致一位青年诗人的信Letters to a Young Poet(8)

Borgeby gard, Fladie, Sweden

August 12, 1904

Iwant to talk to you again for a little while, dear Mr. Kappus, although thereis almost nothing I can say that will help you, and I can hardly find one usefulword. You have had many sadnesses, large ones, which passed. And you say thateven this passing was difficult and upsetting for you. But please, ask yourselfwhether these large sadnesses haven't rather gone right through you. Perhapsmany things inside you have been transformed; perhaps somewhere, someplace deepinside your being, you have undergone important changes while you were sad. Theonly sadnesses that are dangerous and unhealthy are the ones that we carryaround in public in order to drown them out with the noise; like diseases thatare treated superficially and foolishly, they just withdraw and after a shortinterval break out again all the more terribly; and gather inside us and arelife, are life that is unlived, rejected, lost, life that we can die of. Ifonly it were possible for us to see farther than our knowledge reaches, andeven a little beyond the outworks of our presentiment, perhaps we would bearour sadnesses with greater trust than we have in our joys. For they are themoments when something new has entered us, something unknown; our feelings growmute in shy embarrassment, everything in us withdraws, a silence arises, andthe new experience, which no one knows, stands in the midst of it all and saysnothing.

Itseems to me that almost all our sadnesses are moments of tension, which we feelas paralysis because we no longer hear our astonished emotions living. Becausewe are alone with the unfamiliar presence that has entered us; becauseeverything we trust and are used to is for a moment taken away from us; becausewe stand in the midst of a transition where we cannot remain standing. That iswhy the sadness passes: the new presence inside us, the presence that has beenadded, has entered our heart, has gone into its innermost chamber and is nolonger even there, is already in our bloodstream. And we don't know what itwas. We could easily be made to believe that nothing happened, and yet we havechanged, as a house that a guest has entered changes. We can't say who hascome, perhaps we will never know, but many signs indicate that the futureenters us in this way in order to be transformed in us, long before it happens.And that is why it is so important to be solitary and attentive when one issad: because the seemingly uneventful and motionless moment when our futuresteps into us is so much closer to life than that other loud and accidentalpoint of time when it happens to us as if from outside. The quieter we are, themore patient and open we are in our sadnesses, the more deeply and serenely thenew presence can enter us, and the more we can make it our own, the more itbecomes our fate; and later on, when it "happens" (that is, stepsforth out of us to other people), we will feel related and close to it in ourinnermost being. And that is necessary. It is necessary - and toward this pointour development will move, little by little - that nothing alien happen to us,but only what has long been our own. People have already had to rethink so manyconcepts of motion; and they will also gradually come to realize that what wecall fate does not come into us from the outside, but emerges from us. It isonly because so many people have not absorbed and transformed their fates whilethey were living in them that they have not realized what was emerging fromthem; it was so alien to them that, in their confusion and fear, they thoughtit must have entered them at the very moment they became aware of it, for theyswore they had never before found anything like that inside them. just aspeople for a long time had a wrong idea about the sun's motion, they are evennow wrong about the motion of what is to come. The future stands still, dearMr. Kappus, but we move in infinite space.

Howcould it not be difficult for us?

