【每天读一点英文】gnuhpc:Two Truths to Live By

Two Truths to Live By

ALEXANDER M.SCHINDLER

The art of living is to know when to hold fast and when to let go. For life is a paradox: it enjoins us to cling to its many gifts even while it ordains([or·dain || ɔr'deɪn /ɔː'd-]v.  注定, 任命, 规定 their eventual relinquishment([re'lin·quish·ment || rɪ'lɪnkwɪʃmənt]n.  作罢; 让渡). The rabbis([rab·bi || 'ræbaɪ]n.  犹太教祭司; 法师, 大师; 犹太教律法专家of old put it this way: “A man comes to this world with his fist clenched, but when he dies, his hand is open.”

Surely we ought to hold fast to life, for it is wondrous, and full of a beauty that breaks through every pore([pɔr /pɔː]n.  毛孔; 细孔; 气孔v.  注视, 凝视; 默想, 沉思; 钻研, 熟读 of God’s own earth. We know that this is so, but all too often(时常 we recognize this truth only in our backward glance when we remember what was and then suddenly realize that it is no more.

We remember a beauty that faded, a love that wanedwane [weɪn]n.  衰微, 变弱, 亏缺). But we remember with far greater pain that we did not see that beauty when it flowered, that we failed to respond with love when it was tendered.

A recent experience re-taught me this truth. I was hospitalized following a severe heart attack and had been in intensive care for several days. It was not a pleasant place.

One morning, I had to have some additional tests. The required machines were located in a building at the opposite end of the hospital, so I had to be wheeled across the courtyard on a gurney.

As we emerged from our unit, the sunlight hit me. That’s all there was to my experience. Just the light of the sun. and yet how beautiful it was — how warming, how sparkling, how brilliant!

I looked to see whether anyone else relished(relish  ['reliʃ]   vt.享受, 品味the sun’s golden glow, but everyone was hurrying to and fro([frəʊ]adv.  向那边, 向后, most with eyes fixed on the ground. Then I remembered how often I, too, had been indifferent to the grandeur([gran·deur || 'grændʒə(r)]n.  庄严; 伟大 of each day, too preoccupied with petty([pet·ty || 'petɪ]adj.  琐碎的, 小气的, 小规模的 and sometimes even mean concerns to respond to the splendor of it all.

The insight gleaned([glɪːn]v.  拾落穗; 点滴搜集; 拾from that experience is really as commonplace as was the experience itself: life’s gifts are precious—but we are too heedless(['heed·less || 'hɪːdlɪs]adj.  不注意的, 不谨慎的, 不留心的) of them.

Here then is the first pole of life’s paradoxical demands on us: Never too busy for the wonder and the awe of life. Be reverent(['rev·er·ent || 'revrənt]adj.  尊敬的, 虔诚的) before each dawning day. Embrace each hour. Seize each golden minute.

Hold fast to life … but not so fast that you cannot let go. This is the second side of life’s coin, the opposite pole of its paradox: we must accept our losses, and learn how to let go.

This is not an easy lesson to learn, especially when we are young and think that the world is ours to command, that whatever we desire with the full force of our passionate being can, nay, will, be ours, But then life moves along to confront us with realities, and slowly but surely this second truth dawns upon us.

At every stage of life we sustain losses—and grow in the process. We begin our independent lives only when we emerge from the womb([wuːm]n.  子宫, 发源地) and lose its protective shelter. We enter a progression of schools, then we leave our mothers and fathers and our childhood homes. We get married and have children and then have to let them go. We confront the death of our parents and our spouses. We face the gradual or not so gradual waning of our own strength. And ultimately, as the parable([par·a·ble || 'pærəbl]n.  寓言, 谜, 比喻) of the open and closed hand suggests, we must confront the inevitability of our own demise(demise  [di'maiz]   n.死亡, losing ourselves as it were, all that we were or dreamed to be.

But why should we be reconciled to life’s contradictory demands? Why fashion things of beauty when beauty is evanescent([,ev·a'nes·cent || ‚ɪːvə'nesnt]adj.  渐消失的; 会凋零的; 易消散的) ? Why give our heart in love when those we love will ultimately be torn form our grasp?

In order to resolve this paradox, we must seek a wider perspective, viewing our lives as through windows that open on eternity. Once we do that, we realize that though our lives are finite, our deeds on earth weave a timeless pattern.

Life is never just being. It is a becoming, a relentless flowing on. Our parents live on through us, and we will live on through our children. The institutions we build endure, and we will endure through them. The beauty we fashion cannot be dimmed by death. Our flash may perish([per·ish || 'perɪʃ]v.  毁灭, 腐烂, 死亡; 毁坏, 使麻木, our hands will wither, but that which they create in beauty and goodness and truth lives on for all time to come.

Don’t spend and waste your lives accumulating objects that will only turn to dust and ashes. Pursue not so much the material as the ideal, for ideals alone invest life with meaning and are of enduring worth.

