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瓦尔登湖:经济篇25

2006-07-28 23:34

  I am wont to think that men are not so much the keepers of herds as herds are the keepers of men, the former are so much the freer. Men and oxen exchange work; but if we consider necessary work only,the oxen will be seen to have greatly the advantage, their farm is so much the larger.  Man does some of his part of the exchange work in his six weeks of haying, and it is no boy's play.  Certainly no nation that lived simply in all respects, that is, no nation of philosophers, would commit so great a blunder as to use the labor of animals.  True, there never was and is not likely soon to be a nation of philosophers, nor am I certain it is desirable that there should be.  However, I should never have broken a horse or bull and taken him to board for any work he might do for me, for fear I should become a horseman or a herdsman merely; and if society seems to be the gainer by so doing, are we certain that what is one man's gain is not another's loss, and that the stable-boy has equal cause with his master to be satisfied?  Granted that some public works would not have been constructed without this aid, and let man share the glory of such with the ox and horse; does it follow that he could not have accomplished works yet more worthy of himself in that case?  When men begin to do, not merely unnecessary or artistic, but luxurious and idle work, with their assistance, it is inevitable that a few do all the exchange work with the oxen, or, in other words, become the slaves of the strongest.  Man thus not only works for the animal within him, but, for a symbol of this, he works for the animal without him.  Though we have many substantial houses of brick or stone, the prosperity of the farmer is still measured by the degree to which the barn overshadows the house.  This town is said to have the largest houses for oxen, cows, and horses hereabouts, and it is not behindhand in its public buildings; but there are very few halls for free worship or free speech in this county.  It should not be by their architecture, but why not even by their power of abstract thought, that nations should seek to commemorate themselves?  How much more admirable the Bhagvat-Geeta than all the ruins of the East!  Towers and temples are the luxury of princes.  A simple and independent mind does not toil at the bidding of any prince.  Genius is not a retainer to any emperor, nor is its material silver, or gold, or marble, except to a trifling extent.  To what end, pray, is so much stone hammered?  In Arcadia,when I was there, I did not see any hammering stone.  Nations are possessed with an insane ambition to perpetuate the memory of themselves by the amount of hammered stone they leave.  What if equal pains were taken to smooth and polish their manners?  One piece of good sense would be more memorable than a monument as high as the moon.  I love better to see stones in place.  The grandeur of Thebes was a vulgar grandeur.  More sensible is a rod of stone wall that bounds an honest man's field than a hundred-gated Thebes that has wandered farther from the true end of life.  The religion and civilization which are barbaric and heathenish build splendid temples; but what you might call Christianity does not.  Most of the stone a nation hammers goes toward its tomb only.  It buries itself alive.  As for the Pyramids, there is nothing to wonder at in them so much as the fact that so many men could be found degraded enough to spend their lives constructing a tomb for some ambitious booby,whom it would have been wiser and manlier to have drowned in the Nile, and then given his body to the dogs.  I might possibly invent some excuse for them and him, but I have no time for it.  As for the religion and love of art of the builders, it is much the same all the world over, whether the building be an Egyptian temple or the United States Bank.  It costs more than it comes to.  The mainspring is vanity, assisted by the love of garlic and bread and butter.  Mr. Balcom, a promising young architect, designs it on the back of his Vitruvius, with hard pencil and ruler, and the job is let out to Dobson & Sons, stonecutters.  When the thirty centuries begin to look down on it, mankind begin to look up at it.  As for your high towers and monuments, there was a crazy fellow once in this town who undertook to dig through to China, and he got so far that, as he said, he heard the Chinese pots and kettles rattle; but I think that I shall not go out of my way to admire the hole which he made.  Many are concerned about the monuments of the West and the East —— to know who built them.  For my part, I should like to know who in those days did not build them —— who were above such trifling.  But to proceed with my statistics.

  By surveying, carpentry, and day-labor of various other kinds in the village in the meanwhile, for I have as many trades as fingers,I had earned $13.34.  The expense of food for eight months, namely,from July 4th to March 1st, the time when these estimates were made,though I lived there more than two years —— not counting potatoes, a little green corn, and some peas, which I had raised, nor considering the value of what was on hand at the last date —— was

  Rice …… $ 1.73 1/2 Molasses ……  1.73     Cheapest form of the saccharine. Rye meal ……  1.04 3/4 Indian meal ……  0.99 3/4  Cheaper than rye. Pork ……  0.22 All experiments which failed:Flour ……  0.88  Costs more than Indian meal,both money and trouble. Sugar ……  0.80 Lard ……  0.65 Apples ……  0.25 Dried apple ……  0.22 Sweet potatoes ……  0.10 One pumpkin ……  0.06 One watermelon ……  0.02 Salt ……  0.03

