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美国文化的五大谎言

更新时间:2019/4/26 21:57:07 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Five Lies Our Culture Tells
美国文化的五大谎言

Four years ago, in the midst of the Obama presidency, I published a book called “The Road to Character.” American culture seemed to be in decent shape and my focus was on how individuals can deepen their inner lives. This week, in the midst of the Trump presidency, I’ve got another book, “The Second Mountain.” It’s become clear in the interim that things are not in good shape, that our problems are societal. The whole country is going through some sort of spiritual and emotional crisis.

四年前,奥巴马担任总统期间,我出版了一本名为《品格之路》(The Road to Character)的书。当时美国文化状态似乎不错,我关注的是个人如何深入自己的内心生活。特朗普担任总统期间,我在这个星期又出版了一本书,《第二座山》(The Second Mountain)。很明显,这段时间情况不是很好,我们的问题是社会问题。整个国家正在经历某种精神和情感危机。

College mental health facilities are swamped, suicide rates are spiking, the president’s repulsive behavior is tolerated or even celebrated by tens of millions of Americans. At the root of it all is the following problem: We’ve created a culture based on lies.

大学里的精神健康机构人满为患,自杀率飙升,数千万美国人容忍甚至赞美总统令人厌恶的行为。问题的根源在于:我们创造了一种基于谎言的文化。

Here are some of them:

下面是其中一些:

Career success is fulfilling. This is the lie we foist on the young. In their tender years we put the most privileged of them inside a college admissions process that puts achievement and status anxiety at the center of their lives. That begins advertising’s lifelong mantra — if you make it, life will be good.

事业上的成功令人满足。这是我们强加给年轻人的谎言。在他们年轻的时候,我们把他们当中地位最优越的人塞进大学录取程序,把成就和地位焦虑置于他们生活的中心。广告里那句伴随终生的格言开始了——如果你成功了,生活会很美好。

Everybody who has actually tasted success can tell you that’s not true. I remember when the editor of my first book called to tell me it had made the best-seller list. It felt like … nothing. It was external to me.

每个真正尝到成功滋味的人都能告诉你,这不是真的。我记得我第一本书的编辑打电话告诉我,这本书进入畅销书排行榜时。我……什么感觉也没有。那是身外之事。

The truth is, success spares you from the shame you might experience if you feel yourself a failure, but career success alone does not provide positive peace or fulfillment. If you build your life around it, your ambitions will always race out in front of what you’ve achieved, leaving you anxious and dissatisfied.

事实是,如果你觉得自己是失败者,成功可以让你从羞愧中解脱出来,但事业上的成功本身并不能带来积极平和或成就感。如果你让生活围绕着成功展开,那么你的野心总会同你的成就竞争,让你感到焦虑和不满。

I can make myself happy. This is the lie of self-sufficiency. This is the lie that happiness is an individual accomplishment. If I can have just one more victory, lose 15 pounds or get better at meditation, then I will be happy.

我可以自己让自己快乐起来。这是关于自足的谎言。它谎称幸福是一项个人成就。要是能再赢一把,减掉15磅,或者在冥想方面做得更好,那我就幸福了。

But people looking back on their lives from their deathbeds tell us that happiness is found amid thick and loving relationships. It is found by defeating self-sufficiency for a state of mutual dependence. It is found in the giving and receiving of care.

但人们在临终时对自己生活的回顾告诉我们,幸福是在充满爱的亲密关系中找到的。它通过克服自足,建立起一种相互依赖的状态。它存在于关怀的给予和接纳中。

It’s easy to say you live for relationships, but it’s very hard to do. It’s hard to see other people in all their complexity. It’s hard to communicate from your depths, not your shallows. It’s hard to stop performing! No one teaches us these skills.

亲密关系是人生的意义这种话说起来容易,但很难做到。其他人的复杂性是很难看清的。进行发自内心的深入交流,而不是肤浅的沟通,是件难事。很难停止表演!没有人教过我们这些技能。

Life is an individual journey. This is the lie books like Dr. Seuss’ “Oh, the Places You’ll Go” tell. In adulthood, each person goes on a personal trip and racks up a bunch of experiences, and whoever has the most experiences wins. This lie encourages people to believe freedom is the absence of restraint. Be unattached. Stay on the move. Keep your options open.

