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《哈维尔致胡萨克公开信》 结尾有删减  

2011-11-03 18:59:22|  分类: 他科之璞可以攻玉 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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Dear Dr. Husák,
In our offices and factories work goes on, discipline prevails. The efforts of our citizens are yielding visible results in a slowly rising standard of living: people build houses, buy cars, have children, amuse themselves, live their lives.
All this, of course, amounts to very little as a criterion for the success or failure of your policies. After every social upheaval, people invariably come back in the end to their daily labors, for the simple reason that they want to stay alive; they do so for their own sake, after all, not for the sake of this or that team of political leaders.
Not that going to work, doing the shopping, and living their own lives is all that people do. They do much more than that: they commit themselves to numerous output norms which they then fulfill and over-fulfill; they vote as one man and unanimously elect the candidates proposed to them; they are active in various political organizations; they attend meetings and demonstrations; they declare their support for everything they are supposed to. Nowhere can any sign of dissent be seen from anything that the government does.
These facts, of course, are not to be made light of. One must ask seriously, at this point, whether all this does not confirm your success in achieving the tasks your team set itself-those of winning the public's support and consolidating the situation in the country.
The answer must depend on what we mean by consolidation.
Insofar as it is to be measured solely by statistical returns of various kinds, by official statements and police accounts of the public's political involvement, and so forth, then we can hardly feel any doubt that consolidation has been achieved.
But what if we take consolidation to mean something more, a genuine state of mind in society? Supposing we start to inquire about more durable, perhaps subtler and more imponderable, but nonetheless significant factors, such as what, by way of genuine personal, human experience lies hidden behind all the figures?    
Supposing we ask, for example, what has been done for the moral and spiritual revival of society, for the enhancement of the truly human dimensions of life, for the elevation of man to a higher degree of dignity, for his truly free and authentic assertion in this world? What do we find when we thus turn our attention from the mere outward manifestations to their inner causes and consequences, their connections and meanings, in a word, to that less obvious plane of reality where those manifestations might actually acquire a general human meeting? Can we, even then, consider our society "consolidated"? 
 I make so bold as to answer, No; to assert that, for all the outwardly persuasive facts, inwardly our society, far from being a consolidated one, is, on the contrary, plunging ever deeper into a crisis more dangerous, in some respects, than any we can recall in our recent history.  
I shall try to justify this assertion.

The basic question one must ask is this: Why are people in fact behaving in the way they do? Why do they do all these things that, taken together, form the impressive image of a totally united society giving total support to its government? For any unprejudiced observer, the answer is, I think, selfevident: They are driven to it by fear.

For fear of losing his job, the schoolteacher teaches things he does not believe; fearing for his future, the pupil repeats them after him; for fear of not being allowed to continue his studies, the young man joins the Youth League and participates in whatever of its activities are necessary; fear that, under the monstrous system of political credits, his son or daughter will not acquire the necessary total of points for enrollment at a school leads the father to take on all manner of responsibilities and "voluntarily" to do everything required. Fear of the consequences of refusal leads people to take part in elections, to vote for the proposed candidates, and to pretend that they regard such ceremonies as genuine elections; out of fear for their livelihood, position, or prospects, they go to meetings, vote for every resolution they have to, or at least keep silent: it is fear that carries them through humiliating acts of self-criticism and penance and the dishonest filling out of a mass of degrading questionnaires; fear that someone might inform against them prevents them from giving public, and often even private, expression to their true opinions. It is the fear of suffering financial reverses and the effort to better themselves and ingratiate themselves with the authorities that in most cases makes working men put their names to "work commitments"; indeed, the same motives often lie behind the establishment of Socialist Labor Brigades, in the clear realization that their chief function is to be mentioned in the appropriate reports to higher levels. Fear causes people to attend all those official celebrations, demonstrations, and marches: Fear of being prevented from continuing their work leads many scientists and artists to give allegiance to ideas they do not in fact accept, to write things they do not agree with or know to be false, to join official organizations or to take part in work of whose value they have the lowest opinion, or to distort and mutilate *(render (a book,etc.)imperfect by excision or some act of destruction) their own works. In the effort to save themselves, many even report others for doing to them what they themselves have been doing to the people they report.
The fear I am speaking of is not, of course, to be taken in the ordinary psychological sense as a definite, precise emotion. Most of those we see around us are not quaking like aspen *(白杨)leaves: they wear the faces of confident, self-satisfied citizens. We are concerned with fear in a deeper sense, an ethical sense if you will, namely, the more or less conscious participation in the collective awareness of a permanent and ubiquitous danger; anxiety about what is being, or might be, threatened; becoming gradually used to this threat as a substantive part of the actual world; the increasing degree to which, in an ever more skillful and matter-of-fact way, we go in for various kinds of external adaptation as the only effective method of self defense.

