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英汉双语《西南联大英文课》26:自由与约束_阿伯特·劳伦斯·洛维尔

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2018-08-17

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26 LIBERTY AND DISCIPLINE

By Abbot Lawrence Lowell

LIBERTY AND DISCIPLINE, by Abbott Lawrence Lowell, from the Yale Review, Vol. V, p.741, July, 1916. Reprinted in Maurice Garland Fulton's National Ideals and Problems, New York, The MacMillan Company, 1918, pp. 269-282.

Abbott Lawrence Lowell (1856-1943), American educator, president of Harvard University, 1909-1933. He is distinguished as an authority on the science of government and is the author of many books and articles in this field.

英汉双语《西南联大英文课》26:自由与约束_阿伯特·劳伦斯·洛维尔

We are living in the midst of a terrific war in which each side casts upon the other the blame for causing the struggle;but in which each gives the same reason for continuing it to the bitter end—that reason being the preservation from destruction of the essential principle of its own civilization. One side claims to be fighting for the liberty of man; the other for a social system based on efficiency and maintained by discipline. Of course the difference is one of degree. No one believes in permitting every man to do whatever he pleases, no matter how it may injure his neighbor or endanger the community; and no country refuses all freedom of action to the individual. But although the difference is only of degree and of emphasis, it is none the less real. Our own people have always asserted their devotion to the principle of personal liberty, and in some ways they have carried it farther than any other nation. It is not, therefore, useless to compare the two principles that we may understand their relative advantages, and perceive the dangers of liberty and the conditions of its fruitfulness.

Americans are more familiar with the benefits of discipline, in fact, than conscious of them in theory. Anyone who should try to manage a factory, a bank, a railroad, a ship, a military company, or an athletic team, on the principle of having every employee or member of the organization take whatever part in the work, and do it in whatever way seemed best in his own eyes, would come to sudden grief and be mercilessly laughed at. We all know that any enterprise can be successful only if there is coördination of effort, or what for short we call team play; and that this can happen only if the nature of each man's work, and the way he is to perform it, is arranged with a view to the whole, so that each part fitting into its place contributes its proper share to the total result. Experience has taught us that the maximum efficiency is attained where the team play is most nearly perfect, and therefore, the subordination of the individual to the combined action is most nearly complete. Then there is the greatest harmony of action, and the least waste by friction or working at cross purposes. But everyone is aware that such a condition does not come about of itself. Men do not fit into their places in a team or organization spontaneously. Until they have become experts they do not appreciate the relation of their particular work to the plan as a whole; and even when they have become familiar with the game or the industry, they are apt to overestimate their own part in it, or disagree about the best method of attaining the result. Everyone likes to rule, and when Artemus Ward suggested that all the men in a regiment should be made Brigadier Generals at once to avoid jealousy, he touched a familiar weakness in human nature. He was not obliged to explain the joke, because no one fails to see the absurdity of having everybody in command. But that would be exactly the situation if nobody were in command. If there is to be a plan for combined action, somebody must have power to decide what that plan shall be; and if the part of every performer is to be subordinated to the common plan, somebody must have authority to direct the action of each in conformity with the plan. Moreover, that authority must have some means of carrying its directions into effect. It must be maintained by discipline; either by forcing those who do not play their parts rightly to conform to the general plan, or by eliminating them from the organization.

This principle of coördinated effort maintained by discipline applies to every combination of men where the maximum efficiency for a concrete object is desired, be it a business, a charity, or a whole state. It is a vitally important principle which no people can afford to lose from sight, but it is not everything. Whether it conduces to the greatest happiness or not is a question I leave on one side, for I am now discussing only effectiveness. Yet even from that standpoint we have left something out of account. The principle would be absolutely true if men were machines, or if the thing desired were always a concrete object to be attained by coöperation, such as the building of a railroad, the production of wealth, the winning of victory in war or on a playing field. But men are human beings and the progress of civilization is a thing far too complex to be comprised within any one concrete object or any number of such objects depending on combined effort. This is where the advantages of liberty come in.

Pasteur, one of the greatest explorers of nature and benefactors of the age, remarked that the value of liberty lay in its enabling every man to put forth his utmost effort. In France under the ancient monarchy men were very nearly born to trades and professions or at least large portions of the people were virtually excluded from many occupations. The posts of officers in the army were generally reserved for men of noble rank. The places of judges were purchased, and were in fact largely hereditary, and so on through much of the higher grade of employments. The Revolution broke this system down, and Napoleon insisted that the true principle of the French Revolution was the opening of all careers to talent;not so much equality as freedom of opportunity. Under any system of compulsion or restraint a man may be limited to duties unsuited to his qualities, so that he cannot use the best talents he possesses. The opportunities in a complex modern civilization are of infinite variety, subtle, elastic, incapable of being compassed by fixed regulations for attaining definite objects. The best plan for perfecting the post office, if strictly followed, would not have produced the telegraph; the most excellent organization of the telegraph would not have created the telephone; the most elaborate system of telephone wires and switchboards would not have included the wireless. The greatest contributions to knowledge, to the industrial arts, and to the comforts of life have been unforeseen, and have often come in unexpected directions. The production of these required something more than a highly efficient organization maintained by discipline.

