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【美文推荐】Joseph Epstein | Ambition
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【美文推荐】Joseph Epstein | Ambition

当我们决定和选择时,我们的人生便得以形成。抱负的意义就在于,它最终将构筑命运。

【作者简介】约瑟夫·艾本斯坦Joseph Epstein,出生于犹太家庭,美国著名散文家,西北大学文学教授,《美国学者》杂志主编,《纽约客》专栏作家,文化批评家,著述甚丰。2003年被美国国家人文基金会授予国家人文学科奖。作品有:散文集《熟悉的领域——美国生活观察》《似是而非的偏见》;短篇小说集《高尔丁的男孩们》等。

It is not difficult to imagine a world short of ambition. It would probably be a kinder world: without demands, without abrasions, without disappointments. People would have time for reflection. Such work as they did would not be for themselves but for the collectivity. Competition would never enter in. Conflict would be eliminated, tension become a thing of the past. The stress of creation would be at an end. Art would no longer be troubling, but purely celebratory in its functions. Longevity would be increased, for fewer people would die of heart attack or stroke caused by tumultuous endeavor. Anxiety would be extinct. Time would stretch on and on, with ambition long departed from the human heart.


Ah, how unrelievedly boring life would be!

There is a strong view that holds that success is a myth, and ambition therefore asham. Does this mean that success does not really exist? That achievement is at bottom empty? That the efforts of men and women are of no significance alongside the force of movements and events? Now not all success, obviously, is worth esteeming, nor all ambition worth cultivating. Which are and which are not is something one soon enough learns on one’s own. But even the most cynical secretly admit that success exists; that achievement counts for a great deal; and that the true myth is that the actions of men and women are useless. To believe otherwise is to take on a point of view that is likely to be deranging. It is, in its implications, to remove all motives for competence, interest in attainment, and regard forposterity.

We do not choose to be born. We do not choose our parents. We do not choose our historical epoch, the country of our birth, or the immediate circumstances of our upbringing. We do not, most of us, choose to die; nor do we choose the time or conditions of our death. But within all this realm of choicelessness, we do choose how we shall live: courageously or in cowardice, honorably or dishonorably, with purpose or in drift. We decide what is important and what is trivial in life. We decide that what makes us significant is either what we do or what we refuse to do. But no matter how indifferent the universe may be to our choices and decisions, these choices and decisions are ours to make. We decide. We choose. And as we decide and choose, so are our lives formed. In the end, forming our own destiny is what ambition is about.


http://www.bigear.cn/res-1105-7777700029920.html


1. abrasion  n. 磨损;磨耗;擦伤

2. tumultuous  adj. 吵闹的;骚乱的;狂暴的

3. sham  n. 假装;骗子;赝品

4. cynical  adj. 愤世嫉俗的;冷嘲的

5. derange  vt. 扰乱;使错乱;使发狂

6. posterity  n. 子孙,后裔;后代

7. cowardice  n. 怯懦;胆小






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