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七罪惰为首

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今天是你我从女王大学获得人生中第一个学位的日子,我们该谈些什么呢?既然我们都将开始新的工作,那么问题就简单多了。我成为一个作家已经有些年头了,我也想接着干下去。但是成为一名作家,可以说并不是一件工作,而更像是一种心态。当然,除了少部分人,当作家也不能挣很多钱。二十年来,我作为一名记者谋生,现在我辞职不干了,并在大学里找到了一份与以往不同的新工作。我全无经验,也料到难免会错误百出,也许我会失败。当然之前在一些事情上我也失败过,但谢天谢地我都挺过来了。工作上的失败固然总是让人不快和蒙羞,但是令人心灰意冷的失败却只有一种,那就是生活态度上的“失败”。它才是我们真正应该畏惧的失败。
What shall we talk about, you and I,who are getting our first degrees from Queen's University today? The problem is a little easier than is usually the case, because we are both going into new jobs. I have been an author for many years, and I intend to go on being one. But being an author isn't a job -it is a state of mind ; also, it is not a gainful occupation except in a rather restricted sense. I have been earning my living as journalist for twenty years, and now I am giving up that sort of work to take a different sort of job in a university. I shall be very green at it, and I expect I shall do a lot of things the wrong way. Perhaps I shall be a failure, but I have failed at several things already,and somehow I have lived through it. Failure at a specific task is always disagreeable and sometimes it is humiliating. But there is only one kind of failure that really breaks the spirit, and that is failure in the art of life itself. That is the failure that one does well to fear.
这种所谓的生活态度上的“失败”是什么呢?当一个人对自己生命中真正重要的那些事物丧失兴趣时,我们就能在这个人的身上看到那种“失败”。它一点也不引人注目,从不突然而至,这也成了它发生作用的有利条件。它如一道阴影笼罩在人们的身后,渐渐遮住人们生命中的光亮,而那些被它完全俘获的人们自己却很难发现是什么东西在折磨着他们。
What is it like, this failure in the art of life ? It is the failure which manifests itself in a loss of interest in really important things. It does not come suddenly, there is nothing dramatic about it, and thus it works with a dreadful advantage ; it creeps upon us, and once it has us in its grip,it is hard for us to recognize what ails us.
这种“失败”被中世纪的神学家们确定为七宗罪之一不是没有道理的。想必大家对七宗罪并不陌生。愤怒,暴食,妒忌,贪婪和色欲这五宗并不难甄别,傲慢则因容易与其他品质混淆而变得难以捉摸,因此智者如圣·安布罗斯、圣·奥古斯丁就认为傲慢是七宗罪中最危险的一个。但是我却认为七宗罪中的最后一宗才是现如今人们最容易犯的罪行,那些神学家把它称作“怠惰”。
It is not for nothing that this failure was reckoned by medieval theologians as one of he Seven Deadly Sins. I suppose you know what they were. Wrath, Gluttony,Envy, Avarice,and Lechery are not very hard to recognize and are perilously easy to justify,by one means or another. Pride is an extremely subtle sin because it is so clever at disguising itself as something else,and those astute men St. Ambrose and St.Augustine thought it the most dangerous of all the sins. But it is the seventh which I think is particularly prevalent in our day ; medieval theologians called it Sloth.
“怠惰”大概不是一个恰当的词语,因为现在它的语义主要是指在生理方面的行动迟缓或疏于运动。而神学家所谓的“怠惰”则是精神层面的,怠惰能够让人永生永世受煎熬。也许用另一个拉丁词语称呼它更加贴切,就是“Accidie”,它的意思是智力和精神上的迟钝、麻痹、无所用心和了无生气。
Sloth is not really a suitable name for it now, because the word has come to mean a sluggishness and inactivity which is chiefly physical. But the sloth the theologians meant,the sloth which can damn you in this world and perhaps in the next, is spiritual.There was a better name, a Latin name,for it was also called Accidie, and it meant intellectual and spiritual torpor,indifference,and lethargy.
