Eternal iNsAniTy

Insanity is relative. It depends on who has who locked in what cage.

Category: Uncategorized

RIP, O Captain my Captain.

Robin-Williams

I am still thinking about the passing of Robin Williams. Reading about so many wonderful memories of him online, about his work as an actor, a comic, and above all, just an outstanding human being. I remember somehow every time I laughed out loud watching his performances, there’s always a hint of sadness in his eyes. I still don’t know why. But perhaps I could identify with it. And upon hearing my wife telling me the news this morning, I actually said… I felt that’s the way he’d leave.

Somewhere online, I found this piece, and it really takes the words out of my mouth and I have to share it. Unfortunately it’s a secondary share, and I couldn’t find the original writer. But whoever wrote this, thanks.

RIP O Captain my captain, may you find the peace you seek, and I look forward to introducing you to my son. I’m sure you’ll enrich his life as you did mine.

PEOPLE'S CHOICE AWARDS

“So many tonight are thinking about the death of a man none of us ever met, and grieving his loss. More so than the others, this one seems to hit home. Why? Why this one?

As one friend said, it feels like we just got punched in the childhood. As another said, it actually feels like he was our friend. We literally spent our lives watching him. Robin as a dad who would wear pantyhose to spend time with his children. Robin as a little boy who grew up too fast, and as a grown Peter Pan discovering his own childhood again, as child trapped in a board game jungle findings his way home. Robin as an inspiring teacher demonstrating to a generation how to Carpe Diem and as a genie in a bottle, bringing magic and friendship with him. Robin grieving loss, Robin finding joy, Robin being the goofiest goofball of them all. Robin was the first comedian many of us heard being shockingly crude, and yet our parents kept the video playing because his comedy was worth it. He used that comedy for good every year for Comedy Relief and a passionate quest to help others. He was good, did good, made us feel good.

Screen Shot 2014-08-13 at 12.02.50 PM

Depression is sneaky. Depression lies and cheats and burrows itself deep into places where it’s easy to hide from everyone but yourself. We must do better for our friends, our families, the quiet lonely people in our communities, the outgoing, bigger than life characters with pain behind their smile. Make it ok to reach out for help. Make it easy, and welcome, and free from judgement and stigma. Make it ok to talk about those dark places of our mind where depression lurks. Make it ok to find a lifeline. The world needs more Robins.”

00ZKlRZ

致臺灣的科學盲

實在寫得太好了!不只是能源方面,包含高雄這次的災難也一樣:很受人民歡迎的就是說,所有危險管線不得通過高雄市,但是哪種管線都有危險,都需要維護。並不是發生事情了說完就好。我還蠻期待看高雄怎麼定義「危險」怎麼定義「高雄市」,周邊的城鎮又會如何要求避免管線埋在他們那邊,與這次爆炸無關的其他「危險」企業又該如何立刻想出解決的辦法然後有資金執行。

並不是說花媽是在造勢,我相信不是,而是說很多時候,順著民粹的決定是最容易做的,而正確的決定卻是最難做的。我很擔心台灣從太陽花學運到現在這一連串的問題,將會選出一群順著民意做事的人,而正確的事卻沒有人做,甚至產生很糟的長遠後果。

http://montwithin.wordpress.com/2014/04/27/致臺灣的科學盲/

George Saunders’ convocation speech at Syracuse University for the class of 2013

If I could be half as eloquent as George Saunders, I’d be super thrilled.

Failures of kindness.  Let’s speed the process along.

 

http://6thfloor.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/07/31/george-saunderss-advice-to-graduates/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=1

 

Down through the ages, a traditional form has evolved for this type of speech, which is: Some old fart, his best years behind him, who, over the course of his life, has made a series of dreadful mistakes (that would be me), gives heartfelt advice to a group of shining, energetic young people, with all of their best years ahead of them (that would be you).

And I intend to respect that tradition.

Now, one useful thing you can do with an old person, in addition to borrowing money from them, or asking them to do one of their old-time “dances,” so you can watch, while laughing, is ask: “Looking back, what do you regret?” And they’ll tell you. Sometimes, as you know, they’ll tell you even if you haven’t asked. Sometimes, even when you’ve specifically requested they not tell you, they’ll tell you.

