【美文赏析】论包装 | On Packaging

  • A+
所属分类:美文赏析
【美文赏析】论包装 | On Packaging

《论包装》是季羡林写于1997年8月的一篇杂文,文章针砭社会时弊,亦庄亦谐,信手拈来,皆成妙品。

英文

Let me begin with this question. Are human beings getting increasingly intelligent or stupid?

The following answer seems beyond dispute: They are getting more and more intelligent.

In the course of several thousand years of his cultural history, man has acquired a more and more thorough and detailed understanding of the universe, the human world, life and society — in short, everything under heaven. Examples are legion. Our ancestors, out of their fondness for the moon and curiosity about it, created the legend of beautiful Chang'e flying to the moon. And Su Dongpo, a great poet of the Song Dynasty, wrote the following lines as a matter of course:

The Bright Moon, when will she appear?
Wine cup in hand, I ask the azure sky.
I don't know inside the heavenly palace
What time of year it is tonight.

Today, man has managed to land on the moon and even come back bringing with him some of its clods. Chang'e and her heavenly palace simply don't exist.

Could man have achieved that without becoming more and more intelligent?

Nevertheless, I also would like to bring forward some facts to show just the opposite. Examples are only too numerous. Packaging is the first thing I want to deal with.

People, especially women, sometimes need packaging in their social activities. Women dress casually at home, but when they go out, especially when they attend parties, they have to be gorgeously dressed and sprayed all over with French perfume. On the streets, the loud clip-clop of their high-heeled shoes and the strong aroma of their perfume will attract public attention far and wide. That's what we mean by packaging and I call it a kind of necessary packaging.

But there is another kind of packaging — the packaging of commodities. Such packaging is sometimes also necessary and, therefore, should not be mentioned in the same breath. Some time ago, as a visitor to Hong Kong, I found Chinese-made goods there selling at a much lower price than in the mainland and I also learned on inquiry that it was due to plain packaging that they were selling cheap though of equal quality as imported goods. I was quite puzzled about what the customers actually need. The goods or the package?

That reminds me of a little story. An old lady who lived in the upstairs of my building one day went to the food market insisting on buying a chicken with yellowish feathers. The chicken vendor asked,“What do you eat? Chicken or the feathers?”

Nowadays, the packaging of some commodities is fantastically overdone. The boxes, made of wood, paper or metal, are usually very large and very colorful and dazzling. They take up a lot of space on the goods shelves and are very cumbersome whether carried by car or by hand. Very unwieldy whether carried by left hand or right hand, placed vertically or horizontally. And it is also a big headache to have it opened at home. Search left and right, and you still cannot locate the commodity in the huge box. You will probably wish for a slip of paper therein bearing the written note,“10 more kilometers to the commodity!”so as to retain your confidence in the search. According to my rough statistics, some commodities take up only one tenth, one twentieth or even one fiftieth of the space in the huge package. Thinking back to the above-mentioned story of chickens and chicken feathers, I cannot but ask,“The commodity or the package, which do you need?”After all, the wool still comes from the sheep's back as the saying goes. It is customers like us that will have to bear all the heavy expenses for packaging. And the flashy package, when emptied of its contents, will be nothing but a garbage heap.

Here is my answer to the question I raised at the beginning: Man is becoming more and more stupid. What could you say in retort?

中文

我先提一个问题:人类是变得越来越精呢?还是越来越蠢?

答案好像是明摆着的:越来越精。

在几千年有文化的历史上,人类对宇宙,对人世,对生命,对社会,总之对人世间所有的一切,越来越了解得透彻、细致,如犀烛隐,无所不明。例子伸手可得。当年中国人对月亮觉得可爱而又神秘,于是就说有一个美女嫦娥奔入月宫。连苏东坡这个宋朝伟大的诗人,也不禁要问出:“明月几时有?把酒问青天。不知天上宫阙,今夕是何年?”可是到了今天,人类已经登上了月球,连月球上的土块也被带到了地上来。哪里有什么嫦娥,有什么广寒宫?

人类倘不越变越精,能做到这一步吗?

可是我又提出了问题,说明适得其反。例子也是伸手即得。我先举一个包装。

人类活动在社会上,有时候是需要包装的。特别是女士们。在家中穿得朴朴素素,但是一出门,特别是参加什么“派对”(party,借用香港话),则必须打扮得珠光宝气,花枝招展,浑身洒上法国香水,走在大街上,高跟鞋跟敲地作金石声,香气直射十步之外,路人为之“侧目”。这就是包装,而这种包装,我认为是必要的。

可是还有另外一种包装,就是商品的包装。这种包装有时也是必要的,不能一概而论。我从前到香港,买国产的商品,比大陆要便宜得多。一问才知道,原因是中国商品有的质量并不次于洋货,正是由于包装不讲究,因而价钱卖不上去。我当时就满怀疑惑:究竟是使用商品呢?还是使用包装?

我因而想到一件事:我们楼上一位老太太到菜市场上去买鸡,说是一定要黄毛的。卖鸡的小贩问老太太:“你是吃鸡?还是吃鸡毛?”

到了今天,有一些商品的包装更达到了匪夷所思的地步。外面盒子,或木,或纸,或金属,往往极大。装扮得五彩缤纷、璀璨耀目。摆在货架上时,是庞然大物;提在手中或放在车中,更是运转不灵,左提,右提,横摆,竖摆,都煞费周折。及至拿到或运到家中,打开时也是煞费周折。在庞然大物中,左找,右找,找不到商品究在何处。很希望发现一张纸条上面写着:此处距商品尚有10公里!庶不致使我失去寻找的信心。据我粗略的统计,有的商品在大包装中仅占空间十分之一,二十分之一,甚至五十分之一。想到那个鸡和鸡毛的故事,我不禁要问:我们使用的是商品,还是包装?而负担那些庞大的包装费用的,羊毛出在羊身上,还是我们这些顾客,而华美绝伦的包装,商品取出后,不过是一堆垃圾。

如果我回答我在开头时提出的问题:人类越变越蠢。你怎样反驳?!

  • 我的微信
  • 微信扫一扫
  • weinxin
  • 我的微信公众号
  • 微信扫一扫
  • weinxin
力哥

发表评论

:?: :razz: :sad: :evil: :!: :smile: :oops: :grin: :eek: :shock: :???: :cool: :lol: :mad: :twisted: :roll: :wink: :idea: :arrow: :neutral: :cry: :mrgreen: