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用3英里的时速漫游世界

更新时间:2013-11-28 13:45:16 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

A Stroll Around the World
用3英里的时速漫游世界

ON THE GULF OF AQABA, Jordan — I AM walking across the world. In January I set out on foot from Herto Bouri, an early site of Homo sapiens fossils in the Rift Valley of Ethiopia, to retrace the pathways of the first anatomically modern humans who colonized the planet at least 60,000 years ago. My finish line is in Tierra del Fuego, at the chilly tip of South America, the last nook of the continents settled by our ancestors. This long ramble will last seven continuous years. It will span 21,000 miles. (I have logged about 1,700 miles to date.)

约旦亚喀巴湾——我正在徒步周游世界。今年1月,我从埃塞俄比亚裂谷的智人化石早期发现地——赫托布里(Herto Bouri)出发,寻找第一批解剖学意义上的现代人类在至少6万年前占领地球的足迹。我的终点是南美最南端的、寒冷的火地群岛(Tierra del Fuego),这是所有大陆上最晚有人类定居的角落。这次漫长的徒步漫游将持续七年时间,路程绵延21000英里(约合33796公里)。(我已经走完了1700英里)

I’m writing dispatches along the way for National Geographic on subjects as varied as human evolution and conflict, nomadism and climate change. The “Out of Eden Walk,” as I’m calling it, uses deep history as a mirror for current events. But even as I adhere strictly to my brand of bipedal journalism, trying as it were to put myself in a Pleistocene state of mind, cars keep roaring into my awareness. They are inescapable. They are without a doubt the defining artifacts of our civilization. They have reshaped our minds in ways that we long ago ceased thinking about.

我在旅行途中为《国家地理》(National Geographic)撰稿,涉及人类进化和冲突、游牧和气候变化等林林总总的话题。我所称的“走出伊甸园”(Out of Eden Walk)之行旨在用纵深的历史观照当下的事件。但是,即便在我严格遵守自己的徒步新闻采访特色,努力让自己沉浸于一种更新世(Pleistocene)的心态之际,喧嚣的汽车仍然不断闯入我的意识。它们简直无法摆脱。它们无疑是界定我们文明的发明。它们以各种方式改变了我们的思维方式,而我们早已不再思考这些变化的方式。

As I inch from the poorer subtropical latitudes into the richer temperate zones of the planet, for example, there has been a dramatic shift in human consciousness.

比如,在我从较为贫穷的亚热带地区一步步走到较富裕的温带地区,我发现,人们的意识展示出一种戏剧性的变化。

At the walk’s start in the Horn of Africa, one of the last habitable places on earth where automobiles remain scarce — according to the World Bank, Ethiopia musters perhaps two or three motor vehicles per 1,000 people — walking was a near-universal activity. The Rift Valley desert and people’s relationship to it are still shaped by the human foot. Trails unspool everywhere. Everyone functions as a competent walking guide — even small children.

我旅行的起点非洲之角是地球上仅有的汽车仍然不多的人类居住地之一——根据世界银行(World Bank)的数据,埃塞俄比亚每1000人或许仅拥有2到3辆机动车——步行是一种几乎人人都在从事的活动。裂谷沙漠以及人们与它的关系,仍然靠人类的双脚来塑造和书写。羊肠小道四通八达。人人都是合格的徒步向导,就连小孩子也是。

But once I crossed the Red Sea on a camel boat to the Middle East, where car ownership explodes to 300 or more vehicles per 1,000 citizens (the figure in the United States balloons to about 800), I’d entered a region subjugated utterly by the vulcanized rubber tire.

后来,我乘着运载骆驼的船穿过红海,抵达了中东。这里每1000人就拥有300辆或更多汽车(美国的这个数字还要高得多,大约达到800辆),我进入一个完全被硫化橡胶轮胎主宰的地区。

In Saudi Arabia, I had trouble simply communicating with motorists who have lost the ability to imagine unconstrained movement to any point on the horizon. Asking directions is often pointless. Like drivers everywhere, their frame of reference is rectilinear and limited to narrow ribbons of space, axle-wide, that rocket blindly across the land.

在沙特阿拉伯,我甚至很难与驾车者交流,他们已经失去了想象不受限制地移动到地平线上任何一点的能力。问路往往毫无意义。就像任何地方的司机一样,他们的参考系是直线构成的,局限于这片土地上纵横交错的狭窄带状空间。

“Why did you leave the road?” one Saudi friend asked me, puzzled, when I improvised an obvious shortcut across a mountain range. “The highway is always straighter.”