Andto speak of solitude again, it becomes clearer and clearer that fundamentallythis is nothing that one can choose or refrain from. We are solitary. We candelude ourselves about this and act as if it were not true. That is all. Buthow much better it is to recognize that we are alone; yes, even to begin fromthis realization. It will, of course, make us dizzy; for all points that oureyes used to rest on are taken away from us, there is no longer anything nearus, and everything far away is infinitely far. A man taken out of his room and,almost without preparation or transition, placed on the heights of a greatmountain range, would feel something like that: an unequalled insecurity, anabandonment to the nameless, would almost annihilate him. He would feel he wasfalling or think he was being catapulted out into space or exploded into athousand pieces: what a colossal lie his brain would have to invent in order tocatch up with and explain the situation of his senses. That is how alldistances, all measures, change for the person who becomes solitary; many ofthese changes occur suddenly and then, as with the man on the mountaintop,unusual fantasies and strange feelings arise, which seem to grow out beyond allthat is bearable. But it is necessary for us to experience that too. We mustaccept our reality as vastly as we possibly can; everything, even theunprecedented, must be possible within it. This is in the end the only kind ofcourage that is required of us: the courage to face the strangest, most unusual,most inexplicable experiences that can meet us. The fact that people have inthis sense been cowardly has done infinite harm to life; the experiences thatare called it apparitions, the whole so-called "spirit world," death,all these Things that are so closely related to us, have through our dailydefensiveness been so entirely pushed out of life that the senses with which wemight have been able to grasp them have atrophied. To say nothing of God. Butthe fear of the inexplicable has not only impoverished the reality of theindividual; it has also narrowed the relationship between one human being andanother, which has as it were been lifted out of the riverbed of infinitepossibilities and set down in a fallow place on the bank, where nothinghappens. For it is not only indolence that causes human relationships to berepeated from case to case with such unspeakable monotony and boredom; it istimidity before any new, inconceivable experience, which we don't think we candeal with. But only someone who is ready for everything, who doesn't excludeany experience, even the most incomprehensible, will live the relationship withanother person as something alive and will himself sound the depths of his ownbeing. For if we imagine this being of the individual as a larger or smallerroom, it is obvious that most people come to know only one corner of theirroom, one spot near the window, one narrow strip on which they keep walkingback and forth. In this way they have a certain security. And yet how much morehuman is the dangerous in security that drives those prisoners in Poe's storiesto feel out the shapes of their horrible dungeons and not be strangers to theunspeakable terror of their cells. We, however, are not prisoners. No traps orsnares have been set around us, and there is nothing that should frighten orupset us. We have been put into life as into the element we most accord with,and we have, moreover, through thousands of years of adaptation, come toresemble this life so greatly that when we hold still, through a fortunatemimicry we can hardly be differentiated from everything around us. We have noreason to harbor any mistrust against our world, for it is not against us. Ifit has terrors, they are our terrors; if it has abysses, these abysses belongto us; if there are dangers, we must try to love them. And if only we arrangeour life in accordance with the principle which tells us that we must alwaystrust in the difficult, then what now appears to us as the most alien will becomeour most intimate and trusted experience. How could we forget those ancientmyths that stand at the beginning of all races, the myths about dragons that atthe last moment are transformed into princesses? Perhaps all the dragons in ourlives are princesses who are only waiting to see us act, just once, with beautyand courage. Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence,something helpless that wants our love.

Soyou mustn't be frightened, dear Mr. Kappus, if a sadness rises in front of you,larger than any you have ever seen; if an anxiety, like light andcloud-shadows, moves over your hands and over everything you do. You mustrealize that something is happening to you, that life has not forgotten you,that it holds you in its hand and will not let you fall. Why do you want toshut out of your life any uneasiness, any misery, any depression, since afterall you don't know what work these conditions are doing inside you? Why do youwant to persecute yourself with the question of where all this is coming fromand where it is going? Since you know, after all, that you are in the midst oftransitions and you wished for nothing so much as to change. If there isanything unhealthy in your reactions, just bear in mind that sickness is themeans by which an organism frees itself from what is alien; so one must simplyhelp it to be sick, to have its whole sickness and to break out with it, sincethat is the way it gets better. In you, dear Mr. Kappus, so much is happeningnow; you must be patient like someone who is sick, and confident like some onewho is recovering; for perhaps you are both. And more: you are also the doctor,who has to watch over himself. But in every sickness there are many days whenthe doctor can do nothing but wait. And that is what you, insofar as you areyour own doctor, must now do, more than anything else.

Don'tobserve yourself too closely. Don't be too quick to draw conclusions from whathappens to you; simply let it happen. Otherwise it will be too easy for you tolook with blame (that is: morally) at your past, which naturally has a share ineverything that now meets you. But whatever errors, wishes, and yearnings ofyour boyhood are operating in you now are not what you remember and condemn.The extraordinary circumstances of a solitary and helpless childhood are sodifficult, so complicated, surrendered to so many influences and at the sametime so cut off from all real connection with life that, where a vice entersit, one may not simply call it a vice. One must be so careful with namesanyway; it is so often the name of an offense that a life shatters upon, notthe nameless and personal action itself, which was perhaps a quite definitenecessity of that life and could have been absorbed by it without any trouble.And the expenditure of energy seems to you so great only because you overvaluevictory; it is not the "great thing" that you think you haveachieved, although you are right about your feeling; the great thing is thatthere was already something there which you could replace that deception with,something true and real. Without this even your victory would have been just amoral reaction of no great significance; but in fact it has be come a part ofyour life. Your life, dear Mr. Kappus, which I think of with so many goodwishes. Do you remember how that life yearned out of childhood toward the"great thing"? I see that it is now yearning forth beyond the greatthing toward the greater one. That is why it does not cease to be difficult,but that is also why it will not cease to grow.

Andif there is one more thing that I must say to you, it is this: Don't think thatthe person who is trying to comfort you now lives untroubled among the simpleand quiet words that sometimes give you pleasure. His life has much trouble andsadness, and remains far behind yours. If it were otherwise, he would neverhave been able to find those words.

