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毕业箴言:请正视你的无知(双语)

2018-06-15 11:14

来源:金融时报

作者:

  During my last year at university, I panicked. I realised that I was about to be sent into the world almost entirely ignorant. (Commenters, please fill in own joke here.) I had half-absorbed a few tiny bits of western history, and I’d read and then mostly forgotten some German novels and poems. I knew nothing about science. I hadn’t the faintest idea how the world worked. I wasn’t even entirely sure what interest rates were.

  大学最后一年,我感到彷徨不安。我意识到自己就要近乎一无所知地被送入这个世界。(各位网友,欢迎在此补充你们自己的笑话。)我略懂西方历史的一点皮毛,读过一些德国的小说和诗歌,不过也忘得差不多了。我对科学一无所知。我对世界如何运转毫无头绪。我甚至不是很确定利率是什么东西。

  Shortly before graduating, I confessed my anxieties to a high-powered thirtysomething at a dinner in London. “Don’t worry,” he said. “I knew nothing when I graduated either, so I’ve just kept learning. Now my employer is paying for me to study Arabic.” That same evening, I resolved to pursue a project of life-long learning. Twenty-five years on, I’m still ignorant, but still at it.

  临毕业前,我在伦敦与一位三十几岁的成功人士共进晚餐时向他袒露了我的焦虑。“别担心。”他说:“我毕业的时候也什么都不懂,于是我就继续学习。现在我老板还花钱送我去学阿拉伯语。”那天晚上我做了个决定:我要展开一个终生学习计划。二十五年过去了,我依然无知,但仍在学习。

  Because I graduated in Britain, I missed out on the traditional American commencement ceremony at which a middle-aged bore intones, “You can be whatever you want to be.” Instead, a middle-aged bore droned on at us in Latin for an hour. But if any American university is still looking for a middle-aged-bore speaker this commencement season, here’s what I’d tell the graduates:

  由于我毕业于英国,所以我无缘于传统的美国毕业典礼:一个絮絮叨叨的中年人缓慢而庄重的说,“你能成为你想成为的任何人。”我毕业时是一个絮絮叨叨的中年人用拉丁语对我们唠叨了一个钟头。但如果有哪所美国大学还在为这个毕业典礼季寻找一个絮絮叨叨的中年演讲者,以下是我想对毕业生们说的话:

  “After graduating, I decided to find out what interest rates were, so I began reading a newspaper I’d never opened before: the Financial Times. I kept going, hoping I’d eventually learn the thing I most wanted to know: why some people and countries were rich and others poor. In 1994, trying to accelerate the learning process, I joined the FT. I thought that after a few years I’d know enough to go on and do something more useful than journalism, but it never happened.

  “毕业后,我决定搞清楚利率是怎么回事,于是我开始读一份我从来没翻开过的报纸:英国《金融时报》。我坚持读它,希望最终能弄清自己最想知道的一件事:为什么有些人和国家富,而有些人和国家穷?1994年,为了加快这一学习进程,我加入了英国《金融时报》。我那时想,要不了几年我就懂得多到可以走人,然后做点比记者更有用的事儿,然而这一幕从未发生过。

  “Like me back then, you are graduating almost entirely ignorant. This isn’t your fault. Your most fecund educational years were aged nought to three, when your brain was fairly porous, but the opportunity was probably wasted. You then spent each school day surrounded by up to 30 other people, each with their own problems and ability levels. Since high school, you’ve been additionally handicapped by hormones, smartphones and early-morning starts.

  “就像当初的我一样,你们几乎一无所知就要毕业了。这不是你们的错。你们的最佳受教年龄是0到3岁,这个时候你们的大脑就像海绵一样,但这一机会多半都被浪费了。然后你们上学的每一天都要被多达30个人包围着,他们每个人都有自己的问题,每个人的能力水平也不同。上了高中后,你还会遇到荷尔蒙、智能手机和早起的妨碍。”

  “In short, you’re going to have to keep learning all your life. Here are a few tips:

  “总之,你们终生都要坚持学习。以下是几个小建议:

  Just shut up and listen. Whenever you think, ‘I know about that’, you don’t. When you hear yourself saying something you’ve said before, don’t bother. When someone worthwhile tells you something about North Korea, don’t sit there waiting till you can interrupt with your one factoid about North Korea. Pre-rehearsed anecdotes will keep you dumb.

  闭嘴好好听。每当你觉得’这个我知道’的时候,你其实不知道。如果你发觉自己要说的话以前已经说过了,那就别再说了。当一个重要的人告诉你一些关于朝鲜的事情时,不要坐在那儿等着用你知道的一个朝鲜小段子插话。提前排练这些段子会让你保持缄默。

  Also avoid all house-price talk, route talk, diet talk, name-dropping and current-affairs clichés. Over a lifetime, this can save you years.

  还要避开一切有关房价、路线、减肥的谈话,不要炫耀自己认识的名人,也不要对时事发表一些陈词滥调的看法。终你一生,这条可以帮你省出好几年时间。

  Listen hardest to people younger than you. They are ignorant and generally have lowly jobs, but their fragments of knowledge will be more cutting-edge than yours. If you’re ever tempted to kid yourself that your knowledge will hold good over time, listen to aged relatives recite the race theories they picked up in the 1940s.

  努力去听岁数比你小的人说话。他们无知,职位通常也不高,但他们的知识碎片要比你的先进。如果你曾企图欺骗自己,以为你的知识储备经得住时间考验,就去听听那些上了年纪的亲戚大聊他们在20世纪40年代学到的种族理论。

  When you meet someone who likes pontificating, you might pick up his tiny bit of expertise, if he has any. You’ll probably never have a productive conversation with him, and he won’t have learnt much from other people, so best to avoid.

  当你遇到一个自命不凡的人,你或许能学到他的一点点专业知识——如果他有的话。你可能永远无法与他进行富有成效的对话,他也不会从其他人身上学到多少东西,所以最好避免与这样的人对话。

  When you discover you were wrong about something, don’t fight it. Treasure the moment: you’ve learnt something.

  当你发现自己在某件事上错了,你就认了。珍惜这一刻,因为你学到了东西。

  Don’t let conflicts derail your working life. Frequent changes of career will stop you from increasing your competence in one particular field. If you have to work with somebody irritating, deal with it. If you find lots of people irritating, then you’re the problem.

  不要让冲突破坏你的职业生涯。频繁转行会阻碍你在某个领域提高自己的能力。如果你不得不与受不了的人共事,想办法解决。如果你发现好多人你都受不了,那就是你有问题。

  Even if you become an expert, you’ll still be pretty ignorant. What experts know about any topic is always infinitely less than what they don’t know.

  即使你成为一名专家,你依然相当无知。对于任何话题,专家们不知道的总是比他们知道的多得多。

  Obviously, you can’t be whatever you want to be. The trick is to work out what you should be.

  显然,你不能成为你想成为的任何人。关键是要弄清楚你应该成为什么人。

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