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托尔斯泰与他的永恒之问 – 译学馆
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托尔斯泰与他的永恒之问

Leo Tolstoy's Lessons on Failure, Identity, and Asking "Why?" | Yiyun Li, Hope & Optimism

有个我喜爱的作家 事实上 他是个战士
Here’s a writer I love — actually, this is a man o’ war, and I borrowed words from
借用我最好的朋友之一 美丽的自然作家艾米·利奇的话
my best friend Amy Leach, who is a beautiful nature writer.
她用这句话描述这位战士:战士表面上是一个人
She wrote this line about the man o’ war: ‘The man o’ war appears to be one individual,
比如列夫·托尔斯泰
like Leo Tolstoy.
但事实上是许多灵魂殖民在一个身体内 比如列夫·托尔斯泰
But it’s actually many individuals living together as a colony, like Leo Tolstoy.’
托尔斯泰
So Tolstoy.
他比世界上任何其他人都有更多宏大的“为什么”
He certainly had more big “whys” than anybody else in the world.
所以多年来 托尔斯泰都用三个字母结束他的日记
So for years Tolstoy ended his journal each day with three letters: the initials for the
大写的俄语字母:“如果我活着”
Russian: “If I live”.
每个月开头他写下:“离死亡又近了一步”
Every month he began with the note: “Nearer to death”.
几周前我去了俄罗斯 参观了他在莫斯科城外的住宅
So a few weeks ago I actually went to Russia and I visited Yasnaya Polyana, his estate
亚斯亚纳波利亚纳 在那儿我了解到 他一生做了很多失败的事
outside Moscow, and there I learned that he had failed at many things in life.
做教育 他失败了
He failed as an educator.
养马 他失败了
He failed at breeding horses.
务农 他失败了
He failed at farming.
当然 他在宗教上的努力 最终也没能成功
And, of course, he also failed—you know, eventually—in his religious endeavor.
可以说他唯一没失败的事就是写作
Pretty much the only thing he didn’t fail at was to be a writer.
我最爱的作家之一 俄国作家伊萨克·巴别尔说过
And Isaac Babel, a Russian writer, one of my favorite writers, said, “If the world
“若这世界能执笔写作 它会像托尔斯泰那样书写”
could write by itself it would write like Tolstoy.”
我这样理解这句话:我们知道生活中有小问题和大问题
And I take that to mean: we know there are big whys and small whys in life.
如果这世界像伊丽莎白鲍文或波西亚(《心之死》中人物)那样书写自己
If the world wrote itself like Elizabeth Bowen or Portia [from ‘Death of The Heart’], it
那会全部是大问题
would be all big whys.
但到托尔斯泰这里 就有大问题和小问题的平衡
But with Tolstoy there’s the balance of big whys and small whys.
对于病房内的精神病人 和外面世界的人们
The big whys for many on a psychiatric ward, and to many people outside in the world, can
大问题可以概括为 人为何活着?
be summarized as such: Why live?
为何忍受?
Why suffer?
为何忍受下去?
And why suffer on?
没人能给出答案 而且我觉得尤其对于那些曾患精神疾病的人
Not any one of us had an answer there, and I think particularly for those who have experienced
还有一个我们无法回答的问题:你何以成为你自己?
mental illness there’s also another question we cannot answer: Why are you *you*?
你何以成为你自己?
Why are you you?
这个问题还有许多变体:为何你不快乐?
And there are many variations of the question: Why are you not happy?
为何你不能心怀希望?
Why can’t you stay hopeful?
为何你看不到这世界的光明?
Why can’t you see the bright side of the world?
为何你如此自私?
Why are you so selfish?
为何你不能和大家一样?
Why can’t you just be like everyone else?
为何你不能做真实的自己?
Why can’t you be real?
为何你不能做个理智的人?
Why can’t you be rational?
这些大问题是永恒之问
The big whys are timeless questions.
不断思考它们而无法得到解答时 人就会把自己置于
And in asking them, and in not being able to find answers, one puts oneself in a timeless
一个永恒的困境
trap.
陷入重度抑郁的人可能会体验到时间静止
Anyone suffering a severe depression may have the experience of time coming to a stop.
一天又一天 一分钟又一分钟
One day to the next, one minute to the next.
我们拥有的最宝贵的事物 时间 变得最具欺骗性
Time, which is the most precious possession we have, becomes the most treacherous thing.
时间是真实的吗?
Is time real?
时间是理性的吗?
Is time rational?
有没有一种方法让我们能以真实而理性的方式体验时间?
Is there a way for us to experience time in the real and rational manner?
在物理世界里 时间是最公平的了
Time in the world of physics is probably one of the most democratic experiences.
我敢说 特朗普的一分钟和我的一分钟一样长
I would say Trump’s minute is as long as my minute.
一个独裁者的一天不比我的一天多一秒
A dictator’s day is not one second longer than my day.
但对于个人 众所皆知 时间体验远非这么科学
But time experienced by each individual, as we all know, is so much less scientific and
也远非这么可靠
so much less reliable.
在生活里有大问题和小问题
In life there are big whys and small whys.
我们环顾四周 很容易就提出大量小问题:
Easily we look around at our lives and come up with abundant small whys: Why do I agree
为什么我同意去这家餐馆吃饭 而不去街对面
to eat at this restaurant but not the one across the street which was where I really
我真正想去的那家
wanted to go?
为什么我早上头一件事就是读报 尽管我知道这不应该
Why do I read the news first thing in the morning when I know I shouldn’t because
因为这会让我把孩子们的吐司烤糊了
that makes me burn my children’s toast?
为什么我要为马拉松而训练?
Why do I want to train for a marathon?
有一个我很喜欢的问题 不是我问的 是一位老人
And here is one of my favorite whys, not asked by me but by an older man when he listened
他听我的朗读时问道 “为什么我今早告诉自己
to my public reading, and he said, “Why did I tell myself this morning that the piece
我吃的那块蛋糕对我身体好?”
of cake I ate was good for me?”
但我们不是生来就为了回答这些小问题的
But we don’t live to answer all these small whys.
我们也不应当如此
We shouldn’t.
每个被小孩子搞得精疲力尽的父母都经历过这些
Any exhausted parent of a small child can relate to that.
为什么我非得穿鞋?
“Why do I have to wear shoes?
为什么我非得刷牙?
Why do I have to brush my teeth?
为什么我不能和狗狗一起睡在狗窝里?
Why can’t I sleep in the dog bed with the puppy?”
然后 到了大问题
And then there are the big whys.
这些大问题有时是无解的
The big whys are not always answerable.
实际上 我们可以说它们是因无解而存在
In fact, we may say that there are big whys because they can’t be answered.
生活的危险之一 就是我们注定会遇到一些人
One of the dangers of living is that inevitably we run into people who think that every why
他们认为每个问题都有答案——他们要我们回答
has an answer—and they demand us to answer for them.
我们给不出令人满意的答案时 他们就会替我们回答
And when we can’t provide a satisfactory answer they will do that for us, often with
通常是一个仓促而武断的答案
a hasty and judgmental answer.
大问题有 生与死 战争与和平
Big whys are life and death, war and peace.
但是小问题——有时我们能回答 有时甚至无需回答
But small whys—when we can find answers, or when we don’t even have to find answers
只需承认它们的存在——带来孤独 也让我们生活下去
but just acknowledge them—insulate and sustain us.

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视频概述

著名华人作家李翊云关于托尔斯泰的痛苦和人类永恒之问的思考。平静而有深度的演讲,发人深思。

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收集自网络

翻译译者

April

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视频来源

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MF11QOJ_5pw

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