The Kenre Dialectical Practice

作者:措扎慕 发布时间:2014-12-01 00:00:00 原出处:彝族人网 点赞+(

Abstract:As an oral debating, Kenre is still in vitality in Southwest China. It is characterized by “poetic wisdom”. Kenre is not only a kind of verbal behavior and dialogue art, but also a way of communication and inheritance. The paper concludes four public educational features of Kenre debating, such as teaching knowledge, developing thought,learning history, and cultivating humanistic spirit. The paper thought that as a Socratic dialogue education,Kenre debating plays an important significance for building public culture space in people’s life and evoking public education in Southwest China.2tc彝族人网(彝人网)- 彝族文化网络博物馆

Keywords: Kenre, dialectical practice, public life, national character, dialogue education
Large-scale debating thoughts have occurred in China, India, and ancient Greek, which constitute the Three Ancient Debating System. Various Chinese ethnic minorities also enjoy a long history of debating tradition, among which, the Kenre dialectical practice of Yi minority is a common example. “Kenre” is a kind of transliteration from Yi language, while “Ke” means utterance and “Zhi” represents removal and compromising. Together, “Kenre” means oral debating. This debating is a direct dialogue, which centers on some certain object or question with the aim to reach the correct answer to the object. It ends when one party win the debating. There is a maxim among the Yi people—The feet are for working while the tongue is for debating, which reflects that debating is an intrinsic ability like walking. In China, discussion is to distinguish the correct and wrong, while debating is the power of language.
Debate has a long history in China. The book Yi Jing, one of China’s ancient masterpieces, records like this:“Language can shake the whole world” (Liu, 2007). To some degree, thoughts of human beings are an imitation of external dialogue and internal debating. In order to improve the construction of campus public life, the research of Kenre debating from the viewpoint of education is carried out.
The Process of Kenre Dialectical Practice
Kenre debating is always carried out near the fire-pit in occasions of funeral, wedding ceremony, and so on. It follows an oratory tradition, with the characteristic of “poetic logic” or “poetic wisdom” (Vico, 2006),which is easy for chanting and memorizing. The metaphor, parallelism, and other rhetoric figures are widely used. As a result, those debates are strongly rhymed and humored with abundant connotation.
The Arrangement of Kenre Debating
The process of Kenre debating varies slightly among different Yi areas. It is generally divided into the first and second halves. The first half follows the procedure: opening remarks, narration or debating, retrieving the classics, and setting up questions. They welcome the guests and compliment the other party with polite remarks. This can be viewed as an impromptu speech to relax the atmosphere and comfort the guests. Thelanguage is always exaggerated and innovative. Here is an example for exchanging greetings in the wedding ceremony
Participant A: The esteemed guests, your silence worries the guests. How is everything going in your
home? How about the cereal harvest? Does the lady defend the enemy? Does the lad marry? (This is a honor way to speaking, in fact, all things can not happen).
Participant B: It is a great honor to attend the ceremony. Everything is fine in my home. The husbandry is prospers and the crops enjoy a good harvest. The family and friends are safe.
There is a transitional period called “go and have a look”. It is somehow a challenge for debating. It is said that “We should like two energetic deer to compete”.
The procedure for the second half is like this: the origin of the epic, the evolution of the epic, and the narration of the epic history. The first half mainly tests the participant’s response ability while the second half is to test the proficiency of the epics. The words and remarks, like endless bullets, come out from the participants continuously. The second half is based on the epic named Hnewo Teyyr. The debate combines the clues and stories to the history events, like creation, immigration, wars, and settlement, and cultivates lots of hero images.If the debate reaches a draw, then the riddle or examination session will follow. This session is for thecompletion of experience and knowledge. A participant usually narrates the places he/she traveled, the historic resorts, the beauty of the people, and the customs exaggeratedly. Finally, one “referee” (usually a senior citizen), on behalf of the audience, will make a toast to the participants, which represents the peaceful compromising. Kenre debating is somehow a mental sport inclusive of cooperation and competition.
