不要抛弃学问

诸位毕业同学:

你们现在就要离母校了,我没有什么礼物送给你们,只好送你们一句话吧。这句话是:“不要抛弃学问。”

以前的功课也许一大部分是为了这张文凭,不得已而做的。从今以后,你们可以依自己的心愿去自由研究了。趁现在年富力强的时候,努力做一种专门学问。少年是一去不复返的,等到精力衰减时,要做学问也来不及了。即为吃饭计,学问也决不会辜负人的。吃饭而不求学问,三年五年之后,你们都要被后来少年淘汰的。到那时再想做点学问来补救,恐怕已太晚了。

有人说:“出去做事之后,生活问题急需解决,哪有工夫去读书?即使要做学问,既没有图书馆,又没有实验室,哪能做学问?”

我要对你们说:凡是要等到有图书馆才能读书,有了图书馆也不肯读书。凡是等到有了实验室方才做研究,有了实验室也不肯做研究。你有了决心就研究一个问题,自然会节衣缩食去买书,自然会想出法子来设置仪器。

至于时间,更不成问题。达尔文一生多病,不能多做工,每天只能做一点钟的工作。你们看他的成绩!每天花一点钟看10页有用的书,每年可看3600多页,30年可读11万页书。
诸位,11万页书可以使你成为一个学者了。可是每天看三种小报也得费你一点钟工夫;四圈麻将也得废你一点半钟的光阴。看小报呢,还是打麻将呢,还是努力做一个学者呢?全靠你们自己的选择!

易卜生说:“你的最大责任是把你这块材料铸造成器。”

学问便是铸器的工具,抛弃了学问便是毁了你自己。

再会了!你们的母校眼睁睁地要看你们10年之后成什么器。

(胡适 中国公学十八年级毕业赠言 1929年)


Dear Students of the Graduating Class,
As you are leaving your alma mater, I have nothing to offer you as a gift except a word of advice.
My advice is, “Never give up the pursuit of learning.” You have perhaps finished your college courses mostly for obtaining the diploma, or, in other words, out of sheer necessity. However, from now on you are free to follow your own bent in the choice of studies. While you are in the prime of life, why not devote yourselves to a special field of study? Youth will soon be gone never to return. And it will be too late for you to go into scholarship when in your declining years. Knowledge will do you a good return even as a means of subsistence. If you give up studies while holding a job, you will in a couple of years have had yourselves replaces by younger people. It will then be too late to remedy the situation by picking up studies again.
Some people say, “Once you have a job, you’ll come up against the urgent problem of making a living. How can you manage to find time to study? Even if you want to, will it be possible with no library or laboratory available?”
Now let me tell you this. Those who refuse to study for lack of a library will most probably continue to do so even though there is a library. And those who refuse to do research for lack of a laboratory will most probably continue to do so even though a laboratory is available. As long as you set your mind on studies, you will naturally cut down on food and clothing to buy books or do everything possible to acquire necessary instruments.
Time is no object. Charles Darwin could only work one hour a day due to ill health. Yet what a remarkable man he was! If you spend one hour a day reading 10 pages of a book, you can finish more than 3,600 pages a year, and 110,000 pages in 30 years.
Dear students, 110,000 pages will be quite enough to make a learned man of you. It will take you one hour to read three tabloids a day, and one and half hours to finish four rounds of mah-jong a day. Reading tabloids, playing mah-jong or striving to be a learned man, the choice lies with you.
”Henrik Ibsen says, “It is your supreme duty to cast yourself into a useful implement.”
Learning is the casting mould. Forsake learning, and you will ruin yourself.
Farewell! Your alma-mater is watching eagerly to see what will become of you ten years from now.

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