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Royal Beatings

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黛安艾克曼的正职是哥伦比亚大学文学教授,同时也是诗人。在《感官之旅》里,诗一般的语言随处可见:“这个世界感觉何其丰富,夏天,我们会因吹入卧房窗户空气的甜香而被诱起床,穿过薄纱窗帘婆娑起舞的阳光使窗帘有波浪效果,似乎与光线共同颤动。在冬天,也许有人会听见晨曦中红雀撞击卧室窗框上自己的倒影,虽然她仍在睡梦之中,却仍能够了解那声音的意义,使她绝望地摇头,起床到书房内画一张猫头鹰或其他以捕食鸟类为生的动物画,贴在窗上,再去厨房煮一壶芳香微苦的咖啡。” 艾克曼自小热爱世上的一切,她对科学极有兴趣,却取得了文学博士学位,她热爱驾驶飞机,也是探险家、自然学者和潜水专家。她认为人生就是不断的冒险,在冒险过程中,体能的考验和不断更新的经验,能刺激感官,产生喜悦。不过她并不做只追求刺激的卤莽行为,比如跳降落伞。 艾克曼用博学而纯真的笔触,描述她所热爱的自然。在她的笔下,历史和科学巧妙地融在文学内,让人着迷。她告诉你吻是怎么开始的,香水师怎么知道调制出来的香水会使人喜爱?食是性最好的前戏……

写作《感官之旅》的黛安-艾克曼无疑也是感官享受者,她在密苏里圣路易大学指导写作课程时,每天都在下午同一时刻放下手中工作,不顾系主任的焦躁愤怒,为的是返回家中,在客厅中俯看树林公园的巨大观景窗观看落日。她坦言:“我所渴望的就是落日这种精神鸦片。”在丰富的辞藻中艾克曼建立她独树一帜的观点。 “历代最伟大的感官享受者并不是克丽奥佩得拉、玛丽-莲梦露、普鲁斯特,或其他感官享受者,而是缺乏数种感官的残障女性:海伦-凯勒。又聋、又瞎、又哑的海伦-凯勒剩余的感官却相当敏锐,当她把手放在收音机上欣赏音乐时,可以分出小号与弦乐器的不同。她可以倾听色彩缤纷的生命故事沿着密西西比河倾泻而下,她长篇大论地写下生活的香气、味道、触感、感觉,不断地探索追求,虽然她残障,但却比她那个时代的许多人都生活得更深刻。”放任感官之人,读艾克曼的书,也许会有将心比心的兴高采烈。 | 感官之旅--感知的詩學作者:黛安?艾克曼出版日期:2007 年05 月 31 日 |
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總計4 頁,第2 頁回上頁內容連載01 02 03 04嗅覺

嗅覺是無所不能的魔法師,能送我們越過數千里,穿過所有往日的時光。果實的芳香使我飄回南方故里,重溫孩提時代在桃子園中的歡樂時光。其他的氣味,瞬息即逝又難於捕捉,卻使我的心房快樂地膨脹、或因憶起悲傷而收縮。正當我想到各種氣味時,我的鼻子也充滿各色香氣,喚起了逝去夏日和遠方秋收田野的甜蜜回憶。 ──海倫凱勒

沉默無語的知覺

世上沒有比氣味更容易記憶的事物。一陣突如其來的香氣,瞬息之間,稍縱即逝,但卻喚起了波戈諾山區(the Poconos,位於美國賓州)湖畔的童年夏日,野藍莓叢的漿果結實纍纍,而當時異性還神祕如太空之旅;另一種香氣勾起了佛羅里達月光海灘的熱情時光,夜裡綻放的仙人掌花以陣陣芳香的凝乳浸潤空氣,巨大的天蛾撲動翅膀,在仙人掌花間駐足;第三種香氣讓人憶起全家團聚在一起的豐盛晚餐,燉肉、麵條布丁和甜薯,在中西部小鎮上,桃金孃花處處盛開,當時雙親仍然健在。氣味就像威力強大的地雷般,隱藏在歲月和經驗之下,在我們的記憶中安靜地爆炸。只要觸及氣味的引線,回憶就立即爆發,而複雜的幻影也由深處浮顯。