Moreover—what is nearer to our present purpose—believers in the principle of liberty assert that a man will put forth more effort, and more intelligent effort, if he chooses his own field, and works in his own way, than if he labors under the constant direction of others. The mere sense of freedom is stimulating in a high degree to vigorous natures. The man who directs himself is responsible for the consequences. He guarantees the result, and stakes his character and reputation on it. If after selecting his own career he finds that he has chosen wrongly, he writes himself down a fool. The theory of liberty, then, is based upon the belief that a man is usually a better judge of his own aptitudes than anyone else can be, and that he will put forth more and better effort if he is free than if he is not.

Both these principles, of discipline and of liberty, contain much truth. Neither is absolutely true, nor can be carried to its logical extreme, for one by subjecting all a man's actions to the control of a master would lead to slavery, the other by leaving every man free to disregard the common welfare would lead to anarchy. In America we are committed, as it were, to err on the side of liberty; and it is my purpose to consider here what are the dangers and conditions of liberty in the American college. It is in college that young men first enjoy the pleasure of liberty and assume its responsibilities. They sometimes think themselves still under no little restriction, because they cannot leave the college during term time without permission, and must attend the lectures, examinations, and other duties;but these are slight compared with the restraints which will surround any busy man in after life. There is no better place than college to learn to use freedom without abusing it. This is one of the greatest opportunities of college life, the thing that makes strong men stronger and sometimes weak men weaker than before.

Liberty means a freedom of choice in regulating one's conduct. If you are free to attend a lecture, but not free to stay away from it, then it is compulsory. You have no liberty whatever in the matter. A man of wealth has no freedom about paying taxes. He is obliged to pay them. But he has freedom about giving money away to relieve distress, or for other charitable purposes, because he may give or not as he pleases. A man is at liberty to be generous or mean, to be kindly or selfish, to be truthful or tricky, to be industrious or lazy. In all these things his duty may be clear, but he is free to disregard it. In short, liberty means freedom to do wrong as well as to do right, else it is no freedom at all. It means freedom to be foolish as well as to be wise, to prefer immediate self-indulgence to future benefit for oneself or others, liberty to neglect as well as to perform the duties of the passing hour that never comes again. But if liberty were used exclusively to do wrong, it would be intolerable, and good sense would sweep it from the earth. The supposition on which liberty is based, the condition on which it exists, is that men will use it for right more than for wrong; that in the long run they will do right more often, and do more that is good, than under a system of restraint.

Mark this, liberty and discipline are not mutually exclusive. Liberty does not mean that good results can ever be attained without discipline. If rightly used it means only that regulation by others is replaced by self-discipline no less severe and inexorable. The man who does not force himself to work when he is disinclined to do so will never achieve anything worth doing. Some really industrious men affect to do only what they like, never working save when the spirit moves them; and occasionally such men deceive themselves in trying to deceive others. If not, they have usually schooled themselves to want what they ought to want. Self-discipline has brought their inclinations as well as their conduct into a happy subjection to their will. But, in fact, labor carried anywhere near the point of maximum productivity, the point where a man puts forth his utmost effort, is never wholly pleasurable, although the moral force required to drive oneself at top speed varies much in different people. An idle disposition, however, is no sufficient excuse for shirking. Many years ago a stingy old merchant in Boston lay dying. The old miser turned to the brother sitting by his bedside and said:“John, I wish I had been more generous in giving away money in my life. But it has been harder for me than for most men to give money; and, John, I think the Lord will make allowance for differences in temperament.” Thus do we excuse ourselves for self-indulgence.

How many men in every American college make an effort to get through with little to spare, win a degree, and evade an education? Not an insignificant number. How many strive earnestly to put forth their utmost effort to obtain an education that will develop their intellectual powers to the fullest extent, and fit them in the highest possible degree to cope with the problems they will face as men and as citizens? Again not an insignificant number, but are they enough to satisfy Pasteur's aspirations, or even to justify his idea of the object of liberty?

Everywhere in the higher education of Europe, whether the system is one of freedom or restraint, whether as in Germany a degree is conferred only on men who have real proficiency, or as in Oxford and Cambridge a mere pass degree is given for very little real work, everywhere the principle of competition is dominant for those who propose to make a marked success in life. Let us take the countries which claim to be fighting in this war for liberty. A student at Oxford or Cambridge knows that his prospects, not only of a position in the university, but at the bar, in permanent public employment and political life, are deeply influenced by, and in many cases almost dependent upon, his winning a place in the first group of scholars at graduation. The man who gets it plays thereafter with loaded dice. It gives him a marked advantage at the start, and to some extent follows him ever afterwards. Of course, there are exceptional men who by ability come to the front rank without it, but on the whole they are surprisingly few. Mr. Balfour is sometimes referred to as a man who did not distinguish himself at Cambridge, and Sir Edward Grey is said to have been an incorrigibly poor scholar at Balliol in Oxford, yet both of them won third-class honors, which is not far from what we should considerФBK rank. To mention only men who have been prominent in public life, Peel, Cardwell, Sherbrooke, Gladstone, Harcourt, Bryce, Trevelyan, Asquith, Haldane, Milner, Simon, Ambassador Spring-Rice, and many more won honors of the first class at one of the two great English universities; while a number of other men distinguished in public life, such as Disraeli, Chamberlain, and Lloyd-George, did not go to Oxford or Cambridge. It would not be difficult to add a long list of judges, and in fact, as an Oxford man once remarked to me, high honors at the university have been almost a necessity for reaching the bench. No doubt the fact that men have achieved distinction at their universities is a test of their ability; but also the fact that they have done so is a direct help at the outset of their careers.

