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书写的根源在于希望和梦想,不是计数

  Recent scholars of the history of writing describe what was first and foremost an administrative tool.According to their‘administrative hypothesis',writing was invented so that early states could track people,land and economic production,and elites could sustain their power.Along the way(their argument goes)writing became flexible enough,in how it captured spoken language,to be used for poetry and letters and,eventually,word games such as Mad Libs and fortune cookies.

  最近的书写史学者们描述了首要的行政工具是什么样的。据他们的“统治假设”,书写的发明是为了让早期的国家能追踪到人口、土地和经济生产,而精英们能保持他们的权力。在这一过程中(他们的论点是如此的),书写在如何捕捉口语方面足够灵活,可以用来写诗和写信,并且最终,可以用来玩文字游戏,如疯狂填词和签饼。

  颠覆关于文明如何形成的普通故事

  The writing/state connection sailed out most recently in Against the Grain(2017)by James Scott,a political scientist at Yale whose goal is to overturn the usual story about how civilisation came to be.In his book,he draws from accumulated archaeological findings to show that large sedentary populations and grain agriculture existed long before the first states in both Mesopotamia and China.These operations came to be coopted by rulers,ruling classes and elite interests.The elite didn't invent agriculture or urban living but fashioned the oft-told narrative giving them credit for these achievements.In his book,Scott assembles a political counter-narrative to up-end their story of progress and show how people were better off when they weren't subjects.

  近阶段,耶鲁大学政治学家詹姆斯·斯科特(James Scott)在《不按常理》(Against the Grain(2017))中发表了这篇文章,其目标在于颠覆关于文明如何形成的普通故事。在他的书中,他从现有的考古发现中得出结论,表明在美索不达米亚和中国的第一阶段之前就存在着大量的定居人口和谷物农业。这些社会活动是由统治者、统治阶级和精英利益集团共同进行的。精英们并没有创造农业或城市生活,而是创造了人们耳熟能详的故事,为他们的这些成就赢得了赞誉。在其书中,斯科特收集了一个政治反叙述,来提升他们的进程,展示了人们在不受教育的情况下是生活会变得更好。

  This counter-narrative needs villains,and writing serves this purpose brilliantly,because it's the tool of power that makes subjects subjects.‘The state is a recording,registering,and measuring machine,'writes Scott–and a coercive machine that makes lists of names,levies taxes,rations food,raises armies,and writes rules.‘The coincidence of the pristine state and pristine writing,'he writes,‘tempts one to the crude functionalist conclusion that would-be state makers invented the forms of notation that were essential to statecraft.'

  这种反叙述需要反派人物,而书写正是要达到这一目的,因为它是使主体成为主体的权力工具。斯科特写道,“国家是一个记录、登记和测量的机器,它列有名字、征税、配给食物、招募军队和制定规则等条例。原始国家和原始文字的巧合,让人不禁想到一个粗俗的功能主义结论,即准国家缔造者创造了对国家公益至关重要的符号形式。”

  Without writing,Scott argues,there could be no state–and without the state,there could be no writing.He seems to be saying that everything that humans would come to write–myths,epic poems,love letters,essays,re-assessments of the history of civilisation–was an epiphenomenon of bureaucratic paperwork.

  斯科特认为,如果没有书写,将不存在国家——如果没有国家,将不存在书写。他似乎在说,人类将要书写的一切,神话、史诗、情书、散文、对文明史的重新评估,都是官僚主义文书的附属品。

  As far as I am concerned,however,the evidence suggests otherwise.I come to this defence of writing as an unabashed partisan of text,a diehard literate in an age pivoting to video–I barely watch television,which marks me as a philistine these days.Every week seems to bring fresh news of a dimmer future for writing,whether it's thanks to AI-curated,voice-operated information interfaces or in the hopes pinned on emojis as a universal writing system.So after reading Scott's book I was moved to throw some gravel at the thinking that rolls along this track:if writing is the offspring of accounting and keeps the powerful in power,then let's unshackle ourselves and return to purity.