各種文化的人都對氣味著迷,有時以尼加拉瀑布式的奢侈擦抹香水。絲路為西方世界開啟了東方,而馨香之路則開啟了自然的心靈。我們古早的祖先漫步在大地各種水果之間,以敏銳的鼻子,跟隨四季氣味的轉換,填充家裡滿溢的貯藏室。我們可以辨別一萬種以上的氣味,數量如此之多,縱使想一一記下它們代表的一切,恐怕記憶也難以企及。在〈巴斯克維爾之犬〉(The Hound of the Baskervilles)故事中,名偵探福爾摩斯由一名婦女信紙的氣味認出她來,他說:「共有七十五種香味,刑事專家應能一一區分。」這個數目當然太少了!能夠「嗅出」犯罪氣息的人應該能由罪犯的蘇格蘭呢、墨汁、爽身粉、義大利皮鞋,和其他數不清充滿氣味的隨身用品中,辨別他們的蹤跡;更不用說種種強烈散溢或沒沒無聞的氣味,讓我們辨識而不自知。我們的腦是個稱職的舞台指導,在我們忙著發揮五官知覺時,仍繼續執行它的功能。雖然大部分人可能對天發誓他們無此能力,但已有許多研究顯示,不論大人或小孩,只靠嗅聞,就能知道某件衣服是男人還是女人穿過。

雖然我們的嗅覺可以達到非常精確的地步,但要向未曾嗅過某種味道的人描述此種氣味,卻幾乎不可能。例如新書光滑的書頁,或是油印機上沾滿溶劑的頭幾頁,或是死去的軀體,或是像綠薄荷、山茱萸、紫丁香等花朵散發的不同香氣。嗅覺是沉默的知覺,無言的官能,我們缺乏字彙形容,只能張口結舌,在難以言喻的歡樂與狂喜汪洋中,摸索著言辭。只有在光線足夠時,我們才能看;只有在嘴裡有食物時,我們才能品嘗;只有在與人或事物接觸時,我們才能摸;只有在聲音夠響時,我們才能聽;但我們卻隨著每一次呼吸,時時在嗅聞。蒙住眼睛,你就看不見;遮閉耳朵,你就聽不到;但若捂住鼻子想停止嗅聞,你就會死亡。由字源學上來看,英文的呼吸(breath)並非呆板無趣的靜態,它表示「炊煮的空氣」;我們永遠生活在小火熬煮中,我們的細胞裡有個火爐,在呼吸時,我們讓整個世界穿過身體,輕輕地醞釀,再將之釋出,而世界也因認識了我們,而略微有所改變。

氣味地圖

呼吸總是成雙成對,只有兩次例外──起頭和最後的這兩次。出生時,我們第一次吸氣;死亡時,我們最後一次呼氣。這其間,歷經人生所有的汗沫,每一次呼吸都會把空氣送到我們的嗅覺器官裡。每天我們約呼吸二三○四○次,移動四三八立方英尺左右的空氣。呼吸一次大約要五秒鐘──兩秒鐘吸氣,三秒鐘呼氣。在這同時,氣味分子在我們體內氾濫。在呼吸之間,我們聞到了氣味。種種氣息包圍著我們,在我們四周旋轉,進入我們體內,又由我們身軀發散。我們生活在它們不斷的衝擊中。然而當我們試著描述某種氣味時,言辭卻像膺品般使人失望。言辭在浩瀚的宇宙混沌中,是渺小的形體,但它們畢竟是形體,能找出世界的焦點,能捕捉靈感,磨礪思想,它們能畫出知覺的彩畫。柯波帝(Truman Capote)的《冷血告白》(In Cold Blood)中,記載了兩名殺人犯合夥幹下一起重案的故事。一位犯罪心理學家在解釋本案時說,兩名罪犯分開來都不可能犯此重罪,但合在一起卻成了另一個人 ──有能力殺人的人。對這種化學家稱為「自燃」(hypergolic)的作用,還有其他用詞較和緩而效果一樣強烈的比喻,譬如兩種物質混合在一起,就能成為完全不同的產物(如食鹽),甚至具有爆炸性(硝化甘油)。言辭的迷人之處就在於,它雖屬人為,卻能在特殊的場合下捕捉非人為的情感與感觸。然而氣味與人腦中語言中心的生理聯結卻微弱得可憐!不過,氣味與記憶中心的聯結就不致如此微弱,而是一條路徑,靈巧地帶領我們穿越時空;其他知覺與語言之間的聯結也不致如此微弱,當我們觀看事物時,可以滔滔不絕地描述細節,運用成串的意象。我們可以像螞蟻般爬過其表面,畫出每個特色,感受其組織,以各種視覺的形容詞,如紅、藍、明亮、大的等等描述,但誰能畫出氣味的圖呢?在我們用煙味、硫磺味、花香味、水果味、甜味等字彙描述氣味時,是用其他事物為比喻(煙、硫磺、花、水果、糖)。氣味是我們最親的親人,但我們卻記不住他們的名字,只能描述他們使我們產生的感受,例如某物聞起來「令人噁心」、「醉人」、「教人作嘔」、「使人愉快」、「好聞」、「教人血脈賁張」、「昏昏欲睡」,或「令人厭惡」。

