Why are we so worried about our careers?
Why do we care so much about our reputations?
Partly it’s to do with money of course
But there’s another, more psychological aspect to our fears as well.
We worry because we suspect – not wrongly
– that the world is full of a frightening sort of person ready to judge us ruthlessly
and swiftly: a person we can call a snob.
A snob is anyone who takes a relatively small
part of us and uses it to come to a rigid and unbudgeable conclusion about how much
of their attention we deserve.
In the past, that might have meant a snob being interested in your lineage or your royal connections.
Nowadays, the snob cares about one thing only: what you do for a living.
这就解释了为什么 在和陌生人交谈时 我们被问到的第一个问题常常是“你是干什么的？”
This explains why the first question we will be asked in any new social context is ‘What do you do?’
And according to how we answer
Snobs will either welcome us with broad smiles
Or swiftly abandon us by the peanuts.
The opposite of a snob is your mother – not necessarily your mother in particular – but
the ideal mother, someone who doesn’t care so much what we have achieved
But who thinks about who we are in the broad sense.
But most of the world is not like our mothers
And that is why we are fired up by such a desperate urge to achieve and impress.
Sometimes our behaviour is mistaken for greed and vanity
but it is more poignant than this.
A lot of our interest in fancy cars, jobs and houses has nothing to do with materialism.
It has to do with a hunger for the respect and esteem that is only available in our societies
Through the acquisition of material goods
It isn’t the goods themselves we seek
It is the love we stand to gain through our possession of them.
The next time we see someone driving a Ferrari
We shouldn’t condemn them for their greed, we should pity them for the intensity
of their need for love from the world.
At the root of snobbery is a lack of imagination
and confidence about how to decide who in the world is valuable.
身边有人高人一等 有人低人一等 在这一想法上 势利眼是没错的
The snob isn’t wrong in their background sense that there are better and worse sorts of people around.
They are just brutally misguided and slavish in their beliefs about how the superior individuals can be identified.
对于势利眼来说 只有那些已经广受称赞 已经成功的人才值得被尊敬
For snobs, it is the already-acclaimed and already successful who are the only ones worthy of respect.
There is no room in their timid regimented minds to imagine that someone
有一些聪明 善良 优秀的人 会因为各种各样的原因成为被埋没的金子
might be clever, kind or good – and yet somehow have been overlooked entirely by society,
their qualities lurking beneath an unfamiliar guise, and having as yet discovered no obvious outlets.
Touchingly, the personal origins of snobbery
typically lie in parents who were themselves snobs – and never endowed their offspring
根据新朋友本身的特点来判断其是否值得交往 却教会孩子以他人的社会地位 收入和名声为判断依据
with the confidence to judge each new person on their own terms, without reference to social status, income and reputation.
Despite their commitment to surrounding themselves by people of high status,
讽刺的是 势利眼们常常看走眼 错过那些日后会受人爱戴 广受欢迎的人
ironically, snobs constantly fail to spot who might one day be feted and applauded.
They are misled by the unexpected outward forms that brilliance often takes.
Snobs don’t sign up the Beatles, don’t invest in the start-up iteration of Google or Apple,
don’t give the time of day to the taxi driver who might one day be the president
or the old lady in a woolly hat writing the great novel of the 21st century.
The true answer to snobbery is not to say that there is no such thing as a better or worse person,
but to insist that better or worse exist in constantly unexpected places
and carry none of the outward signs of distinction.
And because we are such poor judges of the worth of others,
our ultimate duty remains to be kind, good, curious and imaginative
about pretty much everyone who ever crosses our path – and that includes ourselves.