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【Aeon】啊,好焦虑好焦虑

【Aeon】啊,好焦虑好焦虑

在经历了重大变故之后,我们难免觉得“人生多艰”。但其实,这些焦虑情绪是我们本来就有的,并不是变故带来的,我们根本没必要以这种悲悯的眼光给自己“加戏”。学会与焦虑和平共处,就是同自己平静对话;懂得在“人生无目的”和“幸福都是奋斗出来的”之间寻求平衡,就是和生活把酒欢歌。


焦虑之用

【Aeon】啊,好焦虑好焦虑

作者:Samir  Chopra

     译者:唐萧&李玉婷&陈可桐

校对:武守晗

策划:唐   萧


The usefulness of dread

焦虑之用

My anxiety has been lifelong but I would not wish it away. It has made me the philosopher – and person – that I am today.

焦虑伴我终身,但我并不希望这种情绪消失。正因为它,我才得以成为哲学家,成为现在的我。


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One morning, my father died at home. I awoke to a call for help – my name shouted once, loudly, desperately, fearfully, by my mother – ran into my parents’ bedroom, and found my father convulsing in the throes of a massive heart attack. His body bucked on a deadly trampoline, his chest heaved, spittle flecked his lips and the sides of his mouth as he desperately sought to fill his lungs with air. By the time our friendly family doctor arrived, stethoscope and black bag in tow, my father was dead. A dashing pilot and war hero, he had flown supersonic fighter jets in two wars, evaded anti-aircraft fire and airborne interceptors, only to come home and die as his wife and two sons looked on helplessly. Bullets and shells had missed their mark; a clogged artery, a fragment of plaque, had not. He was 43 years old. I was 12. 

一天早晨,我的爸爸在家中去世。那时,我正在睡觉,只听到妈妈大声叫我,声音充满绝望与恐惧。我立即冲进他们的卧房,发现爸爸正因心脏病发作,疼的浑身抽搐。他仿佛躺在弹簧垫上,身体剧烈地扭动着。他的胸部上下起伏,挣扎着大口呼吸,满嘴白沫。我们亲爱的家庭医生带着听诊器和医药箱赶来的时候,爸爸已经走了。他曾是位无比风光的飞行员和战争英雄,在两次战争中驾驶着超音速战斗机,成功躲过高射炮和空中拦截机。但如今,他却在家中死去,留下无助的妻儿。他躲过了枪林弹雨,却没能躲过动脉阻塞和斑块破裂。那年,他43岁,我12岁。


Fourteen years later, after a protracted struggle with breast cancer that included a disfiguring mastectomy, adjuvant chemotherapy, blasts of directed radiation, hormonal treatment, and a four-year remission, my mother, too, succumbed and passed away. Her last days were painful, mind-numbingly so. She was nauseated, incoherent, delirious, sleepless, her skin yellowed by her failing liver, her lungs crushed. The morphine we asked her doctors to administer made her catatonic and slowed her pulse to a barely discernible crawl. I had become unrecognisable to her; she to me. She was 52 years old. I was 26.

十四年后,我的妈妈在与乳腺癌的漫长斗争中败下阵来,离开了我。在这期间,她做了乳房切除术,做了化疗,接受了多次放射治疗和荷尔蒙治疗,还有最后四年的“舒缓疗法”。她临终前的日子很痛苦,可以说痛到麻木了。她总是恶心想吐、语无伦次,有点精神失常,且少眠。她的皮肤因肝脏日渐衰竭而变黄,肺也不大好。为了缓解她的疼痛,我们让医生给她开了吗啡,但这让她精神紧张,脉搏也跳的很慢,几乎感觉不到。妈妈不认识我了,我也觉得这样的她很陌生。那年,她52岁,我26岁。


When my parents died, a fundamental, metaphysical sundering between the world and me took place. Lightning had struck twice. The gravity the world had promised – the anchoring of my flights of anxious fancy – had disappeared. The world was now treacherous, lurking with pitfalls, crevasses and trapdoors. The world of misfortune was once dimly glimpsed, its details barely visible, but now I lived in it. I had imagined that with my father’s death, the world had exacted its pound of flesh, a tax so terrible it would be levied only once. But in 14 years, death came calling again. One God – a child’s God, mythical and compassionate – died with my father; another – an adult’s God, a God of reasonableness, the one that ensured this world would not do excessively badly by you – died with my mother.