Naturally, fear is not the only building block in the present social structure.
Nonetheless, it is the main, the fundamental material, without which not even that surface uniformity, discipline, and unanimity on which official documents base their assertions about the "consolidated" state of affairs in our country could be attained. 自然,恐惧并不是当前社会结构中仅有的建筑材料。然而,它是主要的、基本的材料,没有它甚至没有表面的统一、纪律和一致,断言我们国家可以获得稳定局面的官方文件即基于此。  

The question arises, of course: What are people actually afraid of? Trials? Torture? Loss of property? Deportations? Executions? Certainly not. The most brutal forms of pressure exerted by the authorities upon the public are, fortunately, past history-at least in our circumstances. Today, oppression takes more subtle and selective forms. And even if political trials do not take place today-everyone knows how the authorities manage to manipulate them-they only represent an extreme threat, while the main thrust has moved into the sphere of existential pressure. Which, of course, leaves the core of the matter largely unchanged. 当然问题来了:什么是人们事实上害怕的?审判?拷打?失去财产?流放?死刑?当然不是。幸运的是,大多数由当权者对待人们施加压力的残酷行径如今已经成为历史——至少在我们的环境中。今天,压制采取了更微妙和精致的形式。并且即使政治审判在今天也没有发生——每个人知道当权者如何操纵他们——它们仅仅扮演着一种极度的威胁,而主要的压力则转向生存压力的领域。当然,问题的核心并没有改变。  

Notoriously, it is not the absolute value of a threat which counts, so much as its relative value. It is not so much what someone objectively loses, as the subjective importance it has for him on the plane on which he lives, with its own scale of values. Thus, if a person today is afraid, say, of losing the chance of working in his own field, this may be a fear equally strong, and productive of the same reactions, as if'-in another historical context-he had been threatened with the confiscation of his property. Indeed, the technique of existential pressure is, in a sense, more universal. For there is no one in our country who is not, in a broad sense, existentially vulnerable- Everyone has something to lose and so everyone has reason to be afraid. The range of things one can lose is broad, extending from the manifold privileges of the ruling caste and all the special opportunities afforded to the powerful-such as the enjoyment of undisturbed work, advancement and earning power, the ability to work in one's field, access to higher education-down to the mere possibility of living in that limited degree of legal certainty available to other citizens, instead of finding oneself amongst the special class to whom not even those laws which apply to the rest of the public apply, in other words, among the victims of Czechoslovak political apartheid* (南非种族隔离(政策)) .Yes, everyone has something to lose. The humblest workman's mate can be shifted to an even more lowly and worse-paid job. Even he can be cruelly punished for speaking his mind at a meeting or in the pub.
  众所周知的是,一种威胁的相对价值比绝对价值更有效。它并不是某人客观上失去的,而是对他来说,在他的生活水平上,用其自己的天平所衡量的主观价值。因此,如果今天一个人害怕在他的领域里失去工作的机会,就像在其他历史时期内,他害怕其财产被没收一样,其反应同样强烈。实际上,在某种意义上,生存压力的技巧是更为普遍的。在一个更广泛的意义上,我们国家的任何人在本质上都是十分脆弱的。每个人都有东西要失去,因此每个人都有理由担忧。一个人可能失去的东西的范围是广泛的,包括处于统治地位的人享有的各种各样的特权,所有提供给有权有势者的特殊机会,享受诸如宁静的工作、提升和执掌权力,在自己的领域里工作的能力,接受高等教育的机会,以及对其他公民来说都享有的仅仅是基本生活的有限水平,而不是处于某个特殊的阶层之中——对这些人来说,适用于其他人的规则并不适用于他们,即成为捷克斯伐克政治隔离的牺牲品。是的,每个人都有东西要失去。最恭顺的劳动者的同事可能因为在一个会上或酒吧里说出他头脑中所想的而遭到残酷的惩罚。 *(漏译) 

This system of existential pressure, embracing the whole of society and every individual in it, either as a specific everyday threat or as a general contingency, could not, of course, work effectively if it were not backed up-exactly like the former, more brutal forms of pressure-by its natural hinterland in the power structure, namely, by that force which renders it comprehensive, complex, and robust: the ubiquitous, omnipotent state police.  
当然,这种生存压力制度 (它笼罩整个社会,每个人都处于其中,要么作为每天威胁的一个特殊情节,要么作为一种普遍发生的意外事件) ,如果不是得到这种权力结构腹地的支持,即全面地、并且是粗暴地为其效劳的力量——无处不在的,至高无上的国家警察——便不能有效地工作。准确地说,这非常像它的前身,更残酷的压力形式。
For this is the hideous spider whose invisible web runs right through the whole of society; this is the vanishing point where all the lines of fear ultimately intersect; this is the final and irrefutable proof that no citizen can hope to challenge the power of the state. And even if most of the people, most of the time, cannot see this web with their own eyes, nor touch its filaments, even the simplest citizen is well aware of its existence, assumes its silent presence at every moment in every place, and behaves accordingly-behaves, that is, so as to acquit *(conduct  oneself or perform in a specified way)themselves in those hidden eyes and ears. And he knows very well why he must. For the spider can intervene in someone's life without any need to have him in his jaws. There is no need at all actually to be interrogated, charged, brought to trial, or sentenced. For one's superiors are also ensnared in the same web; and at every level where one's fate is decided, there are people collaborating or forced to collaborate with the state police. Thus, the very fact that the state police can intervene in one's life at any time, without his having any chance of resisting, suffices to rob his life of some of its naturalness and authenticity and to turn it into a kind of endless dissimulation.*(dissemble, disguise or conceal one’s feeling ,intention, act, etc.)
If it is fear which lies behind people's defensive attempts to preserve what they have, it becomes increasingly apparent that the chief impulses for their aggressive efforts to win what they do not yet possess are selfishness and careerism.
Seldom in recent times, it seems, has a social system offered scope so openly and so brazenly to people willing to support anything as long as it brings them some advantage; to unprincipled and spineless men, prepared to do anything in their craving for power and personal gain; to born lackeys(a servile political follower), ready for any humiliation and willing at all times to sacrifice their neighbors' and their own honor for a chance to ingratiate themselves with (bring oneself into favor)
 those in power.

