【TED原文】英国作家阿兰·德波顿,温和的成功哲学(3)

2019-02-26 12:04:02 来源: bingfree
The consequences of this problem make themselves felt in bookshops. When you go to a large bookshop and look at the self-help sections, as I sometimes do -- if you analyze self-help books produced in the world today, there are basically two kinds. The first kind tells you, "You can do it! You can make it! Anything's possible!" The other kind tells you how to cope with what we politely call "low self-esteem," or impolitely call, "feeling very bad about yourself."

我们可以从书店中感受到这些问题所造成的后果,当你像我一样到大型书店里的,自我帮助书籍类。如果你分析现在出版的这些自我帮助类书籍,它们基本上分成两种,第一种告诉你“你做得到!你能成功!没有不可能!”另外一种则教导你如何处理,我们婉转地称呼为“缺乏自信”,或是直接了当地称为“自我感觉极差”。

There's a real correlation between a society that tells people that they can do anything, and the existence of low self-esteem. So that's another way in which something quite positive can have a nasty kickback. There is another reason why we might be feeling more anxious -- about our careers, about our status in the world today, than ever before. And it's, again, linked to something nice. And that nice thing is called meritocracy.

这两者中间有着绝对的关联,一个告诉人们他们无所不能的社会,和缺乏自信有着绝对的关联。另一件好事也会带来坏影响的例子,还有一些其它原因造成我们对事业,对我们在世上的地位感到前所未有的焦虑,再一次地,它也和好的概念有关,这个好概念叫做“功绩主义”。

Everybody, all politicians on Left and Right, agree that meritocracy is a great thing, and we should all be trying to make our societies really, really meritocratic. In other words -- what is a meritocratic society? A meritocratic society is one in which, if you've got talent and energy and skill, you will get to the top, nothing should hold you back. It's a beautiful idea.

现在,无论是左倾还是右倾的政治人物,都同意“功绩主义”是个好事。我们应该尽力让我们的社会崇尚“功绩主义”,换句话说,一个崇尚“功绩主义”的社会是什么样的呢?一个崇尚功绩主义的社会相信,如果你有才能、精力和技术,你就会飞黄腾达,没有什么能阻止你,这是个美好的想法。

The problem is, if you really believe in a society where those who merit to get to the top, get to the top, you'll also, by implication, and in a far more nasty way, believe in a society where those who deserve to get to the bottom also get to the bottom and stay there. In other words, your position in life comes to seem not accidental, but merited and deserved. And that makes failure seem much more crushing.

问题是,如果你打从心里相信,那些在社会顶层的人都是精英,同时你也暗示着,以一种残忍的方法,相信那些在社会底层的人,天生就该在社会底层,换句话说,你在社会的地位不是偶然,而都是你配得的,这种想法让失败变得更残忍。

You know, in the Middle Ages, in England, when you met a very poor person, that person would be described as an "unfortunate" -- literally, somebody who had not been blessed by fortune, an unfortunate. Nowadays, particularly in the United States, if you meet someone at the bottom of society, they may unkindly be described as a "loser." There's a real difference between an unfortunate and a loser, and that shows 400 years of evolution in society and our belief in who is responsible for our lives. It's no longer the gods, it's us. We're in the driving seat.

你知道,在中世纪的英国,但你遇见一个非常穷苦的人,你会认为他“不走运”,直接地说,那些不被幸运之神眷顾的人。不幸的人,尤其在美国,如果人们遇见一些社会底层的人,他们被刻薄地形容成“失败者”,“不走运”和“失败者”中间有很大的差别,这表现了四百年的社会演变,我们对谁该为人生负责看法的改变,神不再掌握我们的命运,我们掌握自己的人生。

That's exhilarating if you're doing well, and very crushing if you're not. It leads, in the worst cases -- in the analysis of a sociologist like Emil Durkheim -- it leads to increased rates of suicide. There are more suicides in developed, individualistic countries than in any other part of the world. And some of the reason for that is that people take what happens to them extremely personally -- they own their success, but they also own their failure.

如果你做的很好,这是件令人愉快的事。相反的情况,就很令人沮丧。社会学家Emil,Durkheim分析发现,这提高了自杀率,追求个人主义的发达国家的自杀率,高过于世界上其它地方,原因是人们把发生在自己身上的事情,全当作自己的责任,人们拥有成功,也拥有失败。

Is there any relief from some of these pressures that I've been outlining? I think there is. I just want to turn to a few of them. Let's take meritocracy. This idea that everybody deserves to get where they get to, I think it's a crazy idea, completely crazy. I will support any politician of Left and Right, with any halfway-decent meritocratic idea; I am a meritocrat in that sense. But I think it's insane to believe that we will ever make a society that is genuinely meritocratic; it's an impossible dream.

有什么方法可以解决刚才提到的这些焦虑呢?是有的。我想提出几项,先说“功绩主义”,也就是相信每个人的地位忠实呈现他的能力,我认为这种想法太疯狂了,我可以支持所有相信这个想法的,无论是左倾还是右倾的政治家,我同样相信功绩主义,但我认为一个完全彻底以能力取决地位的社会,是个不可能的梦想。

The idea that we will make a society where literally everybody is graded, the good at the top, bad at the bottom, exactly done as it should be, is impossible. There are simply too many random factors: accidents, accidents of birth, accidents of things dropping on people's heads, illnesses, etc. We will never get to grade them, never get to grade people as they should.