Yours,

RainerMaria Rilke


我想和您再谈一会儿,亲爱的开普斯先生,虽然我也没有什么话能够帮助您,我几乎找不出一句有用的话来。您曾有许多悲伤,沉重的悲伤。您说那些即使已经过去了的事情仍旧让您觉得如此艰难并使您沮丧。但是请问问您自己,这些悲伤是否真的已经过去了?或许在您的内心深处有许多事情已经转变了;或许在某个地方,在您心灵的深处,当您悲伤的时候,您忽略那些重要的变化。唯一危险和不健康的悲伤就是我们试图以吵闹在公共场合进行宣泄的;如同浅薄而愚蠢地对待疾病。它们只是暂时消失了,但转瞬重又袭来并且更加严重。聚集在我们内心的是生活,是那丧失了生命的、遭到拒绝的、失落的生活,是那我们可以为之死去的生活。如果我们真的有先见之明,即使有一点点预感,我们都将带着比对快乐更大的信任对待自己的悲伤。因为悲伤来临的时刻就是那些新事物、某些未知的东西进入我们心灵的时刻;我们的感情在尴尬的时刻变得木然,我们体内的每一样东西都在退缩,沉默升起来,无人了解的新经验站在其间,默默无言。

对我来说几乎我们所有的悲伤都是由紧张造成的,我们感到无助,因为我们无法听到自己那令人惊奇的澎湃的生命。因为我们在那些进入我们体内的陌生时刻是孤独的;因为我们信任和习惯的每一样东西在某个时刻远离了我们;因为我们正在转变,而在这之中我们无法站立。而后悲伤过去了:新的面貌出现在我们体内,这新的面貌是被加上去的,进入了我们的心,进入了心房深处,不单在那儿,--还已经进入我们的血管。我们不知道它是什么。我们轻易地就相信什么都没有发生,但是我们已经变了,如同有客人进入的房子发生的变化。我们不能说是谁来了,或许我们永远不会知道,但是许多信号表明未来以这种方式进入了我们体内并在我们体内发生转变,然后真地转变了。这就是当人们感到悲伤时如此需要孤独和专注的原因:因为当未来进入我们体内的时候,那些看起来平凡而静止的时刻比那些喧闹着的偶然时刻更加接近我们的生命,而那些时光似乎仅仅在外部影响我们。我们越安静,在我们的孤独里边更加耐心和开放,进入我们体内的新形式就会越深刻和安详,我们也就越发能找到我们自己,发现自己的命运;然后,当它"发生"的时候(也就是,离开我们而走入他人),我们的心灵深处将感觉和它是关联的,是贴近的。而那是必要的,之所以必要--是因为我们将朝向这一点发展,慢慢地--对我们来说一点也不陌生,那是我们自己的。人们一定已经考虑过有关运动这一概念;他们也将逐渐认识到我们所说的命运不会来自我们外部,而是从我们体内诞生。但是有太多的人不能接受和转变自己的命运,他们没有认识到命运要由自己决定。对他们来说它是太陌生了,他们恐惧、担心,他们认为在知道之前的某一时刻命运已经安排好了,因为他们发誓从没有在自己体内找到什么命运。正如很久以来人们对太阳的运动抱着错误的观念一样,他们对于将要来的运动也抱着错误的观念。未来静静地站在那里,亲爱的开普斯先生,但是我们却在无限的空间里运

动。

对我们来说怎么能不难呢?

让我们再来谈谈孤独吧,我们越来越清楚地知道这是人们无法选择和避免的。我们是孤独的。我们能够迷惑自己,使自己看起来似乎并不孤独。但也不过如此了。但是认识到我们是孤独的该有多好;是的,甚至从这种认知处开始。当然,孤独将使我们晕乱;所有那些我们熟识的都离我们远去,没有任何东西靠近我们,而远者确实又是那么遥远。那个从自己房间里出来的人,在还没有任何准备的情况下,被置于高山之巅,感觉就象这样:无边的恐惧感和莫名的遗弃感几乎将他吞并。他将感到自己在坠落或认为将被抛入太空,或爆炸成无数个碎片;他的头脑里蛰伏着巨大的谎言,帮助他抓住那感觉并为其做出解释。所有距离,所有尺寸都在为这个成为孤独者的人而改变;许多变化突然之间产生,然后当这个人站在山巅之上的时候,一种不同寻常的幻象和奇妙的感觉产生了,它的成长似乎令人无法忍受。但是对我们来说经历这种感觉却是必要的。我们必须尽可能地接受现实;每一件事,即使是空前的,前所未有的,也一定埋藏在其间。这就是我们最终需要的勇气:勇敢地面对全然的陌生、非同寻常的事物、难以言表的经验。事实证明在这种感觉面前怯懦的人在生活中也受到了无限的伤害;那些经验就叫做"幻影",所谓的"精神世界",死亡,所有这些事物都与我们如此接近,然而我们在日常生活中排斥它们,使得本来可以轻易抓取他们的神经日趋萎缩。并说一切均和上帝无关。但是对不可思议的恐惧使人们的现实世界变得赤贫,使人与人之间的关系变得狭隘。

