麻萨诸塞州的卫斯利高中(Wellesley High School)是一所公立中学,是麻省最好的公立高中之一,2014年在该州排名第四。著名的卫斯理女子学院就在附近,校友包括宋美龄、冰心和希拉里•克林顿等。



演讲者David McCullough Jr是普利策奖得主及知名历史学家David McCullough之子,也是卫斯里高中资深英语教师。演讲12分钟,Youtube上被称网友赞为“最伟大的高中演讲”。


Dr. Wong, Dr. Keough, Mrs. Novogroski, Ms. Curran, members of the board of education, family and friends of the graduates, ladies and gentlemen of the Wellesley High School class of 2012, for the privilege of speaking to you this afternoon, I am honored and grateful. Thank you。


So here we are… commencement… life’s great forward-looking ceremony. (And don’t say, “What about weddings?” Weddings are one-sided and insufficiently effective. Weddings are bride-centric pageantry. Other than conceding to a list of unreasonable demands, the groom just stands there. No stately, hey-everybody-look-at-me procession. No being given away. No identity-changing pronouncement. And can you imagine a television show dedicated to watching guys try on tuxedos? Their fathers sitting there misty-eyed with joy and disbelief, their brothers lurking in the corner muttering with envy. Left to men, weddings would be, after limits-testing procrastination, spontaneous, almost inadvertent… during halftime… on the way to the refrigerator. And then there’s the frequency of failure: statistics tell us half of you will get divorced. A winning percentage like that’ll get you last place in the American League East. The Baltimore Orioles do better than weddings。)

毕业典 礼-生命中重要的前瞻性仪式。别问说,“那婚礼呢?”婚礼是单方面的,而且效率不高。婚礼是以新娘为中心的盛会,除了同意一长串无理的要求外,新郎只能呆 站在一旁。没有庄严的、“大家看着我”的过程;没有像新娘被长辈送出的仪式;没有改变身份的宣告。你们能想象一个专门看男人试穿燕尾服的电视节目吗?他们 的父亲坐在那里,泪汪汪的眼中透着喜悦和不可置信的神情;他们的兄弟躲在角落,羡慕地喃喃自语。对男人来说,在挑战极限的拖延后,婚礼就像自发性地,几乎 是无意识地,在球赛中场休息时间去冰箱拿饮料。然而,婚姻的失败率如下:统计数据显示,现场观众有一半会离婚;这样的胜率会让你荣登美国联盟东区的炉主。 巴尔的摩金莺队的胜率都比婚姻成功率来得高。

But this ceremony… commencement… a commencement works every time. From this day forward… truly… in sickness and in health, through financial fiascos, through midlife crises and passably attractive sales reps at trade shows in Cincinnati, through diminishing tolerance for annoyingness, through every difference, irreconcilable and otherwise, you will stay forever graduated from high school, you and your diploma as one, ‘til death do you part。

但这个 仪式-毕业典礼,总是能圆满结束。从今天开始-确实如此;无论你生病或健康;经历过财务困境、中年危机;在辛辛那提贸易展遇见还算迷人的销售代表-家长 [微博]了解我的意思;对恼人之事的容忍度越来越低;历经过每次的改变、自我矛盾和其他种种;你从高中毕业这个事实永远不会改变,你的文凭一生都会与你相 伴。

No, commencement is life’s great ceremonial beginning, with its own attendant and highly appropriate symbolism. Fitting, for example, for this auspicious rite of passage, is where we find ourselves this afternoon, the venue. Normally, I avoid clichés like the plague, wouldn’t touch them with a ten-foot pole, but here we are on a literal level playing field. That matters. That says something. And your ceremonial costume… shapeless, uniform, one-size-fits-all. Whether male or female, tall or short, scholar or slacker, spray-tanned prom queen or intergalactic X-Box assassin, each of you is dressed, you’ll notice, exactly the same. And your diploma… but for your name, exactly the same。

不,毕业典礼代表生命中一个伟大仪式的开始,它有其本身的附加价值和高度的象征意义;例如象征让我们在这个下午找到自己定位的美妙仪式。通常我会像避瘟 疫似地避免陈腔烂调,闪得远远的,但现在我们处于平等的竞技场上;这点很重要,它代表某些意义。你们的毕业礼服-毫无造型、外观统一、尺码相同;无论男 女、高矮、会不会读书;无论是晒成一身古铜色的舞会皇后或Xbox的星际刺客;你会发现,每个人的穿著都一模一样。而你们的文凭…除了名字以外,其它完全 一样。

