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How to grow old

发布日期:2019-06-28      阅读数:131 次
HOW TO GROW OLD
如何平静老去?

                              By Bertrand Russell

                   伯特兰·罗素

1. In spite of the title, this article will really be on how not to grow old, which, at my time of life, is a much more important subject. My first advice would be to choose your ancestors carefully. Although both my parents died young, I have done well in this respect as regards my other ancestors. My maternal grandfather, it is true, was cut off in the flower of his youth at the age of sixty-seven, but my other three grandparents all lived to be over eighty. Of remoter ancestors I can only discover one who did not live to a great age, and he died of a disease which is now rare, namely, having his head cut off。
不管标题是怎么写的,这篇文章实际上告诉你的是如何减缓衰老,这样一个主题在我现在的生命阶段是很重要的。我的第一个建议是认真仔细的去考察一下自己的宗谱。虽然我的父母去世的比较早,但是我的别的祖先都活的比较长寿。我敬爱的祖父,在67岁结束了自己像花期一样富有朝气的生命,我的其余几位祖辈的年龄都超过了80。在别的远祖当中,只有一位活的不是很长久,他死于一种被砍头的现在已经灭绝的疾病(不知道怎么很好的翻译这一句幽默)。
2. A great grandmother of mine, who was a friend of Gibbon, lived to the age of ninety-two, and to her last day remained a terror to all her descendants. My maternal grandmother, after having nine children who survived, one who died in infancy, and many miscarriages, as soon as she became a widow, devoted herself to woman’s higher education. She was one of the founders of Girton College, and worked hard at opening the medical profession to women. She used to relate how she met in Italy an elderly gentleman who was looking very sad. She inquired the cause of his melancholy and he said that he had just parted from his two grandchildren. “Good gracious”, she exclaimed, “I have seventy-two grandchildren, and if I were sad each time I parted from one of them, I should have a dismal existence!” “Madres naturale,” he replied. But speaking as one of the seventy-two, I prefer her recipe. After the age of eighty she found she had some difficulty in getting to sleep, so she habitually spent the hours from midnight to 3 a.m. in reading popular science. I do not believe that she ever had time to notice that she was growing old. This, I think, is proper recipe for remaining young. If you have wide and keen interests and activities in which you can still be effective, you will have no reason to think about the merely statistical fact of the number of years you have already lived, still less of the probable brevity of you future.
我的一位祖母,她是Gibbon的朋友,活了92岁,直到生命的最后一天一直都让她的子孙后代感到惊奇。我慈爱的祖母,抚养成人9个孩子,另有一个早年夭折,其中另有流产的例子。当她成为一个寡妇的时候,全身心投入到妇女高等教育当中,她是Girton学院的创始人之一,并且在妇女医疗方面做了大量的工作。她经常给我们讲述她在意大利遇到一位年老绅士的故事,当时,这位老年人看上去很忧愁悲伤。祖母去询问缘由,老人告诉他说是因为刚和两个孙子离别。祖母惊叹道:“天啊!我有72个孙子,如果我和他们每一个离别的时候都感到悲哀不开心,我肯定生活的非常凄凉。”老绅士听了便转悲为欣。我便是她说的72个孙子之一。在80岁之后,她发现自己睡眠不是很好,于是她养成了从午夜到凌晨3点钟阅读流行科学杂志的习惯。我一直不相信她会有空余时间去注意到自己已经变老了,我认为这是保持年轻的一种好方法。如果你有广泛、热烈的兴趣和日常行动并在其中有很好的效率,你没有缘由去成天想那些已经逝去的许多岁月,并很少考虑不会太长久的将来年月。
3. As regards health I have nothing useful to say since I have little experience of illness. I eat and drink whatever I like, and sleep when I cannot keep awake. I never do anything whatever on the ground that it is good for health, though in actual fact the things I like doing are mostly wholesome.
有关于健康方面,我没有太多有用的建议可以讲,因为我很少得病。我吃喝自己喜欢的东西,困顿了就去睡觉。我从来不按照任何所谓有益健康的(医生)建议行事,虽然我所做的任何喜欢的事情都是非常有益于健康的。
4. Psychologically there are two dangers to be guarded against in old age. One of these is undue absorption in the past. It does not do to live in memories, in regrets for the good old days, or in sadness about friends who are dead. One’s thoughts must be directed to the future and to things about which there is something to be done. This is not always easy: one’s own past is gradually increasing weight. It is easy to think to oneself that one’s emotions used to be more vivid than they are, and one’s mind keener. If this is true it should be forgotten, and if it is forgotten it will probably not be true.