父母相继去世后,我和世界之间出现了一道根本的、抽象的裂缝。我被闪电击中了两次。以前,不论我有怎样不着边际的焦虑,这个世界都会将我托住,但现在,这种笃定消失了。这个世界是如此危险,充满着阴谋、裂隙,和陷阱。我隐约看到一个暗无天日的世界,尽管还看不真切,但我确实身处其中。爸爸去世的时候,我想,世界对我的强征豪夺只会有这一次。但14年后,死神的召唤再次来临。儿时,爸爸代表着我心中慈爱而神秘的上帝,他走了,这个上帝也消失了;长大后,妈妈代表着我心中理智的上帝,她保证这个世界不会伤我太深,可她走了,这个上帝也消失了。


pound of flesh you say that someone demands their pound of flesh, you mean that they insist on getting something they are entitled to, even though it may cause distress to the person it is demanded from. 合法但不合情理的要求和苛索


My parents’ deaths, occupying polar positions on a spectrum of suddenness, infected my life with a persistent dread; they suffused my life with an incurable anxiety, a dread that did not require an identifiable object. Their deaths taught me that this world is ruled by merciless probabilities: there are no warnings attached to daybreak that this might be the day of catastrophic misfortune, of fatal eventuality. In her memoir The Year of Magical Thinking (2007), Joan Didion wrote that recollections of disaster always begin with the mundane nature of the day; the day my father died, the day my mother’s cancer was diagnosed, began as ordinary ones before becoming extraordinary and world-historical. I learned the hard way that there is cause and occasion to fret, to feel anxious, even when there is no indication of disaster. The universe, if not actively malignant, is indifferent to our fates, and cares little for our lives and loves.

父母的离去让我措手不及,给我留下了持久的恐惧。我的生活充满着一种无法治愈的焦虑,那是一种难以名状的恐惧。他们的逝世告诉我,这个世界有许多残酷的可能性:黎明来临时,它不会提醒你,今天就是末日,或会有大事发生。琼·蒂蒂安在她的回忆录《奇想之年》中写道,回想往事,灾难的来临总是毫无征兆。我父亲去世的那一天,我母亲的癌症确诊的那一天,都同平常的日子一样开始,只是事后,那天才变得特别和重要。我认识到,即使事前并无征兆,人还是会遇到烦恼、焦虑的时候。宇宙就算不是故意对我们抱有恶意,它对我们的命运也是漠不关心的。它毫不顾忌我们的生命和挚爱亲朋。


Anxiety is insidious, more than just a simple fear. It is, all at once, a fever and an occupation, an affliction and a constitution. An anxiety is a lens through which to view the world, a colouration that grants the sufferer’s experiences their distinctive hue. The Buddha alerted us to a fundamental metaphysical feature of this world, the ‘co-dependent arising’ of all that we experience and know. That is, nothing possesses existence independent of all else that makes it so: an anxious person inhabits a world coloured and contoured by their own, highly individual anxieties; it is a world co-constructed by the sufferer and his or her anxieties. Anxiety is therefore a perspective, a hermeneutical relationship with the world, whose text now gets read in a very peculiar way by this anxiety-laden vision. Things and persons and events fall into focus depending on their interactions with our anxieties: that man in the corner becomes threatening, this chair becomes unstable and unbalanced, that food becomes the agent of a fatal illness, my family – my wife, my daughter – appear as targets for cruel twists of fate. I live in a distinctive world shaded and illuminated by an idiosyncratic anxiety.

