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英文拟管锥之二

1、I can’t help feeling wary when I hear anything said about the masses. First, you take their faces away from, me by calling them masses, and then you accuse’ me of not having any faces. 听到任何关于大众的话,我都情不自禁警觉:称为大众先剥夺了他们的不同面目,然后却又指责他们没有不同的面目。其实,不光是大众,其他诸如阶级、制度、职位等,都会产生这种“屏蔽”了活生生的人的情况。

2、All women’s dresses, in every age and country, are merely variations on the eternal struggle between the admitted desire to dress and the unadmitted desire to undress. — 林语堂。古今中外,妇女的服饰只不过是在穿和不穿两种持续争斗的欲望间变化:一个众所公认、一个心知肚明。衣服除了御寒之外就是美化的功能。那些被包养的金丝鸟或者从事特殊职业的女子一掷千金,追求美丽的服饰,其目的则更加明显了:她们穿就是为了脱。

3、No grand idea was ever born in a conference, but a lot of foolish ideas have died there. — F. Scott Fitzgerald. 会议从来不会产生任何伟大的思想,倒有很多愚蠢的主意葬身其中。对于民主、对于议会、对于讨论、对于众人裁决,都需要从这种负面来加以认识。不仅看它做了多少正确的事情,更要看它阻止了多少错误的事情。

4、Could Hamlet have been written by a committee, or the Mona Lisa painted by a club? Could the New Testament have been composed as a conference report? Creative ideas do not spring from groups. They spring from individuals. The divine spark leaps from the finger of God to the finger of Adam. 难道一个委员会能够写出《哈姆雷特》,一个俱乐部能够画出《蒙娜丽莎》,或者一个会议报告能够成就一部《新约》?创造性思想是从个人中,而不是从集体中迸发。圣火从上帝指尖跃落亚当指尖。说得当然对,不过强调的也只是一个方面,有很多事情穷个人之力的确难以完成,需要交付集体,关键在于两个方面各就其位、各竟其功。

5、If anyone believes that our smiles involve abandment of the teaching of Marx, Engels, and Lenin he deceives himself poorly. Those who wait for that must wait until a shrimp learns to whistle. — -Nikita Khrushchev. 谁要是以为我们的笑容预示着我们抛弃了马克思、恩格斯、列宁,谁就是可怜的自欺者。翘首期盼我们那样做的人除非等到虾学会了吹口哨。很好玩,不是么?

6、From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs. — Karl Marx, Critique of the Gotha Program. 各尽所能,各取所需。我们每个人耳熟能详的共产主义社会前景,虽然原文是德语,不过英文和中文的精辟翻译都足以让我们学习到很多。“各取所需”,很多人立刻想到了自己生活中还没有满足的各种欲望,这样的联想实在就是刘姥姥进大观园吃到鹌鹑蛋便觉得一定是“姑娘家的鸡”也透着精致小巧的逻辑。同样,马克思说共产主义社会,劳动是人类第一需要。还在为着谋生或者虚荣挣扎的现代人马上就现身说法的表示不理解:劳动,怎么会是我的需要?陋矣。

7、Competitions brings out the best in products and the worst in people. 竞争无非导致产品中硕果累累,人群中恶果连连。或许导致这一结果的原因在于,产品竞争的结果是减低成本,千方百计用更廉价的方式来生产,或者用同样的的方式生产更好的产品;而人群竞争,则很有可能导致增加成本,千方百计来考虑如何拖人家后腿、如何搞好各方面关系,落井下石、恶意中伤、造谣生事等等,各种手段应有尽有。

8、The trouble with the rat race is that even if you win, you’re still a rat. 老鼠赛跑的麻烦在于,就算赢了,你也终究不过是只老鼠。竞争对手和竞赛格局决定了参加者或者获胜者的价值。就像鲁迅说的,战士就算有缺点也还是战士,苍蝇就算再完美也不过是苍蝇。李敖评述所谓两党制也有类似之处,某一个党之所以获胜,不是说你就多么优秀,而只不过是你比他好那么一点,但总体来说都不是东西,因此选民支持无非是支持龟儿子对抗王八蛋而已。

9、Never complain and never explain.—Benjamin Disraeli. 绝不滥发牢骚,绝不解释唠叨。真正忍受着痛苦的人是从来不发牢骚的,他们没有时间和精力发。真正真理在握的人也用不着解释,是因为他们相信不需要他们自己来解释,就像耶稣被审判时的一言不发一样。

