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瓦尔登湖:经济篇30

2006-07-28 23:43

  They then feast on the new corn and fruits, and dance and sing for three days, "and the four following days they receive visits and rejoice with their friends from neighboring towns who have in like manner purified and prepared themselves."

  The Mexicans also practised a similar purification at the end of every fifty-two years, in the belief that it was time for the world to come to an end.

  I have scarcely heard of a truer sacrament, that is, as the dictionary defines it, "outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace," than this, and I have no doubt that they were originally inspired directly from Heaven to do thus, though they have no Biblical record of the revelation.

  For more than five years I maintained myself thus solely by the labor of my hands, and I found that, by working about six weeks in a year, I could meet all the expenses of living.  The whole of my winters, as well as most of my summers, I had free and clear for study.  I have thoroughly tried school-keeping, and found that my expenses were in proportion, or rather out of proportion, to my income, for I was obliged to dress and train, not to say think and believe, accordingly, and I lost my time into the bargain.  As I did not teach for the good of my fellow-men, but simply for a livelihood, this was a failure.  I have tried trade but I found that it would take ten years to get under way in that, and that then I should probably be on my way to the devil.  I was actually afraid that I might by that time be doing what is called a good business. When formerly I was looking about to see what I could do for a living, some sad experience in conforming to the wishes of friends being fresh in my mind to tax my ingenuity, I thought often and seriously of picking huckleberries; that surely I could do, and its small profits might suffice —— for my greatest skill has been to want but little —— so little capital it required, so little distraction from my wonted moods, I foolishly thought.  While my acquaintances went unhesitatingly into trade or the professions, I contemplated this occupation as most like theirs; ranging the hills all summer to pick the berries which came in my way, and thereafter carelessly dispose of them; so, to keep the flocks of Admetus.  I also dreamed that I might gather the wild herbs, or carry evergreens to such villagers as loved to be reminded of the woods, even to the city, by hay-cart loads.  But I have since learned that trade curses everything it handles; and though you trade in messages from heaven,the whole curse of trade attaches to the business.

  As I preferred some things to others, and especially valued my freedom, as I could fare hard and yet succeed well, I did not wish to spend my time in earning rich carpets or other fine furniture, or delicate cookery, or a house in the Grecian or the Gothic style just yet.  If there are any to whom it is no interruption to acquire these things, and who know how to use them when acquired, I relinquish to them the pursuit.  Some are "industrious," and appear to love labor for its own sake, or perhaps because it keeps them out of worse mischief; to such I have at present nothing to say.  Those who would not know what to do with more leisure than they now enjoy,I might advise to work twice as hard as they do —— work till they pay for themselves, and get their free papers.  For myself I found that the occupation of a day-laborer was the most independent of any, especially as it required only thirty or forty days in a year to support one.  The laborer's day ends with the going down of the sun, and he is then free to devote himself to his chosen pursuit,independent of his labor; but his employer, who speculates from month to month, has no respite from one end of the year to the other.

  于是他们吃起新的谷物和水果,唱歌跳舞三夭,“而接连的四天之内,他们接受邻近部落的友人们的访问和庆贺,他们也用同样的方式净化了,一应准备就绪了。”

  墨西哥人每过五十二年也要举行一次净化典礼,他们相信世界五十二年结束一次。

  我没有听到过比这个更真诚的圣礼了,就像字典上说的圣礼,是“内心灵性优美化的外在可见的仪式”,我一点不怀疑,他们的风俗是直接由天意传授的,虽然他们并没有一部圣经来记录那一次的启示。

  我仅仅依靠双手劳动,养活了我自己,已不止五年了,我发现,每年之内我只需工作六个星期,就足够支付我一切生活的开销了。整个冬天和大部分夏天,我自由而爽快地读点儿书。我曾经全心全意办过学校,我发现得到的利益顶多抵上了支出,甚至还抵不上,因为我必须穿衣,修饰,不必说还必须像别人那样来思想和信仰,结果这一笔生意损失了我不少时间,吃亏得很。由于我教书不是为了我同类的好处,而只是为了生活,这失败了。我也尝试过做生意,可是我发现要善于经商,得花上十年工夫,也许那时我正投到魔鬼的怀抱中去。我倒是真正担心我的生意到那时已很兴隆。从前,我东找西找地找一个谋生之道的时候,由于曾经想符合几个朋友的希望,而有过一些可悲的经验,这些经验在我脑中逼得我多想些办法,所以我常常严肃地想到还不如去拣点浆果;这我自然能做到,那蝇头微利对我也够了,——因为我的最大本领是需要极少,——我这样愚蠢地想着,这只要极少资本,对我一贯的情绪又极少抵触。当我熟识的那些人毫不踌躇地做生意,或就业了,我想我这一个职业倒是最接近于他们的榜样了;整个暑天漫山遍野地跑路,一路上拣起面前的浆果来,过后随意处置了它们;好像是在看守阿德默特斯的羊群。我也梦想过,我可以采集些闲花野草,用运干草的车辆把常青树给一些爱好树林的村民们运去,甚至还可以运到城里。可是从那时起我明白了,商业诅咒它经营的一切事物;即使你经营天堂的福音,也摆脱不了商业对它的全部诅咒。

  因为我对某些事物有所偏爱,而又特别的重视我的自由,因为我能吃苦,而又能获得些成功,我并不希望花掉我的时间来购买富丽的地毡,或别的讲究的家具,或美味的食物,或希腊式的或哥特式的房屋。如果有人能毫无困难地得到这一些,得到之后,更懂得如何利用它们,我还是让他们去追求。有些人的“勤恳”,爱劳动好像是生就的,或者因为劳动可以使他们免得干更坏的事;对于这种人,暂时我没有什么话说。至于那些人,如果有了比现在更多的闲暇,而不知如何处理,那我要劝他们加倍勤恳地劳动,——劳动到他们能养活自己,取得他们的自由证明书。我自己是觉得,任何职业中,打短工最为独立不羁,何况一年之内只要三四十天就可以养活自己。短工的一天结束于太阳落山的时候,之后他可以自由地专心于他自己选定的跟他的劳动全不相干的某种活动;而他的雇主要投机取巧,从这个月到下一个月,一年到头得不到休息。

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