In view of this, it is not surprising that so many public and influential positions are occupied, more than ever before, by notorious careerists, opportunists, charlatans *(a person falsely claiming a special knowledge or skill) , and men of dubious record; in short, by typical collaborators, men, that is, with a special gift for persuading themselves at every turn that their dirty work is a way of rescuing something, or, at least, of preventing still worse men from stepping into their shoes. Nor is it surprising, in these circumstances, that corruption among public employees of all kinds, their willingness openly to accept bribes for anything and allow themselves shamelessly to be swayed by whatever considerations (of?) their private interests and greed dictate, is more widespread than can be recalled during the last decade.
The number of people who sincerely believe everything that the official propaganda says and who selflessly support the government's authority is smaller than it has ever been. But the number of hypocrites rises steadily: up to a point, every citizen is, in fact, forced to be one.
This dispiriting situation has, of course, its logical causes. Seldom in recent times has a regime cared so little for the real attitudes of outwardly loyal citizens or for the sincerity of their statements. It is enough to observe that no one, in the course of all those self-criticisms and acts of penance, really cares whether people mean what they say, or are only considering their own advantages. In fact, one can safely say that the second assumption is made more or less automatically, without anything immoral being seen in this. Indeed, the prospect of personal advantage is used as the main argument in obtaining such statements. For the most part no one tries to convince the penitent that he was in error or acted wrongly, but simply that he must repent in order to save himself. At the same time, the benefits he stands to gain are colorfully magnified, while the bitter taste, which will remain after the act of penance, is played down as an illusion. And should some eccentric repent in all sincerity and show it, for example, by refusing the appropriate reward on principle, the regime would, in all probability, treat him with suspicion.
In a way, we are all being publicly bribed. If you accept this or that official position at work-not, of course, as a means of serving your colleagues, but of serving the management ,you will be rewarded with such-and-such privileges. If you join the Youth League, you will be given the right and access to such-and-such forms of entertainment. If, as a creative artist, you take part in such-and-such official functions, you will be rewarded with such-and-such genuine creative opportunities. Think what you like in private; as long as you agree in public, refrain from making difficulties, suppress your interest in truth, and silence your conscience, the doors will be wide open to you.
If the principle of outward adaptation is made the keystone to success in society, what sort of human qualities will be encouraged and what sort of people, one may ask, will come to the fore?
Somewhere between the attitude of protecting oneself from the world out of fear, and an aggressive eagerness to conquer the world for one's own benefit, lies a range of feelings which it would be wrong to overlook, because they, too, play a significant role in forming the moral climate of today's "united society": feelings of indifference and everything that goes with them.
It is as though after the shocks of recent history, and the kind of system subsequently established in this country, people had lost all faith in the future, in the possibility of setting public affairs right, in the meaning of a struggle for truth and justice. They shrug off anything that goes beyond their everyday, routine concern for their own livelihood; they seek ways of escape; they succumb to apathy, to indifference toward suprapersonal values and their fellow men, to spiritual passivity and depression.
 And everyone who still tries to resist by, for instance, refusing to adopt the principle of dissimulation as the key to survival, doubting the value of any self-fulFillment purchased at the cost of self-alienation-such a person appears to his ever more indifferent neighbors as an eccentric, a fool, a Don Quixote, and in the end is regarded inevitably with some aversion, like everyone who behaves differently from the rest and in a way which, moreover, threatens to hold up a critical mirror before their eyes. Or, again, those indifferent neighbors may expel such a person from their midst or shun him as required, for appearance' sake while sympathizing with him in secret or in private, hoping to still their conscience by clandestine (surreptitious, secret)approval of someone who acts as they themselves should, but cannot.
 Paradoxically, though, this indifference has become an active social force. Is it not plain indifference, rather than fear, that brings many to the voting booth, to meetings, to membership in official organizations? Is not the political support enjoyed by the regime to a large degree simply a matter of routine, of habit, of automatism, of laziness behind which lies nothing but total resignation? Participation in political rituals in which no one believes is pointless, but it does ensure a quiet life-and would it be any less pointless not to participate? One would gain nothing, and lose the quiet life in the bargain.