So: What do I regret? Being poor from time to time? Not really. Working terrible jobs, like “knuckle-puller in a slaughterhouse?” (And don’t even ASK what that entails.) No. I don’t regret that. Skinny-dipping in a river in Sumatra, a little buzzed, and looking up and seeing like 300 monkeys sitting on a pipeline, pooping down into the river, the river in which I was swimming, with my mouth open, naked? And getting deathly ill afterwards, and staying sick for the next seven months? Not so much. Do I regret the occasional humiliation? Like once, playing hockey in front of a big crowd, including this girl I really liked, I somehow managed, while falling and emitting this weird whooping noise, to score on my own goalie, while also sending my stick flying into the crowd, nearly hitting that girl? No. I don’t even regret that.

But here’s something I do regret:

In seventh grade, this new kid joined our class. In the interest of confidentiality, her Convocation Speech name will be “ELLEN.” ELLEN was small, shy. She wore these blue cat’s-eye glasses that, at the time, only old ladies wore. When nervous, which was pretty much always, she had a habit of taking a strand of hair into her mouth and chewing on it.

So she came to our school and our neighborhood, and was mostly ignored, occasionally teased (“Your hair taste good?” — that sort of thing). I could see this hurt her. I still remember the way she’d look after such an insult: eyes cast down, a little gut-kicked, as if, having just been reminded of her place in things, she was trying, as much as possible, to disappear. After awhile she’d drift away, hair-strand still in her mouth. At home, I imagined, after school, her mother would say, you know: “How was your day, sweetie?” and she’d say, “Oh, fine.” And her mother would say, “Making any friends?” and she’d go, “Sure, lots.”

Sometimes I’d see her hanging around alone in her front yard, as if afraid to leave it.

And then — they moved. That was it. No tragedy, no big final hazing.

One day she was there, next day she wasn’t.

End of story.

Now, why do I regret that? Why, forty-two years later, am I still thinking about it? Relative to most of the other kids, I was actually pretty nice to her. I never said an unkind word to her. In fact, I sometimes even (mildly) defended her.

But still. It bothers me.

So here’s something I know to be true, although it’s a little corny, and I don’t quite know what to do with it:

What I regret most in my life are failures of kindness.

Those moments when another human being was there, in front of me, suffering, and I responded . . . sensibly. Reservedly. Mildly.

Or, to look at it from the other end of the telescope: Who, in your life, do you remember most fondly, with the most undeniable feelings of warmth?

Those who were kindest to you, I bet.

It’s a little facile, maybe, and certainly hard to implement, but I’d say, as a goal in life, you could do worse than: Try to be kinder.

Now, the million-dollar question: What’s our problem? Why aren’t we kinder?

Here’s what I think:

Each of us is born with a series of built-in confusions that are probably somehow Darwinian. These are: (1) we’re central to the universe (that is, our personal story is the main and most interesting story, the only story, really); (2) we’re separate from the universe (there’s US and then, out there, all that other junk – dogs and swing-sets, and the State of Nebraska and low-hanging clouds and, you know, other people), and (3) we’re permanent (death is real, o.k., sure – for you, but not for me).

Now, we don’t really believe these things – intellectually we know better – but we believe them viscerally, and live by them, and they cause us to prioritize our own needs over the needs of others, even though what we really want, in our hearts, is to be less selfish, more aware of what’s actually happening in the present moment, more open, and more loving.

So, the second million-dollar question: How might we DO this? How might we become more loving, more open, less selfish, more present, less delusional, etc., etc?

Well, yes, good question.

Unfortunately, I only have three minutes left.

So let me just say this. There are ways. You already know that because, in your life, there have been High Kindness periods and Low Kindness periods, and you know what inclined you toward the former and away from the latter. Education is good; immersing ourselves in a work of art: good; prayer is good; meditation’s good; a frank talk with a dear friend; establishing ourselves in some kind of spiritual tradition — recognizing that there have been countless really smart people before us who have asked these same questions and left behind answers for us.

Because kindness, it turns out, is hard — it starts out all rainbows and puppy dogs, and expands to include . . . well, everything.

