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We have a general sense that these sort of places are filled with things that are deeply important,
but what exactly is literature good for?
Why should we spend our time reading novels or poems when out there, big things are going on.
Let's have a think about some of the ways that literature benefits us.
Of course, it looks like it's wasting time, but literature is ultimately the greatest time-saver,
because it gives us access to a range of emotions and events
that it would take you years, decades, millenia to try to experience directly.
Literature is the greatest "reality simulator,"
a machine that puts you through infinitely more situations than you could ever directly witness.
It lets you safely, that's crucial, see what it's like to get divorced.
Or kill someone and feel remorseful. Or chuck in your job and take off to the desert.
Or make a terrible mistake while leading your country.
It lets you speed up time in order to see the arc of a life from childhood to old age.
It gives you the keys to the palace, and to countless bedrooms,
so you can assess your life in relation to that of others'.
It introduces you to fascinating people: a Roman general, an 11th century French princess,
or a Russian upper class mother just embarking on an affair...
It takes you across continents and centuries.
Literature cures you of provincialism and, at almost no cost, turns us into citizens of the world.
Literature performs the basic magic of showing us what things look like from someone else's point of view.
It allows us to consider the consequences of our actions on others in a way we otherwise wouldn't.
And it shows us examples of kindly, generous, sympathetic people.
Literature typically stands opposed to the dominant value system, the one that rewards money and power.
Writers are on the other side, they make us sympathetic to ideas and feelings
that are of deep importance but that can't afford airtime in a commercialised, status-conscious, and cynical world.
We are weirder than we're allowed to admit.
We often can't say what's really on our minds.
But in books, we find descriptions of who we genuinely are and what events are actually like,
described with an honesty quite different from what ordinary conversation allows for.
In the best books, it's as if the writer knows us better than we know ourselves.
They find the words to describe the fragile, weird, special experiences of our inner lives:
the light on a summer morning, the anxiety we felt at the gathering,
the sensations of a first kiss, the envy when a friend told us of their new business,
the longing we experienced on the train,
looking at the profile of another passenger we never dare to speak to.
Writers open our hearts and minds and give us maps to our own selves so that we can travel
in them more reliably and with less of a feeling of paranoia and persecution.
As the writer Emerson remarked: "In the works of great writers, we find our own neglected thoughts."
Literature is a corrective to the superficiality and compromises of friendship.
Books are our true friends, always to hand, never too busy, giving us unvarnished accounts of what things are really like.
All of our lives, one of our greatest fears is of failing, of messing up… of becoming,
as the tabloids put it, a "LOSER."
Every day, the media takes us into stories of failure.
Interestingly, a lot of literature is also about failure. In one way or another,
a great many novels, plays, and poems are about people who've messed up, people who slept with mum by mistake, or
who let down their partner,
or who died after running up some debts on shopping sprees.
If the media got to them, they'd make mincemeat out of them.
But great books don't judge as harshly or as one-dimensionally as the media.
They evoke pity for the hero and fear for ourselves based on a new sense of how near we all are to destroying our own lives.
But if literature can really do all these things, we might need to treat it a bit differently to the way we do now.
We tend to treat it as a distraction, an entertainment, something for the beach.
But it's far more than that, it's really therapy, in the broad sense.
We should learn to treat it as doctors treat their medicines, something we prescribe in
response to a range of ailments, and classify according to the problems it might be best suited to addressing.
Literature deserves its prestige for one reason above all others:
because it's a tool to help us live and die with a little bit more wisdom, goodness, and sanity.
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文學有什麼用? (What is Literature for?)

51207 分類 收藏
Nate Liu 發佈於 2018 年 1 月 20 日    Winnie 翻譯    Raina 審核

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從西方的羅密歐與茱麗葉、小王子到東方的紅樓夢、源氏物語,歷史上不同時期、不同地點隨時都有無數的文學作品被書寫,也有為數不少的經典為人傳頌、保留至今。但文學到底有什麼好的?除了休閒和娛樂,文學對你來說的意義是什麼?如果你還不是很確定,不妨來看看這部影片,一起探索文學的價值!

