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文人在乱世该如何自处

文人在乱世该如何自处

我们翻译这篇文章的理由

对于一个知识分子来说,站在权力的对立面,不是要对抗,而是我和你站着一条河的距离。你做的很好,我可以隔河给你掌声;你做的不好,我可以隔着一条河给你批评。但我永远不会和权力百分之百站在一起。

——李敖

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没有自怜的空间,没有恐惧的余地

作者:Toni Morrison

译者:宋一

校对:唐萧

策划:崔颖 & 刘蕊

In times of dread, artists must never choose to remain silent.

在恐惧的年代,艺术家绝不能选择保持沉默

Christmas, the day after, in 2004, following the presidential re-election of George. W. Bush.

2004年,圣诞节过后一天,小布什总统连任选举。

I am staring out of the window in an extremely dark mood, feeling helpless. Then a friend, a fellow artist, calls to wish me happy holidays. He asks, “How are you?” And instead of “Oh, fine—and you?”, I blurt out the truth: “Not well. Not only am I depressed, I can’t seem to work, to write; it’s as though I am paralyzed, unable to write anything more in the novel I’ve begun. I’ve never felt this way before, but the election….” I am about to explain with further detail when he interrupts, shouting: “No! No, no, no! This is precisely the time when artists go to work—not when everything is fine, but in times of dread. That’s our job!”

望着窗外,我心烦意乱,绝望极了。这时,一位艺术家朋友致电祝我节日快乐,“近来可好”。我没和往常一样回答“不错,你呢?”,而是一下道出了真心话,“不太好。不单单是沮丧,我甚至不能工作,无法提笔。我像是瘫痪了,就我最近刚开头的那本书,现在一个字也写不出了。我从没有这样过,但是大选……”我本打算和他进一步解释一下,但他打断了我,冲我喊,“别这样!别!艺术家就该在现在这种时候发光发热——不是在太平盛世,而是在恐惧的年代。这是我们的本分!

I felt foolish the rest of the morning, especially when I recalled the artists who had done their work in gulags, prison cells, hospital beds; who did their work while hounded, exiled, reviled, pilloried. And those who were executed.

整个早晨我都在犯傻,特别是当我想到那些在集中营、监狱和病榻依然创作的艺术家。他们被迫害,遭放逐,被千夫所指,遭人唾弃,甚至丢掉性命。

The list—which covers centuries, not just the last one—is long. A short sample will include Paul Robeson, Primo Levi, Ai Weiwei, Oscar Wilde, Pablo Picasso, Dashiell Hammett, Wole Soyinka, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Lillian Hellman, Salman Rushdie, Herta Müller, Walter Benjamin. An exhaustive list would run into the hundreds.

有这种经历的艺术家很多,不仅上世纪,前几个世纪也有。大概数一下,就有保罗•罗宾森、普里莫•莱维、艾未未、奥斯卡•王尔德、巴勃罗•毕加索、达希尔•哈米特、莱沃•索因卡、费奥多尔•陀思妥耶夫斯基、亚历山大•索尔仁尼琴、莉莲•海尔曼、萨尔曼•鲁西迪、赫塔•米勒,以及瓦尔特•本雅明。详尽的名单有几百人之多。

Dictators and tyrants routinely begin their reigns and sustain their power with the deliberate and calculated destruction of art: the censorship and book-burning of unpoliced prose, the harassment and detention of painters, journalists, poets, playwrights, novelists, essayists. This is the first step of a despot whose instinctive acts of malevolence are not simply mindless or evil; they are also perceptive. Such despots know very well that their strategy of repression will allow the real tools of oppressive power to flourish. Their plan is simple:

但凡独裁者和暴君开启王朝、维护统治,都会刻意地、有计划地迫害艺术,这包括审查、焚毁不受监管的文章,骚扰、囚禁画家、记者、诗人、剧作家、小说家和散文家。但这只是暴君的第一着。他们出于本能的恶行,绝不仅仅只是愚蠢和邪恶,甚至可以说得上极具洞察力。这些独裁者很清楚,镇压的策略会让暴政的真正工具大放异彩。计划很简单:

1. Select a useful enemy—an “Other”—to convert rage into conflict, even war.

首先,选出一个可以利用的敌人——一个“异己”——将愤怒升级为冲突,甚至是挑起战争。

2. Limit or erase the imagination that art provides, as well as the critical thinking of scholars and journalists.

第二步,限制、甚至抹除艺术中迸发出的想象力,也包括学者和记者的批判性思维。

3. Distract with toys, dreams of loot, and themes of superior religion or defiant national pride that enshrine past hurts and humiliations.

