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都在标榜做自己,那么到底为何自我?

都在标榜做自己,那么到底为何自我?

都在标榜做自己,那么到底为何自我?

都在标榜做自己,那么到底为何自我?



我们翻译这篇文章的理由


豆瓣上有一个话题“如果没有在什么年龄就应该做什么事的”社会时钟,你的人生会是什么样的?”引发热议(如上图)。这反映了许多人对于成长意义的彷徨、困惑以及与成长的拔河,这种彷徨体现了自我意识的挣扎。当前整个世界的主流价值观是以异性恋制度为基础,因此社会对于人类未来的想象无法逃出成家立业、生儿育女等观念的束缚,这种制度下的自我观是单一固定的,它告诉我们自我是单一的实体存在,成年后你就能找到自我,融入社会,高枕无忧了,于是我们赋予了“成年”过多的意义,很多人对自我的理解也以成人进入社会这一时间节点宣告结束,为什么会有“中年油腻”的讽刺,为什么会有“熬过高考,大学就轻松了”的论调。这般匮乏想象力使得人生被一系列规定的客观事件和时间节点所分隔。要想成为一个主流价值观推崇的人,你就必须要按部就班地完成一系列你可能也不理解的仪式,宣告自己长大成人,拥有家庭和子女。的确,遵循这一制度能让社会上大部分过的“体面”,但其实这个社会造就了许多思想懒惰,放弃了建构自我的人,它没有给我们足够的犯错空间,我们无法自由定义非线性的时间,我们变得像是产品,而自我本可以是一段故事。在你国,彻底摆脱社会节奏着实不易,但我们至少可以明白,“成为一个成年人”更多是一种操演论,不是无可逃避的宿命,每个人都会成长,但不是每个人都能成人,你可以谱写你的自我故事。

都在标榜做自己,那么到底为何自我?


——朱小钊


👇


到底何谓寻找自我


作者:Cody Delistraty

译者:朱小钊

校对:泮海伦

推荐:刘小康

策划:朱小钊


The coming-of-age con

成年的谎言

How can you go about finding ‘who you really are’ if the whole idea of the one true self is a big fabrication?

如果所谓的“真我”是一个彻头彻尾的谎言,那又何谈寻找自我呢?



Near the end of J D Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye (1951), the novel’s hero Holden Caulfield buys his sister Phoebe a ticket to the carousel in the park and watches her ride it. It begins to rain, and Holden – having spent most of the book in some form of anxiety, disgust or depression – now nearly cries with joy. ‘I was damn near bawling, I felt so damn happy, if you want to know the truth. I don’t know why. It was just that she looked so damn nice, the way she kept going around and around, in her blue coat and all.’

在塞林格的小说《麦田里的守望者》结尾,主人公霍尔顿·考尔菲德给他的妹妹菲比买了一张旋转木马的门票,虽然下起了瓢泼大雨,但霍尔顿望着妹妹骑着旋转木马的身影却喜极而泣。要知道书中霍尔顿大部分时候都表现得焦虑、抑郁或令人生厌。“我几乎就要大哭出来了,我太他妈开心了,你不要问我为什么,我也不知道,就是看着她身穿蓝色衣裳,一圈一圈转着,是如此开心。


Holden watches his sister reach out for a ring from her bobbing horse, and he has a profound revelation: life is about maintaining some form of optimism and innocence – of continuing to try, even in the midst of an impossible world. Later, Holden says he gets ‘sick’, but now he is mostly sanguine: he plans to go to a new school in the autumn and is looking forward to it. Holden has had an emotional experience and, as a result, has found himself. This, in turn, will allow him to enter society, which marks his growing up.

霍尔顿望着妹妹坐在高低起伏的旋转木马上努力去够圆环的模样,突然顿悟:生活的真谛在于即便世事艰难也要保持乐观与天真,并不断努力。霍尔顿说他曾经懊丧厌世,但现在却满心欢喜,他打算在秋季去上一所新学校,对此他也十分期待。经历了此番情感体验后,霍尔顿找到了自己,也意味着他可以步入社会,长大成人了。


The term Bildungsroman was coined by the philologist Karl Morgenstern in the 1820s to denote ‘the hero’s Bildung (formation) as it begins and proceeds to a certain level of perfection’. The term grew in popularity when in 1870 Wilhelm Dilthey wrote that the quintessential Bildungsroman was Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s Wilhelm Meister’s Apprenticeship (1796), in which the protagonist has the double task of self-integration and integration into society. According to Dilthey, self-integration implies social integration, thus the Bildungsroman is concerned predominately with leading the protagonist (and the reader) into his productive societal place. It is largely from this tradition that most contemporary coming-of-age culture, Salinger included, springs.

