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John Zacharias: Hope and Kindness


Today I just want to talk a little bit about these two words. And the first word is hope. I never imagined that I would be talking about hope, this year, in particular. But I’ve heard the word “hope” a lot these last few days and it made me wonder. I actually went to look at some meanings of hope including in Chinese, (and) try to understand how we have used this word--- hope. You know, coming from a planning profession, well, one of the planning professions, what do we have? Well, we have a belief that things will be better. It's not that they could be better because you know lots of people can contain things can be better, but we will believe firmly that they will be better---that's actually our role, so I can understand why we might be hopeful under the circumstances.

Another thing I was thinking today my relation to hope is that when I graduate from my master’s degree--- urban planning at the University of British Columbia, well, the world was going to another kind of crisis which was the first oil crisis, so the world went into economic recession and job prospects looked mighty poor. In the planning fields, however, we were optimistic. We believed that this was the turning point that we were finally going to get on the road of sustainability. We believe that. And we were wrong or we were delayed in our thinking. So I like to think that we were delayed, we were delayed by a lot of things that happened in between. But there's no reason why we shouldn’t be hopeful today. I think we have an even greater opportunity today to get this right and we’d better get it right. So it's been a long time, it is now your graduation and you're in the midst of another kind of crisis here. But you have every reason to be hopeful about the future because in this hope there's also this meaning of will: will is part of hope .

The second word I had in mind, and it's been actually going through my mind a lot, is kindness. Now I think you know you can't be hopeful and not be kind. You have to think about to whom you want to do good things and for what reason, so kindness has to accompany hope, I think particularly in context that really begin now and you know I'm surrounded by people who have a lot less than they had a year ago. And that's true in China and it’s true around the world. There’s lot of people we need to be kind to. And think about privileges we have, and I wouldn’t presume any of your situations and what you face now. That's something I really don't know, but I do know that in Peking University we enjoy a lot of privileges. And I am very mindful of that privilege and it brings a kind of humility in the context of the crisis.

I wanted to just give those kinds of hopeful words because that's actually how I feel these days and I won't be longer than that. So those are my two words, hope and kindness.

今天,我只想談談這兩個詞。第一個詞是“希望”,我從未想過我會在談論希望,特別是今年。但是最近幾天我時常聽到“希望”這個詞,這讓我想去了解希望的含義,包括它在中文中的含義,去嘗試了解我們如何使用這個詞。在規劃行業的我們,至少是規劃行業中起重工一個另有,我們擁有什么?我們有一個信念,堅信事情會變得更好,而不是事情可能會變得更好,因為你們知道很多人認為事情可能變得更好。但我們不同,我們堅信一切會更好,因此,我可以理解為什么在現在這種情況下我們會充滿希望。

今天我在想的另一件事與我希望有關的事,那就是當我從不列顛哥倫比亞大學的城市規劃專業畢業時,世界正在經歷另一種危機,第一次石油危機。世界由此陷入了經濟衰退。工作前景似乎很差,但是在規劃領域的我們很樂觀,認為世界終于迎來了轉折點,從此就會踏上可持續的道路。但我們錯了,或者可以說我們的思維被“耽擱”了,被中間發生的很多事情耽擱了。但是,今天我們沒有理由不充滿希望。我認為,今天我們有更多的機會讓事情好轉,我們最好能讓一切好轉起來。距離我畢業已經過去很長時間了,今天你們畢業了,而你們正處于另一種危機之中。你們完全有理由對未來充滿希望,因為希望中不乏意志的體現,而意志是希望的一部分。

我想到的第二個詞是善良,實際上這個詞已經在我的腦海中回蕩了很久。我想你們知道:不善良,便無真正的希望。你們必須考慮要向誰做善事以及出于何種原因。希望必須由善良相伴,尤其是在當下的這種情景:你們知道,我身邊有很多人他們心中的善意比一年之前減少了很多。在中國如此,全世界亦如此。考慮一下我們擁有的特權,我不會去猜想你們每個人的生活狀況以及你們現在所面臨的事情,那些都是不為我所知的,但是我確實知道,在北大,我們確實享有很多特權。而我對這種特權非常小心,事實上它讓我更加強烈地感受到了謙卑。

今天我想說的就是這些飽含希望的話,也是我最近的感受。這就是我今天想給你們的兩個詞:希望和善意。


(整理/黃可青  校對/劉鈿  編輯/朱亮亮)


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