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英文欣赏:人格的力量

人类中堪称墙一般笔直挺立的人少有,像纪念柱一样矗立的人更少,这样的人是美的化身,世所罕见,历史记录他们的存在,奉之为后世的楷模。《圣经》中的人物在我心中是最接近完人的范例,他们无私,信仰坚定,帮助他人,不遗余力。

A Straight Wall Is Hard to Build

by Lou R. Crandall

As I try to outline my thoughts, the subject becomes more and more difficult. I have many basic beliefs but as I try to pick and choose it seems to me that they all can be summarized in the word “character.” Obviously, what you believe is a fundamental thing. There can be no fanfare, no embellishments. It must be honest.

An architect once told me that the most difficult structure to design was a simple monumental shaft. The proportions must perfect to be pleasing. The hardest thing to build is a plain straight wall. The dimensions must be absolute. In either case there is no ornamentation to hide irregularities, no moldings to cover hidden defects and no supports to strengthen concealed weaknesses.

I am using this example to illustrate human character, which to me is the most important single power in the world today. The young people of toady are in reality foundations of structures yet to be built. It is obvious that the design of these human structures is the combined efforts of many human architects. Boys and girls are influenced first by their parents, then by their friends and finally by business associates. During this period of construction, the human character is revised and changed until at maturity a fairly well-fixed form of character is found.

There are few human straight walls and fewer human monumental shafts. Such men and women are personalities of great beauty and are so rare that history records their being and holds them up as examples for the future. The Biblical characters are for me the closest examples of human perfection. They were unselfish, steadfast in their faith and unstinting in their help to others.

Today in this world of turmoil and trouble we could use more of such people, but they do not just happen along. I believe that they are the result of concentrated effort on the part of parents and associates, and the more we build with character the better the world will become. This may sound like a dreamer’s hope and a theoretical goal which can never be reached. I do not think so.

The world as a whole has progressed tremendously material-wise, and we are a fortunate nation in that we are leading the procession. It is, I believe, natural that nations not so fortunate should look upon us with envy. We would do the same if the positions were reserved, so we should not judge too harshly the efforts of others to equal our standard of living. In either case, the fortunate or the unfortunate character in the individual and collectively in a nation stands out. I agree that it is easier to build character under ideal conditions but cannot forget that character is also required to give as well as receive.

It should be to the benefit of humanity if all individuals – and this includes myself – did a renovation or remodeling job on our own character. It may merely be a case of removing rough edges or tossing away molding to expose irregularities, in some cases to remove a prop and stand on one’s own feet. In any event if some of us set example, others will follow and the result should be good. This I believe.

人格的力量

卢.R.克兰德尔

我努力清理思路时,主题变得越来越难讲述。我有诸多信仰,但试图挑选时,似乎都可用“人格”一词概括。显然,一个人的信仰是根本,无需炫耀,无需修饰,是什么就是什么。

一位建筑师告诉我,最难设计的建筑是一尊简单的纪念柱,比例必须完美无缺,赏心悦目;最难砌的是一堵简朴笔直的墙,尺寸必须一丝不差。在这两种情况下,都无法用修饰掩盖不平整,以造型遮盖暗藏的缺陷,以支撑物来加固不牢的根基。

我以此例来说明人格,在我看来它是当今世界上最重要的唯一的力量。今天的年轻人实际上是世界待建结构的根基。显而易见,设计这些人格结构需要众多人类建筑师的共同努力。孩子们的成长,先后要受到父母、朋友和事业伙伴的影响。在这一成长过程中,人格一直在改变,直到在成熟期定型。

人类中堪称墙一般笔直挺立的人少有,像纪念柱一样矗立的人更少,这样的人是美的化身,世所罕见,历史记录他们的存在,奉之为后世的楷模。《圣经》中的人物在我心中是最接近完人的范例,他们无私,信仰坚定,帮助他人,不遗余力。

在今天这个混乱不安的世界,我们可以多用这样的人,但他们并非从天而降。我相信他们是父母、同伴倾力锻造的结果。我们越重视人格的建构,世界会越美好。这听起来像痴人说梦,是永远无法实现的理论目标,我却不这么想。

全世界在物质生产上已取得巨大进步,美利坚荣幸地成为引导这一进程的国家。我相信,没有这样好运气的国家可能会嫉妒我们,如果换个位置,我们也会如此,因此对于别人奋力向我们的生活标准看齐,我们不应该草率地评判。无论是哪种情况,个人或民族的幸运或不幸的品格都会凸显出来。我赞同在理想条件下更容易塑造人格的说法,但我认为不能忘记人格的塑造不仅需要外界条件的熏陶,也需要自身的努力。

如果所有人——也包括我自己——都更新或重铸自己的人格,这应该是有益于人类的。这也许仅仅是抹去粗糙的边缘或丢弃固有的模式,从而显露出不平整,有时则需要拿走支撑物,完全靠自己站立。

不论何种情况,只要我们有人树立榜样,其他人就会效仿,结果就应该是好的。对此我深信不疑。

附注:

卢·R·克兰德尔:出生于俄亥俄州的西尔韦尼亚,任乔治·A·富勒工程公司总裁,毕业于密歇根大学,获土木工程学士学位。克兰德尔先生在一战期间是一名“内陆水手”,在驻法海军中担任海滩执勤工作。


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《英文欣赏:人格的力量》

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