那些令人愉悦的事情

思悠悠,这书中的容颜。

那些令人愉悦的事情 

手头正在做的事情之一与亚里士多德的《修辞学》(Rhetoric)有关。这书共59章,晦涩难懂。我刚刚吭哧完12章。每天埋头拉车的时候倒也罢了,偶尔抬头看路就会觉得由衷的绝望。 

在前12章里,相对明白晓畅的是第11章(我跟我的合作者说:就这几页里老头儿说了人话。他附和道:就是就是,其他章节明摆着就是恐怖!),这一章讲的是什么样的人和事令人愉快。 

且摘录几段供朋友们把玩。两千多年前的亚里士多德在没有任何科技手段辅助的情况下,就凭一双慧眼,便能将世间万象看得如此透彻,直接洞穿人心。两千多年过去了,我们进化得更好、更聪明了吗? 

先来看看亚氏对快乐(pleasure)的定义: 

Let it be assumed by us that pleasure is a certain movement of the soul, a sudden and perceptible settling down into its natural state…

让我们将愉悦理解为灵魂的一种运动,一种突然的、能够感觉到的灵魂回归本真状态的运动。 

亚氏认为在回忆和期望里,都有快乐:  

And if pleasure consists in the sensation of a certain emotion, and imagination is a weakened sensation, then both the man who remembers and the man who hopes will be attended by an imagination of what he remembers or hopes. This being so, it is evident that there is pleasure both for those who remember and for those who hope, since there is sensation. 

如果愉悦是对某种情感的感知,而想象是一种弱化了的感知,那么心存回忆或期望的人总会有其回忆或期望之事所激发的想象相伴。这样的话,很显然,心存回忆或期望的人都是快乐的,因为[在回忆和期望中]存在着感知。 

Therefore our recollections are pleasant, not only when they recall things which when present were agreeable, but also some things which were not, if their consequence subsequently proves honorable or good; whence the saying: “Truly it is pleasant to remember toil after one has escaped it,” and, “When a man has suffered much and accomplished much, he afterwards takes pleasure even in his sorrows when he recalls them.”

我们的回忆是愉悦的,不仅限于它们会唤起当初发生时就是愉悦之事,也包括一些当初并非愉悦之事,只要这些事的结果后来证明是高尚的或美好的;因此人们才会说:“摆脱以后再回忆苦难,确是一件愉悦之事,”还有人说:“一个人若饱受苦难而成就非凡,则日后回忆起来,悲伤也变成愉悦。” 

亚里士多德一定是个极理性的人,但他对爱的理解却入木三分。对这样明察秋毫的智者,爱会不会无处遁形、无由产生? 

The lovesick always take pleasure in talking, writing, or composing verses about the beloved; for it seems to them that in all this recollection makes the object of their affection perceptible.

遭受相思之苦的人总会因为谈论、叙述或作诗怀念爱人而感到快乐;因为对他们而言,这样做的时候,回忆能使他们感觉到爱的对象。  

Love always begins in this manner, when men are happy not only in the presence of the beloved, but also in his absence when they recall him to mind.

爱总是以这种方式开始的,即人们不仅在与爱人相处时感到快乐,而且当爱人不在时回忆起爱人[也会感到快乐]。  

This is why, even when his absence is painful, there is a certain amount of pleasure even in mourning and lamentation; for the pain is due to his absence, but there is pleasure in remembering and, as it
were, seeing him and recalling his actions and personality.

正因如此,虽然爱人不在是痛苦的,但是甚至在悲恸和哀伤中也有一点快乐的成分;因为痛苦是由于爱人不在,但在回忆中,爱人恍如就在眼前,他的举止和品貌历历在目,这里面是有一种快乐的。

A friend also is among pleasant things, for it is pleasant to love … just as it is pleasant to be loved; for in this case also a man has an impression that he is really endowed with good qualities, a thing desired by all who perceive it; and to be loved is to be cherished for one’s own sake.

朋友也是令人愉悦的,因为[主动去]爱是愉悦的……正如被爱也是愉悦的;因为在这种情况下[即爱别人],一个人会认为自己的确具有良好品质,这是所有能感受到的人都期望获得的一种体验;而被爱意味着因为自己本身而被人珍惜。 

对于人性的自私,老头儿也从何为快乐的角度进行了论述,不过,他似乎并未因此对人类悲观失望:

And since that which is in accordance with nature is pleasant, and things which are akin are akin in accordance with nature, all things akin and like are for the most part pleasant to each other, as man to man; horse to horse, youth to youth.

既然符合本性之事是愉悦的,而同类的事物是因其本性而同类,那么所有同类和类似之物对彼此而言大抵也是愉悦的,比如人之于人,马之于马,年轻人之于年轻人。 

And since things which are akin and like are always pleasant to one another, and every man in the highest degree feels this in regard to himself, it must needs be that all men are more or less selfish;
for it is in himself above all that such conditions are to be found.

既然同类和类似之物对彼此而言总是愉悦的,而每个人都在自己身上最大程度地感受到这一点,那么必然的结论就是所有人都或多或少是自私的,因为上述情况[同类或类似]首先存在于每个人自身。 

Since, then, all men are selfish, it follows that all find pleasure in what is their own, such as their works and words. That is why men as a rule are fond of those who flatter and love them, of honor, and of children; for the last are their own work.

既然所有人都是自私的,那么与此相应,所有人都会因自己的一切,诸如作品和言语,而感到愉悦。这就是为什么人们一般而言都喜欢阿谀和喜爱自己的人,喜欢荣耀,喜欢孩子;因为最后这点[孩子]恰是自己的作品。 

三伏天里,我一边继续怨声载道地往前吭哧,一边慨叹于老头儿那么心平气和、那么客观公允的世事洞明。两千多年过去了,我们还在为老头儿列举的那些人和事而快乐,也还在为那些人和事的对立面而苦恼。不是说世界在进步,文明在发展吗?可是我们,真的进步了吗?

 

上述译文均出自本博。谢绝引用或转载。

文章摘录自tianbihailan的读书随笔:那些令人愉悦的事情

历史上的今天:

About 花无缺

人生就像一场舞会,教会你最初舞步的人,未必能陪你走到散场。而人的意念决定着他将吸引来什么样的宇宙能量,这种意念不仅可以改变一个人财富、精神面貌,也可以改变一个人的命运。

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