妒忌
On Envy

(选自《英语世界》2015年第3期)

文/吴冠中  译/李运兴

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自从潘朵拉的匣子里放出了妒忌,妒忌便弥漫于全人类,但人类却看不清这魔鬼的形状,是圆是长 ?(此处未直译,而是译作“是高是矮”,以使英语行文更为自然。)是肥是瘦?是狼牙虎齿?或是绵羊一般温柔的伪装?童年,当老师表扬了别的同学,而不是我,我感到十分难受,这是幼小心灵最先触摸(为顺应英语表达需要,译文用动词 grew。)到的妒忌吧,但这妒忌又启示我两样想法:一是努力超过优胜者,二是陷害他。

Envy has come to permeate the world, ever since it was unleashed from Pandora’s box. Yet we cannot see the shape of the ghost: is it tall or short, fat or lean? Does it have the fangs of a wolf or a tiger? Or is it in the disguise of a meek lamb? In my childhood, when the teacher praised someone else, but not me, I would feel very uncomfortable. Perhaps that was the earliest form of envy that grew in a young heart. Meanwhile, this form of envy motivated two different desires in me: to try my best to outdo the advantaged person, or to plot a frame-up against him.

〔2〕长大以后,感到妒忌的魔影更无处不在,原来它是与生存夺取共生共灭的。自古以来,妒忌引起无穷的纠纷,甚至爆发战争,一部人类史串连着妒忌,这妒忌倒有些与“吃人”相似了。“同行是冤家”,“文人相轻”无疑都同宗于妒忌。面对利益,人与人既根本冲突又须互相协助,和平共处。于是索性组织同业公会,公开矛盾,试将妒忌转化为竞争,因而出现剪子巷、锣鼓巷、花市街、羊市街、牛街……直至当代,各种公会、协会,在安定团结的大前提下,缓解矛盾,消灭妒忌。然而妒忌永远消灭不了。韩愈痛感:“事修而谤兴,德高而诽来”,钱锺书躲开一切媒体:“落寞声名免谤增。”
[2] When I grew up, I came to see that the ghostly shadow of envy is to be found everywhere and that it has long coexisted with man’s desire for survival and possession. Since time immemorial, envy has given rise to an infinite number of disputes, and sometimes even military conflicts. Envy is a thread that runs through the history of mankind, and in this sense it is much like what Lu Xun called “people eating people”, a sin of human society. “People of the same trade are adversaries” and “Men of letters tend to despise one another” – such social phenomena can certainly be attributed to the evil of envy. When it comes to interests or benefits, men are necessarily pitted against one another, but at the same time they must cooperate and coexist in peace. Consequently, trade associations or guilds are set up in an attempt to put differences aside and transform envy into cooperation. So in history we see the emergence of such exclusively specialized markets as Scissors Lane, Gong and Drum Lane, Flower Street, Mutton Street or Beef Street… In modern times the various associations or guilds carry on the same mission of easing contradictions and avoiding envy in the context of maintaining stability and unity. But envy will never be eradicated. Han Yu, a great writer and thinker in the Tang dynasty, observed in one of his famous essays: “One who achieves a successful career invites slanders; one who attains a high level of morality is subject to defamation.” And the modern scholar Qian Zhongshu did all he could to shun media attention, telling his readers: “Don’t seek fame: it only brings vilification”.

〔3〕其实,妒忌的另一面是激发强者超越,只有弱者,卑微者,才成为妒忌的俘虏。不必再怨潘朵拉放出了“妒忌”,她用“妒忌”来考验人们的品质,并赋予方向完全相反的两条道路。
[3] However, envy, on the other hand, can also inspire the strong to do even better than others, and only the weak and petty succumb to envy and become its captives. Don’t blame Pandora for letting out the evil. By doing so she subjects man to a test of virtue, leaving him with two roads that run in opposite directions.

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