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论自立 (节译) 

                                                       —— 爱默生         谢国芳(Roy Xie)译     

 

每个人的教育中都有一个时期会达到这样的一种信念,那就是羡慕即是无知,模仿等于自杀;不管好坏,他必须接受自己的现状,把它当作自己的命运;尽管广袤的宇宙中充满了善,然而若非通过在那块交由他耕耘的土地上的辛勤劳作,他甚至不会收获一颗有营养的谷粒。在他的体内蕴藏着一种性质上全新的能力,除了他自己之外没有人知道他能够做什么,而他也只有在尝试之后才能知晓。

那么,就让人懂得自己的价值,把身外之物踩在脚下。让他在这个为他而存在的世界上不要偷窥,不要盗窃,不要带着一个领救济的孩童、一个私生子、一个非法闯入者的神情鬼鬼祟祟地来回潜行。可是尘世间的那些凡夫俗子,因为在他自己的内心找不到任何能相应于建造塔楼或雕刻大理石神像的力量的价值,每当他观看它们时就自惭形秽。对他来说,一座宫殿、一尊雕像、或一本昂贵的书带有一种格格不入而又令人生畏的神情,很像一个华丽的侍从,似乎在冲着他说,“你是谁?先生。”然而它们都是他的,是他的注意力的追求者,是拜倒在他的才能前的请愿者,请求它发挥出来将其占有。这幅画等待我的判决:它不能命令我,倒是我将决定它对于赞美的索求。那个民间流行的寓言故事讲一个烂醉如泥的酒鬼在街上被人抬起,送到了公爵的家里,被人伺候沐浴更衣,卧倒在了公爵的床上。醒来后又被人像公爵一样以百般奉承的礼仪对待,并被人说得确信自己以前是疯了。这一故事的流行是由于它很好地象征了人的状态,人在世上就像一个醉鬼,但偶尔也会清醒过来,运用他的理智,于是发现自己原来是一个真正的君主。

让我们摈弃赴宴的铜锣,而聆听斯巴达横笛的尖啸。让我们不要再弯腰鞠躬,不要再赔礼道歉。一个大人物要来我家里吃饭,我不想去取悦他,我倒希望他来迎合我。我将代表人类站在这里,虽然我会善意相待,但我绝不会虚情假意。让我们公开蔑视和申斥这个时代滑头的平庸和卑劣的满足,并把一个铁的事实——它是全部历史的结论——猛掷在一切习俗、交易和事务所的面前。那就是,只要有一个人在工作的地方,就有一个伟大的富有责任感的思想者和行动家存在;那就是,一个真正的人决不属于别的时间和空间,他乃是万物之中心。他在哪里,自然就和他同在。他衡量你,衡量一切人,一切事件。

每一个真正的人就代表了一个事业,一个国家,一个时代。为了完成他的塑造需要无穷的空间、数字和时间,而后代则犹如一长队随从尾随其后。一个人凯撒诞生了,多年之后才有罗马帝国的辉煌;基督降生了,于是数百万个心灵得以生长并紧紧依附于他的天才,以至于他被混同于美德和人类潜质的化身。一个机构无非是某个人延长了的影子,而全部历史很容易归结为几个强有力的赤诚人物的传记。

坚持你自己,决不要模仿。你自己的天赋你能够以毕生培养所累积的力量随时呈现,但对于从别人那里学来的才能,你只有某种临时的不完全的占有。每个人最擅长的事情,只有上帝才能教他。直到那个人展现特长之前,尚没有人知道——也不可能知道——它是什么。能够教育莎士比亚的大师在哪里?能够指导富兰克林,或华盛顿,或培根,或牛顿的教师又何处寻觅?每一个伟人都是独一无二的,西庇厄的西庇厄主义恰恰是他无法借自别人的那一部分,研究莎士比亚者永远成不了莎士比亚。从事上苍分派给你的工作吧,你就不会奢望太多或者冒险过甚。在这一刻,你就有了如菲迪亚斯的巨凿、如古埃及人的泥刀、如摩西或但丁的神笔一般勇敢庄严、但同时又自成一格的话语。那些丰富雄辩、巧舌如簧的灵魂不可能屈尊降贵重复自身,但如果你能听到这些先辈的话语,你也一定能用同样的声调回答他们,因为耳朵和舌头乃是同一本性的两种器官。固守属于你的生活的那简朴而又崇高的圈子,听从你的内心,那么你就必将再现整个史前世界。

