清朝的贰臣与舆论

任何一个时代,一旦有改朝换代,就有一批前朝遗民和两朝贰臣。上至商周,下至民末,无不如此。而在任何一个时代,对于这些贰臣的舆论,总有一个逐步转变的过程。商周以来到唐宋时期,留存资料较少,现存资料很难有效地反映当时的整体社会思想舆论变化;而民末一事,很多事物至今都不能算是盖棺论定,所以也很难做一个客观有价值的评判。而在明末清初,社会档案留存已经足够丰富,其变革距今也足够久远。可以说是研究贰臣在舆论上的地位这个问题的最佳时代。

贰臣的形成,是改朝换代的历史必然。没有任何一次改朝换代不存在贰臣;而贰臣的产生原因,历朝历代基本一样,不外乎是顺应天下潮流,维护自身利益而已。从商代微子的“肉袒面缚,左牵羊,右把茅,膝行而前以告”,到明末士人着囚服在午门外迎降,从形式到实质,基本都可以说是换汤不换药,可谓是“年年岁岁臣相似”。而对贰臣的舆论,则会根据朝代的不同而有很大的差异。有的朝代会一直维持贰臣的仁人地位,典型的就如刚提到的微子;而大多数朝代,对贰臣的舆论会根据政治需要而有多个不同的阶段,有的以不提告终,有的则编贰臣传加以贬斥,可谓是“岁岁年年论不同”。从征伐时的顺天命,到建国的不提,再到之后的重现审视以至于贬斥。这个过程,基本上是和当前政府的政治需要紧密相关的。而其中最典型、过程最完整的一个朝代,便是清朝。

在讨论清朝之前,先以第一人称视角看看一个拥有无限舆论控制力的虚拟朝代,贾朝,在建立时需要经过一个什么样的过程。首先,贾朝的创立者还在逐鹿中原之时,对手的臣子投降,必然的选择是倒履相迎,同时加以提防。这个时期,投靠者多多益善。故而,贾朝的统治者会希望这个时期对贰臣的社会舆论是宽松的,以“凤鸟择枝而息,良臣择主而事”为主的,此时也是贰臣言论最为自由的时候。过了十几年,贾朝的开国皇帝把天下打下来了。在此时,要做的首要任务是防备前朝遗臣反扑和割据势力造反。而那些贰臣,则是防备这两者的最佳选择。贰臣之所以能成为贰臣,要么有才,要么有兵,要么有名。没有才,没有兵,没有名,就算投靠,贾朝也不会重用。在这个时期,有才的贰臣为贾朝建立文治武功,加强贾朝的政权根基,动不得。有兵的贰臣随时可能黄袍加身,必须好吃好喝供着。有名的贰臣是天然的劝降官,即使他不愿为贾朝和前朝之间提供沟通的纽带,其归顺本身就是一个足够有用的符号,只要他不乱讲话,就要好好对待。所以,这段时期的宣传应该要宣传忠君,但也要宣扬贰臣。而将这两者融合,就叫“顺天命”,此时如果还有不太可能敌对的敌对国、稍有可能造反的敌对组织存在,很有可能还会做一些思想上的统一和镇压,如秦朝的焚书坑儒、清朝的文字狱就是思想上的镇压的极端例子。接下来,贰臣老的老,退的退。而贾朝也已经巩固。此时,让朝廷能够有效地为控制思想,稳定社会的传统儒家文化就会开始逐步成为社会主流。无论贾朝的创立者是遵循法家,兵家还是黄老,儒家文化忠君、维护现有秩序的吸引力都无法抗拒。此时,对于贰臣的评判,要么不提,而那些提起来的,也不需要过于客气。

故而,一个拥有无限舆论控制力的朝代,会控制社会舆论使其对贰臣的评价经历从宽松,到只提顺天命,再到逐步不提以至于贬斥的过程。成功的朝代基本都会经历这样一个过程,而很多失败的王国则会有一个在群雄逐鹿时便强调忠君的环境(如东周时除了秦齐以外的所有诸侯,三国时吴国等);这似乎说明了朝代的成功和对社会舆论的控制力有很大的关系。不过,不是每一个朝代都会经历这样一个完整的过程。像隋唐的贰臣,唐朝基本没有进行贬斥;不过这也有可能是唐朝从皇帝开始就不能算是个忠臣的原因(实际上,基本每一个以造反起家的朝代,都不太会贬斥贰臣;而每一个外族入住,基本都会在朝代中贬斥贰臣)。