If we turn to France we find the same principle of competition in a direct form though working in other channels. The Ecole Centrale, the great school of engineering, and the Beaux Arts, the great school of architecture and art, admit only a limited number of students by competitive examination; and the men who obtain the highest prizes at graduation are guaranteed public employment for life. Europeans believe that preëminence in those things for which higher education exists is a measure of intellectual and moral qualities; and the fact that it is recognized as such tends to make it so, for the rewards attached to it make ambitious and capable young men strive for it, and put forth their utmost effort in the competition. Let us hope that some day our colleges, and the public at large, will recognize more fully than they do to-day the value of excellence in college work as a measure of capacity, as a promise of future achievement, and thereby draw out more effort among the undergraduates. It is already the case to a large extent in our professional schools, and ought to be the case in our colleges, if a college education is really worth the money and labor expended on it.

At present the college is scholastically democratic. The world rarely asks how a man got in, or how he graduated. It is enough that he did graduate somehow. Bachelor degrees, whether indicating high scholarship or a minimum of work, are treated by the public as free and equal; and what is worse they are far too much so treated by the colleges and universities themselves. Now, the requirement for a college degree cannot be more than a minimum, and in the nature of things a rather low minimum, requiring on the part of men with more than ordinary ability a very small amount of work;far less than is needed to call forth their utmost effort.

This is one of many illustrations of the well-known fact that education moves slowly, and follows rather than leads the spirit of the time. We live in a strenuous age, a time of activity and energy. I think it was Bagehot who remarked that the change of habits was evident even in the casual greeting of friends. He says that we ask a man whom we have not met for some time, “What have you been doing since I saw you last?” as if we expected him to have been doing something. I remember some time ago reading a story in a magazine about travelers in a railroad train, who were stopped at a customhouse to have their baggage examined, and found, that, instead of holding clothes, their bags and trunks contained the works they had done in life. It was the last judgment, and several well-meaning persons found their many pieces of luggage sadly empty. A gentleman among the number came forward to explain that they had supposed their duty to consist in avoiding sin, and they had done so;that their lives had been spent in pleasures, for the most part wholly innocent, and that this was all they had understood to be required of them.

The story illustrates a change of attitude which has come over the world, and men who have passed fifty have seen it come in, comparing the generation that went before them with that which has followed them. Thou shalt is quite as important as thou shalt not. Professor Munro in speaking in a college chapel some time ago on the importance of positive as well as negative morality remarked that most people if asked the meaning of the fourth commandment would think only of its forbidding work on Sunday; whereas its opening words are “Six days shalt thou labor.” We live not only in a strenuous world, but in the most strenuous part of the world. Innocent leisure is no longer quite respectable here, except in college;and it is getting not to be respectable there—except in study.

Most of us feel that the American college is a very precious thing. It is a clean and healthy place, morally, intellectually, and physically. I believe that no large body of young men anywhere in the world live on the whole such clean lives, or are cleaner or more honorable in thought. The college is a place where a man may, and where many a man does, develop his character and his mental force to an almost indefinite extent; where he may, and often does, acquire an inspiration that sustains him through life; where he is surrounded by influences that fit him, if he will follow them, for all that is best in the citizen of a republic. The chief defect in the American college to-day is that it has not yet been stirred by the strenuous spirit of the age, the spirit that dignifies the principle of liberty, or at least it has been stirred mainly in the line of what are called student activities. These are excellent things in themselves, to be encouraged in full measure, but they do not make up for indolence and lack of effort in the studies which are, after all, the justification for the existence of the college. Let us put this matter perfectly plainly. The good sense of the community would never approve of having young men devote the whole of their best four years to the playing field, or to those other accessories of college life, the management of athletic or other organizations, or writing for college papers. These, as I have said, are excellent as accessories, but if they were the whole thing, if instruction and study were abolished, the college would soon be abolished also. What, then, in a land of restless activity and energy is likely to be the future of a college in which a large part of the undergraduates regard extra-curriculum activities as the main interest, and education as an accessory; and where a smaller, but not inconsiderable fraction regard all activity as irksome? If our young men cannot answer that question themselves, let them ask some man who is not himself a college graduate but has worked his way up in the world by his diligence, perseverance, pluck, and force of character.

The danger that under a system of liberty men will fail to put forth their utmost effort lies not merely, or perhaps mainly, in a lack of moral force. It is due quite as much to a lack of moral and intellectual vision, an inability to see any valuable result to be accomplished by the effort. This is particularly true in college. Many a man who intends to work hard thereafter in his profession or business, tries to get through college with a small amount of study. He is fully aware that in his future career he will make no use of a knowledge of the force of the Greek aorist, of the properties of a regular parallelopipedon, or of the effect of the reign of Edward the First on English constitutional history; and hence he is inclined to think these things of no great practical consequence to him. In no form of human productivity of far-reaching importance is the direct practical utility of every step in the process visible to the man who takes it. The workman in a factory may not know why he mixes certain ingredients in prescribed proportions, why he heats the mixture to a certain temperature, or why he cools it slowly. It might be difficult to explain it to him; and he does these things because they are ordered by the boss.

