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人生哲学:快乐的丹麦人如何化解逆境

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What to do when hygge no longer works
人生哲学:快乐的丹麦人如何化解逆境

Danes, often hailed as some of the happiest people on Earth, love nothing more than to hygge. That could mean reading a book while snuggling in a blanket (likely made from wool from a sheep on the Faroe Islands, also part of Denmark), or a cosy night in with loved ones, laughing in the velvety candlelight with a cup of hot chocolate, gløgg (mulled wine) or coffee, depending on the time of day and year.

丹麦人常被誉为全世界最快乐的人,他们最喜欢的就是hygge(指舒适惬意的感觉),可以是舒舒服服蜷在毛毯里读书(毛毯很可能是用丹麦法罗群岛的羊毛做的),也可以是和挚爱一起享受悠闲的晚间时光,在柔和的烛光里喝着热巧克力、热红酒或者咖啡纵情欢笑——这要看是什么月份和时间。

But this picture is almost too idyllic. Too perfect. As a hygge-loving Dane, I can say for sure that even Danes have rainy days. So what do we do, then, when there isn’t any help to be had from these cosy accompaniments?

但这样的画面太过诗情画意,太过完美。作为一个崇尚hygge的丹麦人,我可以很肯定地说,丹麦人也有不好过的日子。那么,当这些惬意舒适的东西都于事无补时,我们怎么办呢?

丹麦人常被誉为全世界最快乐的人

Just like ‘hygge’, ‘pyt’ does not have a direct English translation. Some interpretations include ‘never mind’, ‘don’t worry’ or ‘forget about it’ – but these expressions don’t convey the positive aspect of the word. ‘Pyt’ is used to express that you accept a situation is out of your control, and even though you might be annoyed or frustrated, you decide not to waste unnecessary energy on thinking more about it. You accept it and move on. ‘Pyt’ is also used to comfort other people and diffuse unfortunate situations.

和hygge一样,pyt也没法直接翻译。有些说成是“别介意”、“别担心”或者“算了吧”,但都没有表达出它积极的一面。Pyt是说,你接受了自己无能为力的事实,就算生气或者沮丧,也决定不再浪费不必要的精力去多想。接受现状,开始新篇章。Pyt还可以用来安慰别人,舒缓不如意的境况。

‘Pyt’ is so beloved by Danes that in September 2018 it was chosen as the nation’s favourite word in a competition held by the Danish Library Association during the country’s annual ‘Library Week’. Interestingly, ‘hygge’ didn’t even make the winning shortlist.

Pyt很受丹麦人喜爱。2018年9月,丹麦图书馆协会在丹麦一年一度的图书馆周期间发起了一项评比, pyt当选为丹麦最受喜爱的单词。有趣的是,hygge居然都没入围。

Steen Bording Andersen, president of the Danish Library Association, sees the win as a reflection of our stressful lives – that Danes want to take it easy and relax. “I think it's a rebellion against a Danish cultural trait of being good at complaining and finding faults,” he explained. “It goes somewhat against the zeitgeist that ‘pyt’ was chosen. But it reminds us that things could be worse.”

协会主席安德森(Steen Bording Andersen)认为,pyt获奖反映了丹麦人压力繁重的生活——不想太紧张,想要放松一点。他解释说:“这是在对丹麦喜欢抱怨和挑毛病的文化特质做出反叛,pyt当选从某种意义上来说与这一时期丹麦的主流思想相悖。不过这提醒我们,情况可能还会更糟。”

The popularity of the word doesn’t surprise Chris MacDonald, physiologist, writer and public speaker who moved to Denmark from the US 20 years ago. In his fascinating article for Danish national newspaper Berlingske, What Denmark has taught me about happiness, he writes, “Pyt is one of my favourite words; it’s the most positive sound I have ever heard. And it has an enormous power when it comes to letting go of things we can’t change. There is so much relief in that word.”

麦克唐纳(Chris MacDonald)对这个单词的流行并不惊讶。麦克唐纳是一位生理学家、作家兼公共演讲人,20年前从美国移居丹麦。他曾在丹麦国家报纸《贝林时报》(Berlingske)上发表了一篇有趣的文章《丹麦教给我的快乐》(What Denmark has taught me about happiness),文中写道:“Pyt是我最喜欢的单词之一,是我听过最积极向上的声音。它蕴藏着一股巨大的力量——无力改变的事情就随它去吧,当中饱含了宽慰与解脱。”

He came across ‘pyt’ when first learning Danish. “Danish is an exceptionally monotonous language. It’s like listening to a musician with a limited range. Then I started to notice this one word that stuck out; not only did it stick out from the Danish range, it also had a nice sound to it,” he said.