Most people are loath to spend their days in ceaseless conflict with authority, especially when it can only end in the defeat of the isolated individual. So why not do what is required of you? It costs you nothing, and in time you cease to bother about it. It is not worth a moment's thought.
Despair leads to apathy, apathy to conformity, conformity to routine performance-which is then quoted as evidence of "mass political involvement" All this goes to make up the contemporary concept of "normal" behavior-a concept which is, in essence, deeply pessimistic. 绝望导致冷漠,冷漠导致顺从,顺从例行公事的表演——它可以作为”群众性政治参与“的引证。所有这些制造”正常“行为的当代概念是一个本质上深深悲观厌世的概念。  

 The more completely one abandons any hope of general reform, any interest in suprapersonal goals and values, or any chance of exercising inftuence in an "outward" direction, the more his energy is diverted in the direction of least resistance, i.e., "inwards:' People today are preoccupied far more with themselves, their families and their homes. It is there that they find rest, there that they can forget the world's folly and freely exercise their creative talents. They fill their homes with all kinds of appliances and pretty things, they try to improve their accommodations, they try to make life pleasant for themselves, building cottages, looking after their cars, taking more interest in food and clothing and domestic comfort. In short, they turn their main attention to the material aspects of their private lives.
Clearly, this social orientation produces favorable economic results. It encourages improvements in the neglected fields of consumer goods production and public services. It helps to raise the general living standard. Economically, it is a significant source of dynamic energy, capable, at least partially, of developing society's material wealth, which the inflexible, bureaucratized, and unproductive state sector of the economy could hardly ever hope to accomplish. (It is enough to compare state and private housing construction as to quantity and quality.)  
显然,这种社会倾向产生可观的经济效果。它激发了被忽视的消费品生产和公共服务领域的改善。它帮助提高普遍的生活水平。从经济的眼光来看,它是一种富有意义的推动力的源泉,至少部分地可以发展社会的物质财富,而这是僵硬的、官僚化的、非生产性的国家经济成分几乎不能指望完成的 (只要比较一下国家和私人房子结构的质量和数量便已足够)。  

The authorities welcome and support this spillover of energy into the private sphere.
But why? Because it stimulates economic growth? Certainly, that is one reason. But the whole spirit of current political propaganda and practice, quietly but systematically applauding this "inward" orientation as the very essence of human fulfillment on earth, shows only too clearly why the authorities really welcome this transfer of energy- They see it for what it really is in its psychological origins: an escape from the public sphere. Rightly divining that such surplus energy, if directed "outward," must sooner or later turn against them-that is, against the particular forms of power they obstinately cling to-they do not hesitate to represent as human life what is really a desperate substitute for living. In the interest of the smooth management of society, then, society's attention is deliberately diverted from itself, that is, from social concerns. By fixing a person's whole attention on his mere consumer interests, it is hoped to render him incapable of realizing the increasing extent to which he has been spiritually, politically, and morally violated. Reducing him to a simple vessel for the ideals of a primitive consumer society is intended to turn him into pliable *(bending easily ;supple)material for complex manipulation. The danger that he might conceive a longing to fulfill some of the immense and unpredictable potential he has as a human being is to be nipped (pinch,squeeze ,or bite sharply)in the bud by imprisoning him within the wretched range of parts he can play as a consumer, subject to the limitations of a centrally directed market.
All the evidence suggests that the authorities are applying a method quite adequate for dealing with a creature whose only aim is self-preservation. Seeking the path of least resistance, they completely ignore the price that must be paid the harsh assault on human integrity, the brutal castration(阉割) of man's humanity.  

Yet these same authorities obsessively justify themselves with their revolutionary ideology, in which the ideal of man's total liberation has a central place! But what, in fact, has happened to the concept of human personality and its many-sided, harmonious, and authentic growth? Of man liberated from the clutches of an alienating social machinery, from a mythical hierarchy of values, formalized freedoms, from the dictatorship of property, the fetish and the might of money? What has happened to the idea that people should live in full enjoyment of social and legal justice, have a creative share in economic and political power, be elevated in human dignity and become truly themselves? Instead of a free share in economic decision making, free participation in political life, and free intellectual advancement, all people are actually offered a chance freely to choose which washing machine or refrigerator they want to buy.
但是,同样是这些当权者固执地用他们革命的意识形态为自己辩护,其中,人的全部自由的思想有一个中心的地方! 但什么是人的个性,它的多种侧面,协调和真正的成长呢?什么是人从一种异化的社会机器的控制中解放出来,从虚构的价值等级,形式上的自由,从财产的专制及对金钱拜物教和强权中解放出来呢?什么是人们必须充分享有社会和法律的公正,在经济和政治权力中有一个创造性的空间,提高人的尊严及真正成为他们自己呢?取代经济决定的自由空间,政治生活中的自由参与,和精神上自由发展的,是所有人民实际上被提供了一种自由地选择他们要买的那一种洗衣机和电冰箱的自由。  

In the foreground, then, stands the imposing facade of grand humanistic ideals-and behind it crouches the modest family house of a socialist bourgeois. On the one side, bombastic slogans about the unprecedented increase in every sort of freedom and the unique structural variety of life; on the other, unprecedented drabness *(monotony)and the squalor* (the state of being filthy or squalid)of life reduced to a hunt for consumer goods.

Somewhere at the top of the hierarchy of pressures by which man is maneuvered into becoming an obedient member of a consumer herd, there stands, as I have hinted, a concealed, omnipotent force: the state police. It is no coincidence, I suppose, that this body should so aptly illustrate the gulf that separates the ideological facade from everyday reality. Anyone who has had the bad luck to experience personally the "working style" of that institution must be highly amused at the official explanation of its purpose. Does anyone really believe that that slimy swarm of thousands of petty informers, professional narks, complex-ridden, sly, envious, malevolent petits bourgeois, and bureaucrats, that malodorous *(evil-smelling) agglomeration of treachery, evasion, fraud, gossip, and intrigue "shows the imprint of the working man, guarding the people's government and its revolutionary achievements against its enemies' designs"? For who would be more hostile to a true workers' government-if everything were not upside down than your pedit 6ourgeois, always ready to oblige and sticking at nothing, soothing his arthritic*(关节炎) self-esteem by informing on his fellow citizens, a creature clearly discernible behind the regular procedures of the secret police as the true spiritual author of their "working style"?

