The Consolations of Philosophy

秋虫
2018-03-05 18:03:45
说起来这居然是我所读过的第一本和哲学相关的书,而且还是蛋爸强制性“建议”我读的。

一直觉得哲学对我这种凡夫俗子来说类似于高岭之花一样的存在,觉得自己过于简单的头脑应该是没办法消化那些高深晦涩的概念。如果我是二十几岁的年轻人,也许我还是GET 不到这本书的好。然而作为一个也算有些人生经历的中年人,尤其是近两年在和儿子相处之中时常被失望焦虑悲伤等种种情绪所困所苦,这本书的出现确实多多少少给了我一些慰藉。

这本书对我来说最大的优势就是作者通俗易懂深入浅出的讲述方式。从内容中可以得知,作者应该是非常透彻地研究了这几位哲学家的作品和生平,并且进行了深度思考之后写下了本书。就好比这些哲学理念已经由作者咀嚼品味过了再喂给读者,这肯定会大大减少我们进食的困难度。但同时,作者在书中并没有表明他对任何一种哲学的倾向性,自始至终都是客观的态度,这对我这种哲学小白来说是比较有益的。

Consolations for Unpopularity
苏格拉底在追求真理过程中显示出来的强大的内心和视死如归的平静让我惊叹不已。他独创的验明真理的思辨法我相信到现在都站得住脚的。The correctness of a statement cannot be determined by whet






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说起来这居然是我所读过的第一本和哲学相关的书,而且还是蛋爸强制性“建议”我读的。

一直觉得哲学对我这种凡夫俗子来说类似于高岭之花一样的存在,觉得自己过于简单的头脑应该是没办法消化那些高深晦涩的概念。如果我是二十几岁的年轻人,也许我还是GET 不到这本书的好。然而作为一个也算有些人生经历的中年人,尤其是近两年在和儿子相处之中时常被失望焦虑悲伤等种种情绪所困所苦,这本书的出现确实多多少少给了我一些慰藉。

这本书对我来说最大的优势就是作者通俗易懂深入浅出的讲述方式。从内容中可以得知,作者应该是非常透彻地研究了这几位哲学家的作品和生平,并且进行了深度思考之后写下了本书。就好比这些哲学理念已经由作者咀嚼品味过了再喂给读者,这肯定会大大减少我们进食的困难度。但同时,作者在书中并没有表明他对任何一种哲学的倾向性,自始至终都是客观的态度,这对我这种哲学小白来说是比较有益的。

Consolations for Unpopularity
苏格拉底在追求真理过程中显示出来的强大的内心和视死如归的平静让我惊叹不已。他独创的验明真理的思辨法我相信到现在都站得住脚的。The correctness of a statement cannot be determined by whether it is held by a majority or has been believed for a long time by important people. A correct statement is one incapable of being rationally contradicted. A statement is true if it cannot be disproved. If it can, however many believe it, however grand they may be, it must be false and we are right to doubt it. 多么朴素但有深刻的真理。联想到目前中国社会的现状,不得不说苏格拉底的智慧在几千年之后的今天依旧熠熠生辉啊。

Consolations for Not Having Enough Money
没钱应该是当今社会大多数人不快乐的根源了。而哲学家伊壁鸠鲁早在两千多年前就致力于研究金钱和快乐的关系以及快乐的必要条件(friendship, freedom, thought)。我记得前两年在网上看到过国外某大学做了一个寻求幸福真相的项目,对一批不同阶层的人追踪了二三十年,得出的结论貌似和伊壁鸠鲁在本质上也没有什么大的差别(我记得其中一条是relationship).
这一章有些句子给了我启迪。例如, Our souls do not spell out their troubles more clearly than our bodies, and out intuitive diagnoses are rarely any more accurate. 我是基本上靠本能在生活的人. 近几年我才意识到在面对困境时我的本能反应都是错误的如果不被抑制的话会引发更大的困境。而伊壁鸠鲁两千多年前就提出了这一观点。还有,If one thought rationally about mortality, one would realize that there was nothing but oblivion after death, and that “ what is no trouble when it arrives is an idle worry in anticipation.” It was senseless to alarm oneself in advance about a state which one would never experience. Hmmm, 感觉自己一直在做这种senseless的事情。。。

