阿尔贝特·施韦泽:敬畏生命是基本的伦理底线

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我是一个生命,生命的意愿是生存,在生命的中途,她愿意活着。

在我的生命意识中,带着对毁灭和痛苦的惧怕,渴望着更广阔的生存和快乐;我的周遭围绕着同样的生命意识,无论她在我面前表达自己还是保持沉默。

生命意识到处展现,在我自身也是同样。如果我是一个有思维的生命,我必须以同等的敬畏来尊敬其他生命,而不仅仅限于自我小圈子,因为我明白:她深深地渴望圆满和发展的意愿,跟我是一模一样的。所以,我认为毁灭、妨碍、阻止生命是极其恶劣的。

尊敬生命,在实际上和精神上两个方面,我都保持真实。根据同样的理由,尽我所能,挽救和保护生命达到她的高度发展,是尽善尽美的。

在我内部,生命意识懂得了其他的生命意识。她渴望透过自身达到整合,成为一个整体。我只能坚持这样一个事实,生命意识透过我展示了她自己:成为与其他生命意识相互依存的一员.。

我经验过向一切生命意识表达同等敬畏的不可遏止的冲动,如同尊敬自身的一样。通过这种经验形成了我的伦理观。一个人遵从这种冲动,去帮助所有他能够帮助的生命,并且畏惧伤害任何活着的生灵,这个人才是符合伦理的。

如果我把一个昆虫从泥坑救出来,我的生命对另一个生命做出贡献,那么对立于生命自身的生命分隔现象就消失了。

不论何时不论何种方式,我的生命对另一个生命贡献出他自身,我的生命意识就经历了一个从有限到无限的融合的愿望,在这个愿望中,所有的生命是一个整体。绝对伦理要求在生命中创造完美。她不可能完全实现;这一点倒无所谓.对生命敬畏的感觉是绝对的伦理。它使生命序列的保持和提升顺利运作。

不论在什么情况下,毁灭和伤害生命都如同恶魔一样有罪。在实践中,我们真的被迫选择.我们经常必须武断地决定何种形式的生命,甚至何种特殊的人,我们应该挽救,何种我们应该毁灭。尽管如此,敬畏生命的原则仍然是完整的和毋庸置疑的。

这种伦理并不因为人们的伦理观抵触现象而失效,农民在牧场割草喂牛割下了一千棵花,可是他必须注意,在回家的路上,不要因为沉浸在消遣心情里而划掉路旁的花朵,因为这样做是不必要,是对生命犯下罪行。

选自《敬畏生命》,英文版:

I am life which wills to live, in the midst of life which wills to live. As in my own will-to-live there is a longing for wider life and pleasure, with dread of annihilation and pain; so is it also in the will-to-live all around me, whether it can express itself before me or remains dumb. The will-to-live is everywhere present, even as in me. If I am a thinking being, I must regard life other than my own with equal reverence, for I shall know that it longs for fullness and development as deeply as I do myself. Therefore, I see that evil is what annihilates, hampers, or hinders life. And this holds true whether I regard it physically or spiritually. Goodness, by the same token, is the saving or helping of life, the enabling of whatever life I can to attain its highest development.

In me the will-to-live has come to know about other wills-to-live. There is in it a yearning to arrive at unity with itself, to become universal. I can do nothing but hold to the fact that the will-to-live in me manifests itself as will-to-live which desires to become one with other will-to-live.

Ethics consist in my experiencing the compulsion to show to all will-to-live the same reverence as I do my own. A man is truly ethical only when he obeys the compulsion to help all life which he is able to assist, and shrinks from injuring anything that lives. If I save an insect from a puddle, life has devoted itself to life, and the division of life against itself has ended. Whenever my life devotes itself in any way to life, my finite will-to-live experiences union with the infinite will in which all life is one.

An absolute ethic calls for the creating of perfection in this life. It cannot be completely achieved; but that fact does not really matter. In this sense reverence for life is an absolute ethic. It makes only the maintenance and promotion of life rank as good. All destruction of and injury to life, under whatever circumstances, it condemns as evil. True, in practice we are forced to choose. At times we have to decide arbitrarily which forms of life, and even which particular individuals, we shall save, and which we shall destroy. But the principle of reverence for life is nonetheless universal and absolute.

Such an ethic does not abolish for man all ethical conflicts but compels him to decide for himself in each case how far he can remain ethical and how far he must submit himself to the necessity for destruction of and injury to life. No one can decide for him at what point, on each occasion, lies the extreme limit of possibility for his persistence in the preservation and furtherance of life. He alone has to judge this issue, by letting himself be guided by a feeling of the highest possible responsibility towards other life. We must never let ourselves become blunted. We are living in truth, when we experience these conflicts more profoundly.

Whenever I injure life of any sort, I must be quite clear whether it is necessary. Beyond the unavoidable, I must never go, not even with what seems insignificant. The farmer, who has mown down a thousand flowers in his meadow as fodder for his cows, must be careful on his way home not to strike off in wanton pastime the head of a single flower by the roadside, for he thereby commits a wrong against life without being under the pressure of necessity.

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