It would be hard to explain this whole grotesque contrast between theory and practice, except as a natural consequence of the real mission of the state police today, which is not to protect the free development of man from any assailants, but to protect the assailants from the threat which any real attempt at man's free development poses.

The contrast between the revolutionary teachings about the new man and the new morality, and the shoddy *(1。Trashy, shabby, poorly made.2.counterfeit)concept of life as consumer bliss, raises the question of why the authorities actually cling so tenaciously to their ideology. Clearly, only because their ideology, as a conventionalized system of ritual communications, assures them the appearance of legitimacy, continuity, and consistency, and acts as a screen of prestige for their pragmatic practice.

The actual aims of this practice do, of course, leave their traces on the official ideology at every point. From the bowels of that infinite mountain of ideological rhetoric by which the authorities ceaselessly try to sway people's minds, and which as its communication value is nil-the public, for the most part, scarcely notices, there emerges one specific and meaningful message, one realistic piece of advice: "Avoid politics if you can; leave it to us! Just do what we tell you, don't try to have deep thoughts, and don't poke your nose into things that don't concern you! Shut up, do your work, look after yourself-and you'll be all right!"  
   当然,这种实践的实际目的,在每一点上都离开了官方意识形态的轨道*(应译为“处处留下痕迹”,现在这样译,满拧!)。从这个意识形态修辞学的内部——通过这种修辞学,当权者无休止地试图控制人们的头脑,并且其作为交流价值等于零——对大多数人来说,几乎难以觉察地出现了一种特殊的和有意义的信息,一种现实的劝告:“如果你有可能离开政治,让它远离我们!做我们告诉你们的那种事情,不要试图有深刻的思想,不要把你们的鼻子放在不关乎你的事情上! 闭上你的眼,做你自己的工作,关照你自己——这样你将是正确的!”  (这是一句恫吓,意为这样做你就OK啦)

This advice is heeded. That people need to make a living is, after all, the one point on which they can rather easily agree with their government. Why not make good use of it, then? Especially as you have no other choice anyway.

Where is the whole situation which I have tried to outline here ultimately leading?
What, in other words, is the effect on people of a system based on fear and apathy, a system that drives everyone into a foxhole *(掩体)of purely material existence and offers him hypocrisy as the main form of communication with society? To what level is a society reduced by a policy where the only aim is superficial order and general obedience, regardless of by what means and at what price they have been gained?  
我在这里试图描述的整个情形最终将导向何方? 换句话来说,一种建立在恐惧和冷漠的基础上的制度,一种将每个人都驱进纯粹物质存在的单人掩体和给予他们伪善作为与社会交流的主要形式,将会对人们产生什么样的影响?将社会缩减成为一种策略,在那里仅仅是为了表面上的秩序和普遍的服从,而无视通过什么样的方式和以什么样的代价,这是什么样水平的社会?*(应为“在何种程度上,到什么地步”,是修饰“reduced”的)  

It needs little imagination to see that such a situation can only lead toward the gradual erosion of all moral standards, the breakdown of all criteria of decency, and the widespread destruction of confidence in the meaning of values such as truth, adherence to principles, sincerity, altruism, dignity, and honor. Amidst a demoralization "in depth," stemming from the loss of hope and the loss of the belief that life has a meaning, life must sink to a biological, vegetable level. It can but confront us once more with that tragic aspect of man's status in modern technological civilization marked by a declining awareness of the absolute, and which I propose to call a "crisis of human identity." For how can the collapse of man's identity be slowed down by a system that so harshly requires a man to be something other than he is?

Order has been established. At the price of a paralysis of the spirit, a deadening of the heart, and devastation of life. Surface "consolidation" has been achieved. At the price of a spiritual and moral crisis in society.

Unfortunately, the worst feature of this crisis is that it keeps deepening. We only need to raise our sights a little above our limited daily perspective in order to realize with horror how hastily we are all abandoning positions which only yesterday we refused to desert. What social conscience only yesterday regarded as improper is today casually excused; tomorrow it will eventually be thought natural, and the day after be held up as a model of behavior. What yesterday we declared impossible, or at least averred*(?) we would never get accustomed to, today we accept, without astonishment, as a fact of life. And, conversely, things that a little while ago we took for granted we now treat as exceptional: and soon-who knows we might think of them as unattainable chimeras(妄想,奇想).  