犯下这种“怠惰”的罪行和生理上的怠惰没有太多的关系,你甚至可能像一只蜜蜂那样忙碌,日程表排的满满的,在会议和派对之中周旋不停。但是,如果你在忙碌的过程中,只是疲于应付,其实心力交瘁;如果你和周围人的关系越来越流于表面;如果你变得越来越认不清自己……那么,你已经是“怠惰”的俘虏了。
To be guilty of Acedia it is not necessary to be physically sluggish at all. You can be as busy as a bee. You can fill your days with activity, busting from meeting to meeting,sitting on committees, running from one party to another in a perfect whirlwind of movement. But if, meanwhile, your feelings and sensibilities are withering,if your relationships with people near to you are becoming more and more superficial, if you are losing touch even with yourself, it is Acedia which has claimed you for its own.
如何发现这种状况呢?安纳托利·法兰西说年岁增长的最大危险就在于将日渐怠惰的感觉误认为是智随年长。当然,年纪越大,越通世故,年轻时困扰我们伤害我们的事情也能渐渐释怀。但这种睿智的养成和变得无所用心,玩世不恭可不是一回事。在一个人成长的过程中,他会慢慢学会怎样不为那些不重要的事情烦恼,但其中存在的危险就在于有一天他可能对所有的事情都麻木不仁。如果你对人生中的苦难感觉不到痛苦,那么很可能你对人生中的欢乐和幸福也会无动于衷。当出现这种状况,一个人的精神世界就被重重乌云所笼罩,阳光再也照射不到他的灵魂深处。这就是“怠惰”,之所以如此要命就因为它能消磨人生命的激情,并最终抹杀干净。
How can it be recognized ? Anatole France said that the great danger of increasing age was that the feelings atrophied, and we mistook the sensation for the growth of wisdom. It is true that as one grows older, one's sense of proportion may become greater, and things which troubled us or wounded us deeply in our youth seem less significant. But that is a different thing from feeling nothing deeply, and leaping to the conclusion that therefore nothing is really very important. As one grows older, one learns how to spare oneself many kinds of unnecessary pain, but one is in great danger if one ceases to feel pain of any kind. If you cannot feel pain at some of the harsh circumstances of life, it is very likely that you have ceased to feel joy at some of the satisfactions and delights of life. When that happens, one lives at all times under a mental and spiritual cloud ; it is always wet weather in the soul. That is Acedia,and it was called a Deadly Sin because it dimmed and discouraged the spirit, and at last killed it.
我确信在座各位一定见过一两个这样陷入“怠惰”的人,他们是一些扫兴的家伙。而不幸的是,对于一些年轻人来说,这种生活态度竟具有巨大的吸引力。这些颓废的家伙一副老于世故的模样,他们确实是一些聪明人,善于泼冷水,能够一眼看出那些吸引人的事物的不足之处。他们几乎不犯错,因为他们从不冒险把自己置于没有把握的情形之中。他们对别人的失败幸灾乐祸,总找机会讽刺别人:“看吧,我早警告过你了!”他们对快乐和痛苦都已经无动于衷,成了一具具行尸走肉。也许,这是他们所犯的唯一大错。
I am sure that all of you know some people who have yielded to Acedia. They are the dampers, the wet blankets of life. Unfortunately some of them have a great attraction for the young. Their chronic lack of enthusiasm looks so much like sophistication. They are often clever people, who are adept at putting a chilly finger on the weak spot in whatever attracts their friends. They seldom make mistakes,because they never put themselves in a position where they are not complete masters of the situation. They take a sly pleasure in the failure of others, and they are always ready to say ' I told you so '. They have made just one great-indeed monstrous -mistakes : they have died to joy and pain,and thus to feeling.
与这些人相对的,当然不是那些热情过剩、头脑简单、好赶时髦的家伙,而是那些虚怀若谷,富于常识,能够保持头脑清醒的人。他们也能锐意进取,并从中收获经验。而对于人生道路上遭遇的一切,他们都能用积极、乐观和宽容的态度去面对,甚至是苦痛,对于他们来说都是一笔宝贵的财富。
The opposites of these people are not, of course,those who allow every enthusiasm to run away with them, whose hearts always rule their heads, who go a-whoring after everything that is new. They are, on the contrary,people who take pains to keep their common sense in repair, and who keep their intelligence bright,but who also make daily efforts to meet experience withe a fresh vision, and to give to everything that comes their way the measure of feeling, of emotion, of charity and understanding -yes,and also of pain-that it needs in order to understand it.
