给毕业生的小建议:正视你的无知 | 双语阅读

2018-06-0516:05:01 发表评论 96

每当你觉得“这个我知道”,你其实不知道;若有一套理论能解释一切,抛弃它;避开无意义的闲聊,远离自命不凡的人。

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英国《金融时报》专栏作家西蒙•库柏在25年前也对即将来临的毕业后的生活感到惶恐不安,25年后他有些话想对曾经临近毕业的自己,以及所有面临毕业的毕业生们讲——

给毕业生的小建议:正视你的无知 | 双语阅读

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。

① confess [kən'fes] v. 忏悔;坦白;告解

例句: As long as we wish to confess all sins without exception, we are doing nothing else than to wish to leave nothing to God's mercy for pardon.

一旦我们愿意无一例外的坦诚我们的罪过,就没有什么可以留给天主去怜悯和宽恕的了。

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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:

② intone [ɪn'təʊn] v. 缓慢庄重地说

例句: He quietly intoned several prayers.

他静静地吟咏了几段祈祷词。

③ drone [drəʊn] v. 混日子;(蜂,机械等)嗡嗡地响

例句: The politician droned out his speech.

这位政客单调低沉地讲演。

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“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。

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“Like me back then, you are graduating almost entirely ignorant. This isn’t your fault. Your mostfecund 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。”

④ fecund ['fekənd] adj. 生殖力旺盛的;多产的

例句: It has now become clear how extraordinarily fecund a decade was the 1890s.

十九世纪九十年代被当今视为创造力旺盛的十年。

⑤ porous ['pɔːrəs] adj. 多孔的;透水的;透气的

例句: The local limestone is so porous that all the rainwater immediately sinks below ground.

当地的石灰岩如此多孔以致所有的雨水很快渗到地下。

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“If you are graduating in a vocational or technical subject, then whatever you learnt is going out of date as I speak. Nor will you learn much more if you enter the ‘real world’ of business, because business isn’t the real world. Like any other activity, it’s just a compartment of it. At best, you might improve your people skills and learn some time- and place-restricted pieces of knowledge, such as how to market pallets in the US right now.

“如果你念了个职业或技术专业,那么无论你学到什么知识,我发言的时候它们就要过时了。就算你进入职场的‘现实世界’,你也不会学到更多东西,因为那不等于现实世界。像其他任何活动一样,它只是现实世界的一部分。充其量,你可能会提高待人接物的能力,学到一些受限于时间和地域的碎片化知识,例如:现在怎么在美国营销运货板?

“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:

⑥ compartment [kəm'pɑː(r)tmənt] n.(铁路客车车厢分隔成的)隔间;分隔间

例句: Sometimes if I'm running off for a quick weekend, I designate a compartment of my wallet, and throw my receipts in.

有时周末短期旅行时,我会在钱包里留隔层放收据。

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1

多听少说

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

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。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。

⑦ anecdote ['ænɪk.dəʊt] n. 趣闻;逸事

例句: What makes the anecdote a puzzle was that the consequence of it was not found.

当然,这一奇闻怪事的疑难之处在于无法确定因果关系。

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2

抛弃能解释一切的理论

If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room. If you have a theory that explains everything, bin it. As the economist Esther Duflo told my colleague John Gapper about theorists: ‘If I can predict what you are going to think of pretty much any problem, it is likely that you will be wrong on stuff.’

如果你是房间里最聪明的人,你就进错了房间。如果你有套理论能解释一切事,抛弃它。正如经济学家埃丝特•迪弗洛(Esther Duflo)曾对我同事约翰•加普(John Gapper)这样评论理论家:‘如果我能预料到你对几乎任何事情的看法,那么很可能你的看法是错的。’

3

远离自命不凡的人

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

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。当你发现自己在某件事上错了,你就认了。珍惜这一刻,你学到了东西。

⑧ pontificate [pɒn'tɪfɪkeɪt] v. 装作绝对正确的样子;发表武断的意见 n. 教皇[主教,高僧]的职位

例句: He sat there pontificating about the legal system although it was clear that heknew very little.

他坐在那儿发表他对法制的高论,虽然他对此一窍不通。

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4

不要让冲突破坏你的职业生涯

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。

⑨ irritating ['ɪrɪ.teɪtɪŋ] adj. 惹人生气的;【医】起刺激作用的

例句: That is why it is so irritating when public figures apologize, and then act like the matter is finished.

这就是为什么公众人物道歉之后总是那么让人不快,因为他们表现得跟事情已经彻底解决了一样。

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5

明确理想

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。”

Last year, at a dinner in London, a high-powered fiftysomething came up and asked, “Do you remember me?” Of course I did. I hadn’t seen him for 25 years, but he had been the thirtysomething who introduced me to life-long learning. He taught me more than university did.

去年,在伦敦的一次晚宴上,一位五十多岁的成功人士过来问我:“你还记得我吗?”我当然记得。我虽然有25年没见过他了,但他正是那个建议我终生学习的成功人士,当年他三十多岁。他教给我的东西比大学教我的还多。

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