續:讀Ken Jones

還在慢慢的讀Ken Jones,今早剛把第七章"Buddhism and Modernity"讀完了。最期待的不是他對現代性的描述和拆解,而是如何把後現代放置到現代的顛峰,視之為沒有解決的延續;並佛教作為現代以外的眾多另類,與後現代差之毫釐,謬之千里。 首先,他質疑後現代跟本沒有成立:

Postmodernisnm, the dominant intellectual current in high modernity, originates in this disembedded reality of fragmented appearances. It finds all claims to absolute authority and universal applicability no longer convincing, and deconstructs them back to their subjective origins in time and place. It is thus understandable that it thinks itself postmodern. However, as a cultural movement I see it rather as a culmination of what has gone before- a kind of intellectual end-of-the-road got modernity. It is, moreover, integral to high modernity as a whole, the social structures and processes of which are much more obviously a culmination of modernity rather than anything qualitatively and radically different – a true postmodernity. (p.77)

後現代之作為一種文化經驗,大概只有對少部份人而然才是親歷其境(甚至坐享其成),但對大部份仍舊在資本主義(市場)與現代族國(政體)下營營役役的大多數而然,我們生活的現實環境,還是沒有脫離極端工具理性化的社會體制(從領匯、外判到近日的自僱與?工)。 至於後現代主體的不確定性,Jones則認為是現代個人主義的進一步極大化。這裡得要小心,在指出個人極化的同時,Jones並沒非此即彼地掉內社群主義,以宗教右派的口脗把個人視為萬惡的本源,必得加以道德、政治甚至宗教的制約。而是先拆解現代以至後現代所謂個人的極大化,到底是一個怎樣的謊言:

Anthony Giddens, In Modernity and Self Identity, remarks that “in fact, for writers in a post-structuralist vein, the self effectively ceases to exist; the only subject is a decentered subject, which finds its identity in the fragments of language and discourse." […] […] On the contrary, they [postmodernists] produces an anaesthetized reality in which the suffering in the world is reduced to the meaning in the “text’ and the collage of images, and the anguish of lack is evaded in the play of cool irony. (p.79)


In general it appears that the scholars and scientist of high modernity now widely accept Buddhist egolessness, but have been unable to come to terms with it on a personal, emotional level. Is this the final giant step to be taken from high modernity to Dharmic modernity? […] For these earlier thinkers, the self was exposed in dread to a meaningless world. However, the consequence for them was not, in fact, nihilism- meaninglessness, nothingness – but a dread of nihilism. It is the clinging to despair as the shadow of hope and the evasion of nothingness that is the problem, not nothingness itself. (p.79) When we let go of the self-pity and narcissism of despair, what appears as meaningless becomes simply meaning-free. (p.80)

所以每次當我看着友人甚至自己在人群中喊着「不遷不拆」、「寸步不移」,七情上面的時侯,我還是會猶疑為什麼我們在教室裡談着後現代,談着多元的身份政治,卻還是渴求一種不變的,能安置我們種種身份迷失的城市生活?反而我們的「敵人」市場和政府,卻像比我們更懂得後現代,而能義無反顧的大規模改造城市,到處捏造各種美輪美奐的身份?這裡Ken Jones再引用Richard Sennett 與Christopher Lasch,認為個人主義的最大化,到頭來不過是一種縱容的自戀,唯有以蠶蝕公共生活來填補被消解於虛無的個人的身份焦慮。於是無論是追逐名牌也好、投入運動也好,其背後還不過同是一個永遠無法滿足的我,因而不能逃脫於這種惡性循環,疲於奔命。有趣的是,Ken Jones 在這個死結位,援引的並不是佛陀的話語,而是繼續轉引(前)英國英師Anthony Giddens的話,重新訴之於道德與政治:

The expansion of internally referential systems reaches its outer limits; on a collective level, an in day to day life, moral / existential questions thrust themselves back to center stage. Focusing around self-actualization, although also stretching through to globalizing developments, such issues call for a restructuring of social institutions, and raise issues not just of a sociological but for a political nature. (p.83) (待續)




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