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伊恩.麥克伊旺為2015年狄金森學院畢業生演講

Ian McEwan 2015 Commencement Speech at Dickinson College

 

Photo of three lions hunting on the Serengeti.

講者:伊恩.麥克伊旺

2015年5月17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

 

MAC及手持裝置版本請按此下載

閱讀中文字幕純文字版本

 

關於這場演講(來源YouTube

各大文學獎常客伊恩.麥克伊旺於5月17日為狄金森學院畢業生演講,他曾寫過20多部小說及短篇故事,包括《贖罪》。

 

關於伊恩.麥克伊旺(來源YouTube

伊恩.麥克伊旺獲得文學榮譽博士學位。他入圍布克小說獎無數次,1998年以《阿姆斯特丹》獲獎。他的小說《贖罪》獲得2002年WH史密斯文學獎,2003年全國圖書評論界小說獎,洛杉磯時報小說獎及2004年聖地牙哥歐洲小說獎。《贖罪》也成了廣受好評的電影,獲得2008年金球獎最佳影片及七項奧斯卡獎提名,包括最佳影片獎。

 

伊恩.麥克伊旺為2015年狄金森學院畢業生演講

 

謝謝校長女士和所有嘉賓,你們知道畢業典禮是怎麼回事,各位在新英格蘭可以學到很多。

 

2015年畢業生,我向你們獻上最誠摯的祝賀。你們完成學業,你們獲得卓越學府的學位,經歷過大量的閱讀、寫作、賴床-當然,還有思考。現在你站在人生的高峰之一,如你所知,離開高峰只有一個辦法-但那是另一個故事了。

 

別相信那些說「生命短暫」的人,人生長得驚人。二十幾歲時,我震驚地聽見母親若有所思地說:「只要能變回45歲,我願意付出一切。」對當時的我來說45歲簡直是老年了,現在我已明白她的意思。因此大多數人至少擁有20多年的人生高峰,除非發生全面核戰或災難性流星碰撞事件。在座有相當可觀的少數人,你們的腳趾將邁入下個世紀的大門-佈滿皺紋、罹患關節炎的腳趾,但正是現在長在你身上的腳趾。你們的人生還很長,不過別擔心,我不是來這裡告訴你們如何度過人生;相反地,我想跟大家分享一些關於言論自由的想法。

 

所謂的言論包括寫作、閱讀、聽聞和思維,言論自由是生命的泉源,是你所接受之教育的基本條件。我們先以正面觀點來看,現今或許是史上擁有最多言論自由、思想自由、查詢自由的時代,即使考慮到所謂「異教」哲學家黃金時代。你們身處的時代和國家第一修正案中的言論自由,不像許多其他國家的憲法一樣只是空談,而是確實存在的事實。但無論過去、現在或未來,言論自由總是受到攻擊。來自左派、右派、中立派政黨的攻擊;來自周遭的攻擊;來自宗教極端勢力及非宗教意識形態團體的攻擊。言論自由甚囂塵上的情形將帶來不便,尤其對根深蒂固的勢力而言。伏爾泰曾說-這是他的想法,而非實際措辭:「我不同意你說的話,但我會誓死捍衛你說話的權利。」打壓你不同意的言論並非適當做法,如我已故的朋友克里斯托弗.希欽斯所說:當你遇見地球扁平論者或神創論者,這是讓你記住為何你認為地球是圓的好方法,或你是否能舉例說明物競天擇。

 

出於這個原因,我認為打壓你不同意的言論是一些文明國家所採用的差勁原則,藉此囚禁否認大屠殺事件或亞美尼亞種族大屠殺的人,無論他們多令人不齒。值得記住的一點是:言論自由將維繫我們享有的一切其他自由,缺乏言論自由,民主將形同虛設。我們已擁有或希望擁有的每一種自由,包括人身安全、正當程序、公民普選、集會自由、集體協商、性別平等、性取向、兒童權、動物權等等,這所有的權利都必須藉由思想與言論自由實現。沒有人能獨自取得這些權利,這是漸進式過程,這種相對於言論自由的歷史背景使那些決定推廣這種自由的人所付出的努力成為可能。約翰.彌爾頓、湯瑪斯.潘恩、瑪莉.沃斯通克拉夫特、喬治.華盛頓、湯瑪斯.傑佛遜、約翰.斯圖爾特.密爾、奧利弗.溫德爾.霍姆斯,這是一份長而充滿榮耀的名單,這就是為何博雅教育對你們即將參與及貢獻的文化來說如此重要。

