独处的裨益 The Rewards of Living a Solitary Life

2021年1月30日
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独处的裨益 The Rewards of Living a Solitary Life

The other day an acquaintance of mine, a gregarious and charming man, told me he had found himself unexpectedly alone in New York for an hour or two between appointments. He went to the Whitney and spent the “empty” time looking at things in solitary bliss. For him it proved to be a shock nearly as great as falling in love to discover that he could enjoy himself so much alone.

前些日子,一个热衷交际、魅力无限的熟人告诉我,说他发现自己在纽约两次约会间隔的一两个小时内,感到特别孤单,他就去了惠特尼博物馆,在“空闲的”时间独自一人喜悦地欣赏那儿的展品。他发现独处也如此愉快,就如同坠入情网一般震惊。

What had he been afraid of, I asked myself? That, suddenly alone, he would discover that he bored himself, or that there was, quite simply, no self there to meet? But having taken the plunge, he is now on the brink of adventure; he is about to be launched into his own inner space, space as immense, unexplored, and sometimes frightening as outer space to the astronaut. His every perception will come to him with a new freshness and, for a time, seem startingly original. For anyone who can see things for himself with a naked eye becomes, for a moment or two, something of a genius. With another human being present vision becomes double vision, inevitably. We are busy wondering, what does my companion see or think of this, and what do I think of it? The original impact gets lost, or diffused.

他在惧怕什么?我问自己。害怕突如其来的孤单,他会对自己产生厌恶,或者更简单地说,怕找不到自我?但是既然已经决定一试,他现在处于冒险的边缘;他准备进入自己的内心世界,这个世界就如同宇航员眼中的外层空间一样浩瀚、未曾开发过,有时也令人害怕。他的每一种感觉都将会给他带来一丝新鲜感,甚至有一段时间似乎会新得出奇。因为任何能够用肉眼观察事物的人,多多少少都可以说是一个天才。如果身旁有另一个人,看法就不可避免地成为双重看法。我们的脑子在高速运转,我的同伴是怎样认为的?我又是怎样想的?最初的印象已经消失或者模糊不清了。

“Music I heard with you was more than music.” Exactly. And therefore music itself can only be heard alone. Solitude is the salt of personhood. It brings out the authentic flavor of every experience.

“我跟你一起听到的音乐就不仅仅是音乐。”确实是这样。因此,只有独处时才能欣赏音乐的真谛。离群索居是人生兴味所在,它能够让人体会真实的多彩生活。

“Alone one is never lonely: the spirit adventures, walking in a quiet garden, in a cool house, abiding single there.”

“虽孤独但从不寂寞:心灵之旅,走在静谧的花园,走进凉爽房间,独自一个人享受。”

Loneliness is most acutely felt with other people, for with others, even with a lover sometimes, we suffer from our differences of taste, temperament, and mood. Human intercourse often demands that we soften the edge of perception, or withdraw at the very instant of personal truth for fear of hurting, or of being inappropriately present, which is to say naked, in a social situation. Alone we can afford to be wholly whatever we feel absolutely. That is a great luxury!

与其他人在一起时,最容易感觉到孤独,因为与其他人在一起时,甚至有时与爱侣在一起时,我们也会饱尝由于品味、气质、心情不合而带来的痛苦。人与人之间的交往经常需要我们磨去感知的棱角,或者一旦触及个人私事,为避免伤害就避而不谈,或者在社交场合很不恰当地赤裸裸地展示自己的观点。独自一人我们能够完全成为原本的自我,感受我们能感觉到的东西。这是极大的奢侈!

For me the most interesting thing about a solitary life, and mine has been that for the last twenty years, is that it becomes increasingly rewarding. When I can wake up and watch the sun rise over the ocean, as I do most days, and know that I have an entire day ahead, uninterrupted, in which to write a few pages, take a walk with my dog, lie down in the afternoon for a long think, (why does one think better in a horizontal position?) read and listen to music, I am flooded with happiness.

对我而言,独处最有趣的事,就是它变得越来越有价值。我已过了二十年的独居生活。正如我多数日子以来所做的,早上起床看着太阳从海平面升起,知道我有整整一天时间,不受打扰写几页文稿,带着我的狗一起散步,下午躺下来长时间地思考,(为什么卧姿更有利于思考呢?)读书和听音乐,我就会沉浸在幸福之中。

I am lonely only when I am overtired, when I have worked too long without a break, when for the time being I feel empty and need filling up. And I am lonely sometimes when I come back home after a lecture trip, when I have seen a lot of people and talked a lot, and am full to the brim with experience that needs to be sorted out.

我只有在疲惫不堪、长时间无间断工作时,在我感到空虚,需要充实时,我才感到寂寞。我会在完成了巡回演讲回到家时,在我见了很多人、讲了很多话,有一大堆的信息需要整理时,我有时也会感到寂寞。

Then for a little while the house feels huge and empty, and I wonder where my self is hiding. It has be recaptured slowly by watering the plants, perhaps, and looking again at each one as though it were a person, by feeding the two cats, by cooking a meal.

然后有一小会儿,我感到房间变得非常大,空荡荡的,不知自我藏在何处。也许浇浇花草,又一次看看每一叶草和每一朵花,就好像它们是人一样,喂喂那两只,做一顿饭,我逐渐又找回了自我。

It takes a while, as I watch the surf blowing up in fountains at the end of the field, but the moment comes when the world falls away, and the self emerges again from the deep unconscious, bringing back all I have recently experienced to be explored and slowly understood, when I can converse again with my hidden powers, and so grow, and so be renewed, till death do us part.

过了一会儿,当我遥望田野尽头喷出如泉涌的水波,那时刻来到了:此时世界慢慢隐退了,自我再次从深深的潜意识中浮现出来,使我回想起最近的所有经历,可以探究一番,慢慢领悟。我再次能与内心隐藏的力量交流,这些力量会由弱变强,获得新生,至死永不分离。

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