Your weekly English digest is here. 英文每周一文,什麼是人性最大的惡?有人說是對權力的貪婪。Lust is only ever satiated temporarily.

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這陣子打開電視機,無論是新聞還是政論節目,都在討論總統大選的候選人。看到這些政客對權力無止無休的慾望,讓我想到Robert Guest幾年前寫過的一篇文章。此人行文言簡意賅,說話不拖泥帶水,但是見解精闢,觀點獨到且針針見血。我曾在政府單位工作過八年,雖非公務員,但因為服務的對象接近權力中心,這八年足夠我看清很多官員的嘴臉與步數,我後來離開那些單位,跟不習慣這樣的工作環境與官僚作法也有關係。

跟朋友聚在一起聊政治,有人問說,為何有些人已經家財萬貫、富可敵國,還想要出來爭個位置?既然當官那麼辛苦,為何人人搶著做?其實這個問題的答案很簡單,有錢有地位的人,對於權力的貪婪其實更甚於一般市井小民。這就像是為何有錢的A咖女星,只想要嫁給更有錢的企業家是一樣的道理。慾望是內心深處日積月累一點一滴養出來的,這些貪婪就是最真實的人性。

Robert Guest是經濟學人美國版的編輯,我特別喜歡他的觀點與文字。在學習的道路上,一定要找到自己喜歡的對象來模仿,慢慢的,你也能擁有自己的風格。我喜歡的作家不只一個,每個都有每個的好。

閱讀好的英文文章,可以累積知識/常識,並且學到很好的英文。如本篇有些妙句,值得我們熟記起來,教練給大家列出來。

1. The desire to dominate our fellow human beings is innate. 
控制其他人類的慾望是我們與天俱來的本能。(政客與宗教領袖不都是這樣嗎?)


2.  Some petty officials flex their bureaucratic muscles because they find it deeply, sinfully pleasurable to bend others to their will. 
低階官員拿著雞毛當令箭,喜歡耍點官葳,因為他們覺得壓迫他人順應自己的意思有種罪惡的快感。(我每次去某某銀行或某個政府單位辦事情都有這種感覺)

3. Constitution democracies are built on a sounder understanding of human nature: we build checks and balances to restrain our leaders. 
民主憲法建立在對人性的更了解。透過這樣的制度行使權力分立,好制衡我們的領導者。

4. Lust is only ever satiated temporarily. 
欲望永遠沒有滿足的一天

清.李文炤〈儉訓〉:「況乎用之奢者,取之不得不 貪,算及錙銖,欲深谿壑。



LUST IS THE DEADLIEST SIN
 Robert Guest warns that lust is only ever satiated temporarily

Lust is the deadliest sin. Not lust for sex; lust for power.

The desire to dominate our fellow human beings is innate與天俱來的. You see it among young children. Three-year-olds boss around their younger siblings兄弟姐妹, shoving推撞 them, grabbing their toys搶他們的玩具, ordering them to act as the pet dog or Egyptian slave in a game of make-believe假裝的遊戲(通常有角色扮演).

Some adults are just as bad些大人一樣壞, though usually more subtle壞的方式更陰險(更算計). Some bosses force interns to run personal errands幫忙個人私事 for them, just because they can. Some managers build empires rather than better products建立王國而非更好的產品. Some petty officials低階小官(公務員) flex their bureaucratic muscles拿著雞毛當令箭,喜歡耍官威 because they find it deeply, sinfully pleasurable to bend others to their will迫他人順應自己的意思. In some countries, they grow rich by making ordinary citizens’ lives so miserable that people bribe them to lay off付錢賄賂這些官員,好讓這些人不找自己麻煩.

Since the most powerful organizations in the world are governments, politics naturally attracts those who most crave power. And if history has taught us anything, it is that lust is only ever satiated temporarily欲望的滿足永遠都是短暫的(所以得到了之後還會想要更多).
Stalin was not content to be master of a vast empire; he wanted to command his subjects’ thoughts as well as their actions要控制人們的思想與行為. He punished the slightest hint of dissent只要有一丁點不服從 with imprisonment or death. Millions starved in the famine he caused in Ukraine because he wouldn’t admit the errors of his farm policy.

Twentieth-century totalitarian leaders極權主義者 amassed power 累積權力 on a scale that past emperors could not have imagined所累積的權力是過去的君王們無法想像的(). Orwell was among the first to notice what that meant: “Obedience is not enough. Unless [a citizen] is suffering, how can you be sure that he is obeying your will and not his own?”人民光是服從還不夠,還要讓他們受苦,這樣才能確定他們服從的是你的決定,而非他們自己的想法 says O’Brien in “Nineteen Eighty-Four”. “If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human faceforever.”如果你想要知道未來是什麼樣子,請想像一隻穿著靴子的腳,永遠地踩在一個人的臉上就好了。

Communism failed because Karl Marx never understood how corrupting and intoxicating power can be權力使人腐敗,也使人沉醉其中. Constitutional democracies民主憲法 are built on a sounder understanding of human nature對人性比較了解: we build checks and balances權力分立 to restrain our leaders去制衡我們的領導者.

Democracy is always imperfect, and always in need of repairs. But it is preferable to all other forms of government because it is built on a simple insight一個簡單的道理: that we, the people, should constantly tighten the binds that tie our masters綑綁主子的繩子要經常綁緊一點. Some of them, of course, might enjoy it. 繩子勒緊一點,有些主子可能還可能喜歡咧。(民主的可貴在於人民對領導者有某種程度的控制權)


留言

  1. 報告教練,
    Robert Guest行文到最後是暗指這些所謂的Master,
    有一些是M嗎?XDD
    我看不太懂。

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  2. Hi 世興,你的問題我看不太懂呢。可以再解釋一下嗎?

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  3. 報告教練,
    我的意思是指下面這一段的最後一句為何要說some of them might enjoy it。
    ......that we, the people, should constantly tighten the binds that tie our masters. Some of them, of course, might enjoy it.
    這個them指的應該是our masters,對吧?

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  4. Hi Shih Hsing,

    Some of them might enjoy it這句話正好呼應題目啊,因為人性就是貪婪,對於金錢色慾還有權力的需求永無止境。在民主國家,權力是人民賦予的,所以作者認為我們應該栓牢這些擁有權力的人,them確實指的是our masters,其實給予權力與被賦予權力的兩方都是一種制衡,所以我們把繩子拴緊一點(有選票是大爺,得被貪權者討好),被拴的人搞不好不但不會覺得太緊(為了滿足慾望不會嫌煩嫌難,有些搞不好還會喜歡這種制衡的束縛與壓力。這跟SM的道理一樣的。被虐與施虐之間的關係,好比權力兩邊的拉扯。貪婪的人會為了目的不擇手段,作者這是在諷刺lust啊。

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    回覆
    1. 越想好像越理解了,
      一種為了得到更多而付出的感覺。
      不禁聯想到紙牌屋裡的Frank啊!

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  5. Hi Shih Hsing,

    紙牌屋這個例子不錯啊。權力的貪婪會扭曲一個人,導致人們啥麼下賤卑微的事情都做得出來。所以作者的原意在此。

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