Tuesday, April 10, 2007

未平息的科玄大戰

由理論之必要,經過布希亞之死,匿名者和潛行者的對話終於觸及科玄大戰--以英語系為主的科學家和科學哲學家近十年向法語系(其實是經英譯了的法語系)為主的後現代/後哲學文化「歪風」宣戰、華語讀者視之為「後現代視野中的科學和人文的衝突」。這課題一點也不潛行,也許因此我不得不披上另一個persona發聲。最新的討論在這裡

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4 Comments:

At 6:20 AM, Anonymous TSW said...

我則比較機械地保守和懷舊。你知道上年zizek的中文字幕獲得如何強烈的好評嗎?你想過連英文字幕都沒有的情況下斯洛文尼亞的口音是顯得多麼擾人嗎?有人一套戲都沒聽懂「fi-lm」,我則聽不懂「drim」即dream。工作、工作,像那些斯洛文尼亞口音的受難者一樣工作,站在被系統排斥的人那一邊,這不能作為一種意志的來源嗎?

 
At 9:50 AM, Blogger 潛行者 said...

沒有字幕是因為沒有錢請人做字幕啊。

舒淇寫的電影節今昔改變完全說明了一切,上年做齊澤克即使兩場全爆也蝕到攤攤腰,於是今年的策略是借上年的剩餘而斬多兩襾而已。

(轉貼)電影節殺死了電影(明報) 04月7日及8日
是從什麼時候開始,「電影」(The Cinema)不再是電影節的原因/目的,而變成了它的結果/手段?我指的電影節,並不局限於(或針對)我城的電影節,而是泛指幾個所謂的leading festivals,和亟亟於要與它們「看齊」或相提並論的模仿者。

從前的電影節是一場電影的祭典,人們——不論是電影節的組織者、電影工作者、評論者、觀眾以至(只很少數的)電影商人——都是抱?崇敬、期望以至學習的心情來參與其中的。拿得出來而又被經精挑細選參賽的作品,未必全是佳作(得視乎不同的標準),但起碼都是為了「電影」而拍攝的創作。那年頭,技術上,電影是一種最複雜的藝術(因為結合了科技);但理念上,卻是種有可能達致最純粹的藝術。電影院是聖殿,銀幕是祭壇;進入電影院觀賞電影(而不單是「看」)需要全神貫注(創作者最重要做到的其中一件事,就是要怎樣吸引住觀眾的注意力),和一顆安靜的心(否則無法專注)。看電影又是一種集體的經驗——與其他觀眾共同呼吸:一起從同一個physical的空間進入另一個想像的空間。討論、爭論、對談是事後的指定活動。人們會期待已成名的電影工作者(演變至後來被稱為「作者」)如何開拓新的創作領域(這本身已是一項帶著冒險性的行為);對新導演則另眼相看,並愛護有加(康城的「導演雙周」、柏林 的「青年論壇」,原先都是為新導演而設的項目)。那年頭,人們的時間其實較多,但電影卻重質不重量、貴精不貴多。

現在的電影節,說得動聽一點是場「嘉年華」(意指熱鬧、喧嘩、放縱?)其實很多時不過是個雜貨攤,表面上分門別類,琳瑯滿目,但實際上僅屬一種window-shopping(是否巧立名目已非重要):講求的是瀏覽,而不再是鑑賞或品嘗。參與者都抱?不一樣的目的——電影節的策劃為的是競爭、影評人為的是要建立權威、觀眾為的是追星、(很大數量的)電影商人為的是搶奪(版權),但相同的卻是一樣的浮躁,一樣的impatient。為了互相比併、炫耀和引人(傳媒)矚目,Glam(星光熠熠)遂成了電影節必備的元素,但所謂的「星光」,自必然是指荷李活的明星。換句話說,即電影節在不知不覺間,其實已變相淪為為荷李活服務的機器。