19世纪20年代,语文学家卡尔·摩根斯坦提出了“教育小说”一词,在这类小说中,主人公往往会通过“自我教化”达到一个趋于完美的境界。在70年代,该词逐渐广为人知,狄尔泰曾写道,“教育小说”的典型代表是歌德的《威廉·麦斯特的学徒岁月》。该书主角不仅需要整理自我,还需要融入社会。在狄尔泰看来,个人在自我整合之后,就可以融入社会了。因此在大部分“教育小说”中,主人公或读者最终都将找到属于他的社会角色。正是在这种传统的影响下,当代成年文化蓬勃发展,塞林格的作品就是其中之一。


Take, for instance, the fact that the culminating fight scene in most superhero stories occurs only after the hero has learned his social lesson – what love is, how to work together, or who he’s ‘meant to be’. Romantic stories climax with the ultimate, run-to-the-airport revelation. The family-versus-work story has the protagonist making a final decision to be with his loved ones, but only after almost losing everything. Besides, for their dramatic benefit, the pointedness and singular rush of these scenes stems from the characters’ desire to finally gain control of their self: to ‘grow up’ with one action or ultimate understanding.

比如,在大多数超级英雄故事中,只有英雄主角最终明白了爱的真谛、如何合作以及自己的使命之后,终极决战才会打响。爱情故事也往往伴随着主角奔向机场挽留爱人而达到高潮。而在描述家庭与职场工作生活平衡困境难题的故事中,主人公通常只有在自己即将一无所有之后才下定决心陪伴在深爱自己的人左右。这些特意设置的情节扣人心弦,自然带来了不错的戏剧效果,但这些情节通常都体现了故事中的角色渴望能够通过某一行为或顿悟就能成熟,而达到最终掌控自我的境界。


Finding one’s true place in the world is a massive trope, not just in film and theatre, but also in literature, education and motivational seminars – any place where young people are involved. In all these cases, the search for the ‘self’ is dubious because it assumes that there is an enduring ‘self’ that lurks within and that can somehow be found. Whereas, in fact, the only ‘self’ we can be sure of is one that changes every second, our decisions and circumstances taking us in an infinite number of directions, moment by moment. And even if we think we have ‘found ourselves’, this is no panacea for the rest of our lives. In the last line of F Scott Fitzgerald’s debut, This Side of Paradise (1920), young Amory Blaine cries out: ‘I know myself, but that is all.’ Young as he is, Fitzgerald’s confused Princetonian still sees how insubstantial the knowledge of his ‘self’ is within the larger context of his life.

找到真正的自我是一种常用的桥段,它不仅广泛存在于电影和戏剧中,在任何涉及年轻群体的文学作品、教育活动和励志研讨会中都屡见不鲜。在这些情景中,探寻自我的这一行为是有待商榷的,因为这一行为假定人体内存在一个恒定不变的自我,这一自我在一定程度上是可以发掘的。但实际上,我们唯一能够认识的自我是瞬息万变的,每时每刻所作的决定,身处的环境都将塑造许多不同的自我。即便你认为已经找到了自我,也并不意味着往后余生就高枕无忧了。菲兹杰拉德在他的处女作《人间天堂》的结尾写道,艾莫里高呼:“我了解我自己,但我无法完全了解自己。”和年轻的菲兹杰拉德一样,这位普林斯顿大学的年轻人仍然充满困惑,他明白,在广阔的生活背景下,他对自我的了解是多么匮乏。


The idea of there being a single ‘self’, hidden in a place that only maturity and adulthood can illuminate and which, like archaeologists, we might dig and dust away the detritus to find, is to believe that there is some inner essence locked within us – and that unearthing it could be a key to working out how to live the rest of our lives. This comforting notion of coming of age, of unlocking a true ‘self’ endures, even though it is out of step with current thinking in psychology, which denies a singular identity, and instead posits the idea of staged development, or an eternally malleable sense of self that shifts as we grow older, and with the uniqueness of our personal experience.