第三步,利用小恩小惠、一夜暴富的美梦、宏大的宗教主题,或者铭记昔日伤痛和屈辱的民族自豪感分散注意力。

The Nation could never have existed or flourished in 1940s Spain, or 2014 Syria, or apartheid South Africa, or 1930s Germany. And the reason is clear. It was born in the United States in 1865, the year of Lincoln’s assassination, when political division was stark and lethal—during, as my friend said, times of dread. But no prince or king or dictator could interfere successfully or forever in a country that seriously prized freedom of the press. This is not to say there weren’t elements that tried censure, but they could not, over the long haul, win. The Nation, with its history of disruptive, probing, intelligent essays sharing wide space equally with art criticism, reviews, poetry and drama, is as crucial now as it has been for 150 years.

如果是在上世纪40年代的西班牙,2014年的叙利亚,种族隔离时期的南非,或者上世纪30年代的德国,《国家》杂志绝无创刊,或者做大的可能。原因很简单。《国家》诞生于1865年的美利坚合众国,那一年,林肯遇刺,政治上的巨大分歧产生了极大的危害。如我的朋友所说,这是恐惧的年代。但在一个新闻自由真正至高无上的国度,没有哪个王子、君主或者独裁者能成功或者永远指手画脚。当然,这并不是说没有招致责难的因素,而是说他们不可能笑到最后。多年来,《国家》杂志致力于分享颠覆性的、睿智的、探求真理的文章,同时也在艺术批评、书评、诗歌和戏剧领域卓有建树。150年来,《国家》杂志的影响力举足轻重,直到今天也没有改变。

In this contemporary world of violent protests, internecine war, cries for food and peace, in which whole desert cities are thrown up to shelter the dispossessed, abandoned, terrified populations running for their lives and the breath of their children, what are we (the so-called civilized) to do?

当今世界,暴力抗议、内战频发,人们渴望和平和食物。连荒凉之地也都化身成了避难地,这些流离失所、无依无靠、战战兢兢的人们为了生计和子女的安危而四处奔波。我们这些所谓的文明人该做些什么?

The solutions gravitate toward military intervention and/or internment —killing or jailing. Any gesture other than those two in this debased political climate is understood to be a sign of weakness. One wonders why the label “weak” has become the ultimate and unforgivable sin. Is it because we have become a nation so frightened of others, itself and its citizens that it does not recognize true weakness: the cowardice in the insistence on guns everywhere, war anywhere? How adult, how manly is it to shoot abortion doctors, schoolchildren, pedestrians, fleeing black teenagers? How strong, how powerful is the feeling of having a murderous weapon in the pocket, on the hip, in the glove compartment of your car? How leaderly is it to threaten war in foreign affairs simply out of habit, manufactured fear or national ego? And how pitiful? Pitiful because we must know, at some level of consciousness, that the source of and reason for our instilled aggression is not only fear. It is also money: the profit motive of the weapons industry, the financial support of the military-industrial complex that President Eisenhower warned us about.