他是在刚开始学丹麦语时接触到的pyt一词。他说:“丹麦语是一种极其单调乏味的语言,听起来就像是一个音域有限的音乐家在演奏。然后我注意到了这个与众不同的单词,它不仅在丹麦语中很特别,发音还很好听。”

It’s true that Danish will probably never be voted the world’s most romantic language due to its many hard and guttural sounds. However, the sound of ‘pyt’ is delicate and soft. During my interviews with MacDonald, we talked about how ‘pyt’ is usually used to show acceptance of a frustrating and unchangeable – but not life-threatening or life-altering – situation. Part of that is obviously the meaning of the word, but it’s also the feeling and atmosphere the sound of ‘pyt’ creates.

丹麦语有很多难发的喉音,可能永远无法当选为世界上最浪漫的语言,但pyt的发音却非常细腻轻柔。采访麦克唐纳时我们聊到,通常是如何用pyt来表现人们接受了那些令人沮丧却又无法改变的境况,当然情况还不至于威胁生命或是改变人生。词意当然是一个方面,但与单词发音所创造的感情和气氛也有关。

As Jonas Jensen, senior editor of Den Danske Ordbog (The Danish Dictionary) explained, “...within phonetics ‘i’ and ‘y’ are often considered lighter and more optimistic than the more rounded vocals such as ‘o’ and ‘u’… [Pyt] is a word that's nice to say.”

延森(Jonas Jensen)是《丹麦语词典》(Den Danske Ordbog)的高级编辑,他表示:“……在语音学里,相较于‘o’和‘u’这些更为圆润的元音,‘i’和‘y’的发音要轻一些,感觉也更积极向上……pyt说起来很好听。”

But while the Danish language is full of linguistic valleys and mountains – with Jensen even introducing me to the expression ‘Danish isn’t a language but a throat disease’ – the same cannot be said of the country’s landscape. Denmark is probably one of the world’s most bicycle-friendly countries, due to its mostly flat terrain. However, no-one can prepare for freak accidents, which my family and I learnt from a British couple who decided to explore Jutland on their bikes more than 20 years ago.

尽管丹麦语在语言学上“山难水险障碍重重”,延森说有人甚至形容“丹麦语不是一种语言,而是一种喉咙病”,但丹麦的风景可并非如此。丹麦可能是世界上最适合骑单车的国家之一,因为地势大多平坦。但离奇的事故还是会发生,这是我和家人从一对英国夫妇那儿学到的,这对夫妇20多年前决定骑单车一探日德兰半岛(Jutland )。

Towards the end of their holiday, the wife fell off her bike and broke her collarbone. They happened to be outside a little town called Sønder Omme, about 20km from Billund (home to the original Legoland), and easily found the local surgery. The doctor on duty (my father) took the couple to hospital for treatment in the next town. As she was taken to X-ray and later patched up, my dad called my mum to say he'd be home later than usual. As he was explaining the situation, my mother suggested he invite them over for dinner. By the end of the day, not only had the British couple experienced free Danish healthcare and eaten with a local family, they’d also been introduced to the word ‘pyt’ and its ability to diffuse a tense situation.

假期接近尾声时,妻子从单车上摔了下来,摔断了锁骨。他们当时在一个名为南奥默(Sønder Omme)的小镇附近,距离比隆(Billund,第一个乐高乐园就在这里)大约20公里,很快便找到了当地的外科医生,值班医生(我父亲)把他们带到了隔壁镇上的医院治疗。那位妻子被带去做X光检查和接受处理时,我父亲打电话给我母亲说他今天要晚点回家,解释了情况之后母亲提议请这对夫妇到家里吃饭。最后,这对英国夫妇不仅体验了免费的丹麦医疗,和当地人吃了饭,还知道了pyt这个词,以及它舒缓紧张情况的本事。

I don’t remember what we ate, but knowing my unflappable mother and the short notice she was given, it was most likely leftovers put together in some pretty dishes, laid out on a tablecloth with matching napkins and crockery. When we were all sitting down, with food on our plates and red wine in our glasses, my father raised his glass for the traditional before-we-eat ‘skål’ (cheers). As the British man reached for his glass to join in, he knocked red wine all over the white tablecloth. There was silence. The wife turned to her husband with a look of profound displeasure, when whatever she was about to say was interrupted by my mother. “PYYYYT med det! (Don’t worry about that!) We’ll wash the tablecloth tomorrow,” she exclaimed. The rest of the evening was pure ‘hygge’, and the couple came over for dinner again a couple of days later. The power of ‘pyt’ had changed the atmosphere from potentially bleak to one of relief.