焦虑有许多潜在的危害,它不单单是一种恐惧。它是一种狂热、一种占据身心的东西,也是一种折磨、一种融入身体的构成,是上述种种的集合。当事人透过焦虑的镜头观察世界,看待自身经历的时候就会自带滤镜。佛教认为,世界的本质是形而上的,我们所经历和知道的一切都“相依缘起”。也就是说,没有什么是独立于万物而存在的,因为万物本为一体:焦虑的人身处的世界受到他们自己非常个人化的焦虑情绪的影响。这个世界是由当事人和他或她的焦虑共同创造出的。因此,焦虑是一种观点,是同世界的一种解释性关系。人们会通过这种充满焦虑的眼光以一种很特别的方式解读信息。人、事、物能否得到我们的关注,取决于他们同我们焦虑情绪的互动程度:待在角落的那个人很凶险,这把椅子不稳,那种食物会导致严重疾病,我的家人——我妻子,我女儿——似乎是造物弄人时选中的目标。我身处的世界因一种不寻常的焦虑而忽明忽暗。


I began therapy at 29. During the five years of visits to the clinics that followed – two sessions a week of interpersonal, psychodynamic and Kleinian psychotherapy – I ‘found out’ that I had always been an anxious child, that I had not started being anxious at the time of my father’s death, that in some measure, my anxiety marked me out as a fellow sufferer to all humans. My anxieties had become worse; my parents’ deaths traumatised a subject primed to be so. Their deaths had interrupted a continuum of development in which I would have separated myself from my parents ‘naturally’; as the psychologist Rollo May would have put it, those deaths had threatened values that I held essential to my existence. In the clinic and on the couch, I ‘found out’ that anxiety is fertile, capable of bringing forth newer versions, ever more novel imprints of itself. Prompted by the production of new traumas and losses in our lives, anxieties can interact and recombine like viruses to form newer ‘strains’ that course through us, surprising us with their ferocity and visceral feel. We should not expect our anxieties to remain the same as we age; by paying close attention to their nature, their ‘look and feel’, we can track changes in ourselves and our ‘table of values’.

我是29岁开始治疗的。在之后的五年里,我每周去两次诊所,接受人际心理学治疗、心理动力学治疗,和梅兰妮·克莱因的心理疗法。我“发现”,我童年时代一直就很焦虑;我“发现”我根本不是在爸爸去世后才开始焦虑;我“发现”从某种程度上讲,我的焦虑使我在全人类中“脱颖而出”。我的焦虑情绪变得更严重了。父母的死让我本就存在的焦虑变得更加严重。他们的离开打断了我“自然”脱离父母怀抱的过程。用心理学家罗落·梅的话说,他们的死让我开始对之前奉为人生圭臬的价值观产生怀疑。在诊所和家中的思考让我“发现”,焦虑的生命力极强,它总能繁衍出更新的版本,每一版都留下更强烈的印记。随着生命中不断出现新的创伤与失去,不同时期的焦虑情绪能够像病毒一样互相互动,并重新结合,形成新的“种类”,猛然穿透我们,让人感叹其威力之大、余震之强。我们不该期待,岁月流逝而焦虑的面貌永不改变。要通过密切关注各种焦虑情绪的本质,关注它们“看起来是什么样的,感觉起来又是什么样的”。如此,我们便能追踪自身发生的变化,及随自身变化而变化的事物。


梅兰妮·克莱因 著名精神分析学家,被誉为儿童精神分析的先驱,发明了游戏疗法最初的一些技巧。她的工作开启了对幼儿进行精神分析的先河,被称为“客体关系之母” ,许多学者将其公推为精神分析史上继弗洛伊德之后,对于精神分析理论之开拓最具启发性、最具创意的思想家之一。


Anxiety is not singular; individual anxieties make up a sufferer’s full complement. An anxiety might be a distinctive suite packaged for application to a particular situation of time, place, circumstance and connotation. To know oneself is, very often, an injunction to know one’s anxieties – individually, distinctively – and to know how they change and morph as we do. I have learned, partially, which environments provoke and sustain my anxieties; my future steps are circumscribed by this induced caution. My trajectory through the world is thus informed, at every step, by the anxieties that afflict me.

