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《复仇者联盟:无限战争》与神秘宝石的魅力

更新时间:2018-5-10 20:51:02 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Avengers: Infinity War and the allure of mystic stones
《复仇者联盟:无限战争》与神秘宝石的魅力

As film fans await the premiere of Avengers: Infinity Warand its ambitious attempt to cluster dozens of heroes onto a single screen, there is another seminal gathering taking place in the film that has diehard fans every bit as eager: the assembling of all six ‘Infinity Stones’. Described as ingots of unfathomable power, the remnants of singularities that existed ‘in a time before creation itself’, the Infinity Stones have appeared in Marvel Studios’ films throughout the last decade, though never all together.

影迷们翘首以待《复仇者联盟:无限战争》(Avengers: Infinity Warand)上映,漫威野心勃勃地将几十位英雄齐聚一堂,铁杆粉丝还急切盼望着影片中另一场相聚盛会:集齐六颗“无限宝石”。这些宝石由一种深不可测的力量集结而成,是“宇宙开创前”奇点的残存。无限宝石在漫威影业过去十年的电影中都出现过,但从来没有过集体亮相。

Thus far, we have seen that these stones are capable of turning back time, opening portals across the galaxy, and destroying entire planets, so the assembling of all six certainly qualifies as a threat worthy of the entire retinue of Marvel’s heroes. However, though the threat of the combined Infinity Stones is new for the Marvel films, the mythos behind these mystical gemstones is anything but.

我们已经见识过这些宝石可以逆转时间、打开星系通道,甚至毁灭星球,因此集齐六颗宝石的风险绝对值得全体漫威英雄集结。集齐宝石的危险是漫威电影的新情节,但宝石背后的神话传说就不是什么新鲜事了。

The creative forces at Marvel have never shied away from incorporating mythological influences into their stories, from the more subtle echoes of the ‘hero’s journey’ in Spiderman to the overt co-opting of figures like Thor, Loki and Odin. The Infinity Stones are no exception to the trend, and are simply the latest in a long line of humanity’s celebrated mythological stones.

漫威创作团队一直有在故事中加入神话元素,蜘蛛侠的“英雄之路”表现得比较隐晦,而索尔、洛基和奥丁这些人物就非常明显。无限宝石也不例外,只不过是人类著名神秘宝石家族中的最新成员。

Every mythology comes with its own legendary artifacts, but stones that bear mysterious, otherworldly properties are by far one of the most pervasive throughout civilisations. From the countless medieval lapidaries purporting the healing and apotropaic properties of gemstones to the widespread misidentification of neolithic arrowheads as ‘thunderstones’, virtually every culture shows some evidence in the belief of mystical stones.

每个神话都有自己传奇的神器,但神秘莫测有异世特性的奇石目前为止,在所有文明中都普遍常见——中世纪有无数工匠声称宝石可以治病驱邪,新石器时代的石镞被普遍误认为“雷石”——几乎所有文化都信奉神秘石头。

Some of these legends have proved so culturally embedded that we instantly recognise them today. Take the Philosopher’s Stone, the alchemical gem capable of turning lead into gold and producing the elixir of life, which has remained so universally relevant that it’s served as a major plot point in modern works as disparate as the Harry Potter books, the Japanese manga Fullmetal Alchemist, one of the Uncle Scrooge comics featuring Donald Duck, and a Satyajit Ray film. The Philosopher’s Stone was even the name of a Van Morrison album.

有些传说深深烙印在文化之中,我们现在一眼就能发现。譬如能够化铅为金提炼长生不老药的贤者之石,这颗炼金石可谓家喻户晓,在各种现代作品中都是情节发展的重要环节,譬如奇幻小说系列《哈利·波特》、日本漫画《钢之炼金术师》、唐老鸭动画片系列之一的《史高治叔叔》,以及印度电影大师雷伊的作品。音乐大师范·莫里森有张专辑就叫《贤者之石》。

But that’s just scratching the surface of the quarry. The stones sought out by the superheroes of today are known for their power to bend the laws of nature, and are therefore perhaps more akin to the likes of the Japanese kanju and manju, fabled jewels that would grant the owner control over the tides, or the gems of Mayan myth that harnessed the power of the elements. The Romans even claimed to be in possession of such artifacts themselves, submerging a special stone known as the lapis manalis in water with the hopes of bringing rain in a ritual known as aquaelicium.

但这还只是小儿科。超级英雄们今天寻找的宝石能够改变自然规律,更类似于日本传说能让人掌控潮汐的宝石干珠(kanju)和满珠(manju),或是玛雅文化中控制自然元素的宝石。罗马人甚至自称有种神器,在祈雨仪式(aquaelicium)中将幽灵之石(lapis manalis)放入水中,以祈求甘露。

Mining for meaning

挖掘宝石的意义

Though it’s hard to say whether these legendary precursors had any influence upon the authors of today’s comic books, their wide geographical span speaks to the fact that mystical stones do not belong to any one particular culture, but hail from a deeper part of our collective human consciousness. As such, the true question is not how it is that these legendary stones are so pervasive throughout the world, but rather why they are so pervasive. According to the writings of religious historian George F Moore, stones inherited a role of religious significance at a very early point in human history.

