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      英語世界
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      Understanding Chinese Culture: The Challenge to the West
      發布時間:2019年10月01日     柴晚鎖、武立紅 譯  
      來源: 英語世界
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      Understanding Chinese Culture: The Challenge to the West

      西方的難題:理解中國文化

       

      By David Bromwich

      文/榮大偉1

       

      China has become an indispensable global player. Yet in the West, the dominant narrative has failed to understand that this does not mean that China has become Westernised. China is creating an alternative2 to the West.

       

      中國已在國際社會中不可或缺,然而,西方主流敘事體系卻仍未意識到,這并不意味著中國已然西化。中國正沿著有別于西方的道路前進。

       

      The West has not made a serious effort to understand a Chinese perspective, and to a great extent has not appreciated that an alternative understanding exists. Confucius said: “Real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s ignorance.”3 The West, with its Westerncentric approach, through its ignorance and failure to understand China, has placed itself in peril4 of being left behind in a newly emerging world order.

       

      西方并未真正努力去理解中國視角,而且很大程度上并未認識到還存在一種不同的思維方式??鬃釉f過:“知之為知之,不知為不知,是知也?!痹谖鞣街行恼摰闹笇?,由于無知且對中國缺乏了解,西方已將自己置于一個可能被新興的世界秩序拋在后面的危險境地。

       

      We see this ignorance in headlines in Western newspapers, in which the Western perspective is dominant. There is selective reporting to portray5 negative impressions, and facts are often misrepresented. Too often Western reporting lacks critical evaluation, leading to very low credibility within the media to further the dialogue and promote a valid6 understanding of China. Fake news does exist.

       

      瀏覽以西方視角為主導的西方報紙,便能從各大頭條新聞中發現這一無知。為了刻畫中國的負面形象,選擇性報道、歪曲事實成了家常便飯。西方報道往往缺乏批判性的價值判斷,致使媒體信譽嚴重降低,對話從而無法深度展開,真實可信地了解中國無從談起。偽新聞確確實實存在。

       

      A New Zealand newspaper reported that China was sending 120 medical doctors to a Pacific island to assist with its low level of community health. A positive action, one might think, but the focus of the story was to ask what was China doing in the Pacific, and how have we failed to the extent that we have allowed this to happen. What are the Chinese doing on “our patch”?

       

      新西蘭一家報紙曾報道中國向一座太平洋小島派駐了120名醫生,以幫助改善當地低劣的社區醫療條件。人們可能認為這是一項積極之舉,然而,該報道關注的焦點卻是在問中國在太平洋做了些什么?我們怎么就淪落到聽任這件事發生的地步?中國人正在“我們的地盤上”干什么?

       

      This kind of media attention does damage to the potential for the public to appreciate what China stands for, and gives a negative impression of China. China has little opportunity to present its own image to the West.

       

      類似的媒體關注有損于公眾理解中國理念的可能性,并傳遞出一種負面的中國印象。中國鮮有機會向西方展示自己的真實形象。

       

      The challenge to the West, then, is to enhance an understanding and appreciation of what China is. How does China’s cultural heritage present a positive and optimistic advantage to the world in the longer term?

       

      因此,西方的難題就在于增進對中國的全面理解。從長遠角度看,中國的文化傳統對世界具有何種積極、樂觀的影響呢?

       

      To understand this question it is important to consider the foundations of Chinese culture and society. China has more than 5,000 years of uninterrupted history and cultural development. We at least need to go back 2,500 years and study Laozi, and Taoism, for their cultural and philosophical roots, and Confucius for his social philosophy and impact on society.

       

      要理解這一問題,就離不開考量中國文化及社會的立足根基。中國歷史及文化發展綿延逾5000年,未曾間斷。我們需將視線回溯至少2500年,以了解老子及道家的文化和哲學根源,了解孔子的治世之道及其對社會的影響。

       

      While I am not an academic, I am a keen observer of China today, and where China has emerged from. To me, Taoism provides us with many aspects of the special nature of Chinese culture and philosophy. The concept of yin and yang is well known in the West, but not fully understood or practised by many, either individuals or leaders. Yin and yang bring us balance through the integration7 of opposites.

       

      我雖不是學者,卻一直熱切關注當今的中國及其歷史淵源。在我看來,道家學說可供我們了解中國文化及哲學特質中的很多方面。陰陽合一這一概念在西方廣為人知,但無論是普通民眾還是領袖人物,真正理解并踐行這一理念的人卻為數不多。陰陽二元對立融合,帶給我們一種平衡狀態。

       

      China has a cultural heritage of opposites creating balance. For example, crisis in Chinese, 危機, consists of two characters, wei and ji, to represent “peril” and “opportunity”.