很多人认为,自我是单一不变的,它隐藏于某处,只待成熟或成年,就能觅得自我。或是认为就像考古学家挖掘古物一样,自我是可以挖掘的。持有这种想法的人往往认为我们体内存在一个自我实体,找到自我就能找到如何顺利度过往后余生的秘诀。虽然在当代心理学看来,成年或找到真我就能万事大吉的这种想法已经站不住脚,但由于这一想法给人们带来了一丝慰藉,仍然深入人心。当代心理学否定单一不变的自我观,提倡阶段性发展和高度弹性化的自我。而弹性化的自我指的是年龄增长或是独特的生活经历都会改变自我。


As the 19th-century philosopher William James put it: ‘Properly speaking, a man has as many social selves as there are individuals who recognise him and carry an image of him in their mind.’ In his poem ‘We Are Many’ (1967), Pablo Neruda expressed a similar sentiment:

When everything seems to be set

to show me off as a man of intelligence,

the fool I keep concealed on my person

takes over my talk and occupies my mouth.

正如十九世纪的哲学家威廉·詹姆斯所言:“准确来说,每个人都拥有许多社会性自我,正如每个认识你的人对你的印象都不同。巴勃罗·聂鲁达在他的诗《丰富的自我》中也表达了类似的观点:

看似聪慧

将一切都处理妥当

但我的言谈

显露我那愚钝的一面


Modern psychology backs up such notions of a fluctuating, erratic self. For the past few decades, the study of personality came in two basic modes. One argued that personality is formed and fixed in early childhood. (‘Personality Set For Life By First Grade’ was a newspaper headline in 2010.) You couldn’t do anything about who you were: you could only figure yourself out, and then try to fit in. The other mode argued the opposite case: one’s personality is inherently unstable, so unstable, in fact, that it can never be ‘found’ or even understood.

现代心理学认为自我是波动易变的。在过去的几十年中,关于人格的研究主要分为两大阵营。一方认为人格在同年早期形成后就固定不变。(2010年某家报纸头条就是“人格早在一年级就已形成”)你无法改变自我,只能在找到自我后,努力适应这一自我。另一方则持完全不同的观点,认为人格本身就是不稳定的,事实上人们可能完全无法找到或无法理解所谓的自我。


Most recently, research studies suggest a melding of these views. An individual does not have a given ‘self’ but is instead comprised of many ‘selves’ that shift slowly and in relation to social circumstance. Brian Little, a personality psychologist at the University of Cambridge, has distinguished between ‘biogenic’ personality traits – genetically programmed, and, therefore, fixed traits – and ‘sociogenic traits’ – traits based on the reaction to one’s social environment, which are constantly in flux. An analysis of 207 studies, published in January 2017 in Psychological Bulletin, supports Little’s claim that we have both fixed traits and shifting ones. The analysis found that personalities can and do change, often a lot, and, especially with a therapist’s intervention, sometimes very quickly.

近期大部分研究则综合了这两种观点:一个恒定不变的自我并不存在,个体是由许多自我所组成的,这些自我变化缓慢,并受到社会环境的影响。剑桥大学的人格心理学家布莱恩·利特尔对“生理人格”和“社会人格”进行了区分。“生理人格”是由基因所决定,因此比较固定;“社会人格”受个人对社会环境的反应影响,而社会环境又是不断变化的。2017年1月,《心理学公报》刊登了一篇分析报告,该报告分析了207份研究,结论与利特尔相同,认为人类在拥有一些稳定人格特征的同时,也拥有许多变化的人格特征。该文认为,人格的确会时常变化,尤其是在治疗师的干预下,人格有时是瞬息万变的。


Why, then, is the myth of ‘growing up’ so persistent? If the idea of a ‘single self’ is out of kilter with the way that psychology understands identity – as a succession of selves, or multiple selves co-existing in one individual at all times – what keeps it running?

现代心理学认为,个体包含了一系列演变的自我或是处于多种自我共存的状态。既然单一自我的概念和心理学中自我的概念相悖,那为何“长大成人”这一概念却经久不衰呢?其背后的原因何在?