All of this is as it should be, because none of you is special。

You are not special. You are not exceptional. Contrary to what your u9 soccer trophy suggests, your glowing seventh grade report card, despite every assurance of a certain corpulent purple dinosaur, that nice Mister Rogers and your batty Aunt Sylvia, no matter how often your maternal caped crusader has swooped in to save you… you’re nothing special。




Yes, you’ve been pampered, cosseted, doted upon, helmeted, bubble-wrapped. Yes, capable adults with other things to do have held you, kissed you, fed you, wiped your mouth, wiped your bottom, trained you, taught you, tutored you, coached you, listened to you, counseled you, encouraged you, consoled you and encouraged you again. You’ve been nudged, cajoled, wheedled and implored. You’ve been feted and fawned over and called sweetie pie. Yes, you have. And, certainly, we’ve been to your games, your plays, your recitals, your science fairs. Absolutely, smiles ignite when you walk into a room, and hundreds gasp with delight at your every tweet. Why, maybe you’ve even had your picture in the Townsman! [Editor’s upgrade: Or The Swellesley Report!]

是的,你被骄纵、溺爱、宠爱、保护、呵护;是的,忙碌不堪的大人抱着你、亲吻你、喂养你,替你擦嘴、擦屁股;训练你、教导你、指引你、辅导你、倾听你、 规劝你、鼓励你、安慰你,并一再地鼓励你。你们被轻拥在怀里,好言哄诱和恳求;你们被赞美讨好,还被称为甜心派。是的,你确实有。当然,我们曾参加你的比 赛、戏剧演出、演奏会、科学展览;当然,当你走进房里时,每个人都露出微笑;对你贴出的每一则twitter 讯息发出千百次兴奋的惊叹。为什么?也许你的照片曾登上Townsman(韦斯利高中校内刊物)

And now you’ve conquered high school… and, indisputably, here we all have gathered for you, the pride and joy of this fine community, the first to emerge from that magnificent new building…

But do not get the idea you’re anything special. Because you’re not。



The empirical evidence is everywhere, numbers even an English teacher can’t ignore. Newton, Natick, Nee… I am allowed to say Needham, yes? …that has to be two thousand high school graduates right there, give or take, and that’s just the neighborhood Ns. Across the country no fewer than 3.2 million seniors are graduating about now from more than 37,000 high schools. That’s 37,000 valedictorians… 37,000 class presidents… 92,000 harmonizing altos… 340,000 swaggering jocks… 2,185,967 pairs of Uggs. But why limit ourselves to high school? After all, you’re leaving it. So think about this: even if you’re one in a million, on a planet of 6.8 billion that means there are nearly 7,000 people just like you. Imagine standing somewhere over there on Washington Street on Marathon Monday and watching sixty-eight hundred yous go running by. And consider for a moment the bigger picture: your planet, I’ll remind you, is not the center of its solar system, your solar system is not the center of its galaxy, your galaxy is not the center of the universe. In fact, astrophysicists assure us the universe has no center; therefore, you cannot be it。

实证无所不在,这个数字大到连一位英语老师都无法忽视。Newton、Natick、Nee…(均为邻近高 中);我可以提Needham,对吗?总共有两千名高中毕业生-大约这个数目,这只是邻近地区。现在,全国共有不止320万名高中生正从37000多所高 中毕业,也就是说,有37000名毕业生代表、 37000名学生会长、92000名合唱团团员、34万名趾高气扬的运动健将,和2,185,967双靴子。但为何要局限在高中?毕竟你们即将离开它。

所以想想:即使你是百万中选一的菁英,以地球上68亿人口来说,这意味着有将近7000人跟你一样。想象一下,在星期一马拉松大赛时站在华盛顿街某处, 观看6800个“你”跑过。再以更宏观的角度来想:我得提醒大家,你的星球不是太阳系的中心;你的太阳系不是银河的中心;你的银河不是宇宙的中心。事实 上,天文物理学家肯定地说,宇宙没有中心。因此,你也不会是宇宙的中心。

Neither can Donald Trump… which someone should tell him… although that hair is quite a phenomenon。


“But, Dave,” you cry, “Walt Whitman tells me I’m my own version of perfection! Epictetus tells me I have the spark of Zeus!” And I don’t disagree. So that makes 6.8 billion examples of perfection, 6.8 billion sparks of Zeus. You see, if everyone is special, then no one is. If everyone gets a trophy, trophies become meaningless。