One thing in our favor: some of this “becoming kinder” happens naturally, with age. It might be a simple matter of attrition: as we get older, we come to see how useless it is to be selfish — how illogical, really. We come to love other people and are thereby counter-instructed in our own centrality. We get our butts kicked by real life, and people come to our defense, and help us, and we learn that we’re not separate, and don’t want to be. We see people near and dear to us dropping away, and are gradually convinced that maybe we too will drop away (someday, a long time from now). Most people, as they age, become less selfish and more loving. I think this is true. The great Syracuse poet, Hayden Carruth, said, in a poem written near the end of his life, that he was “mostly Love, now.”

And so, a prediction, and my heartfelt wish for you: as you get older, your self will diminish and you will grow in love. YOU will gradually be replaced by LOVE. If you have kids, that will be a huge moment in your process of self-diminishment. You really won’t care what happens to YOU, as long as they benefit. That’s one reason your parents are so proud and happy today. One of their fondest dreams has come true: you have accomplished something difficult and tangible that has enlarged you as a person and will make your life better, from here on in, forever.

Congratulations, by the way.

When young, we’re anxious — understandably — to find out if we’ve got what it takes. Can we succeed? Can we build a viable life for ourselves? But you — in particular you, of this generation — may have noticed a certain cyclical quality to ambition. You do well in high-school, in hopes of getting into a good college, so you can do well in the good college, in the hopes of getting a good job, so you can do well in the good job so you can . . .

And this is actually O.K. If we’re going to become kinder, that process has to include taking ourselves seriously — as doers, as accomplishers, as dreamers. We have to do that, to be our best selves.

Still, accomplishment is unreliable. “Succeeding,” whatever that might mean to you, is hard, and the need to do so constantly renews itself (success is like a mountain that keeps growing ahead of you as you hike it), and there’s the very real danger that “succeeding” will take up your whole life, while the big questions go untended.

So, quick, end-of-speech advice: Since, according to me, your life is going to be a gradual process of becoming kinder and more loving: Hurry up. Speed it along. Start right now. There’s a confusion in each of us, a sickness, really: selfishness. But there’s also a cure. So be a good and proactive and even somewhat desperate patient on your own behalf — seek out the most efficacious anti-selfishness medicines, energetically, for the rest of your life.

Do all the other things, the ambitious things — travel, get rich, get famous, innovate, lead, fall in love, make and lose fortunes, swim naked in wild jungle rivers (after first having it tested for monkey poop) – but as you do, to the extent that you can, err in the direction of kindness. Do those things that incline you toward the big questions, and avoid the things that would reduce you and make you trivial. That luminous part of you that exists beyond personality — your soul, if you will — is as bright and shining as any that has ever been. Bright as Shakespeare’s, bright as Gandhi’s, bright as Mother Teresa’s. Clear away everything that keeps you separate from this secret luminous place. Believe it exists, come to know it better, nurture it, share its fruits tirelessly.

And someday, in 80 years, when you’re 100, and I’m 134, and we’re both so kind and loving we’re nearly unbearable, drop me a line, let me know how your life has been. I hope you will say: It has been so wonderful.

Congratulations, Class of 2013.

I wish you great happiness, all the luck in the world, and a beautiful summer.

真正扭曲的國際觀

在朋友的臉書上看到這篇文章: http://mag.udn.com/mag/news/storypage.jsp?f_ART_ID=522381,無法翻牆的朋友我有摘錄在下面。

看完了以後我卻覺得作者的國際觀也非常扭曲 – 因為他完全忽略現實的國際情況。是的,我非常認同他提到有關我們對東南亞的人的事情,但是扯到兩岸問題的時候怎麼突然又不清楚實質情況了呢?更何況他說的「國際觀」根本就是人品道德(這部份我很認同),但這樣的寫作讓我覺得他是用讓人會點頭的點,來逼你吞下他對中國的厭煩。

再說,我們真的知道伊拉克發生什麼事情了嗎?我們真的知道這次的動亂已經不再是 Shia 跟 Sunni 之間的問題了嗎?那麼既然知道了,我們要如何判斷這會怎麼影響國際形勢,影響我們的民生,包括能源、經濟跟戰略呢?還是說我們只要知道就好,然後這樣就可以站在道德制高點上繼續單方面的批評我們不喜歡的人事物?