The difficulty of perceiving the connection between the means and the end is greater in the case of education, as distinguished from mechanical training, than in almost anything else, because the processes are more subtle, more intangible, less capable of accurate analysis. In fact the raw material that is being worked up is not the subject matter of the work but the mind of the worker himself; and the effect on his mind is not from day to day perceptible. His immediate task is to learn something, and he asks himself whether it is really worth learning: whereas the knowledge he acquires is not of the first importance, the vital question being how much he has improved in the ability to acquire and use it. At school the process is equally obscure, but the boy learns his lessons because he is obliged to do so. If he is a good boy he learns them well, because, although blind to the meaning of it all, he knows it is his duty. He does not seek to understand the process; and I recall now with amusement the ridiculous attempts we sometimes made in our school days to explain to our girl friends why it was worth while to study Latin. Many a boy who has ranked high at school, without asking himself the use of studying at all, does little work in college, because he asks himself why he should make the effort and cannot answer the question. The contrast illustrates the difference between a system of discipline and one of liberty. In both the relation of the work of the day and the result to be attained is invisible, but the motive power is not the same.

Under a system of external discipline the motive power is supplied by the habit of obedience, enforced where necessary by penalties. For the good man the habit or duty of blind obedience is enough. As Colonel Mudge expressed it when he received a mistaken order to charge and sprang forward to lead his regiment at Gettysburg. “It is murder, but it is the order.” Some of the greatest examples of heroism in human history have been given in this way. But blind obedience cannot be the motive power where liberty applies, and a man must determine his own conduct for himself. In the vast number of actions where the direct utility of each step cannot be seen, he must act on general principles, on a conviction that the particular step is part of a long process which leads forward to the end. The motive power of liberty is faith. All great enterprises, all great lives, are built upon and sustained by an overmastering faith in something.

Faith is based upon imagination which can conceive things the eye cannot behold. Young people are prone to think of imagination as fantastic, the creation by the mind of impossible forms and events, distortions of nature, or caricatures of man. But it is a higher imagination which pictures invisible things as they are, or as they might really be. Historic imagination does not people the past with impossible beings doing senseless acts, but with living men who thought and acted as men do not think and act to-day, but actually did under conditions that have long passed away. The true reformer is not he who portrays an ideal commonwealth which could never be made to work, but the man whose imagination has such a grasp on the springs of human nature that he can foresee how people would really conduct themselves in conditions yet untried, and whose plans work out as he designed them.

If faith is thus based upon imagination, its fruition requires a steadfastness of purpose that is not weakened by discouragements or turned aside by obstacles that shut out the view and cast dark shadows across the path. The doubter, who asks himself at every stage whether the immediate effort is really worth while, is lost. Prophesy confidently of him that he will never reach his goal.

President Pritchett in a walking tour in Switzerland asked a mountaineer about the road to the place whither he was bound. The man replied that he had never been there, but he knew that was the path which led to it. Such is the pathway to the ventures of life. None of us has ever been over the road we intend to travel in the world. If we believe that the way we take leads to our destination we must follow it, not stopping or turning back because a curve in the mountain trail obscures the distant scene, or does not at the moment seem to lead in the right direction. We must go on in faith that every step along the road brings us nearer, and that the faster we walk the farther we shall go before night falls upon us. The man who does not feel any reason for effort because he cannot see the direct utility of the things he learns has no faith in a college education; and if he has no faith in it he had better not waste time on it, but take up something else that he has faith in, or that is better suited to men of little faith.

Every form of civilization is, not only at its inception and in critical times, but always and forever, on trial. If it proves less effective than others it will be eliminated, peacefully or forcibly, by a gradual process of change or by a catastrophe. Now the test of a civilization based on liberty is the use men make of the liberty they enjoy, and it is a failure not only if men use it to do wrong, but also if they use it to do nothing, on as little as is possible to maintain themselves in personal comfort. This is true of our institutions as a whole and of the American college in particular. A student who has no sustaining faith in the education he can get there; who will not practice the self-discipline needed to obtain it; who uses his liberty to put forth not his utmost, but the least possible, effort; who uses it not to acquire, but to evade, a thorough education, fails to that extent in his duty to himself, to his college, to his country, and to the civilization he inherits. The man who uses his liberty to put forth his utmost effort in college and throughout his life, not only does his duty, but is helping to make freedom itself successful. He is working for a great principle of human progress. He is fighting the battle of liberty and securing its victory in the civilization of mankind.

Never have I been able to understand—and even less than ever in these terrible days, when young men, on whom the future shone bright with hope, sacrifice from a sense of duty their lives, the welfare of those dearest to them, and everything they care for—less than ever can I understand how any man can stand in safety on a hillside and watch the struggle of life in the plain below without longing to take part therein; how he can see the world pass by without a craving to make his mark, however small, on his day and generation. Many a man who would be eager to join a deadly charge if his country were at war, lacks the insight or imagination to perceive that the warfare of civilization is waged not more upon the battlefield than in the workshop, at the desk, in the laboratory, and the library. We have learned in this stress of nations that men cannot fight without ammunition well made in abundance; but we do not see that the crucial matter in civilization is the preparedness of young men for the work of the world; not only an ample supply of the best material, but a product molded on the best pattern, tempered and finished to the highest point of perfection. Is this the ideal of a dreamer that cannot be realized; or is it a vision which young men will see and turn to a virile faith?

