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现代版洞穴寓言

2020-02-15  圆角望

我们翻译这篇文章的理由

是选择屏幕中的快乐与名利,还是洞穴外的光之世界?我们在何种意义上窥见了真实,又在何种意义上拥有了自由?这篇柏拉图洞穴寓言的现代版本,为我们带来一个关于真实与虚拟、自由与束缚的隐喻。

——王宇琪


作者:VINCENT KAVALOSKI 

译者:邓小雪 & 李蕾

校对:张松

策划:王宇琪 & 郭嘉宁

What is Freedom?

什么是自由

Vincent Kavaloski modernises Plato’s allegory of the Cave.

文森特·卡瓦洛斯基将柏拉图的山洞寓言运用于现实

Once, in a faraway land, there was Cave World Corporation. A dank and cheerless building, vast and cavernous, its open-plan halls housed hundreds of workers who sat in individual booths chained to flickering silver screens upon which endless dots and lines formed moving pictures of great fascination. The figures on the screens moved according to the commands of distant Programmers. But the watchers knew nothing of the Programmers: they knew only the enticing, bright-lit screens. Having seen nothing else, the people believed the electronic figures and shapes and graphs they were seeing were Reality; and they believed that they were free.
很久以前,在一个遥远的地方有一个“山洞世界公司”,那里有阴冷而无趣的建筑,在空旷的开放式大厅里有数以百计的工人,每个人锁在独立的隔间里,着了魔似的盯着闪烁的屏幕,屏幕上是无数点和线组成的动态图片。屏幕上的数字图像由程序员来远程控制,但是屏幕前的人并不知道程序员的存在:他们眼中只有闪着亮光、充满诱惑的屏幕。虽然对此一无所知,但人们相信眼前看到的电子图形和图像就是真实,并且他们也相信自己是自由的。

Life in Cave World was a contest. Those who could quickly identify the most shapes were given honors by the Programmers. They were called Executives, or Officers, or VIPs. They were given extra dots for their screens, and flashing signs that said: ‘I am happy!’ or ‘I am free!’ or ‘I am somebody!’ All the signs flashed at exactly the same moments, so that the VIP section seemed engulfed in a great pulsing electronic wave, reading ‘I am happy, I am free, I am happy, I am free, I am Somebody!’ To sit in the wash of these bright lights was exciting, envied and sought by everyone. “Someday,” the others thought, “if I work hard and follow the dots correctly, I will get a flashing sign on my screen telling me ‘I am happy, I am free!’, and then I will be Somebody!”
山洞世界的生活是一场比赛。程序员会把荣誉给予那些能快速确认图形的人,那些人被称为“高管、官员、或者VIP”,他们的屏幕上也能获得更多的点,还有一些闪着光的标语,比如“我很开心”、“我很自由”或“我很了不起”。所有的标语都在同一时间点亮,于是VIP区域仿佛被闪动的电子波淹没,读出“我很开心、我很自由、我很开心、我很自由、我很了不起”。坐在灯光海洋中的每一个人都很激动,也很羡慕,他们想着“如果我努力工作,按照小点的要求做,总有一天我也能在我的屏幕上得到闪光标语,告诉自己‘我很开心、我很自由’,然后我也能变得了不起了。”

One day a young woman became tired of the little flashing dots and the endless contests. The figures seemed so predictable, so routine, so boring. “Surely,” she thought, “there must be more to life than this? Besides, who is Somebody?” With great effort she tore her eyes loose from her screen and glanced around. She turned slowly around and in doing so made a great discovery: the chains that held her existed only in her mind!
有一天,一个年轻女人厌倦了闪烁的小点和无止境的比赛。这些图形看起来如此的千篇一律、刻板和无聊。她想,“生活肯定不止这些吧?而且,谁是那个了不起的人?”她费了很大劲才把眼睛从她的屏幕上移开,看了看周围。她慢慢地转过身,终于发现:拴住她的锁链只存在于她的意识中。

