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哈佛校長2015年畢業演講:一個人生活的廣度決定他的優秀程度!

勵志演講 2019-03-11 10:31:40
當我們的開國先輩于1630年來到馬塞諸塞州的這片海岸時,他們是作為持異見者而來的——他們摒棄了家鄉英國的體制。但是一直令我驚奇的是,在當時的這片荒地里,在如何生存下去還是個未解的問題之時,這些開國先輩很快就意識到了建立(哈佛大學)這所高等學府的必要性。

自此以后,一代代人來了又去,哈佛的校園也不斷擴大,不再局限于當年的幾間小木樓。但沒有變的是,每一代人都充滿信心,想要建立更好的社會,每一代人也都相信,這所大學將使這種愿望成為可能。正如一位早期創始人Thomas Shepard所說,我們希望畢業生走向世界之后,能夠成長為對國家有益之人。

而如今,將近四個世紀后,我們發現我們處在一個充滿挑戰的歷史時刻。我們應如何鼓勵我們的畢業生去做對他人有益之事?我們是否培養出了以造福他人為目的的畢業生?還是,我們所有人都已變得對個人成就、機遇和形象如此癡狂,以至于忘記了我們的互相依賴,忘記了我們對于彼此和對于這所旨在促進公共利益的大學的責任?

這是一個自拍——還有自拍桿的時代。不要誤解我:自拍真是件令人欲罷不能的事兒,而且在兩年前的畢業典禮演講上,我還特意鼓勵畢業生們多給我們發送一些自拍照,讓我們知道他們畢業后過得怎么樣。但是仔細想想,如果社會里的每個人都開始過上整天自拍的生活,這會是怎樣一個社會呢?對于我來說,那也許是“利己主義”最真實的寫照了。

韋氏詞典里,“利己主義”的同義詞包括了“以自我為中心”、“自戀”和“自私”。我們無休止地關注我們自己、我們的形象、我們得到的“贊”,就像我們不停地用一串串的成就來美化我們的簡歷,去申請大學、申請研究生院、申請工作——借用Shepard的話來說,就是進行不停的“自我放大”。

正如一位社會評論家所觀察到的那樣,我們都在不停地為打造自己的品牌而努力。我們花很多時間盯著屏幕看,卻忽視了身邊的人。我們生活中的很大一部分經歷不是被我們體驗到的,而是被保存、分享并流傳于Snapchat和Instagram等APP 上的——最終它們呈現出的是一種由我們所有人合成的自拍照。

當然,適度的利己是我們的本性。正如我們哈佛大學的生物學家E.O. Wilson 教授最近寫道的:“我們是一個充滿無盡好奇心的物種——只要對象是我們自己以及我們自己知道或想知道的人們。”但是我想強調的是,這種自我迷戀會有兩個令人不安的后果。

首先,它削弱了我們對于他人的責任感——一種服務他人的意識。這種意識正是Thomas Shepard所描述的哈佛大學的使命:讓畢業生們不斷成長,超越自我。這種成長并非僅僅是為了每個人自身的利益,更是為了他人和整個世界——這也是這所大學一直以來努力為之奮斗的使命。

我們的學生和教授已經通過服務周圍的社區以及整個世界,身體力行地踐行這種使命。從為哈佛所在Allston小鎮的中小學生進行課外輔導,到去利比亞參與緩解埃博拉病毒危機的工作,哈佛人改變著無數人的生活。哈佛園的Dexter校門邀請學生們“走進校門來增長智慧,離開大門去更好地服務你的國家和你的同胞。”今天,我們約有6500名畢業生將走出大門,愿他們每個人都記得服務的使命。

利己主義除了削弱了我們的服務意識,還有一種后果也是我們應當注意的。過度的自我關注掩蓋的不僅是我們對于他人的責任,還有我們對于他人的依賴。對于哈佛大學、對于高等教育、對于各種社會基礎機構,這很是令人困擾。我們遺忘了高校和機構存在的目的和必要性,使我們自己處在危險的境地。

為什么我們還需要大學?批評家們問道:我們就不能全靠自學嗎?硅谷創業家Peter Thiel敦促學生們輟學,甚至還給予他們經濟補助,讓他們輟學創業——這其中也包括我們哈佛的一些本科生。畢竟,從邏輯上來講,馬克·扎克伯格和比爾·蓋茨都輟學了,他們似乎都很成功。事實如此,沒錯。

