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瓦尔登湖:经济篇22

2006-07-28 19:21

  I have thus a tight shingled and plastered house, ten feet wide by fifteen long, and eight-feet posts, with a garret and a closet, a large window on each side, two trap doors, one door at the end, and a brick fireplace opposite.  The exact cost of my house, paying the usual price for such materials as I used, but not counting the work,all of which was done by myself, was as follows; and I give the details because very few are able to tell exactly what their houses cost, and fewer still, if any, the separate cost of the various materials which compose them:——

  Boards …… $ 8.03+, mostly shanty boards. Refuse shingles for roof sides ……  4.00 Laths ……  1.25 Two second-hand windows with glass ……  2.43 One thousand old brick ……  4.00 Two casks of lime ……  2.40  That was high. Hair ……  0.31  More than I needed. Mantle-tree iron ……  0.15 Nails ……  3.90 Hinges and screws ……  0.14 Latch ……  0.10 Chalk ……  0.01 Transportation ……  1.40  I carried a good part

                                      ------- on my back.

  In all …… $28.12+

  These are all the materials, excepting the timber, stones, and sand, which I claimed by squatter's right.  I have also a small woodshed adjoining, made chiefly of the stuff which was left after building the house.

  I intend to build me a house which will surpass any on the main street in Concord in grandeur and luxury, as soon as it pleases me as much and will cost me no more than my present one.

  I thus found that the student who wishes for a shelter can obtain one for a lifetime at an expense not greater than the rent which he now pays annually.  If I seem to boast more than is becoming, my excuse is that I brag for humanity rather than for myself; and my shortcomings and inconsistencies do not affect the truth of my statement.  Notwithstanding much cant and hypocrisy ——chaff which I find it difficult to separate from my wheat, but for which I am as sorry as any man —— I will breathe freely and stretch myself in this respect, it is such a relief to both the moral and physical system; and I am resolved that I will not through humility become the devil's attorney.  I will endeavor to speak a good word for the truth.  At Cambridge College the mere rent of a student's room, which is only a little larger than my own, is thirty dollars each year, though the corporation had the advantage of building thirty-two side by side and under one roof, and the occupant suffers the inconvenience of many and noisy neighbors, and perhaps a residence in the fourth story.  I cannot but think that if we had more true wisdom in these respects, not only less education would be needed, because, forsooth, more would already have been acquired,but the pecuniary expense of getting an education would in a great measure vanish.  Those conveniences which the student requires at Cambridge or elsewhere cost him or somebody else ten times as great a sacrifice of life as they would with proper management on both sides.  Those things for which the most money is demanded are never the things which the student most wants.  Tuition, for instance, is an important item in the term bill, while for the far more valuable education which he gets by associating with the most cultivated of his contemporaries no charge is made.  The mode of founding a college is, commonly, to get up a subscription of dollars and cents,and then, following blindly the principles of a division of labor to its extreme —— a principle which should never be followed but with circumspection —— to call in a contractor who makes this a subject of speculation, and he employs Irishmen or other operatives actually to lay the foundations, while the students that are to be are said to be fitting themselves for it; and for these oversights successive generations have to pay.  I think that it would be better than this,for the students, or those who desire to be benefited by it, even to lay the foundation themselves.  The student who secures his coveted leisure and retirement by systematically shirking any labor necessary to man obtains but an ignoble and unprofitable leisure,defrauding himself of the experience which alone can make leisure fruitful.  "But," says one, "you do not mean that the students should go to work with their hands instead of their heads?"  I do not mean that exactly, but I mean something which he might think a good deal like that; I mean that they should not play life, or study it merely, while the community supports them at this expensive game,but earnestly live it from beginning to end.  How could youths better learn to live than by at once trying the experiment of living?  Methinks this would exercise their minds as much as mathematics.  If I wished a boy to know something about the arts and sciences, for instance, I would not pursue the common course, which is merely to send him into the neighborhood of some professor, where anything is professed and practised but the art of life; —— to survey the world through a telescope or a microscope, and never with his natural eye; to study chemistry, and not learn how his bread is made, or mechanics, and not learn how it is earned; to discover new satellites to Neptune, and not detect the motes in his eyes, or to what vagabond he is a satellite himself; or to be devoured by the monsters that swarm all around him, while contemplating the monsters in a drop of vinegar.  Which would have advanced the most at the end of a month —— the boy who had made his own jackknife from the ore which he had dug and smelted, reading as much as would be necessary for this —— or the boy who had attended the lectures on metallurgy at the Institute in the meanwhile, and had received a Rodgers' penknife from his father?  Which would be most likely to cut his fingers?……  To my astonishment I was informed on leaving college that I had studied navigation! —— why, if I had taken one turn down the harbor I should have known more about it.  Even the poor student studies and is taught only political economy, while that economy of living which is synonymous with philosophy is not even sincerely professed in our colleges.  The consequence is, that while he is reading Adam Smith, Ricardo, and Say, he runs his father in debt irretrievably.

