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今年的大选让美国人好心焦

更新时间:2016-10-27 10:10:51 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

The Epidemic of Worry
今年的大选让美国人好心焦

We’ve had a tutorial on worry this year. The election campaign isn’t really about policy proposals, issue solutions or even hope. It’s led by two candidates who arouse gargantuan anxieties, fear and hatred in their opponents.

今年,我们上了一堂关于忧虑的辅导课。总统选举其实并不真正关乎施政建议、问题的解决方案,甚至也不是关于希望。它由两名候选人带领,在他们的反对者当中引发巨大的焦虑、恐惧和憎恨。

As a result, some mental health therapists are reporting that three-quarters of their patients are mentioning significant election-related anxiety. An American Psychological Association study found that more than half of all Americans are very or somewhat stressed by this race.

因此,有些精神健康治疗师反映,他们的病人中有四分之三提到自己有明显的与竞选相关的焦虑。美国心理学会(American Psychological Association)的一项研究也发现,这场竞选令一半以上的美国人感到有压力或非常有压力。

Of course, there are good and bad forms of anxiety — the kind that warns you about legitimate dangers and the kind that spirals into dark and self-destructive thoughts.

当然,焦虑有好有坏——好的焦虑能向你警示合乎逻辑的危险,坏的焦虑则会把你拖入黑暗与自毁念头。

In his book “Worrying,” Francis O’Gorman notes how quickly the good kind of anxiety can slide into the dark kind. “Worry is circular,” he writes. It may start with a concrete anxiety: Did I lock the back door? Is this headache a stroke? “And it has a nasty habit of taking off on its own, of getting out of hand, of spawning thoughts that are related to the original worry and which make it worse.”

弗朗西斯·奥戈尔曼(Francis O’Gorman)的《忧虑》(Worrying)一书指出,好的焦虑也可以很快变成阴暗的焦虑。“忧虑循环交替,”他写道。它可能始于某个具体的焦虑:后门锁上了没有?这次头疼是不是中风的先兆?“而且它有不由自主,失去控制,衍生出各种胡思乱想,令原本的担忧雪上加霜的坏毛病。”

That’s what’s happening this year. Anxiety is coursing through American society. It has become its own destructive character on the national stage.

今年正在发生的事情就是这样。焦虑正在美国社会蔓延。它在国家的政治舞台上,逐渐展露出其破坏性的特质。

Worry alters the atmosphere of the mind. It shrinks your awareness of the present and your ability to enjoy what’s around you right now. It cycles possible bad futures around in your head and forces you to live in dreadful future scenarios, 90 percent of which will never come true.

忧虑能改变心态。它破坏你对当下的认知,让你难以享受此时此刻身边的一切。它让可能不佳的未来景象一个劲地在你脑子里打转,逼着你生活在对未来的可怕设想里,其实你的想法90%都不会成真。

Pretty soon you are seeing the world through a dirty windshield. Worry dims every sunrise and amplifies mistrust. A mounting tide of anxiety makes people angrier about society and more darkly pessimistic about the possibility of changing it. Spiraling worry is the perverted underside of rationality.

很快,你就像是在通过一扇肮脏的挡风玻璃看世界。忧虑令所有的阳光都显得暗淡,还放大所有的怀疑。一波涌上心头的焦虑之情会令人对社会愈发感到愤怒,对改变现状的可能性感到更加悲观无望。不断增长的忧虑来自理性中扭曲的一面。

This being modern polarized America, worry seems to come in two flavors.

这就是现代两极分化的美国,忧虑似乎有两种。

Educated-class anxiety can often be characterized as a feeling overabundant of options without a core of convicting purpose. It’s worth noting that rich countries are more anxious than poorer ones. According to the World Health Organization, 18.2 percent of Americans report chronic anxiety while only 3.3 percent of Nigerians do.

受教育阶层的焦虑经常被描述为面临太多选择,却并没有足够真实的目标。值得指出的是,富裕国家比贫穷国家更为焦虑。根据世界健康组织(World Health Organization),18.2%的美国人说自己有慢性焦虑,只有3.3%的尼日利亚人有类似问题。

Today, when you hear affluent people express worry, it’s usually related to the fear of missing out, and the dizziness of freedom. The affluent often feel besieged by busyness and plagued by a daily excess of choices. At the same time, there is a pervasive cosmic unease, the anxiety that they don’t quite understand the meaning of life, or have not surrendered to some all-encompassing commitment that would bring coherence and peace.

如今,当你听到富人说自己焦虑,通常都是因为担心错过什么,以及自由所带来的眼花缭乱。富人们经常觉得自己整天忙碌,每天过多的选择令人不胜其烦。与此同时,他们也普遍存在一种极大的不安全感,觉得自己没有完全理解人生的意义,或者没有投身于什么全面的、能够带来身心一致与平静的事业中去。

Many affluent people use money to buy privacy, and so cut themselves off from both the deep relationships that could give them purpose and the neighborly support systems that could hold them up if things go south.

