation不是指话题的鸡毛蒜皮,而是指没有真情实感。头头是道宏观叙事若是缺乏真意那就是trivial conversation。翻译成通俗易懂的大白话大概就是吃别人嚼过的馍不会香。今天日报上刊登出一整版的新书推荐do nothing,在我看来可以归纳进trivial conversation,因为弗洛姆早在这本书里把其中的道理全给讲透了。他说:

Modern man thinks he loses something – time – when he does not do things quickly. Yet he does not know what to do with the time he gains, except kill it.

How should a man caught up in this net of routine not forget that he is a man, a unique individual, one who is given only this one chance of living, with hopes and disappointments, with sorrow and fear, with the longing for love and the dread of the nothing and separateness?

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