焦虑并非是单一的,个别的多种焦虑组成了当事人的完整感受。一种焦虑可能是一套独特的感受,仅在某个特定的时间、地点、情景下生效,体现某种特定的含义。很多时候,要了解自己,就得去了解自己的焦虑——这个东西人人不同,各有特点,还要了解这些焦虑是如何随着我们自身的变化发展而变化发展的。对于什么样的环境会使我感到持续的焦虑,我已经有了一些了解。有了这个准备,我下面的路就会在一个限定的范围内去走。因此,我来世界上的走这一遭,每一步都是可以提前知道的,而这正是我所经受的焦虑告诉我的。


Anxieties are not immortal. Some die on their own, subdued by exposure to enough recalcitrant facts about the world to make some terrors untenable. Moreover, anxieties are not impervious to relief: sometimes an ‘all will be well’ missive arrives from origins unknown. At that moment, the fog lifts, the burden eases, and an exhilarating giddiness makes its presence felt. The clarity of that moment is intensely pleasurable, so pronounced is the relief from the anxiety’s chafing that had preceded it. The drooping shoulder lifts, there is a slight spring in the step. Caffeine, alcohol and marijuana can induce this effect, a pleasing trait that partially accounts for their perennial popularity across cultures and civilisations. I have flirted with these palliatives, pushing them to the boundaries of their use. But when they ran out, anxiety returned. I then felt a painful, tender nostalgia for the comfort of the ones I love. Thus did I find out how acutely fear of loneliness and abandonment underwrote my anxieties. I abstain from alcohol now, because I cannot handle the anxieties associated with excessive drinking: anxiety was never conquered, it just gave way in the face of a greater one. As Friedrich Nietzsche noted in The Dawn of Day (1881), to master a drive, we need another just as strong, just as needy and demanding. But the ‘victory’ of that drive also informs us of its existence. We might be surprised to find out what else lurks within us.

焦虑也并非是永恒的。有些会自己消亡,经历了足够多难料的世事之后,人也就不再因焦虑而恐惧。而且,焦虑也不是无法抚平的:有时候我们也会不知怎的生出一种“一切都会变好”的想法。那一刻,迷雾消散,卸下重负,人感受到一种兴奋的眩晕感。那一刻的豁然开朗是如此的愉悦,人也明显从此前焦虑的痛苦中释然了,变得精神焕发,脚步轻快。咖啡因、酒精和大麻也有这种作用,这种令人愉悦的特质也是它们在所有文明中长期流行的一部分原因。我曾经试过这些缓解剂,喝酒和咖啡喝到吐,吸大麻吸上瘾。但当我清醒过来之后,我又会重新感到焦虑。然后我便开始痛苦地怀念所爱之人给我的安慰。因此,我才意识到,在我的焦虑之下潜藏的是对孤独和被遗弃的极度恐惧。现在我戒酒了,因为举杯浇愁愁更愁:焦虑从未被克服,只是在面对更严重的焦虑时让步。就像尼采在《黎明》(1881)中说的那样,要掌控一种力量,我们就需要另一股同样强大、同样渴望且难掌控的力量。但是,另一股力量的胜出也昭示了它的存在,而我们可能会惊讶于体内潜藏的其他力量。


Sigmund Freud suggested in 1895 that the purpose of therapy was to get us from hysterical misery to common unhappiness, and a key component of that movement is the attention paid to anxiety. Therapy, accordingly, did not comfort or ‘cure’ me. I had hoped to learn that ‘simple’ trauma had caused my anxiety, but instead I learned that anxiety was constitutive of my being: I respond with anxiety to this world’s offerings. I’m a better person for this knowledge of myself.

