自私 vs 無私:相反詞的五種樣子

自私 vs 無私:相反詞的五種樣子
Selfish vs Selfless: 5 relations of the opposites
H 有一個夢想,是獨自踏上三個月以上的單車之旅。我說:「嗯,很好啊!我支持你。去吧!」
H has a dream – to go on a bike trip for three months alone. “That’s nice. Go for it. I’ll support you,” I said.
「可是這樣難得的假期就不能用來見面了。」H 說。
“But then we won’t be able to meet, as I have limited holidays,” said H.
「嗯⋯⋯ 不過如果這是你想做的事情,你還是要去做吧。或者,你早晚都得去做吧?」我說。
“Hmm… But if that’s what you want to do, you should do it. Or I think you’d do it sooner or later anyway,” I said.
H 說「你真好,謝謝你。」說這樣很無私。
“That’s nice of you. It’s selfless,” H said.
我說「 會嗎?」
“Is it?”
我接著說「因為我也在做自己想做的事啊!我也沒有為了能夠一起生活、見面,拋下我想做的事情啊!所以⋯⋯ 如果單車旅行是你想做的事,為什麼你就應該放棄這件事呢?這樣不公平吧。」
“I don’t know if it’s selfless or not because I am also doing what I want. I didn’t just leave everything behind just to be with you. So… shouldn’t it be the same for you? You should do what you wanna do with your life.” I said.
有時候,我覺得自己找不到「無私」和「自私」的界線。
Sometimes, I can’t find the borderline between “Selfless” and “Selfish”.
「我不需要你以特定的方式行事」是無私,還是自私呢?
“I don’t need you to act in a certain way” – selfless or selfish?

我不需要你以特定的方式行事
I don’t need you to act in a certain way

狀態好的時候,我可以支持 H 成為他想成為的人、做他想做的事,而不需要他以特定的方式行事。—— 看起來很無私、很給對方自由。
When I am in good condition, I don’t need H to act in a certain way. I can support him to do what he wants. Back him up. It appears to be selfless, respecting and protecting your partner’s freedom in the relationship.
不過有時候,我也會質疑這樣的自己:「我真的是無私嗎?還是我其實很自私呢?」—— 很自私,所以並不是真的在意我們的關係走不走得下去;「人跟人能在一起的時光也是一半靠緣分吧!」想著靠緣分,是不是就不夠「努力」了呢?或者很疏離,所以不需要對方太多承諾。
But sometimes I wonder, “really? Am I like that?” or maybe I just don’t care enough to put efforts in this relationship? I don’t really care what he does with his life because I don’t care if our relationship would last?
像這樣在 —— 我到底是 「足夠安全」了,還是「不夠在乎」—— 之間遊走。
Sometimes I can’t be sure if I am “selfless to respect his dream”, or just “don’t care enough.”
或是兩者:在乎、也不在乎。
Or both – care and don’t care.
在乎關係,想要保持聯繫;也不在乎關係,重視兩人各自的自主和想做的事。
I care about our relationship and want to hold contact. But when relationship clashes with independence, I am also ready to give up relationships.
但「重視自主」卻也來自「重視關係」,因為覺得沒有自己呼吸的空間,關係一樣會窒息。而限制只會讓關係變成「都是你讓我不能做自己」的代罪羔羊。
However, valuing independence also derives from valuing relationships. Without the space to breathe, any relationship would suffocate.
像這樣微妙的、在兩者之間來回平衡者。有時候喜歡自己能讓對方自由、有時候懷疑自己是不是開始疏離不在乎了。
I keep balancing myself between the fine line of these two stands. Sometimes I like that I can give the spaces he needs. Other times I wonder if I’m just pretending that I’m okay with that, and have started distancing myself again.
然後我開始想:Hmm⋯⋯ 自私和無私是不是沒有想像中的那麼黑白分明、二元對立呢?
Then I started to wonder, “Hmmm…. maybe selfish and selfless isn’t as black-and-white as I thought?”
於是,我以「自私 vs 無私」作為例子,開始探索相反詞之間的關係。
I then began to explore the “relations” of the opposites, using “selfish” and “selfless” as an example.

相反詞的五種樣子
5 relations of the opposites

1、涇渭分明|Black and white

說到相反詞,第一個意象大概是:「黑白分明」、「涇渭分明」、「二元對立」、「非此即彼」。「自私」的相反就是「不自私」、就是「無私」。
When we first think of opposites, we think of “black and white,” “either-or.” One person is either “selfish” or “selfless.” One act is either “selfish” or “selfless.” And — if you’re not selfless, you’re selfish.

2、有交集的圓|Circles that intersect

但是在「我不需要你以特定的方式行事」的例子中,這樣的行為、話語、態度,似乎可以說是一種自私(我關注的是自己)、同時也是一種無私(我不限制你)。
But in the previous example, “not needing your partner to act in a certain way” appear to be both “selfish” and “selfless.”
那麼,自私和無私,就有點像是兩個有交集的圓,而人的行為落在交集處。
Selfish – because you’re also only focusing on yourself. What you want to do with your life. Instead of a shared one. Selfless – because you’re supporting your partner doing what he wants.
有時候行為的詮釋是很模糊的,模糊到可能同時是看似對立的兩者。(就像《戀人的腦補 Love is difficult》中的例子)
In this way, “selfish” and “selfless” are like circles that interact. Certain behaviors could be categorized in both of them at the same time.