虽然他的头发确实蔚为奇 观。“但Dave,”你喊道,“惠特曼(美国诗人)告诉我,我是自己的完美版本!Epictetus(古希腊哲学家)告诉我,我有宙斯的火花!”我不反对 这一点。因此,这代表68亿个完美的例子、68亿个宙斯的火花。你们知道,如果每个人都是特殊的,就没有任何人是特殊的;如果每个人都能拿到奖杯,奖杯就 变得毫无意义。

In our unspoken but not so subtle Darwinian competition with one another–which springs, I think, from our fear of our own insignificance, a subset of our dread of mortality — we have of late, we Americans, to our detriment, come to love accolades more than genuine achievement. We have come to see them as the point — and we’re happy to compromise standards, or ignore reality, if we suspect that’s the quickest way, or only way, to have something to put on the mantelpiece, something to pose with, crow about, something with which to leverage ourselves into a better spot on the social totem pole. No longer is it how you play the game, no longer is it even whether you win or lose, or learn or grow, or enjoy yourself doing it… Now it’s “So what does this get me?” As a consequence, we cheapen worthy endeavors, and building a Guatemalan medical clinic becomes more about the application to Bowdoin than the well-being of Guatemalans。

虽然我们并未明说,但显而易见地,在达尔文的物竞天择理论中 -我认为它源于我们对自身渺小的恐惧和对死亡的忧虑。最近我们美国人-这对我们造成很大的损害-对赞美的喜爱更胜于真正的成就;我们必须认真看待这一点。 我们乐于向标准妥协,或忽略事实,如果我们认为这是最快或唯一的方式,让我们能得到某种放在壁炉上炫耀的东西;某种能让我们装腔作势、自吹自擂的东西;某 种能让我们在社会图腾柱上爬到更佳位置的东西。我们不再在乎如何比赛、结果是赢是输;是否能藉此学习成长或乐在其中。现在我们在乎的是,“这能给我什么好 处?”结果是,我们贬低了努力的价值。建立瓜地马拉医疗中心的目的更倾向于对鲍登学院的应用,而非危地马拉人的福祉。

It’s an epidemic — and in its way, not even dear old Wellesley High is immune… one of the best of the 37,000 nationwide, Wellesley High School… where good is no longer good enough, where a B is the new C, and the midlevel curriculum is called Advanced College Placement. And I hope you caught me when I said “one of the best。” I said “one of the best” so we can feel better about ourselves, so we can bask in a little easy distinction, however vague and unverifiable, and count ourselves among the elite, whoever they might be, and enjoy a perceived leg up on the perceived competition. But the phrase defies logic. By definition there can be only one best. You’re it or you’re not。

这是一种传染病,以它传染的程度来 说,连历史悠久的韦斯利高中都无法幸免。全国37000所高中最好的之一——韦斯利高中。在这里,“良好”已算不上够好;B被视为新的C;中等程度的课程 被称为大学先修课程。我希望你们注意到我刚刚所说的“最好的之一”;我说“最好的之一”,是因为这样我们才能对自己感觉良好;才能沉浸在这微不足道的差异 中,无论这多么地含糊不清、无法验证;才能将自己视为菁英之一,无论菁英可能是谁,并享受在自我认定的竞争中自以为是的领先。但这句话并不合逻辑。以定义 来说,最好的只有一个;是就是,不是就不是。

If you’ve learned anything in your years here I hope it’s that education should be for, rather than material advantage, the exhilaration of learning. You’ve learned, too, I hope, as Sophocles assured us, that wisdom is the chief element of happiness. (Second is ice cream… just an fyi) I also hope you’ve learned enough to recognize how little you know… how little you know now… at the moment… for today is just the beginning. It’s where you go from here that matters。

如果你在高中岁月里有学到任何东西,我希望是教育的本质——乐在学习,而不是物质上的优势。我也希望你们学习到,如 Sophocles(古希腊悲剧作家) 所说的,智能是快乐的首要元素;第二个是冰淇淋-仅供参考。我也希望你所学的足以使你体认到自己的不足,了解自己目前所知的是多么地少。因为今天只是一个 开始,重要的是今后的学习。

As you commence, then, and before you scatter to the winds, I urge you to do whatever you do for no reason other than you love it and believe in its importance. Don’t bother with work you don’t believe in any more than you would a spouse you’re not crazy about, lest you too find yourself on the wrong side of a Baltimore Orioles comparison. Resist the easy comforts of complacency, the specious glitter of materialism, the narcotic paralysis of self-satisfaction. Be worthy of your advantages. And read… read all the time… read as a matter of principle, as a matter of self-respect. Read as a nourishing staple of life. Develop and protect a moral sensibility and demonstrate the character to apply it. Dream big. Work hard. Think for yourself. Love everything you love, everyone you love, with all your might. And do so, please, with a sense of urgency, for every tick of the clock subtracts from fewer and fewer; and as surely as there are commencements there are cessations, and you’ll be in no condition to enjoy the ceremony attendant to that eventuality no matter how delightful the afternoon。