The Interaction Among the Debaters and the Audience
It is widely accepted that one of the important indicators to judge the quality of the public activity is whether it involves as many participants as possible. During Kenre debating, the debaters, with a sense ofresponsibility and vocation, represent the host and guests respectively. It seems that the debate is merely a direct dialogue between two debaters. However, their words and oratory skills represent the honor of the family and exhibit the power of their family. Each debater has his/her own supporters, who serve as the traditional information recipients and are familiar with the content of the debating. The subjects for the debating arealways some events or some rituals, which are closely followed or direct experienced by the recipients. Then,the interaction between the debater and the audience come into being. The recipients identified themselves as participants, as well as referees. Thanks to the recipients’ participation and response, the debate is a mental sport, the debater’s oratory skill and ability of impromptu speech can be activated.
Kenre debating is a public language activity based on deducing norm. It originated from the public,combined together with life, and enjoyed a wide human base. Kenre is the “tree of live” in the Liangshan area,and adapted to local ethnic culture. It is also a cultural inheriting process as well as a public education activity.
The Public Education Feature of Kenre Dialectical Practice
Through analyzing the content and form of Kenre debating, we find the following four eminent
educational culture features.
A Process of Imparting Knowledge
The essence for Kenre debating is the competition of abundance of knowledge and experience. It regards the origin of objects and life experience as the logic evidence. The debater will always exaggerate the places he/she visited, and the scenery he/she saw. The debater will always challenge to ask the opponent in a provocative way: Have you ever been to somewhere? Have you ever seen something?
The contents for debating include the folklore, the oratory skill, the living skill, and the traditional rituals and festivals. It has the moral recognition, innovation, memorizing, and entertainment. The influence posed by the knowledge to the individual varies greatly according to individuals’ interests, hobbies, styles, and abilities.For human beings, Kenre debating is a kind of self-education, which is a major means for the carrying of human culture. Education activity, as a pass of the accumulated knowledge, is for each individual. As a result,this kind of inheritance will influence the individual first. This kind of influence is quite different. Under this kind of influence, people usually want to be known and to be capable (Hu, 1999, p. 315). To be known means being accepted, recognized, and respected by the locals. To be capable means being an outstanding debater or orator. This requires the individual to transfer the knowledge gained from books into wisdom, which can support the dialogue and generate new ideas.
A Process for Thinking Development
Kenre debating is a language activity among the participants. Debaters prove their own viewpoint,
overrule the opponents’ view, and eliminate the controversy through individual statement or combination of statements. For a long time, either as a phenomenon or a question, debate is followed closely by logic, rhetoric,and pragmatics. This is not only because debate is a common phenomenon and a language activitity, it also reflects the disparity among individuals. Different thoughts will continue to advance in the debate and discussion. Two opposite thinking skills have been established in our mind. The first one is to categorize, andthe second one is to treat each object differently. They also breed the seeds for debate and negotiation. The categorical logos is always resisted by the individualized ant-logos (Billig, 2011, p. 159).
From the view of the debating dimension, thinking or logic is an internal debate which imitates the external dialogue. Attitude is the rhetoric standing for the argument.Austin (1996), an American orator, pointed out that critical thinking is regarded as an efficient individual participation in human activities. It is also a skill required by the competitive commercial and vocational activities. Debating is one of the best approaches for learning and applying the critical thoughts (Austin, 1996,p. 1), to some extent, Kenre debating is to raze the unnecessary details with Occam’s Razor and finally back to thinking economy. Occam’s Razor is critical thought named after Occam (Jin, 1993), who advocated that the number of the unnecessary items should not be added. Everything has an origin, and the origin is the evidence of existence. The legends and fairy tales of the Yi minority present the exploration toward philosophy. For example, a debater exhibits the critical spirit to track the origin while the narration of the evolution the human beings.
A Process to Learn History
Kenre debating is based on a classical epic named Hnewo Teyyr, which contains 14 chapters including the creation of world. “Hnewo” is a transliteration of Yi language, it means verbal passing of knowledge. For the Yi minority, this epic is a chronological book, which is widely spread and accepted by Kenre debating. It is safe to say that Kenre debating is a process to learn the history of Yi people.
