简单的快乐 The Joy of Less

简单的快乐

“There is nothing either good or bad,” I had heard in high school, from Hamlet, “but thinking makes it so.” I had been lucky enough at that point to 1)stumble into the life I might have dreamed of as a boy: a great job writing on world affairs for Time magazine, an apartment on 2)Park Avenue, enough time and money to take vacations in 3)Burma, 4)Morocco, 5)El Salvador. But every time I went to one of those places, I noticed that the people I met there, 6)mired in difficulty and often warfare, seemed to have more energy and even optimism than the friends I’d grown up with in privileged, peaceful 7)Santa Barbara, Calif., many of whom were on their fourth marriages and seeing a 8)therapist every day. Though I knew that poverty certainly didn’t buy happiness, I wasn’t convinced that money did either.
高中时我从《哈姆雷特》中读到下面这句话:“事情并没有好坏之分,只不过取决于人的想法。”我一直很幸运,无意间过上了从孩提时代便一直梦想着的生活:一份为《时代》杂志报道国际事务的好工作、一套位于派克大街上的公寓、有足够的时间和金钱去缅甸、摩洛哥和萨尔瓦多度假。但是,每一次去那些地方,我都注意到那里的人们,纵使深陷困境及战争,但相比那些和我一起在条件优越、和平的加州圣巴巴拉市长大的朋友,他们看起来更有活力,甚至更乐观。我的那些朋友很多都正经历第四次婚姻,每天都去看心理治疗师。虽然我知道贫穷一定买不到快乐,但是我相信金钱同样无能为力。

So—as post-1960s cliché 9)decreed—I left my comfortable job and life to live for a year in a temple on the backstreets of 10)Kyoto. My 11)high-minded year lasted all of a week, by which time I’d noticed that the depthless contemplation of the moon and composition of 12)haiku I’d imagined from afar was really more a matter of cleaning, sweeping and then cleaning some more. But today, more than 21 years later, I still live 13)in the vicinity of Kyoto, in a two-room apartment that makes my old 14)monastic 15)cell look almost luxurious by comparison. I have no bicycle, no car, no television I can understand, no media—and the days seem to stretch into eternities, and I can’t think of a single thing I lack.
所以——就像20世纪60年代后的那股风潮那样——我放弃了舒适的工作及生活,在日本京都后街的一个庙宇生活了一年。我那修心之旅进行了一个星期后,我发现自己遥想中对月沉思苦想俳句的生活实际上更多只是清洁、打扫,然后继续清洁。但今天,21年多以后,我仍然居住在京都附近的一套两居室公寓里,相比之下,以前我住的那个僧房看起来几乎算奢华了。我没有自行车,没有汽车,没有能够看得懂的电视,没有媒体——这样的日子似乎绵绵无尽,而我想不到有什么东西是我缺少的。

1I’m no Buddhist monk, and I can’t say I’m in love with 16)renunciation in itself, or traveling an hour or more to print out an article I’ve written, or missing out on the N.B.A. Finals. But at some point, I decided that, for me at least, happiness arose out of all I didn’t want or need, not all I did. And it seemed quite useful to take a clear, hard look at what really led to peace of mind or absorption (the closest I’ve come to understanding happiness). Not having a car gives me 17)volumes not to think or worry about and makes walks around the neighborhood a daily adventure. Lacking a cell phone and high-speed Internet, I have time to play ping pong every evening, to write long letters to old friends and to go shopping for my sweetheart (or to track down old 18)baubles for two kids who are now out in the world).
我不是佛教僧人,我也不能说我本身喜欢“克己绝欲”,或者花上一个多小时出去打印一篇文章,或者错过NBA决赛。但是某种程度上,我决定,至少对我自己而言,快乐源自所有我不想要或者不需要的东西,而非所有我想要或者需要的。似乎清楚、认真地看待带来内心平静或者专注的真正东西是什么这一点很有用(这一次我最深刻地理解了快乐的内涵)。没有汽车,我无需想或者担心车子的问题,在家附近散步就变成了每日的冒险。没有手机以及高速互联网,我便有时间每天晚上去打乒乓球、给老朋友写长长的信,为我的爱人购物(或者为两个仍然在外面世界闯荡的孩子淘淘旧玩意)。

