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The Conquest of Happiness(松下彰良・訳)

Back Next  Part I(Causes of Unhappiness), Chap.6:Envy   Contents(総目次)

 ライプニッツ(Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, 1646-1716)とホイヘンス( Christian Huygens1629-1695)との(往復)書簡の中に,ニュートンが発狂したという噂について嘆いているものが何通かある。「悲しいことではないだろうか,」--2人はお互い書いているが--「ニュートン氏の比類なき天才が,理性の喪失によって曇らされたなんて・・・。」 そして,この2人の著名人は,次々と手紙を書き,明らかに面白がって,'空涙'(←ワニの涙/ワニは餌を食べながら涙を流す,という伝説から)を流していた。実際は,2人が偽善的に嘆いていた出来事は起こっておらず,ただ,(ニュートンの)奇矯な2,3の行動の実例が,そのような噂を立たせたのである。
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Among average respectable women envy plays an extraordinarily large part. If you are sitting in the underground and a well-dressed woman happens to walk along the car, watch the eyes of the other women. You will see that every one of then, with the possible exception of those who are better dressed, will watch the woman with malevolent glances, and will be struggling to draw inferences derogatory to her. The love of scandal is an expression of this general malevolence: any story against another woman is instantly believed, even on the flimsiest evidence. A lofty morality serves the same purpose: those who have a chance to sin against it are envied, and it is considered virtuous to punish them for their sins. This particular form of virtue is certainly its own reward.
Exactly the same thing, however, is to be observed among men, except that women regard all other women as their competitors, whereas men as a rule only have this feeling towards other men in the same profession. Have you, reader, ever been so imprudent as to praise an artist to another artist? Have you ever praised a politician to another politician of the same party? Have you ever praised an Egyptologist to another Egyptologist? If you have, it is a hundred to one that you will have produced an explosion of jealousy.
In the correspondence of Leibniz and Huyghens there are a number of letters lamenting the supposed fact that Newton had become insane. 'Is it not sad,' they write to each other, 'that the incomparable genius of Mr. Newton should have become overclouded by the loss of reason?' And these two eminent men, in one letter after another, wept crocodile tears with obvious relish. As a matter of fact, the event which they were hypocritically lamenting had not taken place, though a few examples of eccentric behaviour had given rise to the rumour.