20120315

學問不是海

小時候聽老師說「學海無涯,唯勤是岸」,信以為真,不過,我沒有因此而努力讀書,只是認定自己永遠不會到岸。到中學時讀《莊子》〈養生主〉,起首是「吾生也有涯,而知也無涯,以有涯隨無涯,殆已,已而為知者,殆而已矣」,看到這幾句,好像忽有所悟,覺得一生苦苦追求學問的人很傻,那學問的汪洋大海,一頭栽進去,不但不會有到岸的一天,而且是一件危險的事呢!至於怎樣危險,老師沒有解說,我也懶得深思。後來讀到〈逍遙遊〉,那跟〈養生主〉配合得真好,像是勸我不必努力讀書,逍遙做人可也。

然而,我終歸還是選擇了追求學問。

我現在的了解是,「學海」這個比喻並不貼切,只能點出學問的無窮無盡,完全沒有觸及為學的目的、進程、難處、和樂趣  --- 跳進海裏,為的是甚麼?在海的哪一部份游會有分別嗎?會越游越感困難嗎?如果會,難道只是由於倦了?一味的游呀游,不停地撥動手腳,見的只是眼前的海水,有甚麼滿足感可言?

我說學問更像是山,不是一座山,而是很多座的山,每一座都極高,就算是只攀一座,一個人窮一生的精力和時間也不可能到達山的巔峰,只能比其他人都攀得高而已。攀山為了甚麼?為求看得遠。攀得越高,看得越遠,看到的東西也越多,雖然不會因此而看到整個世界,但至少能較清楚地看到世界某一方面的全貌(至於是哪一方面,便要看攀的是哪一座山了)。

攀山起初的路不太斜,崎嶇之處不多,容易走,但越上越陡,便逐漸難攀了,每向上攀高一點,便要比之前多花幾分氣力,才可以再往上攀。很多人未到山腰已放棄了,只能嘆一聲胡為乎來哉;有一小部份人想到無限風光在險峰,提起勁繼續攀,他們到達高處後的視野和得到的滿足感,是那些早就放棄的人難以想像的。

山,有那麼多座,你可以選擇只攀其一,務求攀到自己能力可達的最高處;你也可以選擇攀幾座,每一座攀到艱難處便下來,另攀一座;你甚至可以在很多座山的山腳漫步,為的是向人說「我曾到此一遊」,只要記住山之多山之高,不要以為在山腳走走便等如攀過山,那就無妨了。

22 則留言:

  1. 很同意。但時下多人求即食、講出位、淺入淺出,令人意興​闌珊。舉個例,一本好書,很多人看了個大概,便說自己把​書讀過了。略讀可以有益,但精讀對很多人而言,早已變成​非做不可才做的事了。

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    1. 讀書也不一定要精讀,可以各取所需,只要不誇大自己的所得便成了。

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    2. 我想說的是:如果看書每每只是走馬看花,或不精不略,沒有對好書精讀的習慣(可自行選擇好書精讀以練功),就很可惜了。
      franz

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  2. 記住攀完山後要返落嚟,否則大風起夸雲揚,冷得人頭腦不清醒。

    泰山腳下有「孔子登臨處」牌坊,那高度,笑死人的!

    不識嶗山真面目,只緣身在此山中,只顧在山中遊走,也會墮於障蔽。

    隨即又想起關正傑,「獨闖高峰遠灘,人生幾多個關」;還有阿秋仔,「千山我獨行不必相送」。

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    1. 嘩,你聯想力好豐富喎!

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  3. 學問是山也是海;有云山高皇帝遠,天空海闊任鳥飛。jl

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    1. 那隻鳥卻是不用飛入海中的。

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  4. Wong,

    I've just finished reading your essay 'Meaningfulness and Identities', its arguments are very clear and are well-constructed; your definition of meaningfulness also makes a meaningful life accessible.

    But I do have a question about the importance of meaningfulness: Can a less meaningful life be more desirable than a more meaningful life? For example, a teacher and her students all value her identity as a teacher with reasons, but also, this teaching job is very demanding and makes her suffer a lot. Is the meaningfulness of her identity or her happiness more important in this case? Or if Don Giovanni is satisfied with his identity as a women seducer (which isn't valued by others), should he still care about the meaningfulness of his identity?

    btw, 很多人「攀山」只為拿張證書,搵份好工;他們忽略了學問的樂趣,很是可惜。

    city

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    1. //Can a less meaningful life be more desirable than a more meaningful life? //

      - Yes. I don't think meaningfulness always trumps happiness as more desirable. (There is a brief discussion of the relation between meaningfulness and happiness in my essay.)