人们好象被从河床中无限提升起来,并被放到岸上一块闲置的土地上。那儿不曾发生过任何事情。并不是只有懒惰才使人们之间的关系变得如此千篇一律的单调和枯燥,还有那在接受任何新的、难以置信的经验之前的怯懦。我们以为自己不能处理这些新的事物。

只有那些已经有所准备,不排斥任何经验--即使是最复杂的经验--的人才能够和别人维持良好的关系,并认识自己的灵魂。让我们把这个个体的人想象成一个或大或小的房间,显然,多数人只知道房间的一个角落,靠近窗户的地方,他们来回走动的那一地带。

在这种情况下他们感到很安全。然而有多少超越人性的危险的不安全感驱使那些故事中的囚徒去感受可怕的地牢之外的世界,并极力让自己熟悉关押自己的可怕的囚室。然而,我们不是囚徒。在我们周围也没有栏杆或者陷阱,没有什么值得我们为之惧怕或沮丧。我们已经融入生活融入大多数人遵循的自然环境,而且通过上千年的吸纳,当我们保持安静的时候,我们已经和这种生活如此类似,模拟使得我们几乎和自己周围的一切难以区分。我们没有理由对这个世界不信任,因为它并没有反对我们。如果有恐惧,它们是我们的恐惧;如果有深渊,它们是我们的深渊;如果有危险,我们必须尝试着热爱它们。如果我们按照这个原则来安排生活--我们必须总是相信困难--那么在我们眼前出现的全然陌生的事物将成为我们最熟悉、最信任的经验。我们怎能忘记那些在我们所有种族产生之时的古老神话,那有关龙在最后一刻变成公主的传说?或许我们生活中的所有的龙都是公主,她们在等待我们行动,伴着美丽和勇气,仅一次足矣。或许,让我们惧怕的每一件事情,在其最深处,正无助地等待着我们的爱。

所以,不要害怕,亲爱的开普斯先生,如果悲哀来临,大得无法承受;如果渴望来临,象闪电和乌云击打在您的手上、在您所做的一切之上,您必须认识到有些什么降临到了您的身上,生活还没有忘记您,它正用自己的手托着您,使您无法掉下去。为什么您要在自己还不明白那些忧虑、哀伤和失望能够带给您什么之前将自己的生活关闭呢?为什么您要让自己沉浸在追寻它的来龙去脉的苦恼中呢?既然您知道,终究您自己是在一个过渡的阶段,您希望什么都不要改变。如果在您的反应当中有什么不健康的事情发生,您只当它们是您的器官为了将自己从异物中放逐出来;所以就让它病吧,让疾病来吧,让它爆发吧,因为这是使身体恢复的最好办法。在您的体内,亲爱的开普斯先生,到如今已经发生了太多的事情;您必须耐心些,和那些病人一样耐心;如正在恢复的人一样耐心;或者两者兼备;还有:您自己也是医生,您在观察自己。但是在医治每一样疾病的时候,有许多天医生都只能观望、等待。这就如同您的现在一样,目前您是您自己的医生,现在您能做的,也只是等待。

不要太近地观察自己。不要对发生在自己身上的事情过早地下结论;让它发生。否则您将无法带着责备看待过去发生的事情,而那是正常的,它和您正在遭遇的每一件事情是一脉相承的。但是在您童年时代产生的无论是多深的恐惧、希望和渴望都已经不是今天的您所能牢记和谴责的了。孤独的那种特别环境和无助的孩提时代都是那么困难,那么复杂,受着那么多的影响,同时又和实际生活中的联系切断,邪恶来了,但是也不能单纯地将它唤做邪恶。人们必须小心地对待名称,一个攻击性的名称常常能将其描述的生活粉碎,不是无名的或个人行为本身,或许它只是那种生活的一个必需品,能够在不制造任何麻烦的情况下被吸收。而精力的耗竭在您看来却如此伟大,仅仅因为您过高估计了胜利;并不是认为的"伟大的事情"取得了胜利,尽管您的感觉是对的;伟大的事情实际上是那些能够代替诡计的真实。如果没有这些,您的胜利有可能只是一些微不足道的事情的正常反映,而事实上它已经成为了您生命的一部分。

您的生活,亲爱的开普斯先生,一定充满了美好的愿望。您记得生活怎样冲破了孩提时代向着"伟大的事情"呼啸而去的情景吗?我现在就能看见那情景,它正越过伟大的事情向着更伟大走去。因此停下来是困难的,也是它不会停止不前的原因。如果还有什么我需要向您说的话,那就是:不要认为那个现在试图用简单宁静的语言来安慰您并有时能给您带来快乐的人的生活是顺利的。他的生活有许多麻烦和悲哀,并且可能还不如您。否则,他将永远找不到这些话语。


您的,

瑞那.玛里亚.李尔克

瑞典

1904年8月12日




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