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2012年12月23日 星期日

LAUGHTER, 1920. part 2

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LAUGHTER, 1920.


By Max Beerbohm


出處

It distresses me, this failure to keep pace with the leaders of thought as they pass into oblivion. It makes me wonder whether I am, after all, an absolute fool. Yet surely I am not that. Tell me of a man or a woman, a place or an event, real or fictitious: surely you will find me a fairly intelligent listener. Any such narrative will present to me some image, and will stir me to not altogether fatuous thoughts. Come to me in some grievous difficulty: I will talk to you like a father, even like a lawyer. I'll be hanged if I haven't a certain mellow wisdom. But if you are by way of weaving theories as to the nature of things in general, and if you want to try those theories on some one who will luminously confirm them or powerfully rend them, I must, with a hang-dog air, warn you that I am not your man. I suffer from a strong suspicion that things in general cannot be accounted for through any formula or set of formulae, and that any one philosophy, howsoever new, is no better than another. That is in itself a sort of philosophy, and I suspect it accordingly; but it has for me the merit of being the only one I can make head or tail of. If you try to expound any other philosophic system to me, you will find not merely that I can detect no flaw in it ( except the one great flaw just suggested), but also that I haven't, after a minute or two, the vaguest notion of what you are driving at. 'Very well,' you say, 'instead of trying to explain all things all at once, I will explain some little, simple, single thing.' It was for sake of such shorn lambs as myself, doubtless, that M. Bergson sat down and wrote about — Laughter. But I have profited by his kindness no more than if he had been treating of the Cosmos. I cannot tread even a limited space of air. I have a gross satisfaction in the crude fact of being on hard ground again, and I utter a coarse peal of — Laughter.

想跟上思想領袖的步調,卻一直到他們都已被遺忘時,尚不可得,真令我苦惱。令我不禁懷疑自己是個不折不扣的笨蛋。然後我當然不是。跟我講一個男人或女人,一個地方或事情,實事或杜撰,你一定能發現,我是個領悟力相當好的聽眾。那些描述能給我帶來些景象,激發我一些不至愚蠢的想法。你帶著重大的困難來找我,我能用像父親,甚至像律師的方式跟你講話。我怎麼可能沒有相當的成熟智慧。但是如果你對事理的自然通則創造理論,而想找人輕易地確認或有力的推翻那些理論,我必須卑微的提醒你,別找我。我受一種強烈的疑心所苦,懷疑通常事情不能被任何公式所解釋。任何一種哲學,即使是新的,都不會好過其他哲學。這本身也是一種哲學,所以我因此也懷疑它。但至少這個哲學,有個優點就是我還能了解。若你想跟我解釋其他任何哲學體系,你將發現我不僅不能察覺任何漏洞(除非是一個極大的漏洞),而且不出一兩分鐘,我就完全不能了解你想引導任何概念。「很好,」你說,「那我就不要試著一次解釋全部,而只解釋簡易微小單一的事情。」無疑地,Bergson先生坐下來寫像笑聲(Laughter)這樣的文章,就是特別為了對像我這樣的弱者而作。我因其仁慈所得到的益處並不多於他在論述宇宙。我無法飄飄然似踩在空中,我很高興踩回實地上,而發出一陣粗啞的笑聲。

distress [記憶法] [dɪ`strɛs; di'strɛs] 使<人>痛苦,使…苦惱,使…悲傷
pace [記憶法] [pɛs; pɛis] 步調; 步伐; 速度
oblivion [記憶法] [ə`blɪvɪən; ə'bliviən] 遺忘 (的狀態) ; 埋沒
fictitious [記憶法] [fɪk`tɪʃəs; fik'tiʃəs] 虛構的,想像的; 創作的,小說的
intelligent [記憶法] [ɪn`tɛlədʒənt; in'tɛlidʒənt] 聰明的,領悟力強的;
stir [記憶法] [stɝ; stə:] 激發;引起
fatuous [記憶法] ['fætʃuəs] 愚昧的;癡呆的
grievous [記憶法] [`grivəs; 'gri:vəs] 嚴重的;重大的
mellow [記憶法] [`mɛlo; 'mɛlou] 成熟的,老練的
luminous [記憶法] [`lumənəs; 'lu:minəs] 明晰的,易懂的
rend [記憶法] [rɛnd; rɛnd] 撕裂;扯破
hang-dog ['hæŋdɑg] 憂愁的;悲哀的;沮喪的;低賤 的
suspicion [記憶法] [sə`spɪʃən; sə'spiʃn] 嫌疑,疑心,懷疑,猜疑
merit [記憶法] [`mɛrɪt; 'mɛrit] 長處,好處,優點
expound [記憶法] [ɪk'spaund] 解釋;闡述
detect [記憶法] [dɪ`tɛkt; di'tɛkt] 發現,查出; 看穿; 探獲
flaw [flɔ; flɔ:] 瑕疵,裂縫,裂痕
vague [記憶法] [vɛg; vɛig] 含糊的,曖昧的; 不明確的
shorn [記憶法] [ʃorn, ʃɔrn; ʃɔ:n] shear 的過去分詞 剪過頭髮 [毛] 的 God tempers the wind to the ~ lamb. ( 諺)上帝對剪過毛的羔羊(弱者)會緩和風力(比喻不再受更多的麻煩)
lamb [記憶法] [læm; læm] 羔羊
tread [記憶法] [trɛd] 踩踏
crude [記憶法] [krud; kru:d] 粗糙的;未成熟的
utter [記憶法] [`ʌtɚ; 'ʌtə] 發出聲音
coarse [記憶法] [kɔrs; kɔs] 粗糙的
peal [記憶法] [pil; pi:l] (雷、大炮的) 隆隆聲, (笑聲、拍手聲的) 響聲