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Title: The Dual Faces of Justice and the Definition of Heroes


— A Discussion on the Creation of "Brigantine"


It has been more than four years since the completion of the work, yet everything seems to linger, difficult to forget, frequently recalled. "Brigantine" appears to be such a book: those who skim its surface cannot penetrate, and those who delve deep find it hard to emerge, or rather, not easy to emerge unscathed. My publishing editor, Jialian, is a case in point. Over the past few years, he has told me several times that in order to quickly extricate himself, to forget and return to his own life, he deliberately avoided contacting me as much as possible. I had no choice but to agree and conscientiously refrained from reaching out to him too. The editing and publishing of this book seemed to have a significant impact on him. During this period, he was admitted to the hospital, faced numerous obstacles in publishing during critical times, leading to repeated reviews of the manuscript. Similarly, he had to read and edit it over and over again. Obviously, besides myself, the characters in the book are most familiar to him. I don't know if this familiarity might create a hallucination of fiction blending with reality, but it clearly had an effect on him. He told me that sometimes while sitting by the window reading, he suddenly felt compelled to go downstairs, take a walk, and then return upstairs. His words made me worried and apologetic. When the book was published, shortly after, he also said to me, "Sometimes I feel like I am William, sometimes I feel like I am David, and sometimes I feel like I am Donny..." Jialian has been living alone in Guangzhou, voluntarily taking care of a non-relative elderly person for more than a decade. Strangely enough, I don't know if it's because of the similar pronunciation of our names or if I subconsciously projected the characters from the book onto him, but in the year of the book's publication, when I first met him in Guangzhou, my first words were directly "William." As the words left my mouth, I startled myself, and he shivered, looking up at me, saying, "I am not William; I don't want to be William." I was taken aback and apologized. Since then, we tacitly avoided discussing William and his various outcomes. I also made a mental note not to make the same mistake again in the future, but after some time apart, whether meeting in person or through voice messages on WeChat, the first name that slipped out was still "William." It's truly inexplicable.

"Brigantine" is the first full-length work through which I meet readers. I say this because before this 300,000-word piece, I wrote nearly a million words based on it, but "Brigantine" is the only one that was completed, where I poured my heart and soul into, overturning all my previous experiences. Due to the long process of "gene confusion and replacement," the birthing process was not easy, and it can be said to be a mentally exhausting difficult birth. However, precisely because of this, she captured my heart and obsession.


From February 2012 to February 2016, for a full four years, there was no WeChat, no Twitter. The information wave created by the internet had no impact on me. During that time, my world was an independent and closed space, characterized by clarity and purity. Seclusion or living on the fringes became the norm – waking up with the sunrise, and sometimes not exaggerating to say going to rest as the moon sets. It was like willingly imprisoning oneself, with the brain and heart constantly under the control of the plot and characters. Once the connection was lost, guilt, self-blame, and even fear set in. Discoveries and breakthroughs during the process brought both excitement and madness, while obstacles and stagnation led to a desperate and anxious state resembling doomsday. In successful moments, the tranquillity of reaching the mysterious abyss through a narrow gate and along a tunnel was cherished. Conversely, navigating through maze-like paths, ascending layer by layer around spiralling stairs, reaching the peak where the soul transcends, was intoxicating.


In the later stages, mental and physical resources were nearly completely depleted and shattered. The feeling was akin to a prisoner eagerly awaiting the end of their sentence for release from incarceration. However, even until a year before the October 2017 publication, the pressure and anxiety from the critical review period of publishing during extraordinary times were more intense than the later stages of creation.


Regarding the origin of "Brigantine" it has been detailed in the afterword "Did War Bring Peace?" Now, revisiting it may seem redundant, but it adds richness to the narrative, with some spontaneously added topics from several book club meetings held over the past few years.