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    2. //There is a brief discussion of the relation between meaningfulness and happiness in my essay.//

      It is precisely that brief discussion ('The Miserable Scientist') makes me think about to what extent should meaningfulness be valued.

      city

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  5. ///為求看得遠;攀得越高,看得越遠,看到的東西也越多,雖然不會因此而看到整個世界,但至少能較清楚地看到世界某一方面的全貌...
    ///很多人未到山腰已放棄了,只能嘆一聲胡為乎來哉...有一小部份人想到無限風光在險峰,提起勁繼續攀,他們到達高處後的視野和得到的滿足感,是那些早就放棄的人難以想像的。
      
      
    始終係動機問題,做人點解要咁不甘平庸,辛苦自己呢?看小說,看電影,都可以好有滿足感。

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    1. 對,不是每個人都要追求學問的。

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  6. 哈哈!教授有冇睇辯論?放條片比你:
    www.youtube.com/watch?v=8WrBCM8XKqE

    其實一共2小時的,遲D搵下。

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    1. 謝謝。看了,慘不忍睹。

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    2. 我是覺得,無競選,也不接受選民問責和監督的統治者是不會有「慘不忍睹」,但受其獨裁統治之下的民眾就卻很可能會有「慘不忍睹」。

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  7. 請問,道家算不算有種反知識傾向呢?

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    1. Let me do short and long answers. (My opinions.)
      The short answer is no. 道家 (philosophical Taoism) isn't (or shouldn't be) against knowledge itself or the pursuit of knowledge, but it "guards against" attachment (borrowing the Buddhist term) to knowledge or the pursuit of knowledge.
      Digression: 吾生也有涯,而知也無涯. In a Chinese commentary, 知 isn't translated as knowledge, it's translated as something like analysis or logical thinking (my English translation of the Chinese text.)
      Long answer: The short answer isn't quite right, because 道家 (philosophical Taoism) isn't representative. So, the question is kind of invalid. Religious Taoism isn't representative either. Philosophical Taoism just talks, talks, and talks. True Taoism is about practice. And practice isn't about accumulating knowledge or analyzing or talking about them. One wants to get knowledge, fine. Just do NOT get attached. Also, in some cases, attachment to knowledge can blind you.
      Today's philosophical Taoism and religious Taoism have nothing to do with practice. That's why I say that they aren't representative. --zpdrmn

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    2. //請問,道家算不算有種反知識傾向呢?//

      - 看漏你這個留言,現在補答。我的理解是道家並非反知識,只是反對被知識束縛(或被追求知識之心束縛);假如是逍遙自在地追求知識,那是不違道家精神的。

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  8. I think the interesting thing to me always is that there is always more to what i think i know.

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  9. 其實學問是我們可山是海都一樣的廣大無垠、至高無上。即便我們選定了某一座山去登,那山的高度也永遠無法被我們測量。莊子說「生也有涯,知也無涯」,他說的是「知」,世界上的學問的確是無法窮盡的。但是若有如大鵬鳥一般的「智慧」,那麼又怎麼會自居為小小鷽鳩呢?

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  10. 在我看來,莊子這句話純粹是表達了自己價值觀下的偏見,因為單以“以有涯隨無涯”這點,其實并不足以支持追求學問就是“殆矣”這結論,因為人生在世,有很多追求也可以是無涯的,金錢,愛,名譽,快樂,甚至道家認為是最高真理的道。設想一下,如果是道家鼓勵人追求永恆的道,他們又會怎麼說呢?他們大概會說,正因人生有限(有涯),我們若要獲得恆常的自在,就要與永恆(無涯)的道合一,將有涯寄於無涯之上,完成生命的超越,以獲得安頓……諸如此類。可見,單因學海之無涯而以其為苦,只是因他已預設追求學問本身為苦而已,如果是對學習探索的過程樂在其中的,又豈會介懷其無涯?他們享受的是過程,而不是結果啊。

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