J·K·罗琳在哈佛大学毕业典礼上的演讲 PDF 打印 E-mail
作者:励志讲坛组委会   
2010-06-14 11:30

一、

今年6月5日是哈佛大学的毕业典礼,请来的演讲嘉宾是《哈利波特》的作者J.K.罗琳女
士。

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她的演讲题目是《失败的好处和想象的重要性》(The Fringe Benefits of Failure,
and the Importance of Imagination)。我读了一遍讲稿,觉得很好,很感染人。

她几乎没有谈到哈里波特,而是说了年轻时的一些经历。虽然J·K·罗琳现在很有钱,
是英国仅次于女皇的最富有的女人,但是她曾经有一段非常艰辛的日子,30岁了,还差
点流落街头。她主要谈的是,自己从这段经历中学到的东西。

去年的演讲嘉宾是比尔·盖茨,我翻译了他的演讲,影响挺大。今年,我只翻译了一部
分,有兴趣的朋友可以在网上找到全部原文和视频。

二、

她首先回忆了自己大学毕业的情景:

I was convinced that the only thing I wanted to do, ever, was to write
novels. However, my parents, both of whom came from impoverished
backgrounds and neither of whom had been to college, took the view that my
overactive imagination was an amusing personal quirk that could never pay a
mortgage, or secure a pension.

当时,我只想去写小说。但是,我的父母出身贫寒,没有受过大学教育。他们认为,我
那些不安分的想象力只是一种怪癖,根本不能用来还房贷,或者挣来养老金。

They had hoped that I would take a vocational degree; I wanted to study
English Literature. A compromise was reached that in retrospect satisfied
nobody, and I went up to study Modern Languages. Hardly had my parents’
car rounded the corner at the end of the road than I ditched German and
scuttled off down the Classics corridor.

他们希望我再去读个专业学位,而我想去攻读英国文学。最后,达成了一个双方都不甚
满意的妥协:我改学外语。可是等到父母一走开,我立刻报名学习古典文学。

I cannot remember telling my parents that I was studying Classics; they
might well have found out for the first time on graduation day. Of all
subjects on this planet, I think they would have been hard put to name one
less useful than Greek mythology when it came to securing the keys to an
executive bathroom.

我不记得将这事告诉了父母。他们可能是在毕业典礼那一天才发现的。我想,在全世界
的所有专业中,他们也许认为,不会有比研究希腊神话更没用的专业了,根本无法换来
一间独立的宽敞卫生间。

I would like to make it clear, in parenthesis, that I do not blame my
parents for their point of view. ... I cannot criticise my parents for
hoping that I would never experience poverty. They had been poor
themselves, and I have since been poor, and I quite agree with them that it
is not an ennobling experience. Poverty entails fear, and stress, and
sometimes depression; it means a thousand petty humiliations and hardships.
Climbing out of poverty by your own efforts, that is indeed something on
which to pride yourself, but poverty itself is romanticised only by fools.

我要申明,我并不责怪父母。……他们只是希望我不要过穷日子,我不能批评他们。他
们自己很穷,我后来一度也很穷,所以我很理解他们,贫穷是一种悲惨的经历。它带来
恐惧、压力、有时还有抑郁。它意味着许许多多的羞辱和艰辛。靠自己的努力摆脱贫穷
,确实让人自豪,但是只有傻瓜才会将贫穷本身浪漫化。

接着,她谈到了自己那些最悲惨的日子:

A mere seven years after my graduation day, I had failed on an epic scale.

我毕业后只过了7年,就失败得一塌糊涂。

An exceptionally short-lived marriage had imploded, and I was jobless, a
lone parent, and as poor as it is possible to be in modern Britain, without
being homeless. The fears my parents had had for me, and that I had had for
myself, had both come to pass, and by every usual standard, I was the
biggest failure I knew.

短命的婚姻闪电般地破裂,我还失业了,成了一个艰难的单身母亲。除了流浪汉,我是
当代英国最穷的人之一,真的一无所有。我父母对我的担忧,我对自己的担忧,都变成
了现实。用平常人的标准,我是我所知道的最失败的人。

That period of my life was a dark one. I had no idea how far the tunnel
extended, and for a long time, any light at the end of it was a hope rather
than a reality.

那段日子是我生命中的黑暗岁月。我不知道还要在黑暗中走多久,很长一段时间中,我
有的只是希望,而不是现实。

但是,J.K. 罗琳认为,没有那段日子的失败,就不会有后来的她。

So why do I talk about the benefits of failure? Simply because failure
meant a stripping away of the inessential. I stopped pretending to myself
that I was anything other than what I was, and began to direct all my
energy into finishing the only work that mattered to me.

为什么我说失败是有好处的?因为失败将那些非本质的东西都剥离了。我不再伪装自己
,我找到了真正的我,我将自己所有的精力,投入完成对我最重要的唯一一项工作。

Had I really succeeded at anything else, I might never have found the
determination to succeed in the one arena I believed I truly belonged.

