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David McCullough, Jr. 為衛斯理高中畢業生演講〈你並不特別〉

You Are Not Special Commencement Speech from Wellesley High School

(By David McCullough, Jr.)

 

Photo of three lions hunting on the Serengeti.

講者:David McCullough, Jr.

2012年5月23日演講

 

翻譯:洪曉慧

編輯:朱學恆

簡繁轉換:洪曉慧

後製:洪曉慧

字幕影片後制:謝旻均

 

 

閱讀中文字幕純文字版本

 

 

關於這場演講(來源Most Watched Today | The Best Online Videos

David McCullough Jr.是麻瑟諸塞州衛斯理高中的英文老師,在畢業典禮演講中告訴即將畢業的學生「你並不特別」。這場演講已成為本週最受歡迎的影片之一,一天之內的瀏覽人次高達250,000。

 

關於David McCullough, Jr.(來源The Daily Beast

David McCullough Jr.是普立茲獎得主及知名歷史學家David McCullough之子,也是衛斯里高中資深英語教師。

 

David McCullough, Jr. 為衛斯理高中畢業生演講〈你並不特別〉

 

王博士、Keough博士、Novogroski女士和Curran小姐;教育委員會委員和畢業生的親朋好友;衛斯理高中2012年畢業班的女士先生們;有機會能在這個下午對你們演講令我感到十分榮幸與感激,謝謝。好,進入主題吧!

 

畢業典禮-生命中重要的前瞻性儀式。別問說,「那婚禮呢?」婚禮是單方面的,而且效率不高。婚禮是以新娘為中心的盛會,除了同意一長串無理的要求外,新郎只能呆站在一旁。沒有莊嚴的、「大家看著我」的過程;沒有像新娘被長輩送出的儀式;沒有改變身份的宣告。你們能想像一個專門看男人試穿燕尾服的電視節目嗎?他們的父親坐在那裡,淚汪汪的眼中透著喜悅和不可置信的神情;他們的兄弟躲在角落,羨慕地喃喃自語。對男人來說,在挑戰極限的拖延後,婚禮就像自發性地,幾乎是無意識地,在球賽中場休息時間去冰箱拿飲料。然而,婚姻的失敗率如下:統計資料顯示,現場觀眾有一半會離婚;這樣的勝率會讓你榮登美國聯盟東區的爐主。巴爾的摩金鶯隊的勝率都比婚姻成功率來得高。

 

但這個儀式-畢業典禮,總是能圓滿結束。從今天開始-確實如此;無論你生病或健康;經歷過財務困境、中年危機;在辛辛那提貿易展遇見還算迷人的銷售代表-家長瞭解我的意思;對惱人之事的容忍度越來越低;歷經過每次的改變、自我矛盾和其他種種;你從高中畢業這個事實永遠不會改變,你的文憑一生都會與你相伴。

 

不,畢業典禮代表生命中一個偉大儀式的開始,它有其本身的附加價值和高度的象徵意義;例如象徵讓我們在這個下午找到自己定位的美妙儀式。通常我會像避瘟疫似地避免陳腔爛調,閃得遠遠的,但現在我們處於平等的競技場上;這點很重要,它代表某些意義。你們的畢業禮服-毫無造型、外觀統一、尺碼相同;無論男女、高矮、會不會讀書;無論是曬成一身古銅色的舞會皇后或Xbox的星際刺客;你會發現,每個人的穿著都一模一樣。而你們的文憑…除了名字以外,其它完全一樣。這一切本應如此,因為,你們沒有任何人是特別的。你並不特別,你並非與眾不同;儘管你有U9足球獎盃、輝煌的七年級成績單;儘管你確信世上必定有肥胖的紫色恐龍、親切的羅傑斯先生(著名兒童電視節目主持人)和古怪的Sylvia阿姨;無論女蝙蝠俠曾奮不顧身地救過你多少次;你依然沒什麼特別。

 

