“自我”的秘密————从《西游记》到《黑客帝国》 – The secret of the self: from “Journey to the West” to “The Matrix”

宗萨仁波切说,影视也是指导人修行的“唐卡”。 影视以及文学中隐藏着世界与人生的奥秘,就看我们是否看得出来。<br>

对 于我们每个人而言,都会遭遇孙悟空式的烦恼————当我们满怀自信地进入到一个类似“天宫”的父权秩序中,经过攀比,我们发现我们在父权秩序中的座次其实 很靠后,很边缘。于是,我们很容易将我们的愤怒与希望投射并寄托于“齐天大圣”这个人物身上。对于敢于“大闹天宫”的人而言,挫折是不可避免的,我们将发 现我们会终将被外部世界的父权秩序种种地压于五行山下。“齐天大圣”是谁?它就是我们的自我意识。<br>

绝大多数 的人无奈地选择做“弼马温”而服从父权秩序对我们的摆布。也就是将自我意识淹没于他者的指定中从而甘于过平凡而乏味的生活。而那些不甘心牺牲自我的人却又 注定要被打压于五行山,这是自我意识进入父权秩序的不可逃避的命运。问题出来了————如果我们注定没有力量去改变“玉皇大帝”定下的规矩,我们的“自我 意识”是否有另一条路可走?<br>

如果有“菩萨”来点化我们,我们会发现,“自我意识”的本事再大,也跳不出既定世界这个“如来佛”的掌心。而人生的完善还需要另一个“我” 出场,这个我就是“绝对主体”。只有当自我意识拜他为师、归他领导,并走上一条追求真理的“取经”之路,才能自我超越、修成正果。<br>

西游记说的不是四个人的故事,说的是一个人的故事,说的是自我意识与绝对主体的关系以及走向的故事。<br>

《黑 客帝国》里被安排好的虚拟空间就像是另一个“天宫”,无论是幸运还是不幸,我们的生活是被外在于我们的力量设计好了的,尼奥一帮人就是试图打破这样的设计 而追求自由的孙悟空式的人物。然而尼奥的抗争遭遇到一个名叫“史密斯”的劲敌的阻挠,“史密斯”是谁?“先知”告诉尼奥:“你们是一枚硬币的两面”。人类 不自由的根源在于人的另一个自我更喜欢被奴役,从而反对自己。《西游记》中“我”的敌人来自外面,《黑客帝国》中“我”的敌人就是另一个自我。<br>

我 们常常强调,命运掌握在我们自己手中,其实不然。我们认真观察就会发现,即使人靠主观能动性不计成本不惜代价地改变了命运,到了某个时候,就会有一个隐秘 的“我”出来反对自己。现实中存在着大量的事例能证明这一点。比如,有些成功人士会在其生命的某个阶段陷入严重的情绪低落或莫名其妙的亲手毁了自己所创建 的一切,仿佛有一个内在的敌人在捣鬼一般。为什么会出现这样的状况?因为“成功”所满足的仅仅是“自我意识”,而“自我意识”的满足恰恰是以牺牲人的整全 性为代价的。人格是一个能动的有机体,它不会容忍作为整全性的“我”被永远牺牲,它会“复仇”,而“复仇”,是一个无意识的过程。<br>

“复 仇”的一种表现形式就是:有时候,那个反对我的“我”(无意识因素)会因为我的强大而变得更加地强大。就像《黑客帝国》中那个史密斯变得强大甚至要颠覆整 个虚拟空间的统治一样,这道出了人类生存处境的一个最大的关于异化的秘密————人越是成功,就越是失败。就像马克思在1844年哲学经济学手稿》中所总 结的那样:“你就存在得越少,你表现你的生命越少,你就有得越多,你外化了的生命就越大,你异化了的本质就积累的越多”。因此上,人的自我意识所追求的成 功,到头来往往被证明不过是无意识为自己设计的陷阱罢了。<br>

人的自我意识要的是成功,而作为整体的人要的是完 善。人活着,如果仅仅是为了所谓“成功”而面向外部的世界的话,人就已经注定掉进了异化的陷阱中。而人的完善,则取决于人对自我意识的扬弃与超越。《黑客 帝国》的结尾为我们提供了一个有益的启示———尼奥消灭史密斯的办法就是被史密斯消灭。<br>

今天的世界,是一个 个体的“成功”被无限夸大、人人梦想着通过成功来改变命运的时代,人们的眼睛总盯着外部那看得见的浮华世界。今天的世界,也因此是自我意识如癌细胞般无限 膨胀因而最大规模的牺牲了人的整全性的世界。今天的世界,也因此上是隐藏着重大的内在风险的世界。每个人都梦想成为“齐天大圣”,然而,正因为我们的时代 为我们提供了梦想成真的可能性,我们内在的“史密斯”也就空前的强大了起来,它终将彻底的颠覆我们。当我们有朝一日遭遇到那来自内部或外部世界的不期而至 的颠覆时,我们或许会意识到:人的生命不是用来成功的,而是用来“成佛”的。

As Dzongsar Rinpoche has said, film and television also can be a ‘thangka’ that guides peoples spiritual practice. The mysteries of world and life are hidden in television and literature, so let’s see if we can find them.

Each one of us will run into troubles like Monkey does – when we confidently step into a similar ‘heavenly palace’ patriarchal order, after comparison, we find out that the place we find ourselves sitting is actually very backward and on the edge. After this it is very easy for us to place our frustrations and hopes with this the character, “the great sage equal of heaven”. As for those people who dare to “wreak havoc in heaven”,setbacks are unavoidable, and will discover that ultimately in the end we will be trapped under the ‘five elements mountain’ by every sort of the external world’s patriarchal forces. So who is this “great sage equal of heaven”? He is our sense of self.

