Portal Site for Russellian in Japan
現代の我々は,過去のどの時代よりも,幸福な生活のための条件と従来考えられてきたものを実現している。現在(大恐慌後で)不景気であるにもかかわらず,昔に比べれば,我々は,生活を快適にする物や賛沢品にはずっと恵まれている。特に娯楽は豊富であり,退屈になることは昔よりずっと少ない。だが,極貧層は別として,現代社会に生きる人間が昔よりも感知できるほどより幸福かどうかは疑問である。確かに,現代文学は一般的にきわめて悲観的である。もしプリーストリー（John Boynton Priestley, OM, 1894-1984：英国の著作家,劇作家,司会者）のような作家が,（ディケンズの）ピクウィック・ペーパーズに見られる陽気さを再現しようとすればと,作品は不自然かつ時代錯誤の感じになるのをまぬがれない。
It seems to be generally accepted that quiet contentment is very rare in the present age. It is apt to be assumed that in other ages it was commoner, though this is to my mind very doubtful. If an indictment is to be framed against our time it must not be on the ground that people are less contented than they were but rather on the ground that in spite of improved conditions they have not grown more contented.
We have realised what were formerly supposed to be the conditions for a happy life more than has happened in any earlier age. Even in the present bad times there are more comforts and luxuries than there ever were before. Especially there are more amusements and fewer occasions for boredom. Nevertheless, it is doubtful whether any but the poorest sections of society are appreciably happier than they were in former times. Certainly modern literature is, as a rule, far from optimistic. When a man like Priestley tries to re-create the jollity of Pickwick his work is felt to be artificial and an anachronism.
It is costomary to attribute modern pessimism to the decay of faith and the difficulty of finding some continuous and fruitful purpose in life. I doubt, however, whether this is a correct analysis, or, at any rate, whether it goes to the root of the matter. I believe the lack of zest and of fruitful purpose itself has physiological causes. A man in a really good physical condition finds something to believe in, whereas a man whose digestion or glands are out of order is a prey to all the gloomy forms of doubt and despair.
I believe that if our pessimists were subjected to a rigorous regimen of physical exercise, simple but wholesome diet and long hours of sleep, they would begin to find all sorts of things worth doing and would feel hopeful as to the possibility of doing some of these things themselves. Any man who contemplates writing a book or engaging in any forms of preaching or propaganda should be obliged to do an hour's digging or other outdoor manual work before breakfast. By that time breakfast would be such a delight that throughout the rest of the day he would be incapable of thinking that all is vanity.
Those who resisted this regimen and still remained pessimistic should be subjected to something more severe: they should be allowed only an apple and a glass of milk for their breakfast and should compelled to do outdoor physical exercise until midday. After the midday meal most of them would fall asleep, but the few who remained awake might write books worth reading.
The body has a natural rhythms, diurnal and annual, which it acquired during the long ages when men possesed few artificial means of escaping from these rigours of nature. We have emancipated our daily lives from these rigours; our room are brightly lit by night and adequately warmed in frosty weather. Those of us whose work is not manual are apt to have far less physical exercise than the health of the body demands; or diet also tends to be rich without being nourishing.
Such homely reasons as these have, I believe, much more to do with the discontent of moderns than has any form of cosmic despair or decay of faith. If I am right, the cure for modern despair is a matter for the physician, not for the philosopher.
I, alas, am a philosopher, not a physician.