  这样我有了一个密不通风,钉上木片,抹以泥灰的房屋,十英尺宽,十五英尺长,木拄高八英尺,还有一个阁楼,一个小间每一边一扇大窗,两个活板门,尾端有一个大门,正对大门有个砖砌的火炉。我的房子的支出,只是我所用的这些材料的一般价格,人工不算在内,因为都是我自己动手的,总数我写在下面:我抄写得这样的详细,因为很少数人能够精确他说出来,他们的房子终究花了多少钱,而能够把组成这一些房子的各式各样的材料和各别的价格说出来的人,如果有的活,也是更加少了:——木板……八。0三五元(多数系旧板)

  屋顶及墙板用的旧木片……四。000元板条……一。二五0元两扇旧窗及玻璃……二。四三0元一千块旧砖……四。000元两箱石灰……二。四00元——买贵了头发……0。三一0元——买多了壁炉用铁片……0。一五0元钉……三。九00元铰链及螺丝钉……0。一四0元闩子……0。一00元粉笔……0。0一0元搬运费……一。四00元——大多自己背共计……二八。一二五元所有材料都在这里了,除了木料,石头,沙子,后面这些材料我是用在公地上占地盖屋的人应该享受的特权取来的。我另外还搭了一个披屋,大都是用造了房子之后留下来的材料盖的。

  我本想给我造一座房子,论宏伟与华丽,要超过康科德大街上任何一座房子的,只要它能够像目前的这间使我这样高兴,而且花费也不更多的话。

  这样我发现,只想住宿舍的学生完全能够得到一座终身受用的房子,所花的费用还不比他现在每年付的住宿费大呢,如果说,我似乎夸大得有点过甚其辞,那未我的解释是我并非为自己,是为人类而夸大;我的短处和前后不一致并不能影响我言论的真实性,尽管我有不少虚假和伪善的地方——那好像是难于从麦子上打掉的糠秕,我也跟任何人一样为此感到遗憾,——我还是要自由地呼吸,在这件事上挺起我的腰杆子来,这对于品德和身体都是一个极大的快乐;而且我决定,决不屈辱地变成魔鬼的代言人,我要试着为真理说一句好话。在剑桥学院,一个学生住比我那房稍大一点儿的房间,光住宿费就是每年三十元,那家公司却在一个屋顶下造了毗连的三十二个房间,占尽了便宜,房客却因邻居众多而嘈杂,也许还不得不住在四层楼上,因而深感不便。我就不得不想着,如果我们在这些方面有更多的真知的见,不仅教育的需要可以减少,因为更多的教育工作早就可以完成了,而且为了受教育而必需有钱交费那样的事情一定已经大部分都消灭掉了。学生在剑桥或别的学校为了必需有的便利,花掉了他或别人的很大的生命代价,如果双方都合理地处置这一类事情,那只消花十分之一就够了。要收费的东西,决不是学生最需要的东西。例如,学费在这一学期的账目中是一笔大的支出,而他和同时代人中最有教养的人往来,并从中得到更有价值得多的教育,这却不需要付费。成立一个学院的方式,通常是弄到一批捐款的人,捐来大洋和角子,然后盲目地遵从分工的原则,分工分得到了家,这个原则实在是非得审慎从事不可的,——于是招揽了一个承办大工程的包工来,他又雇用了爱尔兰人或别的什么工人,而后果真奠基开工了,然后,学生们得适应在这里面住;而为了这一个失策,一代代的予弟就得付出学费。我想,学生或那些想从学校中得益的人,如果能自己来奠基动工,事情就会好得多。学生得到了他贪求的空闲与休息,他们根据制度,逃避了人类必需的任何劳动,得到的只是可耻的、无益的空闲,而能使这种空闲变为丰富收获的那种经验,他们却全没有学到。“可是,”

  有人说,“你总不是主张学生不该用脑,而是应该用手去学习吧?”我不完全是这样的主张,我主张的东西他应该多想一想;我主张他们不应该以生活为游戏,或仅仅以生活作研究,还要人类社会花高代价供养他们,他们应该自始至终,热忱地生活。除非青年人立刻进行生活的实践,他们怎能有更好方法来学习生活呢?我想这样做才可以像数学一样训练他们的心智。举例以明之。如果我希望一个孩子懂得一些科学文化,我就不愿意走老路子,那不过是把他送到附近的教授那儿去,那里什么都教,什么都练习,只是不教生活的艺术也不练习生活的艺术;——只是从望远镜或显微镜中考察世界,却从不教授他用肉眼来观看;研究了化学,却不去学习他的面包如何做成,或者什么工艺,也不学如何挣来这一切的,虽然发现了海王星的卫星,却没有发现自己眼睛里的微尘,更没有发现自己成了哪一个流浪汉的卫星;他在一滴醋里观察怪物,却要被他四周那些怪物吞噬。一个孩子要是自己开挖出铁矿石来,自己熔炼它们,把他所需要知道的都从书本上找出来,然后他做成了一把他自己的折刀——另一个孩子则一方面在冶金学院里听讲冶炼的技术课,一方面收到他父亲给他的一把洛杰斯牌子的折刀,——试想过一个月之后,哪一个孩子进步得更快?又是哪一个孩子会给折刀割破了手的呢?……真叫我吃惊,我离开大学的时候,说是我已经学过航海学了!——其实,只要我到港口去打一个转身,我就会学到更多这方面的知识。甚至贫困的学生也学了,并且只被教授以政治经济学,而生活的经济学,那是哲学的同义语,甚至没有在我们的学院中认真地教授过。

  结果弄成了这个局面,因儿子在研究亚当。斯密,李嘉图和萨伊,父亲却陷入了无法摆脱的债务中。

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