It is comforting to buy into the idea that we can ‘grow up’ into society. It suggests that there’s a place that we’re headed towards, where we might finally belong. Although the Bildungsroman’s origins are of German construction, the coming-of-age tale has become an peculiarly American phenomenon, since self-understanding in the United States is largely predicated on a self-making mythos. Where, in Britain, one might be asked about one’s parents, one’s schooling or one’s background, Americans seem less interested in a person’s past and more interested in his or her future. More cynical observers have claimed, perhaps rightly, that this is because Americans don’t have a clear history and culture; but the coming-of-age tale has also become important in the US because of a constant – maybe optimistic, maybe pig-headed – insistence that one can always remake oneself. The past is nothing; the future is everything.

长大成人并融入社会这一观念似乎在暗示,我们终将要去往某处,那是我们最终的归属。尽管“教育小说”起源于德国,但如今却带有浓厚的美国色彩。美国人对于自我造就的执念很大程度上影响了他们理解自我的方式。在英国,可能会有人询问你的父母、教育经历或个人背景,但美国人很少关心一个人的过往,而更关注于其未来发展。很多激进的观察家还宣称这是因为美国缺乏独有的历史和文化。但不论如何,成年小说之所以在美国如此重要是因为美国人始终坚信个人能够进行自我塑造,过往经历已然不重要,未来才是一切。可以说美国人乐观豁达,也可以说他们不知天高地厚。


This idea of inherent, Adam-and-Eve innocence, and the particularly American interest in it, is perhaps tantamount to a renunciation of history. Such denialism infuses both American stories and narratives of national identity, said Ihab Hassan, the late Arab-American literary theorist. In any case, the American tale of growing up concerns itself with creating a singular, enterprising self out of supposed nothingness: an embrace of the future and its supposedly infinite possibilities.

这种自我塑造的观念体现了美国人一种纯粹的、与生俱来的“天真”,以及他们对历史的否定。已故的埃及裔美国文学理论家伊哈布·哈桑曾说,这种拒绝主义融合了美国式故事和国家身份叙事。在所有美国成长类小说中,主人公都是从零开始,打造一个独一无二且锐意进取的自我,并拥抱未来无限的可能性。


From a more sociological perspective, the American self-creation myth is, inherently, a capitalist one. The French philosopher Michel Foucault theorised that meditating and journalling could help to bring a person inside herself by allowing her, at least temporarily, to escape the world and her relationship to it. But the sociologist Paul du Gay, writing on this subject in 1996, argued that few people treat the self as Foucault proposed. Most people, he said, craft outward-looking ‘enterprising selves’ by which they set out to acquire cultural capital in order to move upwards in the world, gain access to certain social circles, certain jobs, and so on. We decorate ourselves and cultivate interests that reflect our social aspirations. In this way, the self becomes the ultimate capitalist machine, a Pierre Bourdieu-esque nightmare that willingly exploits itself.

从社会学的角度深入来看,美国式的自我创造故事在本质上带有资本主义色彩。法国哲学家福柯提到,理论上人们可以通过冥想和写日记的方式深入探索自我,从而或短暂或永恒地逃离这个世界和他所处的社会关系。但在1996年,社会学家保罗·盖伊就这一话题发表了一篇文章,文章写道很少人会如福柯所言去寻找自我。恰恰相反,大多数人或是为了融入世界、获得工作、或是为了挤进各种社交圈子,不断追寻着文化资本,发展出外向、 “进取的自我”。我们不断包装自己,培养能体现社会抱负的兴趣。长此以往,终于将自我打造成一台资本主义机器,成为皮埃尔·布尔迪厄口中滥用自我的噩梦。


Even the idea that there is a discreet transition from youth into adulthood, either via a life-altering ‘feeling’ or via the culmination of skill acquisition, means that selfhood is a task to be accomplished in the service of social gain, and in which notions of productivity and work can be applied to one’s identity. Many students, for instance, are encouraged to take ‘gap years’ to figure out ‘who they are’ and ‘what they want to do’. (‘Do’, of course, being a not-so-subtle synonym for ‘work’.) Maturation is necessarily related to finances, and the expectation of most young people is that they will become ‘independent’ by entering the workforce. In this way, the emphasis on coming of age reifies the moral importance of work.