是的,你被驕縱、溺愛、寵愛、保護、呵護;是的,忙碌不堪的大人抱著你、親吻你、餵養你,替你擦嘴、擦屁股;訓練你、教導你、指引你、輔導你、傾聽你、規勸你、鼓勵你、安慰你,並一再地鼓勵你。你們被輕擁在懷裡,好言哄誘和懇求;你們被讚美討好,還被稱為甜心派。是的,你確實有。當然,我們曾參加你的比賽、戲劇演出、演奏會、科學展覽;當然,當你走進房裡時,每個人都露出微笑;對你貼出的每一則twitter訊息發出千百次興奮的驚嘆。為什麼?也許你的照片曾登上Townsman(衛斯理高中校內刊物)。

 

現在你們已經征服了高中階段,無疑地,我們全都是為了你們而聚在這裡。你們是這個優秀社區的驕傲和喜悅,第一批從那棟宏偉新大樓裡走出的人。但不要認為你有什麼特別,因為你並不特別。

 

實證無所不在,這個數字大到連一位英語老師都無法忽視。Newton、Natick、Nee…(均為鄰近高中);我可以提Needham,對嗎?總共有兩千名高中畢業生-大約這個數目,這只是鄰近地區。現在,全國共有不止320萬名高中生正從37000多所高中畢業,也就是說,有37000名畢業生代表、37000名學生會長、92000名合唱團團員、34萬名趾高氣揚的運動健將,和2,185,967雙靴子。但為何要侷限在高中?畢竟你們即將離開它。所以想想:即使你是百萬中選一的菁英,以地球上68億人口來說,這意味著有將近7000人跟你一樣。想像一下,在星期一馬拉松大賽時站在華盛頓街某處,觀看6800個「你」跑過。再以更宏觀的角度來想:我得提醒大家,你的星球不是太陽系的中心;你的太陽系不是銀河的中心;你的銀河不是宇宙的中心。事實上,天文物理學家肯定地說,宇宙沒有中心。因此,你也不會是宇宙的中心。

 

(笑聲)

 

(掌聲)

 

即使唐納.川普也不會是;應該有人告訴他這件事。

 

(笑聲)

 

雖然他的頭髮確實蔚為奇觀。「但Dave,」你喊道,「惠特曼(美國詩人)告訴我,我是自己的完美版本!Epictetus(古希臘哲學家)告訴我,我有宙斯的火花!」我不反對這一點。因此,這代表68億個完美的例子、68億個宙斯的火花。你們知道,如果每個人都是特殊的,就沒有任何人是特殊的;如果每個人都能拿到獎盃,獎盃就變得毫無意義。

 

雖然我們並未明說,但顯而易見地,在達爾文的物競天擇理論中-我認為它源於我們對自身渺小的恐懼和對死亡的憂慮。最近我們美國人-這對我們造成很大的損害-對讚美的喜愛更勝於真正的成就;我們必須認真看待這一點。我們樂於向標準妥協,或忽略事實,如果我們認為這是最快或唯一的方式,讓我們能得到某種放在壁爐上炫耀的東西;某種能讓我們裝腔作勢、自吹自擂的東西;某種能讓我們在社會圖騰柱上爬到更佳位置的東西。我們不再在乎如何比賽、結果是贏是輸;是否能藉此學習成長或樂在其中。現在我們在乎的是,「這能給我什麼好處?」結果是,我們貶低了努力的價值。建立瓜地馬拉醫療中心的目的更傾向於對鮑登學院的應用,而非瓜地馬拉人的福祉。

 

這是一種傳染病,以它傳染的程度來說,連歷史悠久的衛斯理高中都無法倖免。全國37000所高中最好的之一-衛斯理高中。在這裡,「良好」已算不上夠好;B被視為新的C;中等程度的課程被稱為大學先修課程。我希望你們注意到我剛剛所說的「最好的之一」;我說「最好的之一」,是因為這樣我們才能對自己感覺良好;才能沉浸在這微不足道的差異中,無論這多麼地含糊不清、無法驗證;才能將自己視為菁英之一,無論菁英可能是誰;並享受在自我認定的競爭中自以為是的領先。但這句話並不合邏輯。以定義來說,最好的只有一個;是就是,不是就不是。

