论 美

Ralph Waldo Emerson/拉尔夫·沃尔多·爱默生

大自然除了提供人类衣食所需之外,还满足了一种更高尚的追求——那就是满足了人们的爱美之心。

A nobler want of man is served by nature, namely, the love of Beauty.

古希腊人把“宇宙”称为“科士谟士”,即美丽之意。万物之本性无比奇妙,或者可以说,人类独具适应性的潜能,能够构形筑影。因而,大自然所有的基本形态,蓝天,山峦,树木,鸟兽,等等,都能使我们惊喜;这种惊喜并不依赖外物,也不因其有任何实用目的,只是就万物的线条、色彩、运动与组合看起来都让人爽心怡性。在某种程度上,这可能由于我们的眼睛自身。眼睛,是世界上最好的画家。眼睛的结构与光学的法则互动,产生出所谓的“透视”,因此任何一组物体,不管它是何种东西,在我们看来都觉得色彩清晰,明暗层次鲜明,井然有序,整体就似乎是一个球;个别的物体或许形态拙劣,了无生趣,但一经组合,就变得对称而完满了。故构图的巧妙,非人的眼睛莫属;而要想把色彩铺设得美妙,则要依赖光线。再丑恶的东西,强光之下,也会产生美。光线不但激活了感官,而且光线好似空间和时间,有着能把一切都覆盖的性质,所以任何东西只要在光明下都是赏心悦目的。即使死尸也有它自己的美。自然界所有事物都在“美”的笼罩之下,几乎所有的个体都这么美好。如橡实、葡萄、松果、麦穗、鸡蛋、形形色色的翅膀以及种类繁多的鸟,如狮爪、蛇、蝴蝶、贝壳、火焰、云朵、蓓蕾、绿叶和如棕榈树似的许多树的树干,我们不断地描摹它们,把它们作为“美”的典范。

The ancient Greeks called the world Koouos, beauty. Such is the constitution of all things, or such the plastic power of the human eye, that the primary forms, as the sky, the mountain, the tree, the animal, give us a delight in and for themselves; a pleasure arising from outline, color, motion, and grouping.This seems partly owing to the eye itself. The eye is the best of artists. By the mutual action of its structure and of the laws of light, perspective is produced, which integrates every mass of objects, of what character soever, into a well colered and shaded golbe, so that where the particular objects are mean and unaffecting , the landscape which they compose is round and symmetrical. And as the eye is the best composer, so light is the first of painters. There is no object so foul that intense light will not make beautiful. And the stimulus it affords to the sense, and a sort of infinitude which it has, like space and time, make all matter gay. Even the corpse has its own beauty. But besides this general grace diffused over nature, almost all the individual forms are agreeable to the eye, as is proved by our endless imitations of some of them, as the acorn, the grape, the pine-cone, the wheat-ear, the egg, the wings and forms of most birds, the lion’s claw, the serpent, the butterfly, sea-shells, flames, clouds, buds, leaves, and the forms of many trees, as the palm.

为了更进一步地了解,我们可将自然之美,分三方面剖析:

For better consideration, we may distribute the aspects of Beauty in a threefold manner.

一,倘能抱着单纯的心态去感知自然形态也是一种快乐。自然形态和活动的效用,于人生是必不可缺的。就最基本的作用来说,似乎局限于实用和审美两者之间。俗世纷扰牵绊了人的身心,一旦回到大自然中,自然的医疗妙用就得以发挥,让人们恢复身心健康。走出熙熙攘攘闹市的商人和律师,抬头看见蓝天和树木,就会重新感受到人性的本质。在大自然恒久的天籁中,他领悟到自我真实的一面。如果要保护眼睛的健康,我们的视野一定要宽阔。只要可以看的久远,我们就永远不会倦怠。

1. First, the simple perception of natural forms is a delight. The influence of the forms and actions in nature is so needful to man, that, in its lowest of functions, it seems to lie on the confines of commodity and beauty. To the body and mind, which have been cramped by noxious work or company, nature is medicinal and restores their tone. The tradesman, the attorney comes out of the din and craft of the street and sees the sky and the woods, and is a man again. In their eterna calm, he finds himself. The health of the eye seems to demand a horizon. We are never fired, so long as we can see far enough.

