Wednesday, March 18, 2015

News and Commentaries, 15-03-18

by Zheng Yefu, professor of Sociology at Peking University
This is a speech he gave on October 12, 2014, as part of the series speech organized by “Gao He Fen Xiang (Go High)” (高和分享). The theme of this series of speech was “the arrival of post-materialism”.

1, Planned economy made people starve, while capitalism encourages people to explode their belly. There is no perfect system.

2, There are four major areas of critique. First, a big shift of values and their providers. In today’s Western world there is no second ideology. There is just one ideology, which is consumption. The biggest promoters and providers are business people, instead of politicians.
2, 第一部分,人生观及其提供者的大转换.

3,Only business people could display the good life in great detail with beautiful depiction. They could tell you what to eat, what to drink, where to live and which car to drive. They tell you, “open a bottle of Remy Martin, and good things will come naturally”. Therefore, if the good life is advocated as a kind of life value, businessmen definitely are the monogamy of this power of discourse.
3, 只有商人才可以具体而微、活灵活现地展示好生活。他们可以告诉你吃什么,喝什么,住什么房子,开什么车子,告诉你“人头马一开,好事自然来”。所以说,如果把好生活作为人生观来鼓吹的话,商人必将成为这话语的垄断者。

4, (After basic needs are satisfied) how to fulfill the void of meaning of life has become a question. Two forces compete to fulfill this void. One is from businessmen. We have mentioned earlier that on one hand businessmen strive to promote promotion, and on the other hand they create the life value that’s centered on consumption. However, another kind of work can’t be conducted by businessmen alone. Businessmen can only sell them. The second work needs the help of theorists. Businessmen need the right kind of theorists to help with their campaigns. That’s where happiness-centered philosophers come from.
4, 怎样填补生活意义的真空,成了一大问题。两股力量在力争填补这个空白。一股力量就是商人,我们前面已经说到了,商人们一方面在推动消费,另一方面在营造以消费为核心的人生观。但是后一种工作,光靠商人是不行的,商人只能够去促销。后一个工作还需要理论家来出场,要有和商人的活动相配合的理论家来出场,这就是提出了快乐哲学的理论家们。

5, Second, critique on happiness philosophy. I believe it is ridiculous to say that people live on the pursuit of happiness. I think it trivializes and simplifies life. I think there are three pursuits in life, instead of just one. Which three pursuits? Comfort, stimulation and recognition (cow’s vagina, 牛逼). The third pursuit. “Cow’s vagina”, which reveals its meaning - the admiration and flaunting of sex. How did modern society go wrong? It went wrong because it confused these three and hoped to use one method to satisfy all these three pursuits.

6,Third, critique on consumerism. Flaunting consumption has exceeded since the ancient time. It is because there are two kinds of needs in human nature, one is comfort, the other is flaunting (recognition).
6, 第三部分,消费主义批判

7, In this process businessmen are the leaders. They dominate society and they create the consumption ideology. Of course in the process of creating ideology, theorists of happiness philosophy help businessmen.
7, 在这个过程当中商人是首领,商人支配了这个社会,商人造就了消费的意识形态,当然在制造就这个意识形态的时候,还有快乐哲学的理论家们帮助商人。

8,In my understanding of capitalism, there are several intrinsic contradiction. One intrinsic contradiction is the perfection of machinery and the flaws of human being. The second intrinsic contradiction is that it makes everyone have a split personality. One side of human being values work ethic and becomes workaholics - they work super hard. Another part of them becomes shopaholic. These two work together naturally. If you don’t shop till you drop, do you need to work as hard?
8, 我理解资本主义有这样几个内在的矛盾。一个内在的矛盾是机器的完美与人的残缺。

9, Fourth, fulfilling the void after being physically fed, and gain recognition. After people have satisfied their basic needs to be fed they face two possibilities: one is degradation, the other is upgradation. Material prosperity and the concept of democracy stimulated one thing: people’s desire to gain recognition. In the past only few people aspired to be acknowledged by others. As the increase of material wealth and the promotion of the concept of democracy, there are an increasing number of people who hope to be acknowledged. This is difficult. More people want to be noticed, more people don’t want to be forgotten.  
9, 第四部分,温饱解决后空虚的排遣和牛皮的获得

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