T.E. Lawrence

Thomas Edward Lawrence (1888-1935)

T.E. Lawrence很可能是最多人為他立傳的歷史人物,這亦可見他相當複雜,要將他的本來面目還原誠為難事。直至目前為止,T.E. Lawrence的好幾件事件仍然是傳記作者爭論的對象:比如說Deraa事件便一直是爭議的焦點。有好幾本傳記都寫得相當出色,心理學家John E. Mack的The Prince of Our Disorder便被稱譽為最能抓住T.E. Lawrence的傳記。但要認識T.E. Lawrence最好還是從他的 Seven Pillars of Wisdom入手。儘管Seven Pillars of Wisdom嚴格而言並不是歷史的真實紀錄——若干記述早已為學者認定是誇大其辭或扭曲;但從字裡行間我們還是可以一窺T.E. Lawrence的內心世界,更重要的是阿拉伯起義戰事如何改變了他的一生。

其實T.E. Lawrence一開始便表明Seven Pillars of Wisdom並非歷史記錄,而是他的心路歷程: “In these pages the history is not of the Arab movement, but of me in it.” 若果我們認清他的寫作本懷,那麼就算他對若干事件重新編排或作增刪,撒謊的指責也不能成立了。

長期身處異地令他陷入身份危機。他打從心底裡喜歡這片土地及人民,但也正因為這樣才令他置身萬刼不復的境地。他對阿拉伯文化了解甚深,亦十分適應阿拉伯生活:大概沒有一個西方人能比他做得更好。(這也是為甚麼在侵略伊拉克後,好些西方人表示希望美英聯軍能以T.E. Lawrence作榜樣,尊重並融入他國文化,而不是以高高在上的帝國主義者自居。如果英美聯軍學到T.E. Lawrence的一半,伊拉克今天就不會是這個樣子了。)但異地長期生活還是令他的自我支離破碎:因為融入異地文化的結果是破壞了他本來的「英國自我」,但他卻又沒法真的成為阿拉伯人。這就像叛教者只能成為無神論者,而不可能皈依別的宗教。最好還是聽聽他怎樣說:

“In my case, the effort for these years to live in the dress of Arabs, and to imitate their mental foundation, quitted me of my English self, and let me look at the West and its conventions with new eyes: they destroyed it all for me. At the same time I could not sincerely take on the Arab skin: it was an affection only. Easily was a man made an infidel, but hardly might he be converted to another faith. I had dropped one from and not taken on the other, and was become like Mohammed’s coffin in our legend, with a resultant feeling of intense loneliness in life, and a contempt, not for other men, but for all they do. Such detachment came at times to a man exhausted by prolonged physical effort and isolation. His body plodded on mechanically, while his reasonable mind left him, and from without looked down critically on him, wondering what that futile lumber did and why. Sometimes these selves would converse in the void; and then madness was very near, as I believe it would be near the man who could see things through the veils at once of two customs, two educations, two environments.”

當 然迫得他發瘋的很大程度上還是兩個身份 在現實政治中的衝突。他被派往充當阿拉伯盟友的顧問,好讓他們協助英軍把土耳其驅逐出阿拉伯;而他亦知道英法兩國早就對鄂圖曼帝國虎視眈眈,亦明白阿拉伯 人就算戰勝,中東亦沒有他們的份兒。可是他卻選擇玩火,希望協助阿拉伯人佔領多些土地,粉碎法國在敘利亞的圖謀。他很天真地相信這對英國及阿拉伯也有好 處,但現實政治當然不由得他一廂情願。他自欺之餘也知道這其實是非常危險的狂想,無論對人對己都十分危險。Seven Pillars of Wisdom 的〈導言〉有句說話,已差不多成為不朽名句:

“All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the days are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes, to make it possible. This I did.”

對自己而言是危險遊戲,因為這個自我期許的任務註定失敗,而隨之而來的是半生揮之不去的罪惡感。對英國構成危險更不用多說:自把自為的軍官已夠麻煩,還要是個被傳媒捧成戰爭英雄的人物,英國處理中東事務時自然得有所顧忌。至於阿拉伯人,T.E. Lawrence給予他們虛假的希望,他們為了這個希望奮力作戰,但原來卻只是為他人作嫁衣裳。

我之欣賞T.E. Lawrence正 是 因為他是那麼獨特,經歷是那麼傳奇,但同時又像你我一樣充滿缺點。他一方面是帶點浪漫氣質的天才英雄:既是英勇的戰士,但同時也是學者、文學家、探險家 ——這樣的人物彷彿 小說世界的創造物;但另一方面他卻是有血有肉的,並身處現實政治漩渦之中。浪漫氣質遇上醜惡政治便是災難,也做就了悲劇人物。我們要問的問題大概不是「究竟哪個才是T.E. Lawrence呢?」因為無論是真相還是謊言,都是T.E. Lawrence 的一部份。

T.E. Lawrence 在1934年一封給崇拜者Lincoln Kirstein的信中有這麼一句: “If we ever come together, you will see that I am human. There ain’t any such super-creatures as you would fain see: or if there are, I haven’t been lucky enough to meet one.”

他只是擁有不平凡經歷的平凡人而已。

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