10、All government—indeed, every human benefit and enjoyment, every virtue and every prudent act—is founded on compromise and barter.—Edmund Burker. 所有的政府都建立在妥协和交易基础之上,实际上所有的人类福祉与安乐、所有的美德与慎行盖莫例外。萨特曾经耸人听闻地表示,任何一个具有意识的主体都试图将他的对象客体化从而加以奴役,因此“他人即地狱”。然而,人还要生存下去,并且必须组成社会生存下去,所以妥协和交易成为人类社会生活的基础。

11、Democracy substitutes election by the incompetent many for appointment by the corrupt few. — George Benard Shaw. 民主无非是用无知群氓的选举代替腐败之辈的任命而已。事实上,在深思明辨的人眼中,民主从来没有取得过在社会舆论中所处的神圣地位。

12、Modern man lives under the illusion that he knows what he wants, while he actually wants what he is supposed to want. — Erich From, Escape from Freedom. 现代人生活在这样的幻觉中:他以为知道自己需要什么。事实上,他需要的只不过是被认为应该需要的。

13、I have never made but one prayer to God, a very short one:”O Lord, make my enemies ridiculous.” And God granted. — Voltaire. 我只对上帝祈祷过一件十分简单的事情,“上帝啊,让我的敌人愚蠢吧。”还好上帝答应了我。伏尔泰仗着一支健笔,显露出充分的高蹈自负。

14、It was a wise man who said that there is no greater inequality than the equal treatment of unequals. 智者曾经说过,再没有比平等地对待不平等者更不平等的事情了。强求一律,只是抹煞个性,不论是对待社会平等问题,还是对待社会效率问题。

15、A hen is only an egg’s way of making another egg. 母鸡不过是一只鸡蛋创造另一只鸡蛋的途径而已。语虽幽默,却提供了另一种理解事物的方式。

16、In this world there are only two tragedies. One is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it. — Oscar Wilde, Lady Winderere’s Fan. 世上两大悲剧:其一求而不得,其二得其所求。这一说法,对应了哲学家叔本华对人生的判断:人生在世痛苦和无聊,求而不得人就会感到痛苦,得其所求,人就会感到无聊。人永远在痛苦和无聊的波澜中打转。

17、Calamities are of two kinds: misfortune to ourselves, and good fortune to others.—Ambrose Bierce, The Devil’s Dictionary. 灾难有两类:我们的不幸和他人的好运。强烈的忌妒心,足以把他人的好运看作是自己的灾难。

18、Fate is not satisfied with inflicting one calamity. — Publilius Syrus. 祸不单行。祸不单行的外文版本。

19、Education is what survives when what has been learned has been forgotten. 学到并且没有被遗忘的才是所受的教育。记住的才是你的知识。

20、Pay attention to your enemies, for they are the first to discover your mistakes. 多留意敌人,他们最先发现你的错误。不过,那也得是聪明的敌人,相称的对手,否则就未必了。

21、I have learned silence from the talkative, toleration from the intolerant, and kindness from the unkind; yet strange, I am ungrateful to those teachers. 从善谈者处我学会了沉默,跟不宽容者我学会了宽容,与不友善人学到了善意。不过很奇怪,我并不感激这些老师。学习有两种:学好的榜样以赶超,看坏的榜样以自免,聪明人在两者之中都能够汲取长处。

22、Never explain — your friends do not need it and your enemies will not believe you anyway. 不要解释,因为你的朋友不需要而你的敌人怎么也不会相信你。问题是有的时候,如果不解释,朋友也会变成敌人。

23、It is a good rule in life never to apologize. The right sort of person do not want apologies, and the wrong sort take a mean advantage of them. “不要道歉”是生活中的金科玉律。正直之辈并不需要道歉,邪恶之徒则会奸诈地加以利用。问题是有的时候,正直的人也会争一口闲气,不道歉不行。这一则和上一则,都是听起来有道理,做起来难。

24、To most men, experience is like the stern lights of a ship, which illumine only the track it has passed. 对大多数人来说,经验就像轮船尾灯,照亮的都是已经走过的路。这样的经验对于前面的路途毫无帮助,因此,大多数人的人生经验都被自己白白浪费了。

25、Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards. 经验是个刻板的老师,她先考试再上课。如果把lesson看作双关语,也解释为“教训”,一样很有意思。