 

沿著全球海岸進行一趟長途旅行-我肯定在座很多人會這麼做-你將發現言論自由的處境十分艱辛。幾乎在整個中東地區,思想自由可能帶來懲罰或死亡-來自政府、暴民或激進分子。孟加拉、巴基斯坦及非洲大部分地區皆是如此。過去幾年,思想自由在俄羅斯的公共空間已逐漸縮小;在中國,政府對言論自由的監控已達工業規模,光是為了每天審查網路言論,中國政府就雇用了多達五萬名官員,簡直是史無前例的思想鎮壓手段。弔詭的是,更重要的是,對言論自由的蓬勃發展保持警惕,最謹慎的做法就是遵循美國憲法第一修正案,這就是為何最近的事件令人如此困惑。我們看見幾位美國作家公開退出美國筆會頒獎晚會,藉此反對向法國諷刺雜誌《查理周刊》被謀殺的記者致敬。美國筆會的存在是為了捍衛及促進言論自由,因此這種做法實在令人失望,太多作家無法在危難時刻支持勇敢的作家及藝術家同僚。《查理周刊》嚴厲批評種族主義,它也嚴厲批評宗教組織和政治家,它或許不合你的胃口,但這正是你該想起伏爾泰的時候。

 

《查理周刊》辦公室曾於2011年遭汽油彈攻擊,它的記者毫不退縮,他們不斷收到死亡威脅,但他們毫不退縮。一月時,9位員工被謀殺,在他們的辦公室被槍殺,編輯人員毫不退縮,並在幾天之內製作及編輯了表示原諒攻擊者的雜誌封面:《Tout est pardonne:一切都已得到原諒》。儘管如此,在美國和英國,一個恐嚇電話就足以讓一家大出版社停工。《查理周刊》的攻擊來自宗教狂熱分子,他們效忠的對象逐漸變得清晰-其中一位共犯從法國入境土耳其,一路來到敘利亞的ISIS組織。記住,這是受害者變成狂熱分子的情況,這些人來自非洲和中東地區,還有數量龐大的穆斯林、穆斯林同性戀者、女權主義者、穆斯林改革主義者、部落客、人權活動家、異議分子、叛教者、小說家、普通公民,包括孩童-在上學途中被謀殺或綁架的孩童。

 

有一種理性生活現象我稱之為兩極思維:我們不要站在《查理周刊》那一邊,因為這會讓我們看起來像是贊同喬治.布希的「反恐戰爭」。這是理智部落主義的狹隘形式,也是為自己著想的差勁方式。一位德國小說家朋友寫信給我,痛心地陳述筆會事件:「這就像七十年代的翻版:我們別支持俄羅斯異議分子,因為這會讓你得到『對手的掌聲』。」多麼可怕的話。但注意,令人樂觀的是《查理周刊》事件的結果:晚會繼續進行,倖存記者得到美國筆會起立致敬及熱烈掌聲。

 

學者提摩西.賈頓.艾許在一本與言論自由有關的新書中提醒我們:「美國最高法院將學術自由描述為『第一修正案的特例』」。這相當重要,近期阿亞安.希爾西.阿里的例子也令人擔憂。她是前穆斯林,強烈批評伊斯蘭教,對某些人來說太激烈了。身為受害者的她反對女性生殖器切割,她為穆斯林女性的權利奔走。在最新的著作中,她闡述如果伊斯蘭教想在現代社會中生存得更加自在,必須重新思考對同性戀的態度,以及如何解釋可蘭經中神明的話語和瀆神的定義,還有對叛教者的嚴厲懲罰。與一些人的想法相反,這種觀點既非來自種族主義,也非受仇恨所驅使,但她依然收到死亡威脅。更重要的是,她在許多美國校園不受歡迎,眾所皆知,布蘭戴斯大學撤回頒給她榮譽學位的決定,以及擔任畢業演講嘉賓的機會。當然,伊斯蘭教值得尊重,無神論亦然。我們希望尊重所有教派,但宗教和無神論,以及所有思想體系全都著眼於追求真理,尤其是致力於追求真理,必須對批評、諷刺甚至嘲弄採取開放心態。

