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雙語美文:讀書、升學的意義是什麼?

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二星貝殼精英

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dongfang111 發表於 2018-11-1 08:51 | 顯示全部樓層 |閱讀模式
Let me tell you one of the earliest disasters in my career as a teacher. It was January of 1940 and I was fresh out of graduate school starting my first semester at the University of Kansas City. Part of the student body was a beanpole with hair on top who came into my class, sat down, folded his arms, and looked at me as if to say "All right, teach me something." Two weeks later we started Hamlet. Three weeks later he came into my office with his hands on his hips. "Look," he said, "I came here to be a pharmacist. Why do I have to read this stuff" And not having a book of his own to point to, he pointed to mine which was lying on the desk.

  給你們講講我剛當老師時候的一次失敗經歷吧。那是1940年的1月,我從研究生院畢業不久,在堪薩斯城大學開始第一學期的教學工作。一個瘦高,長得就像頂上有毛的豆角架一樣的男學生走進我的課堂,坐下,雙臂交叉放在胸前,看著我,好像在說:「好吧,教我一些東西。」兩周后我們開始學習《哈姆雷特》。三周后他雙手叉腰走進我的辦公室,「看,」他說,「我來這是學習當藥劑師的。我為什麼必須讀這個?」由於沒有隨身帶著自己的書,他就指著桌子上放著的我的那本。

  New as I was to the faculty, I could have told this specimen a number of things. I could have pointed out that he had enrolled, not in a drugstore-mechanics school, but in a college and that at the end of his course meant to reach for a scroll that read Bachelor of Science. It would not read: Qualified Pill-Grinding Technician. It would certify that he had specialized in pharmacy, but it would further certify that he had been exposed to some of the ideas mankind has generated within its history. That is to say, he had not entered a technical training school but a university and in universities students enroll for both training and education.

  雖然我是位新老師,我本來可以告訴這個傢伙許多事情的。我本來可以指出,他考入的不是製藥技工培訓學校而是大學,而且他在畢業時,應該得到一張寫有理學學士而不是「合格的磨葯工」的學位證書。這證書會證明他專修過藥劑學,但它還能進一步證明他曾經接觸過一些人類發展史上產生的思想。換句話說,他上的不是技能培訓學校而是大學,在大學里學生既要得到培訓又要接受教育。

  I could have told him all this, but it was fairly obvious he wasn't going to be around long enough for it to matter.

  我本來可以把這些話都告訴他,但是很明顯,他不會待很長時間,說了也沒用。

  Nevertheless, I was young and I had a high sense of duty and I tried to put it this way: "For the rest of your life," I said, "your days are going to average out to about twenty-four hours. They will be a little shorter when you are in love, and a little longer when you are out of love, but the average will tend to hold. For eight of these hours, more or less, you will be asleep."

  但是,由於我當時很年輕而且責任感也很強,我盡量把我的意思這樣表達出來:「在你的餘生中,」我說,「平均每天24小時左右。談戀愛時,你會覺得它有點短;失戀時,你會覺得它有點長。但平均每天24小時會保持不變。在其餘的大約8個小時的時間裡,你會處於睡眠狀態。

  "Then for about eight hours of each working day you will, I hope, be usefully employed. Assume you have gone through pharmacy school — or engineering, or law school, or whatever — during those eight hours you will be using your professional skills. You will see to it that the cyanide stays out of the aspirin, that the bull doesn't jump the fence, or that your client doesn't go to the electric chair as a result of your incompetence. These are all useful pursuits. They involve skills every man must respect, and they can all bring you basic satisfactions. Along with everything else, they will probably be what puts food on your table, supports your wife, and rears your children. They will be your income, and may it always suffice."

  「然後在每個工作日8個小時左右的時間裡,我希望你會忙於一些有用的事情。假設你畢業於一所藥科大學——或工程大學,法學院,或者其他什麼大學——在那8個小時時間裡,你將用到你的專業技能。作為一個藥劑師,你要確保氯化物沒有和阿斯匹林混在一起;作為一個工程師,你要確保一切都在你的掌控之中;作為一個律師,你要保證你的當事人沒有因為你的無能而被處以電刑。這些都是有用的工作,它們涉及到的技能每個人都必須尊重,而且它們都能給你帶來基本的滿足。無論你還幹些什麼,這些技能都很可能是你養家糊口的本領。它們會給你帶來收入;但願你的收入總能夠用。」

  "But having finished the day's work, what do you do with those other eight hours Let's say you go home to your family. What sort of family are you raising Will the children ever be exposed to a reasonably penetrating idea at home Will you be presiding over a family that maintains some contact with the great democratic intellect Will there be a book in the house Will there be a painting a reasonably sensitive man can look at without shuddering Will the kids ever get to hear Bach"

  「但完成一天的工作后,剩下的8小時你做什麼呢?比如說你可以回家,和你的家人待在一起。你所供養的是一個什麼樣的家庭呢?孩子們在家裡能接觸到一點還算是精闢的思想嗎?你主持的家庭中有民主氣息嗎?家裡有書嗎?有那種一般敏感的人看了不會發怵的畫嗎?孩子們會聽到巴赫的音樂嗎?」

  That is about what I said, but this particular pest was not interested. "Look," he said, "you professors raise your kids your way; I'll take care of my own. Me, I'm out to make money."

  這差不多就是我所說的,但這個討厭鬼不感興趣。「看,」他說,「你們教授用你們的方法培養孩子;我會以我自己的方式撫養我自己的孩子。我呀,我會盡一切努力掙錢的。」

  "I hope you make a lot of it," I told him, "because you're going to be badly stuck for something to do when you're not signing checks."