有些人认为,一旦产生世事变迁的感悟或是掌握越来越多的技能,就能从青年迈向成年。这种观点仍然认为找寻自我是一项为了获得社会利益的任务,可以简单地用工作或生产力水平等词语来衡量。比如,很多学生受到鼓舞,通过“间隔年”来弄明白“我是谁”“我想做什么”。(当然,此处的“想做什么”并不等同于“想做什么工作”。)成熟自然也意味着要拥有一定的经济能力,因此很多年轻人希望找到一份工作,从而实现经济独立。这么看来,强调成年的重要性则反应了工作在的道德层面上的重要性。


Even the idea of massaging one’s surroundings so as to induce a Romantic, feeling-based turning point in a young person’s life can itself be monetised. Rite of Passage Journeys, a Seattle-based private-adventure company, takes young people on guided hikes and camping explorations with the intention of helping them to find their true selves. ‘We work to assure that initiates come out of the experience with a new and empowering story that helps them take responsibility for the decisions that set the course of their future,’ reads the Rite of Passage Journeys website. ‘We help initiates create the story of who they are and the kind of life they want to build based within the exploration of their own personal values.’ The idea is to help people quickly ‘find themselves’.

通过创造环境,从而让年轻人找到如爱情故事中感动人心的人生转折点,这一想法如今也成为了一大商机。在西雅图有一家名为“成年礼之旅”的私人冒险公司,这家公司为了帮助年轻人找到真我,组织他们参加远足和露营冒险等活动。该公司的官网上写道:“我们保证所有会员都能通过谱写一个崭新且鼓舞人心的个人故事找到自我,这个故事能帮助他们为决定人生走向的重大决定负责。我们能让他们从探索个人价值出发,建构一个‘我是谁’和‘我想过何种生活’的个人生涯故事,从而帮助他们尽快找到自我。


Why should one have to go through a whole childhood of experiences and challenges in order to find oneself when a week at camp can help one find it immediately? When viewed in this kind of cynical, exploitative light, the notion of ‘finding oneself’ starts to look even less natural than before. And while contemporary psychology mostly says that there is no singular self, our shifting selves all seem intent on completing one task: exploiting their own development.

如果短短一周的露营就能帮助我们迅速找到自我,那么我们为何要需要花上一整个童年来体验生活并克服困难呢?当我们将“找寻自我”急功近利地压缩要一周完成,这一概念就不再纯粹,而颇具讽刺意味了。尽管现代心理学的主要观点认为不存在单一自我,但我们身上的每一种自我都想成为那个主导的自我。


While it is easy to be suspicious of the cultural appropriation of selfhood as it relates to growing up, it is important to think about what a more accurate way of depicting what this vital, transitory period might look like. Humans create their own histories but, as it is now, the culturally prescribed template for growing up says there is a time for growing up and then there is a time for being a grown-up. The ultimate goal of social integration that lies at the heart of American coming-of-age tales is problematic because it gets in the way of real life. If we are convinced we’re trapped in a dichotomy – growing up or being grown-up – there is little room to actually grow, to make the mistakes or live the kind of life that leads to genuine maturity. Likewise, if an individual is convinced that he is already grown-up, he will do little in the way of self-improvement, or growth: which is the kind of maturation that one should pursue throughout a lifetime and not merely as a rite of passage.

当自我与成长等文化理念挂钩之后,自我这一概念就容易遭到滥用。不过当务之急应该是找到一种更为准确的方式来解释从未成年到成年这一短暂但至关重要的时期。人类创造了自己的历史,但在当前的文化背景下,成长的过程被简单地划分为正在成长和已经成年两个阶段。美国成长小说提倡以融入社会为最终目标,这是有问题的,因为它影响了我们的现实生活。如果我们陷入了这种二分法的陷阱之中,我们的试错空间就变得十分有限,也难以取得真正的进步,过上真正成熟的生活。同样地,如果一个人坚信自己已经成年,他就不会再去提升自我或继续成长。一场成人礼并不能定义成长,成长应该是人们终其一生都应该追求的成熟状态。


To adjust our sights and view ‘growing up’ as a constant, essentially endless part of life is to fundamentally shift our understanding of our lives and ourselves. In The Way of the World: The Bildungsroman in European Culture (1987), Franco Moretti points to notable differences between German and English coming-of-age novels, and those typically written in France. He suggests that German and English novels incline towards a ‘classification principle’, in which the narratives provide a clean ending and an emotional catharsis. The novel’s protagonist returns to their society and, in doing so, validates that society as being the best possible option for them. Characters who reach out on their own, ignoring their society or their home, either tend to be punished or else find that there are no better alternatives. (This leitmotif is perhaps most classically depicted in the Bible’s Parable of the Prodigal Son in the Book of Luke.)

