笔记:毛姆的”总结” (三)

The Summing Up
作者: Maugham, W. Somerset (1938)
出版社: Penguin Classics
装帧: Paperback
出版年: 1992-09-01

大概两三个月前就看完了.欠着需要续写的读后感, 心里总是不安. 这个周末热浪来临,旧金山骄阳似火. 偶尔居然有凉凉的海风吹来,并不焦躁,很舒服.下午在院子里给花草浇水,然后给猫猫洗澡. 房子里居然并不热, 终于安静下来看书,想还是把这个系列写完为好.

小书后半部分涉及题材很杂,从为人处事,到写作,到旅行,到老年人的幸福,到生之为何这样哲学性的大题目,最后很没有创意的以真善美结束. 有不少看得我一头雾水.所以只好挑自己看得稍微明白的来说话. 决定分两篇,一篇关于写作(到155页),最后一篇留给信仰,生之为何这些大题目.

这是我最喜欢的一句毛姆名言, 原来出处是这本小书.

The common idea that success spoils people by making them vain, egotistic, and self-complacent is erroneous; on the contrary it makes them, for the most part, humble, tolerant, and kind. Failure makes people bitter and cruel.

常听人说成功会让人变得虚荣自大冷漠,其实是谬论. 事实与此正相反, 成功往往使人更谦虚,宽容,善良. 失败才使人尖酸刻薄并且冷酷.

自从某次从网上看到这段话, 初时觉得有趣, 细想来大合我心. 常常搬出来讽刺某些尖酸刻薄之人.也常常为了自己而记挂着.每当自己有刻薄冷酷倾向时,搬出来自问这样的负面情绪是不是因为对自己失望或者缺少自信安全感.

桂有一次说这句话虽然听上去很智慧其实未必正确.因为现实里有太多的成功人士确实是尖酸刻薄冷酷. 我的看法是那要看这”成功”二字是如何定义. 毛姆这句话其实因此可以重新翻译,用”自信”代替”成功”,用”自卑”代替”失败”: “自信的人往往谦虚,宽容,善良.” 所以外界看去的成功人士如果极尽尖刻冷酷之能事,往往是内心不够强大,自卑的一种表现.

毛姆从艺术家对完美的追求联想到写作的人

If he is a novelist he uses his experience of people and places, his apprehension of himself, his love and hate, his deepest thoughts, his passing fancies, to draw in one work after another a picture of life. It can never be more than a partial one, but if he is fortunate he will succeed in the end in doing something else; he will draw a complete picture of himself.

如果他是个小说家他会利用自己经历中的人与事, 他对自己的理解,他的爱与恨,他的深思,他的渴望,他用这些来试图为生命画像,一幅又一幅. 这些画像注定不会完整.但是如果他运气好的话,他最终会收之桑榆–他会完成一幅完整的自画像.

这段话让我想到以前ZM说过的关于摄影师及其作品的一些话. 大同小异. 摄影和写作似乎有很多相通的东西,或者也许毛姆和ZM想法类似? 下面这段安到摄影上面也没什么不妥.

关于旅行和素材收集:

I became aware of the specific benefit I was capable of getting from travel… This was freedom of the spirit on the one hand, and on the other, the collection of all manner of persons who might serve my purposes….I kept my eyes open for character, oddness, and personality. I learnt very quickly when a place promised me something and then I waited till I had got it. Otherwise I passed on. I accepted every experience that came my way.

我开始明白旅行的妙处…[旅途中]一方面会感到一种精神自由, 另一方面可以收集各色各样的人物,以备后用…我关注寻找特立独行的人,古怪的人,和当地名人. 很快我就能够判断一个地方是不是想告诉我什么,如果是的话我就守株待兔,否则就过路不停. 旅途中的一切体验我都照单全收.

毛姆对风景点和旅行中的人的看法也似曾相识.