       

      對立產生平衡是中國的一個文化傳統。舉例來說,crisis一詞的中文表達是“危機”,由“?!薄皺C”兩個漢字組成,分別表示“危險”和“機遇”。

       

      In Chinese medicine, there is a holistic8 approach that treats the whole body, in which imbalance with yin and yang, hot and cold, are the cause of disease. The solution is to restore imbalance rather than targeting the specific symptom or problem area in isolation. The solutions offered tend to take a longer time to take effect, with a focus to work in harmony with the body. This is not to say that Western medicine is imperfect. I merely use this as an example of a Chinese approach to seeking solutions to problems.

       

      中醫秉持整體概念,將人體視作統一的整體,認為陰陽失調、冷熱不均是致病的原因。治病的思路在于恢復平衡,不能孤立地針對某種特定癥狀或病灶來實施治療。開出的方子往往需要些時日才能見效,其核心在于讓藥物與身體和諧地發揮作用。這并不是說西醫就不完美,我只是以此為例,來闡釋中國人在尋求解決問題的方案時所依循的思路。

       

      I participated in an international forum titled Eco-civilisation and Antipoverty in Guizhou. Throughout the speeches there was common reference to harmony between man and nature. This concept has very deep roots in Taoist thinking.

       

      我參加了在貴州舉行的一場題為“生態文明與反貧困”的國際論壇。其間,各位演講者普遍提到的話題便是人與自然的和諧。這一概念深深扎根于道家思想體系中。

       

      In 21st-century China, the economic loss through environmental degradation9 fits very comfortably into the Chinese approach to addressing the establishment of an eco-society. Several international speakers referred to a decreasing confidence in some Western countries to maintain a global consensus10. The speakers presented an increasingly positive impression of China’s determination to participate in leadership of this consensus.

       

      在21世紀的中國,環境惡化導致經濟損失(的觀點)與著力建設生態型社會的中國思路完美契合。多位國際演講者提到,西方某些國家在維持全球共識方面信心下降。中國參與并引領這一共識的堅定決心在他們心中樹立了日益積極正面的印象。

       

      With reference to an eco-civilisation, China is already a leader in the transition11 to clean energy, and of all countries has made the major contribution globally to lifting people from poverty.

       

      說到生態文明,中國早已引領了向清潔能源的過渡,并為幫助全球人口擺脫貧困做出了所有國家中極為巨大的貢獻。

       

      Chinese food is a Chinese culture that most of us feel we are familiar with. Underlying the creation of dishes is the philosophy of creating balance through a simple combination of a range of different elements. Sweet and sour is a wellknown example of apparently opposing tastes, but different textures and colour combinations are also valued.

       

      中餐是中國文化中我們多數人自認為非常熟悉的一個方面。中式菜肴烹制的背后,隱藏著將各色不同要素通過簡單配搭而產生平衡的哲學理念。酸甜搭配是一個眾所周知的例子,將表面截然不同的口味融合在一起,但色澤、食材的配搭也同樣重要。

       

      Chinese traditional ink paintings are simple in presentation, but rich in images of the natural environment that mimic human nature. To fully appreciate Chinese art, these elements need to be understood. The bamboo is a symbol of elegance, and the hollow stem suggests modesty. The plum blossom is an element representing nobility and strength, emerging while the snow is still on the ground.

       

      中國傳統水墨畫呈現方式很簡單,但卻蘊含著大量與人性相呼應的自然環境意象。如欲深入賞鑒中國藝術,必須了解以下要素。竹子是優雅的象征,中空的軀干代表謙和。梅花傲雪怒放,喻示高貴和堅韌。

       

      Confucius’ contribution to Chinese society also illustrates a difference from Western society. Eastern and Western philosophical aspects of society have a similar time span from Confucian and Greek times onwards, but the confluence is minimal. Put very basically, Eastern society places the community, or a concept of a big family, as the most important component of society. This can place all considerations of social issues in a subjective framework.

       

      孔子對中國社會的貢獻同樣彰顯了不同于西方社會的一面。從孔子和古希臘時代算起,就哲學層面來看,東西方社會有著大體類似的時間歷程,但兩者之間的交集卻少之又少。概括而言,東方社會將族群,或者說龐大的家族,視作社會中最重要的構成要素。所有涉及社會問題的考量都建立在主觀的框架之內。

       

      In Western society, it is the individual that is considered to be the unit of society, compatible12 with an objective analysis of issues.