但是請大家別忘了:比爾·蓋茨和馬克·扎克伯格都是從哈佛輟學的!哈佛是孕育他們改變世界想法的地方。哈佛以及其他像哈佛一樣的學府培養了數以千計的物理學家、數學家、計算機科學家、商業分析師、律師和其他有一技之長的人,這些都是Facebook和微軟公司賴以生存的員工。

哈佛也培養了無數的政府官員和人民公仆,建設和領導國家,讓像Facebook 、微軟以及類似的公司可以繁榮發展。哈佛大學還培養了無數的作家、電影制作人和新聞工作者,是他們的作品給互聯網增添了“內容”。

而且我們也要看到,大學是人類和社會技術革新的源泉,這些革新是互聯網公司發展的基石——從早期創造計算機和編寫計算機程序的成功,到為如今無處不在的觸屏奠定基礎的樣機的發展。

我們還被告知,大學將土崩瓦解,顛覆性的創新將使得每個人可以自學成才。人們可以在大規模開放在線課程(MOOC)中選課,并設立DIY學位。但在線學習與大學學習并不相悖,前者可以拓展——但不會取代——后者。通過類似像edX和HarvardX的這樣的在線課程平臺,我們已經開始與全球數百萬的學習者分享哈佛的精神財富。有趣的是,我們發現世界各地的在線學習者中,有一個群體人數眾多,那就是老師——他們正用這些在線課程中的知識來豐富他們自己線下的學校和課堂。

總而言之,主張大學已經沒有存在意義的斷言來源于人們對于機構的不信任,這種不信任的根本在于我們對于個人權利和感召力的陶醉以及對于名人的崇拜。政府、企業、非營利組織都和大學一樣,成為了質疑和批評的靶子。

很少有反對的聲音來提醒我們這些機構是如何服務和支持我們的,我們常常認為它們的存在理所應當。你的食物是安全的;你的血液檢查是可信賴的;你的投票站是開放的;當你撥動開關時,一定會有電;你所乘坐航班的起落都是根據航空安全規定進行的。設想一下,假如所有的市政基礎設施停擺一周或一個月,我們的生活會是怎樣?

機構體現了我們與其他個體之間持久的聯系,它們將我們不同的天賦和能力擰成一股繩,去追求共同的目標。同時,它們也將我們與過去和未來維系起來。它們是價值的金礦——這些恒久的價值超越了每一個自我。機構促使我們放棄眼前即刻的快感,思考更遠大的圖景,更長遠的全局。它們提醒我們世界只是暫時屬于我們,我們肩負著過去和未來的責任,真正的我們要比我們自己和我們的自拍照要廣博得多。

而大學的責任正在于此——用我們共同的人類遺產號召大家去開拓未來——這個未來將由今天從這里畢業的數千名哈佛學生去創造。我們的工作是一個持續的承諾,它并不針對單一的個體,甚至不針對一代人或一個時代,它是對一個更大的世界的承諾,是一個對于正在等待它服務的時代的承諾。



1884年,我的前輩、Charles William Eliot校長為約翰·哈佛雕像揭幕,并談到研究約翰·哈佛——這位冠名了這所大學的人——“波瀾壯闊”的一生帶來的啟發。

Eliot校長說:“他(約翰·哈佛)會告訴人們善行會流芳百世,會以超越所有計量方式的速度和規模繁衍。他會教導人們,在這個教育花園里播下的種子,如何迸發出喜悅、力量以及永遠新鮮的能量,年年花開,隨著時光流轉,在人類活動的所有領域,花繁葉茂。”

所以,今天下午我們列隊行進經過的那座雕像,它不僅僅是一座代表個人的紀念碑,更是代表一個不斷自我更新的社區和機構的紀念碑。你們今天坐在這里,就代表了一種對于哈佛這個社區和機構的認可,這種認可也是你對于哈佛驅使你超越自我、惠及他人的感召力的認可。我感謝你們今天在這里的許下的承諾,祝你們每一位都開心、健康且永遠充滿活力!



以下為中英文演講稿對照版


Thank you, President Torres. Welcome, Governor Patrick. Thank you, everyone, for being here.