但是即使在我们并不觉得劳累的时候,大自然也满足于它的赏心悦目;我们之所以喜欢自然,和我们身体所受的恩惠没有一丝关系。我常常在屋对面的山顶上眺望晨景,从清晨到日落,新潮澎湃,感受着天使能感受的激情。纤细的云朵畅游在绛色霞光里,就像鱼儿遨游在深海中。我从地面望去,仿佛从海滩上凝视着静谧的大海。海天瞬息万变,我似乎分享着它急速的变幻;这活泼的氤氲侵袭了我的身体,我觉得生命在蔓延,与晨风合为一体。大自然只需来些简单的变幻,就能让我们变得超凡脱俗!给我健康与一天光阴,我将锻造帝王们奢华的浮世绘。绚烂清晨,是我的亚述帝国;夕阳西落,皓月东升,是我的帕福斯和无法想象的超凡景致;泛泛午日,将是我感觉和思维的英格兰;深深黑夜成为我玄妙哲理和梦想的德意志。

……

But in other hours, Nature satisfies by its loveliness, and without any mixture of corporeal benefit. I see the spectacle of morning from the hilltop over against my house, from daybreak to sanrise, with emotions which an angel might share. The long slender bars of cloud float like fishes in the sea of crimson light. From the earth, as a shore, I look out into that silent sea. I seem to partake its rapid transformations; the active enchantment reaches my dust, and I dilate and conspire with the morning wind.How does Nature deify with a few and cheap elements!Give me health and a day, and I will make the pomp of emperors ridiculous. The dawn ia my Assyria; the sunset and moon-rise, my Paphos and unimaginable realms of faerie; broad noon shall be my England of the senses an the understanding; the night shall be my Germany of mystic philosophy and dream.

二,完美无缺的美需要一种更高层的精神元素。高尚神圣之美,与温柔之美不同,是和人类的意志统一的。美是德的标识,这是上帝特定的。凡是顺乎自然规律的行为就是美的,英勇崇高的行为,一定合情合理,它的荣耀甚至恩泽到发生该事的地方和旁观者。圣贤豪杰的伟大行径,都是留给后世的一种教导,我们因此知道;宇宙是属于每个人的基业,每个正常的人都可以把六合之围看成是自己的产业,或者嫁妆。如果他愿意拥有的话,触手可及。他也可以自暴自弃,放弃他的财富;他可以舍弃自己的江山,偏安一隅,苟且偷生。这种不长进的人世界上比比皆是,但根据他素质之高低,他有权拥有自己的世界。权衡自己的思想和意志,拥有属于自己的世界。……

2.The presence of a higher, namely, of the spiritual element is essential to its perfection.The high and divine beauty which can be loved without effeminacy,is that which is found in combination with the human will.Beauty is the mark God sets upon virture.Every natural action is graceful.Every heroic act is also decent,and causes the place and the bystanders to shine.We are taught by great actions that the universe is the properly of every individual in it.Every rational creature has all nature for his dowry and estate.It is his,if he will.He may divest himself of it;he may creep into a corner,and abdicate his kingdom, as most men do, but he is entitled to the world by his constitution.In proportion to the energy of his thought and will,he lakes up the world into himself,……

三,从另一种角度也能看出世界之美,即用理智来研究自然界。万物除了与美德相关,还与思想结下不解之缘。万物在上帝灵魂中都有其固有的模式,人们可撇弃情感上的好恶,用理智直接去探究。思维和活动似乎相辅相成,专一的思维产生专一的行为,反之亦然。两者之间颇有微词,但它们如动物进食和工作时间相互交迭一样,也为彼此的来临做好准备。美同行为的关系,正如我们所见,不去刻意追求而自然生成,因为它未被寻求所以它来了。然后,保持着美,作为理智思索与追逐的客体;而后,美激活了行动。神圣的东西绝不会灭亡,所有的“善”都生生不息。自然之美改善了心灵中的自我,它不是空洞的冥想,而是新创造的起点。

3.There is still another aspect under which the beauty of the world may be viewed, namely, as it becomes an boject of the intellect.Beside the relation of things to virture, they have a relation to thought. The intellect searches out the absolute order of things as they stand in the mind of God, and without the colors of affection.The intellectual and the active powers seem to succeed each other, and the exclusive activity of the one generates the exclusive activity of the other.There is something unfriendly in each to the other, but they are like the alternate periods by feeding and working in animals; each prepares and will be followed by the other. Therefore does beauty, which, in relation to actions ,as we have seen, comes unsought, and comes because it is unsought, remain for the apprehension and pursuit of the intellect; and then again, in its turn, of the active power. Nothing diforms itself in the mind, and not for barren contemplation, but for new creation.

世界的美,人们多多少少都能领略;有些人不仅感受而已,甚至于喜悦。这种爱美之心就是“趣味”。另一些人爱不释手,觉得单是艳羡,犹有不足,继而创造新的形式,把美纳入其中,而艺术则就是美的创造。

All men are in some degree impressed by the face of the world; some men even to delight. This love of beauty is Taste.Others have the same love in such excess, that, not content with admiring, they seek to embody it in new forms. The creation of beauty is Art.