清朝完整地经历了这样一个舆论的变化过程。

在清朝入关之前及入关之初,清朝一直有一个对贰臣比较轻松的环境,贰臣能够活在比较宽容的社会环境中。无论是终身不仕的前朝遗民还是当权的清王朝,对贰臣都没有太多关于忠贞与否的评价。而到了平三藩之时,社会对贰臣的评价一般是以顺天命为主,不太做过于深入的讨论。到了乾隆朝,贰臣寿数也都到了,清王朝通过修订贰臣传,以及进一步深入宣传儒家忠君的思想,将贰臣的行为进行贬斥。这一个过程,有很多原因。社会上,经济上,政治上的原因都有。根据先贤的说法“黄狸黑狸,得鼠者雄”。虽然舆论是各方势力共同决定的,但此时的得鼠者,估计只能是清廷。无论是贰臣还是遗民,估计都不太愿意在《贰臣传》中被人提到。不过舆论到了清朝的“国家利益”之前,似乎也不能做什么抵抗。

清廷可能是用经济的力量无为而治,也可能是通过修书来有为而治,这些都不重要。重要的是,自始自终,清朝都没有做出与自身利益相悖的事。整个舆论的形成,是多方的力量博弈。而清朝,则做了一个理智的选择者的角色。在每一次利益变化之中,清朝政府都选择了一个适合自己的舆论环境。可能清朝没有像现代美国政府那样高端的监控手段,但在对舆论的控制这个问题上,清朝证明了其实通过影响来控制舆论,并不需要复杂的监控设备——只要不要作死就好了;而这是很难得的。在中国历史上,有无数的朝代在舆论上选择自杀,而有些诸侯,甚至至死,都不知道自己是死于自杀。

以史为鉴,可以知兴替。其知,在于知兴者有知。舆论的控制,是兴者的一个重要技能。甚至只靠舆论的力量,一个政党,诸侯就能够兴起。纳粹,苏联,美英,都有极其强大的舆论领导能力;而法国,在德国进攻之前,舆论分为两派,一派追求国际主义,对德国的不公境遇充满同情;一派追求武力,认为只要马奇诺防线依然屹立法国就能高枕无忧——知兴替者,就在于此。未来的历史是不是还会重复这样的轨迹呢?

圣经说,太阳底下没有任何新东西。

Perfection is death

Being perfect is good. But trying to be perfection is just death sentence to anyone.

There is no perfection

In the theory world, there is a top for anything, and you can reach perfection just by spend enough. It’s always true that a project’s quality is linear boosted as time spent. However, it’s not. Just like speed, you can reach certain speed easily by accelerate for a certain time, but if you want more speed, more accelerating time/energy is just useless. You can never reach c even if you spend nearly infinite amount of time and spend nearly infinite amount of energy. It’s same in any project. You can get to a certain quality level with certain amount of time at begining, however, no matter how long you spend, it’s never perfect.

We use backup project as an example to explain it in detail. First, we define the perfection state of a backup project:

  • No one can access the backup data except the owner
  • The owner will never lost any useful data because of the backup

First, it’s something which can be easily done. You write a script to do differ analysis, divide data into small s3 objects, gpg encrypt it and sign it, then send it to Amazon Glacier. Just some lines of script, easy.

But when you put it into your crontab, you find something is missing. It’s not a perfect backup scheme. The data can be lost if you accidentally deleted it when you are between the backup cycle. It’s not tolerable! But you can still solve it. So you write a service, and then go into your kernel source tree, open the fs/open.c, patch the kernel, restart the system, and find not all calls are good. So change more sources, patch the kernel, restart the system, and again, and again…

You think you have a perfect solution now, every time you write the file, it will immediately transfer to Glacier; Even before the file reach the disk from the cache, it has already safely in cloud. No way to lost data now.

But problem can always raise. It’s still a long way to perfection. What if Amazon bankrupt? Easy, add the backup to Aliyun; What if your backup gpg key is lost? Print the encrypted version and post it anywhere; What if the network is down? Write another service to do watchdog job and beep loudly whenever a backup fail. Beep is of course not perfection, you need to have two private network lines to Amazon and Aliyun just to provide stable networking, so you buy AWS Direct Connect and some fuck network setup for Aliyun. But it can still fail, so you build automatic program to call Amazon and Aliyun to fix the private line when it find it finds the line is broken.