 

當然,我們不曾忘記薩爾曼.魯西迪事件的教訓,校園容不下麻煩人物並非新鮮事。回顧六十年代,我就讀的大學一位心理學家鼓吹智力與遺傳因素有關的想法;七十年代,偉大的美國生物學家艾德華.威爾森因暗示人類社會行為與遺傳因素有關而飽受批評。我記得這兩人都被稱為法西斯分子,這些人的想法不符合當時的意識形態,但如今他們的想法可說不再被人視作異端。更廣泛地說,顯然網際網路為言論自由提供了驚人的可能性,同時使我們陷入某種艱難的處境。這導致當地報紙銷量緩慢下降,使對當地政治的質疑和遠見聲浪逐漸消失。隱私也是言論自由的基本要素之一,史諾登的文件揭露政府機構對電子郵件的監控已達誇張且不必要的程度。言論自由的另一項要素是獲取資訊,網際網路將獲取資訊的巨大權力交到一些私人公司手中,例如Google、Facebook、Twitter。我們必須謹慎,使這種權力不被濫用。大型製藥公司已知隱瞞對公共利益來說至關緊要的研究機密,以另一個層面來說,年輕黑人男子在警方拘留下死亡可視為對言論自由的最終制裁,教育資源的缺乏及不足亦然。

 

這所有的議題都需要藉由讓人們接受博雅教育達成,而你們,各位畢業生,你們擁有自行獲得結論的優勢。你或許會合理推斷,言論自由並非簡單之事,言論自由並非絕對。我們無法容忍戀童癖或種族主義者的言論。記住,種族不同於宗教,或旨在煽動暴力、危害他人者。溫德爾.霍姆斯〈在擁擠的劇院大喊失火〉這個假說仍然適用。但有時你會太輕易把討厭的言論看成「仇恨言論」,或抱怨這個或那個演講者讓你感到「不被尊重」。別讓優雅的陳述混淆被冒犯的感覺,這是生活在開放社會中偶爾得付出的代價。表現強悍並非壞事,據理力爭、用辯論的方式-而非用排斥的方式,當然不是用槍。或是像美籍穆斯林老師最近在週五的祈禱中所言,忽略整件事。

 

當你在這些議題上做決定時,我希望你記住身處狄金森的歲月,以及你們可能在這裡讀過的小說,我希望它能促使你朝精神自由的方向發展。小說是一種具啟發性的文學形式,能啟發好奇心與對個人的尊重,它的本質促使它將多元化、開放性以及對同理心的渴望根植於每個人心中。小說能重建世上所有男性、女性或孩童的心靈,當極權主義制度將目標放在狹隘的利益時,他們將鎖定小說家。小說是-或可能是-言論自由的最終體現。

 

我希望你們用所獲得的傑出博雅教育,為後代保護我們美麗而珍貴的言論自由文化,雖然它有時令人為難,有時會造成麻煩,甚至令人反感。請收下引用自喬治.華盛頓的賀詞:「如果言論自由被剝奪,我們將成啞巴,我們或許會變成待宰的羔羊。」我們可以肯定狄金森的目標並非把你們培養成羔羊。

 

祝好運,2015年畢業生,無論你選擇什麼樣的人生。

 

以下為系統擷取之英文原文

About this Talk

Ian McEwan, the award-winning author of more than 20 novels and short stories, including Atonement, delivered Dickinson’s Commencement address on Sunday, May 17.

About the Speaker

McEwan received a doctor of letters honorary degree. He has been shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize for Fiction numerous times, winning the award for Amsterdam in 1998. His novel Atonement received the 2002 WH Smith Literary Award, the 2003 National Book Critics’ Circle Fiction Award and Los Angeles Times Prize for Fiction, and the 2004 Santiago Prize for the European Novel. Atonement also became a critically acclaimed movie that earned the 2008 Golden Globe for Best Picture and seven Oscar nominations, including one for Best Picture.