Add love to a house and you have a home. Add righteousness to a city and you have a community. Add truth to a pile of red brick and you have a school. Add religion to the humblest of edifices([ed·i·fice || 'edɪfɪs]n.  大厦; 大建筑物and you have a sanctuary([sanc·tu·ar·y || 'sæŋktʃʊərɪ /-erɪ]n.  圣所; 教堂). Add justice to the far-flung round of human endeavor and you have civilization. Put them all together, exalt them above their present imperfections, add to them vision of humankind redeemed, forever free of need and strife([straɪf]n.  冲突, 倾轧, 争斗; 吵架, 不和and you have a future lighted with the radiant colors of hope.

[翻译]两条生活的真理

生活的艺术就是知道何时坚持不放与何时松手放弃。因为生活是一条悖论:它甚至指示我们牢牢抓住许多到头来注定要放弃的东西。古代的犹太学者们这样表达生活:人紧握着拳头来到这个世界上,可是松开手辞世而去。

我们确实应该抓紧生活,因为生活很奇妙,上帝创造的这个世界每个小孔都充满了美。我们知道生活确实如此,可是往往回首往事时才意识到这个道理,并突然醒悟美好的往事已不再。

我们记得褪色了的美,消逝了的爱。可是我们更痛苦地记得当美绽放时我们却没有看到,也没有以爱回报我们得到的爱。

最近的一次经历让我再次明白这个道理。心脏病严重发作后我被送到医院,被精心护理了几天。医院是一个令人心情不愉快的地方。

一天早上,我得做些附加检查,做检查的机器在医院尽头对面的一栋楼里,因此我不得不躺到带轮子的小床上被推着穿过医院庭院。

当我们从我的住院单元出来时,阳光照到了我身上。我的体验就全来自那里。只是阳光。然而它多么美丽——多么温暖,多么生气勃勃,多么灿烂啊!

我看看是否还有其他人也欣赏这金色的阳光,可是每个人都来去匆匆,多数人的目光盯在地面上。于是记起我多么经常,也,漠视了这每天的壮观,也专注在各种琐事上,有时甚至是些卑劣的事情上来回应阳光的壮丽。

对那次经历的洞悉就跟经历本身一样平凡无奇。生活赠予我们的礼物是珍贵的——可是我们对此太不以为意了。

因而这就是生活悖论的第一个极点:不要过于忙碌而忽略了生活的奇妙,不敬畏生活。要虔诚地迎接每个黎明的到来,要抓住每个小时,不浪费珍贵的每一分钟。

抓紧生活……可是不要太紧而不能松手放弃。这是生活硬币的第二面,生活悖论的对立面:必须接受失败,并且学会如何放弃。

这门课程学起来不容易。特别当我们年轻以为世界是我们支配的时候。那时无论愿望是什么我们都充满了所有热情的力量,不仅如此,我们将会实现愿望。但另一方面生活向前行进让我们面对现实,慢慢可是确定无疑地我们渐渐明白了第二条真理。

生活的每个阶段我们都得经历失去——并在此过程中成长。我们从子宫诞生并失去它的庇护但是开始独立的生命。我们上一系列的学校,然后离开爸妈与儿时的家。结婚生子随后不得不让他们离去。面对父母与配偶的辞世;还得面临自身力量逐渐或迅速衰弱。最终,就如那个松开的手和抓紧的手的寓言所示:必须面对自己不可避免的死亡,一无所有的离开这个世界,失去所有我们拥有的或者梦想拥有的东西。 

可是我们为什么要顺从生活的悖论呢?既然美会逐渐消失,为什么还要创造美的事物?既然最后要从我们身边夺走我们所爱的人,为什么还要我们用心去爱?

为了解决这个悖论,必须寻找更广阔的视角,要像透过朝永恒打开的窗子一样来看待生活。一旦这么做,就会明白尽管生命有限,在世上的所为却会织下永恒的图案。

生命决不只是存在,它是仍然存在,它是持续的生生不息。我们是父母生命的延续,而儿女是我们生命的延续。我们建立的制度不会消失,我们将通过它们存在下去。我们创造的美不会由于死亡而暗淡。肉体也许会死亡,双手也将衰弱无力,可它们创造的真善美将永存。

不要浪费生命积聚只将烟消云消的东西。与其追求物质,不如追求理想,因为只有理想能赋予生命意义,并具有永久的价值。

一所房子加上爱就是一个家。一座城市加上正直就是一个社会。一堆红砖块加上真理就是一所学校。最简陋的大厦加上信仰就是一座神殿。人类漫长的一系列努力加上正义就是文明。把这些放到一起,把它们提高到它们当前的不足之上,加上人类得到拯救的前景,永远没有贫困和冲突,我们就有了一个闪耀着绚丽的希望之光的未来。

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