弗洛伊德在1895年指出,心理治疗的目的是让我们从歇斯底里的痛苦变成普通的不开心,而这个转变的一个关键因素就是焦虑能受到多少关注。因此心理治疗并不能抚慰或“治愈”我。我曾经希望自己能明白是“单纯的”创伤导致了我的焦虑,但我反而发现焦虑就是我存在的一部分:我用焦虑回应着这个世界的一切。了解这一点以后我变成了更好的人。


We are rational animals, but implicit in that rationality is an anxiety. The rational animal remembers and has learned from its past; it anticipates and plans for its future; it modifies its present, anxiously, in response to these memories and anticipations; it is anxious to avoid mistakes, even those it cannot remember and has consigned to the unconscious forgotten. If memory, as John Locke suggested in 1690, is constitutive of our personal identities, then so are our anxieties. The Buddha and David Hume considered the self to be a bundle of ever-changing perceptions and thoughts and images. Similarly, I propose a ‘self-as-bundled-anxieties’ theory: we are a bundle of anxieties; by examining them, to see what vexes us, what makes us anxious, we come to know who we are. Anxiety is a reminder that our selves are rather more diffuse and disorderly than we might imagine, that there are more bits to be seized as they swirl ‘about’ and ‘inside’ us.

我们是理性动物,但这种理性暗指着焦虑。人会铭记过去并吸取教训,人会未雨绸缪并规划将来。受回忆和预期的影响,人会焦虑地改变现在。人想要避免犯错,包括那些记不住的和意识不到的错误。如果记忆就像约翰·洛克(John Locke)在1690年说的那样,是我们个体的组成部分,那么焦虑也是。佛家思想和大卫·休谟(David Hume)认为,自我就是许多不停变化的感知、思考和想象的总和。相似的,我提出了一个“自我即焦虑之总合”的理论:我们就是焦虑的合集,审视它们,我们便知道什么使我们烦扰,什么使我们焦虑,我们便了解了自己。焦虑提醒了我们,自我比我们想象的更加漫无章法,还有更多围绕在我们“周围”和“内心”的点滴等待我们去发掘。

Søren Kierkegaard suggested in The Concept of Anxiety (1844) that one of existentialism’s hard-fought rewards – our encounters with true freedom – comes with the terrible burden of encounters with dread and anxiety. This burden, he claimed, was one we should ‘happily’ bear. It is our own cross, and we will find ourselves by our willingness to go forth with it, along the paths of our choosing. Kierkegaard thus enabled an understanding of the value of the most persistent, enduring and subtle of existential responses: unease with the unrealised universe of our lives. There would be little to no anxiety if our lives were mapped out with trajectories and actions articulated for us to follow, with fates and fortunes predetermined and predestined.

克尔凯郭尔在《焦虑的概念》(1844)中指出,存在主义艰苦探索的成果之一——找到真正的自由——总是伴随着直面恐惧和焦虑的重负。他认为我们应当“欣然”承受这种负担。这是我们自己的十字架,当我们愿意在选择的路上背负它一同前行时,我们才能找到自我。因此,关于存在最恒远且巧妙的意义,克尔凯郭尔提出了这样的理解:对我们生活中未实现的部分感到的不安。假如我们生活的轨道和行动早已被安排好,命运和运气也早已注定,我们几乎不会有焦虑感。


Instead, confrontations with existential anxiety take place at the boundaries of each instant of our lives, each experienced as free. Anxiety, Kierkegaard suggests, is present in the movement from possibility to actuality, from the present to the future. Our confrontations with anxiety hold the possibility of self-discovery – what are we capable of, what might we do? Will we have the strength to bear up to the consequences, intended or otherwise, of our actions? To move on with our lives despite the discomfort of these encounters is, for Kierkegaard, the basis of selfhood.

然而,在人生的每个时刻我们都会遭遇生存的焦虑,每次都是免费体验。克尔凯郭尔认为从可能进化到事实时焦虑会出现,从现在过渡到将来时也会出现。我们与焦虑的遭遇使自我发现成为了可能——我们能做什么,我们可能会做什么?不管是出于有意还是出于无意,我们有能力承担后果吗?于克尔凯郭尔而言,顶着这些不适继续生活是自我存在的基础。


The psychic burden of anxiety is offset by the gains in self-knowledge it affords; to experience anxiety is to experience our self in the making. To allow ourselves to experience anxiety is to engage in a self-observation sensitive to one’s deepest affective responses, alert to the shapelessness of our lives – and our responsibility for mapping our lives anew at every step. This freedom to create ourselves, the subject, is also the vulnerability of the object to which things happen. We dread what we might become, both by our own agency and by the imprint of the world on us.