  可是,就我而言,这些证据表明的事实并非如此。我为书写辩护,认为书写是一个满不在乎的文本主义者,是一个以视频为中心时代的顽固文学家,我几乎不看电视,这些天也让我被视为一个庸俗之人。每周似乎都有新的消息表明,书写的未来将更为暗淡,无论是由于人工智能策划的语音操作信息界面,还是寄希望于作为一个通用书写系统的表情符号。因此在读了斯科特的书籍后,我受到了鼓舞,在沿着这条轨迹的思考中投下了一些砂砾:如果写作是计数的后代,保持了权力的强大,那么让我们解开束缚,回归纯洁。

  一个军事类比的过滤器来看,写作可能像核武器(由军方专门研发的),或者可能是火药,由炼金术士在数百年前寻找长生不老仙丹时所发现的

  Who needs writing,anyway?Seen through the filter of a military analogy,writing might be like nuclear weapons(which were developed specifically by the military),or it might be like gunpowder,which was discovered by alchemists searching for life-prolonging substances hundreds of years before its use in weapons.The question is this:is writing the product of the state in every single stage of its evolution,invented de novo by administrative elites?Or is it composed of pre-existing representational practices that expanded to fill the needs of the state and complex society?

  不管如何,谁需要书写呢?从一个军事类比的过滤器来看,写作可能像核武器(由军方专门研发的),或者可能是火药,由炼金术士在数百年前寻找长生不老仙丹时所发现的。问题是,书写是国家在其发展的每个阶段的产物,是由统治精英们重新创造的吗?或者它是由先前存在的代表性实践构成的,这些实践扩展到满足国家和复杂社会的需要吗?

  The evidence suggests that writing is actually more like gunpowder than like nuclear weapons.For one thing,in the four wellsprings of writing,it never(as far as we know)sprang forth as fully phonographic but evolved to become that–there's usually some kind of proto-writing,and some kind of proto-proto-writing.I like to think of writing as a layered invention.First there's the graphic invention:the notion of making a durable mark on a surface.Humans have been doing this for at least 100,000 years–the bureaucracy didn't give humans that power.Then the symbolic invention:let's make this mark different from all other marks and assign it a meaning that we can all agree on.

  证据表明,书写实际上更像是火药,而不是核武器。一方面,在书写的四个源泉中,它从来没有(据我们所了解的)像完全的留声机一样涌现出来,而是演变成——通常是一些原始书写,和某种再原始书写。我喜欢将书写视为一种分层创造品。首先是图形的创造:在表明做一个耐用的标记。人类这样做至少已有10万年了。官僚主义并没有赋予人类权力。然后是象征性创造:让我们将这个标记和所有其他标记区别开来,赋予其一个我们都能认同的意义。

  Humans have been doing this for a long time,too.Then there's the linguistic one:let's realise that a sound,a syllable and a word are all things in the world that can be assigned a graphic symbol.This invention depends on the previous ones,and itself is made of innovations,realisations,solutions and hacks.Then comes the functional invention:let's use this set of symbols to write a list of captives'names,or a contract about feeding workers,or a letter to a distant garrison commander.All these moves belong to an alchemy of life that makes things go boom.

  人类也这样做了很长时间。然后在语言上也有一个方面:让我们想到一个声音、一个音节和一个单词都是世界上所有能被赋予图形符号的东西。这项发明有赖于先前的发明,它本身由创新、实现、解决方案和技巧组成。接下来是功能性创造:让我们利用这类象征来写一些囚徒的名单,或者一份关于饲养员的合同,或者一封给远方卫戍司令的信。所有这些变动都来自一种生活炼金术,让事情变得冗杂起来。

  When you consider these layers of invention,you discover that early writing in Mesopotamia,for instance,had no overtly political function,as the archaeologist David Wengrow at University College London argues in What Makes Civilization?(2010).Instead,for the first 300-400 years of early cuneiform texts in the region(from about 3300-2900 BCE),Wengrow sees a bookkeeping function for managing temple-factories of the day.‘There is hardly any use of writing for what I would view as state-like functions(eg,dynastic monuments,taxation,tribute,narratives of political events)until the Early Dynastic period,'he told me.