A Process to Cultivate Humanity
In essence, Kenre dialectical practice is a speech art based on the opposite spirit. Speech art is raised by Austin (1962). According to Austin, to say something is to do something. Speech art serves as an agent between behavior and spirit (Austin, 1962, p. 2). Language is more than a tool. It is the apparatus of the tool.Education is a concrete language act. Dewey (1980), an American educationist, had once said that education means growth, and growth equals experience, the purpose for education is itself, growth means cultivation (Dewey, 1980, p. 105). We would rather to regard education as agricultural cultivation than industrial
manufacturing. According to speech art, children exist in growth. The essences of nature, interpersonal function,and individual personality have decided the pre-requisite, content, trait, and standard of the democratic education. It will promote the development of individual thinking and the establishment of scientific spirit and self-recognition. The significance of language is formed by negotiation or interaction under certain social experience. It is explained by publicly observed social activities. Speech art constructs the meaningful world. It generates, knows, shares, and expresses the common values with a democratic connotation. It is a continuous process of exploration and truth-seeking (Xiao & Hu, 2010). This is the intrinsic relationship between education and democracy.
The Kenre dialectical practice is a process to cultivate the Yi minority’s poetic wisdom of tracking the origin. In Liangshan area, where Kenre debating exists, rituals are a common ingredient for life. The ritual participants exist and divided according to their blood relation and location. During the rituals, people share the same sorrow, happiness, and destiny. They dance, sing, and pray together. They also express their wishes,exchange the information, promote the mutual recognition, and reinforce their union and harmony. Rituals have an effect on strengthening the social action and tribe agglomeration. Kenre debating comes from this kind of ritual life and is marked as an outstanding feature for public social life. Kenre debating is an excellent ingredient of the verbal culture, which should be advocated and further developed. The limit of blood relation and family boundary should be broken. It should be developed in the entire nation and whole society. Then, it will influence the whole nation and society in a higher level. The spirit of collectivism, competition, and union should be fully exerted, and establish a new sense of honor which means sharing of weal and woe. This new sense of honor will be rooted in the emotional conciseness of the Yi minority, and will be a spiritual power for mutual assistance and mutual prosperity. The spirit for tracking the origin, the system of sharing the same name between the father and the son together with the poetic thinking and nature, have formed the cultural tradition of poetic wisdom (Gu, 2011, p. 21).
Kenre’s Significance Towards Public Life Space
The popularity of debating in human history is because that it is a unique dialogue education. Dialogue is the real conflicts between different thoughts, and the approach for truth exploration and self-recognition.Jaspers (1991) thought that without considering the social and historical background, education itself can be divided into the following three categories: scholastic education, master and apprentice education, and Socratic education. The last one means that there is no fixed educational model, and the learning party and the teaching party can think freely. After endless inquiries and questions, students and teachers will find themselves naive to the absolute truth. Teachers will arouse students’ sense for exploration. This kind of spawning induction education is advocated by Socrates. This educational method will arouse the internal potential of students,instead of putting too much pressure from the outside (Jaspers, 1991, p. 46). Socrates himself was a philosopher who practiced this kind of dialogue education.
The democratic system in ancient Greek was somehow the most democratic political system in this world.“But when it comes to election, the volume will always decide the failure or success. Then, even the barking dog is the model for the good citizen” (He, 2013). There is some precondition for democracy, and education is one of them, because education will foster the rationality, morality, characteristic, and democratic attitudes.Dewey (1980) has put this in his book Democracy and Education, a non-performing society has set barriers inside and outside, restricts the free communication and exchange of experience. If there is a society where all the members can share benefits equally, influence each other, and adjust the social systems swiftly, then, it is ademocratic society. There must be an education system which makes individuals be interested in social relationship and social control. This kind of education will foster the psychological habit that the social change will not cause social chaos (Dewey, 1980, p. 105). For Southwest University education, we should direct students’ participation in public activities, activate their enthusiasm, foster their ability for public practicing,arouse their concern to the public objects, and promote their understanding and recognition to public values and elevate the levels (Liu, 2013). This should be the basic starting points for schools’ public life and civic education.
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