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  • Think of a hard choice you'll face in the near future.

    想想你在不久的將來要面臨的一個艱難抉擇。

  • It might be between two careers --

    可能是糾結於兩種職業:

  • artist and accountant --

    藝術家或會計;

  • or places to live -- the city or the country --

    或是住在哪:城市還是鄉村;

  • or even between two people to marry --

    甚至是兩個人中選擇一個結婚,

  • you could marry Betty or you could marry Lolita.

    你可以跟貝蒂或是洛麗塔結婚。

  • Or it might be a choice about whether to have children,

    抑或是決定是否要孩子,

  • to have an ailing parent move in with you,

    是否要年老體弱的父母搬過來住,

  • to raise your child in a religion

    是否讓你的孩子信奉你配偶的宗教,

  • that your partner lives by

    但其實你並不信奉。

  • but leaves you cold.

    或者是否將畢生儲蓄捐於慈善機構。

  • Or whether to donate your life's savings to charity.

    這些艱難決定很可能是

  • Chances are, the hard choice you thought of

    對你來說非常重大的,

  • was something big, something momentous,

    關乎一切的。

  • something that matters to you.

    需要艱難抉擇的時刻

  • Hard choices seem to be occasions

    艱難抉擇就像季節

  • for agonizing, hand-wringing,

    令人非常痛苦,令人絕望,

  • the gnashing of teeth.

    糾結到咬牙切齒。

  • But I think we've misunderstood hard choices

    但我認為我們誤解了艱難決定,

  • and the role they play in our lives.

    和生活中的角色。

  • Understanding hard choices

    我們明白這些艱難的抉擇

  • uncovers a hidden power

    會釋放出一種潛力

  • each of us possesses.

    我們都會經歷

  • What makes a choice hard is the way

    這種決定之所以艱難

  • the alternatives relate.

    是因為其他選擇的相關性

  • In any easy choice,

    在簡單的決定中

  • one alternative is better than the other.

    總是一種選擇比另一種好

  • In a hard choice,

    而在艱難決定裡

  • one alternative is better in some ways,

    一種選擇在某些方面是好的

  • the other alternative is better in other ways,

    另一種選擇在另一些方面是好的

  • and neither is better than the other overall.

    而且這兩種都不可能完勝對方

  • You agonize over whether to stay

    你極其痛苦地徘徊於繼續留

  • in your current job in the city

    在市區的這份工作,

  • or uproot your life for

    還是徹底改變你的生活

  • more challenging work in the country

    到鄉村接受更有挑戰的工作

  • because staying is better in some ways,

    因為留下了有些好處

  • moving is better in others,

    離開也有另一些好處

  • and neither is better than the other overall.

    而且兩個選擇都無法打敗對方

  • We shouldn't think that all hard choices are big.

    我們不該認為所有的艱難決定都如此重要

  • Let's say you're deciding what to have for breakfast.

    比方說,你正在決定早飯吃什麼

  • You could have high fiber bran cereal or a chocolate donut.

    你可以吃高纖穀物麥片或是巧克力甜甜圈。

  • Suppose what matters in the choice

    假設這個決定的重要因素

  • is tastiness and healthfulness.

    包括可口度和健康度

  • The cereal is better for you,

    麥片對你身體好

  • the donut tastes way better,

    甜甜圈則好吃多了

  • but neither is better than the other overall,

    但沒有一種選擇是百分百更好。

  • a hard choice.

    這是個艱難決定。

  • Realizing that small choices

    如果意識到小的選擇

  • can also be hard

    也可能很難決定,

  • may make big hard choices seem less intractable.

    則會減小那些重大決定的不確定性。

  • After all, we manage to figure out what to have for breakfast,

    畢竟我們還是能決定早餐吃什麼的,

  • so maybe we can figure out

    所以或許我們會想明白

  • whether to stay in the city

    到底要留在市區

  • or uproot for the new job in the country.

    還是遷到鄉下新的工作。

  • We also shouldn't think that hard choices are hard

    我們也不應該覺得艱難抉擇之所以難,

  • because we are stupid.

