星期三, 四月 18, 2007

末日近了

作者:小库特·冯尼古特
我这篇文章写在大选之前,因此乔治・W・布什和约翰・F・凯利中的到底谁将成为我们的总统――天意如何――执掌未来4年,尚不可知。源自北欧、血统高贵、身价亿万的这俩人,要我说基本就是一对儿有些与众不同的、眼神儿怪异的白种双胞胎。我觉得现在发现这个事实很合时宜――两位候选人都是耶鲁大学那个极端排外的秘密结社“骷髅会”(Skull and Bones)的成员。那就是说,不管谁最后获胜,我们都将迎来一位“骷髅会”总统――因为我们在陆地、海洋和大气中散发毒气,所有的脊椎动物――都加在一起,这个时代都正在变为骨骸(Skull and Bones)。

多么富有诗意!

这个走向破灭的进程到底始于何时?也许有人会说,是始于亚当和夏娃以及那个苹果。但我宁愿说那是始于普罗米修斯:一个泰坦人、一个希腊神话中神的儿子,他从双亲那里偷来火种并传给了人类。众神因此而震怒,将他绑在岩石上,袒露脊背,让秃鹰啄食他的内脏。

今日看来,众神的举措显然十分正确。我们的近亲,诸如红毛猩猩、长臂猿、黑猩猩、大猩猩一直都只吃生鲜蔬菜也安然无恙,而我们却不仅将食物加热,还在围绕着化石燃料的热力学狂欢中,在短短的两百年的时间内,把一直以来赖以生存的这个星球搞得满目疮痍。

英国的迈克尔・法拉第发明将力学能量转换为电力的发电机只是173年前的事情。我国第一口现已枯涸的油井,被埃德温・L・德莱克在宾夕法尼亚州泰特斯维尔发现,也只在145年前。德国的卡尔・奔驰,制造出人类第一辆内燃机驱动的车辆,更只是119年前的事情。

美国人莱特兄弟发明人类第一架飞机,飞上了天,众所周知是101年前。飞机烧的是汽油。是不是来谈谈那场命定的狂欢?

真是恶作剧啊。

化石燃料简直是太好烧了!的确如此,就在布什和凯利正四处游说这当口儿,我们正在一滴滴、一块块地点燃这所剩不多的存货。所有的灯火都将熄灭。电力也将被耗尽。所有的交通工具都将停止,然后这地球终将拥有一个骨骸和静止的机械所构成的地壳。

这是谁都无可奈何的事。现在参加这个游戏已经太晚了。不是故意想扫这场狂欢的兴,但我们总该面对现实:我们一直就像没有明天一样挥霍着包括空气和水在内的我们这个星球的资源,而今我们正在丧失明天。

青春舞会开始了,还没到中场呢。

2004年10月29日

按:试译此文,追思吾师吾友小库特·冯尼古特

原文:The End is Near

By Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

I am writing this before the election, so I cannot know whether George W. Bush or John F. Kerry will be our President, God willing, for the next four years. These two Nordic, aristocratic multi-millionaires are virtually twins, and as unlike most of the rest of us as a couple of cross-eyed albinos. But this much I find timely: Both candidates were and still are members of the exclusive secret society at Yale, called “Skull and Bones.” That means that, no matter which one wins, we will have a Skull and Bones President at a time when entire vertebrate species, because of how we have poisoned the topsoil, the waters and the atmosphere, are becoming, hey presto, nothing but skulls and bones.

Poetry!

What was the beginning of this end? Some might say Adam and Eve and the apple of knowledge. I say it was Prometheus, a Titan, a son of gods, who in Greek myth stole fire from his parents and gave it to human beings. The gods were so mad they chained him naked to a rock with his back exposed, and had eagles eat his liver.

And it is now plain that the gods were right to do that. Our close cousins the gorillas and orangutans and chimps and gibbons have gotten along just fine all this time while eating raw vegetable matter, whereas we not only prepare hot meals, but have now all but destroyed this once salubrious planet as a life-support system in fewer than 200 years, mainly by making thermodynamic whoopee with fossil fuels.

The Englishman Michael Faraday built the first dynamo, capable of turning mechanical energy into electricity, only 173 years ago. The first oil well in the United States, now a dry hole, was drilled in Titusville, Pennsylvania, by Edwin L. Drake only 145 years ago. The German Karl Benz built the first automobile powered by an internal combustion engine only 119 years ago.

The American Wright brothers, of course, built and flew the first airplane only 101 years ago. It was powered by gasoline. You want to talk about irresistible whoopee?


A booby trap.

Fossil fuels, so easily set alight! Yes, and as Bush and Kerry are out campaigning, we are presently touching off nearly the very last whiffs and drops and chunks of them. All lights are about to go out. No more electricity. All forms of transportation are about to stop, and the planet Earth will soon have a crust of skulls and bones and dead machinery.

And nobody can do a thing about it. It’s too late in the game. Don’t spoil the party, but here’s the truth: We have squandered our planet’s resources, including air and water, as though there were no tomorrow, so now there isn’t going to be one.

So there goes the Junior Prom, but that’s not the half of it.

October 29, 2004
Kurt Vonnegut is a legendary author, WWII veteran, humanist, artist, smoker and In These Times senior editor. His classic works include Slaughterhouse-Five, Breakfast of Champions, Cat's Cradle, among many others. His most recent book, A Man Without a Country, collects many of the articles written for this magazine.

原载In these Times

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