Her screen began to flash furiously: “Stop! Return to Reality. Repeat. Stop! Return to Reality.” But she stood up. She was afraid from the strangeness of it all, but she continued to turn. There, beyond the rows of identical screens, she saw something amazing – distant people madly typing at keyboards. They were the Programmers, controlling every aspect of the only world she knew, but she could not understand. She wondered whether they were an illusion. They looked strange to her, and menacing. She stumbled back into her seat, turning back fearfully to her screen. It flashed furiously at her: “You are beginning to recover from a psychotic episode. Repeat. You are now returning to Reality.”
她的屏幕开始猛烈地闪烁:“快停下!回到现实。重复。快停下!回到现实。”但是她站起来了。虽然她对周围的陌生感到害怕,但她仍在继续。在一排排一模一样的屏幕之后,她看到了令人惊讶的东西——远处的人们在疯狂地敲击着键盘。他们就是程序员,控制着她了解的唯一的世界的方方面面。但是她无法理解,她想知道他们是不是幻觉。在她看起来他们是如此的奇怪而充满威胁。她跌坐回了她的椅子,害怕地背对着她的屏幕。屏幕上还在疯狂地闪着:“你的间歇性精神病正在开始恢复。重复。你现在正在回到现实。”

Later she was given some extra colorful dots, then even a flashing ‘happiness’ sign, but life could not be the same as before. An insidious doubt had seized her mind. She was infected with the terrible disease called ‘Questioning’. So not long after, the young woman grew restless once again. She could no longer be absorbed in the allure of moving dots, no matter how colorful. One day she even blinked! Her screen went blank for a brief moment. In that moment she leaned forward, stood up again, and turned around. This time her screen flashed even more furiously at her. But she decided to follow her questions, and to explore.
随后她得到了一些额外的彩色小点,甚至还有一个“快乐”的闪烁标语,但是生活已经回不到从前了。她的意识中始终存在着怀疑。她感染上了一种名为“质疑”的可怕疾病。不久之后,这个年轻女人再次觉得坐立不安。她再也无法被移动的小点引诱,无论小点有多么色彩斑斓。一天,她甚至眨眼了!她的屏幕瞬间变成一片空白。在那个瞬间,她身体前倾,又站了起来并转过身。这次她的屏幕闪得更厉害了。但是她决定带着满腹疑问继续探索下去。

Off in the distance, beyond the Programmers, she saw a dim sign saying ‘Exit’, and beyond it a light. She began to walk towards it, hearing around her waves of contemptuous laughter from the Programmers. But even louder was the derisive, cutting laughter of all the VIPs, who were watching her shaky, tentative struggle on their screens. But their happiness signs had grown dim.

从远处看,在那些程序员的旁边,她看到了一个写着“出口”的昏暗的标示,在标识旁边有一盏灯光。她开始朝着那边走去,伴随着她的是来自程序员们一阵又一阵轻蔑的笑声,另一边,屏幕前的“贵宾们”看着她跌跌撞撞的踉跄身影,发出了更响亮刺耳的讥笑。但是他们的快乐标记却逐渐变得暗淡。

The woman fled through the Exit and up a steep stairway, bruising her knees and hearing only the rumble of laughter behind her. Yet stronger than this laughter was a gentle presence that seemed to guide her in her ascent. She followed the fractured, distant light always upward. After a long, exhausting ascent she reached a glass door shimmering in its brightness. She hesitated, then threw open the door and walked out into a glorious springtime.

女孩逃出了出口,爬上了陡峭的楼梯,她磨破了膝盖,只听到身后传来的隆隆笑声。然而在这些笑声之上有着更为强大的一种温柔的存在,在她不断攀升的过程中指引着她。她一直追随着远处阑珊的光不停地向上。精疲力竭地爬了很久之后,她抵达了一扇闪耀着光辉的玻璃门前面。她犹豫着打开了这扇门,走进了一个灿烂美好的春天。

The hard, brilliant light struck her with such force that she became painfully blinded. She writhed under it, and part of her began to long for the dark safety of the Cave. It was comfortable there, while here she was alone and vulnerable, with no flashing signs to tell her what to do or how to feel. She felt the great fear of freedom.

