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羅素判斷政治理想性的三大問題

2020/2/14 — 12:36

左圖:https://bit.ly/39uQXiP 右圖:作者拍攝

左圖:https://bit.ly/39uQXiP 右圖:作者拍攝

英國大哲學家伯特蘭·羅素(Bertrand Russell, 1872–1970)離世時接近98歲,活過了豐富、精彩、獨特的悠長一生。通常介紹他的時候,都會提到他曾經獲得過諾貝爾文學獎,但正如愛因斯坦雖然曾經獲得過諾貝爾物理學獎,可是其成就和影響力實際上遠超一般的諾貝爾物理學獎得主,而羅素的成就和影響力亦遠超一般的諾貝爾文學獎得主。

稱得上大哲人通常其思想涵蓋宇宙人生的各個方面,其中當然包括與民眾生活息息相關的社會政治範疇。羅素的一本小書(80頁),Political Ideals,寫成於超過一百年前(1917),而由於政治敏感因素,當時只能在美國出版,直到1963才在英國出版。在該書中羅素簡論了他的政治理念,也評論了一些政治思想和當時的政治問題。著眼於探尋根本的真理,傑出的哲學思想理應是經得起時間考驗的,羅素的智慧值得我們參考。再者,他的文字清晰明白、邏輯性強,亦有展現幽默與機智,浸潤於其中也是一種享受。

在該書的第一章,“Political Ideals”,羅素首先肯定「個人」在政治考量中的根本地位:

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Political ideals must be based upon ideals for the individual life. The aim of politics should be to make the lives of individuals as good as possible. There is nothing for the politician to consider outside or above the various men, women, and children who compose the world. The problem of politics is to adjust the relations of human beings in such a way that each severally may have as much of good in his existence as possible. And this problem requires that we should first consider what it is that we think good in the individual life.

那麼,什麼是個人生活中的「美好」(goods)呢?合乎常識地,他分開兩類:「物質美好」(material goods)和「精神美好」(spiritual goods),而更重要是指出:前者是可以個人獨佔的、僧多粥少的、引起爭奪的,例如食物、土地;後者是與眾共享的、用之不竭的、無需爭奪的,反而一人得着有助成就其他人:

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If one man knows a science, that does not prevent others from knowing it; on the contrary, it helps them to acquire the knowledge. If one man is a great artist or poet, that does not prevent others from painting pictures or writing poems, but helps to create the atmosphere in which such things are possible. If one man is full of good-will toward others, that does not mean that there is less good-will to be shared among the rest; the more good-will one man has, the more he is likely to create among others.

對應於此兩種美好,羅素認為,是人類心中的兩股動力:「佔有動力」(possessive impulse)和「創作動力」(creative impulse)——前者推動人霸佔不夠分享的物質;後者推動人創造非私有的精神作品。

該兩股動力如何影響我們的生活?怎樣才是最美好的生活?羅素相信,最美好的生活是當中創作動力最主導,而佔有動力最輕微,因為:

[…] the habit of mind engendered by thinking of [material] things is a bad one; it leads to competition, envy, domination, cruelty, and almost all the moral evils that infest the world. In particular, it leads to the predatory use of force. Material possessions can be taken by force and enjoyed by the robber. Spiritual possessions cannot be taken in this way. You may kill an artist or a thinker, but you cannot acquire his art or his thought. You may put a man to death because he loves his fellow-men, but you will not by so doing acquire the love which made his happiness. Force is impotent in such matters; it is only as regards material goods that it is effective. For this reason the men who believe in force are the men whose thoughts and desires are preoccupied with material goods.

除了以上重創作動力和輕佔有動力這因素以外,羅素還簡單的討論了兩個他認為影響個體生活質素的關鍵因素:「尊重別人」(reverence for others)和「自我尊重」(self-respect)。故此,對於他來說,要判斷任何政治與社會體制是否理想,取決於三大問題:

“Do [the political and social institutions under concern] encourage creativeness rather than possessiveness?”

“Do they embody or promote a spirit of reverence between human beings?”

“Do they preserve self-respect?”

不難看到,羅素會認為,那些實行佔有掠奪、排斥異己、扭曲人性的極權專制,是與政治理想有雲泥之別——可悲,我們正深陷污泥之中!

參考:The Project Gutenberg EBook

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