Transcript

My most sincere congratulations to all the graduates here. You made it through. You have a degree from a truly excellent institution. A lot of reading, writing, lying in bed (thinking, of course). And now you stand on one of life's various summits. As you know, there's only one way off a summit - but that's another story. Don't be taken in by those who tell you that life is short. It's inordinately long. I was into my twenties when my mother astonished me by saying wistfully, 'I'd give anything to be forty-five again.' Forty-five sounded like old age to me then. Now I see what she meant. Most of you have more than 20 years before you peak. Barring all-out nuclear war or a catastrophic meteor collision, a substantial minority of you will get a toe in the door of the next century - a very wrinkled, arthritic toe, but the same toe you're wearing now. You have a lot of years in the bank - but don't worry, I'm not here to tell you how to spend them.

Instead, I would like to share a few thoughts with you about free speech (and speech here includes writing and reading, listening and thinking) - free speech - the life blood, the essential condition of the liberal education you've just received. Let's begin on a positive note: there is likely more free speech, free thought, free enquiry on earth now than at any previous moment in recorded history (even taking into account the golden age of the so-called 'pagan' philosophers). And you've come of age in a country where the enshrinement of free speech in the First Amendment is not an empty phrase, as it is in many constitutions, but a living reality.

But free speech was, it is and always will be, under attack - from the political right, the left, the centre. It will come from under your feet, from the extremes of religion as well as from unreligious ideologies. It's never convenient, especially for entrenched power, to have a lot of free speech flying around.

The words associated with Voltaire (more likely, his sentiments but not his actual phrasing) remain crucial and should never be forgotten: I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it. It's only rarely appropriate to suppress the speech of those you disagree with. As my late friend Christopher Hitchens used to say, when you meet a flat-earther or a creationist, it can be useful to be made to remember just why you think the earth is round or whether you're capable of making the case for natural selection. For that reason, it's a poor principle, adopted in some civilised countries, to imprison the deniers of the Holocaust or the Armenian massacres, however contemptible they might be.

It's worth remembering this: freedom of expression sustains all the other freedoms we enjoy. Without free speech, democracy is a sham. Every freedom we possess or wish to possess (of habeas corpus and due process, of universal franchise and of assembly, union representation, sexual equality, of sexual preference, of the rights of children, of animals – the list goes on) has had to be freely thought and talked and written into existence. No single individual can generate these rights alone. The process is cumulative. It was a historical context of relative freedom of speech that made possible the work of those who were determined to extend that liberty. John Milton, Tom Paine, Mary Wollstonecraft, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Stuart Mill, Oliver Wendell Holmes - the roll call is long and honourable - and that is why an education in the liberal arts is so vital to the culture you are about to contribute to.

Take a long journey from these shores as I'm sure many of you will, and you will find the condition of free expression to be desperate. Across almost the entire Middle East, free thought can bring punishment or death, from governments or from street mobs or motivated individuals. The same is true in Bangladesh, Pakistan, across great swathes of Africa. These past years the public space for free thought in Russia has been shrinking. In China, state monitoring of free expression is on an industrial scale. To censor daily the internet alone, the Chinese government employs as many as fifty thousand bureaucrats - a level of thought repression unprecedented in human history.

Paradoxically, it's all the more important to be vigilant for free expression wherever it flourishes. And nowhere has it been more jealously guarded than under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Which is why it has been so puzzling lately, when we saw scores of American writers publicly disassociating themselves from a PEN gala to honour the murdered journalists of the French satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo. American PEN exists to defend and promote free speech. What a disappointment that so many American authors could not stand with courageous fellow writers and artists at a time of tragedy. The magazine has been scathing about racism. It's also scathing about organised religion and politicians and it might not be to your taste - but that's when you should remember your Voltaire.

Hebdo's offices were fire-bombed in 2011, and the journalists kept going. They received constant death threats - and they kept going. In January nine colleagues were murdered, gunned down, in their office - the editorial staff kept going and within days they had produced an edition whose cover forgave their attackers. Tout est pardonne, all is forgiven. All this, when in the U.S. and U.K. one threatening phone call can be enough to stop a major publishing house in its tracks.

The attack on Charlie Hebdo came from religious fanatics whose allegiances became clear when one of the accomplices made her way from France, through Turkey to ISIS in Syria. Remember, this is a form of fanaticism whose victims, across Africa and the Middle East, are mostly Muslims - Muslim gays and feminists, Muslim reformists, bloggers, human rights activists, dissidents, apostates, novelists, and ordinary citizens, including children, murdered in or kidnapped from their schools.

