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My translation

(2008-03-11 20:02:50)
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Pondering "Love"

Camille DeAngelis

“爱”的思考

"Love" is the most overused word in the English language. I say I love Chunky Monkey ice cream. I love the Muppets and poetry and any song U2 has ever written. I love New York. But rarely do I consider the meaning of the word I use so liberally.

在英语中,“爱”是被滥用得最严重的。我说我爱Chunky Monkey冰淇淋。我爱Muppets和诗歌,还有U2写的每一首歌。我爱纽约。虽然我经常使用这个词,我却很少思考它的含义。"Love" is a word whose power has been diluted by eons of misuse. I'm not sure I'm ready to see my own reflection in the things and people I profess to love, because I'm not at all confident I really do love them. It's a dirty or worthless word for some. Others hold it as completely sacred and pure and refuse to waste it on musical artists or Ben & Jerry or even on people they merely like.

由于长久以来的误用,“爱”这个词的力量已经被削弱了。我不确定我是否准备好了去看我对那些人或事的反映,那些我对外宣称是我所爱的人与事。因为我不确定我是否真的爱他们。对某些人来说,“爱”是一个肮脏或无价值的字。另一些人把它当作神圣的、纯洁的,他们拒绝将它用在音乐艺术家,Ben & Jerry和他们只是喜欢着的人身上。

But most of us really are confused about the true meaning of the word, whether or not we realize it. It doesn't help that you run into it wherever you go:" love" in pop songs on the radio," love" in movies, and "love" on television. Love poetry ranges from the romantic (like Byron: "She walks in beauty, like the night/Of cloudless climes and starry skies...A heart whose love is innocent!" ) to the angst-ridden ( like Plath:" I should have loved a thunderbird instead;/At least when spring comes they roar back again" ).

不论我们是否意识到了,我们大多数人对这个词的真正含义都十分困惑。无论你从哪里研究都不会有用处:收音机里流行歌曲中的“爱”,电影里的“爱”,还有电视上的“爱”。爱情诗的范围从浪漫型(像拜伦的:"她在美中徜徉,她在美中穿行;象深邃的苍穹缀满繁星,象皎洁的夜空万里无云.....一颗心装着至爱,一颗心永远真纯!")到对现实不满型(像普拉斯的:"我希望爱上的是一只雷鸟,至少春天来到的时候,它会吼叫着回来")。

So, what is love? The most fascinating, and frustrating, aspect of that question is that there is no simple answer. Any dictionary definition is horribly unsatisfactory. Love is much more than" warm attachment" or "strong affection". True love, I think, ought to last. But can the love of which those poets write be the one that so often does not last? Is love unconditional?

那么,什么是爱呢?最迷人,同时也令人沮丧,那个问题没有简单的答案。任何字典对它的定义都不十分令人满意。爱,不仅仅是"温暖的情感"和"强烈的爱慕"。真爱,在我看来应该是持续的。但是为什么这么多诗人的爱情经常不是持续的?难道爱是无条件的吗?

I can say for sure, however, that love is not logical. The goal in the pursuit of logic is absolute truth and even perfection, neither of which is compatible with love. Should rational thought win out over romance, any relationship in question would surely fade as quickly as it had begun.

然而,我可以肯定地说,爱是没有逻辑而言的。逻辑追求的目标是绝对的真理,甚至是完美,他们都不能与爱兼容。若理性思想战胜了浪漫思想,那么问题中的任何关系都会迅速褪色,就像它开始的那样。

The actress Katherine Hepburn's thoughts on the matter are certainly thought-provoking." Love has nothing to do with what you are expecting to get--only with what you are expecting to give--which is everything." But what if I give everything and receive nothing in return? Can that possibly be love, however "unrequited"? When Sheryl Crow sings that "need is love, and love is need," is she singing about dependency, or is love really based on necessity? One definition states that if you truly love someone, you find you simply cannot live without them. But I consider myself an independent being. I don't need anyone in order to function. Does that make me incapable of love? Perhaps a more refined definition would be that" love" is wanting (but not needing)the other person in your life for always, because ideally I want to be a much better person for having known him.

毫无疑问,女演员凯瑟琳·赫本在这个问题上的想法是发人深省的。“爱与你期望得到什么无关--仅与你想要付出什么有关--这就是一切。”但如果我付出了一切却什么都没得到怎么办呢?那是爱吗,是没有报答的?当Sheryl Crow唱到:"需要的是爱,爱是需要,",她是在歌唱依赖,还是爱情真的建立在需要的基础上?有一个定义阐明,如果你真的爱一个人,你不能够没有他们而活着。但是我认为我是一个独立的人,我不需要任何人来使自己正常生活。那是否使我不能爱呢?也许"爱"的一个更精确的定义是要(而不是需要)一个经常在你生活中的人,因为我理想地希望自己因为认识他而变得更美好。

So what if it doesn't work out? You pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and think about anything but romance until someone else comes along who inspires you to try again. Most people believe that even if a relationship doesn't last, it still could have been love. I'm not so sure. A Chinese proverb states that if you love someone, let them go. If they return to you, it was meant to be. If they don't, their love was never yours to begin with. This, too, is trite, but its inherent truth is undeniable.

那如果它不能实现呢?你站起来,拂去灰尘,想除了浪漫之外的任何事情,直到别人来鼓励你再一次去尝试。大多数人相信即使一段关系不能持续,但它仍然是爱。我不太确定。有一句中国谚语说,爱一个人,就放开他。如果他回到了你身边,这就是你的爱情。如果他没有回来,那他就没有爱过你。这句话,虽然老套,但是其固有的道理是不容置疑的。

Perhaps to use the word love in terms of any college relationship is absurd. There can be no promises and no plans, because so often plans and promises go unfulfilled. We hang on when we ought to let go. In the end only one thing can be certain: we enter into relationships and risk loving someone because all of the joy and the agony leads us to a greater sense of self. "Love" can never be completely defined; ultimately the only definition that matters is your own. I'd like to suggest, however, that the next time you choose to use the word, you contemplate first all the profoundly marvelous possibilities that it contains.

也许根据任何的学术联系来使用爱这个词是荒谬的。因为那么多的计划和承诺落空,所以没有承诺,也不会有计划。在该放弃的时候我们却不放手。最后只有一件事可以肯定:我们介入了,冒着爱上某人的风险,因为所有的欢乐和痛苦带给我们对自我的更深的认识。"爱"不可能被完整地定义;最终重要的是你自己的定义。不过,我建议,当下次你选择使用词时,你首先应思考它所包含的所有深刻的,不可思议的可能性。

 

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