 

如果你在高中歲月裡有學到任何東西,我希望是教育的本質-樂在學習,而不是物質上的優勢。我也希望你們學習到,如Sophocles(古希臘悲劇作家)所說的,智慧是快樂的首要元素;第二個是冰淇淋-僅供參考。我也希望你所學的足以使你體認到自己的不足,瞭解自己目前所知的是多麼地少。因為今天只是一個開始,重要的是今後的學習。

 

當你們畢業後,準備大展鴻圖之前,我建議你們,不管做任何事,都應基於熱愛和相信它的重要性。別費心理會你根本不相信的事,就像你不會跟一位你並未瘋狂愛上的伴侶結婚;也避免讓自己在巴爾的摩金鶯隊的比賽中站錯邊。別志得意滿;別被物質主義華而不實的光芒矇蔽;別被自我滿足麻痺;別愧對自己的優勢。並閱讀…養成閱讀習慣;閱讀跟原則和自重有關,把閱讀當成生活中的精神食糧。培養及保持道德感,並展現道德品格;擁有遠大夢想,並努力實現;進行獨立思考;全心全意地愛你所愛的一切人事物。請一定要把握時間,及時行動,因為時間正一分一秒地流逝。

 

凡事有開始必有結束;無論你們這個下午過得多麼愉快,這場典禮終究會結束。充實的人生、與眾不同的人生、有意義的人生是一項成就;這不是某種只因為你是好人就會從天而降,或媽媽能為你提供的東西。你會注意到,開國元勳們費盡心力地確保你不可剝奪的權力,包括生命、自由和對幸福的追求。「追求」-一個相當積極的動詞;我想,懶懶地躺著觀看Youtube上的鸚鵡怎麼溜冰應該算不上。

 

老羅斯福總統-一位老練的騎士,提倡艱苦的生活;梭羅先生盡力簡化生活,希望活得深刻並吸取生命的精髓;詩人Mary Oliver告訴我們向前划,划進漩渦和湍流中;本校有個人-我忘了是誰,不時鼓勵年輕學子們把握當下。這些話的重點都相同:動起來,付諸行動;別枯等靈感或熱情來找你。站起來、走出門外、進行探索、靠自己的力量尋找,並好好把握。

 

現在,在你們匆匆離開,去紋上YOLO刺青之前,請容我指出這個流行語的不合邏輯處。因為你不可能也不應只活一次,而是得好好地度過每一天。不是你只能活一次(YOLO),而是人生不能重來(YLOO),但因為YLOO的發音不太一樣,所以我們聳聳肩,決定這無關緊要。把握當下-YLOOing-不應被曲解為自我放縱的許可。就像被稱讚一樣,充實的生活是結果;一個令人愉快的副產品。這就是當你思考更重要的事物時會發生的結果。

 

爬山不是為了插上旗幟,而是迎接挑戰、享受新鮮空氣、欣賞眼前的美景。爬山是為了看世界,而不是讓世界看見你。去巴黎,就好好體驗巴黎的一切;不是為了將它從你的清單上劃去,然後慶祝自己又到過一個新國家。運用自由意志和創造力、進行獨立思考,不是為了替自己帶來滿足感,而是為了替其他68億人及後代子孫帶來福祉。然後,你會發現人類體驗到的偉大而奇妙的真理-無私是你能為自己所做最棒的事。

 

要體會生命中最甜美的喜悅,只有當你體認到,你並不特別。因為每個人都是特別的。恭喜各位,祝大家好運。請為自己,也為我們,創造你精彩的人生。

 

(掌聲)

 

以下為系統擷取之英文原文

About this talk

David McCullough Jr. an English teacher at Wellesley High School in Wellesley, Massachusetts speaks at the school’s commencement telling graduating students, ‘You are not special’. The commencement has become one of the most watched videos this week reaching 250,000 views in one day.