焦虑让我们获得的自我认知抵消了它带来的精神负担,经历焦虑就是在经历形成中的自我。让自我经历焦虑就是进行一次自我观察,它受到一个人内心最深处情感的影响。同时这也会给我们不成样子的生活敲响警钟,唤醒我们的责任心去重新仔细规划生活的每一步。我们作为主体拥有的重塑自我的“自由”,同样也是我们作为客体承受变化的“软肋”。不管是自发的改变还是被这个世界改变,我们都会对自己可能变成的样子感到恐惧。


Perhaps then, anxiety – precisely because it affords a moment for discovery, reconceptualisation and self-construction – should not be medicated out of existence. (Blaise Pascal noted in Penseés (1670) that people employed ‘diversions’ to escape ‘thoughts of themselves’.) Anxiety is, of course, unpleasant, and all too easily triggers the palliative responses of intoxication or medication. So medication might be necessary when anxiety becomes neurotic and crippling – a distinction present in Kierkegaard – but, as May points out, it is an ‘illogical belief’ that mental health consists in being anxiety-free.

也许那样焦虑就不应该被治愈,正因为焦虑提供了自我发现,再定义和自我构建的一个契机。(布莱士·帕斯卡(Blaise Pascal)在《沉思录》中指出,人们通过“娱乐”来逃离“自我的思考”。)焦虑的确不太好受,为了缓解焦虑也很容易导致酗酒和药物的滥用。所以可能只有当焦虑变得有害于精神及身体健康时,药物才是必须的,但这种情况只在克尔凯郭尔身上出现过。而正如罗洛·梅所言,精神健康在于免于焦虑完全是一种“不合逻辑的观念”。


Instead, living with the felt experience of anxiety, a conscious ‘wallowing’ and ‘inspection’ can enable an investigation of the self and the particular economy of its lived life. Anxiety, as Kierkegaard claimed, is a ‘school’ for the self. When we meditate, we allow ourselves to feel our anxieties; they rush into the mental spaces we leave open, reminding us of all that can go terribly, terribly wrong; they wash over us, almost making us leap out of our meditative postures. But, there too, while meditating, we can closely inspect the nature of the beast. As Freud might suggest, to medicate anxiety away could indicate a resistance underwritten by fear of finding out who we are. Smashing idols is never easy.

相反的,在生活中体会焦虑的存在,有意识地“享乐”和“自省”,能让我们探寻自我以及其生活特有的样子。正如克尔凯郭尔所说,焦虑是认识自我的学校。冥想时,我们让自己感受焦虑,它们涌入我们开放的精神世界里,提醒我们所有可能会变得极度糟糕的事,它们冲刷我们的内心,几乎让我们灵魂出窍。但也就在冥想之时,我们可以近距离地审视这个怪物的本质。也许就像弗洛伊德说的那样,想治愈焦虑可能暗示着对自我发现的恐惧。打破人设并非易事。


The most significant aspect of Kierkegaard’s suggestion that we pay attention to anxiety is that by noticing it, and talking about it, and acknowledging it, not as pathology but as an informative part of ourselves, it becomes not something to be expelled, but to be welcomed as a message from ourselves. To stop and respond to anxiety’s challenge is to accept dialogue with ourselves. There is a Nietzschean note here: we must display amor fati, a love of fate; we must ‘own’ our anxiety as part of us, to be integrated and deployed to make our lives what we wish them to be. Acceptance of anxiety is the acceptance of the Buddhist Noble Truth that suffering is ever-present in our lives, and to integrate that anxiety into our sense of ourselves is akin to the many therapeutic manoeuvers that the Buddha recommended for us along the Eight-Fold Path of Action and Righteous Duty. It is a movement from being an ‘unskilled’ practitioner of this life’s arts to being a skilled one.

