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。

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