是的,關鍵詞正是「浮躁」與「不耐煩」——面對?這些觀眾,這些評審、這些傳媒,一部電影想要在一個早由「量」取代了「質」的電影節裏「突圍而出」,遂非得要以張揚、露骨、挑釁及/或驚世駭俗的姿態出現不可。始作俑者很可能是昆田.塔倫天奴那部把傳統三幕劇故事結構來個大翻天的《危險人物》(1994)【按:但相類的結構方式,其實史丹利.寇比力克遠在1956年的《殺戮》(The Killing)裏已運用得從容自如!】同年,《危》片在康城影展上擊敗了奇斯洛夫斯基底超凡入聖的傑作《紅》,摘下了最佳電影金棕櫚獎。然後是Lars von Trier 在九八年假「Dogme」之名而拍攝的《愈笨愈開心》(裝瘋扮傻、大打真軍), 和九九年Catherine Breillat拍攝的《情色浪漫》(女性導演、色情電影男主角、一樣大打真軍)——性,光脫脫、實牙實齒的性,永遠是萬應萬靈的仙丹:即使不一定能夠取寵,起碼可以嘩眾,但也有例外:去年美國導演John Cameron Mitchell那部不分男女膚色、十八般武藝幹足全場的《性愛巴士》殺入康城,不獨拿不到競賽的入場票(僅在「導演雙周」中展映),而且竟沒泛起過半點漣漪:沒抗議,也沒爭議!

是時移世易,時代變得開放了?我看未必。只是同一個遊戲玩膩了(雖則那邊廂,披?「被政治迫害」身分的N代導演仍有市場,仍可博得某些義憤填膺者的同情分)。時移世易的是電影變得太容易:拍的容易(掌上攝影機的發明更新了「易如反掌」一詞的定義)、看的容易(「掌中電影」在不久將來不難成為一項新興流行課程)、評的容易(大衛.博維爾向我證實,他不止在超過一個電影節上目睹影評人躲在video booth裏邊看邊寫,而且還是按?快跑製的)、連獎也頒的容易(三兩國際友人便湊合成一個評審團)。從前一片成名,前路依舊漫漫(蘇德堡憑《性愛、謊言、錄影帶》領金棕櫚獎時的名言:「我的事業從此勢將一瀉如泉!」)。今時今日,為保住那三分鐘的絢爛,新進(貴)導演們的方法就是急不及待地炮製一系列的「三部曲」。電影節也樂得推波助瀾:只需有三幾部作品再加學生時期的一些習作,便可以又是一個「Tribute」甚或「回顧」的節目!不信?且看原文照錄:「(xxx)至今共六部作品,已令他成為二十一世紀最矚目的電影導演。」天啊,今年才不過是二十一世紀的第七個年頭啊!電影節,也就是這麼一回事!

 
At 6:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In response to your post here

The beauty, and irony of the Sokal affair is that he used a "hoax to expose a larger hoax.

The perversity was not in Sokal laying the trap, but the irony.

It is a misrepresntation to describe the Sokal affair as a clash of science and philospophy; rationalism and anti-rationalism or other ideological duals.

Sokal's victims were simply frauds who were caught out for their intellectual dishonesty. I wouldn't dignify this as a clash of two cultures.

Derrida's reaction was understandabe for someone who just got beaten in his own game. Yes, it is a game and Derrida showed that he wasn't a very good loser.

If there is no objectivity, if words are just meaningless symbols then it follows that scholarship is just a charade. In that case why did Derrida insist on being taken 'seriously'? Why was he upset for being casted as a charlatan? He should have been proud of it if he is 'serious' about his own theory. I would have more respect for him had he gloated about taking everyone for a ride.

Sokal's paper was a parody, but pomo is a parody of itself on many levels.

While language is not always an effective means in communicating ideas, it does have tentative, provisional meanings. Depending on the context the meanings may be more loose or rigid. You can use the Chinese language to write Zen Koan or a computer manual. Obviously the purposes are different and the demand on precision will not be the same. But the postmodernists push the enevlope to the extreme of absurdity to declare words as meaningless symbols,--or act as if that is the case. Let's say they are right, then it begs the question: what are they writing anyway? It seems like they have embarked on an intellectual suicide mission.

