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The Conquest of Happiness(松下彰良・訳)

Back Next  Part I(Causes of Unhappiness), Chap.9:Fear of Public Opinion   Contents(総目次へ)

 第9章 世論に対する恐怖

 自分と社会的関係を持っている人びと、特に共同生活している人たちから、自分の生き方や物の見方が大筋において認められなくても幸福になれる人は、ほとんどいない。近代社会の1つの特徴は、(社会が)種々の社会集団に分かれ、それぞれ倫理道徳や信条がかなり異なるということである。このような状況は、宗教改革(The Reformation: 16世紀西欧の宗教改革)とともに始まった、あるいはルネッサンスとともに始まったと言うべきかもしれない。そして、それ以来ますます、この状況は、明白に(著しく)なってきた。(キリスト教信者には)プロテスタント教徒(派)とカトリック教徒(派)がおり、両者は、神学においてだけではなく、多くのより実際的な事柄についても意見を異にしていた。(また)中産階級(ブルジョア)の間では許されないような様々の行動を許容する貴族階級がいた。それから、宗教上の慣例遵守の義務を認めない'広教派'(latitudinarians:宗教的自由思想家、特に英国国教会の広教派)や自由思想家が出現した。現代では、ヨーロッパ大陸全体を通して、社会主義者とそれ以外の人々との間に深い意見の不一致(隔壁)があり、それは、政治だけでなく、人間生活のほぼすべての分野に渡っている。英語を話す国々では、意見の相違はおびただしい。芸術を賞賛する集団がある一方、、芸術は悪魔のものである、少なくとも現代芸術はそうである、と考える集団もある。大英帝国への忠誠は最高の善と考える集団もあれば、それは悪徳であると考える集団もあるし、さらに、愚かさの一表現と考える集団もある。因習的な人びとは、'不貞'は最悪の犯罪の一つだと考えるが、大部分の人びとは、積極的にほめないにせよ、許すことのできるものであると見なす。カトリック教徒の間では、離婚は完全に禁じられているが、たいていの非カトリック教徒は、離婚は結婚生活の苦痛を軽減するのに必要だと考えている。
ウィリアム・ブレイク(William Blake,1787-1827)も、エミリー・ブロンテ同様、極度の精神的な孤立の中で生きていたが、彼女同様に、その悪影響を克服しうるほど偉大であった。なぜなら、彼は、自分は正しく、'批評家たち'がまちがっていることを、まったく疑ったことがなかったからである。彼の世評に対する態度は、次の詩行に表現されている。
フューズリ*だけだった 彼はトルコ人でありかつユダヤ人だった

* Fuseli:
ヨハン・ハインリヒ・フューズリ(Johann Heinrich Fuseli,1741-1825)のこと


Very few people can be happy unless on the whole their way of life and their outlook on the world is approved by those with whom they have social relations, and more especially by those with whom they live. It is a peculiarity of modern communities that they are divided into sets which differ profoundly in their morals and in their beliefs. This state of affairs began with the Reformation, or perhaps one should say with the Renaissance, and has grown more pronounced ever since. There were Protestants and Catholics, who differed not only in theology but on many more practical matters. There were aristocrats who permitted various kinds of action that were not tolerated among the bourgeoisie. Then there came to be latitudinarians and free-thinkers who did not recognise the duties of religious observance. In our own day throughout the Continent of Europe there is a profound division between socialists and others, which covers not only politics but almost every department of life. In English-speaking countries the divisions are very numerous. In some sets art is admired, while in others it is thought to be of the devil, at any rate if it is modern. In some sets devotion to the Empire is the supreme virtue, in others it is considered a vice, and yet in others a form of stupidity. Conventional people consider adultery one of the worst of crimes, but large sections of the population regard it as excusable if not positively laudable, Among Catholics divorce is totally forbidden, while most non-Catholics accept it as a necessary alleviation of matrimony.
Owing to all these differences of outlook a person of given tastes and convictions may find himself practically an outcast while he lives in one set, although in another set he would be accepted as an entirely ordinary human being. A very great deal of unhappiness, especially among the young, arises in this way. A young man or young woman somehow catches ideas that are in the air, but finds that these ideas are anathema in the particular milieu in which he or she lives. It easily seems to the young as if the only milieu with which they are acquainted were representative of the whole world. They can scarcely believe that in another place or another set the views which they dare not avow for fear of being thought utterly perverse would be accepted as the ordinary commonplaces of the age. Thus through ignorance of the world a great deal of unnecessary misery is endured, sometimes only in youth, but not infrequently throughout life. This isolation is not only a source of pain, it also causes a great dissipation of energy in the unnecessary task of maintaining mental independence against hostile surroundings, and in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred produces a certain timidity in following out ideas to their logical conclusions. The Bronte sisters never met any congenial people until after their books had been published. This did not affect Emily, who was heroic and in the grand manner, but it certainly did affect Charlotte, whose outlook, in spite of her talents , remained always to a large extent that of a governess. Blake, like Emily Bronte, lived in extreme mental isolation, but like her was great enough to overcome its bad effects, since he never doubted that he was right and his critics wrong. His attitude towards public opinion is expressed in the lines:
The only man that e'er I knew
Who did not make me almost spew
Was Fuseli: he was both Turk and Jew.
And so, dear Christian friends, how do you do?