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我的一个学核物理的同级系友, 由于语言文字功力超卓, 后来竟然在网上搞起了文学翻译. 系友在微信朋友圈里发文Socrates 评价. 号召大家翻译. 我被原文深深迷惑. 也因为最近在努力提高英文就试着翻译.
Socrates 到底是什么样的人我并不关心. 历史的人与事历经无数人心文字犹如地球亿万年里的沉岩扬沙无迹可寻, 翻江倒海之水源不可塑. 而这次翻译在我是一个令人迷头迷脑的game. 希望和同好分享翻译的乐趣, 请不吝指证.
Thanks very much for your precious time and attention to read through.
Original essay was by James Hercules Sutton Independent Writing and Editing Professional
When Socrates went shopping in the Agora, he was known to give loud thanks for merchandise he didn’t need. This didn’t endear him to merchants, but it does reveal his character and therefore his fate. He enjoyed goading others into acknowledging his virtue. This infuriated peers.
While serving in the national guard, he stood watch on one leg, barefoot in snow.Comrades resented this, believing he was rebuking them for complaining about the weather. Some scholars claim he was catatonic.
He had little money. What little he had, he invested with a friend. This isn’t the act of a wise man. When his wife accused him of being a poor provider, he agreed. This explains why she threw dishes at him.
After the free male population of Athens had been decimated by war, Socrates promptly obeyed a new ordinance that required men to take a second wife to restore the population.
Not much is known about his second wife; his first wife, Xanthippe, weighed three hundred pounds. “Xanthippe” means “blossom,” in Life with Luigi.
He loitered in public parks and private parlors with unemployed scions of the rich. One of his students, Alcibiades, became the Machiavelli of his time. Socrates found democracy contradictory, so it’s not surprising his pupil found it disposable. Socrates knew democracy’s weaknesses, but not what subjects to avoid with whom. A wise man doesn’t frolic with an unemployed elite that has means, time, opportunity, and inclination to cause mischief.
他和一些无所事事的富家子弟一起游手好闲, 在公共场所和私人商店里留连。不象他的一个学生亚西比德则成为他哪个时代的马基雅维利式的精英巨头。苏格拉底发现民主是矛盾的, 所以他的学生弃之如鄙履。尽管苏格拉底知道民主的弱点，也不觉得应于规避。但总归一个有智慧的人是不应该和那些不为生活所累的精英们嬉闹终日,他又不象这些人一样不需工作,有的是办法,时间和机遇,且不说这些人往往爱惹事生非。
Like any Tory, he enjoyed going to parties and getting drunk at someone else’s expense. What went on there is anyone’s guess, but, if Grecian urns are literal, it wasn’t pretty. Socrates provided local color by negating any assertion that was made. He was good at this, employing both sophistry and irony. Neither endeared him to local pundits. When they tried to “turn the tables” on him, he conceded he knew nothing. This didn’t make them feel better.
When the Delphic Oracle proclaimed him “the wisest man in the world,” he denied it. This was safe for the Oracle, because Socrates had already denied it, but it wasn’t safe for Socrates. Being recognized for wisdom by a god alienated equally qualified peers. When he denied the Oracle’s tribute, the pious grew angry. Who was he to contradict Apollo?
像其他保守派人士一样，他喜欢参加派对，喝得烂醉, 反正酒又不要钱。随后的事情大家就尽可以想像了。按照希腊人流传下来的文字记录来看，情形不妙。苏格拉底尽显本色, 老奸巨滑不着痕迹地逢论必驳讽刺有加。惹得学者专家们牙痒痒。当他们气得翻脸对他”掀桌子”时，他就求饶说他不过是胡言乱语, 但这也于事无补。当特尔斐神谕宣示他是“世界上最聪明的人”时，他并不领情接受。因为苏格拉底老早已否定了这一点, 这倒也无损于神谕的威严。但苏格拉底可是惹得一身骚, 智慧受到神的认可，便遭到同济们排挤。当他否认神的誉美时，虔诚信徒们气坏了, 他是什么东西敢跟阿波罗呛声？
His worst trait was correcting everyone constantly. He knew nothing about positive self-esteem or need to re-enforce it in others, a major fault in a teacher. As his city’s first teacher, he had no one to teach him to “say nothing, when you can’t say anything good.” Lack of kindergarten skills did him in.
His desire to make others better than they wanted to be landed him in court. The three dumbest in town, irritated by him for years, accused him of denying the gods’ existence, thereby “corrupting youth.” He might have beat the rap, if he’d allowed friends to defend him, but he insisted on defending himself, proving he had a fool for a client. His defense was that he was a such a good fellow the city should raise a statue to him. This didn’t strike the right chord with the jury.