There's a phenomenon in intellectual life that I call bi-polar thinking. Let's not side with Charlie Hebdo because it might seem as if we're endorsing George Bush's 'war on terror'. This is a suffocating form of intellectual tribalism and a poor way of thinking for yourself. As a German novelist friend wrote to me in anguish about the PEN affair -"It's the Seventies again: Let's not support the Russian dissidents, because it would get "applause from the wrong side." That terrible phrase."

But note the end of the Hebdo affair: the gala went ahead, the surviving journalists received a thunderous and prolonged standing ovation from American PEN.

Timothy Garton Ash reminds us in a new book on free speech that "The U.S. Supreme Court has described academic freedom as a 'special concern of the First Amendment.'" Worrying too, then, is the case of Ayaan Hirsi Ali, an ex Muslim, highly critical of Islam, too critical for some. As a victim herself, she has campaigned against female genital mutilation. She has campaigned for the rights of Muslim women. In a recent book she has argued that for Islam to live more at ease in the modern world it needs to rethink its attitudes to homosexuality, to the interpretation of the Koran as the literal word of God, to blasphemy, to punishing severely those who want to leave the religion. Contrary to what some have suggested, such arguments are neither racist nor driven by hatred. But she has received death threats. Crucially, on many American campuses she is not welcomed, and, notoriously, Brandeis withdrew its offer of an honorary degree. Islam is worthy of respect, as indeed is atheism. We want respect flowing in all directions. But religion and atheism, and all thought systems, all grand claims to truth, must be open to criticism, satire, even, sometimes, mockery. Surely, we have not forgotten the lessons of the Salman Rushdie affair.

Campus intolerance of inconvenient speakers is hardly new. Back in the sixties my own university blocked a psychologist for promoting the idea of a hereditable component to intelligence. In the seventies, the great American biologist EO Wilson was drowned out for suggesting a genetic element in human social behaviour. As I remember, both men were called fascists. The ideas of these men did not fit prevailing ideologies, but their views are unexceptionable today.

More broadly - the internet has, of course, provided extraordinary possibilities for free speech. At the same time, it has taken us onto some difficult and unexpected terrain. It has led to the slow decline of local newspapers, and so removed a sceptical and knowledgeable voice from local politics. Privacy is an essential element of free expression; the Snowden files have revealed an extraordinary and unnecessary level of email surveillance by government agencies. Another essential element of free expression is access to information; the internet has concentrated huge power over that access into the hands of private companies like Google, Facebook and Twitter. We need to be careful that such power is not abused. Large pharmaceutical companies have been know to withhold research information vital to the public interest. On another scale, the death of young black men in police custody could be framed as the ultimate sanction against free expression. As indeed is poverty and poor educational resources.

All these issues need the input of men and women with a liberal arts education and you, graduates, are well placed to form your own conclusions. And you may reasonably conclude that free speech is not simple. It's never an absolute. We don't give space to proselytising paedophiles, to racists (and remember, race is not identical to religion) or to those who wish to incite violence against others. Wendell Holmes's hypothetical 'shouting fire in a crowded theatre' is still relevant. But it can be a little too easy sometimes to dismiss arguments you don't like as 'hate speech' or to complain that this or that speaker makes you feel 'disrespected.' Being offended is not to be confused with a state of grace; it's the occasional price we all pay for living in an open society. Being robust is no bad thing. Either engage, with arguments - not with banishments and certainly not with guns - or, as an American Muslim teacher said recently at Friday prayers, ignore the entire matter.

In making your mind up on these issues, I hope you'll remember your time at Dickinson and the novels you may have read here. It would prompt you, I hope, in the direction of mental freedom. The novel as a literary form was born out of the Enlightenment, out of curiosity about and respect for the individual. Its traditions impel it towards pluralism, openness, a sympathetic desire to inhabit the minds of others. There is no man, woman or child, on earth whose mind the novel cannot reconstruct. Totalitarian systems are right with regard to their narrow interests when they lock up novelists. The novel is, or can be, the ultimate expression of free speech.

I hope you'll use your fine liberal education to preserve for future generations the beautiful and precious but also awkward, sometimes inconvenient and even offensive culture of freedom of expression we have. Take with you these celebrated words of George Washington: "If the freedom of speech is taken away then, dumb and silent, we may be led like sheep to the slaughter."

We may be certain that Dickinson has not prepared you to be sheep. Good luck 2015 graduates in whatever you choose to do in life.


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