野航读圣经:你要什么 – Reading the Bible: What do you want?

耶稣转过身来,看见他们跟着,就问他们说:“你们要什么?”《约翰福音》

凡祈求的,就得着;寻找的,就寻见;《路加福音》

耶和华我的 神啊,求你按你的公义判断我,不容他们向我夸耀。《诗篇》

知道自己要什么,是人生第一重要的事。恰因为“要”,给人以在遭遇最艰难的处境时给人以活下去的理由;恰因为“要”,给人生以方向与目标,因而可以集中人生的一切能量与资源,去实现这个目标。然而, 在现实生活中,真知道自己要什么的并不多。

或许有人会认为自己想要东西是很明确的。比如,一个病人要的是健康,一个穷人要的是发财,一个自卑的人要的是掌权。很多自认为有着明确的要求的人读到《圣经》“凡祈求的,就得着”的话,通常会产生怀疑。因为就他们的生活经验来看,心想事成的情况并不多见。即便他们是虔诚的宗教徒,即使他们偶尔也会遇到“求的就得着”这类的事情,也不意味着他们的愿望总会得到满足。那么《圣经》上说的“凡祈求的,就得着”以及所有佛寺所打出的“有求必应”的标语仅仅是一种唯心主义的一厢情愿吗?

对这个问题的最深刻的解答就藏在西方流行的一个童话故事里。故事说:“一个人遇上了一个答应满足他一家人三个愿望的神。他不假思索地向神要一根香肠,他的愿望马上实现了。这时,他老婆知道此事,愤懑于他浪费了第一个愿望,就诅咒他:“但愿这香肠长在你的鼻子上”,于是乎,这个愿望竟然也实现了。这人的第三个愿望就只能是让香肠从鼻子上下来了。三个愿望都得到了满足,但这人只得到了一根香肠。精神分析学家弗洛伊德从这个故事中发现了人们心理活动的秘密。这个秘密就是:在每个人的潜意识里,有着许多相互矛盾的需要。正因为这些需要是矛盾的,它们相互消耗掉了对方的势能、以至于让愿望的达成变为不可能。

挣扎在劳苦、贫穷的处境中的人的要求看起来是很简单的,它们需要过上富裕的生活。可什么是“富裕”呢?富裕就是钱够花吗?其实不然。所谓富裕本质上是一种比较。当你觉得你拥有的钱比周围大多数人都够花,你就觉得你富裕了。这就导致了一个奇怪现象——和亿万富翁一起玩,千万富翁也会觉得自己是穷人;和乞丐为邻,穷人也会觉得自己很有钱。“富裕”不是一个绝对值,于此可见那些让人们“富裕起来”的口号是多么地空洞!其中隐含着多么大的逻辑的矛盾!如果真的有一部分人富裕起来了,那就意味着富裕起来的人必须要让周围大多数的人比自己穷,他们才会感到自己是“富裕”的。如果大多数人都富裕了,大多数人就不会认为自己“富裕”。所以,“让一些人富裕起来”的说法的真实意思恰恰就是让大多数人感到贫穷,而“追求共同富裕”这个说法的真实意思就是没有人感到自己“富裕”。

细推下去,我们就会找到为什么大多数想“富裕”起来(包括想拥有权势)的人们的愿望其实实现不了的根本原因了———“富裕”的本质就是让更多的人感到自己贫穷(不一定真的贫穷)!权势的本质就是让大多数人感到无力!每个人都想成为那富裕和掌权的少数人,但实际上大多数人又是由我们每个人所组成的。我们大多数人的愿望,实际上就是在反对自己的愿望的实现!其实,人们想富裕和掌权的愿望是实现了的,正因为实现了,所以大多数人才会感到自己的贫穷和无力。这就是那个“三个愿望”的童话故事中所包含的深邃哲理。

有人会乐观地设想一种“双赢”的局面,也就是让所有人都至少相对富裕起来。这种局面并非全无可能。问题在于:如果大多数人都真的富裕起来,实际上“富裕”这个意识就已经被废除了、富裕起来的大多数人的愿望焦点已经不在所谓“富裕”上了,他们需要另一种东西来支撑自己的存在意义,这是一种超越于富裕与贫穷、掌权与无力之上的东西,它就是“神的公义”。