Consolation for Frustration
在塞内加的挫折字典里有Anger, Shock, Sense of Injustice and Anxiety 这四种负面情绪。
而我最深受其害的是Anger。一直觉得自己有anger management issue,尤其是面对父母和孩子时经常难以控制愤怒情绪,伤害了家人也伤害了自己。虽有自知之明也一直在努力但离彻底控制情绪还有很长一段路要走。看看塞内加是怎么说的?Anger results not from an uncontrollable eruption of the passions, but from a basic (and correctable) error of reasoning. Reason does not always govern our actions, he conceded: if we are sprinkled with cold water, our body gives us no choice but to shiver; if fingers are flicked over our eyes, we have to blink. But anger does not belong in the category of involuntary physical movement, it can only break out on the back of certain rationally held ideas, if we can only change the ideas, we will change our propensity to anger. … And in Senecan view what makes us angry are dangerously optimistic notions about what the world and other people are like. How badly we react to frustration is critically determined by what we think of as normal. We may be frustrated that it is raining, but our familiarity with showers means we are unlikely ever to respond to one with anger. Our frustrations are tempered by what we understand we can expect from the world, by our experience of what it is normal to hope for. We are overwhelmed by anger whenever we are denied an object we desire, only when we believe ourselves entitled to obtain it. Our greatest furies spring from events which violates our sense of the ground rules of existence. 最后一句话精确地总结了我愤怒的原因。我是一个活在规矩里的人,我遵守规则,从遵守规则中获得安全感,并心甘情愿地被条条框框所束缚。我从小是个乖孩子乖学生,所以我期望孩子也跟我一样不管是学习还是生活都乖乖听父母的话做该做的事。比如说一放学就应该先做作业,早上就应该大声朗读英语,晚上就应该九点前睡觉,学生就不应该玩电脑游戏等等。我认为这些是正确的,normal的。你不这么做就是不对的不正常的。为此我和儿子经常就这些我认为normal的而他根本不愿意听从的规则起冲突。但是就像塞内加所说的,我只是被自己认为的这些normal束缚住了。到底什么才是normal?我认为的normal在儿子那里根本行不通。这些冲突的解决方法只能是我不再纠结这些“正常的做法”“正确的做法”或“别人都这样做的做法”,停止把自己的ground rules强加给儿子,想一想儿子现在的行为是不是真的完全不合理完全不可救药的。

Consolation for Inadequacy
和stoic philosophies不同(他们认为我们可以控制自己的肉体),蒙田认为肉体既不能否定也不能战胜。May we not say that there is nothing in us during this earthly prison either purely corporeal or purely spiritual and that it is injurious to tear a living man apart?
关于cultural inadequacy, 蒙田提到Another cause of a sense of inadequacy is the speed and arrogance with which people seem to divide the world into two camps: the camp of normal and that of the abnormal. 他花了一年多时间骑行3000多英里考察欧洲各国的人土风情,发现每到一地,人们对“normal” 的观念就有变化。Careful reasoning rather than prejudice was to be the means of evaluating behavior, Montaigne’ frustration caused by those who blithely equated the unfamiliar with the inadequate and so ignored the most basic lesson in intellectual humility offered by the greatest of the ancient philosophers: The wisest man that ever was, when asked what he knew, replied that the one thing he did know was that he knew nothing. 想想现在社会上和网络上的各种歧视和偏见,大多数都是因为无知导致的,“把自己不熟悉的等同于缺陷”。如果我们在发出各种歧视的声音之前,先用谦卑的态度想一想,除了我们眼里的“正常”这世界上是否还存在其他可能,然后放下偏见先去好好了解一下,或许很多人会改变看法也说不定呢。

Consolation for a Broken Heart
这一章介绍了叔本华孤独而悲情的一生。或许因为原生家庭的影响(父亲在他17岁时自杀身亡),或许是他天生就对人间疾苦特别敏感,叔本华的理论比较消极悲观。他坚信人的存在是一种错误,并且认为爱情的最终目的是缔造下一代,是物种延续的关键。We are not free to fall in love with everyone because we cannot produce healthy children with everyone. Our will-to-life drives us towards people who will raise our chances of producing beautiful and intelligent offspring, and repulses us away from those who lower these same chances. Love is nothing but the conscious manifestation of the will-to-life’s discovery of an ideal co-parent. 现在的我们看这个观点可能会觉得有点偏执和可笑,因为事实证明我们会因为外貌性格品德才能经济能力等等或者纯粹是荷尔蒙作怪爱上对方,但优生优育这个理由确实不在大多数人的考虑范围内。不过,再仔细想一想,我们可能会倾向于找一些身上有我们缺少但期望拥有的特质的人做伴侣,或者我们不由自主地会被这样的人所吸引。这种我们称之为互补的现象倒是在某种角度反映了叔本华这个观点本身也有一定的合理性。

Consolation for Difficulties
这章的主角是尼采。关于人的自我实现fulfillment, 叔本华认为智者就应该致力于避免痛苦而不是追求快乐,应该“悄然退居一室,与灾祸隔绝”。而尼采深感这一劝导怯懦而不真实,企图“像胆小的麋鹿一样躲藏在森林里”。Fulfillment was to be reached not by avoiding pain, but by recognizing its role as a natural, inevitable step on the way to reaching anything good.人活在这个世上就必须要承受各种各样的苦难,有生理上的也有心理上的。尼采认为强者可以把苦难转化成人生的营养而弱者就只能被苦难压倒。Every pain is an indistinct signal that something is wrong, which may engender either a good or bad result depending on the sagacity and strength of mind of the sufferer. Anxiety may precipitate panic, or an accurate analysis of what is amiss. A sense of injustice may lead to murder, or to a ground-breaking work of economic theory. Envy may lead to bitterness, or to a decision to compete with a rival and the production of a masterpiece. 正如尼采最爱的哲学家蒙田所说the art of living lies in finding uses for our adversities: we may learn to suffer whatever we cannot avoid. Our life is composed, like the harmony of the world, of discords as well as of different tones, sweet and harsh, sharp and flat, soft and loud. If a musician like only some of them, what could he sing? He has got to know how to use all of them and blend them together. So too must we with good and ill, which are of one substance with our life. 蒙田的这个比喻直接明了,颇得我心。人生就像一首曲子的音符一样必定会有高音低音有起承转合,所有这些对人生来说是必需的,不然就奏不出悦耳的人生之曲。知道了这点之后,在面对苦难的时候我们是不是能够更坦然一点呢?
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