  当你考虑到这些创造层面时,你会发现,比如美索不达米亚早期的书写没有明显的政治作用,就如考古学家大卫·温格鲁于伦敦大学学院在《是什么成就了文明》中提到的那样。相反,前300-400年该地区的早期楔形文字出现时(公元前3300-2900),温格鲁看到了文字是作为记账工具,管理当时的寺庙工厂。他告诉我,“书写在我看来,几乎没有任何作为国家功能(比如,王朝纪念碑、税收、吊唁、政治事件的叙述),直到早期王朝时期,写作的功能才慢慢涌现”。

  We have counting that precedes economic organisation,and phonetic writing that precedes political functions.

  在经济组织和具备政治功能的语音文字出现之前,我们已经运用计数。

  This is an even stronger strike against the administrative hypothesis than it looks,because the counting that was the precursor to writing in Mesopotamia didn't need the state to develop.In the 1960s,the archaeologist Denise Schmandt-Besserat began studying clay tokens–cylinders,pyramids,discs,balls–thousands of which had been found all over Middle Eastern archaeological sites,though no one had explained what they were.These tokens showed up in Neolithic archaeological sites from 8000 BCE,well before the earliest states emerge in Mesopotamia.Schmandt-Besserat,whom I studied with at the University of Texas at Austin in the early 1990s,argued that the tokens went back 10,000 years.
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  这对表面的统治假设似乎打击很大,因为在美索不达米亚地区,书写的前身,即计数,这不需要借助国家的发展。20世纪60年代,考古学家丹尼斯·诗曼特·巴塞瑞特(Denise Schmandt-Besserat)开始研究黏土标记——圆柱形的、金字塔形的、圆盘形的、球形的——成千上万个已在整个中东考古地点所发现的标记,虽然无人可对此说明他们到底是什么。这些标记在公元前8000年前的新石器时代便出现了,这一时间远远早于美索不达米亚最早的一个国家建立的时间。20世纪90年代早期我与诗曼特·巴塞瑞特一起在奥斯汀的得克萨斯大学做调研,认为这些标记可以追溯到10,000年前。

  She realised that they were markers for objects:one cone per unit of grain,one diamond per unit of honey,and so forth.At first,tokens that denoted goods and objects were stored in groups;one storage method was sealing them into hollow clay balls.To overcome the obvious drawback that the contents of a sealed envelope can't be checked,early accountants pressed the tokens into the soft,wet surface of the envelope.By the fourth millennium,scribes realised that the impressed signs made the envelopes redundant–just press the tokens into the clay,or better yet,create written signs that mimicked tokens.Then one more step of abstraction completed the journey:create written signs that capture speech-sounds and word-meanings.

  她认为,这些标记代表了一些物体:圆锥形代表一个单位的谷物,菱形代表一个单位的蜂蜜等等。起初,这些代表物件和物体的标记以群组进行存放;一种存放方法是将其放进空心的泥球中。要克服这些明显的缺陷,即封闭的泥球中无法查看里面的东西,因此早期的会计师们会将标记物按进柔软的、润湿的黏土泥球中去。公元前四千年,人们意识到,这些按压标记并没有让泥球显得多余,只是将这些标记按压进黏土中,或者更好的方法是,制造一个书面符号来代表这些标记。那么人们又采取了一个更为抽象的步骤来完成这一过程:制造一个书面符号,即捕捉语音和词义。

  The implications are clear,at least for Mesopotamia.Early states functioned without writing for nearly 3,000 years before the invention of cuneiform because they had the token system for counting.And tokens didn't need the conditions of the state to develop–they preceded the state by 2,000 years.What we have is counting that precedes complex economic organisation as well as phonetic writing that precedes political functions.Both trajectories undermine the writing/state argument.