       

      而在西方社會,個體被視作社會單位,這點更適于客觀分析事件。

       

      I like to ask people: “Considering a monkey, cow and banana, which is the odd one out? Monkey, cow, banana?” The vast majority of Chinese will choose the cow as the odd one out because of the relationship between the monkey and the banana. The monkey eats the banana, so the banana gives sustenance13 to the monkey.

       

      我想問問大家:“比方說有猴子、奶牛、香蕉三種東西,你認為哪種東西(與其他兩種)格格不入?是猴子、奶牛還是香蕉?”絕大多數中國人傾向于選擇奶牛,因為猴子與香蕉有關系。猴子吃香蕉,所以香蕉是猴子維持生命的命脈所系。

       

      Western people invariably see the banana as the odd one out because they see the objective classification of the monkey and cow, with both being animals.

       

      西方人無一例外地認為香蕉才是格格不入的東西,因為他們關注的是猴子和奶牛的客觀分類,兩者都是動物。

       

      The consideration of these two responses, and extension into deeper philosophical understanding, presents a major difference between Chinese and Western thought. The Chinese have a much stronger sense of community and the interrelationship of things, compared with an individualistic approach.

       

      仔細分析這兩種反應及其背后更深層次的哲學見解,我們發現東西兩種思想之間存在重大差別。相比個體的觀點而言,中國人更加看重群體及事物之間的相互關聯。

       

      Confucian scholar Mozi promotes a concept of da ai, a “big love” or, more appropriately, “respect for others and things”14. If expressed in an altruistic15 way, this makes for an easy, positive unification of people, countries, man and nature. Embracing an eco-civilisation and the Belt and Road Initiative are examples of the potential this unification can offer.

       

      儒家思想的代表之一墨子崇尚“大愛”,或者更恰當地說,主張“尚他、尚物”。從利他主義角度來看,這有助于人與人、國與國、人與自然之間達成積極和諧的統一狀態。擁抱生態文明和“一帶一路”倡議便表明了這種和諧統一的局面所能帶來的潛力。

       

      The challenge to the West is to embrace an alternative perspective on issues. It is time for Western media to seek a balance in reporting affairs, and critique the Western perspective. It is time for a Chinese voice to be allowed to be heard in the West.

       

      西方的難題在于要悅納一種不同的處事待物理念。西方媒體是時候在報道中尋求一種平衡并對西方視角予以批判,是時候讓西方聽到中國的聲音了。

       

      Then public opinion can begin to adopt an appreciation of what China has to offer. Understanding Chinese culture has become indispensable to appreciate the complex world where China plays an increasingly crucial role. Leaders need this understanding.

       

      那么公眾民意才能開始賞識中國的貢獻。為了理解當今紛繁復雜、中國日益發揮關鍵作用的世界,領會中國文化已是不容忽視的要務。各國領袖都需如此。

       

      Only then will a harmonious world order be allowed to develop freely, and the global consensus can become a peaceful one, and conflict diminished16.

       

      只有到了那時,和諧的世界秩序才有望得到自由發展;全球共識才有望和平達成;沖突才有望減少。

       

      注釋:

       

      1. 新西蘭—中國友好協會主席。

       

      2. alternative 替代方案;不同于常規的(觀點、見解等)。

       

      3. 語出《論語·為政》:“知之為知之,不知為不知,是知也?!?/span>

       

      4. peril危險;險境。

       

      5. portray 描繪;刻畫(人物等)。

       

      6. valid 合理的;有效的。

       

      7. integration 融合;一體化。

       

      8. holistic 整體的;統一的。

       

      9. degradation 惡化;降級。

       

      10. consensus 共識。

       

      11. transition 過渡;轉折。

       

      12. compatible 協調一致;匹配。

       

      13. sustenance 維持(生計);生存。

       

      14. 墨子的核心思想包括兼愛、非攻、尚賢、尚同、天志、明鬼、非命、非樂、節葬、節用等。其中,“兼愛”(也就是文中提到的“大愛”)是他針對儒家“愛有等差”的說法提出的新主張,強調“愛無差別等級,不分厚薄親疏”,即:愛和尊重不同的人及事物。

       

      15. altruistic 利他的。

       

      16. conflict diminished本句為省略句,完整句子為:... and conflict can become diminished.

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