For those familiar with modern history, at the end of April 1975, the era of Indochina came to a complete end, creating a large number of refugees. These refugees continuously flowed towards Europe, America, and various countries worldwide until the late 1980s. "Indochina refugees" and "boat people" became synonymous with them. The number of these refugees reached several million, not including the unfortunate ones buried at sea. Among them, 280,000 were sent back to China. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees established artificial ports and farms in coastal cities and mountains in provinces such as Guangxi, Guangdong, Yunnan, Guizhou, and Fujian to settle them. My hometown, Beihai, dug an artificial port to accommodate around 8,000 refugees. They lived seemingly peacefully, seemingly disconnected from the nearby cities despite being so close. In the 1990s, the real estate market was booming. The town where they resided was along the route to the famous Beihai Silver Beach, yet the bustling urban development seemed unrelated to them. They shared the same facial features and skin colour as the locals, spoke almost the same accent of the language, but their clothing, appearance, and way of life were completely different.

In 1999, I quit my job at the bank, and in early 2000, I went to the Lu Xun Academy of Literature. During that time, returning from Beijing to Beihai, I was enamoured with Beijing, but there I was treated like a foreigner, unable to live there due to a lack of residency permit, and my child couldn't receive education in Beijing. For the sake of my child, I had no choice but to return. However, taking a step is like reaching the end of the world, and anyone who steps into that utopia is destined never to return home. During that time, I wandered in a daze of confusion and melancholy, and one day, I wandered to the port. It was the first time I encountered unfamiliar surprises amid the long period of decline and anxiety. As I walked south along Hongmian Street, I smelled a thick scent mixing with the mud, sea grass, and the fishy saltiness of fishing gear at the slope, and my heart inexplicably calmed down and lightened. Excitedly, I quickened my pace and soon saw the bay and the vast sea. The fishing boats docked in the harbour were crowded, chaotic yet orderly. Interestingly, the fishing boats were also homes, with dogs squatting below the masts guarding, ropes, wires, or ship cables hanging on both sides of the ship's surface, men's sweatshirts and pants, women and children's clothes, and dripping fishing nets haphazardly drying. By the side of the stove, flames flickered. Down from the high bow, the narrow passages were threaded with cargo boats calling out, and around the muddy tidal flats, abandoned wooden boats were scattered in the marsh, without decks, gaping towards the sky or lying upside down in the water puddles. This unfamiliar scene made me understand: there are stories here.


One day, I noticed among the ferrywomen someone was missing an arm. Something inside me was intensely struck, and I decided to approach her and them. As the friendship deepened and interactions unfolded, I gradually discovered a window into the Vietnam War and the international refugee crisis. Consequently, topics about war and refugees began to swirl in my mind like clouds. Gradually, the immigrants began to talk about some veterans who had participated in the Vietnam War, and that's when I started interviewing them. Some had participated in the anti-American and aid-Vietnam campaigns, and some had been involved in both, making their stories thrilling. However, being fishermen by origin, their cultural knowledge was limited. Their narratives focused on their youth and actions on the front lines, providing little valuable content. As eyewitnesses, they seemed uninterested in the essence of war or the political struggles of the colonial territories. Despite having contributed to Vietnam's country and people for the sake of defending their homes, they became refugees due to their status, facing the possibility of repatriation with little concern.


One of them shared some interesting details. Due to the prolonged war, the eligible age group for conscription in Vietnam drastically decreased. The government had to expand the conscription age range, and he fell within that category. This led to fear in his family, and his parents came up with a plan to send him to a solitary cave on a remote island near Haiphong during high tide. The waves would seal the cave entrance, and he hid inside, catching fish and shrimp during high tide, and foraging for fruits and leaves at the top of the cliffs during low tide. These experiences were poignant and astonishing, making for excellent novel details, but he, too, did not provide the "core" of the novel.


Encountering American veteran K and his Chinese wife was entirely coincidental.


One day, I went to the Foreign Affairs Office to pick up documents, and the person in charge informed me that a woman had arrived, urgently requesting the divorce proceedings for her international marriage. The woman's household registration was in our city, but she lived in Guangzhou. She and her American husband, K, had travelled nearly ten hours by long-distance bus from Guangzhou. K had visited our city only twice before, once to marry his girlfriend and this time to divorce his wife. This incident created quite a sensation, with office staff and all the women waiting in line showing concern. It seemed as if they did not want the divorce proceedings of this international marriage to be successful and were doing everything they could to prevent it. The person in charge, who regularly dealt with immigration documents related to international marriages, was quite experienced and kind-hearted. She showed no signs of helping the Chinese wife with the procedures and privately told me to talk to the woman, attempting to prevent the divorce.