The changes in our assessment of the "natural" and the "normal," the shifts in moral attitudes in our society over the past few years have been greater than they might appear at first glance. As our insensitivity has increased, so naturally has our ability to discern that insensitivity declined.
The malady has spread, as it were, from the fruit and the foliage to the trunk and roots. The most serious grounds for alarm, then, are the prospects which the present state of affairs opens up for the future.
The main route by which society is inwardly enlarged, enriched, and cultivated is that of coming to know itself in ever greater depth, range, and subtlety.
The main instrument of society's self-knowledge is its culture: culture as a specific field of human activity, influencing the general state of mind-albeit often very indirectly-and at the same time continually subject to its influence.
Where total control over society completely suppresses its differentiated inner development, the first thing to be suppressed regularly is its culture: not just "automatically," as a phenomenon intrinsically opposed to the "spirit" of manipulation, but as a matter of deliberate "programming" inspired by justified anxiety that society be alerted to the extent of its own subjugation through that culture which gives it its self awareness. It is culture that enables a society to enlarge its liberty and to discover truth-so what appeal can it have for the authorities who are basically concerned with suppressing such values? They recognize only one kind of truth: the kind they need at the given moment. And only one kind of liberty: to proclaim* (announce or declare public or official)that "truth."
A world where "truth" flourishes not in a dialectic climate of genuine knowledge but in a climate of power interests is a world of mental sterility, petrified* (1.become like stone 2.deprive (the mind ,a doctrine, etc)of vitality) dogmas, rigid and unchangeable creeds leading inevitably to creedless despotism.
This is a world of prohibitions and limitations and of orders, a world where cultural policy means primarily the operations of the cultural police force.
Much has been said and written about the peculiar degree of devastation which our present-day culture has reached: about the hundreds of prohibited books and authors and the dozens of liquidated periodicals; about the carving up of publishers' projects and theatre repertoires and the cutting off of all contact with ihe intellectual community; about the plundering of exhibition halls; about the grotesque range of per secution and discrimination practiced in this field; about the breaking up of all the former artistic associations and countless scholarly institutes and their replacement by dummies run by little gangs of aggressive fanatics, notorious careerists, incorrigible cowards, and incompetent upstarts anxious to seize their opportunity in the general void. Rather than describe all these things again, I will offer some reflections on those deeper aspects of this state of affairs which are germane to the subject of my letter.
 这是一个禁止、限制和秩序的世界,是一个文化政策首先意味着文化警察力量操作的世界。 我们今天的文化所达到特殊的偏离程度,许多事情已经被谈论和写到了:关于成百上千的被禁止的书籍和作家,成批的被肃清的期刊;关于删掉的出版计划和剧场节目及切断所有知识分子团体联络;关于对展览厅的掠夺;关于在这个领域中实行迫害和歧视的荒诞不经的做法;关于解散所有原先的联盟和无数的学术机构及它们被一些傀儡所替代,而这些傀儡由放肆的狂热者、声名狼籍的野心家、不可救药的懦夫们,在普遍的空虚感中急切地抓住机会的不够格的暴发户所操纵。与其再一遍描述所有这些事情,我宁愿思考与我的这封信的主题更密切的事态更深刻的方面。  

In the first place, however bad the present situation, it still does not mean that culture has ceased to exist altogether. Plays are put on, television programs go out every day, and even books get published. But this overt and legal cultural activity, taken as a whole, exhibits one basic feature: an overall externalization due to its being estranged in large measure from its proper substance through its total emasculation as an instrument of human, and, therefore of social, self-awareness. And whenever something of incontestably excellent value does appear-a superb dramatic performance, let us say, to stay in the sphere of art-then it appears, rather, as a phenomenon to be tolerated because of its subtlety and refinement, and hence, from an official point of view, its relative innocuousness *(1.not injurious,harmless,2.inoffensive) as a contribution to social self-awareness. Yet even here, no sooner does that contribution begin to be at all keenly perceived than the authorities start instinctively to defend themselves: there are familiar instances where a good actor was banned, by and large, simply for being too good.

But that is not what concerns me at this point. What interests me is how this externalization works in fields where it is possible to describe the human experience of the world far more explicitly and where the function of promoting social self-awareness is, thus, far more manifestly fulfilled. 但是这一点还不是我所关心的,令我感兴趣的是,这种表面化的作品是怎样的情况,——在本来是可以更明晰地描绘这个世界人类经验的领域,本来是可以促进社会自我意识的功能更清晰地实现的领域。  