    是因為我們愚蠢當

  • When I graduated from college,

    我大學畢業時,

  • I couldn't decide between two careers,

    我無法在兩種事業中作出決定,

  • philosophy and law.

    哲學還是法律。

  • I really loved philosophy.

    我真的很愛哲學。

  • There are amazing things you can learn

    你可以學到很多令人驚奇的東西,

  • as a philosopher,

    作為哲學家,

  • and all from the comfort of an armchair.

    而且只需要坐在凳子上就好了。

  • But I came from a modest immigrant family

    但是我來自一個收入平平的移民家庭,

  • where my idea of luxury

    我對於奢侈的概念就是

  • was having a pork tongue and jelly sandwich

    能有一個豬舌三明治

  • in my school lunchbox,

    出現在我午餐盒裡

  • so the thought of spending my whole life

    所以要一輩子

  • sitting around in armchairs just thinking,

    坐在冷板凳上思考的想法,

  • well, that struck me as the height of extravagance and frivolity.

    其實,對我來說是極其奢侈和輕率的。

  • So I got out my yellow pad,

    所以我拿出我的筆記本,

  • I drew a line down the middle,

    在中間劃一條線,

  • and I tried my best to think of the reasons

    我竭盡全力想出原因

  • for and against each alternative.

    每個選擇的利與弊。

  • I remember thinking to myself,

    我當時想

  • if only I knew what my life

    如果我能知道我的生活會是怎樣

  • in each career would be like.

    要是我能知道選擇某種職業後是怎樣就好了

  • If only God or Netflix would send me a DVD

    要是上帝或 Netflix 能送我一張 DVD

  • of my two possible future careers, I'd be set.

    講述兩種職業生活,我就能決定了。

  • I'd compare them side by side,

    我就能將兩者進行對比,

  • I'd see that one was better,

    就會看到一種比另一種好,

  • and the choice would be easy.

    那麼選擇就變簡單了。,

  • But I got no DVD,

    但我不會有這種 DVD

  • and because I couldn't figure out which was better,

    而且因為我想不通到底哪種更好,

  • I did what many of us do in hard choices:

    我就像大多數面對艱難抉擇的人一樣:

  • I took the safest option.

    我選擇了最安全的那個。

  • Fear of being an unemployed philosopher

    害怕成為哲學家找不到工作,

  • led me to become a lawyer,

    我就成了一名律師。

  • and as I discovered,

    後來逐漸發現,

  • lawyering didn't quite fit.

    當律師並不合適。

  • It wasn't who I was.

    這不是真正的我。

  • So now I'm a philosopher,

    所以現在我是個哲學家,

  • and I study hard choices,

    而且我研究艱難的決定。

  • and I can tell you that fear of the unknown,

    我可以告訴你,對未知的恐懼

  • while a common motivational default

    雖然是常見的自然反應,

  • in dealing with hard choices,

    在面對艱難抉擇時

  • rests on a misconception of them.

    卻也是種對艱難決定的誤解。

  • It's a mistake to think that in hard choices,one alternative really is better than the other,

    在艱難決定中,認為一種選擇比另一種好,是錯誤的。

  • but we're too stupid to know which,

    但並非我們愚蠢

  • and since we don't know which, we might as well

    既然不知道哪個更好,

  • take the least risky option.

    則最好選擇風險最小的那個。

  • Even taking two alternatives side by side

    就算對於兩種選擇你有全面的資訊,

  • with full information, a choice can still be hard.

    對比著看,仍然難做決定。

  • Hard choices are hard

    這些選擇之所以難

  • not because of us or our ignorance;

    並非因為我們無知,

  • they're hard because there is no best option.

    而因為根本沒有最好的選擇。

  • Now, if there's no best option,

    那麼,若沒有最好選擇,

  • if the scales don't tip in favor of one alternative

    如果天枰不會傾斜於,

  • over another,

    任何一方

  • then surely the alternatives must be equally good.

    那麼任何替代選項都是一樣好的。

  • So maybe the right thing to say in hard choices

    所以應該說,在艱難的決定裡

  • is that they're between equally good options.

