Trump 现象是美国的悲剧

Trump 现象是美国的悲剧(不是仅仅发生在美国的悲剧,而是美国本身的悲剧)。悲剧的原因,不仅表现在那些显而易见的流氓政治言行,而更主要是为什么会造成 Trump 现象背后的社会背景。

推动Trump现象的,第一是 political cynicism (政治自私论)。“Cynicism” 在中文里没有准确对应词。有人翻为 “犬儒主义”,其实不准确。而平常说的 “ 玩世不恭”,“愤世嫉俗”, 指的是个人性格,其对立面则是世俗社会,因此在中文里几乎带着一点 “潇洒超脱” 的色彩。但真实意义上的 cynicism 是一种 “人人自私论”,是一种社会疾病,不是癌细胞本身,而是免疫系统的根本失常。犹如一个身体,出现癌细胞是常事,甚至癌细胞长大也不少见,但这还不是 cynicism。甚至癌细胞开始扩散,也还不一定是cynicism, 因为至少你的免疫系统和你全身的细胞本身还在努力,还相信你的身体有一个真实的状态,叫 “健康“,那不仅是一个美好的状态,并且是一个真实的,可实现的状态,那个状态是诚实的,不是虚伪的。

Cynicism,是指你的癌细胞不仅在行动,而且形成了一个自己的控制系统,宣告“癌”才是身体的真实状态,而那个所谓的 “健康状态”,不仅软弱,并且是虚假的,是假冒的。

今天在美国,甚至全世界,就政治体系来讲,已经越来越 cynical。越来越多的人相信政治不仅在实践中是腐败的,而且在本质上就是腐败(而不是不幸变腐败了),因此政治唯一存在的目的和功用就是利益争斗,不存在正确和错误之分,不存在高尚和低贱之分,不存在诚实和诡诈之分。

于是,才会有 Trump。

推动Trump现象的,第二是对 “政治正确” 的愤怒 (anger at political correctness).  今天的美国社会,社会风气和规则越来越多受政治正确(political correctness) 的无形控制,许多话和意见,用正常的渠道是无法表达和沟通的,因为你会马上受到那个无形的 political correctness 的打击和压制。大部分人于是选择保持沉默,而少数人的声音则先是唯一听得见的声音,最后也就变成了众人的声音。而这时候,如果有一个人,像 Trump 那样,不顾体面,在发表诸多无耻言论的同时,也穿插进去一些与 political correctness 直接冲突的公平话,就会赢得许多人的支持,因为这些人感到终于有人有勇气公开讲了他们不能直接讲的心里话。

Trump 所赢得的,不是原则,而是人的不满情绪。在这种情绪中,人可以忽略 Trump 言论和品行中其它可怕的内容,而只要听到一点符合自己 “激愤” 的话,就会觉得大快人心。

这就是为什么许多白人支持 Trump 的原因。诚实地说,在美国社会,由于普遍的 “white guilt” (白人负罪感), 主流的白人社会所受政治正确(political correctness)压抑的程度是最高的。在缺乏健康的疏通管道时,这种无以言表的压抑找到了 Trump 这个变态的管道。

我不因为 Trump 而激愤。我只为美国的悲剧而悲哀。Trump 现象若继续下去,Democracy 民主将成为人类历史上一个短暂的奇特现象,让后人会因为此奇特现象竟然曾经发生而觉得诧异。

这是因为,民主最可怕的敌人,并非专制,而是 “民败”。民主不仅是一种制度,而更是一种 Activity, 一种 State, of a social body made of mostly healthy cells (individuals).  但民若腐败到一定程度,民主和专制相比孰好孰坏,未必是平常人所想象的那样一个简单选择。

另,对华人,即使你不赞同我上边说的,你也要考虑这一点: 如果 Trump 当选美国总统,中美矛盾被激化的可能会大幅度增加。

有许多人认为 Trump  是 “American isolationist” (美国孤立主义者),所以会减少在国际上和中国(以及其他国家)的冲突。不对。Trump 不是任何主义。Trump 代表的,是自私(Selfishness)。

有人会说,废话!谁不自私,美国就是最自私的国家。但这种说法,正是我说的 political cynicism。我无法与之辩论,因为这是人心里深处的事, 而我赢不了你的心。人最大的能力,就是总可以为自己的观点,无论什么样的观点,在历史中找到参考点和支持。不需要多,只要找到那么一两个点,就足够了。

所以我只能说,要想见识一个真正自私的美国,就等 Trump 做总统吧。

但这样讲也只是一种推理的假设。我心里仍说, may God forbid。

(声明:我不是民主党派人,更不是为了给民主党宣传。)

吸烟

在中国,除了外面空气中的雾霾,还有一个“微雾霾”,就是你身旁的人口中所吞吐的烟。香烟是西方人发明的,但当今在中国如此畅行,不只是一个“小声” 的个人选择,而是一个 “大声” 的社交模式,引人深思。

吸烟对人体的害处,已经是基本常识,无需再当做新鲜事来讨论一次。这里想说的,乃是 “吸烟是人格问题”。

这样讲不是骂人,但也不是开玩笑。

首先,吸烟是胆小的结果Continue reading “吸烟”

A letter to a college student

To a girl who wants the best, and hates her life for having to settle with something not as good:

… although I don’t share the specific experience you have now, I know how it feels like when you are distressed by certain disappointment, disadvantage, detriment, or a prejudice, and worse yet, you can’t pinpoint what that is, let alone fight against it, you’re just unhappy with dissatisfaction.