很多富人都用金钱来换取隐私,这样做的同时,也让他们远离了能为人生带来意义的深层亲密关系,以及能在情况不妙时提供支援的邻里互助系统。

This election has also presented members of the educated class with an awful possibility: that their pleasant social strata may rest on unstable molten layers of anger, bigotry and instability. How could this guy Trump get even 40 percent of the votes? America may be not quite the country we thought it was.

这次选举让很多受教育阶层看到了一种可怕的可能性:他们舒适的社会地位可能是建立在充满愤怒、偏见与变化无常的不稳固的熔岩层之上的。这个叫特朗普(Trump)的家伙何以能拿到40%的选票?美国可能不完全是我们心目中的那个国家。

Among the less educated, anxiety flows from and inflames a growing sense that the structures of society are built for the exploitation of people like themselves. Everything is rigged; the rulers are malevolent and corrupt.

在受教育较低的阶层内,焦虑源自于一种不断增强的意识,即社会结构是建立在对他们这样的人的剥削基础之上的,同时焦虑还会令这种意识不断恶化。他们会觉得一切都受到操纵;统治者恶毒而又腐败。

Last weekend’s “Black Jeopardy” skit on “Saturday Night Live” did a beautiful job of showing how this sensation overlaps among both progressive African-Americans and reactionary Trumpians.

上个周末“周六夜现场”(Saturday Night Live)里的“黑色危机”(Black Jeopardy)环节很好地表明,在进步的非裔美国人士与保守的特朗普支持者当中都存在这种感觉。

It is a well-established fact that people who experience social exclusion have a tendency to slide toward superstitious and conspiratorial thinking. People who feel exploited by, and invisible to, those at the commanding heights of society are not going to worry if their candidate can’t pass a fact-check test. They just want someone who can share their exclusion and give them a better story.

感觉被社会排斥的人往往会投入迷信和阴谋论怀抱,这是一个得到供认的事实。这些人感觉那些处在社会制高点的人剥削他们、忽视他们,他们不会担心自己支持的候选人是否能通过事实核查。他们只想有人分享受排挤的感觉,给他们描述一个美好一些的前景。

Anxiety changes people. We’ve seen a level of thuggery this election cycle that is without precedent in recent American history. Some of the anti-Trump demonstrators seem more interested in violence than politics. Some of the Trumpians are savage.

焦虑会改变人。我们看到这次选举过程中的粗暴行径,达到了美国近期历史上前所未有的水平。有些反对特朗普的示威者对暴力的兴趣似乎超过了政治。有些特朗普的支持者非常野蛮。

David French wrote a shocking essay for National Review describing the appalling online abuse he suffered because of his anti-Trump stance. His anonymous assailants Photoshopped pictures of his daughter’s face in a gas chamber and left GIFs of grisly executions on his wife’s blog.

大卫·弗兰奇(David French)为《国家评论》(National Review)写了一篇惊人的文章,描述自己因反对特朗普的立场而遭到骇人的网络暴力。匿名攻击者们把他女儿的脸部照片用Photoshop处理成在毒气室的样子,并且还在他妻子的博客里发恐怖的死刑动图。

Some of the things that have made us vulnerable to this wave of anxiety are not going away — the narratives of fear, conspiracy and the immobilizing stress. America’s culture may be permanently changed for the worse.

有些让我们在这一波焦虑中变得脆弱的事情,是不会消失的,那就是对恐惧、阴谋与不变压力的叙述。美国文化可能就此每况愈下。

But the answer to worry is the same as the answer to fear: direct action. If the next president starts enacting a slew of actual policies, then at least we can argue about concrete plans, rather than vague apocalyptic moods.

但是对抗忧虑的办法与对抗恐惧的办法是一样的:那就是直接的行动。如果下一任总统开始着手制定大量真正的政策,至少我们可以讨论切实的方案,而不是沉浸在茫然的末世情绪里。

Furthermore, action takes us out of ourselves. Worry, like drama, is all about the self. As O’Gorman puts it, the worrier is the opposite of a lighthouse: “He doesn’t give out energy for the benefit of others. He absorbs energy at others’ cost.”

此外,行动让我们超越自身。忧虑就像戏剧一样,是关乎自我的。正如奥戈尔曼指出的,忧虑者和灯塔恰恰相反:“他不为他人的利益而释放能量。他只是以他人为代价,吸收他们的能量。”

If you’re worrying, you’re spiraling into your own narcissistic pool. But concrete plans and actions thrust us into the daily fact of other people’s lives. This campaign will soon be over, and governing, thank God, will soon return.

如果你一味忧虑,无异于深陷顾影自怜而无法自拔。但是切实的计划与行动推动我们去关注他人生活中的日常事实。这次竞选很快就会结束,感谢上帝,真正的政府治理也会很快回归。

Hakuna matata.

哈库那马塔塔(Hakuna matata,电影《狮子王》插曲,源自斯瓦西里语,意思是“不要担心”——译注)。

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