Yangtze River Headwaters Volunteering Day 16 长江源志愿工作第16天

This is a series of journals recording my days in the Yangtze River Headwaters volunteering project. I will try to update every day but there might be delays in the days I work in the wild without the internet. I’m also trying to write bilingual if time allows. Like it? Follow my Instagram (@anar.chica.yichenguo) for updates!
这是我参与长江源志愿工作的一系列记录。我争取每日更新,但在野外工作没有网络的那些日子会有延迟。在时间允许的情况下,也会尽量使用中英双语。喜欢的话,关注我的Ins账号(@anar.chica.yichenguo)获取更新吧!

“I am monarch of all I survey,
My right there is none to dispute.”

— <Walden>

By the bank of isolated Bende Lake, and around Thoreau’s 203’s birthday, I read his <Walden>. Suddenly I felt weak to write anything. Too many insights and feelings about nature and society are the same. What I want to express was already expressed in this book. But anyway there are still a few points of difference. 

While reading this book, I could not ignore the loneliness deep inside of Thoreau, although he addressed several time that he loved the companion of loneliness and even explained means to reconcile with it (but if he really loved it, why did he need to reconcile?). It’s like people who always have an unbelievably brilliant smile often have deeper sorrows inside of them.

He read lots of books and thought he had already travelled around the world without going out of his house. It reminds me of the couch surfing hosts in Kurdistan, the northern part of Iraq, who host tourists around the world to know the outside due to their impossibility to travel anywhere thanks to their passports. Of course reading is good, but I think to really know a culture, one needs to step on that land with his own feet, hold that book with his own hands, observe those people with his own eyes, and listen to that language with his own ears. Working behind closed doors is like Robert Burton, even though <The Anatomy of Melancholy> has integrated numerous books in a really good and fun way, there is a little bit of soul missing. Anyway, Thoreau has indeed lived his life for real, therefore his words are powerful in terms of human’s existence as part of the nature.

I don’t think I can really seclude myself (Thoreau said so as well, and then since there was only him living there, he had to claim that he loves being alone. I think he was just rather to be alone if there wasn’t one he felt comfortable living together with).  Since last year, all my traveling and volunteering experiences have become more and more closely related to people and their cultures. It is the same here in the Yangtze Headrivers area. In order to protect this area, Green River has to carry out an investigation on the local human ecology. The learnings I get is that the nature that I want to protect is the nature damaged by human activities. As the old Chinese saying goes, ‘to untie the knot you need the one who tied the knot.’ How can we protect the nature sustainably if we know nothing about the people and the culture that have damaged it at the beginning?

After all, <Walden> is an excellent book. Here are some excerpts that are exactly what I wanted to say:

  • I desire that there may be as many different persons in the world as possible; but I would have each one be very careful to find out and pursue his own way.
  • As long as possible live free and uncommitted. It makes but little difference whether you are committed to a farm or the county jail.
  • The millions are awake enough for physical labor; but only one in a million is awake enough for effective intellectual exertion, only one in a hundred millions to a poetic or divine life. To be awake is to be alive.
  • I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by a conscious endeavor.
  • Shams and delusions are esteemed for soundest truths, while reality is fabulous.

“我勘察一切,像一个皇帝
谁也不能否认我的权利。”

——《瓦尔登湖》

在梭罗203岁生日前后、在与世隔绝的班德湖畔读了他的《瓦尔登湖》。突然有些下笔无力。对于自然与社会的洞见,太多相同的感受,欲说之辞已尽被先人说过了。但终归还是有一些不大相同的看法。

阅读时能感受到梭罗内心不可忽视的孤独感,尽管他再三强调喜欢孤独为伴,甚至说明了许多排解孤独的办法(如果真的乐于孤独为伴,又何须排解呢?)。这就像是脸上永远挂着灿烂到不可思议的笑的人,内心隐藏的痛苦越是深刻

他博览群书便觉得自己不出门就游历世界,就像是伊拉克北部库尔德地区的couchsurfing主人,由于护照的关系哪也去不了,接待世界各地的游客便是他们了解世界的方式。读书固然是好的,但我认为只有双脚踩着那片土,双手捧着那本书,双眼看着那群人,双耳听着那语言,才有可能真正的了解一种文化。闭门造车就如罗伯特伯顿,一本《忧郁的解剖》把天下书籍融会贯通也还是少了点灵魂。不过梭罗毕竟真真切切地生活过,因此在人作为自然的一部分而存在这方面,他是极有话语权的。

我想我是无法隐世的(梭罗也这么说,然后因为实在是只有他一个人住,又嘴硬说喜欢一个人。我想他只是没有找到一个呆在一起舒服的人,便宁愿一个人)。从去年到现在的所有经历,不管是旅行还是做义工,都越来越紧密地与人相关,与文化相关。长江源这里也是一样,绿色江河为了保护这一片的生态,需要对当地的人类生态学进行调查。这对我的启发是,我们要保护的自然,主要是被人为破坏的自然。解铃还需系铃人,不了解破坏了自然的人及其文化,又何谈可持续地保护自然

最后,毕竟《瓦尔登湖》是一本非常优秀的书,在此摘录一些被梭罗抢了的台词:

  • 我希望世界上的人,越不相同越好;但是我愿意每一个人都谨慎地找出并坚持他自己的合适方式
  • 你们要尽可能长久地生活得自由,生活得并不执着才好。执迷于一座田园,和关在县政府的监狱中,简直没有分别。
  • 几百万人清醒得足以从事体力劳动;但是一百万人中,只有一个人才清醒得足以有效地服役于智慧;一亿人中,才能有一个人,生活得诗意而神圣。清醒就是生活。
  • 人类无疑是有能力来有意识地提高他自己的生命的。
  • 谎骗和谬见已被高估为最健全的真理,现实倒是荒诞不经的。

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