etwas Neues

Find something new!



さあ、物語は最終章の「ホームレス(THE HOMELESS)」です。ホームレスの刑を受けるのはクーノーなのか?それとも…?さあ、みなさん一気に読んでいきますぞ!


During the years that followed Kuno’s escapade, two important developments took place in the Machine. On the surface they were revolutionary, but in either case men’s minds had been prepared beforehand, and they did but express tendencies that were latent already.

The first of these was the abolition of respirator.

Advanced thinkers, like Vashti, had always held it foolish to visit the surface of the earth. Air-ships might be necessary, but what was the good of going out for mere curiosity and crawling along for a mile or two in a terrestrial motor? The habit was vulgar and perhaps faintly improper: it was unproductive of ideas, and had no connection with the habits that really mattered. So respirators were abolished, and with them, of course, the terrestrial motors, and except for a few lecturers, who complained that they were debarred access to their subject-matter, the development was accepted quietly. Those who still wanted to know what the earth was like had after all only to listen to some gramophone, or to look into some cinematophote. And even the lecturers acquiesced when they found that a lecture on the sea was none the less stimulating when compiled out of other lectures that had already been delivered on the same subject. “Beware of first-hand ideas!” exclaimed one of the most advanced of them. “First-hand ideas do not really exist. They are but the physical impressions produced by live and fear, and on this gross foundation who could erect a philosophy? Let your ideas be second-hand, and if possible tenth-hand, for then they will be far removed from that disturbing element ―― direct observation. Do not learn anything about this subject of mine ―― the French Revolution. Learn instead what I think that Enicharmon thought Urizen thought Gutch thought Ho-Yung thought Chi-Bo-Sing thought Lafcadio Hearn thought Carlyle thought Mirabeau said about the French Revolution. Through the medium of these ten great minds, the blood that was shed at Paris and the windows that were broken at Versailles will be clarified to an idea which you may employ most profitably in your daily lives. But be sure that the intermediates are many and varied, for in history one authority exists to counteract another. Urizen must counteract the scepticism of Ho-Yung and Enicharmon, I must myself counteract the impetuosity of Gutch. You who listen to me are in a better position to judge about the French Revolution than I am. Your descendants will be even in a better position than you, for they will learn what you think I think, and yet another intermediate will be added to the chain. And in time”–his voice rose–“there will come a generation that had got beyond facts, beyond impressions, a generation absolutely colourless, a generationseraphically free from taint of personality, which will see the French Revolution not as it happened, nor as they would like it to have happened, but as it would have happened, had it taken place in the days of the Machine.”

第3章の「時」は、クーノーのマシーンからの逃亡から何年か経っているわよ。その間にマシーンはふたつの重要な革新(two important developments)を遂げています。ひとつは人工呼吸装置が撤廃されたこと(the abolition of respirator)。実物からじかに得た思索(idea)はアヤシイもの、何回もの思索を通過してきた思索こそ、優れた思索、直観(First-hand ideas)なんて信じるな!というのが、どうやらマシーン時代の人間の一致した考えなのね。


ある革新的な教授のことばに注目よ。「事実や印象を超えた世代、完全に無色の世代、個性の汚れがまったくない世代が現れるだろう(there will come a generation that had got beyond facts, beyond impressions, a generation absolutely colourless, a generationseraphically free from taint of personality)」。個性が汚点だっていうのは、なかなか意味深ね。

Tremendous applause greeted this lecture, which did but voice a feeling already latent in the minds of men ―― a feeling that terrestrial facts must be ignored, and that the abolition of respirators was a positive gain. It was even suggested that air-ships should be abolished too. This was not done, because air-ships had somehow worked themselves into the Machine’s system. But year by year they were used less, and mentioned less by thoughtful men.


The second great development was the re-establishment of religion.

This, too, had been voiced in the celebrated lecture. No one could mistake the reverent tone in which the peroration had concluded, and it awakened a responsive echo in the heart of each. Those who had long worshipped silently, now began to talk. They described the strange feeling of peace that came over them when they handled the Book of the Machine, the pleasure that it was to repeat certain numerals out of it, however little meaning those numerals conveyed to the outward ear, the ecstasy of touching a button, however unimportant, or of ringing an electric bell, however superfluously.

“The Machine,” they exclaimed, “feeds us and clothes us and houses us; through it we speak to one another, through it we see one another, in it we have our being. The Machine is the friend of ideas and the enemy of superstition: the Machine is omnipotent, eternal; blessed is the Machine.” And before long this allocution was printed on the first page of the Book, and in subsequent editions the ritual swelled into a complicated system of praise and prayer. The word “religion” was sedulously avoided, and in theory the Machine was still the creation and the implement of man, but in practice all, save a few retrogrades, worshipped it as divine. Nor was it worshipped in unity. One believer would be chiefly impressed by the blue optic plates, through which he saw other believers; another by the mending apparatus, which sinful Kuno had compared to worms; another by the lifts, another by the Book. And each would pray to this or to that, and ask it to intercede for him with the Machine as a whole. Persecution ―― that also was present. It did not break out, for reasons that will be set forward shortly. But it was latent, and all who did not accept the minimum known as “undenominational Mechanism” lived in danger of Homelessness, which means death, as we know.

もうひとつの革新は「宗教の再認識(the re-establishment of religion)」。これは、ヴァシュティが「マシーンの書」を聖書代わりにしているところからも予測できたわ。マシーンがすべてを与えてくれるもの=神として崇めることによって、一体感もあるのかしら。ただ、マシーンの書のなかには、「宗教」という言葉はうまく省かれているのがミソ。


To attribute these two great developments to the Central Committee, is to take a very narrow view of civilization. The Central Committee announced the developments, it is true, but they were no more the cause of them than were the kings of the imperialistic period the cause of war. Rather did they yield to some invincible pressure, which came no one knew whither, and which, when gratified, was succeeded by some new pressure equally invincible. To such a state of affairs it is convenient to give the name of progress. No one confessed the Machine was out of hand. Year by year it was served with increased efficiency and decreased intelligence. The better a man knew his own duties upon it, the less he understood the duties of his neighbour, and in all the world there was not one who understood the monster as a whole. Those master brains had perished. They had left full directions, it is true, and their successors had each of them mastered a portion of those directions. But Humanity, in its desire for comfort, had over-reached itself. It had exploited the riches of nature too far. Quietly and complacently, it was sinking into decadence, and progress had come to mean the progress of the Machine.

As for Vashti, her life went peacefully forward until the final disaster. She made her room dark and slept; she awoke and made the room light. She lectured and attended lectures. She exchanged ideas with her innumerable friends and believed she was growing more spiritual. At times a friend was granted Euthanasia, and left his or her room for the homelessness that is beyond all human conception. Vashti did not much mind. After an unsuccessful lecture, she would sometimes ask for Euthanasia herself. But the death-rate was not permitted to exceed the birth-rate, and the Machine had hitherto refused it to her.

The troubles began quietly, long before she was conscious of them.

すでに誰一人としてマシーンが手に負えないものと化した、と言えなくなってしまったのですな。 進歩とはマシーンの進歩であって、人間の進歩ではない、つまり、人間は破滅への道を進みつつあるようです。

ヴァシュティといえば「最後の大惨事に見舞われるまでは平穏無事な生活を続けていた(her life went peacefully forward until the final disaster )」ってことは…いやな予感いっぱいですよ(涙)

次へ 投稿

前へ 投稿

© 2024 etwas Neues

テーマの著者 Anders Norén