参考译文

【作品简介】

《自由与约束》,作者阿伯特·劳伦斯· 洛维尔,载于1916年7月《耶鲁评论》第五卷,741页。后收入莫里斯·加兰·富尔顿编辑的《民族理想与问题》,纽约麦克米伦公司1918年出版,269—282页。

【作者简介】

阿伯特·劳伦斯·洛维尔(1856—1943),美国教育家,1909—1933年间任哈佛大学校长,是政府科学领域的杰出权威,一生在该领域著述颇丰。

26 自由与约束

我们正身处一场大战的弥漫硝烟中,对峙双方互相谴责,互不引咎。然而,双方又秉持着相同的理由,将战争推向更残酷的局面——双方均认为自己在捍卫自身文明的基本原则,使其免于被摧毁。一方宣称,为人类自由而战;另一方宣称,为基于效率、靠纪律约束维持的社会体系而战。当然,二者不同之处在于度。无人认同人人纵其所欲,这种纵欲有时甚至会伤及毗邻或危及集体;另一方面,也无一国限制个人行动的全部自由。然而,尽管不同之处仅在于程度与侧重,差别依然存在。美利坚人民对个人自由原则的维护始终不渝,比任何国家都执行得更彻底。因此,比较前述两种原则并非无用之举,因为我们能够由此认识两者的相对优势,认清实现有限自由的条件与无限自由的危害。

其实,美国人更为熟知的是纪律约束的实际益处,而非它的理论意义。任何一个管理工厂、银行、铁路、船舶、军队或运动队的人,若本着让每位员工或成员都恣意而为的原则行事,所面临的将是骤然的悲痛与无情的嘲笑。我们都知道,只有齐心协力才能事有所成,即简称为团队协作;而只有当每个人的工作实质及其完成工作的方式都顾及整体利益,才能各司其职,最后实现整体效果,以致成功。经验告诉我们,最高效率源于几乎完美的团队协作,所以个体行为服从整体行动是最为重要的,由此才能最大程度上达到行动的和谐统一,避免产生摩擦与浪费。众所周知,和谐运作并非自然产生,人们适应团队也并非自然而然。他们不会像专家那样,理解其个体工作与整体计划的和谐关系,即使他们对从事的工作已深知熟虑,也会高估自己发挥的作用,对产生结果的最佳方案持有异议。每个人都想做指挥者,正如阿蒂默斯·沃德所说,为了消除嫉妒,应立即将全团的人都升为旅长。他一语道破人类本性的弱点。他无须解释这句笑话,任何人都明白,全兵皆官是荒诞无稽的。但若无人指挥,便会演变成人人指挥的局面。如果需要某一协同合作的方案,就需要有人制定计划;如需要个人的作用服从整体方案,就需要有人指挥个体协同一致。此外,指挥者还需指挥方法,以生实效。这就靠约束的力量,迫使不听命者服从整体方案,否则清其出局。

靠约束维系的齐心协力原则可运用到任何追求具体目标、期冀最高效率的人类群体中,无论是商业生意、慈善事业,还是整个国家。这一原则至关重要,无法视而不见,但并非不灭真理。我们姑且不论它是否带来最大程度的幸福感,现在仅探讨效率问题。即使以该角度审视,仍有未考虑周到的因素,因为人类并非机器。这一原则确实适用于通过协作而实现具体目标,如修建铁路、创造财富、赢得战场或运动场上的胜利,然而,人终归是人。人类文明的进程过于复杂,并非具体目标所能包括,也并非全靠协同一致的目标所能实现。至此,自由的优势显现出来。

最伟大的自然探索者及时代馈赠者之一,巴斯德,曾说过自由的可贵之处在于它能使每个人都倾尽全力。在法国古代君主制下,人们几乎生来就是商人和专职工作者,而很多职位都将大多数的人排除在外。军官职位通常是给贵族保留的。法官职位是买来的,而事实上大多是继承的。许多高级职位亦是如此。法国大革命推翻了这一体系,拿破仑认为法国大革命的真正原则在于将所有职业面向有识之士开放;与其说是平等不如说是机会自由。在任何一个具有强制力或约束力的体系中,一个人会受限于不适合其才能的职务而无法人尽其才。复杂的现代文明中,机会变化无穷、难以预料,并非一成不变。若是严守邮局的操作规则,则不会发明出电报。电报的最佳组织管理也不会发明出电话,而电话线路的复杂系统与交换台是不会带来无线设施的。对知识、工艺及舒适生活的最大贡献是无法预见的,经常是意想不到的。这些事物的出现,所需要的不仅是以约束力为继的高效组织。

此外,与当前所论更接近的是,坚信自由原则的人断言,相较于长久在他人指挥下行事,一个人若是选择自己的领域,以自己的方式去做,就会努力付出更多的智慧和才能。仅自由的感受,就能焕发出极大的干劲儿。自我行事的人,要对自己的所作所为负责,要保证最终效果,付之于自身的人格和名誉。若之后发现自己选择的职业是错误的,他咎由自取。因此自由的理论出发点是,认为一个人比其他所有人都能更好地判断自身的天赋所在,并且自由的人将付出更大和更好的努力。