For example, suppose a literary work, a play perhaps, um deniably skillful, suggestive, ingenious, meaningful, is published (it does happen from time to time). Whatever the other qualities of the work may be, of one thing we may always be perfectly certain: whether through censorship or selfcensorship, because of the writer's character or his selfdeception, as a consequence of resignation or of calculation, it will never stray one inch beyond the taboos of a banal, conventional and, hence, basically fraudulent social consciousness that offers and accepts as genuine experience the mere appearance of experience-a concatenation of smooth, hackneyed, *((of a phrase etc)made commonplace or trite by overuse) superficial trivia of experience; that is, pallid reflections of such aspects of experience as the social consciousness has long since adopted and domesticated. Despite, or rather, because of this fact, there will always be people who find such a work entertaining, exciting, and interesting, although it sheds no light, offers no flash of real knowledge in the sense that it reveals something unknown, expresses something unsaid, or provides new, spontaneous, and effective evidence of things hitherto only guessed at. In short, by imitating the real world, such a work in fact, falsifies the real world. As regards the actual forms this externalization takes, it is no accident that the vat*(染缸) most frequently tapped should be the one which, thanks to its proven harmlessness, enjoys the warmest approval of the authorities in our country, whether bourgeois or proletarian. I refer to the aesthetics of banality, safely housed within the four walls of genial petit bourgeois morality; the sentimental philosophy of kitchen-sink, country-bumpkin *(a rustic or socially inept person)earthiness* (somewhat coarse or crude, unrefined) , and the provincial conception of the world based on the belief in its general goodness. I refer to the aesthetic doctrine whose keystone is the cult of right-thinking mediocrity, bedded in hoary (1.(of hair )grey or white with age.2.old and trite)national selfsatisfaction, guided by the principle that everything must be slick,*(superficially or pretentiously smooth and dexterous) trivial, and predigested, and culminating in that false optimism which puts the basest interpretation on the dictum that "truth will prevail."
  例如,设想一部文学作品,也许是一部戏剧,无疑也有技巧,能引起联想,精巧和有思想,它出版了(这是经常发生的)。不管这部作品其他方面如何,有一件事情我们是可以肯定的:它是否能通过审查制度或自我审查,因为那位作家的性格或他的自我欺骗,作为屈从或算计的结果,将不会使人离开平庸、惯例和禁忌一步,因而提供和接受的主要是欺骗的社会意识,它作为真正的经验仅仅是其表面——一种光滑的、陈腐的、表面琐细的经验的组合;它只是苍白地反映了早就被采用和驯化了的那方面的经验。事实上,尽管总是有人发现这样一部有趣的、令人兴奋的和有意思的作品*(?),即使它并不闪光,并不提供真正的知识,没有透露出某些尚未被了解的事情,表达未曾被说过的那些事情,或为一种目前为止仅仅是猜测的东西提供某些新的、有效的证据。简单地说,由于模仿真实的世界,这样一部作品事实上失去了真实的世界。至于这种表面性的东西所采取的形式,*(漏译)由于其被证实的无害性,得到我们国家当权者最热烈的赞同,不管是资产阶级还是无产阶级。我所涉及的是这样一种美学——平庸的,安全地居住在小资产阶级道德的四堵墙内,对于琐屑无聊的东西感伤的哲学,乡巴佬的粗陋,建立在普遍的善的信仰之上的对于世界的偏狭概念。我所涉及到的是这种美学教条,其关键是对于平庸的正确思想的崇拜,根植于久远的民族的自我满足,并且受这种原则的指导——每一件事情必须平滑,平凡,简化, 乃至达到一种虚假的乐观主义,它建立在这种格言最低级的转述上:“真理将要流行。”  
Of works designed to give literary expression to the government's political ideology, there is today-as you must be aware-an extreme scarcity, and those few are clearly, by professional standards, bad ones. This is not merely because there is no one to write them, but also, I am sure, paradoxical as it may appear, because they would not be particularly welcome. For, from the standpoint of actual contemporary attitudes (those of the consumer society, that is), even if such works were available, were professionally competent, and attracted somebody's interest, they would divert too much attention "outwards," rub salt into too many old wounds, provoke through their general and radical political character-too much general and radical political reaction, thus stirring up too many pools that are meant to be left as stagnant as possible. Far more suitable to the real interests of the authorities today is what I have called the aesthetics of banality, which misses the truth much more inconspicuously, acceptably, and plausibly, and (since it is far more digestible for the conventional mind) is far more suited to the role accorded to culture in the consumer philosophy: not to excite people with the truth, but to reassure them with lies.  
This kind of artistic output, of course, has always predominated. But in our country, there had always been some chinks * (a narrow opening, a slit)at least through which works of art that could truthfully be said to convey a more genuine kind of human self-wareness reached the public. The road for such works was never particularly smooth. They met resistance not only from the authorities, but from the easygoing inertia of conventional attitudes as well. Yet until recently they had always managed in some mysterious way, by devious  *(winding,circuitous)paths and seldom without delay, to get through to the individual and to society, and so to fulfill the role of culture as the agent of social self-awareness.  当然,这种美学的产量,总是突出的。而是在我们国家,也总是存在着一些裂缝,至少通过它们,艺术作品可以真正地被说成将一种更真诚的人类自我意识传给社会。这种作品的途径当然是特别不平坦。它们不仅遇到来自当权者的抵制,而且也来自轻松舒适的立场的抵制。但是,直到现在它们总是以某种隐蔽的方式进行,通过迂回的途径和几乎没有耽搁,到达个人和社会,因而完成作为社会自我意识代理人的文化的角色。  < div>
This is all that really matters. This is precisely what I take to be really important. And it is also precisely this that the present government-arguably for the first time since the age of our national revival-has managed to render almost completely impossible, so total is the present system of bureaucratic control of culture, so perfect the surveillance of every chink through which some major work might see the light of day, so greatly does that little band of men, who hold the keys to every door in their own pockets, fear the government and fear art.
You will, of course, appreciate that I am speaking at this moment not of the indexes, listing the names of all creative artists subject to a total or partial ban, but of a much worse list-of that "blank index" which includes, a priori, everything which might contain the spark of a slightly original thought, a perceptive insight, deeper sincerity, an unusual idea, or a suggestive form; I am speaking of that open warrant for the arrest of anything inwardly free and, therefore, in the deepest sense "cultural," I am speaking of the warrant against culture issued  by  your government.
Once more the question which I have been posing from the start arises. What does it all really mean? Where is it leading? What is it going to do to society?
Once more, I take a particular case. Most of the former cultural periodicals, as we know, have ceased to appear in our country. If any have survived, they have been so made to conform to official policy that they are hardly worth taking seriously.
What has been the effect of that?