我不记得吃了什么,但在这么临时的情况下,我那临危不乱的母亲很可能就是把剩菜剩饭摆在了漂亮的盘子里,放在桌布上,再搭配好餐巾纸和餐具。大家坐定,盘子里盛好了食物杯子里斟上了红酒,我父亲举起酒杯,按照传统礼仪在开动前先干一杯。英国男士伸手去拿酒,却把酒杯撞倒了,红酒全洒在了白色的桌布上。一阵沉默。他的妻子转头看着丈夫,一脸深深的不满,但还没等她开口我母亲就把她打断了。“PYYYYT med det!(别担心!)我们明天要洗桌布呢。”她大声说。之后的时光完全是在hygge中度过的,过了几天这对夫妇又来我家吃了晚饭。是pyt的力量将可能出现的尴尬与不快变成了宽慰与释怀。

The power of the word has been harnessed in other ways, too. It’s passed down to children at kindergarten and primary school through the introduction of a ‘pyt’ button. This is usually just a plastic lid with ‘PYT’ written on it, glued to a piece of cardboard and placed somewhere centrally in the classroom, to be used in situations where children feel upset about not coming first in a race or winning a game. Essentially, they learn from an early age that losing is OK, as this is also part of real life.

Pyt的力量也有其他使用方式。幼儿园和小学里安装了pyt按钮,孩子们也知道了这个词。按钮通常只是一个写着pyt的塑料盖,粘到硬纸板上放在教室中间。当孩子们因为没在竞赛中拿到第一,或者因为输了比赛而伤心失落时就按下它,实质上是让他们在很小的时候就认识到输了也没关系,输也是现实生活的一部分。

Charlotte Sørensen, a head teacher at Søndervangskolen in the town of Hammel, Jutland, told me: “The ‘pyt’ button is genius. It doesn’t work for all children, but for some of them, it’s great. The action of pressing a physical button seems to help them clear their minds and move on.”

瑟伦森(Charlotte Sørensen)是日德兰半岛哈默尔镇(Hammel)南德万斯科伦学校(Søndervangskolen)的校长,她告诉我:“这个按钮简直太神了。它并不是对所有孩子都有效,但对有些孩子很有用,这太棒了。真实按下这个按钮似乎能够帮助他们打点心智,开始新篇章。”

Visitors to Denmark can even buy their own version of the ‘pyt’ button in local shops. These red-and-white plastic buttons resemble the ones that contestants in TV game shows press when they have the right answer. Press it and you’ll hear the word ‘pyt’, reminding you to step back from the situation and refocus. I even received a ‘deluxe’ version for Christmas that had a recorded sentence of encouragement: ‘Take a deep breath. Everything is going to be alright’.

来丹麦的游客甚至可以在当地商店买到专属的pyt按钮。这些红白相间的塑料按钮就像电视游戏节目中选手知道正确答案后按的那种按钮。一按就会听到pyt,提醒你从当下的情况中退后一步,重新集中精力。我甚至还在圣诞节收到了一个“豪华”版,它还录了一句鼓励的话:“深呼吸,一切都会好起来的。”

The word seems especially appropriate in a country with incredibly unreliable weather. Over the years, I have been part of numerous last-minute changes of plans, when optimism once again took over reality. Picnics and barbecues have been moved inside, and beach trips turned into visits to indoor pools. Each time one or more ‘pyts’ have been uttered, deep breaths taken – and a plan B drawn up.

在天气极其不靠谱的国家,这个单词似乎特别合适。这些年,我常常在最后时刻改变计划,乐观一次次战胜现实。野餐和烧烤移到了室内,海滩旅行变成了室内游泳。每次都会念出一个或者好几个pyt,做几个深呼吸,新方案也想好了。

And I’ve learned that these alternative plans often end up being ‘hyggeligere’ (cosier) than the original ones.

而且我发现,这些替代方案常常都比最初的“hyggeligere”(更加惬意舒适)。
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