1
millennia0:33
millenniamillennium 的複數形,除了「一千年;千禧年」的意思之外,另一個常用的意思則是「太平盛世」。它的形容詞是 millennial ,有「一千年的;千禧年的;太平盛世的」的意思,後來衍伸出專有名詞「千禧世代」,寫作「Millennials」,指的是在電子產品、網際網路和社群網路漸趨成熟的時代中長大的一群人。
The jar of wine had been stored in the cellar for over two millennia.
這甕酒在地下保存了超過兩千年。

We held a big party to celebrate the millennium last week.
我們上星期舉辦了一個盛大的派對來慶祝千禧年。

Though the Millennials' starting and ending birth years are yet to be clearly defined, there certainly are some consensus on the traits for this cohort.
雖然千禧世代出生年份的範圍還沒有被清楚地定義,人們對於這個群人的特徵還是有達成一些共識。


*同場加映
Ted-Ed:左撇子的意義竟然這麼深奧! (Why are some people left-handed? - Daniel M. Abrams)


2
chuck in0:51
chuck 這個字本身有兩種詞性,作為動詞時有「輕拍;扔、拋;放棄;打發走;與...分手」的意思;作為名詞則有「輕拍;扔、拋;食物」的意思。而 chuck in 這個片語有「停止、放棄、終止」的意思,後面通常會接上規律性的工作或活動。

其他相關的片語還有:
> chuck away/out 把某物丟掉
> chuck out 把某人趕出建築物
> chuck up 嘔吐
> chuck down 狼吞虎嚥
> chuck it down 大雨滂沱
> Chuck it! 夠了!
My brother wants to chuck in his job.
我哥哥想要放棄他的工作。

Sandy chucked him for another boy.
Sandy 為了另一個男孩與他分手。

Could you stop chucking everything in?
你可以不要再把所有東西都狼吞虎嚥下肚嗎?

Tim's girlfriend chucked him out for he failed to keep his promises to her.
Tim 因為沒有遵守承諾而被他的女友趕出房子。

In contrast with the sunny days last week, it really chucks it down these days.
相對於上個禮拜的好天氣,這幾天日日大雨滂沱。


3
take off0:52
take off 有「休假;起飛;啟程;脫掉 (衣物);(口語) 匆匆離去;突然變得大受歡迎」的意思,基本上都是由「從原本的狀態中抽離」的概念所延伸出來的。在這部影片中是「休假」的意思,表示你從原本的工作狀態中抽離而變成休假的狀態。
The airplane is about to take off within five minutes.
飛機五分鐘內即將起飛。

Josh took off his jacket because it is too hot.
Josh 因為太熱而把外套脫掉。

When he saw his ex-girlfriend, he immediately took off in the opposite direction.
當他看到前女友時,他馬上朝相反方向匆匆離去。

The product took off within two weeks after the famous super star recommended it on her blog.
這個產品在被明星的部落格上推薦的兩週之內,突然變得大受歡迎。


*同場加映
澳洲黃金海岸旅遊指南 (Gold Coast Vacation Travel Guide | Expedia)


4
paranoia2:54
paranoia 一詞源自希臘語,大致指的是「瘋狂」,用來表示各種妄想狀態;現在則是指「偏執狂」這個疾病。偏執狂會對某些事物產生錯誤的解讀,產生不真實的害怕或是猜疑,並且深信不疑,例如覺得有人在跟蹤自己或是被下毒。

以下補充一些常見疾病的英文單字:
> schizophrenia 精神分裂症
> senile dementia 老年痴呆症
> melancholia 憂鬱症
> pneumonia 肺炎
> anemia 貧血
People with paranoia suffer heavily from anxiety and fear.
患有偏執狂的人們嚴重地為焦慮及恐懼所苦。


*同場加映
TED-Ed:一窺阿茲海默症的秘密 What is Alzheimer's disease? - Ivan Seah Yu Jun


5
make mincemeat (out) of3:45
mincemeat 本身指的是「碎肉」,而 make A out of B 的意思是「把 B 做成 A」。因此,make mincemeat (out) of something 直譯是把東西做成碎肉,而引申出來的意思就是「徹底擊潰…」囉!
Peter swore to make mincemeat (out) of Jamie ten years ago when he was first beaten by her, and now he finally make it!
Peter 十年前第一次被 Jamie 打敗時曾發誓要徹底擊潰她,而現在他終於做到了!


看完影片後,你是否開始重新思考文學對你的意義了呢?若你仍不是很能理解影片所述的價值、無法完全地感同身受,不如現在就拿起一本書,在文學的世界中找尋自己的答案吧!

文/ Winnie
編輯/ Lilian Chang

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