    所有選項都是一樣的好。

  • That can't be right.

    這肯定不對。

  • If alternatives are equally good,

    如果選項都差不多好,

  • you should just flip a coin between them,

    你就該直接拋硬幣了,

  • and it seems a mistake to think,

    連思考都成了錯誤。

  • here's how you should decide between careers,

    你於是可以這樣決定事業、

  • places to live, people to marry: Flip a coin.

    住處、婚姻:拋硬幣。

  • There's another reason for thinking

    說艱難的決定還有另一個原因。

  • that hard choices aren't choices

    艱難的決定並非是選項中

  • between equally good options.

    在兩個同樣好選擇

  • Suppose you have a choice between two jobs:

    設想你要在兩份工作中做選擇:

  • you could be an investment banker

    你可以是投資銀行家,

  • or a graphic artist.

    或平面藝術家。

  • There are a variety of things that matter in such a choice,

    這一決定中有眾多重要因素,

  • like the excitement of the work,

    像工作的興奮度、

  • achieving financial security,

    帶來經濟保障、

  • having time to raise a family, and so on.

    有時間顧家等等。

  • Maybe the artist's career puts you

    也許當一名藝術家

  • on the cutting edge of new forms

    能讓你接觸最前沿的

  • of pictorial expression.

    圖像表達形式。

  • Maybe the banking career

    也許當銀行家

  • puts you on the cutting edge

    能讓你接觸最先進的

  • of new forms of financial manipulation.

    金融操縱形式。

  • Imagine the two jobs however you like

    無論怎麼想像這兩種職業

  • so that neither is better than the other.

    都無法判斷哪個最好。

  • Now suppose we improve one of them a bit.

    現在,我們試著改善一下其中一個。

  • Suppose the bank, wooing you,

    假設某家銀行向你示好,

  • adds 500 dollars a month to your salary.

    每月提薪500美元。

  • Does the extra money now make the banking job

    有了每月更多的錢,

  • better than the artist one?

    銀行家的工作是否看起來比藝術家好了?

  • Not necessarily.

    不一定。

  • A higher salary makes the banking job

    更高的薪水是讓銀行家的工作

  • better than it was before,

    變得比原來好了,

  • but it might not be enough to make

    但不足以讓成為銀行家

  • being a banker better than being an artist.

    變得比成為藝術家更好。

  • But if an improvement in one of the jobs

    但是如果對其中一個的改善

  • doesn't make it better than the other,

    並沒有讓它比另一個好,

  • then the two original jobs

    那麼兩個工作原本

  • could not have been equally good.

    不可能是同樣好。

  • If you start with two things that are equally good,

    如果有兩件事一開始同樣好,

  • and you improve one of them,

    你改善了其中之一,

  • it now must be better than the other.

    則它必然變得比另一個好。

  • That's not the case with options in hard choices.

    但在艱難抉擇中並非如此。

  • So now we've got a puzzle.

    那麼我們就有個難題了。

  • We've got two jobs.

    這有兩份工作,

  • Neither is better than the other,

    沒有哪個是最好的,

  • nor are they equally good.

    也不是同樣好。

  • So how are we supposed to choose?

    那該怎樣選擇呢?

  • Something seems to have gone wrong here.

    這裡好像出現了些問題。

  • Maybe the choice itself is problematic

    可能是選擇自身的問題但肯定不是這樣。

  • and comparison is impossible.

    使我們無法比較。

  • But that can't be right.

    因為並不是

  • It's not like we're trying to choose between

    我們在兩個不可能比較的選項中選擇。

  • two things that can't be compared.

    畢竟我們對兩份工作所有優點的

  • We're weighing the merits of two jobs, after all,

    比較是衡量兩個工作的利弊,一切

  • not the merits of the number nine

    而不是比較數字 9

  • and a plate of fried eggs.

    和煎一碟蛋

  • A comparison of the overall merits of two jobs

    比較兩份工作的利弊

  • is something we can make,

    是我們可以做的