26、We should be careful to get out of an experience only the wisdom that is in it—and stop there; lest we be like the cat that sits down on a hot stove lid. She will never sit down on a hot stove lid again—and that is well; but also she will never sit down on a cold one anymore. — Mark Twain. 我们应该小心地只从经验中汲取智慧,以免像坐在热炉盖上的猫一样。它再也不会坐在那玩意儿上面,这当然没问题,问题在于它也再不会坐在冷炉盖上了。不过,自以为冷炉盖可以坐的人,有的时候也会犯错,所谓“兵不厌诈”。还是猫保险。

27、An expert is one who knows more and more about less and less. 专家就是对越来越少的东西知道得越来越多的人。诚然,分工和专业化使百科全书式的人物逐渐成为不可能。

28、Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored. — Aldous Huxley. 事实并不因为被忽视就不存在了。道理是这样,不过,在某些时候,事实的确因为被忽视而显得不存在了,尤其是当被故意地忽视的时候。

29、Those who are faithfuless know the pleasures of love; it is the faithful who know love’s tragedies.—Oscar Wilde. 水性杨花者品尝爱的快乐,忠贞不二者体味爱的悲剧。同样也可以说,糊涂的人品尝爱的快乐,太清醒的人体味爱的悲剧。

30、A celebrity is a person who works hard all his life to become well known, then wears dark glasses to avoid being recognized. 名人就是这样的家伙:先使出吃奶的劲想让大家都知道他,然后又戴着墨镜不想让大家认出来。个中甘苦,名人自知。

31、Fame is a bee — It has a song — It has a sting — Ah, too, it has a wing. — Emily Dickinson.

名声是蜜蜂――它有一首歌――它有一根刺――哦,对,它还有一双翅。

甜美而醉人,麻烦而恼人,无腿走千里,这就是诗人眼中的名声。

32、No man is a hero to his valet. 仆人眼中无英雄。因为他们实在太了解所谓英雄的“内部”情况了,因此缺少敬畏。

33、You cannot be both fashionable and first-rate. 你不可能既是时尚的又是第一流的。其中含义昭然若揭,就看你的选择了。

34、A fashion is merely a form of ugliness so unbearable that we are compelled to alter it every six months. — Oscar Wilde. 时髦不过是一种令人无法忍受的丑陋而已,为此我们不得不每六个月就做些改变。王尔德总是反面看物,发尖新之语。

35、I do not believe in a fate that falls on men however they act; but I do believe in a fate that falls on them unless they act. 人们有所作为的时候,我不相信有什么命运之说;如果他们袖手不为,我倒对命运的说法笃信不疑。意思说,命运总是掌握在自己的手里,握紧还是放松,改变还是任由都在于自己。

36、Fate leads the willing and drag along the unwilling. — Seneca. 愿意者,引领之;不愿者,拖曳之――命运如此行事而已。所谓历史必然性的铁律,并不以个人意志为转移,康德曾经慨叹对于这样的历史,只有名之以“大自然的计划”,否则不可思议。

37、When one is in love, one always begins by deceiving oneself, and one always ends by deceiving others. That is what the world calls a romance. — Oscar Wilde. 坠入爱河,往往是以自欺开始,以欺人结束。这就是世人所谓的浪漫。感情只是一场骗局,爱人只是爱己,这样的观点是不是很灰色?

38、Let us be thankful for the fools. But for them the rest of us could not succeed.—Mark Twain. 让我们感谢傻瓜们,没有他们我们怎会成功?傻瓜做分母,聪明人做分子,所以聪明人在横杠上面。

39、The power of fortune is confessed only by the miserable; for the happy impute all their success to prudence and merit. — Jonathan Swift. 只有悲惨的人才体会到命运的力量,幸福的人总是把成功归功于他们的勤奋和美德。人总是得意忘形,悲惨的时候把悲惨归功于外界,得意的时候把得意归功于自身,两者都不见得全部正确。

40、I have always been among those who believed that the greatest freedom of speech was the greatest safety, because if a man is a fool, the best thing to do is to encourage him to advertise the fact by speaking. — Woodrow Wilson. 我总是同意那种说法:最大程度的言论自由就是最大程度的安全。因为,如果说话的那个家伙是傻瓜,最好鼓励他自己把这个事实广而告之。禁锢言论的最重要原因就是拿不出比这个言论更好的言论而已。

(文章来源:网络收集)

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