人性的智慧


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人性的智慧

The Wisdom of Life


——沈佳祺Johnson Shen



闲暇时间,总会考虑该做点什么,除了那些不可避免的应酬外,也许一本书一杯茶更适合我度过消遣时光。

At my leisure I would always consider what I should do. It seems to me that, except for necessary social engagements, a book and a cup of tea are the most suitable for me to spend my free time.

也正因为此,时常会看到当今社会对于人类阅读的呼吁,经常拿中国人和国外人的阅读量作对比,以此来说明中国的下一代正在步入知识的贫穷。

 From time to time, therefore, I notice a public appeal to people to read more books. Citizens’ average amount of reading in China is often compared with that in Western countries to show that our next generation is beginning to experience the knowledge poverty.

总体来说,2018年我的阅读量也是远远不够的,期间给自己找了许许多多的借口,或是出差,或是家庭,或是聚会。总而言之,每每会以一种让自己心满意足的理由去逃避阅读,即便是偶有坐在书桌前,也是味同嚼蜡,犹如行尸走肉一般。这种感觉让我很难受,内心的矛盾总让我不知所措,后悔的感觉也时常萦绕心头。

On the whole, my amount of reading in 2018 was far from enough. I would find various excuses for myself: business trips, family affairs, or parties. In a word, I always try to evade reading with a reason that satisfied me. Even when I occasionally sat down before the desk, I was completely spiritless and found the books insipid. This made me feel uncomfortable. I was always totally bewildered by my conflicting thoughts and the feeling of regret hovered in my mind.

然而在很久很久以前,阅读从来就不是一件大事,甚至很多人都提出不要盲目的阅读,要更多的思考。之前阅读过叔本华的著作《人生的智慧》,初看题目,我本以为它是单纯的讲述思考的重要性和意义的,才读了几句便发现他的重点似乎并不在此。作者从某个程度上来说批判了毫无目的和思考的阅读,也就是说看似否定了我们这个时代的一些观点。

A long time ago, however, reading was not a big thing at all. Quite a few people even reminded us that we should not read blindly and should spend more time on thinking. Previously I read Arthur Schopenhauer’s The Wisdom of Life, whose title, at first glance, made me believe it’s a book purely concerns the importance and implications of thinking. I realized this is not its real point shortly after I finished the first several sentences in it. The author, to a certain extent, criticized aimless reading without thinking, and thus seemed to have refuted some of the ideas in the modern era.

阅读终究只是外来物,毕竟只是思考的基础,真正独立思考的人才是在精神上是君主。哪怕是再大的图书馆,如果它藏书丰富但却杂乱无章,其实际用处就反不如那些规模虽小却条理井然的图书馆。同样,如果一个人拥有大量的知识,却未经过自己头脑的独立思考而加以吸收,那么这些学识就远不如那些虽所知不多但却经过认真思考的知识有价值。

Reading is after all something outside us; it lays the foundation for thinking, and yet no more than that. Only a true thinker for himself is spiritually like a monarch. The largest library in disorder is not so useful as a smaller but orderly one; in the same way the greatest amount of knowledge, if it has not been worked out in one’s own mind, is of less value than a much smaller amount that has been fully considered.



阅读可以随意,而思考却不能随意,只有当一个人把他的所知结合各方面来考察,把每一真知相互比照之后,他才能真正理解、掌握这些知识,并使其为己所用。一个人只能对自己知道的事情加以仔细思考,因此他必须要学习新东西;但是,也只有那些经过深思熟虑的东西才能成为他的真知。

A man can apply himself of his own free will to reading, while he cannot to thinking. For it is only when a man combines what he knows from all sides, and compares one truth with another, that he completely realizes his own knowledge and gets it into his power. A man can only think over what he knows, therefore he should learn something; but a man only knows what he has pondered.



或许这些道理大家都明白,那为何此时此刻,社会却鲜有谈论。似乎我们这个时代只顾着呼吁阅读的数量,却忘了阅读的质量。

These might be known to all, but why are they seldom discussed in our times? It seems that we are busy appealing for more amount of reading, and yet have neglected the quality of it.

其实并非如此,时代发生着改变,在叔本华的时代,人们并没有过多的娱乐条件,而不想动脑子的打发时间之事似乎只剩下了阅读。而今天,我们的生活变得过于丰富了,我想,一个真正不愿意费劲的人一定不会去选择阅读来消遣,他可以有更多简单而直接的事情可做。

 However, that is not the case. We are now living in an age different from that of Schopenhauer’s, when people did not have many things to do for entertainment, and reading seemed to the only thing left that could be done to kill time without using their brains. Today, our lives have become overly enriched, and a person who does not want to exert much effort will by no means choose reading as a pastime. Anyway, he has more alternatives that are simpler and more straightforward than reading.