“神的公义”是什么呢?可以非常肯定地讲,对于富人、有权势的人而言,是不可理解的、是无意义的、甚至是可疑和有害的。因为。权力感与富裕感本身就是建立在让大多数人感到贫穷与无力的(也就是没有公义)基础之上。正因公义的缺乏,大多数人才会陷于贫穷与无力的处境之中;正因公义的缺乏,优于大多数人的权力感与富裕感才成了一些人的生存意义与价值感的支柱。所以,耶稣说“你们富足的人有祸了”。“神的公义”就是让掌权者与富人不能从他们的权力与财富中获得价值感的东西,“神的公义”就是“己欲立而立人,己欲达而达人”,让人活在这世上的价值感建立在让绝大多数他人得益处的基础之上。“神的公义”,就是“大道之行,天下为公”。

相比起来,那些无望改变自己命运的穷人则更容易理解以及渴求“神的公义”。因为他们就是这世界的不义的直接受害者。当然穷人更容易理解“神的公义”并不等于穷人就自然会拥有“神的公义”。在历史的现实的生活中,我们会常常看到这样的情景。绝望的穷人由于过于痛恨这世界的不义,有人选择用更大的不义来报复这世界的不义,而有人则高举“公义”的旗帜来打倒不义、可打倒不义的手段又制造了新的不义(自法国大革命以来,这样的事情真是不断在重演)。耶稣说:“贫穷的人有福了”。贫穷的人“有福”,是因为穷人更容易渴求“公义”。但贫穷的人也不一定自然有福,如果穷人所求的“公义”是属世界、属血气的,则这“公义”仍然会败坏,甚至走向公义的反面。

《圣经》说:“凡祈求的,就得着”,这话是无比真实的。富人与官僚求的就是让更多人陷于贫穷与无力,因此上,他们求的也就是仇恨。他们的祈求,是一定会满足的。正如红歌中唱道:“种瓜的得瓜,种豆的得豆,谁种下仇恨,他自己遭殃”。《圣经》说:“神啊,求你按你的公义判断我”,这话是无比深刻的。如果没有神所立的至高尺度,穷人所要的“公义”,只会滑向无尽的杀戮。

Jesus turned, saw that they were following him, and asked them: “What do you want?” (Gospel according to John)

Everyone who asks, receives; search and you shall find (Gospel according to Luke)

Lord My God, judge me according to your righteousness, and do not let them rejoice over me.(Psalms)

Knowing what you want is the most important thing in life. Because of ‘wanting’ only, people find a reason to live in the most difficult situations; because of ‘wanting’ only, people have direction and goals in their life, and they can focus all their energy and resources to satisfying that goal. However, in real life, not many people actually know what they want.

Or there might be some people who think that what they want is very clear. For instance, what a sick person wants is health, what a poor person wants is wealth, and what a weak person wants is power. Many people who believe they have a clear desire, when reading the words of the Bible that “everyone who asks, will receive”, are usually suspicious. Because in their experience of life, cases when wishes come true are rare. Even if they are very religious, even if they occasionally experience instances of ‘ask and you shall receive’, this still does not mean that their wishes will always me granted. So, is the Bible saying that ‘everyone who asks will receive’, and the slogan of all Buddhist temples that ‘what is needed must be’, just wishful thinking from idealists?

The most profound answer to this question is hidden in a popular Western fairy tale. The story says: ‘A man met a God who promised to grant his family three wishes. Without thinking further, he asked for a sausage, and his wish was instantly satisfied. Then, when his wife knew about this, angry that he wasted his first wish, she cursed him saying: ‘I wish this sausage would grow on your nose’, and right then, to their surprise, her wish became true. And so this man’s third wish was simply that there would no longer be a sausage on his nose.’ Three wishes had been granted, and yet all they got was a sausage. The psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud found the secret of people’s psychology in this story. The secret is that in every person’s subconscious, there are many conflicting needs. And because these needs are contradictory, they consume each other’s potential, and make the satisfaction of desire impossible.