Yeah, you have a perfect backup solution. But no?

It’s still far far away from being perfection.

What if RSA is not secure? You need a private asymmetric encrypt method to make sure it’s safe(I use VXEnc~). What if your important idea is lost when typing in tty? Patch kernel again and add key stream backup. What if kernel panics? Rewrite the kernel to perfect so that to make it never panic.

But it’s still far away from being perfection.

You still need to write a git-like branch system to manage the backup-restore  history, you need to store every object’s travel history, and you need to ensure the network is good once again. Add another several provider. And you need a local offline copy, so you build a service that’s just like Glacier. You need perfection, and Earth has a possibility to nuclear war(0.7% for average given year, it is said), 0.7% data loss rate? Not tolerable! So you need to build the world’s biggest rocket launch station to send out backup copy in real time as you save a file. But it still need much more improvement to keep it secure in space.

 

You see, it can never complete.

 

I spent about 2 hours to finish the first step, but much more time has been spent since then, and I have never finished all the things in the list yet. I believe much more can be done, just to make the simple two requirement successful:

  • No one can access the backup data except the owner
  • The owner will never lost any useful data because of the backup

I developed a feeling that even all human beings spend all their life just trying to finish such a simple backup task perfectly, they will fail. Even if all human generations, one after another, spent infinite time on this simple data backup project, they will not achieve perfection.

There is no perfection.

 

There can always be perfection

Though in reality there is no perfection, you can always find some better ways for anything. You can always find something you can do to make your project better. As there are internet, you can receive far more information than your ancestor. They may live in a dreamland that they have done everything perfectly even if they can’t be sure whether or not their house can stand over next storm, but you can’t. You will always receive information about how to make something better. Those information tend to let you believe it’s easy and simple to make a better place. Your knowledge is improved than your ancestors, your ability enables you to do things which will help your project to perfection. And your brain refuse to believe anything is finished until it is perfection.

The smarter you are, the harder to lie to your brain. If you are good enough, you may find all your things that you have joined is marked as undone.

Modern lifestyle is a helper for this crisis. In the good old time, you can know when you finished a work. When you make bottles for sale, you make bottles, even though they are imperfect, you will not spend time to think that you should rob it from your customers to make it more perfect. When the bottles is out of your hand, it has finished, no more headache.

But modern days, you are a worker with multiply projects. You can not finish a part of the project and marked it as done. As you can always make change to that part, you will always to try to make it perfect. As long as you have access to that part, it is never marked as done.

As a human, you will have the Zeigarnik effect whenever there are things undone. When all things is never done, you will be mad. Everyone feels that madness in the modern society. People want to do things, but they can’t, as there are many other things to do. They want to do A, but there are BCDEFGHIJ; They want to finish B, but there are ACDEFGHIJ, and much more clearly shined in their brain than B because of Zeigarnik effect. They decide to finish J first, but their brain keep thinking of ABCDEFGHI. They decide to start a perfect timetable with a perfect J, and J will never finished as there is no perfection.

In the end, they finish nothing.

But still, ABCDEFGHIJ is in their brain, they need to do it. So they browser the internet try to find something for B, and find a good way to solve part of C, they did it, and remember B is not even started. Guiltily, they close the computer, see the To-Do list, and find the H, trying to do it in 5 minutes, and mobile phone rings.

Do you ever have the feeling that you have done nothing after a tired day?

Don’t you?

Henry Ford invented assembly lines to save worker from low efficiency. Some textbook says assembly lines improve the efficiency by let every one do repeated task. However, it’s not true. Assembly lines improves the efficiency by letting workers forget about their previous product, and focus on the current one. An experienced car master can easily build a car from raw metals if he wants, but even in every detail he is more experienced than assembly workers, he will never reach 1/5 efficiency of a man in an assembly line. He can build a car in 10000 hours with all the tools a worker have, but 1000 workers can do the same thing in 1 hour.

It’s not because he is not experienced. Even assembly line is filled with fresh new worker, everyone can be much more efficient than the lonely car master.

It’s because he can touch his product even when a part is finished.

