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The Conquest of Happiness (HA23-070)(松下彰良・訳)

Back Next  Part II(Causes of Happiness), Chap. 12(Affection)   Contents (総目次)
We have been speaking hitherto of the affection of which a person is the object. I wish now to speak of the affection that a person gives. This also is of two different kinds, one of which is perhaps the most important expression of a zest for life, while the other is an expression of fear. The former seems to me wholly admirable, while the latter is at best a consolation. If you are sailing in a ship on a fine day along a beautiful coast, you admire the coast and feel pleasure in it. This pleasure is one derived entirely from looking outward, and has nothing to do with any desperate need of your own. If, on the other hand, your ship is wrecked and you swim towards the coast, you acquire for it a new kind of love: it represents security against the waves, and its beauty or ugliness becomes an unimportant matter. The better sort of affection corresponds to the feeling of the man whose ship is secure, the less excellent sort corresponds to that of the ship-wrecked swimmer. The first of these kinds of affection is only possible in so far as a man feels safe, or at any rate is indifferent to such dangers as beset him; the latter kind, on the contrary, is caused by the feeling of insecurity. The feeling caused by insecurity is much more subjective and self-centred than the other, since the loved person is valued for services rendered, not for intrinsic qualities. I do not, however, wish to suggest that this kind of affection has no legitimate part to play in life. In fact, almost all real affection contains something of both kinds in combination, and in so far as affection does really cure the sense of insecurity it sets a man free to feel again that interest in the world which in moments of danger and fear is obscured. But while recognising the part that such affection has to play in life, we must still hold that it is less excellent than the other kind, since it depends upon fear, and fear is an evil, and also because it is more self-centred. In the best kind of affection a man hopes for a new happiness rather than for escape from an old unhappiness.