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2015年5月10日 星期日

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。


                                                                                     下載本文請點我

我個人很喜歡Robert Guest的文章,在每周一文單元中,我挑選了好幾篇他寫的文章。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。

本周我再次使用了the Economist, Intelligent Life(經濟學人的軟性雙月刊,專門報導人文音樂藝術的等軟性主題)的大哉問單元(The Big Question)。這是個有趣的單元,因為每次出刊前,主編都會設定一個主題,請不同的寫手來發揮。Robert Guest是經濟學人美國版的編輯,我特別喜歡他的文章。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。

喜歡唱歌的人,一定有自己欣賞的歌手,喜歡棒球的人,也會崇拜某個球員,那英文呢?你喜歡哪個英文作家?現在就開始找尋自己喜歡的作者。如果你覺得這有點難,那不妨從自己喜歡的題材開始找書來看。持之以恆必能成就。


LUST IS THE DEADLIEST SIN
The Big Question: Robert Guest warns that lust is only ever satiated temporarily
From INTELLIGENT LIFE magazine

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有些大人一樣壞, 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脅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 organisations 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 the Ukraine because he wouldn’t admit the errors of his farm policy.

Twentieth-century totalitarian leaders極權主義者 amassed power 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去制衡領袖.

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.

Robert Guest is The Economist's United States editor and the author of "Borderless Economics"

6 則留言:

  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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    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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