要想改变我们理解生活和自我的方式,我们就要转换视角,将“成长”看成一段持续不断的生活旅程。佛朗哥·莫雷蒂在他的书《世界运行的方式:欧洲文化背景下的教育小说》指出,美德成长小说和法国成长小说之间存在显著差别。他提到,美德小说通常都遵循简单的“划分原则”,即故事通常都有一个十分明确的结尾和一场情绪的宣泄。小说的主人公通常会重新融入社会,并以此证明这才是他们最好的出路。而那些遵循自我,无视社会和家庭规则的角色,不是受到惩罚就是无路可走。(《路加福音》中所描述的浪子回头将美德小说的这种情节设计体现得淋漓尽致。


The French, however, tilt towards a ‘transformation principle’ in their coming-of-age tales, Moretti says, by focusing on narratives that depict change for its own sake. On this model, narrative resolutions become unnecessary, and catharsis is viewed as ultimately meaningless. In Voltaire’s Candide (1759), for instance, a quintessential ‘French transformational novel’, the messiness and horror experienced through the near-entirety of the novel fails to lead to Candide understanding how to embrace and integrate into society, still less to his learning how to combat this awfulness. He can only content himself to it.

莫雷蒂说,与美德成长小说不同,法国成年小说往往遵循“转型原则”,着重叙述变化本身。在这种叙事模式下,故事不再追求一个明确的结局,情感宣泄也显得无病呻吟。例如,在典型的“法国转型小说”《老实人》中,尽管主人公憨第德历遍生活的兵荒马乱和艰难困苦,也未能明白该如何拥抱和融入社会,更别提奋起反抗,他只能安于现状。


This style of coming-of-age tale is finally rising, albeit slowly, in the US too. It’s a shift perhaps most famously evidenced in Richard Linklater’s film Boyhood (2014), which celebrates the fluidity of real life by filming the same actors over more than a decade, and allows the boy of the title to morph physically and emotionally as he grows. Boyhood departs from the formula of having a single revelatory moment that usually stands for the key climatic shift in linear American storytelling. Instead, the movie’s rolling structure implies that there is no solution to the hardships of growing up, no solitary moment in which immaturity might be faced down by adulthood once and for all. There is only the passing of time, and the accumulation of experiences that can be retroactively tagged with meaning, or, perhaps more resonantly, left alone.

最终,美国也受到法国成长小说的影响。这一转变在理查德·林克莱特的电影《少年时代》中体现得淋漓尽致。这部电影的拍摄跨越十二年,采用同一批演员。在电影中,男主角在成长过程中身体和心灵都发生了变化。在传统美国式的线性叙事结构中,总会出现某个顿悟的时刻,故事总有反转。但这部电影一反常态,脱离了这种单一模式,拉长故事的时间轴,它告诉我们,历经苦难是成长的必经之路,成年并不意味着你就成熟了。成年仅仅代表着时间的流逝和经历的累加。我们或许会回过头来赋予这些经历一定的意义,但更多时候,我们只会将其遗忘。


‘Growing up’ as it is defined today – that is, as entering society, once and for all – might work against what is morally justifiable. If you are a part of a flawed, immoral and unjust society (as one could argue we all are) then to truly mature is to see this as a problem and to act on it – not to reaffirm it by becoming a part of it. Classically, most coming-of-age tales follow white, male protagonists because their integration into society is expected and largely unproblematic. Social integration for racial, sexual and gender minorities is a more difficult process, not least because minorities define themselves against the norm: they don’t ‘find themselves’ and integrate into the social context in which they live. A traditional coming-of-age story featuring a queer, black girl will fail on its own terms; for how would her discovering her identity allow her to enter a society that insists on marginalising identities like hers? This might seem obvious, but it very starkly underscores the folly of insisting on seeing social integration as the young person’s top priority. Life is a wave of events. As such, you don’t come of age; you just age. Adulthood, if one must define it, is only a function of time, in which case, to come of age is merely to live long enough to do so.