美术品的创造为人类的传奇揭开一线曙光。美术作品是世界的精髓,是现实的缩影。微观上,它是大自然的产物。尽管自然界的作品难以计数,各不相同,它们的产物却是单纯统一的。大自然海纳百川,但根本上还是如出一辙,可以说是独一无二。一片树叶、一缕阳光、一片风景、一汪海洋,虽不是同一样景物,但是都可以产生出相同的心灵感受。它们的共同之处在于,完美与和谐才是美。美的标准是自然的全部,是形形色色的大自然的合体。意大利人这样定义美“以一见多”。由此可见,没有什么是独自美丽的,一旦整体观之,没有什么是不美的。单独的物体仅在反射万物之美时才会如此美丽。诗人、画家、雕塑家、音乐家、建筑家,其道虽不同,但只是用不同的形式,将这光辉的世界集于一点;他们各自的作品满足了人们的爱美之心,这又刺激了他们的创作。因而,艺术就是大自然通过人心的净化而形成的。人心有感万物之美,自然界借助了艺术家才能的发挥,作第二步的创作,即艺术。

The production of a work of art throws a light upon the mystery of humanity.A work of art is an abstract or epitome of the world. It is the result or expression of nature, in miniature.For although the works of nature are innumerable and all different, the result or the expression of them all is similar and single.Nature is a sea of forms radically alike and even unique. A leaf, a sunbeam, a landscape, the ocean, make an analogous impression on the mind. What is common to them all,——that perfectness and harmony, is beauty. The standard of beauty is the entire circuit of nature forms,——the totality of nature; which the Italians expressed by defining beauty”il piu nell’ uno.”Nothing is quite beautiful alone;nothing but is beautiful in the whole.A single object is only so far beautiful as it suggests this universal grace. The poet, the painter, the sculptor, the musician, the architect, seek each to concentrate this radiance of the world on one point, and each in his several work to satisfy the love of beauty which stimulates him to produce. Thus is Art a nature passed to through the alembic of man.Thus in art does Nature work through the will of a man filled with the beauty of her first works.

因而世界的存在,是为了满足人们灵魂中爱美的需求。这是最终的目标。无人会问,也无人能解释——为什么灵魂需要美。美,从最宏大和最深远的意义上说,是一种对宇宙的表述。上帝是至美的。真善美三者,只是一个本体的三个方面的表现而已。可是自然界的美并非极致。它本身不是完好圆满的“善”,而是为内在的永恒“美”做先导而已。我们可以把它看做整体中的一部分,宇宙另有其根本的原因,其表现的方式也多种多样,自然界的美并不是终极的或最高的体现。

The world thus exists to the soul to satisfy the desire of beauty.This element I call an ultimate end. No reason can be asked or given why the soul seeks beauty.Beauty, in its largest and profoundest sense,is one expression for the universe. God is the all-fair. Truth, and goodness, and beauty, are but different faces of the same all.But beauty in nature is not ultimate. It is the herald of inward and eternal beauty, and is not alone a solid and satisfactory good. It must stand as a part, and not as yet the last or highest expression of the final cause of Nature.

The Strenuous Life
Theodore Roosevelt
A life of slothful ease, a life of that peace which springs merely from lack either of desire or of power to strive after great things, is as little worthy of a nation as an individual.
We do not admire the man of timid peace. We admire the man who embodies victorious efforts, the man who never wrongs his neighbor, who is prompt to help a friend, but who has those virile qualities necessary to win in the stern strife of actual life. It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed. In this life we get nothing save by effort. Freedom from effort in the present merely means that there has been effort stored up in the past. A man can be freed from the necessity of work only by the fact that he or his fathers before him have worked to good purpose. If the freedom thus purchased is used aright, and the man still does actual work, though of a different kind, whether as a writer or a general, whether in the field of politics or in the field of exploration and adventure, he shows he deserves his good fortune.
But if he treats this period of freedom from the need of actual labor as a period, not of preparation, but of mere enjoyment, even though perhaps not of vicious enjoyment, he shows that he is simply a cumberer on the earth’s surface; and he surely unfits himself to hold his own place with his fellows, if the need to do so should again arise. A mere life of ease is not in the end a very satisfactory life, and, above all, it is a life which ultimately unfits those who follow it for serious work in the world.
As it is with the individual, so it is with the nation. It is a base untruth to say that happy is the nation that has no history. Thrice happy is the nation that has a glorious history. Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.

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