  我常想,不是人在放牛,简直是牛在牧入,而人放牛是更自由的。人与牛是在交换劳动,如果我们考虑的只是必须劳动的话,那末看来牛要占便宜得多,它们的农场也大得多。人担任的一部分交换劳动便是割上六个星期的干草,这可不是儿戏呢。自然没有一个在各方面的生活都很简单的国土,就是说,没有一个哲学家的国土,是愿意犯这种重大错误来叫畜生劳动的。确实世上从未有过,将来也未见得会有那么个哲学家的国土,就是有了,我也不敢说它一定是美满的。然而我绝对不愿意去驯一匹马或一头牛,束缚了它,叫它替我做任何它能做的工作,只因为我怕自己变成了马夫或牛倌;如果说这样做了,社会就得益非浅,那未难道能够肯定一个人的盈利就不是另一个人的损失,难道能够肯定马房里的马夫跟他的主人是同样地满足的吗?就算有些公共的工作没有牛马的帮助是建立不起来的,而且就让人类来和牛马一起分享这种光荣;是否能推理说,那样的话,他就不可能用更加对得起自己的方式来完成这种工作了呢?当人们利用了牛马帮助,开始做了许多不仅是不需要的和艺术的,而且还是奢侈的和无用的工作,这就不可避免的要有少数人得和牛马做交换工作,换句话说,这些人便成了最强者的奴隶。所以,人不仅为他内心的兽性而工作,而且,这像是一个象征,他还为他身外的牲畜而劳动。

  虽然我们已经有了许多砖瓦或石头砌造的屋子,一个农夫的殷实与否,还得看看他的兽厩在什么程度上盖过了他的住屋。据说城市里有最大的房屋,供给这儿的耕牛、奶牛和马匹居住;公共大厦这一方面毫不落后;可是在这个县里,可供言论自由与信仰自由用的大厅反倒很少呢。国家不应该用高楼大厦来给它们自己树立起纪念碑,为什么不用抽象的思维力来纪念呢?东方的全部废墟,也决不比一卷《对话录》更可赞叹!高塔与寺院是帝王的糜侈。一个单纯而独立的心智决不会听从帝王的吩咐去干苦活的。天才决不是任何帝王的侍从,金子银子和大理石也无法使他们留芳百世,它们最多只能保留极细微的一部分。请告诉我,锤打这么多石头,要达到什么目的呢?当我在阿卡狄亚的时候,我没有看到任何人雕琢大理石。许多国家沉迷在疯狂的野心中,要想靠留下多少雕琢过的石头来使它们自己永垂不朽。如果他们用同样的劳力来琢凿自己的风度,那会怎么样呢?一件有理性的事情,要比矗立一个高得碰到月球的纪念碑还更加值得留传。我更喜欢让石头放在它们原来的地方。像底比斯那样的宏伟是庸俗的。一座有一百个城门的底比斯城早就远离了人生的真正目标,怎能有围绕着诚实人的田园的一平方杆的石墙那么合理呢。野蛮的、异教徒的宗教和文化倒建造了华丽的寺院;而可以称之为基督教的,就没有这样做。一个国家锤击下来的石头大都用在它的坟墓上。它活埋了它自己。说到金字塔,本没有什么可惊奇的,可惊的是有那么多人,竟能屈辱到如此地步,花了他们一生的精力,替一个鲁钝的野心家造坟墓,其实他要是跳尼罗河淹死,然后把身体喂野狗都还更聪明些,更有气派些呢。我未始不可以给他们,也给他找一些掩饰之词,可是我才没有时间呢。至于那些建筑家所信的宗教和他们对于艺术的爱好,倒是全世界一样的,不管他们造的是埃及的神庙还是美利坚合众国银行。总是代价大于实际。虚荣是源泉,助手是爱大蒜、面包和牛油。一个年轻的有希望的建筑师叫巴尔康先生,他在维特罗微乌斯的后面追随着用硬铅笔和直尺设计了一个图样,然后交到道勃苏父子采石公司手上。当三十个世纪开始俯视着它时,人类抬头向着它凝望。你们的那些高塔和纪念碑呵,城里有过一个疯子要挖掘一条通到中国去的隧道,掘得这样深,据说他已经听到中国茶壶和烧开水的响声了;可是,我想我决不会越出我的常轨而去赞美他的那个窟窿的。

  许多人关心着东方和西方的那些纪念碑,——要知道是谁造的。我愿意知道,是谁当时不肯造这些东西,——谁能够超越乎这许多烦琐玩意儿之上。可是让我继续统计下去吧。

  我当时在村中又测量又做木工和各种别的日工,我会的行业有我手指之数那么多,我一起挣了十三元三角四分。八个月的伙食费——就是说,从七月四日到三月一日这些结算出下列账目的日子,虽然在那里我一共过了两个多年头,——我不算自己生产的土豆、一点儿玉米和若干豌豆,也不算结账日留在手上的存货市价,计开:米……一。七三五元糖浆……一。七三元——最便宜的糖精黑麦……一。0四七五元印第安玉米粉……0。九九七五元——较黑麦价廉猪肉……0。二二元百粉……0。八八。——价钱比印第安玉米粉贵,而且麻烦白糖……0。八0元猪油……o.六五元苹果……0。二五元都是试验,但结果统统是苹果干……0。二二元失败的。

  甘薯……0。一0元南瓜一只……0。0六元西瓜一只……0。0二元盐……0。0二元)

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