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瓦尔登湖:The Pond in Winter4

2006-07-29 18:54

  If we knew all the laws of Nature, we should need only one fact,or the description of one actual phenomenon, to infer all the particular results at that point.  Now we know only a few laws, and our result is vitiated, not, of course, by any confusion or irregularity in Nature, but by our ignorance of essential elements in the calculation.  Our notions of law and harmony are commonly confined to those instances which we detect; but the harmony which results from a far greater number of seemingly conflicting, but really concurring, laws, which we have not detected, is still more wonderful.  The particular laws are as our points of view, as, to the traveller, a mountain outline varies with every step, and it has an infinite number of profiles, though absolutely but one form. Even when cleft or bored through it is not comprehended in its entireness.

  What I have observed of the pond is no less true in ethics.  It is the law of average.  Such a rule of the two diameters not only guides us toward the sun in the system and the heart in man, but draws lines through the length and breadth of the aggregate of a man's particular daily behaviors and waves of life into his coves and inlets, and where they intersect will be the height or depth of his character.  Perhaps we need only to know how his shores trend and his adjacent country or circumstances, to infer his depth and concealed bottom.  If he is surrounded by mountainous circumstances,an Achillean shore, whose peaks overshadow and are reflected in his bosom, they suggest a corresponding depth in him.  But a low and smooth shore proves him shallow on that side.  In our bodies, a bold projecting brow falls off to and indicates a corresponding depth of thought.  Also there is a bar across the entrance of our every cove,or particular inclination; each is our harbor for a season, in which we are detained and partially land-locked.  These inclinations are not whimsical usually, but their form, size, and direction are determined by the promontories of the shore, the ancient axes of elevation.  When this bar is gradually increased by storms, tides,or currents, or there is a subsidence of the waters, so that it reaches to the surface, that which was at first but an inclination in the shore in which a thought was harbored becomes an individual lake, cut off from the ocean, wherein the thought secures its own conditions —— changes, perhaps, from salt to fresh, becomes a sweet sea, dead sea, or a marsh.  At the advent of each individual into this life, may we not suppose that such a bar has risen to the surface somewhere?  It is true, we are such poor navigators that our thoughts, for the most part, stand off and on upon a harborless coast, are conversant only with the bights of the bays of poesy, or steer for the public ports of entry, and go into the dry docks of science, where they merely refit for this world, and no natural currents concur to individualize them.

  As for the inlet or outlet of Walden, I have not discovered any but rain and snow and evaporation, though perhaps, with a thermometer and a line, such places may be found, for where the water flows into the pond it will probably be coldest in summer and warmest in winter.  When the ice-men were at work here in '46-7, the cakes sent to the shore were one day rejected by those who were stacking them up there, not being thick enough to lie side by side with the rest; and the cutters thus discovered that the ice over a small space was two or three inches thinner than elsewhere, which made them think that there was an inlet there.  They also showed me in another place what they thought was a "leach-hole," through which the pond leaked out under a hill into a neighboring meadow, pushing me out on a cake of ice to see it.  It was a small cavity under ten feet of water; but I think that I can warrant the pond not to need soldering till they find a worse leak than that.  One has suggested,that if such a "leach-hole" should be found, its connection with the meadow, if any existed, might be proved by conveying some, colored powder or sawdust to the mouth of the hole, and then putting a strainer over the spring in the meadow, which would catch some of the particles carried through by the current.

  如果我们知道大自然的一切规律,我们就只要明白一个事实,或者只要对一个现象作忠实描写,就可以举一反三,得出一切特殊的结论来了。现在我们只知道少数的规律,我们的结论往往荒谬,自然罗,这并不是因为大自然不规则,或混乱,这是因为我们在计算之中,对于某些基本的原理,还是无知之故。我们所知道的规则与和谐,常常局限于经我们考察了的一些事物;可是有更多数的似乎矛盾而实在却呼应着的法则,我们只是还没有找出来而已,它们所产生的和谐却是更惊人的。我们的特殊规律都出于我们的观点,就像从一个旅行家看来,每当他跨出一步,山峰的轮廓就要变动一步,虽然绝对的只有一个形态,却有着无其数的侧页。即使裂开了它,即使钻穿了它,也不能窥见其全貌。

  据我所观察,湖的情形如此,在伦理学上又何尝不如此。这就是平均律。这样用两条直径来测量的规律,不但指示了我们观察天体中的太阳系,还指示了我们观察人心,而且就一个人的特殊的日常行为和生活潮流组成的集合体的长度和阔度,我们也可以画两条这样的线,通到他的凹处和入口,那两条线的交叉点,便是他的性格的最高峰或最深处了。也许我们只要知道这人的河岸的走向和他的四周环境,我们便可以知道他的深度和那隐藏着的底奥。如果他的周围是多山的环境,湖岸险巇,山峰高高耸起,反映在胸际,他一定是一个有着同样的深度的人。可是一个低平的湖岸,就说明这人在另一方面也肤浅。在我们的身体上,一个明显地突出的前额,表示他有思想的深度。在我们的每一个凹处的入口,也都有一个沙洲的,或者说,我们都有特殊的倾向;每一个凹处,都在一定时期内,是我们的港埠,在这里我们特别待得长久,几乎永久给束缚在那里。

  这些倾向往往不是古怪可笑的,它们的形式、大小、方向,都取决于岸上的岬角,亦即古时地势升高的轴线。当这一个沙洲给暴风雨,潮汐或水流渐渐加高,或者当水位降落下去了,它冒出了水面时,起先仅是湖岸的一个倾向,其中隐藏着思想,现在却独立起来了,成了一个湖沼,和大海洋隔离了,在思想获得它自己的境界之后,也许它从咸水变成了淡水,也许成了一个淡海,死海,或者一个沼泽。而每一个人来到尘世,我们是否可以说,就是这样的一个沙洲升到了水面上?这是真的,我们是一些可怜的航海家,我们的思想大体说来都有点虚无缥缈,在一个没有港口的海岸线上,顶多和有诗意的小港汊有些往还,不然就驶入公共的大港埠,驶进了科学这枯燥的码头上,在那里他们重新拆卸组装,以适应世俗,并没有一种潮流使它们同时保持其独立性。

  至于瓦尔登湖水的出入口呢,除了雨雪和蒸发,我并没有发现别的,虽然用一只温度表和一条绳子也许可以寻得出这样的地点来,因为在水流入湖的地方在夏天大约是最冷而冬天大约最温暖。一八四六——一八四七年派到这里来掘冰块的人,有一天,他们正在工作,把一部分的冰块送上岸去,而囤冰的商人拒绝接受,因为这一部分比起其他的来薄了许多,挖冰的工人便这样发现了,有一小块地区上面的冰比其余的冰都薄了两三英寸,他们想这地方一定有一个入口了。另外一个地方他们还指给我看过,他们认为那是一个“漏洞”,湖水从那里漏出去,从一座小山下经过,到达邻近的一处草地,他们让我待在一个冰块上把我推过去看。在水深十英尺之处有一个小小的洞穴;可是我敢保证,不将它填补都可以,除非以后发现更大的漏洞。有人主张,如果确有这样的大“漏洞”,如果它和草地确有联系的话,这是可以给予证明的,只要放下一些有颜色的粉末或木屑在这个漏洞口,再在草地上的那些泉源口上放一个过滤器,就一定可以找到一些被流水夹带而去的屑粒了。

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