在精神生活方面老年人有两个方面的危险因素需要注意。其中之一就是老是沉浸在过去的会议中,不能在回忆当中生活,不要为逝去的好岁月感到遗憾,也不要为已经去世的朋友感到悲哀。一个人的思想必须被引导向未来和那些必须要完成的事情上。这并不是一件容易做到的事情:一个人的过去岁月在逐渐的增多,很容易沉湎于那些昔日的雄心抱负,和那些无法忘怀的情结。如果情形确实是这样的,就应当都去忘却;如果都忘记了,逝去的就不应当是真实的。
5. The other thing to be avoided is clinging to youth in the hope of sucking vigor from its vitality. When your children are grown up they want to live their own lives, and if you continue to be as interested in them as you were when they were young, you are likely to become a burden to them, unless they are unusually callous. I do not mean that one should be without inerest in them, but one’s interest should be contemplative and, if possible, philanthropic, but not unduly emotional. Animals become indifferent to their young as soon as their young can look after themselves, but human beings, owing to the length of infancy, find this difficult.
另外一件事情,就是尽量避免抱着从青年人身上获取活力的目的去亲密接近年轻人,如果你一定要对他们抱有兴趣,除非他们冷淡无情,否则你很快会成为他们的负担。我并不是说老年人不应当对年轻人有兴趣,但是老人的兴趣应当是沉思冥想、保守的。应当是博爱的,而且不要包含太多的感情因素。动物们当自己的孩子变得能够照看自己的时候,都会对他们变得比较冷漠;但是对人类而言,因为幼年期比较长,最后发现要做到这一点比较困难。
6. I think that a successful old age is easiest for those who have strong impersonal interests involving appropriate activities. It is in this sphere that long experience is really fruitful, and it is in this sphere that the wisdom born of experience can be exercised without being oppressive. It is no use telling grown-up children not to make mistakes, both because they will not believe you, and because mistakes are an essential part of education. But if you are one of those who are incapable of impersonal interests, you may find that your life will be empty unless you concern yourself with you children and grandchildren. In that case you must realize that while you can still render them material services, such as making them an allowance or knitting them jumpers, you must not expect that they will enjoy your company.
我认为对那些有强烈的非个人兴趣并投身其中的人而言,过一个满意的老年生活是容易的。在这一方面,长期的人生阅历是富有成效的,并且在这一领域由经验而生的智慧可以在没有太大强制压迫的情形下经由实践活动得以检验。对成长中的孩子,去告诉他们不要犯错误是没有用的;不但是因为他们不相信你,并且是因为犯错误是教育的重要构成部分。但是如果你发现自己是一个没有非个人兴趣的人,你会发现你的生命变得空虚除非你去关心自己的孩子和孙子们。在这种情形下,你会发现不管你继续给他们提供物质帮助,譬如生活补贴还是给他们编制衣服,你不要期望他们很乐意陪伴你。
7. Some old people are oppressed by the fear of death. In the young there is a justification for this feeling. Young men who have reason to fear that they will be killed in battle may justifiably feel bitter in the thought that they have been cheated of the best things that life has to offer. But in an old man who has known human joys and sorrows, and has achieved whatever work it was in him to do, the fear of death is somewhat abject and ignoble. The best way to overcome it – so at least it seems to me – is to make your interests gradually wider and more impersonal, until bit by bit the walls of the ego recede, and your life becomes increasingly merged in the universal life. An individual human existence should be like a river – small at first, narrowly contained within its banks, and rushing passionately past rocks and over waterfalls. Gradually the river grows wider, the banks recede, the waters flow more quietly, and in the end, without any visible break, they become merged in the sea, and painlessly lose their individual being. The man who, in old age, can see his life in this way, will not suffer from the fear of death, since the things he cares for will continue. And if, with the decay of vitality, weariness increases, the thought of rest will not be unwelcome. I should wish to die while still at work, knowing that others will carry on what I can no longer do and content in the thought that what was possible has been done.

有些老人对死亡感到害怕。年轻人有这种想法的话是正常的,他们会为可能在战争中阵亡感到痛苦,因为他们会感到被剥夺掉了生活会给予的美好的东西。但是对一个经历了生活的哀乐,和所有人生应当做的事情的老人而言,这种恐惧情绪是不幸的和没有必要的。对我而言,克服这种情绪的最好办法是:让自己的兴趣逐渐泛和非个人化,直到自我的障碍一点一点的消逝,个人的生命融入到大众的生活。个体生命的存在应当像一条河流——刚开始很小,狭隘的局限于自己堤岸,富有激情的冲过岩石和瀑布。慢慢的,河流开始变得宽阔,堤岸在消退,水流也变得平静(参见静水流深),最后,没有明显的征兆,河流汇入了大海,毫无痛苦的结束了自己个体的存在。老年人能用这种方式来看待自己的生活的话,将不会经历死亡的恐惧,因为他关心的东西会延续。并且随着活力的减退和疲倦感的增多,希望能够长眠的想法不是不受欢迎的。我希望能够在工作的时候死去,知道别人会继续我的未竟事业,并且知道自己已经做了自己所能做的一切,我会感到很欣慰。

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