我们给出的解决方式倾向于使用武力干涉和拘留,说的直白点就是杀戮和投大牢。在如今下三滥的政治环境下,任何上述两种方法之外的行动,都被看做是软弱的象征。有人会问,什么时候“软弱”成了不可饶恕的终极之罪?难道是因为我们的国家,我们的民众对这些“异己”提心吊胆,怕到认不出真正的软弱?认不出我们是因为胆小懦弱,才会一味到处诉诸武力,挑起战争? 去射杀堕胎医生、学童、行人、飞逃的黑人青年,这就是大人做派、男子气概么?在口袋里、裤子后兜里、汽车手套箱里备着杀人武器,这就是孔武有力、手握大权么?仅仅因为习惯,因为自己编织的恐惧和国家的自负就在外交事务中以战争相要挟,这就是领导作风么? 多么可悲!可悲,是因为我们一定知道,在某种意识里,日渐占据我们思想的侵略意识的源头和原因,不单单只是恐惧,同样关乎金钱:武器行业的利益驱动,对军工集团的财力支持,对此,艾森豪威尔总统已经警告过我们了。

Forcing a nation to use force is easy when the citizenry is rife with discontent, experiencing feelings of a powerlessness that can be easily soothed by violence. And when the political discourse is shredded by an unreason and hatred so deep that vulgar abuse seems normal, disaffection rules. Our debates, for the most part, are examples unworthy of a playground: name-calling, verbal slaps, gossip, giggles, all while the swings and slides of governance remain empty.

当一国的民众怨声载道,且无力感很容易通过暴力消弭;当一国的政治言论在不理性和仇恨下支离破碎,甚至于下三滥和尔虞我诈成了家常便饭,那么,迫使一国诉诸武力轻而易举。我们的争论大部分都是不值一提:指桑骂槐、出言不逊、流言蜚语、冷嘲热讽。而真正的良政却不见踪影。

For most of the last five centuries, Africa has been understood to be poor, desperately poor, in spite of the fact that it is outrageously rich in oil, gold, diamonds, precious metals, etc. But since those riches do not, in large part, belong to the people who have lived there all their lives, it has remained in the mind of the West worthy of disdain, sorrow and, of course, pillage. We sometimes forget that colonialism was and is war, a war to control and own another country’s resources—meaning money. We may also delude ourselves into thinking that our efforts to “civilize” or “pacify” other countries are not about money. Slavery was always about money: free labor producing money for owners and industries. The contemporary “working poor” and “jobless poor” are like the dormant riches of “darkest colonial Africa”—available for wage theft and property theft, and owned by metastasizing corporations stifling dissident voices.

过去五个世纪以来,尽管非洲石油、黄金、钻石和贵金属资源极度丰富,但在世人的眼中,它仍是贫穷,甚至是赤贫的代名词。而且,因为这些资源并不属于世代生活在非洲大地上的人们,所以在西方人的心目中,非洲只不过是掠夺、蔑视和悲伤的对象。我们有时候会忘了殖民主义自始至终都有关于战争—一场控制和掠夺他国资源的战争,为钱而战。我们或许会自欺欺人,告诉自己我们这是在“教化”、“安抚”其他国家,无关利益。但是,奴隶制总是和金钱挂钩:免费劳动力为主人和工厂生产利润。当今时代的“工作贫穷”和“事业贫穷”人群,就如同“殖民时期的黑暗非洲”上沉寂的资源,为不断转移的公司所有,它们剥削工资和财产,它们让反对者噤声。

None of this bodes well for the future. Still, I remember the shout of my friend that day after Christmas: No! This is precisely the time when artists go to work. There is no time for despair, no place for self-pity, no need for silence, no room for fear. We speak, we write, we do language. That is how civilizations heal.

这些都不是好兆头。直到现在,圣诞节过后那天朋友对我的呐喊仍在我脑海中挥之不去:别!艺术家,就该在现在这种时候发光发热。没有时间绝望,没有空间自怜,没有必要沉默,没有余地恐惧。我们发声,我们写作,我们发挥语言的力量。如此,文明才能愈合。

I know the world is bruised and bleeding, and though it is important not to ignore its pain, it is also critical to refuse to succumb to its malevolence. Like failure, chaos contains information that can lead to knowledge—even wisdom. Like art.

我知道,这个世界伤痕累累、流血不止,但是,和铭记伤痛同样重要的,是不向恶行低头。如同失败,乱局中裹挟的信息同样可以带来知识,甚至是智慧。艺术也是如此。

原文链接:

https://www.thenation.com/article/no-place-self-pity-no-room-fear/

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