  这其中的蕴意十分清晰,至少对于美索不达米亚来说。大概3,000年前早期楔形文字还未被发明时,早期国家没有发挥文字的作用。并且,标记物并不是只有在国家发展的条件下发展——它们比国家早了2,000年。我们所知道的是,计数的出现早于复杂经济组织的出现,书写文字的出现早于政治功能的出现。这两个分论点都削弱了书写文字与国家有关这一观点。

  The administrative hypothesis lacks evidence in other regions where writing developed,as well.In China,for example,the earliest writing samples,which were divination texts carved into bone and turtle shell,date to approximately 1320 BCE,but archaeologists don't know whether there was also administrative,propagandistic or literary writing happening at the same time.And they don't know what preceded the carved word signs,which included names,dates and items of sacrifice,though the confident shape and execution of the characters suggests a well-developed scribal class.That,in turn,points to a complex society.But was this society administered by forms of writing?There's no evidence that it was.

  统治假设在其他书写发达的区域也缺乏有力证据。比如,在中国,最早的文字样本可以追溯到公元前1320年刻在骨头和龟背上的占卜文字,这些甲骨文上刻有名字、日期、祭祀物品等信息。但是考古学家们不知道是否同时也具备统治、宣传或文学创作功能。而且他们不知道在这些甲骨文之前的文字是什么。但是,这些甲骨文的形状和执行力都表明了一个很发达的书写级别。这又指向了一个复杂的社会。但这个社会是由书写形式统治的吗?没有证据表明是如此的。

  Further mysteries are posed by writing in Mesoamerica.The most prominent examples are Mayan and Zapotec writing,which date to 300 BCE and 600 BCE respectively.All the existing examples of Mesoamerican writing are engravings on rock or murals;writing on other materials,such as palm leaf,were either lost to decay or destroyed by the Spanish conquerors.Before phonetic writing there was iconography,and early writing itself featured leaders,rulers,prisoner-taking,and conquests.Nothing economic or administrative exists.

  更多的谜团是由中美洲的文字形成的。最突出的例子是玛雅文字和扎波泰克文字,分别可追溯到公元前600年和公元前600年。中美洲书写的所有现有例子都是岩石或壁画上的雕刻;在其他材料上的书写,如棕榈叶,要么因腐烂而消失,要么被西班牙征服者摧毁。在语音文字出现之前,有象形文字,早期文字本身就有领袖、统治者、俘虏和征服者。没有经济或行政方面的问题。

  Over and over,what we see is that writing is more like gunpowder than like a nuclear bomb.In each of the four sites of the independent invention of writing,there's either no evidence one way or the other,or there's evidence that a proto-writing pre-dated the administrative needs of the state.Even in Mesopotamia,a phonetic cuneiform script was used for a few hundred years for accounting before writing was used for overtly political purposes.

  再三地表明了,我们看到的是,书写更像火药而不是原子弹。在独立发明文字的四个地点中,要么没有任何证据,要么有证据表明原始文字早于国家的统治需求。即使在美索不达米亚,在文字被用于公开的政治目的之前,语音楔形文字被用在计数方面数百年。

  As far as the reductive argument that accountants invented writing in Mesopotamia,it's true that writing came from counting,but temple priests get the credit more than accountants do.‘Priests invented writing'is a reduction I can live with–it posits writing as a tool for contacting the supernatural realm,recording the movement of spirits,inspecting the inscrutable wishes of divinities.

  就美索不达米亚会计师发明书写的还原性论点而言,写作确实源自计数,但神殿牧师比会计师获得更多的信任。“牧师发明书写”是我能接受的一种还原——它将写作作为一种接触超自然领域的工具,记录灵魂的运动,探查神灵神秘莫测的愿望。

  As it turns out,the popular‘administrative hypothesis'has run into headwinds among other scholars too.In the afterword to the essay collection The First Writing(2004),Stephen Houston,an anthropologist at Brown University in Rhode Island,concluded that the administrative hypothesis,though tempting,‘remains hypothetical'.