So, I met the woman standing near the office desk: her face was full of sorrow, exhaustion, and clear signs of tears and pregnancy. She had an urgent expression, hoping to quickly get the leader's seal to address her pressing matter. I approached her kindly, gained her trust, and took her to an empty hall outside the office. There, she detailed the crisis her marriage was facing: her husband (referred to as K) was a Vietnam War veteran suffering from severe post-traumatic stress disorder. He was on long-term medication but couldn't maintain basic daily life. Almost every night, or even whenever he closed his eyes, he would wake up drenched in sweat, screaming in nightmares, emotionally uncontrollable in fear. What terrified her the most was that, whenever K lost control, he would jump onto the window ledge, intending to jump from the 18th floor to end his life. Each time, she pretended to be calm in extreme terror, gently and wisely coaxing him back from the cliff-like window ledge. However, being only in her early thirties, dealing with such repetitions in extreme fear and begging her partner, who was twice her age, to stay, was an incredibly difficult task. She was pregnant with his child, and considering his long-term medication and lack of a profession in China, she had to have an abortion, just a week before our conversation. Clearly, she deeply loved K, admired his vision, knowledge, and reflective spirit. He was a romantic and affectionate man. Probably due to his lack of wealth and no job in China, relying on his wife to support the family, his beautiful dreams couldn't come true, leading him into hardship. Before, K had been married in the United States, with several children. His symptoms made it difficult for him to communicate with his wife and children. After the children grew up, he divorced his American wife. A few years ago, he came to China and married his girlfriend, starting a new life. However, due to language and cultural barriers, and perhaps age restrictions, he couldn't find a profession to support his family. Such a situation not only hindered him from realizing his dreams of rebuilding his life but also exacerbated his symptoms. Yet, once he returned to his family in the United States, he transformed into a new person, behaving as if he were a lover deeply in love. He frequently sent affectionate emails to his wife, even writing about their daily life. The trouble was that, as soon as he returned to China, the illness recurred. He loved going to Vietnam, a habit that began shortly after the war. It seemed to be the only way he found solace. Initially, he returned to those places with unbearable memories. Gradually, he discovered many people like him. Later, they spontaneously engaged in some relief work for the devastated Vietnam. Even if it meant just visiting the orphans born to American soldiers and Vietnamese women during the war...


Hearing this, a light of hope, which I had been anticipating but hadn't seen before, lit up in my heart. I said, "He is a good person." I said, "You are the only one who can help him. I have no right to stop you from divorcing him, but doing so is equivalent to pushing him off the window ledge directly." She looked at me, covered her face, and sobbed silently. I understood she was caught in a dilemma. I knew it was cruel and unfair for me, as an outsider who had not experienced her pain and conflict, to say those things. However, facing such a spiritual crisis, besides love, the most potent remedy, there were few other possibilities. She was the only straw for K dangling over the precipice. I shared my approach to handling similar situations, hoping it might prevent tragedy or at least make the outcome less regrettable. Clearly, she deeply loved K and believed that my words timely saved her and K's love and marriage. She thanked me, saying she wouldn't leave, and she would continue to be K's lifeline.


So, she took me out to find K. We searched everywhere, but he was nowhere to be found. She was getting nervous and finally spotted him in a corner near the door. K looked lost and bewildered, his face filled with confusion. When he heard his woman say in English, "I've decided not to leave," he took a deep breath and rushed towards her, embracing her tightly. He said just one thing: "I love her very much. I abandoned all my social connections in the United States to come to China and build a beautiful life with her. I never thought about divorcing her." Later, they urgently contacted the airline to cancel the booked tickets, only to realize how thorough their plans for separation were. While they were still in Guangzhou, they had booked a ticket for K to return to the United States. The plan was to quickly complete the procedures, and K would directly go to the airport to catch a flight back to the United States. Thus, the marriage that had flourished for several years came to an end.


