The Three Passions of Bertrand Russell: Love, Truth, and Justice

The Three Passions Vedio->

Three passions, simple but overwhelmingly strong, have governed my life: the longing for love, the search for knowledge, and unbearable pity for the suffering of mankind. These passions, like great winds, have blown me hither and thither, in a wayward course, over a deep ocean of anguish, reaching to the very verge of despair. (…)

I have sought knowledge. I have wished to understand the hearts of men. I have wished to know why the stars shine. And I have tried to apprehend the Pythagorean power by which number holds sway above the flux. A little of this, but not much, I have achieved. (…)

Love and knowledge, so far as they were possible, led upward toward the heavens. But always pity brought me back to Earth. Echoes of cries of pain reverberate in my heart. Children in famine, victims tortured by oppressors, helpless old people a burden to their sons, and the whole world of loneliness, poverty, and pain make a mockery of what human life should be. I long to alleviate this evil, but I cannot, and I too suffer.

This has been my life. I have found it worth living, and would gladly live it again if the chance were offered me. (…)

I have sought love, first, because it brings ecstasy – ecstasy so great that I would often have sacrificed all the rest of life for a few hours of this joy. I have sought it, next, because it relieves loneliness – that terrible loneliness in which one shivering consciousness looks over the rim of the world into the cold unfathomable lifeless abyss. I have sought it finally, because in the union of love I have seen, in a mystic miniature, the prefiguring vision of the heaven that saints and poets have imagined. (…)
This is what I sought, and though it might seem too good for human life, this is what—at last—I have found. (…)
I had supposed until that time that it was quite common for parents to love their children, but the war persuaded me that it is a rare exception. I had supposed that most people liked money better than almost anything else, but I discovered that they liked destruction even better. I had supposed that intellectuals frequently loved truth, but I found here again that not ten per cent of them prefer truth to popularity. (…)

As a lover of truth, the national propaganda of all the belligerent nations sickened me. As a lover of civilization, the return to barbarism appalled me. (…)

He asked my religion and I replied “agnostic.” He asked how to spell it, and remarked with a sigh: “Well, there are many religions, but I suppose they all worship the same God.” (…)

I have lived in the pursuit of a vision, both personal and social. Personal: to care for what is noble, for what is beautiful, for what is gentle; to allow moments of insight to give wisdom at more mundane times. Social: to see in imagination the society that is to be created, where individuals grow freely, and where hate and greed and envy die because there is nothing to nourish them. These things I believe, and the world, for all its horrors, has left me unshaken.”

Bertrand Russell, British philosopher, logician, mathematician

《三种激情》是选自《伯特兰·罗素自传》的一篇优秀散文。它既是作者心灵的抒发,也是生命体验的总结。作者以深刻的感悟和敏锐的目光,分析了人生中的三种激情,即对爱的渴望,对知识的追求和对人类苦难的同情。对爱的渴望,使人欣喜若狂,既能解除孤独,又能发现美好的未来。对知识的追求,使人理解人心,了解宇宙,掌握科学。爱和知识把人引向天堂般的境界,而对人类的同情之心又使人回到苦难深重的人间。作者认为这就是人生,值得为此再活一次的人生。这篇散文似乎信手拈来,但却耐人寻味。充满激情,充满感慨,充满智慧,情文并茂,逻辑性和感染力极强。

三种激情虽然简单,却异常强烈,它们统治着我的生命,那便是:对爱的渴望,对知识的追求,以及对人类苦难的难以承受的同情。这三种激情像变化莫测的狂风任意地把我刮来刮去,把我刮入痛苦的深海,到了绝望的边缘。

我曾经寻找爱,首先是因为它能使我欣喜若狂——这种喜悦之情如此强烈,使我常常宁愿为这几个小时的愉悦而牺牲生命中的其他一切。我寻求爱,其次是因为爱能解除孤独——在这种可怕的孤独中,一颗颤抖的良心在世界的边缘,注视着下面冰凉、毫无生气、望不见底的深渊。我寻求爱还因为在爱的融合中,我能以某种神秘的图像看到曾被圣人和诗人想象过的天堂里未来的景象。这就是我所追求的东西,虽然这似乎对于人类的生命来说过于完美,但这确实是我最终发现的东西。 我怀着同样的激情去寻找知识,我曾渴望着理解人心,我曾渴望知道为何星星会闪烁,我还企图弄懂毕达哥拉斯所谓的用数字控制变化的力量,但在这方面,我只知道一点点。

爱的力量和知识的力量引我接近天堂,但同情之心往往又把我拉回大地。痛苦的哭泣回响、震荡在我的心中。饥饿的儿童,被压迫、受折磨的人们,成为儿孙们讨厌的包袱的、无助的老人们,充斥着整个世界的孤独的气氛,贫穷和苦难,所有这一切都是对人类生活原本该具有的样子所作的讽刺。我渴望消除一切邪恶,但我办不到,因为我自己也处于苦难之中。 这就是我的生活,我认为值得一过。而且,如果有第二次机会,我将乐意地再过一次。

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