The 146th annual meeting of the Harvard Alumni Association at the 364th Commencement of Harvard University. It’s a particular pleasure to welcome former Governor Deval Patrick of the College Class of 1978 and the Harvard Law School Class of 1982. Throughout his distinguished career in government, he forcefully argued for the power of education to transform lives. Nothing made that case more persuasively than his own remarkable life – from Chicago’s South Side to the Massachusetts State House. When he was sworn in as governor, he took the oath of office with the Mendi Bible,presented in 1841 by the African captives who had seized the slave ship Amistad to the man who had won their legal right to freedom, John Quincy Adams. Governor Patrick can claim connection with both the African heritage of the Amistad rebels and the institutional roots of their defender. Adams, as you heard before from President Torres, was a member of the Harvard College Class of 1787, and was both the first president of this alumni association, and himself the son of an earlier alumnus, John Adams, of the Class of 1755. That kind of continuity across the centuries is not the least of the reasons that we congregate here every spring to renew and reinforce our ties to this extraordinary place.

Let me start by noticing what is both obvious and curious: We are here today together. We are here in association. It is an association of many people, and many generations. We celebrate a connection across time in these festival rites, singing our alma mater, adorning ourselves in medieval robes to mark the deep-rooted traditions of Harvard, and of universities more generally. Even in the age of the online and the virtual, an institution has brought us together, and brings us back.

We have also sung – or rather the magnificent Renée Fleming has sung – “America the Beautiful,” to honor another institution, our democratic republic, which the men and women whose names are carved in stone in Memorial Church right behind me – and Memorial Hall just behind that – gave their lives to protect and uphold.

When the founders of the Massachusetts Bay Colony arrived on these shores in 1630, they came as dissenters – rejecting institutions of their English homeland. But I have always found it striking that here in the wilderness, where mere survival was the foremost challenge, they so rapidly felt compelled to found this seat of learning so that New England, in the words of William Hubbard of the Class of 1642, so the New England “might be supplied with persons fit to manage the affairs of both church and state.” Church, state, and College. Three institutions they deemed essential to this Massachusetts experiment. Three institutions to ensure that the colonists, as Governor John Winthrop urged, could be “knit together as one” in a new society in a brave new world.

Dozens of generations have come and gone since then, and the University’s footprint has expanded considerably beyond a small cluster of wooden buildings. But we have never lost faith in the capacity of each generation to build a better society than the one it was born into. We have never lost faith in the capacity of this College to help make that possible. As an early founder, Thomas Shepard put it, we hope to graduate into the world people who are, in his words, “enlarged toward the country and the good of it.”

Yet now, nearly four centuries later, we find ourselves in a challenging historical moment. How do we “enlarge” our graduates in a way that benefits others as well? Shepard spoke of enlarging “toward” – toward, as he put it, “the country and the good of it.” Are we succeeding in educating students oriented  toward the betterment of others? Or have we all become so caught up in individual and personal achievements, opportunities, and appearances that we risk forgetting our interdependence, our responsibilities to one another and to the institutions meant to promote the common good?

This is the era of the selfie – and the selfie stick. Now don’t get me wrong: There is much to love about selfies, and two years ago in my Baccalaureate address I concluded by urging the graduates to send such pictures along so we could keep up with them and their post-Harvard lives. But think for a moment about the implications of a society that goes through life taking its own picture. That seems to me a quite literal embodiment of “self-regarding” – a term not often used as a compliment. In fact, Merriam-Webster’s dictionary offers “egocentric,” “narcissistic,” and “selfish” as synonyms. We direct endless attention to ourselves, our image, our “Likes,” just as we are encouraged – and in fact encourage our students – to burnish resumes and fill first college and then job or graduate school applications with endless lists of achievements – with examples, to borrow Shepard’s language, of constant enlargements of self. As one socialcommentator has observed, we are ceaselessly at work building our own brands. We spend time looking at screens instead of one another. Large portions of our lives are hardly experienced: They are curated, shared, Snapchatted and Instagrammed – rendered as a kind of composite selfie.

Now, a certain amount of self-absorption is in our nature. As Harvard’s own E.O. Wilson has recently written, and I quote him, “We are an insatiably curious species – provided the subjects are our personal selves and people we would know or would like to know.” But I want to underscore two troubling aspects of this obsession with ourselves.

The first is it undermines our sense of responsibility to others – the ethos of service at the heart of Thomas Shepard’s phrase describing Harvard’s enduring commitment to graduate students who are “enlarged” to be about more than themselves. Not just enlarged for their own sake and betterment – but enlarged toward others and toward the world. This is part of the essence of what this university has always strived to be. Our students and faculty have embodied that spirit through their work to serve in ourneighborhood and around the world. From tutoring at the Harvard Ed Portal in Allston to working in Liberia to mitigate the Ebola crisis, they make a difference in the lives of countless individuals. The Dexter Gate across the Yard invites students to “Enter to grow in wisdom. Depart to serve better thy country and thy kind.” Today, some 6,500 graduates go forth. May each of them remember that it is in some way to serve.

