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我们太物质吗? – 译学馆
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Are we too Materialistic?

It doesn’t seem to make sense to suggest there might be such a thing as “good materialism”.
毕竟 物质主义总被简单的认为是不好的 不是吗
After all, isn’t materialism just plain bad always?
It can seem as if we’re faced with a stark choice:
你可以变得物质 就意味着痴迷于金钱 财产 肤浅和自私
either you can be materialistic, and that means obsessed with money and possessions, shallow and selfish
你可以拒绝物质 成为善良的人 更关注跟精神相关的事情
or you can reject materialism, be good and focus on more important matters of the spirit.
但事实上 我们大多数人在内心深处是深陷两个选择的困境之中的
But in truth, most of us are, in our hearts, stuck somewhere between these two choices,
which is pretty uncomfortable.
我们仍然深陷在占有欲中 但世俗观念告诉我们应该对此深感罪恶
We’re still enmeshed in the desire to possess but we’re encouraged to feel rather bad about it.
可关键是 问题并不出在物质主义上
Yet, crucially, it’s not actually materialism,
单纯的买东西 而从拥有中获得兴奋感
the pure fact of buying things and getting excited by possessions
that’s ever really the problem.
We’re failing to make a clear distinction between good and bad versions of materialism.
Let’s try to understand good materialism through a slightly unusual route: religion.
Because we see them as focused exclusively on spiritual things,
所以会很奇怪 宗教里会有多少物质的东西存在
it can be surprising to note how much use religions of made of material things.
They’ve spent a lot of time making and thinking about scrolls to hang in your house,
还有神殿 寺庙 修道院艺术品 衣服 仪式
shrines, temples, monasteries, artworks, clothes, ceremonies…
然而 他们关注这些东西只为一个原因
However, they’ve cared about these things for one reason only:
因为他们想用这些物质的东西来达到最高等 最高尚的目的
because they wanted material things to serve the hightest and noblest purpose,
the development of our souls.
It’s just that they recognize the we are incarnate, sensory, bodily beings
and that the way to get through to our souls has to be, at least in part, through our bodies
rather than merely through the intellect.
The importance of material things was for centuries at the core of christianity,
同时也提出耶稣虽然是最崇高的灵魂人物 但也是一个有血有肉的人
which proposed that Jesus was both the highest spiritual being and a flesh and blood person.
他是灵魂的象征 神圣的化身
He was the spirit encarnated, holiness embodied.
In the Catholic Mass great significance is accorded to the bread and the wine,
which are believed to be transubstantiations of Christ,
这就是 物质的东西也同时代表一个精神上的符号
that is, material objects which simultaneously have a spiritual identity,
just as Jesus himself combined the spiritual and the bodily while on Earth.
This can all sound like a very weird and arcane point entirely removed from the local shopping mall,
但是在宗教以外 同样的概念确实也存在
but exactly the same concept actually apllies outside of religions.
Many good material possessions can be set to involve a kind of transubstantiation
它们既实际又物质 体现了一种积极的个性和精神
whereby they are both practical and physical, and also embody or allude to a positive personality or spirit.
看一下由Dieter Rams设计的手表
Take this watch by the designer Dieter Rams.
To the outer eye it’s an ordinary time piece,
but at a psychological level it’s also a kind of transubstantiation.
它既告知时间 同时也暗含更多心理学 甚至是精神方面的东西
It tells the time but it also hints at a more psychological, even spiritual side,
周围萦绕着纯洁 简约 和谐的理想
with ideals of purity, simplicity and harmony floating around it.
手表告诉我们还有多久吃午饭 但同时也试图推动我们变成某一类人
It tell us how long there is to lunch, but it also trying to nudge us towards being a certain sort of person
或者这把椅子 它同样也是一些重要价值的变体
Or take this chair, it too transubstantiates a set of important values:
坦率 力量 诚实和优雅
straightforwardness, strength, honesty and elegance.
离椅子越来越近的话 我们一定会越来越像它
by getting closer to the chair we stand to become a little more like it,
which is an important piece of inner evolution.
当一些更高的 更积极的理想被物质化
Material objects can therefore be said to play a positive psychological or spiritual role in our lives,
when higher, more positive ideals are materialized in them,
所以 在平日买东西并使用它们给我们一个更接近更好的自己的机会
and so, when buying and using them daily gives us a chance to get closer to our better selves.
那些断断续续出现在我们的思想和行为中的心理品质 被包含在物质的东西时
When they’re contained in physical things, valuable psychological qualities, that are otherwise often intermittent in our thoughs and conduct,
会变得更加稳定 有弹性
can become more stable and resilient.
反过来 这并不是说所有的消费主义都是好的
This isn’t to say that all consumerism just conveniently turns out to be great,
it depends on what a given material object stands for.
An object can transubstantiate the very worse side of human nature:
贪婪 麻木不仁 渴望成功
greed, callousness, the desire to triumph,
as much as it can the best sides.
所以我们要小心 不要一味地谴责或赞美所有的消费主义
So we must be careful no to decry or celebrate all material consumption just like that.
我们必须确保我们买来的东西 以及制造出来以紧密与这个星球的联系的东西
We have to ensure that the objects we invest and tie ourselves in the planet by making
能鼓励我们成为更高尚 更美好的人
are those that land most encouragement to our higher, better natures.



我们物质吗?从科学上认识这个问题的答案 让自己物质的很理所当然