When the phone does ring—once a week—I’m thrilled, as I never was when the phone rang in my overcrowded office in 19)Rockefeller Center. And when I return to the United States every three months or so and pick up a newspaper, I find I haven’t missed much at all. While I’ve been rereading 20)Walden, the crazily accelerating 21)roller-coaster of the 24/7 news cycle has propelled people up and down and down and up and then left them pretty much where they started.
当电话真的响起时——每星期一次——我非常激动,在洛克菲勒中心我那过度拥挤的办公室里听到电话响起时我从未有过这种感觉。当我每隔大概三个月回到美国,拿起报纸,发现自己并没有错过很多东西。在我悠闲重读《瓦尔登湖》的同时,那趟每周7天每天24小时疯狂加速的新闻循环过山车却带着人们从上到下、由下到上,然后几乎是在原点把他们放下。

I certainly wouldn’t recommend my life to most people—and my heart goes out to those who have recently 22)been condemned to a simplicity they never needed or wanted. But I’m not sure how much outward details or accomplishments ever really make us happy deep down. The millionaires I know seem desperate to become multimillionaires, and spend more time with their lawyers and their bankers than with their friends (whose motivations they are no longer sure of). And I remember how, in the 23)corporate world, I always knew there was some higher position I could attain, which meant that I was guaranteed never to arrive and always to remain dissatisfied.
我当然不建议大多数人过我这样的生活——对那些最近被迫简单过日的人,我也十分同情。但是我不确定有多少外在的琐事或者成就真正让我们发自内心地快乐。我所认识的百万富翁总想着要成为千万富翁,他们花更多时间与律师及银行家在一起,而不是与朋友相聚(对朋友的动机亦疑心重重)。而我记得,在职场世界里,我一直认为自己可以获得某个更高的职位,这意味着我永远都不能到达,并且一直要保持不满足的状态。

I even went through a 24)dress-rehearsal for our enforced 25)austerity when my family home in Santa Barbara burned to the ground some years ago, leaving me with nothing but the toothbrush I bought from an all-night supermarket that night. And yet my two-room apartment in nowhere Japan seems more abundant than the big house that burned down. I have time to read the new 26)John le Carré, while 27)nibbling at sweet 28)tangerines in the sun. When a 29)Sigur Ros album comes out, it fills my days and nights, 30)resplendent. And then it seems that happiness, like peace or passion, comes most freely when it isn’t pursued.
我甚至为我们现行过着的朴素生活预先经历过一次“彩排”——好些年前,我们位于圣巴巴拉的家被大火烧为平地,只剩下那天晚上我在通宵营业超市买的那把牙刷。而我位于日本的不知名两居室看起来比那烧毁的大房子更富裕。现在我有时间一边在太阳底下慢慢咬着甜橘,一边细读约翰•勒卡雷的新作。当席格若斯乐队的专辑推出时,那美妙的音乐便华丽地充盈着我的日日夜夜。那时,快乐看起来就像平和或激情那样,在你不去追求的时候,它便毫不吝惜地出现了。

If you’re the kind of person who prefers freedom to security, who feels more comfortable in a small room than a large one and who finds that happiness comes from matching your wants to your needs, then 31)running to stand still isn’t where your joy lies. In New York, a part of me was always somewhere else, thinking of what a simple life in Japan might be like. Now I’m there, I find that I almost never think of Rockefeller Center or Park Avenue at all.
如果你喜欢自由多于安全,在一个小房子里比在一个大房子里感觉更舒适,发现快乐来源于满足你的想要与所需,那么,营营役役、超这赶那的生活不是你的快乐所在。在纽约,我总感觉心系别处,想着在日本的简单生活会是怎么样的。而现在,在这里,我发现自己几乎从来不会想起洛克菲勒中心或者派克大街。

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