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The Conquest of Happiness(松下彰良・訳)

Back Next  Part I(Causes of Unhappiness), Chap.5:Fatigue   Contents(総目次へ)
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For the private individual, who cannot alter the laws and institutions under which he lives, it is difficult to cope with the situation that oppressive moralists created and perpetuate. It is, however, worth while to realise that exciting pleasures are not a road to happiness, although so long as more satisfying joys remain unattainable a man may find it hardly possible to endure life except by the help of excitement. In such a situation the only thing that a prudent man can do is to ration himself, and not to allow himself such an amount of fatiguing pleasure as will undermine his health or interfere with his work. The radical cure for the troubles of the young lies in a change of public morals. In the meantime a young man does well to reflect that he will ultimately be in a position to marry, and that he will be unwise if he lives in such a way as to make a happy marriage impossible, which may easily happen through frayed nerves and an acquired incapacity for the gentler pleasures.
One of the worst features of nervous fatigue is that it acts as a sort of screen between a man and the outside world. Impressions reach him, as it were, muffled and muted; he no longer notices people except to be irritated by small tricks or mannerisms; he derives no pleasure from his meals or from the sunshine, but tends to become tensely concentrated upon a few objects and indifferent to all the rest. This state of affairs makes it impossible to rest, so that fatigue continually increases until it reaches a point where medical treatment is required. All this is at bottom a penalty for having lost that contact with Earth of which we spoke in the preceding chapter. But how such contact is to be preserved in our great modern urban agglomerations of population, it is by no means easy to see. However, here again we find ourselves upon the fringe of large social questions with which in this volume it is not my intention to deal.