奇石传说的先驱者们对今天的漫画作者是否有影响不太好说,但他们地域分布之广说明神秘石头并非某种文化所特有,而是来源于更深层次的人类集体意识。因此,真正的问题不是这些神奇的石头如何遍布世界各地,而是它们为何无所不在。宗教历史学家乔治·摩尔(George F Moore)的作品有言,早在人类历史的远古时代,石头就被赋予了重要的宗教意义。

“The worship of holy stones is one of the oldest forms of religion of which we have evidence, and one of the most universal,” Moore writes in the American Journal of Archaeology, “its survivals in popular superstitions have proved nearly ineradicable.”

摩尔在《美国考古学杂志》中写道:“圣石崇拜是我们已知的一种最古老的宗教形式,也是最普遍的,其在大众迷信中留存至今,说明这种崇拜很难消除。”

Moore goes on to explain that stones first attained their lofty place in the world of the divine by serving as makeshift altars for early worshippers, with special predilection going to stones that were either massive in size or peculiar in shape, as these were considered more likely to have been intentionally shaped by the hands of the divine.

摩尔还写到,石头最初在神界拥有崇高地位是因为被信徒临时用来当做祭坛,一般选择体积庞大或是形状怪异的石头,因为这些更像是出自神明之手。

The presence of such sacred stones can be seen in a number of both ancient and contemporary religions, like the Sledoviks of Russia or the still-revered Black Stone of Islam. However, one of the earliest written accounts comes from the Greeks, who make numerous mentions of the Baetylia – perhaps the first ‘soul stones’. These stones in particular were believed to have been imbued with a life force by the gods, provided with a spirit that could grant them the ability to move of their own accord, or in some cases even to speak.

圣石存在于许多或古老或现代的宗教当中,譬如俄罗斯的脚印石(Sledoviks)以及伊斯兰教中仍受崇敬的黑石。但希腊人才是最早用文字记载圣石崇拜的,他们多次提到Baetylia——可能是第一颗“灵魂宝石”。人们认为这些石头被神明赋予了生命力,有思想,能够自主移动,有些甚至会说话。

It is all the more understandable that ancient peoples would attribute such veneration to stones considering the fact that they did, from time to time, fall from the sky. For those who had not yet probed the secrets of the galaxy, a meteor shower would undoubtedly seem like a blessing from the heavens, and thus any collected meteorites would hold an inherent connection to divinity.

因为有陨石从天而降,古人对这些石头的崇拜也就很容易理解。当时的人还不了解银河系的奥秘,流星雨无疑像是上天的祝福,拾获的陨石也就成了神明的赠礼。

Of course, this is yet another tradition echoed by the Marvel Cinematic Universe – Black Panther’s fictional nation of Wakanda has an industry that revolves around its abundance of ‘vibranium’, a rare and powerful metal harvested from a massive meteor. While the Infinity Stones harken to our earliest myths, Wakanda’s coveted vibranium speaks to our history. The mining of meteorites is not merely a convention of comic books, but an actual practice that stretches back thousands of years.

漫威电影的宇宙中还体现了另一个传统 ——《黑豹》中虚构的瓦坎达王国有一项工业基于本国丰富的“泛合金”资源,这是一种稀有而强大的金属,开采自一块硕大的陨星。无限宝石体现了人类最早期的神话传说,而瓦坎达王国人人觊觎的泛合金则说明了我们的历史。开采陨石并不仅是漫画故事,在现实中已经延续了数千年。

There is evidence that the early Inuits of Greenland tried their hand at mining meteorites that fell in the Cape York area, while the Descubridora meteorite discovered in present day Mexico had a copper chisel lodged in a crevice, suggesting that the area had its own share of intrepid meteor-miners. Researches even claim that one of the daggers found in King Tut’s tomb is wrought of iron harvested from a meteor, due to its unusually high nickel concentration, a typical hallmark of iron harvested from extraterrestrial sources.

有证据表明,格陵兰岛的因纽特人曾试图开采坠落在约克角地区的陨石,在墨西哥找到的陨石发现者(Descubridora)缝隙里有一个铜凿,说明那里也曾有过勇敢的陨石矿工。甚至有研究认为图坦卡蒙法老墓室里有把匕首是用陨铁打造的,因为它的镍含量异常高,是出自外星的典型特征。

What’s truly fascinating is that, just as with Wakanda’s vibranium, these early civilisations had justifiable reason to believe that the minerals harvested from these meteorites were of a superior quality to those on Earth. In the case of Egypt, many of the meteoric-iron artifacts date to back to a time before iron-smelting had popularised, meaning that bronze was the common alternative. Just as with Wakandan vibranium, the iron harvested from meteorites was considered tremendously valuable due to its rarity, and relative durability, at the time.