约束原则和自由原则均有道理,但二者均不是绝对真理,也不可能操作至极。因为若一个人的所有行动都受控于一个主人,他将成为奴隶。反之,如果让所有人都自由自在而无视公众利益,将导致无政府状态。在美国,我们允许出于自由而犯错。因此,我要在此讨论的是,美国大学中自由的条件和自由的危险都有什么。在大学,年轻人第一次尝到了自由的喜悦,也承担起了自由的责任。有时他们也觉得自己受到很大约束,因为未经允许,他们不得在学期中离校,他们必须上课、参加考试,或履行其他义务。但是与毕业后受制于其他束缚的人相比,这些显得微不足道。再没有比校园更能享受自由的地方了。这是校园生活的最大的优越性,因此而使强者更强,或使弱者更弱。

自由意味着对调整自身行为的自由选择。如果你可以自由地上某个课程,但不能自由缺席,那么课程是必修的。在这件事上,你就没有自由。富人付税是没有自由的,他必须交税;但富人有自由决定是否捐钱解除痛苦,或者赞助其他慈善事务,因为捐与不捐全在他是否愿意。是慷慨大方还是吝啬小气,是善良仁慈还是自私自利,是真诚务实还是狡猾多变,是勤奋上进还是好逸恶劳,面对这些,人们都有选择的自由。在所有这些事情中,须尽职责无可争辩,而人们亦可自由地选择不予理会。简而言之,自由意味着可以做错或是做对,否则自由就无从谈起。在愚蠢与智慧之间的选择,在及时行乐与自己或他人前途利益之间的选择,在虚度光阴还是恪尽职守之间的选择,都意味着自由。然而,倘若仅将自由用于去做错事,则不可容忍;正义良知也会将其清除于世。自由的前提和存在的条件在于,人们以自由多行正事而非错事。长远而看,正事居多,好事居上,而这种效果是纪律约束体系下不能实现的。

请注意,自由与约束二者并非互相排斥。自由并不意味着没有约束就能取得好的效果。如果恰当运用,自由就意味着以同样严格的自我约束取代他人的规章制度。一个人如果从不强迫自己做不愿意做的事,他将永远不会做出有价值的事情。一些非常勤劳的人只做他们喜欢做的事情,从不做不想做的事情,而这样的人时常是在自欺欺人。若非如此,那么他们通常便是让自己去追求应该追求的。自我约束使他们的喜好和行为服从于他们的意志,但事实上,高效生产离不开辛苦劳作,一个人付出最大努力,并不是最愉快的,尽管驱使人们努力工作的道德力量是因人而异的。然而,自我放纵不足以做逃避责任的理由。很多年前在波士顿,一个吝啬的老商人行将就木。这个老守财奴对坐在他床边的兄弟说:“约翰,我希望我一生中曾经慷慨捐赠,但是我总是比其他人更不愿意出钱。所以,约翰,我想上帝会宽容对待人之性情各不相同。”由此,我们为自己的自我放纵找到了理由。

在美国各所大学中有多少人但求将将通过,获得学位,而未曾真正体验教育?为数不少。又有多少人不竭余力地去获取教育,从而最大程度地开发智力潜能,以便将来能够最大程度地适应需要,处理问题?还是为数不少。但是他们是否实现了巴斯德的理想,或者能够佐证他视为目标的自由吗?

欧洲任何地方的高等教育,无论是自由体系的还是约束体系的;无论是在德国,学位只授予真正精通学业的人,还是在牛津和剑桥,对无所建树的人仅授予普通学位:对那些立志建功立业的人,竞争原则无处不在。让我们以这场战争中声称为自由而战的国家为例。一个牛津或剑桥的学生,很清楚他的前途深受他在毕业之时名列前茅的学业的影响,包括大学的教职、法庭职位、永久公职及政治生涯中的职位,学业优异者从毕业开始就会独占优势,一帆风顺。当然也有例外,有人凭其能力也会在后来工作中高就,但这种情况极少。贝尔福先生经常被举例说明是一位在剑桥没能出类拔萃的人,还有爱德华·格雷爵士,也被认为曾经是牛津大学巴利奥学院的无可救药的劣等学生,然而,这两人都曾获得与美国大学优等生荣誉相当的三等功勋。很多人都在英国两所最著名大学的任意一所获得了一等荣誉称号,并成为公共事业中的杰出人物,例如皮尔、卡德韦尔、舍布鲁克、格莱斯顿、哈考特、布赖斯、特里维廉、阿斯奎斯、霍尔丹、米尔纳、西蒙、史培林-莱斯大使等。还有一些在公共事业中出人头地的人,如迪斯雷利、张伯伦和劳合·乔治,他们并未曾上牛津和剑桥大学。至于法官,我也可以列出一个长长的名单。实际上,一位剑桥人士曾对我评论说,在大学里获得最高荣誉,是今后高就的必要条件。毫无疑问,在大学里学业优异,就证明了他们的能力很强,也从一开始就对他们的职业生涯产生了直接帮助。

