Zhou Guoping: “What a Dull Era We Are Living In!”

Author and philosopher (周国平) is a researcher at the Philosophy Institute of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. He is well-known in Chinese intellectual circles as the translator of Nietzsche. The following quote from his blog, has been frequently cited in many Chinese online forums. Translated by CDT’s Linjun Fan:

“What a dull era we are living in!

I look around and find everybody is busy, with weariness, greed and helplessness on their faces. There is no sparkle of excitement in their eyes. Seniors get together in parks and enjoy themselves in dancing, but kids are confined in classrooms all day bent over endless school work.

I see scholars hectically attend various meetings and forums and laud each other as great masters, creating an unprecedentedly boisterous atmosphere in an era without real academic masters.

I see publishers collaborate with mass media to produce one cluster of bestsellers after another, successfully turning reading from a personal interest into a mass revelry.

I see real estate developers work closely with officials, resolutely sweeping away historical architecture and ancient streets, and replacing them with monotonous large squares and columns of skyscrapers.

I see many things interesting are being destroyed, and the phenomenon of no-fun is spreading.

I can’t help but lament that what a dull era I am living in.”

“这是一个多么无趣的时代。

我朝四周看,看见人人都在忙碌,脸上挂着疲惫、贪婪或无奈,眼中没有兴趣的光芒。我看见老人们一脸天真,聚集在公园里做儿童操和跳集体舞,孩子们却满脸沧桑,从早到黑被关在校内外的教室里做无穷的功课。

我看见学者们繁忙地出席各种名目的论坛和会议,在会上互选为大师,使这个没有大师的时代有了空前热闹的学术气氛。

我看见出版商和媒体亲密联盟,适时制造出一批又一批畅销书,成功地把阅读由个人的爱好转变为大众的狂欢。

我看见开发商和官员紧密合作,果断地将历史悠久的古建筑和老街区夷为平地,随后建造起千篇一律的大广场和高楼群。

我看见许多有趣的事物正在毁灭,许多无趣的现象正在蔓延。

我不得不说,我生活在一个多么无趣的时代。”

October 3, 2008, 9:51 PM
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Categories: Culture & the Arts