Live Not By Lies

At one time we dared not even to whisper. Now we write and read samizdat, and sometimes when we gather in the smoking room at the Science Institute we complain frankly to one another: What kind of tricks are they playing on us, and where are they dragging us? gratuitous boasting of cosmic achievements while there is poverty and destruction at home. Propping up remote, uncivilized regimes. Fanning up civil war. And we recklessly fostered Mao Tse-tung at our expense-- and it will be we who are sent to war against him, and will have to go. Is there any way out? And they put on trial anybody they want and they put sane people in asylums--always they, and we are powerless.

Things have almost reached rock bottom. A universal spiritual death has already touched us all, and physical death will soon flare up and consume us both and our children--but as before we still smile in a cowardly way and mumble without tounges tied. But what can we do to stop it? We haven't the strength?

We have been so hopelessly dehumanized that for today's modest ration of food we are willing to abandon all our principles, our souls, and all the efforts of our predecessors and all opportunities for our descendants--but just don't disturb our fragile existence. We lack staunchness, pride and enthusiasm. We don't even fear universal nuclear death, and we don't fear a third world war. We have already taken refuge in the crevices. We just fear acts of civil courage.

We fear only to lag behind the herd and to take a step alone-and suddenly find ourselves without white bread, without heating gas and without a Moscow registration.

We have been indoctrinated in political courses, and in just the same way was fostered the idea to live comfortably, and all will be well for the rest of our lives. You can't escape your environment and social conditions. Everyday life defines consciousness. What does it have to do with us? We can't do anything about it?

But we can--everything. But we lie to ourselves for assurance. And it is not they who are to blame for everything-we ourselves, only we. One can object: But actually toy can think anything you like. Gags have been stuffed into our mouths. Nobody wants to listen to us and nobody asks us. How can we force them to listen? It is impossible to change their minds.

It would be natural to vote them out of office-but there are not elections in our country. In the West people know about strikes and protest demonstrations-but we are too oppressed, and it is a horrible prospect for us: How can one suddenly renounce a job and take to the streets? Yet the other fatal paths probed during the past century by our bitter Russian history are, nevertheless, not for us, and truly we don't need them.

Now that the axes have done their work, when everything which was sown has sprouted anew, we can see that the young and presumptuous people who thought they would make out country just and happy through terror, bloody rebellion and civil war were themselves misled. No thanks, fathers of education! Now we know that infamous methods breed infamous results. Let our hands be clean!

The circle--is it closed? And is there really no way out? And is there only one thing left for us to do, to wait without taking action? Maybe something will happen by itself? It will never happen as long as we daily acknowledge, extol, and strengthen--and do not sever ourselves from--the most perceptible of its aspects: Lies.

When violence intrudes into peaceful life, its face glows with self-confidence, as if it were carrying a banner and shouting: I am violence. Run away, make way for me--I will crush you.'' But violence quickly grows old. And it has lost confidence in itself, and in order to maintain a respectable face it summons falsehood as its ally--since violence lays its ponderous paw not every day and not on every shoulder. It demands from us only obedience to lies and daily participation in lies--all loyalty lies in that.

And the simplest and most accessible key to our self-neglected liberation lies right here: Personal non-participation in lies. Though lies conceal everything, though lies embrace everything, but not with any help from me.

This opens a breach in the imaginary encirclement caused by our inaction. It is the easiest thing to do for us, but the most devastating for the lies. Because when people renounce lies it simply cuts short their existence. Like an infection, they can exist only in a living organism.

We do not exhort ourselves. We have not sufficiently matured to march into the squares and shout the truth our loud or to express aloud what we think. It's not necessary.

It's dangerous. But let us refuse to say that which we do not think.

This is our path, the easiest and most accessible one, which takes into account out inherent cowardice, already well rooted. And it is much easier--it's dangerous even to say this--than the sort of civil disobedience which Gandhi advocated.

