双语·有声你有多久没真正发过呆了?

新东方英语2020-10-18 15:15:06

无论是在餐厅等位,

还是坐在地铁或公交上晃荡,

生活中总有需要打发的无聊时间。

若是以前,

你或许还能安静地待着,

让头脑放空,任思绪游走。

可如今,

随着智能手机等科技产品的出现,

人们仿佛再也无法忍受无所事事,

恨不得时时刻刻都盯着屏幕,

始终保持忙碌状态。

可我们一定要过得如此“充实”吗?

重新找回无所事事的悠闲时光

真有那么难吗?

The Lost Art of Doing Nothing

By Christian Williams

Recently, while eating lunch by myself at a local diner, I realized something that genuinely bothered me: I’m losing the ability to sit and do nothing. Where I used to be able to sit contently and simply daydream or observe my surroundings, I now feel anxious, restless, and awkward if I’m sitting alone with nothing specific for my hands or brain to do.

最近,我独自一人在本地一家小餐馆吃午饭时,意识到有一件事让我着实感到心烦:我无法再坐那儿什么都不干了。过去,我总能心满意足地坐在那儿,只是做做白日梦或看看周围的风景。而现在,我要是一个人坐着,手里没什么具体的东西摆弄,或脑子里没什么特定的事可想,就会感到焦虑、不安、尴尬。


It didn’t take me long to figure out why. Looking around at the other solo diners that day, I noticed a common denominator (共同点): the smart phone. With sandwiches in one hand and thumbs scrolling through Facebook in the other, we all seemed incapable of disconnecting from our phones, even for a 15-minute lunch. That’s when it dawned on (被领悟) me that it’s entirely possible the most damaging effect of technology’s integration into our daily lives is that it’s replacing something many people have never thought was worth doing—sitting still and simply letting your mind wander.

我没花太长时间便找出了原因。环顾周围,看看当天其他独自用餐的人,我发现了一个共同点:智能手机。一只手拿着三明治,另一只手的拇指划着屏幕翻阅Facebook——我们所有人似乎都无法同手机分开,哪怕是15分钟的午餐时间也不行。就是在这时,我明白了,科技融入日常生活造成的最具破坏性的后果很有可能是,它正在取代许多人从不认为值得一做的事——安静地坐着,任凭思绪游走。

As soon as I figured out what was going on, I put my phone away. But that’s when the awkwardness set in. If you want to feel out of place in a public setting these days, just start staring off into space or watching people as they walk by. Do it long enough and someone is liable to walk up and ask you if you’re feeling OK. That’s because we’re so accustomed to seeing people tethered (将……拴到) to their smart phones—it’s the new normal. If you’re not killing time with your face fused to a screen, then you’re the weird one in the room.

我一弄清楚状况就把手机收起来了。但此时尴尬就来了。现如今,你若是想在公共场合显得格格不入,只需开始凝视前方发愣,或是盯着来来往往的行人看就够了。这样做的时间很长的话,就可能会有人走上前来问你是否不舒服。这是因为我们如此习惯于看到人们和自己的智能手机拴在一起——这是一种新的常态。如果你在消磨时间时,脸和屏幕没有融为一体,那你就是这屋里的“怪咖”。


Of course, I’m not the first person to notice how technological connectivity is making it easier to disconnect from ourselves and each other in myriad (各种各样的) ways. Late last year, comedian Louis C. K. (美国脱口秀主持人) shared his hatred for cell phones on Conan (美国一档脱口秀节目《柯南秀》), and observed how we use technology these days to distract us from thinking about the depressing aspects of life. As he points out, taking on those thoughts head on is the only way to defuse (化解) them of their explosive potential.

与技术的紧密联系使人们更容易以各种各样的方式同自我以及同彼此分隔开来。当然,我并不是第一个注意到这个问题的人。去年年末(编注:英文原文发表于2014年9月),喜剧演员路易斯·C. K.在《柯南秀》上表达了他对手机的憎恶,并说我们如今是在利用技术来转移注意力,使自己不去想生活中令人沮丧的方面。正如他所指出的,迎面接受那些想法才是化解其潜在爆发可能的唯一途径。


My concern is similar to his, but with a twist. I worry that the more dependent we become on technology to help us pass idle time, the less likely we’ll be to allow our minds to wander in positive ways. It’s already become commonplace for parents to hand their kids an iPhone when they’re restless in the backseat or complaining of boredom. While I recognize the logic-enhancing and hand/eye coordination benefits of video games in young people, I can’t help but wonder how that constant stimulation is taking away opportunities for them to expand their imaginations, creativity, and overall mindfulness.

