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价值一语：Words of Value:
存在者用他的灵魂，理性与自知给自己的生命赋义定义。 他注重实质与内在。 他常问的是： 我应是什么，我应做什么，我生命的意义在哪。 他的上苍就是他的良知。 虚无者则相反。 他只用他的肉体，迷茫与他人印象（面子）给自己的生命赋义定义。 他只注重表象与数量。 他常问的是： 这是否对我有利，他人对我如何，我是否得罪了谁。 他的上苍就是多数群体与强权。 --- 陈凯
A human being uses his soul, reason and self-awareness to define his own life. He stresses substance and essence of existence. He often asks: What am I? Who am I? What should I be? What should I do? What is the meaning of my life? His God is his own conscience. A human non-being will be the opposite. He only uses his flesh, his confusion and others', mainly majority's opinion (face) to define his own life. He stresses physical satisfaction, appearances and quantity of life and possessions. He often asks whether or not he can take advantage of others' weaknesses, how others view him, and whether or not he has offended anyone. His God is the majority in the collective, and the ultimate power to control others. --- Kai Chen
一个是自己肉体奴隶的人不可能是一个自由人。 --- Seneca: Epistolae Ad Lucilium, XCII
No man is free who is a slave to the flesh. --- Seneca: Epistolae Ad Lucilium, XCII
灵智肉 - 存在vs.虚无
To Be or Not To Be, Existence vs. Nothingness
By Kai Chen 陈凯 (Written 10/8/2006, Reprint 9/26/2011)
Above quotes are intended to further clarify the terms I often use in my essays and writing -- Existence or Nothingness, Being or Non-being, To be or Not to be... Unless we often ask ourselves these fundamental questions about life and existence, we are in danger of falling into the abyss of nihilism and meaninglessness. If China can ever have a meaning for its existence, it is up to you, the individuals to find meaning in your own life, and with it China can start to have hope and meaningful existence. It is the individuals who give meaning to a nation, NOT the opposite.
Next month, there will be a reunion of the former members of the August 1st Basketball Team (八一篮球队）in Nanjing. Some of my former teammates will go back to attend the reunion. But I have no intention to go back for such an occasion. The reason is simple: I don't want to waste my time in Nothingness and the nihilistic mumble jumbles. And I don't want to use my presence to verify or solidify some nihilistic non-existence.
Many of my former colleagues, in their fifties and sixties, have already started to look back in their lives for a little past glory and warmth. In other words, they are already giving up on life and wait for their own deaths with their remaining breaths, maybe find some fake respect from others because of their old age. I pity them, for I have just started an entire new chapter of my life in America: My two daughters will be soon on their own, independent to seek their own lives' meaning. I will be embarking on a new journey to fulfill my own life. It is a very exciting time and I can't wait to find what is in store for me on my journey. I will always look forward to new episodes of my life and new challenges in my life, and maybe only in my deathbed I will turn my head to look back. I am pretty sure that I will be smiling at what I have done in my life, with my life, and immersing myself with a profound sense of serenity and satisfaction: I have never wasted my life.
Have you noticed how different the Chinese restaurants arrange their own seating for diners from that in Western restaurants? In a Chinese restaurant, seating is arranged with more than two people, while in a Western restaurant, seating is arranged mainly for two. Have you contemplated why? Does this manner of seating reflect what I have just talked about in my quote in the beginning -- existence or nothingness??
When two people talk, they tend to reveal something substantive in their lives to each other, something that matter to them as individuals. But if you have a crowd of more than two, you will find that the conversation is usually small talks, nothing substantive. Is this just "cultural"? Or is this a fundamental contrast of a culture of Existence against a culture of Nothingness?
I can list many such "cultural phenomena" to illustrate my point of "existence vs. nothingness". I hope you can also start to notice such essential contrast.
"To be or Not to be?" This is the fundamental issue in a person's life. Shakespeare and many Western literature giants had often asked this question in their works. I have still yet to find many Chinese starting to ask themselves this substantive question. Why not start now if you haven't?!