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  人们通常喜欢听好听的话,一听到拂耳之言就容易产生不悦甚至愠怒。一个人特别是身居要职的人要能够心悦诚服地倾听逆耳之良言并从中获得智慧,就需要一种容忍和大度的雅量,而这往往依赖于人们的心性修养和对人性缺陷的克制;否则,就会给那些善于运用花言巧语和投其所好的人提供可乘之机,并伤害那些直言不讳的忠诚之人。

  在理智上,人们大概愿意接受“兼听则明,偏信则暗”、“忠言逆耳利于行”等一类古老的真理,或者乐于信服老子说的“美言不信,信言不美”的哲理。但在行为上,人们又时常背离这些古训,不愿意听或听不进“逆耳”之言,”最终犯下严重的过失。

  【参考译文】

  We tend to hear words pleasant to the ear but have displeasure and resentment at words harsh to the ear. A man, especially one occupying an important position, needs tolerance and magnanimity to lend an ear to truthful yet offensive words with heartfelt admiration so as to gain wisdom from them, and those qualities can be only cultivated through the nurturing of the soul and the restraint in human weaknesses. Otherwise, opportunities are exploited to the advantage of those with sweet words on the lips to tickle the ear of others, only to hurt those loyal people outspoken in their remarks.

  Intellectually, we are probably willing to believe in the ancient truths that we’ ll be enlightened if we listen to both sides and we will be benighted if we heed only one side, that honest advice, though unpleasant to the ear, benefits conduct. Also, we are delightfully convinced of Laotzi’s philosophy that true words are not embellished and the embellished words are not true. However, in our behaviours, we tend to depart from those estabilished maxims, reluctant to accept and follow those uncomfortable truths until eventually grave errors are committed.

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