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哲学家米歇尔·德·蒙田 – 译学馆
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哲学家米歇尔·德·蒙田

PHILOSOPHY - Montaigne

哲学
PHILOSOPHY
米歇尔·德·蒙田
MICHEL DE MONTAIGNE
我们通常认为
We generally think that
哲学家一定为自己的智慧感到十分自豪
philosophers should be proud of their big brains
并且热爱埋头沉思与自我反省
and be fans of thinking self-reflection
以及理性分析
and rational analysis.
但有位哲学家是个例外
But there’s one philosopher,
他1533年生于法国
born in France in 1533,
有着新奇特别的看法
who had a refreshingly different take.
作为知识分子的米歇尔·德·蒙田
Michel de Montaigne was an intellectual who spent his writing life
在他的所有作品中抨击其他知识分子的傲慢
knocking the arrogance of intellectuals.
在他的巨著《蒙田随笔》中
In his great masterpiece, the’Essays’,
他展现出了无比博学多智的形象
he comes across as relentlessly wise and intelligent
但他同样保持着谦逊 并热衷于揭穿学问的虚伪
— but also as constantly modest and keen to debunk the pretensions of learning.
不仅如此 他还非常有趣
Not least, he’s extremely funny,
他提醒自己的读者:
reminding his readers
“意识到自己说过蠢话或做过傻事没什么大不了
to learn that we have said or done a stupid thing is nothing
我们应该学习更充分且重要的一课
we must learn a more ample and important lesson
大家都是笨蛋……”
that we are but blockheads…
或者按他的原话所说:
(or, as he put it)
“即使是世界最尊贵的宝座
On the highest throne in the world,
我们也不过是用屁股坐在上面”
we are seated, still, upon our arses.’
蒙田出生在文艺复兴时期
Montaigne was a child of the Renaissance
当时享誉一时的古典哲学家
and the ancient philosophers popular in Montaigne’s day
都相信理性的力量能够给予人们快乐
believed that our powers of reason put afford us a happiness
并认为理性是区分人与动物的标志
and greatness denied to other creatures reason
理智是一种复杂 近乎神圣的工具
Reason was a sophisticated, almost divine,
给人以主宰世界和己身的能力
tool offering us mastery over the world and ourselves.
西塞罗这样的哲学家奉此为信条
That was the line taken by philosophers like Cicero.
但这种对理性的描述激怒了蒙田
But this characterization of human reason enraged Montaigne.
在与许多学者和哲学家接触后 他写到:
After hanging out with academics and philosophers, he wrote,
“其实 很多村妇活得都比西塞罗舒适且安宁”
“In practice, thousands of little women in their villages have lived more gentle, more equable and more constant lives than [Cicero].
他并不完全否定人类拥有理性
His point wasn’t that human beings can’t reason at all,
只是人类过于傲慢
simply that they tend to be far too arrogant
没有认清他们的大脑存在着局限
about the limits of their brains.
如他所写:
As he wrote,
“我们的生活 半是愚昧 半是明智
“Our life consists partly in madness, partly in wisdom.
若只是出于规则和尊重描述它
Whoever writes about it merely respectfully and by rule
就忽视了另外大半的生命”
leaves more than half of it behind perhaps.”
或许关于人性的疯狂 最好的例子就是
Perhaps the most obvious example of our madness
被困在肉身中的人类做出的诸多挣扎
is the struggle of living within a human body
无论大脑意欲如何
Our bodies smell, ache, sag, pulse, throb and age
人类都要经历生老病死的苦恼
(whatever the desires of our minds).
蒙田是世上首个 或许也是唯一的
Montaigne was the world’s first and possibly only philosopher
详述阳痿的哲学家
to talk at length about impotence,
似乎对他来说 这是用来解释
which seemed to him a prime example
人类思维能有多脆弱和疯狂的绝佳例子
of how crazy and fragile our minds are.
他有个朋友 面对心爱的女子时会阳痿
Montaigne had a friend who’d grown impotent with a woman he particularly liked.
蒙田不认为这应归咎为生殖缺陷
Montaigne didn’t blame the penis.
他认为问题在于心理障碍
The problem was the mind,
人类执拗得以为自己可以完全掌控躯体
the oppressive notion that we had complete control over our bodies
如果无法“正常”掌控躯体 就会心生恐惧
and the horror of departing from this theoretical normality.
蒙田认为 解决方法应该是重新定义“正常”
The solution, Montaigne said, was to redraw our sense of what’s normal.
通过放弃控制下体的念头
By accepting a loss of command over the penis
认清在发生关系时
as a harmless common possibility in lovemaking
阳痿是有可能发生的 无害的事情
one could preempt its occurrence —
就可以像这位朋友一样 预见它的发生
as the stricken man eventually discovered.
在与女子发生关系之前
In bed with a woman
他学会事先承认自己的缺陷
he learned to admit beforehand that he was subject to this infirmity and spoke openly about it
用坦诚讨论这件事来疏解内心的压力
so relieving the tensions within his soul.
通过认识到这样的缺陷是可以预见的
By bearing the malady as something to be expected
他就不会过度紧张 充满压力
his sense of constriction grew less and weighed less heavily upon him.
蒙田的直率也缓解了许多读者的心理压力
Montaigne’s frankness allows the tensions in the reader’s own soul to be relieved.
当男性面对女友无能为力时
A man who failed with his girlfriend
