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The Conquest of Happiness, by Bertrand Russell

Back Next  Chap. 16(Effort and Resignation)  Contents (総目次)
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第16章 努力と諦め(あきらめ)


In the case of any person, whether man or woman, who has to work for a living, the need of effort in this respect is too obvious to need emphasising. The Indian fakir, it is true, can make a living without effort by merely offering a bowl for the alms of the faithful, but in Western countries the authorities do not view with a favourable eye this method of obtaining an income. Moreover, the climate makes it less pleasant than in hotter and drier countries: in the winter-time, at any rate, few people are so lazy as to prefer idleness out of doors to work in heated rooms. Resignation alone, therefore, is not in the West one of the roads to fortune.
To a very large percentage of men in Western countries, more than a bare living is necessary to happiness, since they desire the feeling of being successful. In some occupations, such, for example as scientific research, this feeling can be obtained by men who do not earn a large income, but in the majority of occupations income has become the measure of success . At this point we touch upon a matter in regard to which an element of resignation is desirable in most cases, since in a competitive world conspicuous success is possible only for a minority.
Marriage is a matter in regard to which effort may or may not be necessary, according to circumstances. Where one sex is in the minority, as men are in England and women are in Australia, members of that sex require, as a rule, little effort in order to marry if they wish. For members of the sex which is in the majority, however, the opposite is the case. The amount of effort and thought expended in this direction by women where they are in the majority is obvious to anyone who will study the advertisements in women's magazines. Men, where they are in a majority, frequently adopt more expeditious methods, such as skill with the revolver. This is natural, since a majority of men occurs most frequently on the border-line of civilisation. I do not know what men would do if a discriminating pestilence caused them to become a majority in England; they might have to revert to the manners of gallants in a bygone age.