这种我们能创造一个每个人的能力都忠实地被分级,好的就到顶端,坏的就到底部,而且保证过程毫无差错,这是不可能的。这世上有太多偶然的契机,不同的机运,出身,疾病,从天而降的意外等等,我们却无法将这些因素分级,无法完全忠实的将人分级。

I'm drawn to a lovely quote by St. Augustine in "The City of God," where he says, "It's a sin to judge any man by his post." In modern English that would mean it's a sin to come to any view of who you should talk to,dependent on their business card. It's not the post that should count. According to St. Augustine, only God can really put everybody in their place; he's going to do that on the Day of Judgment, with angels and trumpets, and the skies will open. Insane idea, if you're a secularist person, like me. But something very valuable in that idea, nevertheless.

我很喜欢圣奥古斯丁在“上帝之城”里的一句话,他说“以社会地位评价人是一种罪”。用现在的口吻说,看一个人的名片来决定你是否要和他交谈是罪。对圣奥古斯丁来说,人的价值不在他的社会地位,只有神可以决定一个人的价值,他将在天使围绕、小号奏鸣,天空破开的世界末日给于最后审判,如果你是像我一样的世俗论者,这想法太疯狂了,但这想法有它的价值。

In other words, hold your horses when you're coming to judge people. You don't necessarily know what someone's true value is. That is an unknown part of them, and we shouldn't behave as though it is known.There is another source of solace and comfort for all this. When we think about failing in life, when we think about failure, one of the reasons why we fear failing is not just a loss of income, a loss of status. What we fear is the judgment and ridicule of others. And it exists.

换句话说,最好在你开口评论他人之前悬崖勒马,你很有可能不知道他人的真正价值,这是不可测的。于是,我们不该为人下定论,还有另一种慰藉,当我们想象人生中的失败,我们恐惧的原因并不只是失去收入,失去地位,我们害怕的是他人的评论和嘲笑,它的确存在。

The number one organ of ridicule, nowadays, is the newspaper. If you open the newspaper any day of the week, it's full of people who've messed up their lives. They've slept with the wrong person, taken the wrong substance, passed the wrong piece of legislation -- whatever it is, and then are fit for ridicule. In other words, they have failed. And they are described as "losers." Now, is there any alternative to this? I think the Western tradition shows us one glorious alternative, which is tragedy.

今日世界上最会嘲笑人的便是报纸。每天我们打开报纸,都能看到那些把生活搞砸的人,他们与错误对象共枕,使用错误药物,通过错误法案种种,让人在茶余饭后拿来挖苦的新闻,这些人失败了,我们称他们为“失败者”,还有其它做法吗?西方传统给了我们一个光荣的选择,就是“悲剧”。

Tragic art, as it developed in the theaters of ancient Greece, in the fifth century B.C., was essentially an art form devoted to tracing how people fail, and also according them a level of sympathy, which ordinary life would not necessarily accord them. A few years ago, I was thinking about this, and I went to "The Sunday Sport," a tabloid newspaper I don't recommend you start reading if you're not familiar with it already.

悲剧的艺术来自古希腊。西元前五世纪,这是一个专属于描绘人类失败过程的艺术,同时也加入某种程度的同情。在现代生活并不常给于同情时,几年前我思考着这件事,我去见“周日运动期刊”,如果你还不认识这个小报,我建议你也别去读。

And I went to talk to them about certain of the great tragedies of Western art. I wanted to see how they would seize the bare bones of certain stories, if they came in as a news item at the news desk on a Saturday afternoon.

我去找他们聊聊,西方艺术中最伟大的几个悲剧故事,我想知道他们会如何露骨地以新闻的方式,在周日下午的新闻台上,呈现这些经典悲剧故事。

I mentioned Othello; they'd not heard of it but were fascinated.

我谈到他们从未耳闻的《奥赛罗》,他们啧啧称奇。

I asked them to write a headline for the story. They came up with "Love-Crazed Immigrant Kills Senator's Daughter." Splashed across the headline. I gave them the plotline of Madame Bovary. Again, a book they were enchanted to discover. And they wrote "Shopaholic Adulteress Swallows Arsenic After Credit Fraud."

我要求他们以奥赛罗的故事写一句头条,他们写道“移民因爱生恨,刺杀参议员之女”大头条,我告诉他们《包法利夫人》的故事,他们再一次感到惊异万分,写道“不伦购物狂信用欺诈,出墙妇女吞砒霜”。

And then my favorite -- they really do have a kind of genius of their own, these guys -- my favorite is Sophocles' Oedipus the King: "Sex With Mum Was Blinding."

我最喜欢的是,这些记者真的很有才,我最喜欢的是索福克勒斯的《俄狄浦斯王》,“与母亲的盲目性爱”。(掌声)

In a way, if you like, at one end of the spectrum of sympathy, you've got the tabloid newspaper. At the other end of the spectrum, you've got tragedy and tragic art. And I suppose I'm arguing that we should learn a little bit about what's happening in tragic art. It would be insane to call Hamlet a loser. He is not a loser, though he has lost. And I think that is the message of tragedy to us, and why it's so very, very important, I think.

如果同情心的一个极端,是这些八卦小报。另一个极端便是悲剧和悲剧艺术,我想说的是或许我们该从悲剧艺术中学习,你不会说汉姆雷特是个失败者,虽然他失败了,他却不是一个失败者。我想这就是悲剧所要告诉我们的,也是我认为非常重要的一点。

The other thing about modern society and why it causes this anxiety, is that we have nothing at its center that is non-human. We are the first society to be living in a world where we don't worship anything other than ourselves. We think very highly of ourselves, and so we should; we've put people on the Moon, done all sorts of extraordinary things. And so we tend to worship ourselves.

现代社会让我们焦虑的另一个缘故是,我们除了人类以外没有其它重心。我们是从古至今的第一个无神社会,除了我们自己以外,我们不膜拜任何事物,我们对自己评价极高,为什么不呢,我们把人送上月球,达成了许多不可思议的事,我们习惯崇拜自己。

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