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When I was just beginning adult life—during my first term at Oxford—I was struck by an autobiographical reminiscence of the writer W. Somerset Maugham. He wrote, as I recall: “When I was 18, I desperately wanted to be rich, successful and famous. Now I am all three, but I am not sure I am any happier.” 在牛津大学读书的第一个学期,我刚刚步入成年。当时,作家威廉 · 萨姆塞特 · 毛姆的自传式回忆录给我留下了深刻印象。我记得他这样写道:“我 18 岁时非常希望自己富有、成功、成名。现在,这三样我都有了,但我不确定自己是否比以前更幸福。”

When I look at the Forbes 400, the billionaire and the celebrity rich lists, I wonder how many of the people on them are actually happy. And what about fame and success? 看一看《福布斯》杂志列出的前 400 名亿万富翁和社会名流名单,真不知道他们当中有多少人真的幸福。名望和成功到底怎样?

  Ambitious men and women will continue to pursue wealth, fame and success until the end of time. And if they didn’t do so, the world would be not only a much poorer place but a far less interesting one. 雄心勃勃之人仍会继续追求财富、名望和成功,直到生命的最后一刻。如果他们不这么做,那世界不但会越来越穷,而且也会越来越乏味。

Guidelines指导方针

The question to be asked, then, is this: How can the quest for wealth, fame and success be combined with the pursuit of happiness? I’m not sure there’s a foolproof answer. But there are some useful guides. Here are four of the most important: 那么,人们会问这样一个问题:如何把对财富、名望和成功的追求与对幸福的追求结合起来?我不能肯定是否有完美无缺的答案。但确实有一些有用的指导原则。以下是最重要的四条:

—Try to combine the pursuit of wealth with creativity. Clever manipulation of bits of paper and values may make you a billionaire, but creating a successful business, expressed in solid objects (factories, offices, docks and facilities) or in real estate (in lands and plantations) is more conducive to happiness. To make something—something real, visible, fruitful and productive—where once there was nothing is a fine expression of one of the deepest and healthiest human instincts. ——试着将对财富的追求与创造力结合起来。凭借小聪明进行证券和货币交易也许能使你成为亿万富翁,但创建一个成功的企业,表现为具体实物(如工厂、办公室、码头、设备),或不动产 ( 如土地和种植园)会更有益于获得幸福。从零开始,创造某种真实的、看得见的、硕果累累的和富有成效的东西是人类最强烈、最健康的一种本能。

—A successful man is likely to find happiness in producing something useful or delightful or beautiful. I’ve found this to be true myself in producing books—more than 40 at last count—some more than 1, 000 pages and some with superb illustrations. My accolades I share with my publishers and printers. ——一个成功者很有可能会在制作某种有用、可爱或漂亮的东西的过程中找到幸福。我在写书过程中就亲身体验到了这种幸福,据最新统计,我写的书已经超过 40 本,有些书有 1000 多页,有些还配有一流的插图。我和我的出版商及印刷商一起分享了这份荣誉。

—Create happiness and satisfaction by creating jobs. And not just paid occupations—all governments do that, often by the million—but genuine jobs that justify themselves, have a real purpose and longevity. The great 12th-century Jewish sage Maimonides wrote that charity is a blessing, and we must all exercise it if we can. But the finest form of charity is to enable a poor man to support himself with honor and usefulness. ——通过创造就业机会来制造幸福感和满足感。这些就业机会不能仅仅是有薪酬的职位(这些政府都会提供,数量也很大),而是真正能证明是正当的工作,有真正存在的意义并且会长期存在。12 世纪伟大的犹太哲人迈蒙尼德写道,行善是福,我们都应该尽自己所能去行善。但是行善最好的方式是帮助穷人自食其力,让他们活得有尊严、有价值。

A businessman who can create useful, well-paid and secure jobs is doubly blessed, by the individual he makes self-supporting and by the society he renders more secure. He helps himself, too, for, as Maimonides says, there is joy in lifting people out of want, not by alms but on a permanent Basis. 一个商人如果能创造出有价值、高薪和稳定的就业机会,那他会得到双倍的幸福:一是通过使个人自食其力,二是通过使社会更加安定。同时这个人也帮助了自己。因为正如迈蒙尼德所说,帮助人们永远摆脱贫困而不仅仅是施舍救济是件令人愉快的事情。

—Job creation leads me to the fourth source of happiness that the right kind of success brings. It should have a moral basis. If possible, it should be consistent with the needs of our fellow men and women, not just their material needs but their emotional and spiritual needs. ——创造就业机会能引领我获得第四个幸福感来源,那就是通过正当手段获得成功所能带来的。这种成功应该建立在道德基础之上。如果可能的话,它应该与我们同胞们的需求一致,不仅是物质需求,还包括情感需求和精神需求。

Of course, it is desirable, to my mind, that all business activities be rooted in Judeo Christianteaching, both theoretical and practical, or conform to a morally defensible framework of principles. We should not pursue wealth, fame and success for their own sake. If we want a chance at happiness as well, our vision must be placed much higher. 当然,我认为理想化的模式是所有的商业活动在理论和实践上都以犹太教与基督教的教义为基础,或者符合正当合理的道德原则。我们不应该单纯地追求财富、名望和成功。如果我们还想同时拥有幸福,就应该把眼界放得更高更远。

Vocabulary

reminiscence n. 回忆录

W. Somerset Maugham 威廉 · 萨默塞特 · 毛姆

billionaire n. 亿万富翁 celebrity n. 名人

guideline n. 指导方针

quest n. 寻求

foolproof a. 不会错的

manipulation n. 操纵

dock n. 码头

conducive a. 有益于

instinct n. 本能

at last count 根据最新统计

superb a. 极好的

illustration n. 插图

accolade n. 荣誉

longevity n. 长命

sage n. 哲人

render v. 提供

want n. 贫穷

alms n. 施舍

permanent a. 持久的 Judeo-christian a. 同是犹太教与基督教的

conform v. 符合

defensible a. 可拥护的

文章选自《用英语点亮人生》/ 胡敏主编


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