I have never been much of a sight-seer…I have preferred common things, a wooden house on piles nestling among fruit-trees, the bend of a little bay lined with coconuts, or a group of bamboos by the wayside. My interest has been in men and the lives they led…Looking back on that long procession I cannot think of anyone who had not something to tell me that I was glad to know. I seemed to myself to develop the sensitiveness of a photographic plate. It did not matter to me if the picture I formed was true; what mattered was that with the help of my imagination I could make of each person I met a plausible harmony. It was the most entrancing game in which I had ever engaged.

我从来对景点没有很大兴趣…我喜欢的都是些平常的景观, 果树从里的一栋木头房子, 椰子树环绕的小海湾, 或者路边一丛竹子. 我更在乎的是人群和他们的独特生活…回想旅途中遇到的那些人每一个都有让我感兴趣的故事. 感觉自己像照相机里的底片. 最终成像是不是绝对的真像对我并不重要, 重要的是我能够利用我的想象力让每一个人成为一个可信的协调的个体. 这个过程是个令我着迷的游戏.

旅行对毛姆个人的改变也是他始料未及的.

In contact with all these strange people I lost the smoothness that I had acquired when, leading the humdrum life of a man of letters, I was one of tthe stones in a bag. I got back my jagged edges. I was at last myself.
在知识分子圈里混使人圆滑,因为你是一袋子石子中的一块, 跟这些[旅途中]奇奇怪怪人的接触让我丢掉了那种圆滑. 我的边角长了回来,我终于还原成我.

关于作家的多重人格及其必要性,毛姆的讨论很有趣.

It may be that we are all of us a bundle of mutually contradictory selves, but the writer, the artist, is deeply conscious of it. With other men, the life they lead makes one side of them predominate, so that except perhaps in the depths of the unconscious, it ends by being the whole man. But the painter, the writer, the saint, is always looking in himself for new facets; to repeat himself bores him, and he seeks, though it may be without actually knowing it, to prevent himself from becoming one-sided. He never gets the opportunity to grow into a self-consistent, coherent creature.

也许我们所有人都是一个矛盾重重的混合体,但是作家,艺术家对这有着深刻体会. 对一般人来说, 他们的生活方式可以让某一个表面处于主导地位, 不去潜意识里深度挖掘的话,这个主导面变成他们的全部. 但是画家,作家等却要不停的从自身挖掘新的层面出来, 重复自我是无趣的. 所以他要不停的阻止自己变成一个单面人,虽然有时他也许不知道自己这种动力.也因此他没有机会成为一个统一的协调的个体.

But the point of the writer is that he is not one man but many. It is because he is many that he can create many, and the measure of his greatness is the number of selves that he comprises. when he fashions a character that does not carry conviction it is because there is in himself nothing of that person; he has had to fall back on observation, and so has only described, not begotten. . … The psychologists tell us that with the ordinary man an image is less vivid than a sensation. .. His day-dreams satisfy emotional needs and fulfil desires that in the world of affairs are frustrated. But they are pale shadows of real life, … To the writer this is not so. The images, free ideas that throng his mind, are not guides, but materials for action. They have all the vividness of sensation. His day-dreams are so significant to him that it is the world of sense that is shadowy,

一个作家不是一个个体而是多个个体,因为他的多重人格他才可以编写出各种人物. 量化一个作家的伟大可以用他笔下人物的多样性来表达, 但他笔下的某个人物不可信时,那往往是因为作家从自身找不到与这个人物的交集,所以他只好退而求其次,以一个旁观者的角度来写,结果他只能描述,无法体验. …心理学家说一般的人会觉得画面没有感觉来的生动…他的白日梦可以满足情绪上的需求或者填补一下实际生活里无法实现的欲望.但是这些梦想跟真实生活相比只是苍白的影子…但对作家来说就不是这样. 他的脑子里挤满了各种画面和自由来去的想法, 这些想象中的东西是可以实现的真材实料. 它们和有血有肉的事实一样生动. 作家的内心世界对他的重要性使他的现实生活相形见拙,成为相对的影子.

回应第一篇毛姆对天才的定义,这一句是很好的结束语.

We do not write because we want to; we write because we must.