That's roughly how things went that day. Afterward, due to visa processing, I visited K's family as promised. K's symptoms had somewhat alleviated, but the nightmares continued to haunt him. After I arrived in Europe, K's wife continued to stay in touch with me, providing a constant stream of information. Whether early morning, late evening, or Europe's midnight, she shared her experiences of dealing with K's symptoms, describing moments of miscalculation and exhaustion. I felt a heavy sense of concern and began reflecting on the rightness or wrongness of my actions that day. I asked myself: Was my advice right or wrong? Was my intention to help the woman, the marriage, or K directly? In this marriage, K, suffering from a severe condition, had become a burden to his wife. When she chose to abandon him due to the unbearable load, I appeared and, under the guise of love or humanity, awakened or persuaded her to stop the process. I believed her decision that day was not impulsive but made out of deep love. Now, facing the repeated challenges she endures, all because of my intervention, brings me anguish and self-blame. I blamed myself for being too meddlesome, advocating righteousness, and acting as a knight in shining armour. The situation of K and his wife was indeed disparate, with K suffering from a stubborn illness and lacking a source of income. He would undoubtedly become a burden to his wife. Yet, my friend was already his wife. However, when it comes down to the core of the matter, I remain firm in my belief that K should not be abandoned due to his mental condition. Both he and his wife are victims, and I played a role in stitching together two innocents. This led me to revisit the debates on justice in Plato's "The Republic" and the moral dilemmas discussed in Harvard professor Michael Sandel's course "Justice: What is the Right Thing to Do?" over the past few years. Faced with the dilemma between K and his wife, what is the just choice? It seems I am searching for reasons to justify the results of my actions motivated by righteousness. On the other hand, I am unmistakably trapped in self-blame. The girlfriend's messages flooded in. When she was sweet and confident, I felt I had done the right thing. When she was discouraged and desperate, I thought I had made a mistake. In short, my heart was uneasy.


Afterward, my perception inexplicably shifted toward post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). He provided me with information, consciously offering details whenever there were news or relevant information. Soon, he mentioned a channel in the Netherlands that reported a case of PTSD every time, and each case naturally involved a family. The showcased families were all mired in a quagmire. Over the years, the veterans, suffering from PTSD, were unable to communicate with their wives and children. They roared like enraged tigers or became as unyielding as stubborn rocks when agitated. The children, unaware of what had happened, saw their fathers as symbols, mere outsiders who roared, drank heavily, or remained silent. Some examples similar to K's or even more severe only deepened the despair within these families. One day, while driving, I heard a news report on the radio: an American father had been continuously searching for his son in Vietnam for over 40 years. His son was a soldier on the front lines in 1968, and to this day, he has not been found alive or dead. Such tragic news was not unfamiliar to me, and it seemed like we had all experienced it through generations. Soon, I conducted extensive online searches for related information. I found online cemeteries, online memorials, online adoption of unidentified graves, searches for missing soldiers, and more. All of these were related to my years of searching for information on the Vietnam War. Unexpectedly, these topics surged suddenly. At that time, Mr. and I often visited cemeteries in various European countries, local cemeteries, and World War I and II military cemeteries. There are two major American military cemeteries globally, one in the Philippines and one in Normandy. The ultimate care of Christian compassion is expressed to the fullest in funeral culture. Every time I saw those vast chessboard-like graveyards filled with white tombstones produced on assembly lines, my heart felt inexplicably complex: the handsome and innocent faces on the tombstones, along with the birth and death dates, made me lament. The brilliant roses or poppies in front of the tombstone filled me with admiration, poetry, and tenderness. However, the impartiality of the nameless graves, where one monument and one cross treat everyone equally, also brought comfort. The tombstone of the unknown is marked with the inscription:


God knows your name, you are his child! Or: God is with you, You are not lonely!


All these things, while bringing tears to my eyes, also provide a great source of comfort.


