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Shall We Choose Death?(中英)

2006-02-22 00:00

  Bertrand Russell

  December 30, 1954

  I am speaking not as a Briton, not as a European, not as a member of a western democracy, but as a human being, a member of the species Man, whose continued existence is in doubt. The world is full of conflicts: Jews and Arabs; Indians and Pakistanis; white men and Negroes in Africa; and, overshadowing all minor conflicts, the titanic struggle between communism and anticommunism.

  Almost everybody who is politically conscious has strong feelings about one or more of these issues; but I want you, if you can, to set aside such feelings for the moment and consider yourself only as a member of a biological species which has had a remarkable history and whose disappearance none of us can desire. I shall try to say no single word which should appeal to one group rather than to another. All, equally, are in peril, and, if the peril is understood, there is hope that they may collectively avert it. We have to learn to think in a new way. We have to learn to ask ourselves not what steps can be taken to give military victory to whatever group we prefer, for there no longer are such steps. The question we have to ask ourselves is: What steps can be taken to prevent a military contest of which the issue must be disastrous to all sides?

  The general public, and even many men in positions of authority, have not realized what would be involved in a war with hydrogen bombs. The general public still thinks in terms of the obliteration of cities. It is understood that the new bombs are more powerful than the old and that, while one atomic bomb could obliterate Hiroshima, one hydrogen bomb could obliterate the largest cities such as London, New York, and Moscow. No doubt in a hydrogen-bomb war great cities would be obliterated. But this is one of the minor disasters that would have to be faced. If everybody in London, New York, and Moscow were exterminated, the world might, in the course of a few centuries, recover from the blow. But we now know, especially since the Bikini test, that hydrogen bombs can gradually spread destruction over a much wider area than had been supposed. It is stated on very good authority that a bomb can now be manufactured which will be 25,000 times as powerful as that which destroyed Hiroshima. Such a bomb, if exploded near the ground or under water, sends radioactive particles into the upper air. They sink gradually and reach the surface of the earth in the form of a deadly dust or rain. It was this dust which infected the Japanese fishermen and their catch of fish although they were outside what American experts believed to be the danger zone. No one knows how widely such lethal radioactive particles might be diffused, but the best authorities are unanimous in saying that a war with hydrogen bombs is quite likely to put an end to the human race. It is feared that if many hydrogen bombs are used there will be universal death - sudden only for a fortunate minority, but for the majority a slow torture of disease and disintegration……

  Here, then, is the problem which I present to you, stark and dreadful and inescapable: Shall we put an end to the human race1 or shall mankind renounce war? People will not face this alternative because it is so difficult to abolish war. The abolition of war will demand distasteful limitations of national sovereignty. But what perhaps impedes understanding of the situation more than anything else is that the term 'mankind' feels vague and abstract. People scarcely realize in imagination that the danger is to themselves and their children and their grandchildren, and not only to a dimly apprehended humanity' And so they hope that perhaps war may be allowed to continue provided modern weapons are prohibited. I am afraid this hope is illusory. Whatever agreements not to use hydrogen bombs had been reached in time of peace, they would no longer be considered binding in time of war, and both sides would set to work to manufacture hydrogen bombs as soon as war broke out, for if one side manufactured the bombs and the other did not, the side that manufactured them would inevitably be victorious……

  As geological time is reckoned, Man has so far existed only for a very short period one million years at the most. What he has achieved, especially during the last 6,000 years, is something utterly new in the history of the Cosmos, so far at least as we are acquainted with it. For countless ages the sun rose and set, the moon waxed and waned, the stars shone in the night, but it was only with the coming of Man that these things were understood. In the great world of astronomy and in the little world of the atom, Man has unveiled secrets which might have been thought undiscoverable. In art and literature and religion, some men have shown a sublimity of feeling which makes the species worth preserving. Is all this to end in trivial horror because so few are able to think of Man rather than of this or that group of men? Is our race so destitute of wisdom, so incapable of impartial love, so blind even to the simplest dictates of self-preservation, that the last proof of its silly cleverness is to be the extermination of all life on our planet? - for it will be not only men who will perish, but also the animals, whom no one can accuse of communism or anticommunism.

  I cannot believe that this is to be the end. I would have men forget their quarrels for a moment and reflect that, if they will allow themselves to survive, there is every reason to expect the triumphs of the future to exceed immeasurably the triumphs of the past. There lies before us, if we choose, continual progress in happiness, knowledge, and wisdom. Shall we, instead, choose death, because we cannot forget our quarrels? I appeal, as a human being to human beings: remember your humanity, and forget the rest. If you can do so, the way lies open to a new Paradise; if you cannot, nothing lies before you but universal death.