At first glance, practically none. The wheels of society continue to go round even without all those literary, artistic, theatrical, philosophical, historical, and other magazines whose number, even while they existed, may never have filled the latent needs of society, but which nevertheless were around and played their part. How many people today still miss those publications? Only the few tens of thousands of people who subscribed to them-a very small fraction of society.
Yet this loss is infinitely deeper and more significant than might appear from the numbers involved. Its real implications are again, of course, hidden, and can hardly be assessed precisely.
The forcible liquidation of such a journal-a theoretical review concerned with the theatre, say-is not just an impoverishment of its particular readers. It is not even merely a severe blow to theatrical culture. It is simultaneously, and above all, the liquidation of a particular organ through which society becomes aware of itself and hence it is an interference, hard to describe in exact terms, in the complex system of circulation, exchange, and conversion of nutrients that maintain life in that many layered organism which is society today. It is a blow against the natural dynamic of the processes going on within that organism; a disturbance of the balanced interplay of all its many functions, an interplay reflecting the level of complexity reached by society's anatomy*(structure). And just as the chronic deficiency of a vitamin (amounting in quantitative terms only to a negligible fraction of the human diet) can make a person ill, so, in the long run, the loss of a single periodical can cause the social organism far more damage than would appear at first sight. And what if the loss involves not just one periodical, but virtually all?
It is easy to show that the real importance of knowledge, thought, and creation is not limited, in the stratified world of a civilized society, to the significance these things have for the particular circle of people who are primarily, directly and, as it were, physically involved with them, either actively or passively. This is always a small group, especially in the sciences. Yet the knowledge in question, conveyed through however many intermediaries, may in the end profoundly affect the whole society, just as politics, including the nuclear threat, physically concerns each one of us, even though most of us have had no experience of the speculations in theoretical physics which led to the manufacture of the atom bomb. That the same holds for nonspecific knowledge is shown by many historic instances of an unprecedented cultural, political, and moral upsurge throughout society, where the original nucleus of crystallization, the catalyst, was an act of social self-awareness carried out, and indeed directly and "physically" perceived, only by a small and exclusive circle. Even subsequently, that act may have remained outside the apperception of society at large, yet it was still an indispensable condition of its upsurge. For we never know when some inconspicuous spark of knowledge, struck within range of the few brain cells, as it were, specially adapted for the organism's self awareness, may suddenly light up the road for the whole of society, without society ever realizing, perhaps, how it came to see the road. But that is far from being the whole story. For even those other countless flashes of knowledge which never illuminate the path ahead for society as a whole have their deep social importance, if only through the mere fact that they happened; that they might have cast light; that in their very occurrence they fulfilled a certain range of society's potentialities-either its creative powers, or simply its liberties; they, too, help to make and maintain a climate of civilization without which none of the more illuminating flashes could ever occur.
In short, the space within which spiritual self-awareness operates is indivisible; the cutting of a single thread must injure the coherence of the whole network, and this itself showed the remarkable interdependence of all those fine processes in the social organism that I spoke of, the transcendent *(excelling,surpassing)importance of each one of them, and hence the transcendent destructiveness wrought by its disruption. 简单地说,精神的自我意识在其中运行的空间是不可分割的,对每一根线的切断必然伤害这整个网的一致性,这张网自身显示了我所说的这个社会有机体内所有这些细微过程特殊的相互依存,显示了它们其中每一个卓越的重要性,因此它的分裂便会造成超常的毁灭。
I would not wish to reduce everything to this single and still relatively minor aspect of the problem. Still, does it not in itself confirm the deeply injurious influence on the general spiritual and moral state of society which the "warrant against culture" already has and will have in future, even though its immediate impact is only on a limited number of heads?
If not a single new Czech novel, of which one could safely say that it enlarges our experience of the world, has appeared in recent years in the bookshops, this will certainly have no public effect. Readers are not going to demonstrate in the streets and, in the end, you can always find something to read. But who will dare assess the real significance of this fact for Czech society? Who knows how the gap will affect the spiritual and moral climate of the years to come? How far will it weaken our ability to know ourselves? How deeply will such an absence of cultural self-knowledge brand those whose selfknowing begins only today or tomorrow? What mounds*(?) of mystification, slowly forming in the general cultural consciousness, will need to be chipped away? How far back will one need to go? Who can tell which people will still find the strength to light new fires of truth, when, how, and from what resources, once there has been such thorough wastage not only of the fuel, but of the very feeling that it can be done?
A few novels of the kind absent from the bookshops do nevertheless exist: they circulate in manuscript. In this respect, the situation is not yet hopeless: it follows from everything I have said that if such a novel, over the years, remained unknown to all but twenty people, the fact of its existence would still be important. It means something that there is such a book, that it could be written at all, that it is alive in at least one tiny area of the cultural consciousness. But what about the fields in which it is impossible to work, except through the so-called legal channels? How can one estimate the damage already done, and still to be done, by the strangling(squeeze the windpipe or neck of ,esp. so as to kill) of every interesting development in the stage and cinema, whose role as social stimuli is so specific? How much greater still may be the long-term effect of the vacuum in the humanities and in the theory and practice of the social sciences? Who dares measure the consequences of the violent interruption of the long processes of self-knowledge in ontology, ethics, and historiography, dependent as they are on access to the normal circulation of information, ideas, discoveries, and values, the public crystallization of attitudes?
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