Relevant information continues to emerge. On my Facebook group for American veterans, which includes veterans from Vietnam, Iraq, Iran, and other battlefields, many of them suffer from varying degrees of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). For nearly half a century, some have been on a journey to return to the war zone, doing what they can to help the people there. For example, some donate the association's tourism income to Vietnam for reconstruction, rehabilitation, and education for war orphans. These are people who share similar experiences with K. In the United States of the 1960s, the call for "fight for freedom, for peace!" was loud, and the younger generation grew up with such slogans. When they reached the age to decide, they chose to "fight for freedom, for peace!" So, they enlisted, underwent "hellish training" as new recruits, and then went to the front lines with their units. After the French Vichy government's defeat in the Battle of Dien Bien Phu in 1954, Vietnam truly became a battleground for world empires. Under the pretext of ideology, with East and West confronting each other, spies were abundant in Saigon, engaging in covert struggles. Open confrontations and military deployments were rampant, and troops were stationed like swarms. Consequently, the war raged on, causing countless casualties. Survivors either suffered physical disabilities or mental disorders. Especially for American soldiers who returned from the front lines in the late 1960s, what they saw was no longer the scene of "fighting for freedom and peace" but the surging and boiling anti-war protests at Washington Square. These should be memories shared by K and them. With time and age, have they gained new insights into the justice of the war? Have they reflected on the political power behind the scenes and their own actions?


I have already started to focus on the analysis and redemption of post-war mental crises in my writing. In the early summer of 2010, after staying up for over a month, I completed the novella "Living Sculpture." Although it was finished, it did not meet my expectations, so I put it aside and started another one, and then another. Later, I began working on a long novel set in French Indochina called "Funeral in Indochina," and it progressed quite well. However, the one I have been eagerly anticipating has not arrived yet. What I am eagerly waiting for is nothing more than the spark that ignites the pulse, much like the flame that descends on the head when the Holy Spirit comes.


One weekend's breakfast, I chatted with Rock about my current novels, Vietnam, the interviewed Vietnamese veterans, the K couple, and the activities of the American veterans association. Rock mentioned that his diving club has a Belgian veteran who participated in the Korean War. He is a diving instructor in the club and often talks about interesting stories from his military service. The club has a magazine, and Locke had interviewed him for a character column 15 years ago. He went downstairs to find the interview recording from 15 years ago for me. Since I don't understand Dutch, he translated a part for me: "... He said that joining the military was an accident. When facing the uncertain future after graduating from high school, he and his classmates went to a bar to gamble on drinks. He promised that if he won, he would go to college; if he lost, he would join the military." When Rock translated to this point, I suddenly felt enlightened. I continued to listen: "He did lose the bet, so to fulfil his promise, he had no choice but to join the military. He talked about the fresh and interesting life of a new recruit before heading to Korea. He particularly enjoyed recounting the experience of sailing from the East Coast of the Atlantic to the West Coast of the Pacific, passing through the North Sea, entering the Mediterranean, crossing the Suez Canal, and then sailing along the Arabian Sea, the Indian Ocean, and the Pacific Ocean to reach Korea. The journey by sea almost equalled circumnavigating the globe. Compared to Columbus's westward expedition to the Americas, the sea voyage to the Far East seemed to satisfy the heroic feelings of a long and arduous journey, exuding a strong romanticism. This kind of colour in the eyes of the veterans seems to be more likely to achieve the legendary pride of their youth after years of fermentation. This sentiment during his youth for this three-month sea voyage was extraordinary just after leaving school. Still, what I wanted to know more about is how he reflected on the years he had spent at the front line later, such as his return to daily life, especially in his old age, his choices at that time, his memories and reflections on the war, and so on.


Nothing!"Rock said,"

He said that every time Mr. Veteran enthusiastically recounted the legendary moments of sailing around the sea on a military ship at the club and was asked about the front line or post-war life, he would evade or fall into silence...


"I'm finally going to start writing a novel," I said.


In June 2012, the novella "A Moss-Covered Pocket Watch" was completed, 60,000 words. A few months later, after reading the manuscript, He Wei from the Li River Publishing House thought the subject matter was good and suggested digging deeper. Her timely and valuable advice came just in time, and I had been feeling lost since completing the draft. How could I dismiss something I had been eagerly anticipating with a single tubular structure and just a few tens of thousands of words? I decided to turn it into a full-length novel. To achieve the desired effect, I had to put everything aside and prepare for the unexpected. The overseas Chinese port in my hometown was evidently a lens, and no matter from which angle it radiated, it seemed to provide me with the "film of a black and white movie." As I delved deeper, global events unfolded like a fan: geographical discoveries, navigation, colonization, war, political manoeuvring, refugee waves, and more. All these made me wonder: what is the essence behind all this? History shows that human life is not only confined to geography but also controlled by political history, and literature and history have a natural intertextual relationship. Desk research is long and heavy, involving various literature searches, readings, and digestions: military history, colonial history, religious history, art history, maritime history, shipbuilding history, philosophy, archaeology, natural encyclopaedia, diamond cutting... The knowledge is vast, and creating is like creating my own dictionary. It's challenging, exciting, intense, exhausting, despairing, intoxicating, crazy, and all-encompassing...