The requests of people living in situations of hard labor and poverty seem to be very simple: they want to lead a prosperous life. But what does ‘prosperous’ mean? Is wealth having enough money to spend? Actually not. What we call ‘wealth’ is actually a relative perception. When you feel that you have more money to spend than most people around you, you will find yourself rich. This has led to a strange phenomenon – millionaires who spend time with billionaires will feel poor, and poor people living next to beggars will feel rich. ‘Wealth’ is not an absolute value, and from this we can see just how empty the slogan inviting people to ‘get rich’! And how much logical contradictions it contains! If a number of people are really getting rich, these rich people have had to make the majority of people around them poor, in order to feel ‘rich’ themselves. And if most people are better off, then most people will not feel so ‘rich’. Therefore, the true meaning of the slogan ‘let some people get rich’ is actually that most people should feel poor, and the true meaning of the statement ‘pursuing common prosperity’ is that no people will feel ‘rich’.

If we get to the bottom of it, we will find why many people who aspire to become ‘wealthy’ (including those seeking power) actually ignore the root cause of their desire – that the essence of ‘wealth’ is that more people around you feel poor (though they’re not necessarily actually poor) ! The essence of power is that more people feel powerless! Everyone wants to be one of these few people who have wealth and power, but’most people’ is actually each one of us. And the desire of most people is thus actually opposed to the satisfaction of our desire! In fact, when people’s desire for wealth and power is realised, precisely because it is realised, most people will feel their own poverty and weakness. This is the deep wisdom contained in the fairy tale of the ‘three wishes’.

Some may optimistically imagine a ‘win-win’ situation, where everyone is at least relatively affluent. This situation is not entirely impossible. The problem is that, if a majority of people are actually wealthy, the sense of ‘wealth’ has actually been lost, and the desire of these people who have all become ‘rich’ is no longer focused on that so-called ‘wealth’, they need another thing to support their existence, and this thing is beyond wealth and poverty, power and weakness, it is ‘the justice of God’.

What is “The Justice of God’? We can say with great certainty that, for the wealthy and those with power, it is incomprehensible and meaningless – even suspicious and harmful. Because, one’s own sense of wealth and power is based on others feeling poor and powerless (in other words, on lack of justice). And it is precisely through lack of justice that most people are trapped in poverty and helplessness; It is the lack of justice, that causes the majority of people to equate power with wealth and that having wealth and power is to have a life of value and importance. And so Jesus said: ‘Woe to you rich’. “The Justice of God” is that the rich and powerful cannot use their wealth and power to gain anything truly meaningful, “The Justice of God” is that “a man is the sum of his desires, as man reaches for his desires so shall he become them” ,Let the foundation of a man’s life be to live to help and benefit others and in this, find true meaning. “The Justice of God” is “Walking the way of Justice, the whole world becoming one community”

In comparison, those poor people with no hope to change their destiny will find it easier to understand ‘the justice of God’. Because they are the direct victims of injustice in this world. Of course, the fact that poor people easily understand ‘the justice of God’ does not entail that they will also possess ‘the justice of God’. In the reality of historical life, we will often encounter the following scenario. Some desperate poor people, because they hate the injustice in this world so much, will choose to avenge injustice through an even greater injustice, and some people wave the banner of ‘justice’ to throw down injustice, but in so doing, they just establish a new form of injustice (since the great French Revolution, this kind of scenario has repeated itself many times). Jesus said: “blessed are the poor”. The poor are ‘blessed’ because poor people tend to desire ‘justice’. But poor people are not necessarily blessed by nature, and if the ‘justice’ that poor people aspire to is material and worldly, then this ‘justice’ will still be corruptible, or even opposed to justice.

The Bible says: “ask and you will receive”: this statement is very true. What the rich and the bureaucrats ask for is that more people be trapped in weakness and poverty. And for that reason, what they’re seeking is also hatred. Their prayers will certainly be satisfied. As the lyrics of the red song say: “the melon seed yields a melon, the soybean seed yields a soybean, they who sow hatred, they themselves will suffer’. The Bible says: “God, judge me according to your righteousness”, and this statement is very profound. If God was not there to establish high standards, the ‘justice’ of the poor would slide into endless killing.

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adminreply
August 3, 2018 at 4:18 am

Original translation by Paddy.james35

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