The vast majority of people reluctantly choose to work in the position of “protector of horses”, and obey the patriarchal order to get mercy. To let the sense of self be submerged in the way it is defined, and thus lead boring and mundane lives. But these people unwilling to sacrifice themselves, are fated to be squashed and trapped under the five element mountain, this is the inescapable fate of the self-consciousness entering the order of patriarchy. And so a problem arises – if we are fated and powerless to change the rules imposed by the ‘Jade Emperor’, is there another way to go for our sense of self?

If a “Boddhisatva” comes to enlighten us, we may discover that the abilities of the self are bigger, and yet we cannot escape this world, the palm of ‘Buddha’. But the perfection of life still needs another manifestation of the ‘I’, and this ‘I’ is ‘the absolute subject’. Only when the sense of self worships him as a teacher and goes under his leadership does it embark on the road towards truth and ‘learning’, and only so can transcend the self, and reach fruition.

Journey to the West does not tell the story of four characters, it tells the story of one character, it tells the story of the relationship between self-awareness and the absolute subject, and the direction it goes.

The virtual space of ‘the Matrix’ is like another ‘temple’, whether fortunate or not, our lives are determined by forces outside our own, and Neo’s group attempts to break up this determined design and pursue freedom, like a sort of Monkey-King style figure. But Neo’s resistance is obstructed by him encountering a man called ‘Smith’. Who is ‘Smith’? ‘The Prophet’ tells Neo: ‘You are like the two sides of a coin’. The root reason why people are not free is that another self in them prefers enslavement, and they therefore come against themselves. In ‘Journey to the West’, the enemy of the ‘I’ is external, in ‘the Matrix’, the enemy of the ‘I’ is another self.

We often advocate that life is purely personal autonomy, but that is not the case. Careful observation finds that the subjective initiative spares no expense when it acts upon our lives, and at the threshold, a certain veiled ‘self’ manifests in opposition to ourselves. There are many real-life examples that elucidate this point: at some stage in life, a successful person, say, capitulates to depression; or more degenerately, destroys his own handiwork. He is up against an antagonist, an innate and irrepressible haunting. But why does this happen?“Success” merely satisfies our ‘self-awareness’. ‘Self-awareness’, contrarily, demands altruism. The personality is an active organism, and “self” will not tolerate eternal surrender, it exacts “revenge”, and when this happens, it eclipses consciousness.

One manifestation of ‘revenge’ is: sometimes, the ‘I’ which opposes me (the unconscious factor) can, because of my strength, become even stronger. Just like that character Smith in ‘The Matrix’ becomes stronger and stronger, until it subverts the rule of the entire virtual universe, this highlights one of the greatest secrets of alienation in the human existence —the more people succeed, the more they fail. This is the same thing Marx summarizes in the 1844 Manuscripts: “The less you exist, the less you manifest your life, and the more you have, the bigger the life you externalise, and the more your alienated essence accumulates.’ Therefore, the success that human self-consciousness pursues often proves to be nothing but a trap designed by its own unconscious.

What people’s sense of self wants is success, but what people as a whole want is perfection. When people are alive, if they only care about so called ‘success’ and the external world, then they are doomed to fall into the trap of alienation. But perfection relies on discarding and going beyong personal self-awareness. The end of ‘The Matrix’ gives us a useful lesson — the way for Neo to eliminate Smith is to be eliminated by Smith.

Today’s world is an age where individual ‘success’ is hugely exaggerated, and everyone dreams to change their own fate through success; people’s eyes are constantly staring at the vanities of the world, at things that can be seen externally. Today’s world is therefore a world where the self can have unlimited expansion, like cancerous cells, and thus unlimited expansion comes at the expense of a holistic relationship of the human with the world. Today’s world is therefore also a world where significant dangers are hiding. Everyone dreams of becoming a ‘Monkey King’, but because our age has provided us with the possibility of ‘making dreams come true’, our inner ‘Smith’ has gained unprecedented power, and will eventually subvert us entirely. And when one day we encounter that unexpected subversion, coming from inside or outside, we may realize the following: human life is not about becoming successful, it is about becoming the Buddha.

 

4 Comments

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Ben Thomasreply
October 24, 2013 at 11:06 am

I wonder about how to translate the term 自我意识? Although I think the translation ‘sense of self’ is pretty good, I’m not sure of “self-awareness” as a translation. Mainly because self-awareness has connotations of merely been aware of ones actions, thoughts feelings or sense of being, but is not so exclusively linked in with this concept of an ego that I think is present in the term “自我意识”。 Ego-consciousness is also a term that crops up in Buddhist writting, and while seeming like an extremely literal translation, I think could also be a liveable translation.

julien.leyrereply
October 25, 2013 at 11:05 am
– In reply to: Ben Thomas

You’re making a good point. Do you know that you can improve the translation by registering an account with us?

Ben Thomasreply
October 24, 2013 at 11:10 am

Oh, and another thing that came to mind while looking at this text was the possibility of having some footnotes at the bottom of the article. This essay is riddled with references to journey to the west and some buddhist technical terms that many people may not have heard before.

julien.leyrereply
October 25, 2013 at 11:05 am
– In reply to: Ben Thomas

We’re looking at a plugin for footnotes :-). Good suggestion!

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