我们究竟有多么特殊? – Just how special are we? – English

  
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The relationship between particularism and universalism is a long-standing topic of debate. As two different standards and manners of describing social relations, both are not in fact radically antagonistic, or in an either-or relationship. In almost all societies, universalism and particularism coexist; only, generally speaking, particularism is more prevalent and important in traditional societies, while universalism has more recognition in modern societies. After all, the people who form the world are becoming more and more similar, and more and more related, and people’s social life needs more common norms and values.

Since the 1980s, along with the rise of multiculturalism, communitarianism and feminism, the prevalence of anti-universalist thinking in Western societies – including questions on the unitary aspect of modernity, unipolar criticism, the ideology of science and the enlightenment discourse – is a critical reflection on the problems that Western societies are facing. It is actually a crticism of Western ethnocentricity and the theory of cultural advantage. But if you were to blindly pursue or apply Western anti-universalism in a different context, such as that of Chinese society, which still struggles with pre-modern and non-modern predicaments, this would undoubtedly lead to diametrically opposite results.

The anthropology of modern society emphasizes cultural relativism, and adopts a critical position towards Western ethnocentricity and its cultural hegemony. In fact, this relativism is rare: regarding ethnocentricity – it still considers its own culture to be the most advanced, the most civilised, and an object for all mankind to follow. 但文化相对主义走到极端也会成为它所反对的文化特殊主义,所谓相对,就是反对绝对化、单极化;而主张的则是多元共存。既然要共存就须同场博弈,如同一起玩一场大游戏;but to play together, there must be mutually recognised rules of the game, there should be a mutually acceptable standard of value – universal values. Thus we can say that universal values constitute the rational basis for common norms in human society.

From time to time, I see people emphasizing China’s special conditions, and saying it should not implement Western democracy – following the particularist point of view that China must maintain its own characteristics and go its own way. Furthermore, in order to prove the uniqueness and superiority of the “Chinese model”: a national system, concentration of power to achieve big things, unity (as opposed to diversity), stability (as opposed to unrest), etc etc. In order to emphasize China’s peculiarity, you must criticize universal values, and to prove the superiority of the Chinese model, demonstrate that there are no common values. But the perverse thing is that this same argument is often used to denounce the poor quality of Chinese people, and to conclude that they are not fit for democracy.

Every time I read similar views and arguments, I can’t help but want to ask out loud: is China really like that ? And as a follow up question – are Chinese people people?

What are universal values? According to Wikipedia, they are values and ideas that all people or almost all people identify with, based only on conscience or reason, independently of religion, nationality or ethnicity. In short, hey say that everyone should be treated in a way which is human and humane; and that is that everyone should enjoy the basic freedom of belief, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of association, freedom from want and freedom from fear.

在几年前官媒官学猛批普世价值的时候,我曾经写过“普世价值本是常识”一文。按照常识性的理解,“普世价值”是指人类在长期的历史进程中形成的共同价值观和创造的文明成果,大体包括自由、民主、科学、人权、法制、平等、博爱等等理念;是些普通人都不难明白的道理,说白了就是人人都需要人人都喜欢的价值观,有人说得极端些,就是连流氓都不能公开否认的东西。是啊,流氓都得承认的理,强盗都得遵守的道,还用得着讨论么?否认普世价值基本上就是公开表明:我就是不讲理了。这让人想起文革时曾经有“宁要社会主义的草,不要资本主义的苗”的口号,前不久又看到“宁可华夏不长草,也要收回钓鱼岛”,“宁可中国遍地坟,也要杀光日本人”的标语,这就是不讲道理的表现。

That being said, no matter how much the Chinese insist on their own ‘special characteristic’, and how strongly we resist Western modernity, how much we want to form our own modernity, and explore a path of development superior to that of the West, and how much we want achieve the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, we cannot go against universal values, and we cannot deviate from the mainstream of human civilisation. Unless we’re just a group that doesn’t distinguish seed from grass, black from white – a group in complete confusion.

鲁迅曾以“投枪”、“匕首”般的尖刻对传统国民性进行批判:他着重鞭挞主子(统治者)、奴才、看客等类,并深刻揭露“怯弱,懒惰,而又巧滑”、自主精神缺失、“瞒和骗”、“精神胜利法”、麻木、守旧、盲目自大、顺从忍让等一系列所谓国民劣根性。

其后,更有柏杨以《丑陋的中国人》为书名,痛指“这么一个庞大的国度,拥有全世界四分之一人口的一个庞大民族,却陷入贫穷、愚昧、斗争、血腥等等的流沙之中,难以自拔。”对中国人的“脏、乱、吵”、“窝里斗”、“不能团结”、“死不认错”、“没有包容性的性格”,只有“狭窄的心胸”等等丑陋现象一一针砭,并分析丑陋的原因在于“中国人是一个受伤很深的民族,没有培养出赞美和欣赏别人的能力,却发展成自斗或阿谀别人的两极化动物。更由于在酱缸里酱得太久,思想和判断以及视野都受到酱缸的污染,很难跳出酱缸的范畴”。而“文革”这样一场人造浩劫,不仅造成生命的损失,“最大的损失是对人性的摧残和对高贵品德的摧残。人如果离开了人性和高贵的品德,就跟禽兽毫无区别”。

有着强烈民族自尊心和自豪感的国人看到这样的评价多半会气得发抖,但仔细琢磨一下恐怕又觉不无道理,所谓爱之深,恨之切。回到本题,我们到底有多特殊?我们还是不是人类共同体中的成员?无论我们在饮食、服饰、语言、文化、宗教、信仰方面有多么独特,我们属于人类这一点应该没有异议,问题在于究竟是什么让我们如此特殊?以至于像是人类社会中的另类?

