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关于中国濒危文化保护者CECP的几个问题

 

一 如何定义濒危的中国文化?

中国文化以其独特的天人合一的理念和对人性道德力量的高度依赖而在人类文明谱系中占据着独特的地位。然而一个令人悲哀但却难以否认的事实是,广义上讲,尽管有着灿烂的历史,但中国文化早已陷入了全面而深刻的危机。从全球角度看,我们面临着文化边缘化和沙漠化的巨大风险,一个伟大文明可能会消失在历史的长河中(虽然这会是颇具争议的,但争议只是对于程度方面)。而这不论对中国,还是对世界,都将是一个巨大的损失。对中国文化的复兴(Renaissance)或更新(Refreshing)工作已是迫在眉睫。CECP希望契合这一宏观的主题,但是我们需要为我们的工作锁定更具体,更具备操作性和可供检验的目标。因此,我们将尝试如此定义“濒危中国文化”:他们是以物质或非物质形式留存至今的中国文明的一部分,或者说是我们常说的“文化遗产”,其对文明特征延续的意义超过了其经济价值。他们的存在和延续性已经受到某种威胁而有可能在不远的将来逐渐退化乃至消失。这种威胁可能来自因外界缺乏了解而导致的自然湮灭,也可能来自在当前社会经济体制下文化的受益人和代理人的错位,当然也可能源于文化本身同现代社会的不兼容而急需得到改造。很多情况下,这几种威胁是同时并存的。但是我们认识到,他们的延续对于中国文化的保存和复兴存在重要意义,因此有必要针对这些特定的威胁进行分析,制定保护策略和采取保护措施,而我们相信国际的成功经验将是可以借鉴,甚至是具有决定意义的。

 

二 CECP将采用何种方式去保护濒危中国文化?


欧洲文艺复兴的结果并不是希腊文明重新统治世界,而是通过对前人智慧的反思,重构和借鉴而生发新的文明。同样,中国文化的复兴不等于是让过去的世界重现,因为过去的世界,无论如何,已经被时代淘汰了。因此我们要反对的是源自于盲目自我崇拜的为了复兴而复兴和为了保护而保护。对中国文化的保护必须通过一种新的视角对其进行再认识,并在必要时加以改造。一个文明中的优秀部分也必然是有足够的开放性能接受改造并最终获得普适的效力。

因此,CECP的保护方式将会有其秉持的理念和独特的风格。

我们首先将致力于让中国文化更好的呈现于世界面前,即让世界更好的认识中国文化。我们相信保护中国濒危文化的最好的方式,就是让更多人知道他们的存在,并了解其真正的价值。需要强调的一点是过往中国文化的呈现方式总是参杂了太多的主观动机,过多的突出“精华”的一面而对“糟粕”的一面则有意遮掩,这固然符合了某种现实需要,但结果是我们呈现给世界的中国文化往往是平面化,脸谱化,脱离了文化的原始语境,失去了原本多条共存的文化线索,缺乏可信度也缺乏生命的活力。我们需要树立一种信心,即真实而完整的中国文化才会是最好的中国文化。我们不仅要展示故宫和万里长城,也要展示夜壶和大烟枪。不仅要关注杰出人物和重大事件,也要关注草根百姓张三李四王二麻子。他们都是中国文明的不可割断的有机组成部分,在某种意义上他们是更真实的中国。我们会组织大量的乡村古镇旅行和田野调查,深入接触各个阶层人群,以试图在真实的语境下获得对中国文化历史和现状的了解。

其次,在真实展示中国文化的前提下,我们对中国濒危文化的保护依赖于大量关心中国文化的国际志愿者的参与,我们希望带来的是一种对中国文明的再审视和文明之间的冲撞和交流。这种交流应该是来自民间而不仅仅是官方层面的。我相信比起身居宫廷中的元朝的马可波罗或是明朝的利玛窦,大唐酒肆里的胡姬,商铺中的波斯商人以及四处行走的僧侣们给中国能带来更为深远的影响。普通中国人和文化保护工作者必定可以从这种民间交流中获得一种对中国文化的全新认识。而反过来这也给中国文化融入世界并发挥其应有的贡献提供了良好的契机。

最后,我们认为保护传统中国文化不等于将其搬进博物馆,其最终目的在于找到其在美学或是其他方面的普适意义和现实价值。外国人经常困惑于中国人为什么不穿中国传统服装,而修房子为什么总是推倒那些精美的老房子而代之以并无文化根源和审美价值的水泥森林。固然我们可以找到一千条理由作出解释,但不可否认的是我们缺少认知传统文化中现实价值的能力,也因此而缺少将传统文化与现代生活方式相结合的愿望和能力。固然我们今天也能感受到从官方到一部分民间有一种恢复传统文化的冲动,比如对孔子思想的重新宣扬和民间对某些传统文化形式的热衷,但前者往往由于过于功利的动机而演变成一种对文化的虚构和任意诠释,而后者则往往陷入因循守旧而与现代生活和文明格格不入,最后只能沦为孤芳自赏而难以得到普遍认同。另一个例子则是民居建筑保护中的“整旧如旧”, 剥去了建筑中携带的历史印记,同时因为缺乏对现代生活方式的包容而使得老建筑最终不适于居住而只能成为供游客参观的展品。西方社会自从文艺复兴以来积累了大量的保护传统并使之与社会生活同步进化的经验,在伦敦和巴黎街头我们可以看到最现代的和最古老的建筑和谐共处,现代艺术和古典艺术之间一脉相承而并无本质上的突兀感。而在泰国和台湾,即使经济突飞猛进,我们也时刻能感受到那种田园牧歌和传统文化带给人们的宁静安详,文化让人们有机会延续那种“诗意”的生活。我们希望借鉴这些经验,让传统中国文化得到某种形式的“更新”而重新熠熠生辉。