既然你们都是大学生,我就假定你们感受世界的能力要比一般人更为突出。因为如果你们不曾具备那种能力,哪怕是一点点,今天你们也不大可能在这里拿到自己的学位了。因此,你们也必须特别注意,在往后的岁月中,不要丢掉自己的这种能力。
Because you are university people, I assume that you are people in whom mind is more prominent and better trained than is feeling. If you had not had some intellectual bias -even of quite a mild sort -it is unlikely that you would be here today to receive a degree. Therefore you must take special care that,in the years ahead of you, feeling is not neglected.
丢失这种能力的潜在危险是巨大的。你瞧,去思考比去感受来得简单,此刻我在象牙塔内对诸位这样讲可能是对前人的智慧一种亵渎。人们总说不三思而后行,会陷入麻烦。但我认为就是因为他们考虑得过于周全,总是瞻前顾后,该出手时不出手,错失良机,只能一辈子生活在一个模具般的小小空间内,也都成了“怠惰”的受害者。
The temptation to neglect feeing is strong. You see - I say this knowing that it is blasphemy within university walls -it is really very much easier to think sensibly than it is to feel sensibly. We all know what messes people get into when they feel too much and think too little ; but those people do not compel my pity so much as the hundreds of thousands whose lives are cast in a mould of midget tragedy because they think a good deal, in a strangulated, ill-nourished fashion, but hardly feel at all. These are the victims of Acedia.
因此我奉劝诸位,在人生的道路上,无论你是有天赋异禀,还是资质平平,你都应该清醒地生活,不要丧失你感受这个世界的能力。
Therefore I charge you, whether you are struggling under the burden of a mighty intellect,or perhaps just shuffling along with a pretty well-trained mediocre brain, to take pains not to lose your capacity to feel.
具体怎么做呢?保持这种能力毫无疑问是人生中最艰难的斗争之一,在此我有几条建议送给大家。每天,记住一定要每天,花点时间来检查一下,有哪些事情是根据自己的感觉做出的,而不是基于你思考的结果。这可以在你每天睡觉之前进行,也可以在去工作的路上进行,也就是说可以在你忙于事务之外的任何时间进行。你要问自己的就是:“我对这一切真正的感觉如何?”而不是“我应该对此有什么感觉?”在这个问题上,你必须保持诚实,因为自欺也通向“怠惰”最常见的道路。
How is it to be done ? I have some practical advice for you in this struggle, which is one of the great battles of life. Take some time every day - every day -to examination what you have been doing in the light of feeling, rather than of intelligence. It may be before you fall asleep at night ; it may be while you are walking to your work ; it may be at any time when you can withdraw your attention from external matters : that is the time to ask yourself -What do I really feel about all this ? Not,what should I truly feel about it ? You must be honest with yourself, because self -deception is one of the commonest roads to Acedia.
现在,你可能遇到的问题就是,你必须采取一些自己不怎么喜欢甚至是极端厌恶的行动,而且,为了最终的结果,你必须坚持做很长的时间。我们时不时就得做一些自己厌恶的事情,因为我们没有权利只顾自己的意愿行事。但是如果你能了解其中的道理,你就能远离“怠惰”对你的侵害。
Now it may happen that you will find that you are committed to some course of action which you do not like -which you may positively hate. And yet, for good reasons, it may be necessary to continue with it. We all have to do things we detest, at one time or another,because we are not free to consult our own wishes only. But if you know the truth,you are protected from Acedia.