……

 

 


英文原文(Original English Text)

Self-Reliance

by R. Emerson

There is a time in every man ’s education when he arrives at the conviction that envy is ignorance; that imitation is suicide; that he must take himself for better, for worse, as his portion; that though the wide universe is full of good, no kernel of nourishing corn can come to him but through his toil bestowed on that plot of ground which is given to him to till. The power which resides in him is new in nature, and none but he knows what that is which he can do, nor does he know until he has tried.

 Let a man then know his worth, and keep things under his feet. Let him not peep or steal, or skulk up and down with the air of a charity-boy, a bastard, or an interloper, in the world which exists for him. But the man in the street, finding no worth in himself which corresponds to the force which built a tower or sculptured a marble god, feels poor when he looks on these. To him a palace, a statue, or a costly book have an alien and forbidding air, much like a gay equipage, and seem to say like that, ‘Who are you, Sir?” Yet they all are his, suitors for his notice, petitioners to his faculties that they will come out and take possession. The picture waits for my verdict: it is not to command me, but I am to settle its claims to praise. That popular fable of the sot who was picked up dead drunk in the street, carried to the duke’s house, washed and dressed and laid in the duke’s bed, and, on his waking, treated with all obsequious ceremony like the duke, and assured that he had been insane, owes its popularity to the fact, that it symbolizes so well the state of man, who is in the world a sort of sot, but now and then wakes up, exercises his reason, and finds himself a true prince.

Instead of the gong for dinner, let us hear a whistle from the Spartan fife. Let us never bow and apologize more. A great man is coming to eat at my house. I do not wish to please him; I wish that he should wish to please me. I will stand here for humanity, and though I would make it kind, I would make it true. Let us affront and reprimand the smooth mediocrity and squalid contentment of the times, and hurl in the face of custom, and trade, office, the fact which is the upshot of all history, that there is a great responsible Thinker and Actor working wherever a man works; that a true man belongs to no other time or place, but is the center of things. Where he is, there is nature. He measures you, and all men, and all events.

Every true man is a cause, a country, and an age; It requires infinite spaces and numbers and time fully to accomplish his design; and posterity seem to follow his steps as a train of clients. A man Caesar is born, and for ages after we have a Roman Empire. Christ is born, and millions of minds so grow and cleave to his genius, that he is confounded with virtue and the possible of man. An institution is the lengthened shadow of one man; and all history resolves itself very easily into the biography of a few stout and earnest persons.

Insist on yourself; never imitate. Your own gift you can present every moment with the cumulative force of a whole life ’s cultivation; but of the adopted talent of another, you have only an extemporaneous half possession. That which each can do best, none but his Maker can teach him. No man yet knows what it is, nor can, till that person has exhibited it. Where is the master who could have taught Shakespeare? Where is the master who could have instructed Franklin, or Washington, or Bacon, or Newton? Every great man is a unique. The Scipionism of Scipio is precisely that part he could not borrow. Shakespeare will never be made by the study of Shakespeare. Do that which is assigned you, and you cannot hope too much or dare too much. There is at this moment for you an utterance brave and grand as that of the colossal chisel of Phidias, or trowel of the Egyptians, or the pen of Moses, or Dante, but different from all these. Not possibly will the soul all rich, all eloquent, with thousand-cloven tongue, deign to repeat itself; but if you can hear what these patriarchs say, surely you can reply to them in the same pitch of voice; for the ear and the tongue are two organs of one nature. Abide in the simple and noble regions of your life, obey your heart, and you shall reproduce the Foreworld again.

 


英文原文
( Original English Text )

   

    

 

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