当今社会仅仅将“成长”定义为融入社会,这在道德层面上并不合理。如果你生活在一个机制不够完善,缺乏道德和公正的社会(正如你我一样也许大家都是如此),那么真正意义上的成熟是意识到社会的弊端,并努力改善,而非融入社会,成为不良社会的帮凶。一般情况下,大多数成年故事的主角都是白人男性,因为社会期望他们能够融入社会,而且他们融入社会的过程通常一帆风顺。反观少数族裔和性少数群体,由于他们自认为无法“找到自我”,不符合传统社会规范,因此他们融入社会的难度也更大。一个典型的成长故事绝不会以一个黑人、酷儿女孩为主角,因为难以想象她在找到自我之后会融入到一个边缘化少数族裔和性少数群体的社会。显然,如果这样写,则会凸显鼓吹将融入社会作为年轻人首要目标是多么愚蠢。生活是一系列事件的总和。因此不存在所谓的成年,你只是年岁渐长而已。如果必须定义何谓成年,那么成年只是年月逝去的结果,仅仅意味着你在这世上已经走上一遭罢了。


Although it flies in the face of what our stories have taught us for generations, a new understanding of coming of age, in which there is no direct path to maturity, no single ‘self’ that might be discovered or created, has the potential to be incredibly freeing. If one wishes, one can stand in the rain, watching a carousel, finally feeling grown-up. But, just as legitimately, one can simply experience it and enjoy it, and not feel the pressure to make anything of it all.

成熟不会一蹴而就,也不存在所谓单一固定的“自我”等待发掘或创造,这种对于成年的全新解读,尽管有悖于传统的观念,但它或许会给我们带来前所未有的自由。如果有人愿意,他当然可以站在雨中,看着旋转木马,感觉到自己突然长大。但人们也完全可以简单地体验并享受成年的感觉,而不用背上成年所赋予的种种压力。


原文链接:https://aeon.co/essays/why-the-coming-of-age-narrative-is-a-conformist-lie


“纽约时间比加州时间早三个小时,New York is 3 hours ahead of California,

但加州时间并没有变慢。but it does not make California slow.

有人22岁就毕业了,Someone graduated at the age of 22,

但等了五年才找到好的工作!but waited 5 years before securing a good job!

有人25岁就当上CEO,Someone became a CEO at 25,

却在50岁去世。and died at 50.

也有人迟到50岁才当上CEO,While another became a CEO at 50,

然后活到90岁。and lived to 90 years.

有人依然单身,Someone is still single,

同时也有人已婚。while someone else got married.

奥巴马55岁就退休,Obama retires at 55,

川普70岁才开始当总统。but Trump starts at 70.

世上每个人本来就有自己的发展时区。Absolutely everyone in this world works based on their Time Zone.

身边有些人看似走在你前面,People around you might seem to go ahead of you,

也有人看似走在你后面。some might seem to be behind you.

但其实每个人在自己的时区都有自己的步伐。But everyone is running their own RACE, in their own TIME.

不用嫉妒或嘲笑他们。Don’t envy them or mock them.

他们都在自己的时区里,你也是!They are in their TIME ZONE, and you are in yours!

生命就是等待正确的行动时机。Life is about waiting for the right moment to act.

所以,放轻松。So, RELAX.

你没有落后。You’re not LATE.

你没有领先。You’re not EARLY.

在命运为你安排的属于自己的时区里,一切都准时。”


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点评


童年的日益短暂、全面成熟的姗姗来迟,印刻在已然成为主流的千禧世代及当下各新生代的成长中。跨越了青春期和初入社会期间的,多是一段逐步了解到“我是谁”的求索。诚然,青春灿烂美好,但昨天的自己也往往显得稚嫩可笑。“可笑”是源于认知上的差异。今天的你我,已难再重复昨天的故事。我们的身体细胞经过了无数次的更迭,我们的精神认知也已经千差万别。那么,如同忒修斯之船,过往、当下的每一天的自我,哪一个才是文化概念所认可的“真我”?

