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  • 《爱情不是可以交易商品|西德尼·哈里斯》

    A reader in Florida, apparently bruised by some personal experience, writes in to complain, “If I steal a nickel’s worth of merchandise, I am a thief and punished; but if I steal the love of another’s wife, I am free.”

    爱情不是可以交易商品

    佛罗里达州的一位读者显然是在个人经历上受过创伤。他写信来抱怨道:“如果我偷走了五分钱的商品,我就是个贼,要受到惩罚;但是如果我偷走了有夫之妇的芳心,我却安然无恙。”

    This is a prevalent misconception in many people’s minds—that love, like merchandise, can be “stolen”. Numerous states, in fact, have enacted laws allowing damages for “alienation of affections”.

    在许多人的心目中都有这样一个错误的观念——爱情,就跟普通商品一样, 可以“偷走”。实际上,因“情感转让”而索取赔偿的这一做法,许多州都已经颁布法令予以默许。

    But love is not a commodity; the real thing cannot be bought, sold, traded or stolen. It is an act of the will, a turning of the emotions, a change in the climate of the personality.

    但是爱情不是商品;感情这玩意,它购无主,售无客,易无市,盗无门。爱情萌动于心,随情而移,随性而变。

    When a husband or wife is “stolen” by another person, that husband or wife was already ripe for the stealing, was already predisposed toward a new partner. The “love bandit” was only taking what was waiting to be taken, what wanted to be taken.

    当丈夫或妻子被另一个人“偷走”时,那个丈夫或妻子其实早就翘首以盼,准备吐故纳新。这位“爱匪”之所以能够探囊取物,实乃里应外合之功。

    We tend to treat persons like goods. We even speak of the children “belonging” to their parents. But nobody “belongs” to anyone else. Each person belongs to himself, and to God. Children are entrusted to their parents, and if their parents do not treat them properly, the state has a right to remove them from their parents’ trusteeship.

    我们往往待人如物。我们甚至说孩子“属于”父母。但是谁也不“属于”谁。每个人只属于自己和上帝。孩子是托付给父母的。如果父母不善待他们,州政府就有权取消父母对他们的托管权。

    Most of us, when young, had the experience of a sweetheart being taken from us by somebody more attractive and more appealing. At the time, we may have resented this intruder—but as we grew older, we recognized that the sweetheart had never been ours to begin with. It was not the intruder that “caused” the break, but the lack of a real relationship.

    青春年少时,眼睁睁看着自己的心上人被某个更有魅力、更风度翩翩的人夺走。这样的不幸我们大多亲身体验过。当时,我们难免不会对这位不速之客心生怨意(心存怨恨)——但是随着阅历的丰富,也就认识到心爱之人从来就不曾属于我们。并不是不速之客“导致了”决裂,而是因为情感之树从未生根发芽。

    On the surface, many marriages seem to break up because of a “third party”. This is, however, a psychological illusion. The other woman or the other man merely serves as a pretext for dissolving a marriage that had already lost its essential integrity.

    从表面上看,许多婚姻之所以会破裂,似乎是由于 “第三者”介入的缘故。其实这不过是一种心理上的幻觉。解除早就名存实亡的婚姻,外因无非是个遮人耳目的幌子罢了。

    Nothing is more futile and more self-defeating than the bitterness of spurned love, the vengeful feeling that someone else has “come between” oneself and a beloved. This is always a distortion of reality, for people are not the captives or victims of others—they are free agents, working out their own destinies for good or for ill.

    因失恋而痛苦,因别人“插足”于自己与心上人之间而图谋报复。这样的想法最没有出息,无异于自取灭亡。这样的想法完全歪曲了事实真相。因为谁也不是谁的俘虏或牺牲品——我们每个人都是自行其是的个体。命运是好是歹,全凭自己争取。

    But the rejected lover or mate cannot afford to believe that his beloved has freely turned away from him— and so he ascribes sinister or magical properties to the interloper. He calls him a hypnotist or a thief or a home-breaker. In the vast majority of cases, however, when a home is broken, the breaking has begun long before any “third party” has appeared on the scene.

    但是,惨遭离弃的情人或配偶无法相信自己的心上人会主动提出分手的要求,因而他把这一切归咎于插足者心术不正或迷人有招。他把他叫做催眠师、偷(采)花大盗或完美家庭的终结者。然而,从大多数事例不难看出,一个家的破裂,早在“第三者”出现之前就已经开始了的。

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