家庭 The Family

家庭宗族是社會組成的關鍵。核心家庭(父母與二至三個子女)是最基本的元素。我們的祖先經過了時間的考驗,培育出了現代文明,且他們的後代從農場延伸至全球城市。因此,理論上來說,社會是進步的。我們會屬於一個家庭,並對其忠誠、引以為榮。我的外祖父母在兩次婚姻中共有十八個小孩,祖父母則有十三個小孩,在增產報國方面非常有貢獻。

若一個社會不再重視家庭價值會如何?很明顯,會造成人口減少。消費行為持續攀升也使這現象更加嚴重。現在正是聖誕搶購熱潮,大家不斷買、買、買,但我想問為何而買?這本當是個充滿愛、同理心與博愛的季節,而不是大眾消費的時機。這當中存在著一個問題,在資本主義中我們別無選擇,只能消費。精明的廣告商暗示我們禮物與社會價值的關聯,人的內心也浮現這是個競爭、比較社會地位輸贏的時機。

在家庭中也是如此,每逢節日就是手足間競相演出大戲之際。較為拮据的一方通常處於下風。這並非原本家庭傳統聚會的用意,而是個人主義帶來的結果。我還記得在托爾斯泰莊園讀到的:「…家中訪客經常逗留,使得作家也時常逃離。」雖然這位名作家也以流連名利而聞名,但他的家人非常好客溫暖。這是我所認為這個季節的精神:擁抱不同樣貌的人們,而不是根據收入來評斷他人。

在節日裡食物浪費的情況嚴重,甚至高達食物產量的40%。有則與分享相關的有趣消息,Waste begone一文描述了德國如何與朋友或陌生人分享品質優良的「廚餘」。「最棒的部分可能是不再有廚餘會被倒在柏林克羅伊茨貝格區被塗鴉的小巷中。…原本有些麵包會直接被丟進垃圾桶,現在食物分享的據點約有一百個,其中五十個有冰箱供儲藏食物,其他的則只有櫃子。Foodsharing.de網站會於十二月與另一個德國網站合作,致力搶救食物,網站由Raphael Fellmer贊助。…四個月前在柏林開張的咖啡館Culinary Misfits也從另一個角度討論食物浪費的問題,直接與農民合作,購買被超市拒絕、其貌不揚的蔬菜…。」

據估地球上八點五億人口吃不飽,所以任何能夠喚醒相關議事的活動都是正面的,讓每一年都可以變得更好。佛家認為食物是恩惠,對於幫助食物上桌的人、以智慧與同理心回應他人需求的人,我們都要心存感激。

本週散心時,也想想食物在你生命中扮演的角色吧。

每天試著尋找生活中神奇、美麗的事物。

 

The family clan is the linchpin in any society. The nuclear family (father, mother and two or three children) is its most basic component. Our forbearers have “stood the test of time” to expand and nurture our civilization and their progeny have moved from the farm to inhabit cites throughout the globe: thus, in theory, society has advanced. Most of us belong to a family and are loyal to it, and proud of it. My maternal grandparents had eighteen children in two marriages and my paternal grandparents had thirteen in one: they were great population contributors.

What happens to a society that no longer values its family institution? It, obviously, changes and becomes less human. Increasing consumerism is driving that unit apart. We are now in the Christmas buying frenzy: buy, buy, buy! I would ask the question: why, why, why? The season is to be a time of love, compassion and fraternity, not mass consumption. Herein lies the problem, as I see it. In capitalism we have no choice but to purchase. The very clever advertising gurus have aligned gift giving with social status and self worth. Additionally, the human detritus emerges out of the shadows at this time of year to beg, reminding us that there is a human backlash, clear winners and losers, in any competitive nation.

This is equally true inside families: during the holidays, the siblings that are “better off” put on a grander show and the poorer ones are forced to be obeisant and somewhat humbled. This is not the all embracing traditional family institution but the result of individualism. I remember reading that onTolstoy’s estate, YasnayaPolyana, “…guests of the family would (often) stay… According to one account there were so many that the author fled…” Though the great writer was notoriously skittish about visitors and fame, his family was not: it was warm and welcoming. This is my idea of the season, an embrace of humanity of all shapes and sizes, and of diverse income levels.

During the holiday season food waste can edge more than 40% of production. In an interesting twist on sharing, the article Waste begonedetails Germany’s efforts to share quality “leftovers” with strangers, friends and acquaintances. “Perhaps best of all, (his roll) was free (from used food left in a refrigerator), available smack in the middle of a graffitied courtyard in the Kreuzberg district of Berlin. Like the rest of the offerings in this so-called food-sharing refrigerator… (the) bread roll would, under normal circumstances, have gone straight into the trash…There are roughly 100 of these food sharing sites in Germany. About 50 have refrigerators, the rest are just shelves…In December, Foodsharing.de will incorporate another German website. Dedicated to saving food, the site was founded by Raphael Fellmer…Culinary Misfits, a café that opened in Berlin four months ago, hopes to address the problem of food waste from another angle. Working directly with farmers to procure three-legged carrots and knobby potatoes that supermarkets reject…”

Given that 805 million people on Earth do not have enough to eat, any initiative that brings our awareness of this issue to the forefront can only be viewed as positive, leading to a more genuine and joyous time of year. We are left with a Buddhist blessing:

We receive this food in gratitude to all beings

Who have helped to bring it to our table,

And vow to respond in turn to those in need

With wisdom and compassion.

This week on your reflective walk, please ponder the role that food plays in your life.

Every day look for something magical and beautiful

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