通过接受自己的情况只是很普遍的缺陷
could regain his forces
并不是“怪胎”或者“畸形”
and soothe the anxieties of his beloved
他们恢复了能力
by accepting that his impotence belonged to a broad realm of sexual mishaps
并安抚了焦虑的爱人
neither very rare nor very peculiar.
蒙田同样坦言智慧的局限性和实用性
Montaigne was equally frank about limitations of his intellect (and of its usefulness).
正如当今时代 蒙田生活的时代 学界也威信十足
Academia was deeply prestigious in Montaigne’s day, as in our own. Yet,
蒙田虽是杰出的学者 却也痛恨学界的迂腐
although Montaigne was an excellent scholar, he hated pedantry in academia.
他只想学一些实用的东西
He only wanted to learn things that were useful
而不是像其他迂腐的学究一样假装“高深莫测”
and relentlessly attacked academics for being out of touch.
“如果人是明智的
“If man were wise
那么他应该意识到真正有价值的东西
he would gauge the true worth of anything
是对实际生活有用并且实用的”蒙田如是说
by its usefulness and appropriateness to his life “he said
只有能让我们感觉更好的东西才值得去了解
Only that which makes us feel better maybe worth understanding.
带着这种态度 蒙田嘲讽那些晦涩难懂的书
In this vein, Montaigne mocked books that were difficult to read.
他向自己的读者坦言 柏拉图的作品很无聊
He admitted to his readers that he found Plato more than a little boring
他只想看书找找乐子
and that he just wanted to have fun with books:
“我不准备为任何东西而绞尽脑汁
“I’m not prepared to bash my brains out for anything
哪怕真的能够学到东西
not even for learnings sake however precious it may be.
我看书只是为了取悦自己
From books all I seek is to get myself some pleasure
度过一段惬意的时光……
by an honorable pastime…
如果读到了一些难以理解的内容
If I come across some difficult passages in my reading
我不会绞尽脑汁为难自己
I don’t bite my nails over them
努力理解一两次以后 就随它去吧
after making a charge or two I let them be
如果整本都是这样 我就干脆换一本书”
if one book tires me I just take up another he.”
他尖刻地批判了令人费解的哲学家
He could be pretty caustic about incomprehensible philosophers.
“晦涩难懂是哲学家们的把戏
“ Difficulty is a coin
为了避免被人发觉他们研究的空洞而已
which to learn it conjure with so is not to reveal the vanity of their studies
可愚蠢的人类却把它们照单全收”
and which human stupidity is keen to accept in payment.”
蒙田意识到 这种令人心生怯意的文化
Montaigne observed how an intimidating scholarly culture
让许多人一味在他人的书中寻找答案
has made all of us study other people’s books way
而忘了研究自身的想法
before we study our own minds.
而正如他所言:
And yet, as he put it:
“我们每个人都比自己想象的要博学”
“We are richer than we think, each one of us.”
蒙田历久弥新的原因在于
Montaigne is refreshing because he describes a life
他描绘生活与我们现在生活非常接近
which is recognizably like our own
并且具有启发意义
and yet inspiring still
他是充满人性的理想型
— he is a very human ideal.
只要我们不再妄自菲薄
We may all arrived at wise ideas
比如认为:我们没有两千多岁
if we cease to think of ourselves as unsuited to the task
对柏拉图的对话毫无兴趣
just because we aren’t 2,000 years old
只是平平凡凡的人之类的
or aren’t interested in the topics of Plato’s dialogues
我们或许都能提出有见解的想法
or have a so-called ordinary life.
蒙田向我们保证
Montaigne reassures us
“你可以如同那些睿智的人一样
“You can attach the whole of moral philosophy to a commonplace private life
在平凡的私人生活中 运用整套道德哲学”
just as well as to one with richer stuff.”
在蒙田的笔下
In Montaigne’s redrawn portrait of
人是有血有肉 即理智又疯狂的
the adequate, semi-rational human being,
不懂希腊语很正常
it’s possible to speak no Greek
突然改变想法很正常
change one’s mind after a meal
觉得书籍无聊很正常
get bored with a book
性无能 对古典哲学家一无所知也很正常
be impotent and know pretty much none of the ancient philosophers
人生平凡但拥有美德
A virtuous ordinary life,
时而愚昧 但追求智慧
striving for wisdom but never far from folly,
这样的人生成就也很不错
is achievement enough.
蒙田无疑是伟大而又平易近人的哲学家
Montaigne remains the great readable intellectual
我们能和他一起嘲笑那些自视甚高卖弄学识的学者
with whom we can laugh at intellectuals and pretensions of many kinds
在16世纪一众高高在上 不食人间烟火
He was a breath of fresh air
恃才傲物的哲学家中
in the cloistered, unworldly, snobbish corridors of the academia
他是一缕清新的空气
of the sixteenth century
遗憾的是 至今学术界仍旧没什么改变
because academia has, sadly, not changed very much,
但对于我们这些
he continues to be an inspiration and a solace to all of us
被迂腐自大的所谓“智者”整日压迫的人来说
who feel routinely oppressed and patronized
蒙田始终能为我们带来鼓舞和慰藉
by the pedantry and arrogance of so-called clever people.

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视频来源

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WLAtXWaz76o

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