作者把自身政治的偏見,用根本沒關連的人品道德(真的,那不是國際觀,是基本的人品道德)包裝起來說這是國際觀,我覺得這才是非常的扭曲。

I’m pretty tired of disingenuous articles like this.

有朋友回說,國際觀如果只是中國的話,那才真是扭曲。

是的,我們可以選擇去了解所有關於(例如)非洲在大西洋那邊的島國 Comoros 發生了什麼事情,也可以去了解位於南高加索地區的 Nagorno-Karabakh Republic 目前的外交窘境,然後呢?這樣才能說我們有世界觀嗎?國際的確不能只有中國,但是可千萬不能對中國只有皮毛上的了解。這跟認不認中華文化或是中國人什麼都沒關係,而是因為這個國家對我們有「最直接」跟「最嚴重」的利害關係。我擔心我們因為盲目的反中,導致政客聯手媒體帶動全國人民「忽略」中國,或是將中國「簡單化」(妖魔化也是簡單化的一種),這樣有沒有國際觀是沒差的。(同樣,將日本美國歐洲簡單化也是有一樣的問題,菲律賓亦然)

Part of 國際觀 is to know how the happenings elsewhere in the world affect us here at home. 也就是在我們要做決定時或遭遇困難時更能拿捏整件事情的來龍去脈,能在哪施力,該在哪退讓,該用什麼名義拉誰下水好解自己的套等… 而不是很簡單的批評幾下中國然後想說這樣就不會被影響。我覺得大家可以不喜歡馬英九,但是我很難想像任何新的領導人能夠選擇忽略中國,而不是積極面對。

 

可憐的台灣人,只配擁有扭曲的國際觀
2014/07/02
【陳夏民/獨立出版人】

在台灣,很多父母總以為孩子學會說英文才是有國際觀(而且是美國腔或是英國腔,如果菲律賓幫傭想要教孩子英語,他們說不定還會嚴厲制止),最近也有些人認定目前世界的趨勢是學中文,所以只要自己會說中文就可以全世界走透透,變成一個國際人才。我們期待孩子說出流利的英文,並且因為外國人(尤其是白種人)願意說中文而感到倍感親切。

2014年金曲獎頒獎典禮上,傑森瑪耶茲遠道重洋來到台灣演出,並且在台上以不流利的國語向群眾打招呼,台下立刻認真鼓掌甚至傳來尖叫聲。但你知道嗎,街角的印尼看護工每天說不定都會和他們照護的阿公阿嬤用台語聊天喔,我們是否也曾以相同的熱情鼓勵她?我們是否會認為這些看護工有國際觀?

身為島國民族,我們在成長的過程當中,總是接收到許多訊息,像是「我們資源不足所以得往外面去闖」、「我們的戰略位置優越所以要用貿易來賺錢」、「我們是海島,如果還鎖國,就會被孤立了」等,然而這些訊息大半與「金錢」或是「國家的安全感」息息相關,甚至扭曲變形,成為一種本質上的焦慮,反覆提醒我們:台灣這一座小島的驕傲,早在多次殖民統治之下給慢慢削去了。

於是 ,對於多數台灣人而言,國際觀就是要在外頭的世界獲得利益或是名聲,要被人瞧得起。所以我們亟欲擁抱「台灣之光」,卻未曾發現這些人當初若留在台灣,只是會被扭曲的制度給壓扁,徹底壞掉。

學習外語能幫你打開世界之窗,在語言轉譯之間帶來財富或是某些價值,但若眼睛不曾留意他人存在,任何語言學得多好,充其量也只是讓自己多了一些技能,根本無助於讓自己成為一個有自覺的世界公民。

真正的國際觀其實呼應了台灣人的「人情味」,那是一種「看見對方需求」的學問。或許是太常在路上聽見台灣人對東南亞族群的刻薄言語,我很難說服自己,台灣人果真如此善良。為什麼如此在意「待客之道」的民族(甚至是政府部門),能夠如此恣意、如此自在地說出帶有歧視的字眼?

