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George Santayana - The Weather in His Soul 汉译

2014-06-30    来源:网络    【      美国外教 在线口语培训

The Weather in His Soul

George Santayana

Let me come to the point boldly; what governs the Englishman is his inner atmosphere, the weather in his soul. It is nothing particularly spiritual or mysterious. When he has taken his exercise and is drinking his tea or his beer and lighting his pipe; when, in his garden or by his fire, he sprawls in an aggressively comfortable chair; when well-washed and well-brushed, he resolutely turns in church to the east and recites the Creed (with genuflexions, if he likes genuflexions) without in the least implying that he believes one word of it; when he hears or sings the most crudely sentimental and thinnest of popular songs, unmoved but not disgusted; when he adopts a party or a sweetheart; when he is hunting or shooting or boating, or striding through the fields; when he is choosing his clothes or his profession—never is it a precise reason, or purpose, or outer fact that determines him; it is always the atmosphere of his inner man.

To say that this atmosphere was simply a sense of physical well-being, of coursing blood and a prosperous digestion, would be far too gross; for while psychic weather is all that, it is also witness to some settled disposition, some ripening inclination for this or that, deeply rooted in the soul. It gives a sense of direction in life which is virtually a code of ethics, and a religion behind religion. On the other hand, to say it was the vision of any ideal or allegiance to any principle would be making it far too articulate and abstract. The inner atmosphere, when compelled to condense into words, may precipitate some curt maxim or over-simple theory as a sort of war-cry; but its puerile language does it injustice, because it broods at a much deeper level than language or even thought. It is a mass of dumb instincts and allegiances, the love of a certain quality of life, to be maintained manfully. It is pregnant with many a stubborn assertion and rejection. It fights under its trivial fluttering opinions like a smoking battleship under its flags and signals; you must consider, not what they are, but why they have been hoisted and will not be lowered. One is tempted at times to turn away in despair from the most delightful acquaintance—the picture of manliness, grace, simplicity, and honour, apparently rich in knowledge and humour—because of some enormous platitude he reverts to, some hopelessly stupid little dogma from which one knows that nothing can ever liberate him. The reformer must give him up; but why should one wish to reform a person so much better than to the light touch, and coursing in most wonderful unison with you through the open world. What do you care what words he uses? Are you impatient with the lark because he sings rather than talks? And if he could talk, would you be irritated by his curious opinions? Of course, if any one positively asserts what is contrary to fact, there is an error, though the error may be harmless; and most divergencies between men should interest us rather than offend us, because they are effects of perspective, or of legitimate diversity in experience and interests. Trust the man who hesitates in his speech and is quick and steady in action, but beware of long arguments and long beards. Jupiter decided the most intricate questions with a nod, and a very few words and no gestures suffice for the Englishman to made his inner mind felt most unequivocally when occasion requires.

Instinctively the Englishman is no missionary, no conqueror. He prefers the country to the town, and home to foreign parts. He is rather glad and relieved if only natives will remain natives and strangers strangers, and at a comfortable distance from himself. Yet outwardly he is most hospitable and accepts almost anybody for the time being; he travels and conquers without a settled design, because he has the instinct of exploration. His adventures are external; they change him so little that he is not afraid of them. He carries his English weather in his heart wherever he goes, and it becomes a cool spot in the desert, and a steady and same oracle amonst all the deliriums of mankind. Never since the heroic days of Greece has the world had such a sweet, just, boyish master. It will be a black day for the human race when scientific blackguards, conspirators, churls, and fanatics manage to supplant him.