About the speaker

David McCullough Jr., the son of the Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and a longtime English teacher at Wellesley High School.

About this transcript

We’d been hearing good things over the weekend about Wellesley High School English teacher David McCullough, Jr.’s faculty speech to the Class of 2012 last Friday. Here it is, in its entirety, courtesy of Mr. McCullough:

Dr. Wong, Dr. Keough, Mrs. Novogroski, Ms. Curran, members of the board of education, family and friends of the graduates, ladies and gentlemen of the Wellesley High School class of 2012, for the privilege of speaking to you this afternoon, I am honored and grateful.  Thank you.

            So here we are… commencement… life’s great forward-looking ceremony.  (And don’t say, “What about weddings?”  Weddings are one-sided and insufficiently effective.  Weddings are bride-centric pageantry.  Other than conceding to a list of unreasonable demands, the groom just stands there.  No stately, hey-everybody-look-at-me procession.  No being given away.  No identity-changing pronouncement.  And can you imagine a television show dedicated to watching guys try on tuxedos?  Their fathers sitting there misty-eyed with joy and disbelief, their brothers lurking in the corner muttering with envy.  Left to men, weddings would be, after limits-testing procrastination, spontaneous, almost inadvertent… during halftime… on the way to the refrigerator.  And then there’s the frequency of failure: statistics tell us half of you will get divorced.  A winning percentage like that’ll get you last place in the American League East.  The Baltimore Orioles do better than weddings.)

            But this ceremony… commencement… a commencement works every time.  From this day forward… truly… in sickness and in health, through financial fiascos, through midlife crises and passably attractive sales reps at trade shows in Cincinnati, through diminishing tolerance for annoyingness, through every difference, irreconcilable and otherwise, you will stay forever graduated from high school, you and your diploma as one, ‘til death do you part.

            No, commencement is life’s great ceremonial beginning, with its own attendant and highly appropriate symbolism.  Fitting, for example, for this auspicious rite of passage, is where we find ourselves this afternoon, the venue.  Normally, I avoid clichés like the plague, wouldn’t touch them with a ten-foot pole, but here we are on a literal level playing field.  That matters.  That says something.  And your ceremonial costume… shapeless, uniform, one-size-fits-all.  Whether male or female, tall or short, scholar or slacker, spray-tanned prom queen or intergalactic X-Box assassin, each of you is dressed, you’ll notice, exactly the same.  And your diploma… but for your name, exactly the same.

            All of this is as it should be, because none of you is special.

            You are not special.  You are not exceptional.

            Contrary to what your u9 soccer trophy suggests, your glowing seventh grade report card, despite every assurance of a certain corpulent purple dinosaur, that nice Mister Rogers and your batty Aunt Sylvia, no matter how often your maternal caped crusader has swooped in to save you… you’re nothing special. 

TECHIEST COMMENCEMENT SPEAKERS OF 2012

            Yes, you’ve been pampered, cosseted, doted upon, helmeted, bubble-wrapped.  Yes, capable adults with other things to do have held you, kissed you, fed you, wiped your mouth, wiped your bottom, trained you, taught you, tutored you, coached you, listened to you, counseled you, encouraged you, consoled you and encouraged you again.  You’ve been nudged, cajoled, wheedled and implored.  You’ve been feted and fawned over and called sweetie pie.  Yes, you have.  And, certainly, we’ve been to your games, your plays, your recitals, your science fairs.  Absolutely, smiles ignite when you walk into a room, and hundreds gasp with delight at your every tweet.  Why, maybe you’ve even had your picture in the Townsman! [Editor’s upgrade: Or The Swellesley Report!] And now you’ve conquered high school… and, indisputably, here we all have gathered for you, the pride and joy of this fine community, the first to emerge from that magnificent new building…

            But do not get the idea you’re anything special.  Because you’re not.

