老いの一筆

Fair is foul, and foul is fair – Macbeth Act 1 SceneⅠ・・・きれいはきたない、きたないはきれい

The Intellectual Life (2)

今日、読了した。1か月掛かけた。

高校英語で採用されていればよし、もし採用されていなければ、是非、英語教師に加えてもらいたいと願う。

高校、大学での知的生活がわずか7年。将来学者になるつもりの者以外は、定年まで二度目の知的生活は待

たなければならない。

30年、40年の空白だ。

読み返して感じたのは、私の思想と行動がこの作品の内容に極めて似ていることである。

高校時に読んだ印象は、「知的生活」に真新しさがなかった。受験校で水泳部の活動以外は知識の吸収がす

べてだった。教師と学友にも恵まれていた環境だった。

下段のPrefaceで分かるように、英文は非常にplainである。LambやHazlittの難しさはない。知的生活への

誘いだからけだし当然である。

とは言え、内容は階級、貧困、時間、環境、家庭など当時の知識人の直面した課題が深く考察されていて大

変高品質である。

1873年刊行、140年も前の作品だ。それが今も通用する。

知性や教養がキザの代名詞でないことが再確認できるだけでも一読に価する。


The Intellectual Life
by Philip Gilbert Hamerton

PREFACE.

I propose, in the following pages, to consider the possibilities of a
satisfactory intellectual life under various conditions of ordinary
human existence. It will form a part of my plan to take into account
favorable and unfavorable influences of many kinds; and my chief
purpose, so far as any effect upon others may be hoped for, will be to
guard some who may read the book alike against the loss of time caused
by unnecessary discouragement, and the waste of effort which is the
consequence of misdirected energies.

I have adopted the form of letters addressed to persons of very
different position in order that every reader may have a chance of
finding what concerns him. The letters, it is unnecessary to observe,
are in one sense as fictitious as those we find in novels, for they have
never been sent to anybody by the post, yet the persons to whom they are
addressed are not imaginary. I made it a rule, from the beginning, to
think of a real person when writing, from an apprehension that by
dwelling in a world too exclusively ideal I might lose sight of many
impediments which beset all actual lives, even the most exceptional and
fortunate.

The essence of the book may be expressed in a few sentences, the rest
being little more than evidence or illustration. First, it appears that
all who are born with considerable intellectual faculties are urged
towards the intellectual life by irresistible instincts, as water-fowl
are urged to an aquatic life; but the lower animals have this advantage
over man, that as their purposes are simpler, so they attain them more
completely than he does. The life of a wild duck is in perfect
accordance with its instincts, but the life of an intellectual man is
never on all points perfectly in accordance with _his_ instincts. Many
of the best intellectual lives known to us have been hampered by
vexatious impediments of the most various and complicated kinds; and
when we come to have accurate and intimate knowledge of the lives led by
our intellectual contemporaries, we are always quite sure to find that
each of them has some great thwarting difficulty to contend against. Nor
is it too much to say that if a man were so placed and endowed in every
way that all his work should be made as easy as the ignorant imagine it
to be, that man would find in that very facility itself a condition most
unfavorable to his intellectual growth. So that, however circumstances
may help us or hinder us, the intellectual life is always a contest or a
discipline, and the art or skill of living intellectually does not so
much consist in surrounding ourselves with what is reputed to be
advantageous as in compelling every circumstance and condition of our
lives to yield us some tribute of intellectual benefit and force. The
needs of the intellect are as various as intellects themselves are
various: and if a man has got high mental culture during his passage
through life it is of little consequence where he acquired it, or how.
The school of the intellectual man is the place where he happens to be,
and his teachers are the people, books, animals, plants, stones, and
earth round about him. The feeling almost always predominant in the
minds of intellectual men as they grow older, is not so much one of
regret that their opportunities were not more abundant, as of regret
that they so often missed opportunities which they might have turned to
better account.

I have written for all classes, in the conviction that the intellectual
life is really within the reach of every one who earnestly desires it.
The highest culture can never be within the reach of those who cannot
give the years of labor which it costs; and if we cultivate ourselves to
shine in the eyes of others, to become famous in literature or science,
then of course we must give many more hours of labor than can be spared
from a life of practical industry. But I am fully convinced of this,
convinced by the observation of living instances in all classes, that
any man or woman of large natural capacity may reach the tone of
thinking which may justly be called intellectual, even though that
thinking may not be expressed in the most perfect language. The essence
of intellectual living does not reside in extent of science or in
perfection of expression, but in a constant preference for higher
thoughts over lower thoughts, and this preference may be the habit of a
mind which has not any very considerable amount of information. This may
be very easily demonstrated by a reference to men who lived
intellectually in ages when science had scarcely begun to exist, and
when there was but little literature that could be of use as an aid to
culture. The humblest subscriber to a mechanics' institute has easier
access to sound learning than had either Solomon or Aristotle, yet both
Solomon and Aristotle lived the intellectual life. Whoever reads English
is richer in the aids to culture than Plato was, yet Plato _thought_
intellectually. It is not erudition that makes the intellectual man, but
a sort of virtue which delights in vigorous and beautiful thinking, just
as moral virtue delights in vigorous and beautiful conduct. Intellectual
living is not so much an accomplishment as a state or condition of the
mind in which it seeks earnestly for the highest and purest truth. It is
the continual exercise of a firmly noble choice between the larger truth
and the lesser, between that which is perfectly just and that which
falls a little short of justice. The ideal life would be to choose thus
firmly and delicately always, yet if we often blunder and fail for want
of perfect wisdom and clear light, have we not the inward assurance that
our aspiration has not been all in vain, that it has brought us a
little nearer to the Supreme Intellect whose effulgence draws us whilst
it dazzles? Here is the true secret of that fascination which belongs to
intellectual pursuits, that they reveal to us a little more, and yet a
little more, of the eternal order of the Universe, establishing us so
firmly in what is known, that we acquire an unshakable confidence in the
laws which govern what is not, and never can be, known.


付:
1.Gutenbergで無料DLできます。
2..Philip Gilbert Hamerton (1834-1894)
3.大英和・ランダムハウス不記載。リーダーズ英和第2版までも不記載。低い評価は辞書編纂者の知性の表われ。貧しいです。
4.無意識に影響されたのかもしれません。そうだとすれば徒然草に強烈な意識下で影響を受けたのと対照的です。

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