5/25/12

Eternity and a day

1. 在波士顿三周时间。把周围生活铺展开到最小的限度,办完各种繁杂的手续,再悉数收回箱里,抽身离开。希望下次再回来,终于能安定过日子。

2. 又赶上五月毕业季。在街上走走就会碰到熟人,见到就抓住去吃饭,聊很长的天聊到默然。从未有这样隐隐地害怕别后暌违一生。

3. 四年就是这样匆匆过眼。陈旧情绪泛滥,精神亢奋,半夜睡不着。波士顿就是这么一个折腾人的地方,跟人抱怨过也罢,自己早已不知不觉染上此地特有的挑剔和急脾气。

4. 回芝加哥也将近一个星期了。试着遵行一种新的生活秩序:把笔记本电脑锁在学校图书馆的柜子里,每天空手到学校,工作到一段落之后再空手回家,晚上就不怎么看屏幕。

5. 以后看材料做笔记的时候,要注意把线装书卷数、叶数,以及重印版册数、页码分别记好。用数据库尤应注意底本的版本,以及所说的页数到底是原印还是再版。最后能省掉多少时间。

6. 海德园已经绿阴冉冉,庭院里有碗口大的牡丹花盛开。风大,尘土也较大,于是想着最好每天扫地。生活单纯到一点不担心送走今日,因为还有一个多半相似的来日。

7. 前天结婚纪念日,找几个人,去了一家本地新开的餐馆。伴着吵死人的乐队音量,也多半放弃听清饭桌上谈话的努力,只顾微笑着吃完。无论在多么困顿的时刻,说起“二十年后”的事情,也能够淡定回应的,大概才是长久的伴侣吧。


5/13/12

五月十三日 抄书

Lionel Trilling, introduction to George Orwell, Homage to Catalonia, 1952

 "In a politics presumed to be available to everyone, ideas and ideals play a great part.  And those of us who set store by ideas and ideals have never been quite able to learn that just because they do have power nowadays, there is a direct connection between their power and another kind of power, the old, unabashed, cynical power of force.  We are always being surprised by this."

在一种假定为人人可及的政治中,概念与理想至关重要。而我们这些格外重视概念与理想的人,却很难认识到恰恰因为如今它们的力量强大了,也就与另外一种力量产生了直接的关联--那古老的、毫无顾忌的、怀疑一切的暴力。我们总是为此感到惊讶。

"If we ask what it is that he [Orwell] stands for, what he is the figure of, the answer is: the virtue of not being a genius, of fronting the world with nothing more than one's simple, direct, undeceived intelligence, and a respect for the powers one does have, and the work one undertakes to do.  We admire geniuses, we love them, but they discourage us.  They are great concentrations of intellect and emotion, we feel that they have soaked up all the available power, monopolizing it and leaving none for us.  We feel that if we cannot be as they, we can be nothing."

如果要问奥维尔代表着什么样的一种人格,答案是:非天才的美德。他面对这世界,所有的无非是一个人简单、直接、不受蒙蔽的智慧,以及对人已有的力量和从事的工作的尊重。我们崇拜天才,热爱他们,但总感到挫败。他们是那样伟大的才智和情感的精华,好像浸透了所有可获得的力量,独占了它,不给其他人留一点。我们感到如果不能像他们一样的话,简直什么都不是。

"Orwell could even admire the virtues of the lower middle class, which an intelligentsia always finds it easiest to despise. ... [F]or the prototypical act of the modern intellectual is his abstracting himself from the life of the family.  We have yet to understand the thaumaturgical way in which we conceive of intellectuality.  At least at the beginning of our intellectual careers we are like nothing so much as those young members of Indian tribes who have had a vision or a dream which confers power in exchange for the withdrawal from the ordinary life of the tribe.  Or we are like the adventuring youngest son who is kind to some creature on his travels and receives in reward a magical object.  By intellectuality we are freed from the thralldom to the familial commonplace, from the materiality and concreteness by which it exists, the hardness of the cash and the hardness of getting it, the inelegance and intractability of family things.  It gives us power over intangibles, such as Beauty and Justice, and it permits us to escape the cosmic ridicule which in our youth we suppose is inevitably directed at those who take seriously the small concerns of this world, which we know to be inadequate and doomed by the very fact that it is so absurdly conditioned---by things, habits, local and temporary customs, and the foolish errors and solemn absurdities of the men of the past."

奥维尔甚至能够崇敬下层中产阶级的美德,那最容易被知识分子诟病的人群。⋯⋯现代知识分子的一种典型的行为是把自己从家庭生活中抽象出来。智性总是被看作神奇法力,而我们还不理解这一现象。至少在求学之路的开端,我们就像那些印度部落里在梦中受到神谕的年轻成员一样,甘愿退出部落的日常生活以换取力量。或许我们也像故事里那出门远游的幼子,在旅途中对某只动物施善,获得了一件具有魔力的物品作为报答。通过智性,我们摆脱了日常生活的奴役--那物质和具体的存在,冷冰冰的金钱和挣钱过程的艰辛,如此庸俗、棘手的家事。智性把我们引导向无形的事物,比如美与公正,并允许我们逃离那种充满喜感的讽刺--年轻的时候,我们总把这些讽刺理所当然地指向那些为世俗琐务奔忙的人,在我们眼里这样的生活多么无趣,受制于各种人事、习惯、一时一地的规矩、前人愚蠢的错误以及一本正经的荒唐事。

5/5/12

二三事

那天去医学院,看一卷1698年出版于日本京都的本草书。书上有十八世纪读者的印章、十九世纪末美国人收购于东京帝国大学,二十世纪成为波士顿医学图书馆的藏品。打开第一卷第一页,发现里面夹着红叶一枚,不知道来自哪个时空。


中午在附近的小店Il Mondo吃披萨。每次去都会被熏一身油烟味,但实在好吃,下面是已经被咬了一口的素披萨,慷慨地撒满了洋薊、橄榄、彩椒、罗勒叶、蘑菇⋯⋯


家门口的小路上每天一层落花,雨水过后,余香满径。才发现隔壁人家院子里的一棵大树原来是海棠,已不知有多少年份,主干上分出来四五个枝条,都有碗口粗细。只可惜回来的晚了几天,没看到盛开的样子。

已入五月,前几天居然需要晚上开暖气。从芝加哥带回来的衣服都太薄,翻箱倒柜地找厚袜子和长裤。今天傍晚终于开始放晴,而时令俨然已经是立夏了。