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  • If you had the misfortune to do too much of it at school,

    如果你曾如此倒楣地在學校大量接觸歷史這門學科,

  • you'll probably remember one thing about history: just how boring it can be.

    你可能對它只有一個印象,那就是它有多無聊

  • You might harbour painful memories of the 100 Years War, the War of Spanish Succession,

    你可能對以下這些事件懷有痛苦的記憶:英法百年戰爭、西班牙王位繼承戰爭、

  • Crop Rotation in the Middle Ages or - heaven forbid - the good deeds of Florence Nightingale.

    中世紀的輪作制度,或是不得不提到的,南丁格爾的善行

  • As a result, it wouldn't be surprising if - nowadays - you tended to steer well clear of the whole topic.

    因此,假使現在你傾向避開所有跟歷史有關的討論,也不令人感到意外

  • But that would be a pity. The real reason why history is so boring is that we're not clear about what it should be for.

    但那會是一件很可惜的事。歷史會如此枯燥的原因,是因為我們不清楚它真正的用意

  • Here's the big reason why history matters:

    歷史之所以如此重要的原因在於:

  • it matters because it can provide us with solutions to many of the problems of the present.

    它可以提供我們很多解決當代難題的方法

  • At its best, history is there to introduce us to some of the things we need but that aren't sufficiently visible in the world today.

    歷史最擅長的就是將一些我們需要,但卻無法在這個時代看到的事情展演給我們看

  • As a society, we're very obsessed by what we're up to right now.

    我們這個社會太被當下所發生的事情所纏縛

  • Unknowingly, we're hugely biased towards the present.

    不知不覺中,我們對當下抱有相當大的偏見

  • The news - which is about the most prestigious force in the world today -

    新聞,這個應當是當代最具權威性的力量,

  • circles obsessively around some of the things that have happened in the last five minutes.

    卻總不停播送著一些五分鐘前才發生的事情

  • And yet, many of the most important things that we need to nourish, sustain and inspire us are a lot older.

    然而,大部分那些能夠滋養我們,支撐我們並啟發我們的東西,都是很久以前的事

  • What we nowadays need above all else are GOOD IDEAS and history is full of them.

    我們現在最迫切需要的就是好方法,而歷史裡處處可見

  • Imagine you're dissatisfied with aspects of contemporary Capitalism.

    假設你對當代資本主義的一些面向感到不滿

  • It might help hugely to read about the HISTORY of the Levellers,

    閱讀關於平等派,一群在 1645 到 1650 年間寫作與活躍的英國激進份子,

  • a group of English radicals writing and acting between 1645 and 1650.

    他們的歷史將對你大有幫助

  • Or if you question what the point of going on holiday is,

    或者,當你在想假日的意義何在時,

  • you might dramatically enrich your thoughts by considering the HISTORY of pilgrimage,

    有關朝聖的歷史可能會可能會大大豐富你的思考,

  • especially the motives which people had for trekking off to visit distant shrines.

    尤其當你深入去探討,那些令人們願意長途跋涉去拜訪遠方神殿的動機

  • History teaches us that THINGS CAN CHANGE.

    歷史告訴我們事情都會改變

  • People haven't always been as they are now: materialistic and work obsessed,

    人們不總是像現在一樣地崇尚物質生活、被工作占據、

  • unable to build nice architecture, over-concerned with beingconnectedor hung up on being absurdly thin.

    無法蓋出優秀的建築、過度關心與他人的連結,或是非常執著於變瘦

  • There's an annoying saying that goes: THOSE WHO DON'T KNOW HISTORY ARE DOOMED TO REPEAT IT.

    有句惱人的俗諺這樣說:「對歷史一無所知的人,終將宿命式地重蹈那些過錯。」

  • But that's suggesting the only thing history is full of is mistakes.

    但這句話隱含的意思是,歷史總是充滿錯誤

  • Yet it's as fair to say, those who don't know history won't be able to IMPROVE the present.

    比較公允的說法是,「那些對歷史一無所知的人,無法改善現況。」

  • History can also teach us COURAGE.

    歷史可以教我們勇氣

  • It's easy to feel, when you're pressed up against the present, that things are exceptionally awful right now,

    當你被現況逼到走投無路時,你很容易覺得凡事都格外的糟糕,

  • but they rarely are, once you open the lens wide enough.

    但當你把視野拉得夠遠,就會發現這並不是特例

  • The present isn't unusual in its levels of mediocrity and compromise.

    這個時代的平庸與妥協在程度上並不特出

  • Once you read the letters, the old guys were just as bad.

    當你翻閱字裡行間,就會發現那些歷史人物也好不到哪裡去

  • And though our challenges are of course great, they aren't exceptional -

    我們所面臨的挑戰固然偉大,但他們並不特別,

  • when compared with say, those facing the survivors of the sack of Rome or the Lisbon earthquake.

    尤其當我們和羅馬之劫 ( 1527 年) 或里斯本大地震 ( 1755 年) 的生還者相比

  • History ends up as a tool for the APPRECIATION of some of our advantages which is easy to miss.

    歷史最終會成為一項工具,讓我們得以珍惜某些我們容易忽略的優勢

  • It can teach us to judge our society against other societies rather than against our ideals.

    它教導我們將自己的社會與其他時空下的社會進行衡量,而非與我們的理型相較

  • Of course the European Union has problems, but the Habsburg Empire had them too and many more.

    歐盟當然有它的問題,但哈布斯堡君主國 ( 1780 年的奧地利體制) 的問題也不惶多讓

  • Our governments are deeply imperfect, but there have been worse.

    我們的政府十分地不完美,但他們曾經更糟

  • Traffic is terrible, but so was the siege of Leningrad.

    交通很紊亂,但列寧格勒圍城戰 ( 1941 年) 也相當糟糕

  • History can console.

    歷史可以撫平傷痛

  • Getting clearer about what history is for should change how the subject is taught.

    當我們更了解歷史的功能,應該就可以改變這個科目的教學方式

  • In the future, we should treat history a little like a doctor treats a medicine cabinet.

    在未來,我們應該視歷史如同一個醫生看待他的醫藥箱

  • Before diving into history, we'd first have to work out what was wrong with us, what we were lacking in the here and now.

    在埋首進入史冊之前,我們應該先檢視我們自身出了什麼問題,現在的我們又缺乏些什麼。

  • We might be diagnosed for a lack of courage, or a spoiled nature or a hesitation about whether to marry.

    我們有可能被診斷出缺乏勇氣、被寵慣了的天性,或是猶豫該不該結婚

  • And we should be prescribed history accordingly.

    這時,我們就應該依自己的症候,去領取名為歷史的處方

  • For their part, historians themselves should get clearer about what problems in the present they're trying to solve.

    至於歷史學家們,則應該釐清他們想解決當代的哪些問題

  • They should explicitly aim to tell us things about the past that can help us with issues of today.

    他們應該直截了當的告訴我們,哪些過去的事物可以幫助我們面對當代的問題

  • Not the past for its sake, but the past for our sakes.

    因此,學習歷史就不是為了那些史實,而是將它們運用在現代的生活中

  • Good history should always mean: history with solutions or consolations for today.

    真正好的歷史,立意應該是充滿對現代的解答與慰藉

  • Now that could be interesting

    這時,歷史就可以變得有趣了...

If you had the misfortune to do too much of it at school,

如果你曾如此倒楣地在學校大量接觸歷史這門學科,

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B1 中級 中文 英國腔 歷史 問題 社會 勇氣 戰爭 現代

什麼是歷史? (What is History for?)

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