妙得是,有如瓦坎达王国的泛合金,这些早期文明都有理由相信开采自陨石的矿物质量要比地球上的更好。在埃及,许多陨铁器物来自于人类炼铁技术发明之前,这意味当时常用的金属器物是用铜来取代。与瓦坎达王国的泛合金一样,陨铁因为在当时比较稀有耐用,所以价值连城。

Is belief in rocks just Blarney?

对石头的信仰是希望能说会道吗?

As Virginia Woolf once wrote, “The very stone one kicks with one’s boot will outlast Shakespeare.” The fact that the pursuit of magical stones remains a crucial plot point in one of contemporary society’s most famous film franchises suggests that it is not just the stone that is destined to last an eternity, but our steadfast devotion to it, as well.

英国女作家维吉尼亚·吴尔芙有句话说:“你用靴子踢到的石头,比莎士比亚还要年代久远。”现代社会最著名的电影公司仍把寻找神奇宝石用做重要剧情,说明永世流传的不仅是宝石,还有人们对宝石的坚定热爱。

Naturally many would say that the operative distinction between the mythical stones of legend and those found in the Marvel universe is that, while the power of early sacred stones was taken as fact, we recognise the Infinity Stones and vibranium for what they are: works of fiction. However, though we now look back upon some of the more antiquated beliefs surrounding rocks and gemstones with an amused curiosity afforded to us simply by existing in the time that we do, the remarkable thing is that – though many of these ancient religions have died out – the genuine belief in the magical properties of stones has endured to this very day.

自然很多人会说,传说中的魔法宝石和漫威宇宙里的最大区别在于:当时的人相信圣石确有神力,但我们现在知道无限宝石和泛合金只是科幻作品而已。身处现代社会的我们再去看一些关于石头和宝石的陈旧信仰,好奇又觉得有些好笑,但厉害之处在于,许多古老信仰虽然已经消失,但人们对宝石魔力的虔诚信仰却延续至今。

Visitors still flock to kiss the Blarney Stone in hopes that it will grant them the gift of gab. The legendary London Stone is kept safe in a museum with legends saying that its removal would cause the city to collapse. Though we now turn up our nose at antiquated medieval medicinal practices such as bloodletting, the thriving online market for ‘healing gemstones’ like amethyst and aquamarine is nothing more than the modern era’s version of lapidary medicine.

大量游客仍然争相亲吻布拉尼之石,希望自己变得能言善道。传奇的伦敦石被妥善保管在博物馆里,据说挪走它整个伦敦城将会崩塌。我们现在对放血这种中世纪古老的治疗行为嗤之以鼻,但紫水晶蓝水晶各种网上火热销售的“治疗宝石”,不过是中世纪宝石灵药的现代翻版而已。

On the other hand, it’s worth noting that our devotion to the stone is not entirely baseless. Though we don’t possess any gems that will allow us to bend the will of the tides, minerals like flint, with its role in building fires, and quartz, with its piezoelectrical properties, have, in a way, granted humans a certain ‘mastery’ over the elements. Although a far cry from the belief that certain gems could repel venom when worn around our necks, mineral supplements have proved to be quite useful in the treatment of a variety of ailments in modern medicine. Certainly less mystical than our archaic superstitions, but perhaps these more practical applications of stones have left just as indelible a mark on our society.

另一方面,我们对宝石的热爱也并非毫无根据。控制潮汐的宝石肯定没有,但我们有可以生火的燧石,以及有压电性的石英,这些矿物都从某种意义上给予我们“控制”自然元素的力量。我们不相信戴戴宝石就能排毒,但补充矿物质也确实在现代医学中帮我们治疗了许多疾病。当然比不上古老迷信说的那么神秘,但合理使用宝石也许已经在我们社会生活中留下了不可磨灭的烙印。

With such an entrenched allegiance to the power of stone, Marvel’s all-powerful gems would appear less a whimsical conjuration of fantasy, and more a primal call to one of our most ineradicable beliefs. At the heart of the film is one of our oldest and most perpetuated fascinations; yet another layer in an already rich tapestry of allusions to the many legends of the past. With a history that stretches from the Stone Age to the Infinity Stones, it would seem that our collective obsession with mythical gems is in no danger of eroding anytime soon.

人们对宝石的力量深信不疑,漫威无所不能的宝石也就并非一句异想天开的魔咒,它更是对人类坚定信仰的原始呼唤。这部电影的核心是人类最古老最永恒的迷恋,也是对过去众多丰富传奇的又一次引用。人类对神秘宝石的痴迷从石器时代延续到了无限宝石,未来似乎也不会减弱。

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