            The empirical evidence is everywhere, numbers even an English teacher can’t ignore.  Newton, Natick, Nee… I am allowed to say Needham, yes? …that has to be two thousand high school graduates right there, give or take, and that’s just the neighborhood Ns.  Across the country no fewer than 3.2 million seniors are graduating about now from more than 37,000 high schools.  That’s 37,000 valedictorians… 37,000 class presidents… 92,000 harmonizing altos… 340,000 swaggering jocks… 2,185,967 pairs of Uggs.  But why limit ourselves to high school?  After all, you’re leaving it.  So think about this: even if you’re one in a million, on a planet of 6.8 billion that means there are nearly 7,000 people just like you.  Imagine standing somewhere over there on Washington Street on Marathon Monday and watching sixty-eight hundred yous go running by.  And consider for a moment the bigger picture: your planet, I’ll remind you, is not the center of its solar system, your solar system is not the center of its galaxy, your galaxy is not the center of the universe.  In fact, astrophysicists assure us the universe has no center; therefore, you cannot be it.  Neither can Donald Trump… which someone should tell him… although that hair is quite a phenomenon.

            “But, Dave,” you cry, “Walt Whitman tells me I’m my own version of perfection!  Epictetus tells me I have the spark of Zeus!”  And I don’t disagree.  So that makes 6.8 billion examples of perfection, 6.8 billion sparks of Zeus.  You see, if everyone is special, then no one is.  If everyone gets a trophy, trophies become meaningless.  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.  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.

            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.

            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.

BEST & WORST CELEBRITY TECH MOMENTS OF 2012

            The fulfilling life, the distinctive life, the relevant life, is an achievement, not something that will fall into your lap because you’re a nice person or mommy ordered it from the caterer.  You’ll note the founding fathers took pains to secure your inalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness–quite an active verb, “pursuit”–which leaves, I should think, little time for lying around watching parrots rollerskate on Youtube.  The first President Roosevelt, the old rough rider, advocated the strenuous life.  Mr. Thoreau wanted to drive life into a corner, to live deep and suck out all the marrow.  The poet Mary Oliver tells us to row, row into the swirl and roil.  Locally, someone… I forget who… from time to time encourages young scholars to carpe the heck out of the diem.  The point is the same: get busy, have at it.  Don’t wait for inspiration or passion to find you.  Get up, get out, explore, find it yourself, and grab hold with both hands.  (Now, before you dash off and get your YOLO tattoo, let me point out the illogic of that trendy little expression–because you can and should live not merely once, but every day of your life.  Rather than You Only Live Once, it should be You Live Only Once… but because YLOO doesn’t have the same ring, we shrug and decide it doesn’t matter.)

            None of this day-seizing, though, this YLOOing, should be interpreted as license for self-indulgence.  Like accolades ought to be, the fulfilled life is a consequence, a gratifying byproduct.  It’s what happens when you’re thinking about more important things.  Climb the mountain not to plant your flag, but to embrace the challenge, enjoy the air and behold the view.  Climb it so you can see the world, not so the world can see you.  Go to Paris to be in Paris, not to cross it off your list and congratulate yourself for being worldly.  Exercise free will and creative, independent thought not for the satisfactions they will bring you, but for the good they will do others, the rest of the 6.8 billion–and those who will follow them.  And then you too will discover the great and curious truth of the human experience is that selflessness is the best thing you can do for yourself.  The sweetest joys of life, then, come only with the recognition that you’re not special.

            Because everyone is.

 


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Anonymous, 2014-06-18 20:26:40
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Anonymous, 2014-01-28 14:49:36
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謝謝翻譯與分享!!
Anonymous, 2012-11-14 15:42:43
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谢谢分享。
Anonymous, 2012-08-13 15:47:07

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