我和路易斯担心的事差不多,但也有所不同。我担心我们越是依赖技术来帮自己打发闲散时光,就越不可能以有益身心的方式神游四方。如果孩子在车后座上烦躁不安或者抱怨无聊,父母就会递给他们一部苹果手机,这已经司空见惯。我承认,电子游戏有让年轻人增强逻辑思维和手眼协调能力的好处,但我还是会忍不住想,这种不断的刺激会如何剥夺他们拓展想象力、创造力和整体注意力的机会。

I’m noticing it in older generations, too. Just the other day, I witnessed a woman walking outside on a beautiful morning with her head down, reading a Kindle. Meanwhile, the natural beauty of her surroundings was going by unnoticed. While it’s true that she was engaging her imagination through the book, her brain was missing out on a different kind of stimulation—the kind you can only get when you allow yourself to truly appreciate the natural world we’re all apart of. And lest you think stopping to smell the roses or listening to the birds sing isn’t all that important, consider that establishing a true and lasting connection to nature may be the only way we’ll be able to shake society’s general apathy toward climate change and make the real changes necessary to curb its impact.

我在年长的几代人中也发现了这个问题。就在几天前,一个天气晴好的早晨,我看到一位女士一边在外散步,一边低着头看Kindle。与此同时,她四周的自然美景却被忽略掉了。没错,她把想象力都放在了书上,可她的大脑却错失了一种别样的刺激。这种刺激只有你让自己真正欣赏大自然时才能感受到,而我们已完全脱离自然。你觉得停下来闻闻玫瑰花香或者聆听鸟儿歌唱没那么重要?那就想一想,同大自然建立一种真实、持久的联系,这或许是我们能够改变全社会对气候变化的漠视,并且做出切实、必要的改变来遏制其影响的唯一途径。


Which brings me to my favorite argument for why we need to spend more time staring into space rather than into a screen: How else can we encourage the cutting-edge ideas, innovations, and solutions that only seem to pop into one’s mind when it’s disengaged from a specific task and allowed to wander? I recently read Mason Currey’s book Daily Rituals: How Artists Work, which is a fascinating rundown (详细情况) of the work habits of 161 of history’s greatest creative thinkers from Matisse  and Mahler  to Freud and Einstein. What stood out to me by the end was how many of them took time out of their busy days to take a walk or just sit and seemingly do nothing. Who knows how many world-changing ideas first made themselves apparent during those daily moments of stillness and contemplation? It suggested to me that what we consider “downtime” may actually be the access point to a higher plane of thinking—one that I’m hoping to find my way back into now that I’ve opened my eyes again to the world that exists outside of the phone in my pocket.

为什么我们需要花更多的时间发呆而不是看手机?上述思考使我得出了自己最满意的理由:除此之外我们没有其他方式能如此激发前沿观点、创新和解决方案的产生,因为只有一个人不必思考具体事务,可以神游四方时,这些东西似乎才能跃入脑中。我最近读了梅森·柯里的《日常仪式:艺术家如何工作》。这本书极其有趣,详细介绍了从马蒂斯、马勒到弗洛伊德、爱因斯坦等161位史上最伟大的创造性思想家的工作习惯。读到最后,我最明显的感受是,他们之中有许多人会从忙碌中抽时间散散步,或者就那么坐着,仿佛无所事事。谁知道有多少改变世界的想法就是最先出现在那些日常的安静时分和冥想时刻呢?这让我想到,我们所认为的“停工时间”可能正是通往更高思维水平的入口。我希望找到重回这一入口的路,因为我已再次对世界睁开双眼,我的口袋里装着手机,而这个世界在手机之外。


【注】

Matisse:即亨利·马蒂斯(Henri Matisse, 1869~1954),法国著名画家,野兽派创始人和代表,以使用鲜明、大胆的色彩著称。

Mahler:即古斯塔夫·马勒(Gustav Mahler, 1860~1911),奥地利作曲家及指挥家,代表作有交响乐《巨人》《复活》《大地之歌》等。

本文选自《新东方英语》2017年1月号


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