He was found guilty of befuddling children with non-conforming doctrine, and the vote wasn’t close. Athenian juries consisted of 501 male citizens. Most had served in the national guard with him and hadn’t forgotten; the rest had been made to feel inferior by the village schoolmaster, more or less persistingly. In the sentencing phase, by 39 votes, they gave him a choice between poison or exile. He chose poison; this was perverse.
他被判犯有信仰混乱愚弄年轻人罪行, 但投票表决裁判并非以罪量刑。雅典陪审团由501名男性公民组成, 其中大多数人和他一起在国家守卫队中服过役，依然记恨于他; 其余的人也都被这位乡村校长近乎永不止息地羞辱, 倍感屈辱。最后陪审团以39票裁定他要么服毒或被流放。有悖常理, 出乎所有人的意料, 他选择了服毒。
Rationalizing his choice, he blamed it on “voices” that had plagued him all his life. He knew he’d made the right choice, he said, when he couldn’t hear voices anymore. It could have been the poison.
His first wife showed up, with the baby, to ask what was to become of her. He told her that it was a far, far better thing he was doing than he’d ever done before. She left.
他把他的选择归咎于困扰着他一生的 “口舌是非”, 号称他做出了正确的选择，如果再也听不到任何反对意见, 也就跟服毒没什么区别。他的第一任妻子带着宝宝来看他，问他死后她何以为生? 他只告诉他服毒赴死这件事是他这一生做过的最最好的事。她无可如何地走了。
He questioned his executioner about the best way to take poison, so as not to cause inconvenience, once again confusing kindness with recognition for kindness. As he stood dying, friends said goodbye while he described the poison’s course. His friends deserved better, except Plato.
After he was executed, Athens did erect a statue to him, for setting an example no one cared to emulate. This proves that it’s easier to praise virtue when it’s gone than endure it while it’s there. His favorite aphorisms, “so shalt thou ask, so shalt thou be answered” and “mark well the end,” are ironic, given that he was a sculptor by trade and hoisted on his own chisel.
在他被处决后，雅典确实为他塑立了一座雕像。但雕像更象是反讽以警效尤。这也足以证明比起承受美德在身后赞美美德就容易的多了。最具讽刺意义的是就象他最喜欢的格言 “答案就在问题本身” 兆示了他“结局”。他象是一个职业雕塑家，用自己的凿子雕琢自身。
He said, “I know nothing,” but also “Ignorance is the greatest evil”—which makes him evil by his own syllogism. He didn’t publish and didn’t perish. He declared, “Those that have ears, let them hear,” but proved deaf to public opinion. He also said, “An unjust state should be obeyed;” that was perverse and dangerous, and in his case, fatal.
他说过：“我什么也不知道”, 反之又称 “无知是最大的罪恶” 。他自己的三个悖论就像是打在自个儿脸上的耳光。他没有发表过作品，但也没有被人们忘却。他宣称：“如果长着耳朵就应该倾听”，但他自个对公众舆论充耳不闻。他还说：“即使国家不公, 也应该效从”，这是有悖常理非常危险的，就他自身而言可说是以命践殛。
People called him a gadfly. This is unjust. A gadfly doesn’t know what he’s doing.
We know of Socrates from Plato and Xenophon. Plato was a disciple, so his account is suspect. Plato is generally suspect, because he says more than he knows and is obscure about it. A thing doesn’t exist because one can imagine it. His sort of sophistry is still practiced today at elections, pulpits, and Yale.
Xenophon is credible, if only because there’s fire in his veins. He invaded Persia, with 9,999 other Greeks against 1.2 million and won. He wrote down what was said on the march in long quotations, years later. Scholars discount his accuracy and question his attention span, because they lack it. A professor of Greek ought to remember the Odyssey was performed for at least 500 years before it was written down and that Socrates predicted learning to read would reduce attention spans.
Xenophon may have taken up writing because he had trouble speaking; Will Durant suggests he was a counter-tenor, though tenured linguists deny it. In any case, “Xeno” means “foreign,” and anything foreign is funny. Funny or not, Xenophon agrees with Plato that Socrates was a loving man who did the best he could with what he had and was punished for it. There’s some truth to this; each of us “pays a price for every virtue.” We’re still paying for Plato’s.