The only solution to this problem is a Freeze and GTD lifestyle. For every single project, it should be a test, which tells you whether the project is finished. If a test is passed, even your guts tell you the project is in a mess, you should never touch the project again. It’s finished. Not only so, it’s frozen. In a preset period you shouldn’t do anything to improve the project even if you do want to improve it. Make a new project after the period if you still remember the project. But never think of the project when it is finished, as it will never be on your list again.

You have heard it somewhere? It seems familiar? Yes, it’s TDD. You write more production code everyday (exclude test) in TDD is not because your time is magically doubled, it’s because your code can be anything, ANYTHING, as long as it passes the test. Whenever some code passes the test, you will not and should not review it. It’s a way to fight Zeigarnik effect, just like the assembly line.

 

If you can always focus on your topic, you will have 5~10 times performance boost. It is verified data. Assembly lines make workers focus, and 10x performance is seen. Good TDD makes programmers focus, and for some programmer, 100x  performance is seen. You can also have this performance boost happen in your daily life, just do like you are in an assembly, and you will be fine.

 

Is Meg Jay Right?

In Meg Jay’s New York Times article “The Downside of Cohabiting before Marriage” publishes on April 14, 2012, the author suggests that cohabiting may not be a good factor in marriage like many people assume, actually, it may enlarge the possibility for couples to divorce after marriage. She argues that cohabiting couples may just slide into marriage without serious conversations about why they should live together, and, unfortunately, people’s standards of a live-in partner are lower than their standards of a spouse in most cases, which leads to unhappiness after marriage and therefore enlarges the risk of divorcing. Meg also suggests that people may have different views toward cohabiting: Women are more likely to think cohabiting as a step towards marriage, while men are more likely to see it as a way to test a relationship. These asymmetry ideas may lead to low quality of understanding and may eventually lead to the break of a marriage. She argues that cohabiting is filled with high switching cost, which may make people be “locked in” by cohabiting, and miss their true love because of it. Finally, Meg concludes that because of the high risk of cohabiting before marriage, young people should discuss the commitment level and motivation before sliding into cohabiting to prevent the cohabitation effects.

Unfortunately, there aren’t many real examples in Meg’s article, and the examples Meg gives in her article do not support her conclusion solidly. Firstly, she suggests that there are some risks lie in cohabitation itself, and gives examples which show that heedless cohabitation which leads to unhappy life and eventually leads to break up of the relationship. However, all those examples only suggest that a heedless relationship will end badly, which is a common knowledge. So that those examples are not incontrovertible evidence of the risks lie in cohabitation. She also mentions in her article that cohabitation is loaded with switching cost, which makes it difficult to break up and finds a more suitable partner. But in fact any close relationship will bring switching cost, and will make people have a hard time to make right choices. It is true that cohabitation is hard to break up, but breaking up a marriage is even harder. In this case, I believe marriage is even more dangerous than cohabitation. The author assumes that a never-breaking marriage is the ultimate goal. However, this is a false supposition. There are many stories about unhappy couples who live together for lifelong time. They waste all their life to endure each other, and miss all the opportunity to find a better partner. It’s more tragic than those who divorce and then find a better partner. So that I think a right partner is much better than an unbreakable marriage.

As for the statistic, she suggests that there are some researches which show that couples who have cohabiting experience have a higher divorce rate than those who have no cohabiting experience. However, she fails to give us the exact numbers. But according to a longterm research carried out by U.S. government which has a sample base of 22682 people, the couples who have cohabitation experience have a divorce probability of nineteen percents, and the probability of divorce for those who did not have cohabitation experience is twenty percents. So, according to this research those couples who cohabit before marriage are not more likely to get divorce. Because of the fact that most cohabiting couples are more open-minded compare to those who have no cohabiting experience, they are more open to choose divorce if their marriage doesn’t work out. So the lower possibility of divorce actually suggests that couples who cohabit before marriage have a better marriage quality than couples who do not. And there is indeed a research that shows cohabitors who marry report greater happiness, fewer disagreements, and less instability in their unions and are more able to resolve their relationship conflicts through nonviolent means. So that I believe that cohabiting experience may help people live a better life after marriage.

In her article, Meg Jay has given us some evidence which cannot fully support her ideas. The real world statistics also suggest that cohabitation may have a good effect on marriage. Therefore I believe “Cohabitation Effect” only exists on some special clients of Meg Jay. For most other people, cohabitation actually has a good effect.