對文明的第二個思考:桑族人的美味蛋

  歷史學是在反省文明。有學者說,歷史即文明史,這句話自有其道理。但說者的文明史多是歌頌自身文明如何優美與蘊涵真理,如何從其中發掘要義以感動或說服當代之人。這自是一套學問,我也無從整體肯定或否定。但我個人更希望透過歷史學,在我的課堂上與學生討論何謂文明,尤其是我們(現代人)有比古代人文明嗎?我也覺得這是古代史學者的使命。
  我舉過一個例子供課堂上的同學思考。
  有一回我在電視上看到一個影片介紹桑族。桑族,英文稱San或Saan,也通稱Bushman。這個人群在上世紀八十年代以後廣為人知的契機是「上帝也瘋狂」的這部電影,這部片子的主角就是一位桑族人(Bushman)。桑族人被認為是目前地表上少數僅存的狩獵採集的人群,因此可能是地表上現存最古老的原始人種。若你要說他們最野蠻也不為過。這部紀錄片是一位美國的人類學在當地作田野調查的成果。
  其中的一個情節是桑族人撿到一顆鴕鳥蛋。聚落的人群集,料理這顆蛋並享用。其作法令我們這種現代人傻眼。蛋直接打在烤熱的沙上,再用沙子覆蓋。過一陣子後,將沙子撥開,蛋汁也凝固。一群人迫不急待的用手抓蛋,分而食之。影片讓我們看到兒童在吃到蛋的喜樂與滿足。我問學生,你的第一個反應是什麼?
  我想是:他們好可憐啊,沒有廚具,所以吃到蛋的同時,吃進了沙。這個情節也可以拿來教我們的小朋友:你看看人家,吃東西的條件這麼差,人家還吃得很高興,你媽媽每天早上為你煎荷包蛋,你還吃得心不甘情不願。  
  想想這種反應也有道理,吃到煎(烤)蛋的同時吃進一堆沙子的感覺太差了。古人因為工具、技術不足,故要這般茹毛飲血。因此,想想我們是何等幸福,作為文明人。我們可以有先進的廚房,華麗的餐桌,高級的餐具,以及文明的餐桌禮儀。
  但我要學生作第二個思考。桑族小朋友吃到蛋的滿足與喜悅卻是我們沒有的,達不到的。不要說我們吃到一顆蛋時不快樂,一桌的美食也不快樂。我們失去了各種喜悅與滿足,經常煩惱憂愁,擁有高度物質文明與複雜的制度卻覺失去了幸福感。更可笑的是,我們深陷其中,一籌莫展,卻高度歌頌現代文明,沾沾自喜。我們真的比較文明嗎?
  歷史學是想告訴讀者,我們不是活在最好的時代,當然也不是最壞的時代。我們不是最文明的人,我們失落了古老的智慧,當然文明也去除了許多歷史中的惡。好比,過去我們歧視腦性麻痺者,視為邪靈附身或所謂瘋子,歷史上甚至將這些人隔離,對許多腦麻者造成無可挽回的悲劇。現代的教育告訴我們腦麻就是一種病。若你在公車上看到一位腦麻者,現在一般人都不會再害怕,他可能比所謂一般人更和平。而一般人也會對腦麻者提供適當的協助,如保護他在行進間避免跌倒等。這是文明的正面表現。

About 甘懷真

現職:臺灣大學歷史學系教授 研究領域:中國古代史、禮制與皇帝制度研究、東亞古代政治史 通訊處:臺灣大學歷史學系 臺北市106羅斯福路4段1號 電話:886-2-33664710
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