色诺芬可能因为说话不利落而趋于文字。杜兰特先生表示他可能是意寓反诉或是一种逆向表达，但权威语言学家们否认这一点。无论如何，“色诺”是指“异端”，而所有异端的人和事都滑稽可笑。滑稽与否, 色诺芬和柏拉图一致认为苏格拉底是一个充满爱心的人，他倾尽全力维护己见并为之献身。这话大概不假; 对每个人来说 “高尚即是高尚者的墓志铭”。时至今日,我们仍然还在遵从柏拉图的真知灼见,并因之而吃苦受累。
Academics honor Socrates for being the first professor and for being the first put to death for being a professor. But in fact he died when a lifetime of academic one-upsmanship caught up with him. There’s nothing distinguished about the judicial excess that made him immortal; we still confuse justice with due process.
学术界盛赞苏格拉底为开天辟地的首位教授学者，并为之献出生命。但事实上，当他在学术上意欲高高在上踩低别人时他也就玩完了。司法量刑过苛成全了他, 借而得以永垂不朽。这也没啥希奇，时至今日, 我们仍然将正义与司法程序混淆不清。
Even a death sentence failed to deter him. After being convicted, he one-upped peers again, by inventing public suicide. Taken whole, his reputation is less attributable to his virtue than to the dullness of others. Athenians often confused excellence with fame; we confuse it with wealth.
By inflicting his virtues on others, Socrates became a public figure, but it did him no good. Like most Athenians, he wanted to be known as virtuous; unlike most, he wanted to be virtuous. Greed for praise killed him. No achievement is good enough for those with an itch for glory or who have a Greek mother; he had both. Unable to disaggregate civic from personal virtue, he became so cross-motivated that he heard voices until the day he died. Maybe he was catatonic.
苏格拉底的美德是建立在别人的痛苦上。成为一个公众人物，于他个人并无郫益。像大多数雅典人一样，他想沽名钓誉; 反之他也想以德服人。对赞美的无止尽的贪婪追求扼杀了他。对荣耀心痒难挠或西腊血统的人来说所有成就都不足为道。而不幸的是他俩者皆中。无法将公民的奉公守法摘离于个人美德，他变得如此急功近利, 四面出击，因为他觉得跟他唱反调的声言如影随形, 至死方休。也许他真的得了强迫症。
His flaw was desire to be recognized for virtue; in this, he was not a gentleman. But thanks to him, we no longer confuse “the best” with “the good;” this is his greatest legacy. His death also demonstrates that wisdom is no defense against ignorance and intellect is no excuse for bad manners. These are worth knowing, but not worth dying for.
Despite shortcomings, his influence persists on campus. Professors still pad carefully. The best don’t express doubts about grants to the Chemistry Department from tobacco or drug companies; the wise let someone else choose between academic freedom and hemlock. Neither objects to mediocrity in a colleague, and no one discusses another’s specialty. “Collegiality” still means “sticking together,” since this is deemed better than drinking hemlock alone.
尽管劣迹斑斑，他的影响力仍然在院校里经久不衰。教授们仍然谨言慎行明哲保身。最好不要对烟草或药物公司向化学系提供资助表示质疑; 明智点让别人在学术自由与尼古丁之间进行选择算数。既对一些同事的碌碌无为视若无睹，也对别人的专长不表兴趣。 “共济协作”仍然意味着“中庸之道”，有谁愿做挨枪的出头鸟呢?
Thanks to him, professors
∙ party with the affluent in sylvan groves;
∙ believe virtue is its own reward;
∙ pretend to disagree agreeably;
∙ venerate patronage; and
∙ stand mute when Capitalism is touted as virtuous, even though they can define it.
都是苏格拉底开道风气在先，教授学者们仿效在后: 讲话模棱两可; 拉帮结伙; 与有钱人在西尔万树丛旁饮酒做乐; 相信德即是福; 意见不合也惺惺做态装个和颜悦色; 顾客至上; 对财富被奉若神明装聋作哑，当然他们知道真相并非如此。
Can a society based on greed be just? Is it virtuous to take more than one gives? Can wage slavery be virtuous? What about requiring many to perform mindless operations indefinitely for the enrichment of a few? Professors follow his example by answering such questions with questions.
Thanks to him, academics now know:
∙ Willingness to embrace death makes one a hero to those who prefer to wait for it.
∙ It’s better to ask whether a cup is half full or half empty rather than make a choice and be forced to drink from it.
∙ It’s risky to practice Philosophy and lechery simultaneously.
There’s little honor in such paradigms, as they have innumerable antecedents. His unique glory is his attempt to reconcile personal with civic virtue. Thanks to him, we now know this is impossible.
Our task is impossible, too. We seek quality in mass culture and virtue in Capitalism, but this doesn’t daunt us any more than his quest daunted him. Unrealizable standards have never discouraged those who, trusting impossible ideals, wind up talking to themselves, as numbness rises to the heart.