提到待客之道,我們不妨先來討論下面這件事:

前幾天,中國國台辦主任張志軍來台,飛機還沒落地,下榻於旅館準備抗議的公民團體便遭到警察破門而入,一行人甚至遭到軟禁。隔沒幾天,當張志軍按照行程要到鹿港天后宮參觀,一樣是在他根本還沒到場(甚至後來取消了行程)之前,便發生了衝突暴力事件,甚至有警察拿著大聲公驅趕宮廟附近小吃攤客人,要求全面淨空的事件。

姑且不論什麼才是待客之道,或是客人是否有自知之明,我們身為自由民主的國家,在政黨輪替兩次之後,竟然還會發生這類侵犯人民隱私、妨礙人民行動自由的事件。根本不需要等客人上門,臉便丟光,根本不需要討論招待之禮,因為沒有一個人希望自己去別人家拜訪(就算對方家裡的人再怎麼不歡迎自己),卻在還沒踩進對方家門,他們家裡就發生血光之災或晦氣之事。

一樣是前幾天的事情:台灣國立故宮博物館兩大人氣收藏品赴日展出,卻因為文宣品遺漏「國立」兩字,而引發了總統府與外交部高度關切並不惜徹展,也要對方尊重我們台灣的國格。不料,事情剛搞定,就在總統府也沾沾自喜自己硬起來的時候,有人發現台灣國立故宮博物館在中國節目中,也遭到移除「國立」貳字,政府卻不痛不癢,悶不吭聲。

相同的爭議,在日本發生,中華民國政府提出高規格的國際抗議,但在中國發生,卻什麼事情也沒有。再看這一次張志軍訪台所發生的維安衝突,我不禁疑問,究竟是什麼樣的「外交研判」,讓政府認定在民間彼此相好的台日情誼,並不值得官方的支持,反倒是拿著飛彈對準我們、阻撓我們進入國際組織的中國,竟然變成了我們亟欲貼上的國際盟友?

當政府鼓勵國民要有國際觀,總統也總是喜愛在國際場合說英語,表示自己有辦法直接與外國人溝通的時候,卻沒有發現他們所作的才是最沒有國際觀的事情:無法看見自己(甚至是否認自己存在了),如何看見外面的世界?

「國」「際」貳字,表示國與國之間的關係。地球上有那麼多國家,如果不能先釐清自己國家的定位,我們如何能夠讓其他國家認識什麼是中華民國,什麼是台灣?身為地球村的一分子,身為世界公民的一分子,我們是否有把握,面對每一個來到這一片土地上的人,都能夠平等對待,就像是我們所期待的,能夠在外國不受歧視、剝削,得以抬頭挺胸地活著、走著?

在台灣仍有許多民眾,對東南亞籍移工或配偶,懷抱著輕蔑態度,一方面享受他們帶來的服務,另一方面卻把他們當作底層人,不認為他們有權利與我們平起平坐。而這些人們,卻又多半在國家尊嚴遭受打擊的時候,選擇沉默,或是把自家藝人被人封殺這一件事情當做娛樂八卦,用一句「他怎麼那麼傻」輕鬆帶過,暗自再笑他人活該才會自斷錢途。

面對用小聰明所認定的弱勢國民,我們蠻橫。
面對刻板印象所認定的強勢國民,我們卑微。

如此矛盾、扭曲的國民性格,就算把官方語言改為英語,也不可能擁有宏觀的國際視野。

你知道非洲正爆發伊波拉病毒嗎?你知道伊拉克最近又發生戰亂了嗎?你知道香港七一遊行嗎?你知道印度最近有大樓發生嚴重倒塌事件嗎?你知道泰國最近發生政變嗎?你知道政府最近又想要偷偷推動自經區嗎?

看不見外國發生什麼事情,也不知道國內發生了什麼問題。到了這樣的節骨眼,如果還以為會說英文或是賺到外國錢,就是擁有國際觀,那我只能說,實在是太可悲了。

「如果我要教我的三歲小孩什麼是國際觀呢?」如果地方上的媽媽這樣問道。

「國際觀就是你知道世界上有一些跟你膚色、種族不一樣的人,他們也是人,他們也會哭。」

© 2017 Eternal iNsAniTy

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