母親曾告訴我,有次她和我父親驅車經過佛羅里達州印第安河畔的橘樹林,樹上花朵怒放,空氣浸滿了芳香,使她心中充滿了快樂。「聞起來像什麼?」我問道。「哦,它令人愉快,教人心醉神迷的味道。」「但那味道聞起來像什麼?」我又問,「像柑橘嗎?」如果是,我也許會為她買些由橙花精油製成的古龍水。自十八世紀開始,人們就會用橙花、佛手柑精油,和其他微量成分製作古龍水;它也是巴利夫人(Madame du Barry)的最愛。(雖然回溯至西元前兩百年,塞班人〔Sabines〕就已把橙花精油當作香水使用。)「不,」她斷然地說;「一點也不像柑橘,它是非常好聞的味道,美妙的味道。」 「形容看看。」我懇求道,但她卻絕望地攤開雙手。

現在,試試看描述一下你情人、子女、父母的氣味。多數人在蒙上雙眼的情況下,可以僅憑氣味辨物:鞋店、麵包店、教堂、肉店、圖書館。可是你能形容閣樓上或車上你最喜愛座椅的氣味嗎?在《花粉棲息的花朵中》,小說家韋斯特(Paul West)寫道「血的氣息如塵土。」是個動人的比喻,其動人之處在於迂迴,幾乎所有描述氣息的比喻都是如此。另外一位有趣的觀察者是小說家龔布洛維茲(Witold Gombrowicz),他在第一冊日記中,提到在庵室中「與A及其妻共進早餐……食物聞起來,對不起,像豪華廁所。」我想這是因為早點中有他不喜愛的炒腰子之故──雖然這些腰子價格昂貴,又是高級貨。在為氣味繪圖時,我們需要感性的繪圖員,創造新詞彙,每個詞彙就像地形或基本方位一般明確。應該有詞語能形容嬰兒頭頂的氣味,撲了爽身粉,又生氣蓬勃,還未受人生和飲食的汙染。企鵝聞起來就是企鵝(penguin),相當獨特,應該用一個簡單明瞭的詞涵蓋其意義,pinguid意思是肥膩的,不適合描述企鵝;penguinine聽起來像山嶺,最常見的還是penguinlike(如企鵝般),但這也只是混淆了語言和稱謂,並未盡描述之責。如果同一色調中,所有色彩都有詞語可形容──淡紫、粉紫、紫紅、深紫,和紫丁香的紫,誰又能為氣味訂下色調和色度的種種名字呢?我們彷彿遭到集體催眠,而遺忘了其中的某些部分。也可能是因為氣味感動我們至深,因此我們無法喚出它們的名字。在辭藻豐富的世界裡,幾乎所有的奇蹟都能用言語切割解體,唯獨氣味常常就在我們的舌尖──卻僅此而已,它和言語有一段神奇的距離,神祕不可測,是股無名的力量,神聖不可侵犯。(本文節錄自《感官之旅:感知的詩學》) |

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