当我灵机一动,想出一条穿越一个山脊的明显捷径的时候,一个沙特朋友不解地问我,“你为什么要离开公路?公路总是更笔直一些呀。”

To him, the earth’s surface beyond the pavement was simply a moving tableau — a gauzy, unreal backdrop for his high-speed travel. He was spatially crippled. The writer Rebecca Solnit nails this mind-set perfectly in her book “Wanderlust: A History of Walking”: “In a sense the car has become a prosthetic, and though prosthetics are usually for injured or missing limbs, the auto-prosthetic is for a conceptually impaired body or a body impaired by the creation of a world that is no longer human in scale.”

对他来说,地球上没有铺路的地方只是一块移动的图片——对他的高速旅行构成一个不真实的、朦胧的背景。他的空间感已经受损。作家丽贝卡·索尔尼(Rebecca Solnit)在《漫游癖:步行的历史》(Wanderlust: A History of Walking)一书中将这种思维模式描述得淋漓尽致:“从某种程度上说,汽车已经成为了一种假肢,尽管假肢通常适用于受伤或者肢体有残疾的人,但这种汽车假肢适用于那些在概念上残缺的人们,或者说,被这个规模大得超出人类掌控范围的世界损伤的人们。

I just call it Car Brain.

我把它叫做“汽车脑”。

The incidence of Car Brain grows with rising latitudes across the surface of the world. (Then it vanishes at the poles, where Plane Brain replaces it.) In the affluent Global North, this syndrome will be familiar to any hiker who has had to share a walked landscape with motor vehicles.

纬度越高,“汽车脑”出现的概率也越高。(这个现象在两极消失,被“飞机脑”取代)在富裕的北半球富裕国家,任何一个不得不与机动车分享沿途风景的远足者对这种综合症都很熟悉。

Cocooned inside a bubble of loud noise and a tonnage of steel, members of the internal combustion tribe tend to adopt ownership of all consumable space. They roar too close. They squint with curiosity out of the privacy of their cars as if they themselves were invisible. In Saudi Arabia, this sometimes meant a total loss of privacy as Bedouins in pickups, soldiers in S.U.V.’s and curiosity seekers in sedans circled my desert camps as if visiting an open-air zoo, gaping at the novelty of a man on foot with two cargo camels. Other motorists steered next to my elbow for hundreds of yards, interrogating me through a rolled-down car window. (Not to pick on Saudi Arabia, which is no worse than any other Car Brain society, but exactly one driver in 700 miles of walking in the kingdom bothered to park and stroll along for a while.)

龟缩在一个巨大噪音气泡和一吨钢铁里的内燃机部落成员,倾向于占有所有可用空间。他们在离我太近的地方轰鸣而过。他们从汽车内的隐私空间带着好奇窥视着车外,就好像他们自己是隐形的。在沙特阿拉伯,这有时候意味着我会完全失去隐私,因为小卡车里的贝都因人、运动型多功能车(SUV)里的士兵、轿车里的猎奇者围着我的帐篷转圈,好像在游览一个野生动物园,饶有兴趣地看一个徒步的人和两只运货的骆驼。还有一些开车的人则开到我身旁,跟着我慢速行驶数百米,摇下车窗问这问那。(不是我挑剔沙特人,他们并不比别的“汽车脑”社会更糟,但我在该国步行700英里的途中,只有一名司机愿意停下来陪我溜达一会)。

More striking than a Car Brain’s impaired road etiquette, though, are the slow pleasures it misses in life.

但与“汽车脑”受损的出行礼仪相比,更让人深思的是,他们错过了放慢脚步带来的生活乐趣。

The Car Brain will never know the ceremony of authentic departures and arrivals. Towns and villages that were mere smears of speed along busy superhighways were celebratory events savored by my Saudi walking partners and me. Our step lightened with anticipation as we wandered into the outskirts. We laughed. We felt good: flushed with accomplishment. Similarly, packing our camel bags and walking out of a town was a special moment — an embarkation that signaled a tangible advance through space and time, and not the commuter’s inconvenience of simply “getting there.”

“汽车脑”永远都不会了解真正的出发与到达的仪式感。在繁忙高速公路行驶时转瞬即逝的城镇和村庄,对于我和我的沙特步行伙伴来说,却成了值得庆祝、享受的场合。当我们走近城镇外围的时候,我们的步履因为充满期待而变得轻盈起来。我们大笑。我们感觉很好,内心洋溢着成就感。同样,收好背包,走出城镇也是一个特别的时刻——这种启程标志着在空间及时间中实实在在的前行,而不是只想着“到达目的地”的通勤者所认为的那种不便。

Car Brains have lost all knowledge of human interactions on foot. People stiffen when they see a pedestrian approaching from a distance. But they relax and smile as they hear your voice, see your empty (unarmed) hands. In Africa and in the remnant pastoral communities of Arabia you must stand dozens of yards away from huts and homes, waiting politely to be noticed, before exchanging greetings. A lovely courtliness marks these bipedal encounters.

