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经济学人双语版:生命的终点

2015-01-28    来源:网络    【      美国外教 在线口语培训

经济学人双语版:生命的终点

Books and Arts; 文艺;

Book Review; 书评;

Death and mourning; 死亡与哀悼;

The end of the line;生命的终点;

“In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes,” mused Benjamin Franklin. With death, at least, humans have devised myriad ways to deal with the inevitable, from the practicalities of disposing the body to the grief of losing a loved one. In her new book “Making an Exit”, Sarah Murray, a contributor to the Financial Times, travels the globe to discover how different cultures conduct funeral rites and honour the dead.
本杰明•富兰克林曾沉思,“在这个世界上,除了死亡和税收,没有什么是确定无疑的”。面对死亡,人类至少已经想过无数种方式来应对这一无法回避的现实,从安置尸体的实际操作到失去所爱的悲痛之心。金融时报撰稿人Sarah Murray曾游历世界各地,在她的新书《退出》中探索了不同文化背景的人们是如何举行葬礼以纪念逝者。

A morbid subject, perhaps. But as Ms Murray's book reveals, it is a peculiarly British habit to quarantine death with “pragmatism, etiquette and control”. Other cultures have a more comfortable relationship with the deceased, and even commune with the spirits of ancestors. Funerals are not always solemn affairs.
这或许是个有点病态的话题。但是正如Murray女士在书中所呈现的,习惯将死亡和“实用主义、礼节规矩、和镇定自若”这些词隔离开只是一种英国独有的怪癖。相比之下,在其他的文化信仰中,人们对待逝者则要轻松许多,甚至会和祖先的灵魂有所交流。葬礼不总是件严肃庄重的事情。

A self-described “child of globalization”, Ms Murray has led a nomadic life. Having lived and worked on four continents, she is now based in New York—the depot of choice for those who pine for immortality. She undertook this globetrotting adventure for two reasons: to feed her wanderlust and to ponder her own final resting place. The death of her father, and his clear orders for an unfussy, secular send-off, prompted Ms Murray to consider her own long goodbye. The result is not only a fascinating travelogue, but also a personal meditation on loss and fate.
Murray女士过着流浪般的生活,所以她自称是个“全球化的孩子”。她之前在四个大洲生活工作过,现在定居纽约。对于渴望永生不朽的人们来说,纽约将是个理想圣地。她着手这趟全球旅行是有两个原因:一是满足她的旅行癖,二是考虑自己最终的安息之地。她父亲的去世,以及他生前要求简单的、非宗教的送行仪式,这一切促使Murray开始考虑起她自己的后事。这本书不仅是一本奇妙的旅游日志,也是一次个人对死亡和命运的思考。

Ms Murray excels in the role of intrepid tour guide. She has an inviting way of taking readers by the hand to explore new cultures and places. Unfortunately she is less strong when she turns her gaze back at herself. Some anecdotes feel like a distraction—readers may wonder at the relevance of her hairdresser's great aunt's cremation, or of her bout of food poisoning in China. But if you are prepared to meander and occasionally indulge, then there is a wealth to discover within these pages.
Murray女士在这趟旅行中出色地饰演了勇敢的向导一角。她用引人入胜的方式带领读者去探索新鲜的文化和地方。遗憾的是当她再过头来看自己的书,内容就没有那么精彩了。一些趣闻似乎有些跑题:读者或许会好奇她美发店的婶祖母火化,还有她在中国食物中毒这些事情和主题有什么相关。但是如果你准备好时不时地翻一两页书或者偶尔沉浸于书中的话,那么你将会在这本书中获益匪浅。

The Balinese have the most extravagant funeral rites. They spend weeks creating elaborate pyres, often in the shape of a sacred bull, and burn their coffin-sheathed dead in joyous public ceremonies. Crying is frowned upon, as they believe this may hinder the spirit from reaching heaven. Conversely, the Shia Muslims in Iran embrace grief. They hold an annual ceremony of public weeping and wailing to commemorate the martyrdom in 680AD of Imam Husayn, grandson of Muhammad.
巴里岛的火葬仪式是最为奢华隆重的。他们要花费几个星期的时间搭建复杂精致的柴堆(通常搭成圣牛的形状),然后在热闹的公众仪式中火化躺在灵柩中的逝者。哭泣是不允许的,因为人们相信这样可能会阻碍逝者的灵魂抵达天堂。相反地,伊朗的什叶派穆斯林则会尽情表达自己的悲痛。他们每年举行公众仪式纪念公元680年殉难的穆罕穆德的孙子——伊玛目?侯赛因,仪式中他们痛哭流涕。

Pragmatism informs many funerary practices. The Zoroastrians in Iran, for example, traditionally leave corpses in towers for vultures to devour, so the bodies do not pollute the soil. Cremation is becoming more popular around the world, not only because land for cemeteries is increasingly rare and expensive, but also because ashes are easily transported. This is important in an ever globalised world, as for most people “the desire to be buried at home is the strongest”.
实用主义影响着很多葬礼的风俗习惯。比如说,伊朗的拜火教按照传统将尸体放在高塔之上,让秃鹰啄食吃光,这样人的躯体就不会腐蚀土壤。火葬在全世界越来越受欢迎,不仅仅是因为墓地的持续紧缺,而且价格上涨,同时也是因为骨灰更容易运输。在不断全球化的世界中,这一点对于大多数强烈渴望落叶归根的人们非常重要。

But most practices are shaped by religious beliefs and a faith in the afterlife. The Chinese keep shrines to the dead in their homes, and burn paper offerings to encourage the spirits to bestow good fortune on the living. Communities from Chile to Egypt to Sicily have mummified their dead to preserve the body for the afterlife. Ms Murray visits some particularly ghoulish mummies, dressed but withered, in the Capuchin Catacombs of Palermo. For Hindus, though, the body is just a vehicle for the soul. In India the dying make pilgrimages to sacred sites, such as Varanasi, to be cremated and released into the River Ganges, India's holiest waterway. This is so the dead can achieve moksha—breaking the cycle of birth, death and rebirth to gain enlightenment. The cremation ghats in Varanasi burn day and night.
但是大多数风俗习惯深受宗教信仰和来世之说的影响。中国将神龛保存在逝者的家中,而且烧纸糊的祭品,祈求逝者的灵魂可以保佑生者。像智利、埃及,还有西西里(意大利),那里的人们都会将死者做成木乃伊,为来世保存好躯体。Murray女士在巴勒莫(意大利)嘉布遣会修士陵墓里参观过一些特别恐怖的木乃伊。他们穿戴整齐,但是干瘪枯槁。对于印度人来说,躯体只是灵魂的载体。在印度,死亡就是前往圣地(像瓦腊纳西)的远游,火化后将骨灰撒在印度最神圣的水上航道——恒河中。这样逝者即可得以解脱——超脱生而死,死而再生的轮回,获得开悟。在瓦腊纳西,火葬的河岸石梯上日夜都在焚烧着尸体。

Rituals for the dead are “hooks on which to hang our behaviour”, says Ms Murray. They help the living to make sense of loss. Death may be hard to contemplate, but this book is as much about the journey as it is about the last stop.
Murray女士说,葬礼是“悬着人类行为方式的挂钩”。这些仪式帮助生者懂得失去的意义。死亡也许很难让人接受,但是这本书不仅谈论死亡,而且也会涉及很多有关旅行的话题。



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