在法国,我们发现,尽管运作不尽相同,竞争原则依然强劲有效。最著名的工程学院,名称中央学校,和最著名的建筑艺术学校,名称高等艺术学院,都是通过竞争考试而录取极少数的学生;而那些毕业时学业优异、获得最高奖励的学生,将获得终身公共职业就业的保障。欧洲人认为,高等教育所产生的优异学业是衡量毕业生智慧才能和人格品质的标准。这已形成共识,众所周知。因此,胸怀大志、才华横溢的年轻人都为此而努力奋斗,并在竞争中竭尽全力。我们希望,今后在大学和社会公众之中形成一种共识,即优异的学业代表一个人的能力和未来发展,以促使本科生更为之努力。这种共识在职业学校已产生影响,在大学也应如此,以突出高等教育的价值。

目前,大学是学术民主的。无人过问学生如何入学、如何毕业,他只要终于毕业就好。学士学位,无论标志着学业优异还是勉强毕业,都被公众认为是等同的。不幸的是,众多大学对该问题的认识也是如此。现在,对大学学位不应仅限于最低要求,不应该是通过普通能力和一般努力就能获取的,学生还应付出更大的努力。

这就是众所周知的高等教育发展缓慢的原因之一,教育走在时代的后面而不是引领时代的精神。我们身处在一个奋斗的时代,一个需要努力拼搏的时代。大概是白芝浩曾评论说,现在,改变习惯、适应变化甚至在朋友间的寒暄中也很明显。他说,当我们见到一个好久不见的人,会问“从上次见面以来,你一直在做什么”,好像我们期待他一直在做些什么。记得以前我在一本杂志中读到一个故事,是关于火车上的旅行者受到海关的检查,打开他们的箱子发现,里面装的是他们一生中的成果,而不是衣物。那是对他们一生的定论。有一些普通、善良的人发现他们的行李箱竟是空的,他们中的一位绅士上来解释,说他们先前给自己制定的责任在于不犯罪,他们已经做到了,一生是在愉快中度过的,很多时候是单纯平静的。这就是他们所理解的对自己的要求。

这个故事阐明了一种普世观点的转变,年逾五旬的人看到了这种转变,比较了他们的上一代和他们的下一代之间的变化。你将如何与你将不如何都是一样的。不久前,门罗教授在大学教堂演讲,评论正面与负面道德问题的重要性时说,如果问到圣经十诫的之第四诫的意思时,多数人只会想起它的意思是禁止在星期天工作,而这一诫的开头句却是“你应工作六天”。我们不仅身处于一个奋斗的世界,而且身处在世界最艰难的地方。在此,除非在大学,否则逍遥闲暇是不受尊敬的;即便在大学这也将不受尊敬了,除非是在书房。

我们多数人都认为,美国大学是难得可贵的地方,它是一块净土,使学生的道德、才能和体质得到发展。我相信,世界上没有任何地方能胜过这里,使广大年轻人健康地生活,精神上更感到快乐和骄傲。在大学这个地方,人人可以也能够最大限度地得到个性的发展、知识的强化。一个人可以也能够获得灵感,并为之奋斗一生。他周围的人都是国家素质最高的公民,只要追随他们的脚步,便可受益终身。现在,美国大学的主要问题在于,它未能受到时代奋斗精神的鼓舞,而恰是这种精神重申了自由原则。校园现在仅是充满了活跃的学生活动,这些活动本身是好的,能鼓励学生全面发展,但却未能弥补学生学业中的懒散和松弛——学业上的进取方能体现大学存在的意义。一言以蔽之,有理智的大学不会赞成让年轻人将自己一生中最美好的四年光阴全部投洒在运动场上,或校园生活的其他辅助活动上,或运动员的训练和其他组织活动中,或是校报编辑中。所有这一切,正如我所说的,都是很好的辅助活动,但不是大学的真正意义所在。如果大学的学习与教育被抛却,那么大学就会很快消失。如果很多本科生视课程以外的活动为他们的主要兴趣,视教育为辅助,只有少部分人认为那些学生活动令人厌烦,那么,这种充满无休止的学生活动的校园,发展下去的前景如何呢?如果我们的年轻人不能回答这一问题,就让他们从一个没有大学文凭,却依靠刻苦勤奋、坚持不懈、坚忍不拔取得成功的人那里寻找答案。

在自由的体系下,人们可能不会竭尽全力,主要(却不仅仅)是因为缺少道德约束力。这是由于人们缺少一种道德和思想方面的见识,看不到努力奋斗所换来的价值和成果。这个问题在大学中尤为突出。愿意毕业后在职业上有所发展的人,只求毕业,得过且过。他完全清楚,他所学的关于希腊动词的不定过去式、规则平行六面体的性质、爱德华一世统治对英国宪法史的作用等知识,对他将来的职业生涯是没有用的。因此,他不想学习这些没有实际用途的知识。具有深远意义的人类成果,无法在学习过程中的每一步都带来实用价值。就如同一个工厂的工人或许不知道为什么他按照配方混合一些成分,为什么他给混合物升温加热,或为什么进行冷处理。对他解释也许是困难的,而他如此去做只是在执行命令。