3、多一分太多,少一分太少的微妙界線|A subtle line

或者,它也可以不是交集;而是一條需要小心平衡的微妙界線。
Or they are not circles that intersect, but a subtle line that you need to balance with caution.
當我干涉對方太多或太少時,都成了某種程度的「自私」、「只想到自己」。而有一個「剛剛好涉入」的界線,是我既能夠傳達自己的關心,又不至於過度控制/疏離於對方的生活。
When I interfere with my partner too much or too less, it all becomes a certain degree of “selfish,” and “only thinking about oneself.” And there’s a “just-right” level of interference that I can show that I care, but not end up in over-controlling or alienation.
當我關心時,對方不會覺得有壓力;當我沒有說話時,對方也不覺得自己被遺棄。
When I show interests and opinions on his plans, he doesn’t feel pressured. When I don’t say anything, he doesn’t feel abandoned. — Then I know we’re balanced.
那是一條微妙的、動態的線。在人與人之間常常互動、更新著。
It’s a subtle line, that – a little bit more is too much, a little bit less is too less. And it’s dynamic, always updating and re-balancing between people.

4、左腳與右腳|Left and right foot

有時候,「自私」與「無私」又像是左腳和右腳:左腳走一步時,右腳也得踏出一步,跟上之後、左腳才能夠繼續下一步。
Sometimes, “selfish” and “selfless” are like the left foot and the right foot – when the left one takes one step, the right one also needs to follow up and make one. After that, the left one can take one more.
「自私」和「無私」必須交互輪替,而不能相差太遠。
“Selfish” and “selfless” have to take turns and not to be too far away from each other.
例如:照顧自己與他人。
For example, taking care of yourself and others.
有時候我們得先「自私」—— 把自己放在第一位,照顧好自己,才有心力去照顧他人。當我們把自己照顧好之後,給他人的照顧也更有可能是「無私」的。
Sometimes you have to be “selfish” – to put yourself on the top priority, taking good care of yourself so that you could have the energy needed to take care of your loved ones. When we are taking care of ourselves, it’s more likely to give and expect nothing in return.
如果我們太不「自私」,忽略了自己的需求,很可能轉化成情緒勒索、情緒壓力:認為自己犧牲了許多,他人也應該比照辦理,或者「更聽我的話一點點」、「更依照我想的去做一點點」。在不知不覺中,付出變成了期待特定回報的交換。
If we are not “selfish” enough, ignoring our own needs, we might end up in emotional blackmail – we think that we have sacrificed so much that the others should just be “more considerate and listen to my advice.” Without notice, we started to expect certain returns and rewards when we give.

5、到了盡頭就是對面|To the extreme, one meets the other

如果說「自私」,是「只為了自己而做」;「無私」是從「為許多人而做」。
If “selfish” means “doing only for oneself,” and “selfless” means “doing for many.”
那麼「無私」到了極限,是不是也是一種「自私」呢?例如,如果一個人出家修行、把自己的生命貢獻給世人,那麼可以說是一種極度的無私。
Then, if you’re “selfless” to the extreme, can it also be a kind of “selfish”? For example, if one decides to be a religious practitioner, contributing his life to the world. It would be described as an extreme selfless.
但這樣的無私,會不會其實也帶有一些「自私」的成分呢?—— 也許對他的親人朋友來說,他是自私的,因為他只做「自己」想做的事。對於這種「好的自私」,我們比較常用「任性」這個詞 —— 例如:「感謝我家人朋友的包容,讓我這麼任性地一直做自己想做的事。」、「若不是我先生/太太的支持,我可能沒辦法任性地持續耕耘,闖出一片天地。」
But he might be “selfish” to his close friends and families because he only does what he wants to do. Could we thus say that his extreme “selfless” contains certain degrees of “selfish”?
而一個「自私」到極點的人,也可能因為興趣、自我實現、自我挑戰,開發出非常厲害的技術,使許多人受益。這個人會說:「但我不是為了誰做的,我只是為了我自己做的」。
A person that is “selfish” to the extreme could also develop top-notch technologies out of pure curiosity and passions. He didn’t start to build anything because he wanted to contribute, but only for and to himself. He was just curious.
他從「自私」出發,卻造福了不特定的眾人而成為一種「無私」。一個「自私」的人,只為了自己而做,也可能成就一種無私。
But then, these technologies could end up being very useful and in the end, serving humanity. Thus, the “selfish” act became “selfless.”
像日劇《繼母和女兒的藍調》中,亞希子說的:「其實,養育妳是自我滿足而已。無限工作循環,心中有了大洞。養育妳是想要填補我心中的空洞,我只是在利用妳。」亞希子自以為的「自私」,實際上給了美雪成長過程中最好的支持與陪伴;對美雪而言,那就是無私的愛。
Like Akiko in Japanese drama “義母と娘のブルース” put it, “I’m just using you. By raising you, I could fill the hole in my heart. I’m selfish.” But what Akiko seemed as “selfish” actually gave her step-daughter Miyuki irreplaceable support and love. To Miyuki, it was selfless love.

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