也正因为如此,我们不再那么强调阅读中思考,因为我们知道在这个时代还愿意阅读的人早就不是那时的人,思考本就融入到我们的阅读中,而我们现在更缺失的是我们丢弃了阅读的时间。

It is the very reason why we no longer emphasize the necessity of thinking while reading, for we know that people who are still willing to read books today are not like those in Schopenhauer’ era. We have incorporated thinking into our reading from the very beginning. What we need more now is the time for reading.



就像叔本华提到的,哪怕是最有智慧的人也不可能一刻不停的思考,而在那些空白时间里,阅读变成了我们积攒能力的时候。叔本华曾呼吁的是那个时代人们的思考,他害怕我们沦为别人思想的奴隶,希望我们能成为自己的思想主人。而现在也许我们更需要的是唤起大家最初始的那份热情,如若不阅读更何谈思考,连基本的沉淀都未曾拥有又怎么追求之后的卓越呢?

According to Schopenhauer, even the greatest mind is not always able to think for itself at all times. Therefore, it is advisable for us to use the spare moments in reading to build our abilities. Schopenhauer appealed to people of his times to think for themselves. He hoped that a man can become the master of his own mind and not become a slave of others’ thought. At present, what we need to do is to kindle people’s original enthusiasm. How could we begin to talk about thinking if we do not read in the first place? How could we expect to achieve excellency if we do not have even the minimal accumulation?

然后阅读始终还是需要思考的,缺乏阅读的我们没有了知识的沉淀,但知识的泛滥却可能会使我们的精神丧失灵敏性,就像是一根弹簧连续不断地受到重压就会推动弹性。如果一个人不想动脑思考,最保险的办法就是一旦空闲了就拿起一本书。这就解释了何以博学多识常使很多人变得比原来更加愚蠢麻木,并阻碍他们的作品获得成功。正如蒲柏所说,他们始终是:不停地阅读别人,却从来不会被别人阅读。因此,单纯的阅读仿佛是积压式的承受,一会儿思考这个,一会儿考虑那个,既非出于本能,亦非因为喜欢。

Thinking, nevertheless, is always needed while you are reading. If we do not read, we will be short of the accumulation of knowledge; but too much knowledge robs the mind of all elasticity; it is like keeping a spring under a continuous, heavy weight. If a man does not want to think, the safest plan is to take up a book directly he has a spare moment. This practice accounts for the fact that learning makes most men more stupid and dull than they are by nature, and prevents their writings from being a success; they remain, as Alexander Pope has said, “For ever reading, never to be read.” The mind thus suffers total compulsion from without; it has first this and first that to think about, for which it has at the time neither instinct nor liking.



人总是有惰性的,以前的人不愿意思考,现在的人不愿意阅读,即便阅读了也真的只是在读书而已,这样的知识摄入不仅缓慢而且无效。单纯的经验和阅读一样,并不能取代思考。

Men always have inertia. People in past times were reluctant to think. People in modern age are not willing to read; even when they really read, what they are doing is no more than reading the words in books. It is a slow and ineffective way of taking in knowledge. Mere experience can as little as reading take the place of thought.

有思想之人的作品与其他庸人作品的区别,就在于它主题鲜明、内容明确的特点,及由此而来的清晰、流畅。因为这些人明确、清楚地知道自己想要表达的是什么,不管是以散文、诗歌或者音乐的形式。而普通之人却没有这种果断、清晰,因此二者之间就很容易区分开来。

The works of all really capable minds are distinguished from all other works by a character of decision and definiteness, and, in consequence, of lucidity and smoothness. This is because minds like these know definitely and clearly what they wish to express — whether it be in prose, in verse, or in music. Other minds are wanting in this decision and lucidity, and therefore may be instantly recognized.

相信当代的每一位年轻人都不甘平庸,总是希望自己出人头地,但往往只是存在于内心的想法,当实际面对现实时,又会变得茫然。也许每个时代都是一样的,只有每个真正独立思考的人,才能够在精神领域内成为君主。相比之下,那些头脑庸俗的普通大众,随波逐流于各种各样的流行观点、权威说法与世俗偏见之间,使自己的思维受到限制,就像是那些默默服从法律和命令的平民。

I believe that all young persons in our era are unwilling to remain mediocre and always wish to be outstanding. But more than often this is only something in their mind; they become at a loss again when facing the real world. The case might be the same throughout the history. Only a true thinker for himself is like a monarch in the realm of mind. On the other hand, those of vulgar minds, who are swayed by all kinds of current opinions, authorities and prejudices, are like the people which in silence obey the law and commands.



说了许久,其实都是后话了,当下我该做的也许还是应该安心的坐下来,认认真真的把我积攒了一年的书籍先消化了,只有走好这第一步,才有可能成为自身的主宰。

 What I have said so far is in fact an issue which ought to be discussed later; what I should do at this moment might be to sit down and, with nothing to disturb me, seriously finish all the books piled up in the past year. I cannot become the master of myself before I take this very first step.


阅读,是我们不能遗忘的伙伴;思考,是我们不能停下的步伐。

Reading is our companion that should not be forgotten, and thinking is our step that should not come to a stop.


END


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