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        幸福之道

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        The Road To Happiness

         


          It is a commonplace among moralists that you cannot get happiness by pursuing it. This is only true if you pursue it unwisely. Gamblers at Monte Carlo are pursuing money, and most of them lose it instead, but there are other ways of pursuing money, which often succeed. So it is with happiness. If you pursue it by means of drink, you are forgetting the hang-over. Epicurus pursued it by living only in congenial society and eating only dry bread, supplemented by a little cheese on feast days. His method proved successful in his case, but he was a valetudinarian, and most people would need something more vigorous. For most people, the pursuit of happiness, unless supplemented in various ways, is too abstract and theoretical to be adequate as a personal rule of life. But I think that whatever personal rule of life you may choose it should not, except in rare and heroic cases, be incompatible with happiness.

          There are a GREat many people who have all the material conditions of happiness, i.e. health and a sufficient income, and who, nevertheless, are profoundly unhappy. In such cases it would seem as if the fault must lie with a wrong theory as to how to live. In one sense, we may say that any theory as to how to live is wrong. We imagine ourselves more different from the animals than we are. Animals live on impulse, and are happy as long as external conditions are favorable. If you have a cat it will enjoy life if it has food and warmth and opportunities for an occasional night on the tiles. Your needs are more complex than those of your cat, but they still have their basis in instinct. In civilized societies, especially in English-speaking societies, this is too apt to be forgotten. People propose to themselves some one paramount objective, and restrain all impulses that do not minister to it. A businessman may be so anxious to grow rich that to this end he sacrifices health and private affections. When at last he has become rich, no pleasure remains to him except harrying other people by exhortations to imitate his noble example. Many rich ladies, although nature has not endowed them with any spontaneous pleasure in literature or art, decide to be thought cultured, and spend boring hours learning the right thing to say about fashionable new books that are written to give delight, not to afford opportunities for dusty snobbism.

          If you look around at the men and women whom you can call happy, you will see that they all have certain things in common. The most important of these things is an activity which at most gradually builds up something that you are glad to see coming into existence. Women who take an instinctive pleasure in their children can get this kind of satisfaction out of bringing up a family. Artists and authors and men of science get happiness in this way if their own work seems good to them. But there are many humbler forms of the same kind of pleasure. Many men who spend their working life in the city devote their weekends to voluntary and unremunerated toil in their gardens, and when the spring comes, they experience all the joys of having created beauty.

          The whole subject of happiness has, in my opinion, been treated too solemnly. It had been thought that man cannot be happy without a theory of life or a religion. Perhaps those who have been rendered unhappy by a bad theory may need a better theory to help them to recovery, just as you may need a tonic when you have been ill. But when things are normal a man should be healthy without a tonic and happy without a theory. It is the simple things that really matter. If a man delights in his wife and children, has success in work, and finds pleasure in the alternation of day and night, spring and autumn, he will be happy whatever his philosophy may be. If, on the other hand, he finds his wife fateful, his children's noise unendurable, and the office a nightmare; if in the daytime he longs for night, and at night sighs for the light of day, then what he needs is not a new philosophy but a new regimen----a different diet, or more exercise, or what not.

          Man is an animal, and his happiness depends on his physiology more than he likes to think. This is a humble conclusion, but I cannot make myself disbelieve it. Unhappy businessmen, I am convinced, would increase their happiness more by walking six miles every day than by any conceivable change of philosophy.

          幸福之道

          道德家們常說:幸??孔非笫堑貌坏降?。只有用不明智的方式去追求才是這樣。蒙特卡洛城的賭徒們追求金錢,但多數人卻把錢輸掉了,而另外一些追求金錢的辦法卻常常成功。追求幸福也是一樣。如果你通過暢飲來追求幸福,那你就忘記了酒醉后的不適。埃畢丘魯斯追求幸福的辦法是只和志趣相投的人一起生活,只吃不涂黃油的面包,節日才加一點奶酪。他的辦法對他來說是成功的,但他是個體弱多病的人,而多數人需要的是精力充沛。就多數人來說,除非你有別的補充辦法,這樣追求快樂就過于抽象和脫離實際,不宜作為個人的生活準則。不過,我覺得無論你選擇什么樣的生活準則,除了那些罕見的和英雄人物的例子外,都應該是和幸福相容的。

           很多人擁有獲得幸福的全部物質條件,即健康的身體和豐足的收入,可是他們非常不快樂。就這種情況來說,似乎問題處在生活理論的錯誤上。從某種意義上講,我們可以說任何關于生活的理論都是不正確的。我們和動物的區別并沒有我們想象的那么大。動物是憑沖動生活的,只要客觀條件有利,它們就會快樂。如果你有一只貓,它只要有東西吃,感到暖和,偶爾晚上得到機會去尋歡,它就會很快活。你的需要比你的貓要復雜一些,但還是以本能為基礎的。在文明社會中,特別是在講英語的社會中,這一點很容易被忘卻。人們給自己定下一個最高的目標,對一切不利于實現這一目標的沖動都加以克制。生意人可能因為切望發財以致不惜犧牲健康和愛情。等他終于發了財,他除了苦苦勸人效法他的好榜樣而攪得別人心煩外,并沒有得到快樂。很多有錢的貴婦人,盡管自然并未賦予她們任何欣賞文學或藝術的興趣,卻決意要使別人認為她們是有教養的,于是他們花費很多煩人的時間學習怎樣談論那些流行的新書。這些書寫出來是要給人以樂趣的,而不是要給人以附庸風雅的機會的。

           只要你觀察一下周圍那些你可稱之為幸福的男男女女,就會看出他們都有某些共同之處。在這些共同之處中有一點是最重要的:那就是活動本身,它在大多數情況下本身就很有趣,而且可逐漸的使你的愿望得以實現。生性喜愛孩子的婦女,能夠從撫養子女中得到這種滿足。藝術家、作家和科學家如果對自己的工作感到滿意,也能以同樣的方式得到快樂。不過,還有很多是較低層次的快樂。許多在城里工作的人到了周末自愿地在自家的庭院里做無償的勞動,春天來時,他們就可盡情享受自己創造的美景帶來的快樂。

           在我看來,整個關于快樂的話題一向都被太嚴肅的對待過了。過去一直有這樣的看法:如果沒有一種生活的理論或者宗教信仰,人是不可能幸福的。也許那些由于理論不好才導致不快樂的人需要一種較好的理論幫助他們重新快活起來,就像你生過病需要吃補藥一樣。但是,正常情況下,一個人不吃補藥也應當是健康的;沒有理論也應當是幸福的。真正有關系的是一些簡單的事情。如果一個男人喜愛他的妻子兒女,事業有成,而且無論白天黑夜,春去秋來,總是感到高興,那么不管他的理論如何,都會是快樂的。反之,如果他討厭自己的妻子,受不了孩子們的吵鬧,而且害怕上班;如果他白天盼望夜晚,而到了晚上又巴望著天明,那么,他所需要的就不是一種新的理論,而是一種新的生活——改變飲食習慣,多鍛煉身體等等。

           人是動物,他的幸福更多的時候取決于其生理狀況而非思想狀況。這是一個很庸俗的結論,然而我無法使自己懷疑它。我確信,不幸福的商人與其找到新的理論來使自己幸福,還不如每天步行六英里更見效。

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