在教育问题上,更难以看出培养方式和最终结果之间的关系。教育与机械性的训练不同,与其他很多事物也不尽相同,因为教育的过程更微妙不定、难以捉摸、难以确切分析。实际上,教育加工的主要对象不是所加工的原材料,而是加工者自身的思想,但这种影响并非每日可见。他的直接任务是学习一些东西,而他会问自己这些内容是否值得学习:他所获得的知识并非第一重要的,关键的问题在于,他的学用能力有多少进步。在学校,这一过程同样不甚直观,但学生仍在学习,因为他必须去学。他若是个好学生,就会学得很好,因为尽管不知意义所在,他依然以此为责,不去追求对过程的理解。我想起一件好笑的事情:我们上学的时候,有时会向女朋友解释为什么有必要学习拉丁语。很多学生曾在中学时名列前茅,却不知道自己学习的用处;在大学期间得过且过,因为他问自己为什么需要付出努力,却不能回答这个问题。这种对照向我们展示了约束的体系和自由的体系之间的区别:在两种情况下,日常的工作和结果之间的关系都不是直观可见的,但是原动力并非相同。

在外部约束的体系下,原动力来于服从,必要时通过处罚进行增强。对于一个守规矩的人来说,绝对服从的习惯或责任足矣。马奇上校曾接到错误命令,要求领着他的团在葛底斯堡向前冲进,但诚如他所说,“那是谋杀,可那是命令。”人类历史上一些伟大的英雄主义范例就是如此造就的。然而,在自由适用之处,绝对服从无法成为原动力。此时,一个人需要决定自己的行为。在很多行动中,每一步的直接功用不可见,他必须按一些普遍的原则采取行动,相信每一步是漫长过程的一部分,可以带他走向终点。自由的原动力是信念,所有伟大的事业、伟大的人生都建立在统一坚定的信念之上并由此维持发展。

信念是建立在想象之上的,想象则超脱于眼见之物。年轻人喜欢奇特的想象,在大脑中创造出不可能的形式和内容,想象出扭曲的自然和荒唐的人类。但更高层次的想象会展现看不见的事物的原貌,或是它们可能的实际情况。历史性的想象并不是反映过去的不可能的人物和他们不可理喻的行为,而是反映活生生的人。他们的思想和行动与今天的现实有所不同,但在遥远过去的环境条件下,那是他们的真实反应。真正的改革者不是描绘不切实际的理想共和国的人,他的想象应该能够抓住人类本性的关键,能够预见人们在某些假设条件下的真实反应,而他的规划也能够依照他的设计实施。

如果信仰是如此建立在想象之上,它的实现便需要稳定的目标,无论前景是否光明,都要不畏挫折,不怕阻碍。怀疑者会迷失方向,因为他每走一步都会问自己收获的直接效果是否与付出相当。可以肯定,他永远无法实现自己的目标。

普里切特校长在瑞士散步的时候,问一位登山人,他所走的路是否正确。那人回答说他没去过那个地方,但是他知道那是必经之路。人生冒险的道路也是如此。在这个世界上,我们想要去的道路都是未曾踏足过的。若我们相信这条路通向我们的目的地,我们就必须沿着这条路坚定不移、义无反顾地走下去,因为蜿蜒的山路会阻挡前景,有时似乎也并未朝着正确的方向延伸。我们必须坚定信心,相信路上的每一步都带我们接近目标。我们走得越快,就能在夜幕降临前走得越远。一个人若是因为看不到所学事物的直接用处,而找不到努力的理由,他便是对大学教育没有一种信念。若是如此,他就最好不要在大学教育上浪费时间,而是将精力置于他有信念的事情上,或者转向一些适于信念缺失的人的事情。

所有形式的文明不仅是在发展的初期和关键阶段,而是在整个发展历程中都在不断受到质疑。若一种文明的成效逊于其他文明,就会平和地或暴力地、逐渐地或骤然地被淘汰于世。对基于自由的文明的检验,是看人们如何利用自己所享有的自由。如果人们不仅利用自由去做错事,还利用自由而无所事事,尽最小的努力但求维持个人的一点点舒适,那么这种文明就是失败的。这种情况在全国是普遍的,在美国大学里尤为典型。一个学生如果对从大学所受到的教育没有恒久的信念,没有坚持必需的自律去获得教育,却利用自由付出不是最大的而是最小的努力,不是去获得而是逃避受到全面的教育,那么他就未能对他自己、对学校、对国家、对他所继承的文明尽到他的责任。与此相反,一个人如果利用自由,在大学及其一生中付出最大的努力,他便不仅尽到了责任,还使自由实现了自身价值。他是为人类进步的一个伟大法则而努力,他是为自由而战,为保证它在人类文明中的胜利而战。

在这战争的日子里,许多前途无量的年轻人在自身责任感的驱使下,放弃自己的人生、他们亲人的切身利益,放弃他们关心的一切。我永远不能理解,在这些时日里更加、更加不能理解,为什么一个人能够安全地站在山坡上,观望下面平原上生命的奋斗,而并不想加入其中;为什么看到世界的迁移,而不想对他的时代留下自己哪怕是很小的痕迹。很多人在国家陷入战争的时刻,会急不可待地投入到解除国难之中,却不能预见或想象到,文明的战争不是在战场上展开的,而应该在研讨会上、书桌旁、实验室和图书馆里。我们知道,在大战之时,士兵们没有充足的弹药就不可能战斗,却看不到,文明的关键在于迎合世界的需要,培养年轻的一代。我们不但要提供充足的、最好的原料,而且要以最好模式打造最高质量的、最完善的产品。这是梦想家不可实现的幻想吗,还是年轻一代可以预见并以极大热忱去实现的愿景?

(苗菊 译)


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