By early 2014, the novel was almost complete, renamed "Brigantine". At the end of the year, I went to the UK, hoping to find traces of shipyards from the Age of Discovery and the "Mayflower," but with no results. I stayed in the old campus of Oxford University for a few days, wandering around Bodleian and Radcliffe, having new ideas, and decided to make structural adjustments and revisions again. The draft was completed in early February 2006. 300,000 words, four years in total. Nearly 30 chapters, most of which were revised no less than 20 to 30 times. Editing is much more difficult than writing, but it's more enjoyable. They say Gustave Flaubert had this problem.


The appearance of the novel is what I like: this "Brigantine" is a Gothic-style ship. Placed in William's courtyard, the rigging hanging the tattered canvas is still imposing, placed on the seabed, it looks like an ancient wood standing alone in the abyss rainforest, vines entwining, vegetation flourishing, ugly fish and anemones playing their roles, jellyfish gathering, octopuses and giant sharks in conflict, blue whales unable to find each other... What I particularly like is the three-act play "Song of the Blue Whale" in the book. This play, which debates justice based on marine life, took a long time and is the highlight of the entire book.


"Two-Masted Ship" has dual lines and tracks, like a journey of parallel navigation. The characters in the book, no matter which track they follow, seem to have the loneliness of crossing deep-sea tunnels or desolate paths. In a sense, they are like determined pilgrims, carrying a devout heart towards life and beliefs, ultimately achieving redemption. I feel gratified for their endings. I know that if I had more time, the work might be more perfect, but my physical strength couldn't handle it. Until later, I saw many homophonic typos, and I seemed to end the war hastily, but enough information, language, and characters are what I like. The novel details are intricate, filled with the atmosphere of history, ancient books, mazes, academia, and marine encyclopaedias, achieving the effect I anticipated. K, the Korean War veterans, and the veterans from California from many years ago provided imagination and outlines for my character shaping, but they are not William, David, let alone Adonis. I gave William, David, Adonis, and others the identity of humanists, such as writers and artists, because only in this way could they possibly "stand on the shoulders of giants" and have the insight into the world, holding the key to unravelling the mysteries. As for your question "What have you written?" there is no need to answer. But one thing needs to be said: this is not a traditional war reflection, if I were to make a metaphor, it could be said to be the blue diamond buried at the bottom of the Titanic, the blue "heart of the ocean," enveloping the mysterious and profound human affairs, the value of life, and hope. Each of its multiple-cut facets is a clear mirror.


Finally, let me talk about Europe. Some people say that the European continent is like a huge tomb, a tomb of humanity, a tomb of history, a tomb of art, and a tomb of war corpses. Compared to the new scenes of developing countries, the declining Europe seems to be full of the breath of tombs, with churches, libraries, and museums. It is indeed full of the atmosphere of tombs. Based on the Greek heritage, religious traditions, and the aristocratic spirit passed down from the Middle Ages, the West is a land fought for freedom, justice, and truth, and the price is naturally countless warriors full of a spirit of dedication, knights. However, every time I visit an open-air sculpture-like cemetery, seeing layers of radiating crosses like a Roman legion formation, each one is a life that was once full of passion, some of whom are called heroes. Just like heroes such as William. But William actually rejected and rejected this title because he saw the bias and limitations of the definition of heroes subjectively or politically. He believed that the concept of heroes belongs only to the victors or the warring countries. For the defeated countries, the so-called heroes are actually the self-legitimizing killers. William believes that the definition of heroes, like the duality of justice, is not absolute. And is war just a geographical battle stirred up by rulers marking borders? Is the regime caring for and protecting its citizens or monitoring, enslaving, and harming them? These are the questions raised by "Brigantine".


