  「我希望你能賺很多,」我告訴他,「因為你在開支票的餘暇會愁沒事幹的。」

  Fourteen years later I am still teaching, and I am here to tell you that the business of the college is not only to train you, but to put you in touch with what the best human minds have thought. If you have no time for Shakespeare, for a basic look at philosophy, for the continuity of the fine arts, for that lesson of man's development we call history — then you have no business being in college. You are on your way to being that new species of mechanized savage, the push-button Neanderthal. Our colleges inevitably graduate a number of such life forms, but it cannot be said that they went to college; rather the college went through them — without making contact.

  14年後的今天,我仍然在教書,在此我要告訴你們,大學的職責並不只是在於培訓你,它還要使你接觸人類思想的精髓。如果你沒時間看莎士比亞的作品,沒時間看哲學入門,沒時間欣賞藝術的存續,也沒時間學習我們稱之為歷史的人類發展的課程——那麼你就沒有必要呆在大學里了。你正在變為那種新型的機械化的野蠻人,那種裝有按鈕的尼安德特人。我們大學的畢業生里不可避免有不少這樣的行屍走肉;但是我們不能說他們上過大學,只能說大學曾存在於他們的生活——卻沒能留下任何痕迹。

  No one gets to be a human being unaided. There is not time enough in a single lifetime to invent for oneself everything one needs to know in order to be a civilized human.

  沒有外界的幫助,誰也不會成長為一個文明人。要想成為一個文明人,必須獲取文明社會所需的知識和文化,而人生苦短,不足以獲取人類歷史長河中的所有寶貴財產。

  Assume, for example, that you want to be a physicist. You pass the great stone halls of, say, M. I. T., and there cut into the stone are the names of the scientists. The chances are that few, if any, of you will leave your names to be cut into those stones. Yet any of you who managed to stay awake through part of a high school course in physics, knows more about physics than did many of those great scholars of the past. You know more because they left you what they knew, because you can start from what the past learned for you.

  比如說你想成為一個物理學家。你走過,比方說,麻省理工學院的宏偉的石頭大廳,那裡的石頭上刻著科學家的名字。很可能將來,你們當中幾乎沒有人可以把名字留在那些石頭上,如果有的話也是極少數。但是只要你們原來上高中物理課的時候不是從頭睡到尾,你們當中任何一個人了解的物理學知識都要比許多那些歷史上的偉大的學者多。你知道的多是因為他們將他們知道的傳給了你,你可以從他們已了解的知識上起步。

  And as this is true of the techniques of mankind, so it is true of mankind's spiritual resources. Most of these resources, both technical and spiritual, are stored in books. Books are man's peculiar accomplishment. When you have read a book, you have added to your human experience. Read Homer and your mind includes a piece of Homer's mind. Through books you can acquire at least fragments of the mind and experience of Virgil, Dante, Shakespeare — the list is endless. For a great book is necessarily a gift; it offers you a life you have not the time to live yourself, and it takes you into a world you have not the time to travel in literal time. A civilized mind is, in essence, one that contains many such lives and many such worlds. If you are too much in a hurry, or too arrogantly proud of your own limitations, to accept as a gift to your humanity some pieces of the minds of Aristotle, or Chaucer, or Einstein, you are neither a developed human nor a useful citizen of a democracy.

  人類的技術發展是如此,人類精神財富的積累也是如此。這些技術和精神的大部分資料都儲存在書中。書籍是人類獨有的成就。你讀完了一本書,你就豐富了你的人生經歷。閱讀荷馬的作品,那麼你的頭腦里就有了荷馬的思想。通過讀書你起碼能獲得一些維吉爾、但丁、莎士比亞的思想和經歷——名單是列不完的。因為一本好書必然是一份禮物;它為你呈現你沒時間去親自體驗的生活,帶你進入一個你在現實生活中沒時間去親自遊覽的世界。從本質上說,一個文明的人應該知道許多這樣的生活和這樣的世界。如果你太過匆忙,或是對自己的無知洋洋得意,以至於不能把一些亞里士多德,喬叟或愛因斯坦的思想當作你的品質的一件禮物來接受,那麼你既不是一個先進的人,也不是一個民主社會的有用公民。

  I think it was La Rochefoucauld who said that most people would never fall in love if they hadn't read about it. He might have said that no one would ever manage to become human if they hadn't read about it.

  我記得拉羅什富科說過,大多數人如果沒有讀過關於愛情方面的書,他們就不會戀愛;他可能還說過如果沒有讀過有關人類的書,就沒有一個人能成為真正的人。

  I speak, I'm sure, for the faculty of the liberal arts college and for the faculties of the specialized schools as well, when I say that a university has no real existence and no real purpose except as it succeeds in putting you in touch, both as specialists and as humans, with those human minds your human mind needs to include. The faculty, by its very existence, says implicitly: "We have been aided by many people, and by many books, in our attempt to make ourselves some sort of storehouse of human experience. We are here to make available to you, as best we can, that expertise."

  當我說到只有當大學使你們,無論作為專業人才還是普通人,接觸到那些你們的頭腦應該有的那些人類的思想,它才有存在的意義,才有真正的辦學目的的時候,我敢肯定我在替文學院的教職員工,也在替專門學校的教職員工說話。教職員工們的存在就暗示了這一點:「在努力使我們自己成為某種人類經驗的寶庫過程中,我們得到了許多人的幫助,也得到了很多書籍的幫助。我們教師的任務就是盡最大努力使你們能夠獲得那些專門知識。
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