Our path is to talk away from the gangrenous boundary. If we did not paste together the dead bones and scales of ideology, if we did not sew together the rotting rags, we would be astonished how quickly the lies would be rendered helpless and subside.

That which should be naked would then really appear naked before the whole world.

So in our timidity, let each of us make a choice: Whether consciously, to remain a servant of falsehood--of course, it is not out of inclination, but to feed one's family, that one raises his children in the spirit of lies--or to shrug off the lies and become an honest man worthy of respect both by one's children and contemporaries.

And from that day onward he:

• Will not henceforth write, sign, or print in any way a single phrase which in his opinion distorts the truth.
不以任何方式书写、签署、发表任何一句在你看来不是真话的句子。
• Will utter such a phrase neither in private conversation not in the presence of many people, neither on his own behalf not at the prompting of someone else, either in the role of agitator, teacher, educator, not in a theatrical role.
不在私下或公开场合，以宣传、指导、教授、文艺演出的形式，自己说出或鼓动他人说出，任何一句在你看来不是真话的句子。
• Will not depict, foster or broadcast a single idea which he can only see is false or a distortion of the truth whether it be in painting, sculpture, photography, technical science, or music.
不描述、培育、传播任何一个你认为是谎言或是歪曲真相的思想，不管它的形式是绘画、雕塑、摄影、科技、或者音乐。
• Will not cite out of context, either orally or written, a single quotation so as to please someone, to feather his own nest, to achieve success in his work, if he does not share completely the idea which is quoted, or if it does not accurately reflect the matter at issue.
不以口头或书面的形式，不为了个人利益或个人成功，引用任何一句取悦他人的话，除非你完全认同你所要引用的话，或者它确实准确反映了实情。
• Will not allow himself to be compelled to attend demonstrations or meetings if they are contrary to his desire or will, will neither take into hand not raise into the air a poster or slogan which he does not completely accept.
不参加任何违背你心意的集会或游行，也不举手赞同任何一个你不完全接受标语或口号。
• Will not raise his hand to vote for a proposal with which he does not sincerely sympathize, will vote neither openly nor secretly for a person whom he considers unworthy or of doubtful abilities.
不举手为任何一个你不真心支持的提议背书，不公开或秘密投票给任何一个你觉得不值得或怀疑其能力的人。
• Will not allow himself to be dragged to a meeting where there can be expected a forced or distorted discussion of a question.
不同意被拉去参加任何一场可能强奸民意或歪曲事实的讨论会。
• Will immediately talk out of a meeting, session, lecture, performance or film showing if he hears a speaker tell lies, or purvey ideological nonsense or shameless propaganda.
如果听到任何一个发言者公然说谎，或者传播意识形态垃圾和无耻的洗脑宣传，你应当立即退出该会议、讲座、演出、或者电影放映场合。
• Will not subscribe to or buy a newspaper or magazine in which information is distorted and primary facts are concealed.
不订阅或购买任何歪曲事实或者隐瞒真相的报纸或杂志。
Of course we have not listed all of the possible and necessary deviations from falsehood. But a person who purifies himself will easily distinguish other instances with his purified outlook.
当然，我们不可能罗列全所有可能的和现实中的谎言的变种。但是，一个纯洁地活着的人，应该可以很容易的看出什么是真的，什么是假的。
No, it will not be the same for everybody at first. Some, at first, will lose their jobs. For young people who want to live with truth, this will, in the beginning, complicate their young lives very much, because the required recitations are stuffed with lies, and it is necessary to make a choice.