人生是一段一个人的旅程。这是苏斯博士(Dr. Seuss)的《哦,你要去的地方》(Oh, the Places You’ll Go)这样的书讲述的谎言。成年后,所有人都在做自己的旅行,积累一些经验,经验最多的人会胜出。这个谎言鼓励人们相信,自由是没有约束的。要独立。保持流动性。保留所有选项的可能性。

In reality, the people who live best tie themselves down. They don’t ask: What cool thing can I do next? They ask: What is my responsibility here? They respond to some problem or get called out of themselves by a deep love.

事实上,生活得最好的人会束缚自己。他们不会问:接下来我能做什么很酷的事情?他们会问:我在这里的责任是什么?他们会对一些问题做出反应,或者因为一种深沉的爱召唤他们真正的自我。

By planting themselves in one neighborhood, one organization or one mission, they earn trust. They have the freedom to make a lasting difference. It’s the chains we choose that set us free.

通过在一个社区、一个组织或一个使命中扎根,他们赢得了信任。他们拥有带来的持续改变的自由。我们选择的枷锁让我们获得自由。

You have to find your own truth. This is the privatization of meaning. It’s not up to the schools to teach a coherent set of moral values, or a society. Everybody chooses his or her own values. Come up with your own answers to life’s ultimate questions! You do you!

你必须自己找寻真理。这是对意义的私有化。学校或社会没有义务去教授一套一致的道德价值观。每个人都选择自己的价值观。用你自己的方式来回答生活中的终极问题吧!做你自己!

The problem is that unless your name is Aristotle, you probably can’t do it. Most of us wind up with a few vague moral feelings but no moral clarity or sense of purpose.

问题是,除非你是亚里士多德,否则你可能做不到。我们中的大多数人最终会有一些模糊的道德感受,但没有道德明确性或目标感。

The reality is that values are created and passed down by strong, self-confident communities and institutions. People absorb their values by submitting to communities and institutions and taking part in the conversations that take place within them. It’s a group process.

现实是,价值观是由强大、自信的社区和机构创造和传递的。人们通过服从社区和机构,并参与其中的对话来塑造自己的价值观。这是一个群体过程。

Rich and successful people are worth more than poorer and less successful people. We pretend we don’t tell this lie, but our whole meritocracy points to it. In fact, the meritocracy contains a skein of lies.

比起穷人和不那么成功的人,富人和成功人士更有价值。我们假装自己没有说这个谎,但我们的整个唯才体制都指向了这一点。事实上,唯才体制当中包含着一堆谎言。

The message of the meritocracy is that you are what you accomplish. The false promise of the meritocracy is that you can earn dignity by attaching yourself to prestigious brands. The emotion of the meritocracy is conditional love — that if you perform well, people will love you.

它传达的讯息是,你的成就决定你的一切。唯才体制的虚假承诺是,你可以通过依附知名品牌来赢得尊严。唯才体制的情感是有条件的爱——如果你表现出色,人们就会爱你。

The sociology of the meritocracy is that society is organized around a set of inner rings with the high achievers inside and everyone else further out. The anthropology of the meritocracy is that you are not a soul to be saved but a set of skills to be maximized.

唯才体制的社会学认为,社会是围绕着一组内部小圈子组织起来的,内部是有成就的人,外部是其他人。唯才体制的人类学认为,你不是一个需要拯救的灵魂,而是一组需要最大化的技能。

No wonder it’s so hard to be a young adult today. No wonder our society is fragmenting. We’ve taken the lies of hyper-individualism and we’ve made them the unspoken assumptions that govern how we live.

难怪今天做年轻人这么难。难怪我们的社会正在分裂。我们接受了超个人主义的谎言,并将它们作为不言而喻的假设,让它们支配我们的生活。

We talk a lot about the political revolution we need. The cultural revolution is more important.

我们大谈政治革命的必要。但更重要的是文化革命。

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