在克尔凯郭尔关于我们应注意焦虑的建议中,最重要的方面是要通过觉察焦虑、谈论焦虑以及承认焦虑,不将其视为疾病,而是自身的一部分,焦虑将被接纳为我们自身发出的一个信息,而不是被排斥的异己。停止焦虑,回应焦虑的挑战就是要接受与自我对话。有一句尼采式的格言:我们须展现对命运的热爱。我们必须“拥有”自己的焦虑,内化焦虑,利用焦虑以构筑我们想要的生活。接纳焦虑也就是要接纳佛教“苦谛”,而内化焦虑与佛陀根据“八正道”给出的许多心理治疗策略同本同源。它是在尘世今生生活艺术中的不成熟者向成熟者的转变。


Anxiety taught me the place that death has in my life. Death’s early presence ensured that every loss in my life – migration included – would be coloured by the deadly fear evoked by the most terrible losses of all, those of my parents; nothing has been quite as formative of my philosophical dispositions as those twinned blows. After my mother passed away, a fundamental crisis overcame me: I realised that I was ‘free’ as never before. I had understood my life till then as bound up with my parents. Perhaps I had to aspire to their standards, perhaps I had to seek their approval, perhaps I had to live life less recklessly because of their sensitivities. Now, all such barriers were removed, I was free to ‘do whatever I want, any old time’. I could put myself out of my misery, secure in the knowledge that my parents would not have to grieve the loss of their precious son. This realisation provoked a terror all of its own; it was the first time I experienced true dread, the first time I understood what the existentialists had been getting at.

焦虑告诉了我死亡在我生命中意味着什么。死亡在我生命中如此早的出现,使我人生中的每次失去——包括移民——都笼罩上了被最惨痛的失去唤起的死亡般的恐惧,也就是失去双亲,没有什么能比这两次相似的打击更能影响塑造我的哲学观念了。在我母亲去世之后,一种更根本的危机将我压倒:我意识到我从未像现在这样“自由”。我突然明白在那之前我的人生都和父母密切相关。可能我需要立志达到他们的标准,可能我需要试图获得他们的认可,可能为了他们的感受我不能太莽撞。而现在,所有的这些障碍都消失了,我“任何时候都可以做自己想做的事”。我清楚,我的父母不会因为失去自己的宝贝儿子而悲痛了,我因此可以从痛苦中解脱出来。意识到这种自由本身给我带来了一种恐惧:这是我第一次体验到真正的恐惧,我第一次理解了存在主义者在思考的事。


The upending of this world’s order by my parents’ deaths and my resultant anxiety made me suffer a conceptual shift in my understanding of its workings; it became a philosophical commonplace for me to believe in claims about this world’s malleability through our conscious, emotional, not-entirely rational understanding of it. My parents’ deaths taught me that this world was quicksand built on quicksand, that talk of certainty was laughable, that all things came to be and passed away, that God did not exist, that there were no truths more vital than love, that all we wanted was companionship and spiritual solace. I found myself drawn to philosophical theories that assured me there was no meaning or value to life save the ones we gave it, ones that told me there was no predetermined purpose to my existence. To believe that there was a final end to my life, a purpose, a destination, an intended teleology, was to be infected with an anxiety that I was not fulfilling my purpose in life, that I was ‘wasting’ my life. That anxiety could be relieved only by convincing myself that this life was purposeless, that I could never snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Curiously enough, this thought was more sustaining than airy directives for how to seek out the Truth about Reality and the Being that underlay it.

我的世界的秩序因双亲相继去世而天翻地覆,这种巨变和它所引起的焦虑使我对世界如何运转产生了观念上的转变;尘世今生不止受我们对它的理性认识的影响,它还会因我们的意识、情绪而改变,对我来说,相信这样的观点成了哲学上的家常便饭。父母的离去告诉我,这个世界不过是构筑在流沙上的流沙,确定性是可笑的,任何存在的事情都要消失,上帝并不存在,爱是最重要的真理,以及我们真正想要的其实是陪伴和灵魂的安慰。一些哲学理论声称,人生的意义和价值在于且仅在于自己设定的意义和价值,我们的存在没有预设的目的,这些理论让我感到安慰,使我着迷。相信人生有一个最终的结局、一个意向、一个终点、一个确定的目的,会使我们因没有达成目标而焦虑,因“浪费”生命而焦虑。只有说服自己人生无目的,我不可能会功亏一篑,才能化解这种焦虑。奇怪的是,这种想法比虚无缥缈地指引我们如何去寻找真实以及真实之下的存在更站得住脚。