那天详情大概如此。之后我因为办理签证,应约拜访过K一家。K的症状有所减轻,但噩梦依然循环反复。我到了欧洲后,K的妻子的一直保持和我的联系,信息源源不断,不管早晚还是欧洲的半夜,她诉说自己面临K症状时的失策和疲惫,我忧虑重重,并开始反思自己那天行为的对错,我问自己:你当初的劝说是对还是错?你的出发点是帮助那位女士,还是帮助一个婚姻或者直接就是帮助K?在这桩婚姻里,患有重症的K显然成了妻子的负担,他妻子因不堪负荷而选择放弃时,是我出现并以情爱或人道的名义唤醒或说说服了她,使得她终止了事情的发生,我相信那天她的决定并非一时冲动而是因为深爱所以剪不断。现在,她的承受也许再次到了极限,而往后她承受所有这些极限的重复,都是因为那天我这个外力导致的。这个终极性的答案让我苦恼自责。我责怪自己好作主张、把管闲事当仗义行侠的品性,K一家的情况实在是悬殊的,身患顽症又无生活来源的K,着实会成为他妻子的枷锁……而他的妻子已经是我朋友了,不过,回到事情的本身,我依然坚定一个“不该”:K不该因为自己的精神顽疾受到抛弃,而他和妻子相爱是事实,退一万步说,哪怕居于人道,K的妻子也不该抛下他不管。那是说,他们双方都是无辜者,把两个无辜者缝合一起的我,在当中扮演了什么角色呢?这让我再一次返回《理想国》里柏拉图和他学生关于正义的论辩,还有过去几年我常在网易听的哈佛大学米歇尔教授的公开课《justice: what is the right thing to do》,当中种种处于绝境的两难事件,都存在艰难选择的问题,这个选择的依据就是正义究竟是绝对论还是相对论的判断。那么,面对K夫妇之间的两难,哪种选择才是正义的呢?我似乎是在给自己曾经因为仗义而导致的结果寻找理由,而另一极,我又明显地陷入了自责。女友信息频至,她甜蜜自信时,我觉得自己做对了,她沮丧绝望时,我觉得自己做错了。总之心里忐忑。


God knows your name, you are his child! 或者:God is with you! You are not lonely!



相关信息还在出现。我脸书上的美国老兵协会群,成员含括越南、伊拉克、伊朗等战役的老兵,当中不少人或轻或重都怀有战后综合症。近半个世纪里,部分人一直走在重返战地的路上,力所能及地为战地的人们做点什么,比如把协会在旅游投入上获得的收入捐献给越南,为重建、为战争孤儿的康复和教育效力。这些是和K有着相同经历的人。60年代的美国,“fight for freedom, for peace!”呼声极高,年轻一代在就在那样的口号中成长,到了年龄,“for freedom, for peace!”他们决定“fight!”。于是,应征入伍,在新兵连接受“魔鬼训练”,而后随战队到前线。法国维希政府于1954年奠边府战役失败撤出后的越南,其实才真正成为世界帝国角逐之地,以意识形态为名,东西对垒,谍都赛贡间谍云集,各方暗里拉锯,公开角力,驻兵如麻。由此,战争如火如荼,死伤无数,幸存者,要么身体残疾,要么精神残疾。尤其美国的士兵,60年代末期从前线返回的他们,看到的已不再是先前一片“为自由和平而战”的场面,而是华盛顿广场反战人潮的汹涌沸腾……这些,应该是K和他们共同的记忆。随着时间和年纪,他们是否对战争的正义性也有了新的认识,并对背后主宰的政权和自己曾经的行为有了反思?


我已经开始以战后精神危机的分析和救赎作为方向开始创作,在2010年初夏天连续熬夜月余写下中篇《活体雕塑》,可以说是成稿了,但达不到预期,放下,于是再写一个,又写一个。后来开始一个以法属印度支那为背景的长篇《印度支那的葬礼》,进行得还算如意。可是,依然明确心仪的那一部还没到来,而那翘首以待的东西,无非就是燃亮脉冲的那点火花,宛如圣灵降临头顶的那束火苗  。











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