  我们该选择死亡吗?(伯特兰·罗素)

  我不是作为一个英国人、一个欧洲人、一个西方民主国家的一员,而是作为一个人,作为不知是否还能继续生存下去的人类的一员在讲演。世界充满了争斗:犹太人和阿拉伯人;印度人和巴勒斯坦人;非洲的白人和黑人;以及使所有的小冲突都相形见绌的共产主义和反共产主义之间的大搏斗。

  差不多每个有政治意识的人都对这类问题怀有强烈的感受;但是我希望你们,如果你们能够的话,把这份感受暂搁一边,并把自己只看作一种具有非凡历史、谁也不希望它灭亡的生物的一员。可能会迎合一群人而冷落另一群人的词语,我将努力一个字都不说。所有的人,不分彼此,都处在危险之中;如果大家都看到了这种危险,那么就有希望联合起来避开它。我们必须学习新的思想方法。我们必须学习不自问能采取什么措施来使我们所喜欢的人群获得军事上的胜利,因为不再有这样的措施。我们必须自问的问题是:能采取什么措施来避免必然会给各方造成灾难的军事竞赛?

  普通群众,甚至许多当权人士,不清楚一场氢弹战所包含的会是什么。普通群众仍旧从城市的毁灭上思考问题。不言而喻,新炸弹比旧炸弹更具威力——一颗原弹能毁灭广岛,而一颗氢弹能毁灭像伦敦、纽约和菲斯科这样的大都市。毫无疑问,一场氢弹战将会毁灭大城市。但这只是世界必须面对的小灾难中的一个。假如化敦人、纽约人和莫斯科人都灭绝了,世界可能要经过几个世纪才能从这场灾难中恢复过来。而我们现在,尤其是从比基尼核试验以来很清楚:氢弹能够逐渐把破坏力扩散到一个比预料要广大得多的地区。据非常权威的人士说,现在能够制造出一种炸弹,其威力比毁灭广岛的炸弹大2.5万倍。这种炸弹如果在近地或水下爆炸,会把放射性微粒送入高层大气。这些微粒逐渐降落,呈有毒灰尘或毒雨的状态到达地球表面。正是这种灰尘使日本渔民和他们所捕获的鱼受到了感染,尽管他们并不在美国专家所确认的危险区之内。没有人知道这种致命的放射性微粒怎么会传播得这么广,但是这个领域的最高权威一致表示:一场氢弹战差不多就是灭绝人类的代名词。如果许多氢弹被使用,死神恐怕就会降临全球——只有少数幸运者才会突然死亡,大多数人却须忍受疾病和解体的慢性折磨……

  这里,我要向你提起一个直率的、令人不快而又无法回避的问题:我们该消灭人类,还是人类该抛弃战争?人们不愿面对这个抉择,因为消灭战争太难了。消灭战争要求限制国家主权,这令人反感。然而“人类”这个专门名词给人们的感觉是模糊、抽象的,它可能比任何其他东西都更容易妨碍认识这种形势。人们几乎没有用自己的想象力去认识这种危险不仅指向他们所模模糊糊理解的人类,而且指向他们自己和他们的子子孙孙。于是他们相信只要禁止使用现代武器,也许可以允许战争继续下去。恐怕这个愿望只是幻想。任何不使用氢弹的协定是在和平时期达成的,在战争时期这种协定就被认为是没有约束力的,一旦战争爆发,双方就会着手制造氢弹,因为如果一方制造氢弹而另一方不造的话,造氢弹的一方必然会取胜……

  按照地质年代来计算,人类到目前为止只存在了一个极短的时期——最多100万年。在至少就我们所了解的宇宙而言,人类在特别是最近6000年里所达到的认识,在宇宙史上是一些全新的东西。太阳升升落落,月亮盈盈亏亏,夜空星光闪烁,无数岁月就这样过去了,只是到人类出现以后,这些才被理解。在天文学的宏观世界和原子的微观世界,人类揭示了原先可能认为无法提示的秘密。在艺术、文学和宗教领域里,一些人显示了一种崇高的感情,它使人们懂得人类是值得保全的。难道因为很少有人能考虑整个人类多于这个或那个人群,这一切就会在毫无价值的恐怖行动中结束吗?人类是否如此缺少智慧,如此缺少无私的爱,如此盲目,甚至连自我保存的最简单命令都听不见,以致要用灭绝地球上的所有生命来最后证明它那缺乏理智的小聪明?——因为不驻人会被消灭,而且动物也会被消灭,没有人能指责它们是共产主义或反共产主义。

  我无法相信结局会是这样。人们如果想让自己生存下去,他们就应暂时忘掉争吵,进行反省,人们有千万条理由期待未来的成就极大地超过以往的成就,如果让我们选择,那么擂在我们面前的有幸福、知识和智慧的持续增长。我们能因为无法忘掉争吵而舍此去选择死亡吗?作为一个人,我向所有的人呼吁:记住你们的人性,忘掉其余的一切。如果你们能这样做,通向一个新的天堂的路就畅通无阻;如果你们做不到这一点,摆在你们面前的就只有全世界的毁灭。

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