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Is just one life enough?

“一生”比“永生”更有意义

中文 英文 双语 2016-10-20    来源:21英语网原创      阅读数:94680
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导读:我们常常感慨时光飞逝,很多想做的事都没有机会去尝试。在这样的状况下,难免心生“要是能够得到永生该多好啊”的想法。

At a certain age, you may feel as if you’re still at life’s beginning yet also *disturbingly close to the end.
在某个年龄阶段,你会感觉自己好像生命才开始,但又会非常不安地觉得生命已走向尽头。

You feel acutely that there’s much left to do. You were going to win an Oscar, pick up a Nobel Prize in physics and get elected president, but you haven’t even gotten around to auditioning for a film, taking a university physics course or brushing up on your politics.
你强烈地意识到自己还有很多未做之事。你曾想赢得奥斯卡奖,摘取诺贝尔物理学奖的桂冠并当选总统,但现在你甚至还未曾参加过电影试镜,未选修过大学物理课,也未曾温习过政治。

It’s almost enough to make you want to live forever. But then isn’t the real goal a life hugely increased not so much in length as in width? A life during which it’s possible to pursue every one of a wide range of concurrent possibilities?
这些欲望几乎足以让你希望永生。然而,人生真正的目标难道不是尽可能拓宽生命的广度而非增加其长度吗?难道不是要追求一个能够尝试大千世界种种可能性的人生吗?

It’s true, if you were immortal, that you might eventually get to be a philosopher and a *cantor and an actor and a *psychoanalyst and a novelist. But don’t forget: Over that vastly extended period, life would certainly not cease exposing you to still further choices. When you finally entered psychoanalytic training in 2100, you’d have to *forgo any number of other new possibilities that might at that instant present themselves, such as joining an *expedition to Alpha Centauri, or learning to create art with the previously unimaginable colors recently made visible on the *spectrum. You might have crossed one possibility off our list, but you’d have added three more.
的确,如果你能永生,你也许最终会成为一位哲人、领唱、演员、精神分析学家和小说家。但别忘了:在那个无限延展的生命时光里,它当然也会展示给你更多的选择。当你终于在2100年开始接受精神分析培训时,你也许不得不放弃同一时间出现的无数其它新的可能性,比如,加入飞往人马座阿尔法星的探险之旅,或者学习用以往难以想象但在最新的光谱上却能找到的新颜色去创作艺术。你也许尝试了一个可能,但与此同时你又多了三个新的。

For each new path you took, there would be several others that you’d have to leave for later. And then the overwhelming feeling that there are ever more careers worth pursuing, ever more books worth reading, ever more virtual worlds worth exploring, ever more romantic partners worth experiencing –would intensify over endless time. Hundreds of years in, you’d still feel as though you’d barely moved beyond the opening stages of what life has to offer.
一旦你选择一条新路,你将会不得不放弃其他的道路。然后,一种压倒性的感觉——越来越多的职业值得去追求,越来越多的书值得去阅读,越来越多的虚拟世界值得去探索,越来越多的恋人值得去交往——会在无尽的时空中增强。几百年以后,你仍会感觉你好像仅仅徘徊在生活的开场。

Many activities you once loved, meanwhile, would fall out of fashion or out of reach. As an aging mortal, your knees might make it tough to run a marathon, causing you to envy all the healthy racers. As permanently youthful immortal, by contrast, you might remain fit to run marathons over the centuries. But perhaps the beloved urban races of your youth would have long since disappeared, banned because of impossibly hot global temperatures and the fact that future civilizations find *interplanetary relays far more exciting. All of the things you once did have shelf lives. The longer you live, the more of them die, increasing the weight of the time that has flowed through your fingers.
很多你曾钟爱的活动,都将过时或为人遗忘。作为一个日益衰老的凡人,你的膝盖可能会阻碍你去跑马拉松,让你嫉妒所有健康的跑步者。相反,作为一个长生不老之人,你可能在活了几个世纪后,还可以健康地跑马拉松。但或许你年轻时所钟爱的城市路跑很久以前就消失了,被禁了,因为那无法想象的全球高温,或者是未来文明发现星际接力赛更令人神往。你曾经做过的一切都有保存期限。你活得越久,过期的东西也就越多,因而增加了穿过你指尖的时间的重量。

As George Burns’ *quip goes: Old age isn’t great but it sure beats the alternative. There’s also truth to the reverse. Death isn’t great, but it sure beats the alternative.
美国著名喜剧演员乔治•伯恩斯曾有妙语:“年老并不美好,但它肯定强过另一种结果。反之亦然,死亡并不美好,但它肯定好过另一种选择。”

21英语网站版权说明  (Translator & Editor: )


以上文章内容选自《21世纪英文报》,详情请见《21世纪英文报》1175期
辞海拾贝
Cantor领唱者 Psychoanalyst心理分析学者
Forgo放弃 Expedition远征
Spectrum光谱 Interplanetary行星间的
Quip妙语 


 


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