Whether Chinese people are people or not depends on whether institutional arrangements and the government’s philosophy is oriented towards people, treats people as people, and is consistent with humane and human values 人道主义待人.

When people are helpless in front of the reality of social injustice, we often hear the following sentence: “Don’t forget that you’re in China”. This highlights the fact that the institutional machine does not treat people humanly. 人们熟知的雷锋日记中有这样的句子:“我要做一颗革命的螺丝钉,党把我拧在哪里我就在哪里闪闪发光,永不生锈”。文革时的革命口号说:“革命战士是块砖,哪里需要哪里搬;搬到大厦不骄傲,搬到厕所不悲观”。

很显然,螺丝钉不是人;砖石泥土不是人;草芥蝼蚁不是人;驯服工具不是人;马铃薯不是人;乌合之众不是人;义和团不是人;红卫兵不是人;……凡被驱使者都不是真正意义上的人!内战中的士兵不是人,是炮灰;历次政治运动中的斗争对象不是人,是要被消灭的阶级敌人即非人,而作为运动动力的群众也不是人,是被利用的武器;大饥荒中被饿死的不是人,只是作为数字存在的人口;新世界工厂中的工人不是人,而是灵巧又驯服的人手;奥运赛场上的运动员不是人而只是拿金牌的工具;死于“躲猫猫”等五花八门形式的在押嫌疑犯们没有被当作人;在街头被城管追、打、抢、砸的小商贩们没有被当作人;倒在强拆车轮下的钱云会们没有被当作人!在现实和虚拟世界中被禁言被失踪的也同样没有被当作人!同样地,实施强制压迫的国家机器当然也不是人。……

“以人为本”,这是党和政府早在2003年党的十六届三中全会上就明确提出的,并且作为科学发展观的基础。为此,我们必须改变不把人当作人的制度与文化基础。中国诸多问题的症结是没把人当人:比如,“发展是硬道理”!面对这个“硬道理”我们必须要问:什么是发展?谁的发展?经济增长、GDP增加能够“硬”过人的生存、发展和自由吗?再如,“稳定是压倒一切的”!我们必须思考:为何要稳定?谁从“稳定”中获益最大?稳定的根基是什么?社会稳定不应成为目标,稳定永远不能“压倒”人民的幸福和尊严!而当我们探索中国的宪政民主之路、努力融入人类文明主流的时候,却总有强大而不停的呱噪:中国人不适合民主,一旦民主就会乱;决不搞西方那一套;中国模式最优越。这就如同当你还跪着的时候,就有人告诉你一旦站起来就会摔倒因而很危险。

当今世界中,一国之国民要成为真正的人,首先必须成为公民,即懂法律、有理性、知晓自己的权利、义务且能够合法合理地保护自己权利的有组织的公民。是不是人取决于我们要把自己当作人!要努力成为公民,要推动公民社会的成长。这也是阿伦特意义上的行动的人,独立思考的人,积极生活的人。在阿伦特看来,公民的性质不仅仅是一种政治共同体成员的身份,而且更是一种作用和能力,自由的个体以此在共同事务中成为有效成员。而相较于劳动和工作,行动置于“人的条件”的核心位置。行动是至高无上的人性的形式,没有行动的生命“简直是死寂一片,它不再是一种人类生活,因为此时人不再生活于人与人之间”。

公民的行动以人的自由、尊严以及积极进取的主体性为基础,以人的自我启蒙为条件。由此个人才不再是孤独冷漠绝望的个体,而是现代社会中的公民——承担作为公民的责任,为自己的权利负责,为公共事务负责。公民社会的力量,公民的觉醒与能动性——公民的勇气、公民的能力和公民的智慧是创造性力量,也是社会活力与改革动力的不竭之源。体制改革的动力来自社会而非权力自身:体制内的改革力量是在社会力量的逼迫下产生的;公平正义的规则是在各种力量的博弈中形成的;公民社会是在公民的参与行动中生产出来的。走出停滞状态、恢复社会活力只能从公民的自觉和公民的行动开始。

1804年2月28日,德国小镇哥尼斯堡所有的教堂丧钟齐鸣,在许多素不相识的市民的瞩目下,80年前从这里诞生的哲学家康德下葬在故乡冰冷的墓穴里。一块朴实的墓碑上,镌刻着音乐家贝多芬从康德《实践理性批判》中摘录的句子:位我上者 灿烂星空 道德律令 在我心中。

《独立宣言》第二段开头的字句:We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.被称为“改变人类历史的五十五个字”而广为人知。

Starting from everyday life, 为实现和保护生命权、自由权和追求幸福的权利而行动、而发声,we will prove that Chinese people are not a different species, but equal members of the human family. 而此行动的过程中也将站立起真正的人、大写的人!

(载《社会学家茶座》2012/12》 2012年10月21日

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Source : My1510, 24 January 2013

About julien.leyre

French-Australian writer, educator, sinophile. Any question? Contact julien@marcopoloproject.org