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  In our unspoken but not so subtle Darwinian competition with one another–which springs, I think, from our fear of our own insignificance, a subset of our dread of mortality — we have of late, we Americans, to our detriment, come to love accolades more than genuine achievement.  We have come to see them as the point — and we’re happy to compromise standards, or ignore reality, if we suspect that’s the quickest way, or only way, to have something to put on the mantelpiece, something to pose with, crow about, something with which to leverage ourselves into a better spot on the social totem pole.  No longer is it how you play the game, no longer is it even whether you win or lose, or learn or grow, or enjoy yourself doing it…  Now it’s “So what does this get me?”  As a consequence, we cheapen worthy endeavors, and building a Guatemalan medical clinic becomes more about the application to Bowdoin than the well-being of Guatemalans。 (来源:EnglishCN.com)

  虽然我们并未明说,但显而易见地,在达尔文的物竞天择理论中-我认为它源于我们对自身渺小的恐惧和对死亡的忧虑。最近我们美国人-这对我们造成很大的损害-对赞美的喜爱更胜于真正的成就;我们必须认真看待这一点。我们乐于向标准妥协,或忽略事实,如果我们认为这是最快或唯一的方式,让我们能得到某种放在壁炉上炫耀的东西;某种能让我们装腔作势、自吹自擂的东西;某种能让我们在社会图腾柱上爬到更佳位置的东西。我们不再在乎如何比赛、结果是赢是输;是否能藉此学习成长或乐在其中。现在我们在乎的是,“这能给我什么好处?”结果是,我们贬低了努力的价值。建立瓜地马拉医疗中心的目的更倾向于对鲍登学院的应用,而非危地马拉人的福祉。

 It’s an epidemic — and in its way, not even dear old Wellesley High is immune… one of the best of the 37,000 nationwide, Wellesley High School… where good is no longer good enough, where a B is the new C, and the midlevel curriculum is called Advanced College Placement.  And I hope you caught me when I said “one of the best。”  I said “one of the best” so we can feel better about ourselves, so we can bask in a little easy distinction, however vague and unverifiable, and count ourselves among the elite, whoever they might be, and enjoy a perceived leg up on the perceived competition.  But the phrase defies logic.  By definition there can be only one best.  You’re it or you’re not。

  这是一种传染病,以它传染的程度来说,连历史悠久的韦斯利高中都无法幸免。全国37000所高中最好的之一-韦斯利高中。在这里,“良好”已算不上够好;B被视为新的C;中等程度的课程被称为大学先修课程。我希望你们注意到我刚刚所说的“最好的之一”;我说“最好的之一”,是因为这样我们才能对自己感觉良好;才能沉浸在这微不足道的差异中,无论这多么地含糊不清、无法验证;才能将自己视为菁英之一,无论菁英可能是谁;并享受在自我认定的竞争中自以为是的领先。但这句话并不合逻辑。以定义来说,最好的只有一个;是就是,不是就不是。

  If you’ve learned anything in your years here I hope it’s that education should be for, rather than material advantage, the exhilaration of learning.  You’ve learned, too, I hope, as Sophocles assured us, that wisdom is the chief element of happiness.  (Second is ice cream…  just an fyi)  I also hope you’ve learned enough to recognize how little you know… how little you know now… at the moment… for today is just the beginning.  It’s where you go from here that matters。

  如果你在高中岁月里有学到任何东西,我希望是教育的本质-乐在学习,而不是物质上的优势。我也希望你们学习

  到,如Sophocles(古希腊悲剧作家)所说的,智能是快乐的首要元素;第二个是冰淇淋-仅供参考。我也希望你所学的足以使你体认到自己的不足,了解

  自己目前所知的是多么地少。因为今天只是一个开始,重要的是今后的学习。

  As you commence, then, and before you scatter to the winds, I urge you to do whatever you do for no reason other than you love it and believe in its importance.  Don’t bother with work you don’t believe in any more than you would a spouse you’re not crazy about, lest you too find yourself on the wrong side of a Baltimore Orioles comparison.  Resist the easy comforts of complacency, the specious glitter of materialism, the narcotic paralysis of self-satisfaction.  Be worthy of your advantages.  And read… read all the time… read as a matter of principle, as a matter of self-respect.  Read as a nourishing staple of life.  Develop and protect a moral sensibility and demonstrate the character to apply it.  Dream big.  Work hard.  Think for yourself.  Love everything you love, everyone you love, with all your might.  And do so, please, with a sense of urgency, for every tick of the clock subtracts from fewer and fewer; and as surely as there are commencements there are cessations, and you’ll be in no condition to enjoy the ceremony attendant to that eventuality no matter how delightful the afternoon。

  当你们毕业后,准备大展鸿图之前,我建议你们,不管做任何事,都应基于热爱和相信它的重要性。别费心理会你根本不相信的事,就像你不会跟一位你并未疯狂爱上的伴侣结婚;也避免让自己在巴尔的摩金莺队的比赛中站错边。别志得意满;别被物质主义华而不实的光芒蒙蔽;

 
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