“汽车脑”失去了对人类行走互动的所有了解。看到远处的行人越来越近时,人们变得僵硬。但他们听到你的声音,看到你两手空空(没有武器)的时候,他们感到放松并且微笑。在非洲及阿拉伯半岛残存的牧区,你必须站在距离棚屋及住房数十米外的地方,礼貌地等待,直到他们注意到你,然后互相问候。这样的行走互动往往以亲切和善、彬彬有礼为特征。

AND then there is simply the act of traveling through the world at three miles per hour — the speed at which we were biologically designed to move. There is something mesmerizing about this pace that I still can’t adequately describe. While roaming the old pilgrim roads in Saudi Arabia, I came to understand how the journey to Mecca — the hajj — in the pre-airline days was perhaps as important as reaching Islam’s holiest city. Watching the Red Sea slide by my left shoulder as I walked north, seeing the white desert coast dance with ink-blue waters as one bay after another scalloped by, put me in a meditative trance that must be primordial.

还有就是以每小时三英里的速度——人类在生物学上自然的运动速度——周游世界这个简单的事实。我仍然无法充分描述这种速度的魅力所在。当在沙特阿拉伯古老的朝圣之路漫步的时候,我开始明白,在航空旅行普及之前,前往麦加——朝觐——的旅程如何与到达伊斯兰教圣城一样重要。当我一路向北,沿着红海海滨行走,看着白色的沙滩与蓝如墨水的海水起舞,形成一个接一个的水湾时,那番景象使我陷入一种肯定是原始的沉思恍惚之中。

These are natural, limbic connections that reach back to the basement of time — ones that Car Brains rarely experience. I must continually remind motorists that what I am doing is not extreme. Anthropologists have strapped G.P.S. devices to the Hadza people of Tanzania, among the last hunter-gatherers left on earth, and discovered that the men walk on average seven miles a day in pursuit of game. (Women a little less.) This adds up to 2,500 miles annually, or tramping from New York to Los Angeles every year. Given that this ancient economy is one that dominated 95 percent of human history, walking that distance is our norm. Sitting down is what’s radical.

这些自然的、边缘系统的联系源远流长,“汽车脑”很少有这样的感受。我必须不断地提醒驾车旅行的人,我的所作所为并不极端。坦桑尼亚哈扎人(Hadza)是地球上最后的以狩猎、采集为生的民族之一,人类学家将GPS装置绑到他们的身上,发现男性狩猎时每天平均行走七英里。(女性走的少一些。)一年的行走路程达到了2500英里,相当于每年从纽约徒步至洛杉矶。鉴于在人类95%的历史期间,这种古老的经济模式占据主导地位,走这样的路程是我们的常态。坐着不动才是一种激进的行为。

I have nothing personal against motorized travel. Cars build middle classes. They grant us undreamed-of freedom. And I suspect that I’ll be driving away from my walk’s end point in Chile in 2020. But it’s probably inevitable that, as I plod through the Middle East, Asia and the Americas over the next six years, I’ll become increasingly alienated from the growing bulk of humanity afflicted by Car Brain. The internal combustion engine has affected more drastic changes on human culture — flattening it through the annihilation of time and space — than the web revolution. Indeed, the century-old automotive revolution prepared the way for the rise of the Internet, by eroding the capacity for attention, for patience, by fomenting a cult of speed.

我个人并不反对驾车旅行。汽车造就了中产阶层。汽车给予我们以前做梦也想不到的自由。我猜测,在2020年到达徒步旅行的终点——智利后,我可能会驾车离开。但是,很可能不可避免的是,当我在未来六年期间缓慢穿越中东、亚洲及美洲时,我会离日益增多的“汽车脑”越来越疏远。与网络革命相比,内燃机给人类文化带来更加彻底的变化,它通过缩短时空使人类文化变得扁平。的确,已有百年历史的汽车革命削弱了人类集中注意力及保持耐心的能力,助长了推崇速度的心态,为互联网的崛起铺平了道路。

It can be lonely out here among the Car Brains. Sometimes, out walking, I feel like a ghost. Already, I have to seek out society’s marginal people to find my way across the planet. Settled nomads. The ambulatory poor. The very ancient, whose mode of transport is still a donkey or maybe a cart, elders who haven’t forgotten about earned distances. They point to referents beyond the aphasia of paved roads. I take my compass bearings off their paupers’ hands.

当周围都是“汽车脑”的时候,会有孤独寂寞的感觉。有时候,在徒步行走的时候,我觉得自己像一个幽灵。我已经需要找到生活在社会边缘的人群才能好好问路。定居的游牧民、流动的穷人、那些仍然把驴(或许是马车)当作交通工具的老人,以及那些没有忘记辛苦走完路程所带来的成就感的长者。他们会指出公路以外的“路标”。我在他们的指点下找到前行方向。

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