别志得意满;别被物质主义华而不实的光芒蒙蔽;别被自我满足麻痹;别愧对自己的优势。并阅读…养成阅读习惯;阅读跟原则和自重有关,把阅读当成生活中的 精神食粮。培养及保持道德感,并展现道德品格;拥有远大梦想,并努力实现;进行独立思考;全心全意地爱你所爱的一切人事物。请一定要把握时间,及时行动, 因为时间正一分一秒地流逝。


The fulfilling life, the distinctive life, the relevant life, is an achievement, not something that will fall into your lap because you’re a nice person or mommy ordered it from the caterer. You’ll note the founding fathers took pains to secure your inalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness–quite an active verb, “pursuit”–which leaves, I should think, little time for lying around watching parrots rollerskate on Youtube。

充实的人生、与众不同的人生、有意义的人生是一项 成就;这不是某种只因为你是好人就会从天而降,或妈妈能为你提供的东西。你会注意到,开国元勋们费尽心力地确保你不可剥夺的权力,包括生命、自由和对幸福 的追求。“追求”-一个相当积极的动词;我想,懒懒地躺着观看Youtube上的鹦鹉怎么溜冰应该算不上。

The first President Roosevelt, the old rough rider, advocated the strenuous life. Mr. Thoreau wanted to drive life into a corner, to live deep and suck out all the marrow. The poet Mary Oliver tells us to row, row into the swirl and roil. Locally, someone… I forget who… from time to time encourages young scholars to carpe the heck out of the diem. The point is the same: get busy, have at it. Don’t wait for inspiration or passion to find you. Get up, get out, explore, find it yourself, and grab hold with both hands。

老罗斯福总统——一位老练的骑士,提倡艰苦的生活;梭罗先生尽力简化生活,希望活得深刻并吸取生命的精髓;诗人Mary Oliver告诉我们向前划,划进漩涡和湍流中;本校有个人——我忘了是谁,不时鼓励年轻学子们把握当下。


Now, before you dash off and get your YOLO tattoo, let me point out the illogic of that trendy little expression–because you can and should live not merely once, but every day of your life. Rather than You Only Live Once, it should be You Live Only Once… but because YLOO doesn’t have the same ring, we shrug and decide it doesn’t matter. None of this day-seizing, though, this YLOOing, should be interpreted as license for self-indulgence. Like accolades ought to be, the fulfilled life is a consequence, a gratifying byproduct. It’s what happens when you’re thinking about more important things。

现在,在你们匆匆离开,去纹上YOLO刺青之前,请容我 指出这个流行语的不合逻辑处。因为你不可能也不应只活一次,而是得好好地度过每一天。不是你只能活一次(YOLO),而是人生不能重来(YLOO),但因 为YLOO的发音不太一样,所以我们耸耸肩,决定这无关紧要。把握当下-YLOOing-不应被曲解为自我放纵的许可。就像被称赞一样,充实的生活是结 果;一个令人愉快的副产品。这就是当你思考更重要的事物时会发生的结果。

Climb the mountain not to plant your flag, but to embrace the challenge, enjoy the air and behold the view. Climb it so you can see the world, not so the world can see you. Go to Paris to be in Paris, not to cross it off your list and congratulate yourself for being worldly. Exercise free will and creative, independent thought not for the satisfactions they will bring you, but for the good they will do others, the rest of the 6.8 billion–and those who will follow them. And then you too will discover the great and curious truth of the human experience is that selflessness is the best thing you can do for yourself。

爬山不是为了插上旗帜,而是迎接挑战、享受 新鲜空气、欣赏眼前的美景。爬山是为了看世界,而不是让世界看见你。去巴黎,就好好体验巴黎的一切;不是为了将它从你的清单上划去,然后庆祝自己又到过一 个新国家。运用自由意志和创造力、进行独立思考,不是为了替自己带来满足感,而是为了替其他68亿人及后代子孙带来福祉。然后,你会发现人类体验到的伟大 而奇妙的真理-无私是你能为自己所做最棒的事。

The sweetest joys of life, then, come only with the recognition that you’re not special。

Because everyone is。



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