总之,文化保护实在是件big issue。We still fight for the big issues, but in our small and individual way。这就是CECP的行动方式。我们并不是最早的行动者,已经有很多先行者在发出和我们一样的喊声。我们希望承接这种力量并使其前进一小步。

 

Some Questions about CECP

 

1. How to define Endangered Chinese Culture?

Chinese culture has a unique role in the spectrum of world civilizations due to its belief in harmony between man and nature and its high dependence on moral power. A sad but undeniable fact is that, in general sense, though had a brilliant history, Chinese culture is now in grave danger. We are at the risk of cultural marginalization and desertification. A once vital civilization could vanish in the river of human history and it will be a tragedy for not only China but also the world. The need for Renaissance or Refreshing of Chinese culture is pressing. CECP will go along with this macroscopic theme, but we need more specific work content to make our target more operatable and verifiable. Therefore, we try to define 'endangered Chinese culture' as a part of Chinese civilization which exists in material or non-material form and that existence is under threats. The threats could come from social ignorance, or from dislocation of agent and beneficiary in current social and economic system, or from the incompatibilities between the traditional culture and modern society. These threats occur simultaneously in most situations. As we realize that the continuance of the endangered culture has great meanings to the Renaissance of Chinese civilization, we need to analyze these threats and work out protection strategies. We believe the successful experiences from International community could be our reference and have critical importance.

2. How will CECP conduct the protection of Endangered Chinese Culture?

The Renaissance movement in Europe is not a copycat of Greek culture. It has given rise to a brand-new one through reflection and reformation. Likewise, the Renaissance of Chinese endangered culture doesn't necessarily mean the reoccurrence of the past. No matter what, the past is already weeded out by natural selection. Therefore, we are not in favor of self-worshipers who hold the view that 'Renaissance for Renaissance’s sake' or 'protection for protection’s sake'. Chinese culture should be observed from a new angle, even transformed when necessary. The essence of a civilization ought to have that openess to transcend individuality and to achieve universality.

To begin with, we aim in a better way to present Chinese culture to the whole world, so as to help others to gain a better understanding of Chinese culture. We believe that the best way to protect Chinese endangered cultural heritage is to let more people know its existence and its true value. One thing that merits notice is that subjective motivation has often, if not always, played a very important role in the old way of presenting Chinese culture in which the 'essence' is highlighted while the 'dross' is discarded. It of course serves some realistic purpose, but results in presenting to the world a culture which lacks credibility and vitality and is mediocre and monotonous enough to deviate from its original track. We need to establish a confidence – Chinese culture is only beautiful when it's real and whole. Not only the Imperial Palace and the Great Wall should be exhibited, but also chamber pot and opium pipe; not only the great people and events should be studied, but also the common people and their 'trivial' encounters. They are inseparable organic part of Chinese culture, to some extent they are the real China. CECP will organize trips and conduct field surveys in urban and rural area and ancient towns, get to know Chinese people from all walks of life, so as to gain a thorough understanding of current Chinese culture in a more authentic way.

Next, CECP welcome volunteers and participants from all over the world, who will bring upon a re-observation on Chinese culture and cultural impacts. In comparison to Marco Polo in Yuan Dynasty and Matteo Ricci in Ming Dynasty who both dwells in Emperor's palace, the Persian merchants and the monks traveling the country in Tang Dynasty had a more significant influence over China. The common Chinese and cultural scholars could gain a new understanding of Chinese culture from these communications. What’s more, it will provide a good opportunity for Chinese culture to integrate into the world and to make its due contribution.

Finally, the protection of Chinese culture doesn’t mean to put it in museums, but to realize its universal and realistic value by evoking resonance in aesthetic field and so on. Foreigners in China have always been confused by why Chinese do not wear traditional costumes and why they destroy those exquisite ancient houses and build ugly forests of iron and steel which date back to nowhere. We can find thousands of reasons to explain. However, what we cannot deny is that we lack the ability to cognize the practical value in traditional culture and so we deprive ourselves the desire and ability to combine traditional culture with modern life. Of course today we can sense a vogue for traditional Chinese culture. For example, Confucianism is once again propagandized in mainstream media and there is a zeal for certain traditional cultural forms such as tea art or antique collection. However, the former, due to its utilitarianism motives, results in cultural fabrication and arbitrary definition; while the latter eventually leads to indulgence in self-admiration and fails to evoke resonance due to being fettered by old conventions and being misfits to modern life. Another example is the so-called “re-oldden” movement on old residential buildings in which the old buildings are renovated in exactly the way it was imagined to be. It hence removes the history imprinted by the past residents and meanwhile turns the old buildings into only tourist attractions for their lack of compatibility with modern life, and eventually makes them unsuitable for living. Many other countries have accumulated a wealth of experience on how to protect traditional culture and how to make it co-exist with modern life. We look forward to learning from these experiences and help Chinese traditional culture reborn, refreshed and reinvigorated.

To sum up, cultural protection is such a big issue that needs hundreds of years and a whole nation's joint effort. We still fight for the big issues, but in our small and individual way. We are not pioneers, for we have already felt the impulse sent forth by many people of wisdom. We look forward to borrowing strength from this impulsive power and to marching a little step forward!

 

 

 

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