These philosophical doctrines provided actual, real psychic relief. By raising the possibility of this life’s meaninglessness, they eased the terrible, anxiety-provoking thought of a pre-existent meaning, value and essence not discoverable or realisable by me. In a world with no ‘wrong’ decisions, there would not be the anxieties of cognitive dissonance either. I realised the therapeutic value of such philosophising and embraced it. My anxious state made me receptive to it; it prepared the intellectual ground by saturating it with an emotional and affective field sustained by an acute anxiety. Philosophy done in this therapeutic fashion is not a shameful state of affairs, it is precisely as it should be: philosophy employed to teach us a better way to live, to dispel those illusions and delusions that make this life harder than it needs to be.

这些哲学学说给我带来了实际的心灵慰藉。它们使我更加相信此生的无意义,它们缓解了糟糕的、会引起焦虑的想法,即人生有先于存在,但无法为我所探寻的本质、意义和价值。在一个不存在所谓“错误”的选择的世界,也就不会有认知失调的焦虑。我意识到这些哲思的治疗价值,并且欣然接纳。我的焦虑状态使我能接受它,这种状态通过一种剧烈的焦虑撑起情绪化的力场,渗透我的焦虑状态,并构筑了我的智识基础。这种治疗形式中的哲学并不是什么可耻的事,它就是它本身应该是的东西:哲学应该教会我们如何更好地生活,驱散徒增生活难度的错觉和幻觉。


Because of my anxieties, I have come to understand why I’m the philosopher I am, why I hold the views I do, why I do not trust that there is an inherent, essential, meaning or purpose to life. My anxiety is intimately related to a hard-won knowledge about this world’s eternally changing nature, one that often runs afoul of human plans, intentions, attachments or relationships; it informs me that it cannot be so, and it is no less valuable for that as a source of my knowledge. Why privilege some supposedly logical inference over this? Inferences and realisations are prompted by new inputs received, new beliefs formed, new inferences made. We might find ourselves forced toward the conclusion of a train of thought by anxiety, compelling us to move on till we face the truth of that which made us anxious.

由于我的焦虑,我逐渐理解了为什么我是我身为的这个哲学家,为什么我持有我现在持有的这些观点,为什么我不相信人生有一个固有、本质的意义或目的。我的焦虑和我对世界本质来之不易的认识密不可分——世界是运动的,常常和人们的计划、目的、归属和关系相冲突。它告诉我人生没有先于存在的目的,而它作为我的知识的来源,也完全没有因此而降低价值。为什么要把一些预先设定的逻辑推理置于存在之前?推理和认识是由新的信息输入产生,形成了新的信念,才有新的推理。我们可能会发现自己被焦虑推着,拼命得出一连串想法的最终结论,强迫我们自己继续下去,去发掘真理,可这才是真正让我们焦虑的东西。


My anxieties tell me I’m still capable of feeling. They provide an acute reminder that I’m alive and responsive, and yes, anxious. My anxieties about my family inform me that I have let myself become wrapped up in their selves; they inform me of the boundaries I have formed around and about myself; they inform me of what my self is. They inform me of the risibility of the claim that we are isolated beings whose boundaries terminate at our fingertips, at the surface of our skins. Thus does anxiety inform me of who I am.

我的焦虑告诉我,我还有感受的能力。它提供了深刻的提示:我还活着,我还能回应,以及,对,我还焦虑着。关于家庭的焦虑告诉我,我实际上把自己困在了自身的焦虑里;它告诉我我在自己周围构建的自我边界在何处;它告诉我真正的自我是什么。它让我发现“人们相互隔离;指尖,皮肤表面就是自我的边界”这样的论述还挺幽默。因此,正是焦虑告诉了我,我是谁。


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【Aeon】啊,好焦虑好焦虑

<原文链接:https://aeon.co/essays/dread-accompanies-me-through-life-but-it-is-not-without-consolation>





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