如果你这样选择，那么从一开始，你的生活就将发生巨变。对于某些人来说，他们很快就会失去工作。对于那些想寻找真相的年轻人，他们的青春岁月很快就将变得非常坎坷，因为要求背诵的内容中充满了谎言，你不得不做出选择。
But there are no loopholes for anybody who wants to be honest. On any given day any one of us will be confronted with at least one of the above-mentioned choices even in the most secure of the technical sciences. Either truth or falsehood: Toward spiritual independence or toward spiritual servitude.
对于所有那些想要诚实生活的人，是没有第三条路的。任何一天，我们中的任何一个人，都面临着至少一种上述选择，即使是在最没有意识形态色彩的科技领域也是如此。要么选择真相，要么选择谎言，要么选择精神的独立，要么选择精神的奴役。
And he who is not sufficiently courageous even to defend his soul- don't let him be proud of his progressive'' views,and don't let him boast that he is an academician or a people's artist, a merited figure, or a general--let him say to himself: I am in the herd, and a coward. It's all the same to me as long as I'm fed and warm.
任何一个胆小到不敢捍卫自己灵魂的人，就不配说自己有"进步的"观点，就不配自称为学者、艺术家、将军、或者其他尊称。他只能对自己说:"我是一个听话的人，我是一个懦夫。只要能够吃饱穿暖，让我说什么做什么都可以。"
Even this path, which is the most modest of all paths of resistance, will not be easy for us. But it is much easier than self-immolation or a hunger strike: The flames will not envelope your body, your eyeballs, will not burst from the heat, and brown bread and clean water will always be available to your family.
即使这样一种反抗是所有反抗中最轻微的，也是很不容易做到的。但是，它还是比自我牺牲或者绝食要容易得多，你的身体和你的眼睛不会受到伤害，你家不会被断暖气，也不会被切断面包和清洁的饮用水的供应。
A great people of Europe, the Czhechoslovaks, whom we betrayed and deceived: Haven't they shown us how a vulnerable breast can stand up even against tanks if there is a worthy heart within it?
捷克斯洛伐克人民是欧洲伟大的人民，我们背叛和欺骗了他们。他们向我们证明了，只要有一颗勇敢的心，即使最柔弱的躯体，也是能够站起来对抗坦克的。（译注：此处指1968年的布拉克之春。）
You say it will not be easy? But it will be easiest of all possible resources. It will not be an easy choice for a body, but it is only one for a soul. No, it is not an easy path. But there are already people, even dozens of them, who over the years have maintained all these points and live by the truth.
你说这样做很困难？但它是所有可能的方法中最容易的一种。对于你的肉体，这不是一个容易的选择；但是对于你的灵魂，这是唯一的选择。已经有这样的人，数量甚至已经达到了几十个，他们已经坚持上面的标准许多年，只说真话而活着。
So you will not be the first to take this path, but will join those who have already taken it. This path will be easier and shorter for all of us if we take it by mutual efforts and in close rank. If there are thousands of us, they will not be able to do anything with us. If there are tens of thousands of us, then we would not even recognize our country.
所以，你不是第一个采用这种方法的人，你将成为已经这样做的人们中的一员。如果我们共同努力，密切合作，这条道路将变得更容易和更短一些，对我们所有人都是如此。如果这样的人达到了几千个，他们就对我们无计可施。如果这样的人达到了几万个，那么我们将发现我们的国家变得完全不一样了。
If we are too frightened, then we should stop complaining that someone is suffocating us. We ourselves are doing it. let us then bow down even more, let us wait, and our brothers the biologists will help to bring nearer the day when they are able to read our thoughts are worthless and hopeless.
如果我们被吓破了胆，那么我们就不要再抱怨，别人在压迫我们，是我们自己在这样做。我们只好弯下腰等着，让生物学家把我们的猴子兄弟变得更进化一些，等到那一天，它们可以读懂我们的思想是多么的没有价值和没有希望。
And if we get cold feet, even taking this step, then we are worthless and hopeless, and the scorn of Pushkin should be directed to us:
如果我们临阵退缩，连不参与撒谎都不敢做，那么我们就是没有价值和没有希望的。普希金的讽刺用在我们头上正合适：
Why should cattle have the gifts of freedom?
"为什么要给畜牲自由？"
Their heritage from generation to generation is the belled yoke and the lash.''
"它们一代代的命运就是套上枷锁，接受鞭挞。"

（完）