启蒙的真谛 The true meaning of enlightenment

Johnny Chen 2018年4月14日 14:24
翻译习作

“启蒙”的本义是开启蒙昧,识字读书,明白事理。在中国古代,人们从小要接受“蒙学”,才能成为有教养的人,否则就是“教化未开”。据说,早年被启蒙到了什么程度,决定其日后可达到的智力高度。

The true meaning of enlightenment is to expose the uneducated to literacy and sense. In ancient China, people used to "get enlightened" at a very early age when they were still kids in order to be cultured. Otherwise, they would be deemed "poorly cultured or non-sufficiently enlightened". People were quoted as saying that. It was said that the extent of enlightenment people were exposed to in their early days would determine the amount of intelligence they were able to achieve down the road.

同样,人类社会从传统向现代转型的过程,也与启蒙相伴随;没有启蒙就没有现代化。

Likewise, human society, in the process of its transformation from a traditional society to a modern one, is closely associated with enlightenment; namely, there will be no modernization short of enlightenment.

然而,作为现代话语的“启蒙”,却源自于近代西方。在人类历史上,近代启蒙思想和启蒙运动首发于17世纪后期的英国,后传播到法国、德国等欧洲国家,波及北美,19世纪后期又影响到日本、中国等亚洲国家。

Nevertheless, "enlightenment", as a term used in the modern language, originated in the west in recent times. In human history, modern ideas and movements of enlightenment made their debut in England in the late 17th century. And they were then spread to such European countries as France and Germany, subsequently rippling through North America as well as Asian countries like Japan and China in the late 19th century.

正是由于西方有了洛克、斯密、伏尔泰、卢梭、狄德罗等启蒙思想家,才有了之后欧美的工业革命、市场经济和宪政体制。在中国,自晚清时期出现近代启蒙思想后,中国知识分子在“救亡图存”的背景下,借助西方近代思想,改造中国传统文化,塑造新型国民,引发了洋务运动、戊戌变法、新文化运动等。特别是在当代,1978年关于“实践是检验真理的唯一标准”的大讨论,极大地解放了人们的思想,带来了之后“改革开放”的巨大成果。由此,思想的力量可见一斑。

The industrial revolution, market oriented economy or constitutional systems would never have materialized in either Europe or Americas if the west had not brought forth such great thinkers of enlightenment as Rock, Smith, Voltaire, Rousseau, or Diderot. The same is true of China, where its intellectuals, having been influenced by the modern ideology of enlightenment since the late Qing Dynasty against a backdrop of "National Salvation", launched a series of events such as the Westernization Drive, the Reform Movement of 1898, and the New Cultural Movement in an attempt to reform the traditional Chinese culture and to mold their people into a brand new type of Chinese nationals with the help of modern ideology from the west. And this is especially true of contemporary China, where, in 1978, the grand debate on whether or not "practice is the sole criterion for testing truth" triggered the freeing of people’s mind, resulting in the tremendous achievement brought forward by the "reform and opening up" - a brief glimpse into the great impact of the ideological power.

长期以来,人们对于启蒙运动有一种误解,认为那是先知先觉的知识分子和哲人启发、教育、训导被启蒙者,因而“启蒙”成了及物动词,其宾语是未开化的芸芸众生。其实,根据现代启蒙思想家康德的解释,启蒙的本质不是“他启”而是“自觉”,即人们从由自我原因的不成熟状态(在缺乏指导下无力运用自我理性的状态)中觉醒,其根源并非是人们缺乏理性,而是缺乏对理性的运用。

However, a misconception has, for a long time, been conceived by people who think that is what those intellectuals and philosophers with foresight use to enlighten, educate and teach the unenlightened. As a result, the word enlighten has become a transitive verb with the rest of the uncultured world as its object. In reality, the essence of enlightenment is, according to Kant, one of the modern enlightenment thinkers, not "enlightenment or inspiration from others" but "self-awareness"; namely, people wake up from a state of immaturity due to self reasons (a state in which one is unable to apply self rationality due to a lack of instruction) with the root cause being people 's lack of the application of reason instead of their lack of reason.

这种真知灼见至今闪烁着理性的光芒。

Such an insight has so far been shining giving off rational brilliance.

在西方,启蒙思想的支撑源于人们对于客观规律的认知,如哥白尼的“日心说”、牛顿的“万有引力”、伽利略的“宇宙论”等,认为整个宇宙中的一切物体都遵守同一定律,进而冲破千年的宗教束缚,将这一理性思考引入了人类社会,从而开创了一个不断进取的新时代。在中国,几千年的封建农业社会,使得科技落后、法治传统缺乏,只是受到近代西方启蒙思想(包括马克思主义)的影响,才引入了科学、民主、法治的概念,开始与世界文明接轨。

The cornerstone of enlightenment in the west is derived from people's cognition of objective laws, for instance, theories such as Copernicus' "Heliocentric Theory ", Newton's "Law of Universal Gravitation", and Galieo's "Cosmology", which have, by maintaining that everything in the universe abides by the same law, have helped shake off thousands of years of shackles of religion and created a progressive new era by ushering rational thinking into human society. Whereas in China, thousands of years of feudal agrarian society resulted in backwardness of science and technology and a lack of legal tradition, which kept China from docking the world civilization until modern enlightenment from the west (including Marxism) kicked in and science, democracy and legal concepts were brought in.

在这一历史大潮中,中国现在比历史上任何时期都更接近中华民族的伟大复兴。正如“一带一路”被越来越多的国家认识到不是中国的独角戏,而是沿途民族的大合唱,每个中国人对于客观与主观世界的深刻、自觉的理性开发,最终将汇集于前所未有的“中国梦”的实现。

Never in any period of history until now has China ever been so close to the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation in this flow of the historic tide. The profound, conscious and rational development of the objective and subjective world by each and every Chinese will eventually add momentum to the unprecedented materialization of the Chinese Dream in the same way as the Belt and Road Initiative has dawned on an increasingly big number of countries that it is not just China’s one man show but a chorus to be joined in by all nations along the route.

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