In terms of people’s birth, family background, cultural background, upbringing, and natural gifts, the world has never been equal.  And the appearance of inequality stirs up all kinds of evil.  Jealousy, hatred (of others, of self and of God), and even murder.  All that started from Cain and Abel, the first two children of Adam and Eve. Continue reading “A letter to a college student”

China’s future

Friends debate over the future of China.  Commentators and bloggers instigate some fierce arguments between those who criticize the country (including its government, society, culture and people) and those who zealously attack the criticisms.   Though I have no intention to join the debate,  I desire to share a little bit of my personal observations.

In today’s China, negatively criticizing everything has become a national hobby, which is not making anyone happier.

But on the other hand,  the increasing number of Chinese who take a prideful position and passionately argue against all criticisms, denying the country’s major problems, indicates an condition that is just as sad, if not worse. Continue reading “China’s future”

中国能创新吗?Can China innovate?

China has become a dominant player of the world in manufacturing a increasingly large number of products. But in order to become a true leading force in the world economy, China must innovate.

China knows it must innovate. But can it?

I’m not going to reach a conclusion on whether China can or cannot innovate. I am just going to make some arguments. I can put forth many reasons why China can innovate, but in this article, I will argue the biggest reasons why China can’t innovate:

(1) Chinese are brought up in a culture that does not cultivate inspirational work ethics to form a foundation of innovation.

(2) Chinese are further educated by an education system that kills creativity.

(3) Chinese work in a working environment that further suffocates creativity.

(4) Moral corruption is bankrupting China’s already-weak backbone of creativity.

Please don’t rush to label my comment racism. I am Chinese and please let me explain.

First, the culture does not cultivate inspirational work ethics – Everyone seems to believe that Chinese are hard-working people. But this is only partially true. When it comes to hard labor, few nations in the world can match Chinese in their willingness to take hardship. But when it comes to creative works, Chinese are cultured to slip into a sloppy mode. I’m not talking about intelligence. I am talking about culture. Deep inside Chinese culture is a toxic mentality that only the lower classes work hard, and the purpose of life is get out of hard labor and start to be served instead of serving others. Now, I know this is human nature. But you need to understand this aspect of Chinese culture to understand that Chinese have this at a whole different depth and level.

Culturally, Chinese don’t have a strong independent sense of work ethics that a job well done is part of the meaning of life. A typical Chinese will try very hard to get a job done, but only to the extent that is required by the master. A Chinese with a better attitude may even go beyond the passive requirement and actively try to please, but very few would have an independent sense of enjoying doing something well for its inherent value. This is precisely why Chinese are doing extremely well on the manufacturing level (by following orders), but are doing poorly in creating fresh new things.

Second, the education system kills creativity – Everyone seems to believe that if China is still backward, at least its education system is excellent. But this is almost entirely a misunderstanding. One of the biggest social problems China is facing today is its distorted and unnatural education system. The entire education system is geared toward one goal: to produce good exam takers to pass the college entrance examination. The system miserably fails to produce a workforce of creativity and professionalism.

For comparison, a typical American student spends roughly 1/3 of time studying books, 1/3 of time cultivating presentational, organizational and independent analytical skills, and 1/3 of time developing inner and social personalities and characters. In contrast, a typical Chinese student spends 90%, 5% and 5% of the time on those three areas respectively. Sorry I may be exaggerating a little bit, but if you are in China, you are likely to agree with me, and if you are a Chinese parent or student, you are likely to emotionally agree with me.

Chinese are tortured by the system they invented! By the time a student passes college entrance examination, he has been bled dry and lost all the appetite for creative work. And these are the ones that are fortunate enough to pass the college entrance examination. For those who fail to score high enough to get into a good university, they accept it as a fact that they are just worthless because the education system has concluded so.

Third, the working environment suffocates creativity – This is more commonly acknowledged and recognized by many people and requires little discussion. The corporate structure and culture in Chinese companies do not encourage creativity. Even when a company tries to do that, it tends to do it in a top-down type of artificial policy-based propaganda, not by providing a thriving environment and a natural outlet for individual creativity. Seniority and playing-safe are the rule, making it an acidic condition for creativity to bud and much less to thrive.

Fourth, the moral corruption bankrupts China’s already-weak backbone of creativityI do not wish to discuss in this article the general condition of moral corruption in China, but instead want to focus on the particular issue of misuse and stealing of intellectual property.

Innovation is all about intellectual property. But not only does China lack a legal system that enforces intellectual property rights, but also the society actually has a perverse and pervasive attitude with regard to intellectual property: as long as possible, steal it from others. As a society, it is absolutely shocking how Chinese have accepted the notion that stealing from others is acceptable.

It is not that Chinese don’t respect intellectual property. They admire, sometimes even worship, intellectual property. They just don’t respect other people’s rights in intellectual property. These are two different things. I’m not going to provide evidence for this, because it is self-evident for anyone who lives in China. What I wish to emphasize here is another point that often fails to be realized by people: stealing is not only a moral burden, it is also an economic burden on the thief himself. One who steals is unlikely to create, and therefore will be poor in terms of innovation. The argument can be made for an individual, but perhaps more so for a society as a whole. As long as a nation steals and further accepts stealing without remorse and repentance, it is not going to innovate.

Above are the four major forces that seriously hurt China’s ability to innovate. Discussing of such forces does not mean that as a matter of conclusion I believe China will not be able to innovate. I can also put forth reasons why China can innovate, but doing so is not the purpose of this article.

Even under such major adverse forces, there are exceptions of course. There are always exceptions. With 1.5 billion people, you can expect a lot of exceptions. I personally have known and worked with many extremely bright and creative Chinese. But that is not the point to be made here. My point is simple: As a nation, China must face and fight against these social forces that hurt China’s innovation if the country wants to become a respected leading economic force of the world.