要是我以前在其他地方成功了,那么我也许永远不会有这样的决心,投身于这个我自信
真正属于我的领域。

I was set free, because my greatest fear had already been realised, and I
was still alive, and I still had a daughter whom I adored, and I had an old
typewriter and a big idea. And so rock bottom became the solid foundation
on which I rebuilt my life.

我自由了,因为我最大的恐惧已经成为现实,而我却还依然活着,依然有一个深爱着的
女儿,我还有一台旧打字机和一个大大的梦想。我生命中最低的低点,成为我重建生活
的坚实基础。

Failure gave me an inner security that I had never attained by passing
examinations. Failure taught me things about myself that I could have
learned no other way. I discovered that I had a strong will, and more
discipline than I had suspected; I also found out that I had friends whose
value was truly above rubies.

失败使我的内心产生一种安全感,以前通过考试也没有的安全感。失败让我看清自己,
以前我从没认识到自己是这样的。我发现,我比自己以为的,有更强的意志和决心。我
还发现,我有一些比宝石更珍贵的朋友。

You will never truly know yourself, or the strength of your relationships,
until both have been tested by adversity. Such knowledge is a true gift,
for all that it is painfully won, and it has been worth more to me than any
qualification I ever earned.

只有到逆境来临的那一天,你才会真正了解你自己,了解你结识的人。这种了解是真正
的财富,虽然是用痛苦换来的,但是它比我以前得到的任何证书都有用。

在演说的下半部分,她还谈了毕业后在大*赦*国*际(Amnesty International)伦敦总
部的第一份工作。这部分内容也很精彩,不过我就不翻译了,大家可以去看原文。

三、

我要重点谈的,是演说的结尾部分。

一般来说,在演讲结束时,嘉宾将对毕业生提出期望。我们可以看到,在这种场合,几
乎所有嘉宾,都没有说“祝愿同学们取得个人成功”,而是说“希望同学们努力去减轻
人类的苦难”。

比尔·盖茨去年说:

Should Harvard encourage its faculty to take on the world's worst
inequities? Should Harvard students learn about the depth of global poverty
… the prevalence of world hunger … the scarcity of clean water …the
girls kept out of school … the children who die from diseases we can cure?

哈佛是否鼓励她的老师去研究解决世界上最严重的不平等?哈佛的学生是否从全球那些
极端的贫穷中学到了什么……世界性的饥荒……清洁的水资源的缺乏……无法上学的女
童……死于非恶性疾病的儿童……哈佛的学生有没有从中学到东西?

Should the world's most privileged people learn about the lives of the
world's least privileged?

那些世界上过着最优越生活的人们,有没有从那些最困难的人们身上学到东西?

These are not rhetorical questions – you will answer with your policies.

这些问题并非语言上的修辞。你必须用自己的行动来回答它们。

When you consider what those of us here in this Yard have been given – in
talent, privilege, and opportunity – there is almost no limit to what the
world has a right to expect from us.

想一想吧,我们在这个院子里的这些人,被给予过什么——天赋、特权、机遇——那么
可以这样说,全世界的人们几乎有无限的权力,期待我们做出贡献。

J.K.罗琳今年说:

the fact that you are graduating from Harvard suggests that you are not
very well-acquainted with failure. You might be driven by a fear of failure
quite as much as a desire for success. Indeed, your conception of failure
might not be too far from the average person’s idea of success, so high
have you already flown academically.

你们是哈佛毕业生的这个事实,说明你们并不很了解失败。你们也许极其渴望成功,所
以非常害怕失败。说实话,你们眼中的失败,很可能就是普通人眼中的成功,毕竟你们
在学业上已经很成功了。

But how much more are you, Harvard graduates of 2008, likely to touch other
people’s lives? Your intelligence, your capacity for hard work, the
education you have earned and received, give you unique status, and unique
responsibilities.…… That is your privilege, and your burden.

但是,所有各位哈佛大学2008届毕业生,你们对其他人的生活了解多少?你们的智慧、
你们的能力、你们所受的教育,给了你们独一无二的优势,也给了你们独一无二的责任
。……你们的优势就是你们的责任。

If you choose to use your status and influence to raise your voice on
behalf of those who have no voice; if you choose to identify not only with
the powerful, but with the powerless; if you retain the ability to imagine
yourself into the lives of those who do not have your advantages, then it
will not only be your proud families who celebrate your existence, but
thousands and millions of people whose reality you have helped transform
for the better.

你们要用自己的地位和影响,为那些被忽略的人们说话;你们不仅要看到那些有权有势
者,也要看到那些无权无势者;你们要学会设想,那些条件不如你们的人们是如何生活
的;那样的话,不仅你们的亲人们将为你们感到自豪,而且千千万万的人们将因为你们
的帮助而生活得更好。

We do not need magic to change the world, we carry all the power we need
inside ourselves already: we have the power to imagine better.

我们不需要改变世界的魔法,我们自己的体内就有这样的力量:那就是我们一直在梦想
,让这个世界变得更美好。