  事实证明,受欢迎的“统治假设”在其他学者中也存在异议。罗德岛布朗大学的人类学家史蒂芬·休斯顿(Stephen Houston)在《第一个书写文字》(2004)的后记中写道,统治假设尽管诱人,但“仍然是假设的”。

  Fourteen years later,things are unchanged,especially for Mesoamerica,Houston told me in a recent email.‘The earliest writing we have appears,where we can read it,to be resolutely about kings,gods,ritual activities,fetish objects.There are plausible grounds to think they had cadastrals[listings of land parcels and who owned them]and the like,which appear in early Colonial Mexico.But we just don't have the direct evidence.' 纽约时报中英文网 http://www.qqenglish.com

  休斯顿在最近的一篇电邮中告诉我,十四年后,一切将不会有变化,特别是中美洲。“在我们能读到的地方,我们所看到的早期文字,是有关国王、神、仪式活动、拜物教的。有合理的理由认为认为他们有地籍(土地的清单和拥有者)等等,这些都出现在早期殖民时期的墨西哥。但我们只是没有直接证据。”

  Other anthropologists,meanwhile,have been looking more closely at historical instances where writing emerges outside of the state–and where states emerge without writing.Piers Kelly,a linguistic anthropologist at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Human Evolution in Munich,says that the ancient state in Hawaii never used writing while some‘non-state small-scale societies'did.In fact,in various corners of the Earth and throughout history,inventors have crafted alphabets and syllabaries to resist the state.

  同时,其他考古学家也在更密切地关注一些历史史实,即文字出现在国家之外,而国家出现在没有文字的地方。慕尼黑马克斯·普朗克人类进化史研究所的预言人类学家皮尔斯·凯丽(Piers Kelly)说,夏威夷这个古老的州从未使用过写作,而一些“非国家小型社会”却相反。实际上,在地球的各个角落和整个历史上,发明家们都精心制作了字母和音节来回击国家。

  Kelly studies religiously flavoured political movements(and politically flavoured religious movements)in Southeast Asia and West Africa whose charismatic leaders have invented writing systems,often after having been inspired by otherworldly visions.Kelly points out that writing has been reinvented at least nine times in Southeast Asia since the 1840s,mainly by largely non-literate highland people whose way of life was under threat from powerful states.‘As a resistance strategy,the introduction of rebellious scripts gave impetus to the new movements,investing their advocates with authority,and rendering marginalised languages literally visible,'Kelly writes in a forthcoming paper.

  凯丽研究东南亚和西亚具有宗教色彩的政治运动(以及具有政治色彩的宗教活动),这些运动的魅力领袖们常常在受到超凡脱俗的想象的启发后,发明了书写系统。凯丽指出,19世纪40年代以来,东南亚至少有九次对书写进行了革新,主要是那些生活方式受到强大国家威胁、基本上不识字的高地人展开的。凯丽在即将发表的一篇论文中写道,“作为一种回击策略,反叛剧本的提出推动了新的运动,为他们的拥护者赋予了权威,并使边缘化语言变得显而易见。”

  One of my favourite instances of this is a writing system called Pahawh Hmong,invented by a Hmong farmer,Shong Lue Yang,in the late 1950s when he lived in the mountains of Vietnam.What's remarkable about this is not only that Shong Lue was illiterate–as detailed in the fascinating book The Mother of Writing(1990)by William A Smalley,Chia Koua Vang and Gnia Yee Yang–but that he revised his system four times,with each revision being more linguistically sophisticated than the last.