You are absolutely correct that there are ideas that cannot be adequately put into words. One can only give hints, use analogies
write equations, draw pictures or use body language.

But "postmoderism" is not an honest attempt to convey difficult and ambiguous ideas with the inadequate medium of language. It is an abandoned orgy of obscurantism

Deluez peppered his writing with scientific jargons like "bifurcation", "attractors" and so on. I don't know what purpose does it serve for readers in the humanities who typically have no intuitive grapse of these concepts. Metaphores aim to evoke images, what images is a metaphore meant to evoke if it is just a string of esoteric words for the readers? For readers who do know these concepts, his writings are just verbal masturbation.

Postmodernist "intellectuals" specialize in creating verbal collages which conceal, rather than illuminate even for ideas that can be adequately explained by simple language. It is a celebration of opacity for its own sake.

You are again correct that the language of science is also opague and difficult for the uninitiated. But here the difficult language is necessary to express the difficult ideas. You just cannot understand general relativity without mastering the formidable mathematical machinery of differential geomtry. You can explain some ideas in layman terms, using analogies and metaphores but it can only stratch the surface.

With Pomo the ideas are essentially simple, the language is unnecessarily complicated.
The admittedly opague language of science enables us to discover laws and make accurate predictions. To quote Richard Dawkins, science earns its right to be obscure to the uninitiated. What new breakthroughs do postmodernists have to show for with their obscure style? Other than acknowledging the unremarkable fact that language can be deceptive what law do they discover in lingustics or communication?

As an aside, while postmodernists regularly attack science they have a tedency to plagerize and bastardize scientific terminologies. I mentioned Deluez. Alain Badiou uses a caricature of set theory in his philosophy. Is that a manifestation of a deep seated inferiority complex and science envy?

For aficionados of pomo it may be a kind of "poetry". Some people see nirvana by repeating illegible chants. While I don't share the enthusiasm I readily acknowledge that it is a personal taste. Some people apparantly truly enjoy "neo classical" music even though to me it is like the sound of torturing cats. But to each his own.

But personal aesthetics is not a compelling argument that there are profound insights and deep ideas underneath the incomprehensible prose, let alone that it is "necessary" for Hong Kong students in the social sciences to learn these "theories". It is much more plausible that the opague language is just a cover for sloppy reasoning and poverty of ideas.

To bring out the point you are cordially invited to play the Derrida game Scroll down to the bottom to the screen to find the post by "Fishboy".

It is very true that the epistemological status of science is not easy to acertain. But I must emphasize that a lot of what have been written about science by philosophers, whether sympathetic or hostile to science, are only caricatures and they are often misleading. This is the curse of the generalist.

I have posted some of my opinions on the subject here You are welcome to comment. I used the screen name "Bonzai".

To my knowledge no one, other than philosophers, actually believe that language is a faithful representation of reality or an always reliable medium of meanings. Any good ad man or lawyer knows instinctively the limitations and pitfalls of language. The techniques of manipulating and perverting language to serve dishonest agendas have developed into a sophisticated art form thousands of years before the Postmodernists. No one other than philosophers have a superstitious reverence for language. I think this is an occupational hazard of disembodied philosophizing for which language is the only tool. Away from philosophy seminars language serves typically only as triggers whose efficacy rests upon a vast substrate of shared meanings.

Hermunautics is a difficult and obscured subject only because it insists on ignoring context and and treats text as a stand alone,unanchored creation.

With language philosophy creates a problem for itself and finds that it runs into a brick wall. Instead of just turning around and uses the door it tries to tear down the house.

The achievement of the postmodernists is not their trivial observations about the weakness of language, but in exploiting that weakness so brazenly and shamelessly. If there is any redeeming value in their charade, it is to beautifully demonstrate the gullibility and cynicism that premeates the intellectual enviroment that produces the "star" phenomenon. Postmodernism would be brilliant if it is a performance art.

 
At 7:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The second paragraphs should be

"The perversity was not in Sokal laying the trap, but in the postmodernists actually taking the bait. I think you of all people would find the irony amusing."

Somehow it got mangled in editing.

 

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