英国人灵魂的竟象

乔治·桑塔雅那

让我直接进入正题吧:左右英国人的是他内在的情调,心灵里的气象。这决不是什么精神层面的或神秘的东西。设想在他运动之余品茶或喝酒,并且点着烟斗;或在花园里或壁炉旁懒洋洋地躺在舒适的安乐椅上;或在他精心梳洗之后,在教堂里毅然面向东方背诵(跪诵,假如他喜欢跪诵)信经,但这决不意味着他相信其中的任一字句;或在他听着或哼着最低俗感伤、最浅薄的流行歌曲,虽未被感动但也并不讨厌;或在他确定谁是他最好的朋友或最喜爱的诗人;或在他选择一个群体或一个恋人;或在他打猎、射击、划船或大步走过田野;或在他挑选服装或选择职业——在他做着这一切的时候,并不是因为某一个确定的理由,或目的,或外界的事物,而是他内在的情调在决定着他的取向。

若说这一内在的情调仅仅是对于身体状况、血液循环和消化功能的感觉,那未免过于粗浅;因为,虽然灵魂的气象全然如此,它毕竟也是深深根植于灵魂之中的某种稳定的气质和某一日臻成熟的心理倾向的见证。它给人以生活的方向感,实则是一种道德准则,宗教背后的宗教。另一方面,若它是对于一种理想的幻想或对于某一原则的忠诚,那就把它说得过于雄辩也过于抽象了。这个“内在的情调”,必须用语言来表述时,可以凝结成一句战斗口号似的简短格言或简单的理论;但那幼稚的语言并不能将它表述清楚,因为它孕育在比语言,甚至比思想还要深得多的层次上。它是一团无声的本能和忠诚的结合体,是对某种生活品质的爱,需要勇敢而坚定地予以保持。它固执地坚持很多观点,也固执地摈弃很多妄念。它在各种涌动于内心的细微见解之下进行战斗,就像一艘吐浓烟的战舰在种种旗帜和信号的指挥之下进行战斗一样;你所要考虑的不是它们是什么,而是它们既然已经升起就不再降落这是为什么。有时人会在绝望的时候抛弃最让他感到快活的相识——有男子汉气概、儒雅、素朴、正直、显出一副知识渊博和幽默的样子——因为他总是重弹某些老调,陷入愚蠢的琐碎教务之中而无法得到解救。改良者必须放弃他;为什么偏要改变一个比自己好得多的人呢?他就像一匹英国纯种马,行家一看就满意,轻轻一拍就能领会你的意图,和你完全融为一体,载着你在空旷的原野里驰骋。至于他说话时如何措词,你在乎那个干什么?你会因为云雀只唱歌而不说话就对它不耐烦吗?假使它会说话,你会对它那些奇怪的念头感到恼火吗?当然,假如有人武断地坚持与事实相反的意见,那肯定是错误的,虽然这错误未必有害;再说人们之间大多数分歧应该引起我们的兴趣,而不是激怒我们,因为这些分歧是由看问题的角度不同,或由于那些合乎情理的经验和兴趣的多样性而引起的,应当信任那些言语迟疑但行动迅速而坚定的人,但要警惕无休止的争论和长着长胡子的人。朱庇特只一点头就决定了最棘手的问题,而当情势所需时,英国人只需三言两语而无需比比划划,就能使人准确无误地了解他的内心世界。

就其本能而言,英国人不是传教士,不是征服者。他宁愿待在乡村,而不愿住在城市,宁愿待在家里,而不愿去陌生的地方。如果本地人还是本地人,陌生人始终是陌生人,而且和自己保持一段舒适的距离,他会很高兴,很舒心。但在外表上,他很好客,几乎任何人他都可以暂时接纳;他不是按照一成不变的计划去旅行,去征服,因为他有探索的本能。他的冒险活动都是表面的,对他自己几乎没有什么影响,所以他不怕冒险。无论他走到哪里,心里总是怀着他的“英国气象”。它已变成沙漠里一个清凉的处所,人类谵妄之中一个稳固而明智的圣堂。自从希腊的英雄时代以来,世界还没有过如此可爱、正直和孩子气的主人。若以科学上的无赖、阴谋家、吝啬鬼和狂热之徒取而代之,将是为类遭遇暗无天日之时。

(刘士聪 编著)



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