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Hu Shih’s Essay: Never Give up the Pursuit of Learning– modern chinese literature

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不要抛弃学问 〔7〕

◎胡 适

诸位毕业同学:你们现在要离开母校了,我没有什么礼物送你们,只好送你们一句话罢。

这一句话是:“不要抛弃学问。”以前的功课也许有一大部分是为了这张毕业文凭,不得已而做的,从今以后,你们可以依自己的心愿去自由研究了 〔8〕  。趁现在年富力强的时候,努力做一种专门学问。少年是一去不复返的,等到精力衰时,要做学问 〔9〕  也来不及了。即为吃饭计,学问决不会辜负人的 〔10〕  。吃饭而不求学问,三年五年之后,你们都要被后来少年淘汰掉的。到那时再想做点学问来补救,恐怕已太晚了。

有人说:“出去做事之后,生活问题急需解决,哪有工夫去读书?即使要做学问,既没有图书馆,又没有实验室,哪能做学问?”

我要对你们说:凡是要等到有了图书馆方才读书的,有了图书馆也不肯读书。凡是要等到有了实验室方才做研究的,有了实验室也不肯做研究。你有了决心要研究一个问题,自然会撙衣节食 〔11〕  去买书,自然会想出法子来设置仪器。

至于时间,更不成问题 〔12〕  。达尔文一生多病,不能多做工,每天只能做一点钟的工作。你们看他的成绩!每天花一点钟看10页有用的书,每年可看3,600多页书,30年可读11万页书。

诸位,11万页书可以使你成一个学者了。可是,每天看三种小报也得费你一点钟的工夫,四圈麻将也得费你一点半钟的光阴。看小报呢?还是打麻将呢?还是努力做一个学者呢?全靠你们自己的选择 〔13〕  !

易卜生说:“你的最大责任是把你这块材料铸造成器。”

学问便是铸器的工具。抛弃了学问便是毁了你们自己。

再会了!你们的母校眼睁睁地要看 〔14〕  你们十年之后成什么器。

Never Give up the Pursuit of Learning

◎ Hu Shih

Dear Students of the Graduating Class,

As you are leaving your alma mater, I have nothing to offer you as a gift except a word of advice.

My advice is, “Never give up the pursuit of learning.” You have perhaps finished your college courses mostly for obtaining the diploma, or, in other words, out of sheer necessity. However, from now on you are free to follow your own bent in the choice of studies. While you are in the prime of life, why not devote yourselves to a special field of study? Youth will soon be gone never to return. And it will be too late for you to go into scholarship when in your declining years. Knowledge will do you a good turn even as a means of subsistence. If you give up studies while holding a job, you will in a couple of years have had yourselves replaced by younger people. It will then be too late to remedy the situation by picking up studies again.

Some people say, “Once you have a job, you’ll come up against the urgent problem of making a living. How can you manage to find time to study? Even if you want to, will it be possible with no library or laboratory available?”

Now let me tell you this. Those who refuse to study for lack of a library will most probably continue to do so even though there is a library. And those who refuse to do research for lack of a laboratory will most probably continue to do so even though a laboratory is available. As long as you set your mind on studies, you will naturally cut down on food and clothing to buy books or do everything possible to acquire necessary instruments.

Time is no object. Charles Darwin could only work one hour a day due to ill health. Yet what a remarkable man he was! If you spend one hour a day reading 10 pages of a book, you can finish more than 3,600 pages a year, and 110,000 pages in 30 years.

Dear students, 110,000 pages will be quite enough to make a learned man of you. It will take you one hour to read three tabloids a day, and one and half hours to finish four rounds of mah-jong a day. Reading tabloids, playing mah-jong or striving to be a learned man, the choice lies with you. Henrik Ibsen says, “It is your supreme duty to cast yourself into a useful implement.”

Learning is the casting mould. Forsake learning, and you will ruin yourself.

Farewell! Your alma mater is watching eagerly to see what will become of you ten years from now.

胡适是中国现代史上一个颇有影响而又相当复杂的学者。除学术著作外,他写过很多富于洞察力和启发性的文章。《不要抛弃学问》是他1928—1930年在上海任中国公学校长时为毕业生所作赠言,至今仍有参考价值。

注释

〔7〕 “不要抛弃学问”在这里的意思是“不要放弃对学问的追求”,因此不能直译为Never Give up Learning,必须加字:Never Give up the Pursuit of Learning。

〔8〕 “你们可以依自己的心愿去自由研究了”译为you are free to follow your personal bent in the choice of studies,其中to follow one’s bent是成语,和to follow one’s inclination同义,作“做自己感兴趣或爱做的事”解。

〔9〕 “做学问”译为to go into scholarship,等于to engage in learning。

〔10〕 “学问决不会辜负人的”译为Knowledge will do you a good turn,其中to do one a good turn是成语,作“做对某人有益的事”解。

〔11〕 “撙衣节食”即“省吃省穿”,现译为cut down on food and clothing,其中to cut down on是成语,与to economize on同义,作“节约”解。又,上语也可译为to live frugally。

〔12〕 “至于时间,更不成问题”译为Time is no object,其中no object是成语,等于no problem,作“不成问题”或“不在话下”解。

〔13〕 “全靠你们自己的选择”译为the choice lies with you或it is up to you to make the choice。

〔14〕 “你们的母校眼睁睁地要看……”中的“眼睁睁地”通常的意思是“无可奈何地”,现在这里作“热切地”解,故译为eagerly。

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