你所必须认真对待的不仅仅是这些令人厌烦的事情,你也必须认真考虑那些使你身心愉快或是令人羡慕的美事。你需要为此感恩,而永远不要把那些看成是理所当然的。我见过许多美满的婚姻最后无疾而终,就是因为婚姻的一方或是双方天真地认为幸福就像天上掉落的馅饼可以不劳而获。穷尽并享受生命带给我们的美好事物就是留住它们的最好办法。美好的事物不会恒久不变,它们会发生变化。如果你以感恩的心情珍视它们,变化很可能会朝着对你更为有利的方向发展,至少要比你把它们视作是你纡尊降贵住在地球而理所当然应该得到的礼物这种态度要好得多。
Nor is it only the detestable things that should be carefully examined. You must look clearly at the things which make your life happy and enviable, and you must give yourself up to a grateful contemplation of them. Never take such things for granted. I have seen many a promising marriage shrivel and dry up because one or both of the partise to it assumed that happiness was something that came by right,and could never be diminished. Consciously summoning up,and consciously enjoying,the good things that life brings us is a way of preserving them. It is not in their nature to last forever ; they will change, and if you cherish them gratefully, the change is much more likely to be a change for the better than if you accept them as gifts which a grateful providence has showered upon you as a recognition of your magnanimity in condescending to inhabit the earth.
我从未能够弄清楚,痛苦和欢乐,哪个才是人们最害怕去感受的东西。人生一定是既有欢乐也有痛苦的,虽然“怠惰”可能会让人能够对痛苦麻木一些,但你还是不能完全逃脱痛苦。而不幸的是,我们却能够将欢乐拒之门外,因为我们害怕生命中的狂喜会让我们失态,让我们做出某些事或是说出某些话,让那些不了解情况的旁人觉得我们很愚蠢。考虑到我们要为此付出的代价,我们经常是这样抑制自己的欢乐。而当岁月流逝,习惯成自然时,欢乐也离我们远去了。在今天下午的演讲中,我引证了不少古谚语,这里,我再次向你们推荐一句:
I have never been able to make up my mind which it is that people fear to feel most -pain or joy.life will bring you both. You will not be able to escape the pain completely, though acedia will dull it a little. But unfortunately it lies in your power to reject the joy utterly. Because we are afraid that great exultation may betray us into some actions, some words,which may make us look a little foolish to people who are not sharing our experience, we very often stifle our moments of joy,thinking that we shall give them their outlet later. But alas, after a few years of that kind of thing,joy ceases to visit us. I seem to be quoting theologians this afternoon. There is an old saying of medieval teachers which I recommend to your special notice:
Time Jesum transeuntem et non revertentem.
Time Jesum transeuntem et non revertentem.
这句话我是这样翻译的:“基督一去不复返。”生命对人的价值不亚于尊贵的救世主,而生命稍纵即逝。抓住它,拥抱它,让它将你包围,穷尽它所给予的一切,而如果你拒绝了它,它将不会再来。很可笑的,这世间有许多人连快乐都惧怕。我希望你们不要加入这些人的行列,衷心祝愿你们能够拥有精彩的人生。
I shall translate it thus: ' Dread the passing of Jesus, for He does not return.' And thus it is with all great revelations, be they religious or not. Seize them,embrace them,let them engulf you, draw from them the uttermost of what they have to give, for if you rebuff them,they will not come again. We live in a world where too many people are pitifully afraid of joy. Because I wish you well, I beg you not to add yourself to their number.
不要再继续蹉跎下去,开始行动吧!这是你们的时代!你们很快就将接受人生中一项最值得骄傲的荣誉。不要掩饰你们的骄傲,不要害怕你的欣喜会让你出丑,因为这是真正的光荣。千万不要把拿到你们的文学士学位作为你们“怠惰”的借口。如果你接受的教育货真价实,今天就是一个释放激情的节日,不要再作茧自缚,你们今天的成就是迈向崭新世界的阶梯。你们认为如何?是No还是Yes?
Do not put off the moment of decision. Begin now. This is your hour. You are shortly to receive one of the great distinctions of your lifetime. Don't worry about looking dignified ; don't be afraid that your pleasure may betray you into some lapse from that nullity of demeanour which we so pathetically accept as a substitute for true dignity. Don't accept your BA as if it were one more padlock on the inmost chamber of your heart. Education,if it is real and not a sham, is a releasing, not an imprisoning, thing. If you wish it to be so, the achievement of your degree is a step toward a new freedom. What is the word in your heart as you accept your diploma ? Is it No-or is it Yes?
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2010-03-11 19:35 编辑:kuaileyingyu
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