关于“仪式”

By Mujing

In this article, Mujing discusses the gradual evolution and loss of rituals in China.

ORIGINAL

中国曾经是而且现在也仍然是一个注重仪式的国家,只不过方式不同了。

一九四九之前的中国,靠的是儒家的“礼”。这套“礼”体现在生活的每一个细节中,让尘世的生活获得了一种准宗教的仪式感。翻开《弟子规》,一个传统中国人一天到晚需要遵循的礼仪清清楚楚。只不过这套古老的系统无法完全适应中国的现代化需要,先是在民国“西学东渐”的洪流中被冲击、削弱,继而在共产党发动的政治运动中被妖魔化、被毁灭。难怪余英时先生会说:脱离了礼仪制度,儒学不过是一个旷野上的幽灵。

新中国采用的是另外一套仪式,这套仪式的重点不再是伦理,而是政治与社会。在造就共产主义新人的过程中,公民的正常生活被集体化、军事化。仪式不仅反复强化着个人的国家主义认同,更规范着社会生活的方方面面,通过精密的评价制度让个人臣服、恐惧并产生一种保尔柯察金式的牺牲精神。虽然市场经济在后毛泽东时代的复苏极大地削弱了对这些仪式的膜拜,但是它们的流毒仍然在毒害着无数中国人。

也许很多人都看到了最近那场阅兵,可是很少有人想到这种全国性的新法西斯主义狂欢是建立在日常生活中无数次的仪式感培训上。后毛时代的中国一个最吊诡的现象就是意识形态与现实生活的全面脱节:仪式的阴魂一方面使中国迟迟无法在心态上步入现代国家,另一方面使中国公民在仪式与现实的巨大落差中越发玩世不恭。这种中国特色的撕裂与纠结集中体现在中国的学校当中。

中国的学校每周起码有一次升旗仪式,全校同学被强制性地聚集到操场上高唱国歌。学校生活的方方面面都以集体为单位进行评比:学习流动红旗、精神流动红旗、卫生流动红旗、先进班集体、先进宿舍……评比无处不在,作眼保健操的时候都有人记分、评比。而如果学生表现不好,就是“拖了集体的后腿”,这在中国是很难被饶恕的罪过。通过将荣誉感与精细的评价相结合,集体主义仪式同时成为了校园中无处不在的微观控制机制,变成了青年学生膜拜与害怕的对象。只不过随着年龄的增长,他们越发意识到仪式在现实生活中的荒诞与无力。大多数中国学生都会在生命的某个时刻经历沉痛的幻灭感,这个时候我们很难再指望他们仍然是理想主义者。

TRANSLATION

China used to be and still is a country of rituals, though in vastly different ways.

Before the communist takeover in 1949, China was supported by “rules of propriety,” a key component of institutionalized Confucianism. In Confucian classics such as the Book of Rites, the daily life of a Chinese from dawn to dusk is ritualized through a sophisticated set of rules, giving it a sense of quasi-religious holiness. However, this ancient system was not completely compatible with China’s modernization drive. It was first challenged during the “Learn From the West” movement in the Republic of China and was later demonized and destroyed in the political movements launched by the Communist Party. It is no wonder that Mr. Yu Yingshi, a leading expert on Chinese intellectual history, describes contemporary Confucianism as “a wandering ghost” because it has been deprived of its ritual establishments.

A new China has adopted a new system of rituals, shifting emphasis from the ethical realm to politics and social life. In the process of creating the “New Communist Man,” the life of a Chinese citizen was collectivized and militarized. Rituals not only strengthened the ideological legitimacy of the state but also aroused fear and an irresistible urge to obey and sacrifice. Although the revival of the market economy after Mao’s death marginalized the role of rituals in political and social life, making mass rallies and mobile broadcasting stations on top of trucks a distant past, their remnants still support the fragile legitimacy of the regime and continue to haunt the Chinese mentality.

Many are familiar with the recent farcical military parade celebrating the victory of the Sino-Japanese War, but few have realized that this national orgy of Neo-Fascism comes from the rigorous cultivation of rituality in everyday life. In Chinese schools, there is at least one flag ceremony every week which requires mandatory attendance of every student. The ceremony is often accompanied by moral lecturing of the headmaster and the announcement of “advanced” individuals and classes in the past week. Honors include the red flag for good learning, the red flag for good behavior, the red flag for good hygiene, the red flag for good suite etc. In my primary school, there was even a red flag for doing eye massage well. Students who did poorly in intra-class evaluations are labeled as “dragging the leg of the community” and are often looked down upon by their peers.

The Chinese government has successfully established the cult of collectivism through rituals which simultaneously serve as micro-mechanisms of social control. Such rituals still have an overwhelming presence in schools and continue to instigate a combined feeling of pride, veneration and fear. However, nearly all Chinese students will experience painful disillusionment at some point in their lives. The great schism between ideology and reality will backfire on the sacredness of rituality and produce widespread cynicism. Idealism for the post-Mao generations has already become a luxury.