通过林林总总的文艺作品,不难看出,一旦“发现了‘真我’”,普通人立刻顺利融入社会、家庭生活,富二代则摇身一变成为超级英雄。从赫拉克勒斯到困顿于肖申克监狱的安迪,从天行者卢克到哈利·波特,在这一脉相承的英雄故事架构中,“发现真我”即是打开“成功之门”的关键钥匙。而对于我们普通人来说,所谓“成功”即便不是“衣锦还乡”的大排场,至少也是要获得身边人的肯定。“发现真我”的真实目的很多时候便在于此。所以,只有探寻到的“自我”能获得足够认可,我们才会将之定义为“真我”。“真我”的定义很大程度上是社会主流价值观的体现。

如此说来,随着社会价值取舍的不断变动,所谓“真我”也仿佛镜花水月。然而,积极者以“真我”为标杆,日拱一卒;消极者以“真我”为幻象,蹉跎岁月。诚然,人各有志,各有活法。没有野心不算可悲,可悲的是以幻想浇灌野心。即使沉迷青灯古卷,也需“时时勤拂拭”哩。热心功名也好,淡泊明志也罢,都需要勇于生长、野蛮生长。


2019年7月17日

刘小康


参考阅读:

与生活在现实世界这个错觉相比,我们还有一个更强大的错觉——我们作为一个完整的、连贯的个体存在于我们头脑中。也就是说,我们总是认为自己拥有一个真实的自我。

海良,公众号:Become“自我”是个幻觉,而“我是谁”是个故事

如果要问我们这个时代最被推崇和珍视的概念,“自我”绝对算得上一个。做自己、真性情、有个性,几乎是当下对一个人最好的赞美。另一方面,扛着“做自己”的大旗,把无知当有趣,把没教养当真性情的也不在少数。做自己为什么难?因为我们很难搞清楚,什么是真正的“自己”,以及怎样才算“做自己”?

王鹏,公众号:新京报书评周刊人们越是标榜“做自己”,也就越是难以“做自己”

是什么使你成为了“你”?——布莱恩·利特尔博士认为每人身上都有和他人相同的地方、和一部分人相同的地方、以及独一无二的地方。

https://www.ted.com/talks/brian_little_who_are_you_really_the_puzzle_of_personality?_&language=zh-cn

豆瓣讨论话题:社会时钟(social clock)是用来描述个体生命中主要里程碑的心理时钟。它由社会文化背景决定,反映了我们生活的社会对我们的期望。在《非正式会谈》第五季第四期中,大家就当今社会的社会时钟进行了探讨。很多年轻人承受着来自社会时钟的压力,一旦没有按照社会时钟走,身边的人就会来“催”,父母、朋友,甚至自己也会因为没有跟上社会时钟而产生焦虑感。  你的生活遵循了这样的“社会时钟”吗?如果不遵循这样的“社会时钟”,你觉得你的人生是什么样的?

https://www.douban.com/gallery/topic/80447/?from=hot_topic_note

酷儿时间:长大成人是一种操演,而非无可逃避的宿命。“长大成人”在千禧一代群体中的兴起,道出了一整代人对于成长之意义的彷徨:它关乎何谓找对象、生儿育女、买房以及闯出一番事业的“正确”年龄段。

https://www.jiemian.com/article/2008989.html

路学长《长大成人》“少跟我玩颓废,看见你我就想吐。/那些人都有着健康的身体,但是失去了健康的精神。你觉得像你这样活着,有意义吗?我就是要你这滴眼泪。”

https://movie.douban.com/subject/1401282/

姜文《阳光灿烂的日子》电影中不论是缺席的父亲、猥琐的老师还是成年的傻子,这些对于成年人的否定形象,表明了马小军对于成年世界的拒绝,而对于自己现在的成年人身份也是怀着一份无奈,阳光依旧,可却似乎已不再灿烂。

https://movie.douban.com/subject/1291875/

《美国往事》:“无论个体如何努力,我们终究是时代的产物,那时代的边界便是你无法超越的宿命。而Noodles,这个跟不上时代的混混,却为我们保留了一些更值得守护的东西。这也是追忆美国往事后,最值得回味的事情。”

https://movie.douban.com/subject/1292262/

路遥《人生》“人生的道路虽然漫长,但紧要处常常只有几步,特别是当人年轻的时候。”

https://book.douban.com/subject/3803820/





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