强烈而明亮的光束如此强烈,让她的双眼宛如失明一般痛苦。她在光下翻滚,甚至开始渴望岩洞里那让人感到安全的黑暗。那里是那么的舒适,而现在的她却孤独又脆弱,没有闪动的指示来告诉她做什么或者感受什么,她感到了自由带来的巨大的恐惧。

She looked down to avoid the direct light. At first she saw only shadows and reflections in water. But after a time her eyes began to adjust, and she saw the true glory of that sunlit world. What magnificence! The utter miracle of lush green plants, the mystery of white clouds floating in the deep blue dome of the sky… and everywhere, everything saturated in light: wave upon endless wave of voluptuous, buoyant light. She wandered as if newborn, in wonder and delight, trying to touch every leaf and fragrant flower and blade of green grass she passed. She danced wildly in the sea of sunlight for the sheer joy of being alive. Alive! As if for the first time! Joy lifted her thoughts higher and higher like a red-tailed hawk soaring on an updraft to heights of ecstasy, to the burning beauty of the sun itself. Her soul was consumed by fire!

她低下头来躲避直射的光。刚开始的时候,她只看到了水里的阴影和反射。但是过了一会儿,当她的眼睛开始适应之后,她看到了沐浴在阳光里真实又美好的世界,是那么的令人震撼。如同奇迹般的苍翠繁茂的绿植,在深蓝色的天际穹庐上漂浮着的洁白云朵…这里的万事万物无时无刻地沐浴在光下—那一波又一波无穷无尽的撩人的浮光。她宛如重生一般,惊奇又开心地试着去触摸每一片叶子,每一朵芬芳的花朵,还有她经过的每一颗小草的叶片。在光的海洋里,她肆意地起舞庆祝纯粹地活着的喜悦,好像这是生平第一次一般。喜悦使她的思绪越飞越高,就像一只在上升气流中翱翔着的红尾鹰,飞到了狂喜的最高处,感受太阳燃烧的美丽。她的灵魂也在这烈火中升华。

Later, exhausted by this outpouring of ecstasy, she lay resting in the soft grass. Her thoughts turned to her former companions, locked away in dingy Cave World below, manipulated like puppets by the Programmers. She must tell them the truth! The world of flashing dots was a cruel lie!

狂喜过后,她疲惫地躺在柔软的草地上休息。她的思绪回到了她之前的同伴身上,那些被封锁在在地下岩洞世界,被程序员们像宠物一般操纵的同伴。不停闪动圆点的世界就是一个残酷的谎言。

Hard as it was to leave the World of Light, she turned back, journeying down, down to the Cave. She strode in and shouted: “Friends, come with me out into the sunlight! The true world is brighter and bolder than you’ve ever dreamed! Come out from your prisons of flashing screens!” But the people loved the prison of their illusions and they feared the new and different. Their screens flashed with angry epithets. When she persisted, trying to shake them from their trances, the Programmers pressed buttons to destroy her image on the screens. But although they could erase her from their machines, they could not extinguish her or her message. She walked through the Cave, singing of the wonder and freedom and joy of the World of Light; but the Cave Dwellers tuned her out – all except a boy in the back corner. As he glanced up at her, a question entered his mind. At that precise moment, his screen went blank and she reached out her hand to him. He grasped it, and rose slowly, like a morning star. Together they turned and began the long journey toward the light. A new day was dawning.

她异常艰难地离开了这个光明的世界,转身往下回到了岩洞。她大步走了进去,喊道:“朋友们,和我一起生活在太阳下吧!真实的世界是我们想象不到的光明和辽阔!从那些闪动的屏幕牢狱里逃出来吧!”但是人们却钟爱幻想的牢笼,惧怕新奇和不同。他们的屏幕闪动着愤怒的语言。当她坚持着尝试把他们能从恍惚中叫醒时,程序员们却按下按钮,将她的形象从屏幕上破坏了。尽管他们可以把她从机器上抹去,但是却无法抹去她和她的信息。她走在岩洞中,高唱着光明世界的奇妙,自由和喜悦,但是岩洞里的居民却把她赶了出去—除了在后面角落里的一个男孩。当他看着她的时候,一个问题浮现在他的脑海里。在那一刻,他的屏幕变成了空白,女孩立刻把手伸向了他。他抓住她的手缓缓的站了起来,就像早上的星星一般。他们一起转身离开,朝着光明开启了漫长的旅行,崭新的一天也拉开了序幕。



  • 本文原载于 Philosophy Now

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