2022年7月30日 星期六

仰慕財勢敗壞道德情感

2022年7月30日

因為譯書,讀到亞當斯密(Adam Smith)《道德情操論》(The Theory of Moral SentimentsPart I, Section III, Chapter III頭兩段,覺得真是洞察人性,值得細閱。

這一節的標題是Of the corruption of our moral sentiments, which is occasioned by this disposition to admire the rich and the great, and to despise or neglect persons of poor and mean condition,謝宗林譯為「論欽佩富貴與藐視貧賤的心理傾向腐化我們的道德判斷」。 

以下兩段引自謝宗林譯本: 

//這種對有錢有勢者的欽佩乃至幾乎崇拜,以及對貧窮卑賤者的蔑視或至少是忽視的傾向,雖然是地位差別與社會秩序賴以建立與維持的必要基礎,然而,它同時也是我們的道德情感所以敗壞的一個重大且極普遍的原因。歷代的道德家無不抱怨:財富與顯貴時常享有只應屬於智慧與美德的尊敬與欽佩;而只應針對惡行與愚蠢表示的輕蔑,卻往往極不公正地留給貧窮與卑微承受。 

我們希望自己是值得尊敬的人,也希望自己被人尊敬。我們害怕自己是該被輕蔑的人,也害怕自己被人輕蔑。但是,一旦踏入這個世界,我們很快便發現,智慧與美德絕不是人們唯一尊敬的對象;而惡行與愚蠢也一樣不是人們唯一輕蔑的對象。我們時常看到,世人尊敬的目光比較強烈地投向有錢與有勢的人,而不是投向有智慧與有美德的人。我們也時常看到,有權有勢者的惡行與愚蠢,遠比天真無辜者的貧窮與卑微受到更少的輕蔑。值得世人的尊敬與欽佩,獲得世人的尊敬與欽佩,以及享受世人的尊敬與欽佩,是這世上的雄心壯志與競爭較量的偉大目標。有兩條不同的路出現在我們眼前,同樣可以達到這個被如此渴求的目標:其中一條,經由學習智慧與實踐美德;另一條,經由取得財富與顯貴的地位。有兩種不同的性格出現在我們的面前,供我們仿效:其中一種,滿懷高傲自大的野心與庸俗賣弄的貪婪;另一種,則是滿懷樸素的謙虛與公平的正義。有兩個不同的模式,兩幅不同的畫像,懸在我們的眼前,供我們據以形塑我們自己的品格與行為:其中一幅,在著色上比較庸俗華麗與光彩耀眼;另一幅則是在輪廓線條上比較正確,也比較細膩美麗。其中一幅迫使每一隻遊移的眼睛不得不注意到它;另一幅則幾乎不會吸引什麼人注意,除非是最用心與仔細的觀察者。真心堅定愛慕智慧與美德的,主要是一些賢明有德的人,他們非常優秀,不過,為數恐怕不是很多。絕大多數的人是財富與顯貴地位的愛慕者,而且,也許更為古怪的是,大部分還往往是沒有私心的愛慕者與崇拜者。// 


原文如下:

This disposition to admire, and almost to worship, the rich and the powerful, and to despise, or, at least, to neglect persons of poor and mean condition, though necessary both to establish and to maintain the distinction of ranks and the order of society, is, at the same time, the great and most universal cause of the corruption of our moral sentiments. That wealth and greatness are often regarded with the respect and admiration which are due only to wisdom and virtue; and that the contempt, of which vice and folly are the only proper objects, is often most unjustly bestowed upon poverty and weakness, has been the complaint of moralists in all ages. 

We desire both to be respectable and to be respected. We dread both to be contemptible and to be contemned. But, upon coming into the world, we soon find that wisdom and virtue are by no means the sole objects of respect; nor vice and folly, of contempt. We frequently see the respectful attentions of the world more strongly directed towards the rich and the great, than towards the wise and the virtuous. We see frequently the vices and follies of the powerful much less despised than the poverty and weakness of the innocent. To deserve, to acquire, and to enjoy the respect and admiration of mankind, are the great objects of ambition and emulation. Two different roads are presented to us, equally leading to the attainment of this so much desired object; the one, by the study of wisdom and the practice of virtue; the other, by the acquisition of wealth and greatness. Two different characters are presented to our emulation; the one, of proud ambition and ostentatious avidity. the other, of humble modesty and equitable justice. Two different models, two different pictures, are held out to us, according to which we may fashion our own character and behaviour; the one more gaudy and glittering in its colouring; the other more correct and more exquisitely beautiful in its outline: the one forcing itself upon the notice of every wandering eye; the other, attracting the attention of scarce any body but the most studious and careful observer. They are the wise and the virtuous chiefly, a select, though, I am afraid, but a small party, who are the real and steady admirers of wisdom and virtue. The great mob of mankind are the admirers and worshippers, and, what may seem more extraordinary, most frequently the disinterested admirers and worshippers, of wealth and greatness.

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