  我最喜欢的一个例子是一个叫做杨松录苗文(Pahawh Hmong)的书写体系,由苗族农民杨松录于20世纪50年代在越南山区发明的。值得注意的是,松录不仅是个文盲——正如威廉·斯莫利、奇亚·库瓦·万格和葛妮亚·耶杨在1990年出版的《书写之母》一书中所详细描述的那样,而且松录对自己的系统进行了四次修订,每次修订都比上一次更加复杂。

  Shong Lue's invention most certainly did not happen in the context of the state,nor was he a privileged scribe;he was a squirrel-hunting basket-maker and mountain rice-farmer when the writing system was first revealed to him,his believers claimed,by two mysterious visitors from heaven.No one else could read or write it.That would come later,after he had taught them.

  松录的发明当然不是在国家的背景下进行的,也不是一个享有特权的书吏;他的信徒认为,当两位来自天堂的神秘访客首次向他展示书写体系时,他是一个猎杀松鼠的篮子制造者和山上的稻农。没人能读懂或书写它。在他教过他们后,可能会有人做到。

  If a letter can contain military orders,it can also contain sweet nothings.

  如果一封信能包含军事命令,它也能隐含甜言蜜语。

  As Shong Lue's case demonstrates,the phonetic achievements of a writing system aren't the only ones worth noting.The French anthropologist Pierre Déléage studies the invention of writing in many cultural contexts,and distinguishes‘unbound'forms of writing from‘bound'ones.‘Unbound'writing includes the phonetically flexible,multifunctional information tool called the Latin alphabet that we use to communicate in,say,English or French today.Less familiar is‘bound‘writing,which is used to represent narrow types of speaking and often only by a small number of people.

  正如松录的例子所揭露的那样,书写体系的语音成就并不是唯一值得注意的。法国人类学家皮埃尔·德莱吉(Pierre Déléage)研究了在许多文化背景下文字的发明,并将“不受约束”的书写形式区分开来。“不受约束”书写包括语音灵活、多功能的信息工具,称为拉丁字母表,我们今天用英语或法语交流。不太熟悉的是“约束”书写,即用来表示狭隘的说话方式,往往只有少数人使用。

  An example of bound writing is a Lakota history drawn on a blanket by the Lakota warrior Swift Dog,one of about 100 known‘winter counts',which were records of events recorded on buffalo hides.Keepers of the winter counts,usually men,created iconic depictions of the significant events,but these visuals weren't all the same.Another example is the inscription on the Cascajal block,a slab of serpentine scratched with 62 symbols that was discovered in Mexico in the late 1990s that dates to 900 BCE–making it the oldest writing in the New World,though it's undeciphered.

  一个受约束书写的例子是拉科塔勇士斯威夫特·道格(Swift Dog)在毯子上绘制的拉科塔历史,这是已知的大约100个“岁时计数”之一,记录了水牛皮上的事件。岁时计数的绘制者一般是男士,创造了对重大事件的标志性描述,但这些视觉效果并不完全相同。另一个例子是卡斯卡哈尔区块上的铭文,这是一块蛇形石板,上面刻有62个符号,20世纪90年代末在墨西哥发现,可以追溯到公元前900年,这使得它成为新世界最古老的文字,尽管它没有被破译。

  Such text appears similar to shamanic writing‘devised by religious specialists,with tightly restricted,revelatory functions',as a team of anthropologists wrote in Science in 2016.Often,bound forms of writing are used in face-to-face contexts alongside spoken language.Déléage notes that they exist in numerous North American indigenous cultures(the Ojibwa,the Lakota,the Navajo and the Kuna),in South America(the Inka,the Yagua and the Bolivian Quechua),and in Asia(the Naxi in China and the Dayak in Borneo).Déléage argues,convincingly,that to decipher bound text,you must know what it's about,and perhaps be an expert in the chant,ritual or curse(or whatever)that it captures–hardly a useful tool for authoritative control.And,he noted,all of the writing invented in Egypt,Mesopotamia,Mesoamerica and China was bound when it emerged.