There is yet another danger we should note as well. Self-absorption may obscure not only our responsibilities to others but our dependence upon them. And this is troubling for Harvard, for higher education and for fundamental social institutions whose purposes and necessity we forget at our peril.

Why do we even need college, critics demand? Can’t we do it all on our own? Peter Thiel, Silicon Valley entrepreneur, has urged students to drop out and has even subsidized them – including several of our undergraduates – to leave college and pursue their individual entrepreneurial dreams. After all, the logic goes, Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates dropped out and they seem to have done OK. Well, yes. But we should remember: Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg had Harvard to drop out of. Harvard to serve as the place where their world-changing discoveries were born. Harvard and institutions like it to train the physicists, mathematicians, computer scientists, business analysts, lawyers, and thousands of other skilled individuals upon whom Facebook and Microsoft depend. Harvard to enlighten public servants to lead a country in which Facebook, Microsoft, and companies like them can thrive. Harvard to nurture the writers and filmmakers and journalists who create the storied “content” that gives the Internet its substance. And we must recognize as well that universities have served as sources of discoveries essential to the work of the companies advancing the revolutions in technology that have changed our lives – from early successes in creating and programming computers to development of prototypes that laid the groundwork for the now-ubiquitous touchscreen.

We are told, too, that universities are about to be unbundled, disrupted by innovations that enable individuals to teach themselves, selecting from a buffet of massive open online courses and building do-it-yourself degrees. But online opportunities and residential learning are not at odds; the former can strengthen – but does not supplant – the latter. And through initiatives like edX and HarvardX, we are sharing intellectual riches that are the creations of institutions of higher learning, sharing them with millions of people around the globe. Intriguingly, we have found that a highly-represented group among these online learners around the world is teachers – who will use this knowledge to enrich their own schools and face-to-face classrooms.

Assertions about the irrelevance of universities are part of a broader and growing mistrust of institutions more generally, one fuelled by our intoxication with the power and charisma of the individual and the cult of celebrity. Government, business, non-profits are joined with universities as targets of suspicion and criticism.

There are few countervailing voices to remind us how institutions serve and support us. We tend to take what they do for granted. Your food was safe; your blood test was reliable; your polling place was open; electricity was available when you flipped the switch. Your flight to Boston took off and landed according to rules and systems and organizations responsible for safe air travel. Just imagine a week or a month without this “civic infrastructure” – without the institutions that undergird our society and without the commitment to our interdependence that created these structures of commonality in the first place. Think of the countries in West Africa that lacked the public health systems to contain Ebola and the devastation that resulted. Contrast that with the network of institutions that so rapidly saved lives and contained spread of the disease when it appeared in the United States. Think about other elements of our civicinfrastructure – the libraries, the museums, the school committees, the religious organizations that are as vital to moving us forward as are our roads and railways and bridges.

Institutions embody our present and enduring connections to one other. They bring our disparate talents and capacities to the pursuit of common purpose. At the same time, they link us to both what has come before and what will follow. They are repositories of values – values that precede, transcend, and outlast the self. They challenge us to look beyond the immediate, the instantly gratifying, to think about the bigger picture, the longer run, the larger whole. They remind us that the world is only temporarily ours, that we are stewards entrusted with the past and responsible to the future. We are larger than ourselves and our selfies.

That responsibility is quintessentially the work of universities – calling upon our shared human heritage to invent a new future – the future that will be created by the thousands of graduates who leave here today. Our work is about that ongoing commitment – not to a single individual or even one generation or one era – but to a larger world and to the service of the age that is waiting before it.

In 1884, my predecessor Charles William Eliot unveiled a statue of John Harvard and spoke of the good that can come from the study of what we might call the “enlarged” life of the man whose name this university bears.

Eliot said: “He will teach that the good which men do lives after them, fructified and multiplied beyond all power of measurement or computation. He will teach that from the seed which he planted … have sprung joy, strength, and energy ever fresh, blooming year after year in this garden of learning, and flourishing … as time goes on, in all fields of human activity.”

In other words, that statue we paraded past this afternoon is not simply a monument to an individual, but to a community and an institution constantly renewing itself. Your presence here today represents an act of connection and of affirmation of thatcommunity and of this institution. It is a recognition of Harvard’s capacity to propel you toward lives and worlds beyond your own. I thank you for the commitment that brought you here today and for all it means and sustains. I wish you joy, strength, and energy ever fresh.

Thank you very much.

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