  2016年,一群人类学家在《科学》杂志上撰文称,这类文字似乎类似于萨满文字,由宗教专家们设计,具有严格限制的启示功能。通常情况下,在面对面的语境中,同时进行口语时,也会使用捆绑式书写。德莱吉指出,它们存在于许多北美土著文化(如奥吉布瓦人、拉科塔人、纳瓦霍人、库纳人),南美(如印加人、盖丘亚人),亚洲(如中国的纳西族人以及加里曼丹岛的达雅族人)。德莱吉认为,要破译受约束的文本,你必须知道它在讲什么,或许在这些方面你要成为专家,圣歌、仪式或诅咒(或其他内容),这对于掌控权威不是一个有效的工具。他还写道,所有在埃及、美索不达米亚、中美洲和中国发明的文字在一出现便受到了约束。

  Eventually,bound writing can become unbound in the interests of the state,whether to further royal politics,run an economy,fund the elite–or all three.A huge range of state needs can pressure people to expand what they need writing for,and thus unbinding can carry the force of invention,even if it's strictly speaking not one.Suddenly,names must be written–local ones as well as foreign ones,along with names of captives from military forays.

  最终,无论是在推进皇室政治、运营经济、资助精英还是全部的因素共同作用下,受约束的文字在国家的利益下变成不受约束的文字。大量的国家需求会迫使人们扩大他们所需的书写范围,从而解除束缚可以带来发明的动力,即使严格来说并不算是一项发明。突然之间,要求必须写上名字,本地人和外国人,以及军事突袭俘虏的名字。

  Places where trade goods come from must be recorded,and legal contracts must be drawn up,along with standardised lists and letters to distant garrison commanders–and then someone realises that if a letter can contain military orders,it can also contain sweet nothings.All these are perpetuated among the elite literate class via scribal schools where lists of terms are standardised and transmitted across generations.

  贸易物资归属地必须登记,必须起草合法合同,以及标准化的清单和给远方驻军指挥官的信件——然后有人意识到,如果一封信包含军事命令,那么也可以包含甜言蜜语,所以这些都是通过专门传授的学校中在精英文化阶层中长期存在,这些学校会将其标准化,并代代相传。

  On one level,those of us who write and read owe the state a debt of gratitude.The deep history of your poetic form,your contracts and your epitaph might lie in scrawls on a cave wall or lists of royal ancestors,some of them divine,but the achievement of unbound writing stems from the needs and prerogatives of government,in the end.

  在某种程度上,我们当中那些书写和阅读的人欠国家一份感激之情。你的诗歌形式、契约和墓志铭的身后历史,可能就在洞穴墙壁上的潦草字迹或皇族祖先的名单上,其中一个很神圣,但不受约束书写的成就最终源自政府的需求和特权。

  As a writer of nonfiction,I can't help but love writing's roots in enumerating concrete objects and reality itself.The textual analyst part of me loves how Mesopotamian tokens were wrapped in clay envelopes after being impressed on the soft exterior–perhaps clay-wrapped tokens of meaning give rise to the notion that text is both a surface and an interior,and that that's what leads us to talk so relentlessly(in English and other languages)about what is‘in'a given text.

  作为一名非纪实文学家,我不由得列举具体对象和现实本身的写作根源。我的文本分析员部分喜欢美索不达米亚的标记在被柔软的外表下装进黏土里,也许黏土包裹的标记物产生了文本既是外在又是内在的意义,这正是导致我们如此不断(用英语和其他语言)来讨论既定文本“包含”了什么。

  As a writer of nonfiction,I can't help but love writing's roots in enumerating concrete objects and reality itself.The textual analyst part of me loves how Mesopotamian tokens were wrapped in clay envelopes after being impressed on the soft exterior–perhaps clay-wrapped tokens of meaning give rise to the notion that text is both a surface and an interior,and that that's what leads us to talk so relentlessly(in English and other languages)about what is‘in'a given text.

  作为一名诗人,我想重新利用权威的力量来代表无权者创作。作为一名语言学家,我认识到书写的各个层面的认知意义,大脑不是专门为此而推动这些发明的,而是我们共同进化而来的。作为一名文本拥护者,我知道深厚的历史永远不会被抹去。
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