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马丁·伊登(MARTIN EDEN)第三十八章

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"Come on, let's go down to the local." So spoke Brissenden, faint from a hemorrhage of half an hour before - the second hemorrhage in three days. The perennial whiskey glass was in his hands, and he drained it with shaking fingers.

"What do I want with socialism?" Martin demanded.

"Outsiders are allowed five-minute speeches," the sick man urged. "Get up and spout. Tell them why you don't want socialism. Tell them what you think about them and their ghetto ethics. Slam Nietzsche into them and get walloped for your pains. Make a scrap of it. It will do them good. Discussion is what they want, and what you want, too. You see, I'd like to see you a socialist before I'm gone. It will give you a sanction for your existence. It is the one thing that will save you in the time of disappointment that is coming to you."

"I never can puzzle out why you, of all men, are a socialist," Martin pondered. "You detest the crowd so. Surely there is nothing in the canaille to recommend it to your aesthetic soul." He pointed an accusing finger at the whiskey glass which the other was refilling. "Socialism doesn't seem to save you."

"I'm very sick," was the answer. "With you it is different. You have health and much to live for, and you must be handcuffed to life somehow. As for me, you wonder why I am a socialist. I'll tell you. It is because Socialism is inevitable; because the present rotten and irrational system cannot endure; because the day is past for your man on horseback. The slaves won't stand for it. They are too many, and willy-nilly they'll drag down the would-be equestrian before ever he gets astride. You can't get away from them, and you'll have to swallow the whole slave-morality. It's not a nice mess, I'll allow. But it's been a-brewing and swallow it you must. You are antediluvian anyway, with your Nietzsche ideas. The past is past, and the man who says history repeats itself is a liar. Of course I don't like the crowd, but what's a poor chap to do? We can't have the man on horseback, and anything is preferable to the timid swine that now rule. But come on, anyway. I'm loaded to the guards now, and if I sit here any longer, I'll get drunk. And you know the doctor says - damn the doctor! I'll fool him yet."

It was Sunday night, and they found the small hall packed by the Oakland socialists, chiefly members of the working class. The speaker, a clever Jew, won Martin's admiration at the same time that he aroused his antagonism. The man's stooped and narrow shoulders and weazened chest proclaimed him the true child of the crowded ghetto, and strong on Martin was the age-long struggle of the feeble, wretched slaves against the lordly handful of men who had ruled over them and would rule over them to the end of time. To Martin this withered wisp of a creature was a symbol. He was the figure that stood forth representative of the whole miserable mass of weaklings and inefficients who perished according to biological law on the ragged confines of life. They were the unfit. In spite of their cunning philosophy and of their antlike proclivities for cooperation, Nature rejected them for the exceptional man. Out of the plentiful spawn of life she flung from her prolific hand she selected only the best. It was by the same method that men, aping her, bred race-horses and cucumbers. Doubtless, a creator of a Cosmos could have devised a better method; but creatures of this particular Cosmos must put up with this particular method. Of course, they could squirm as they perished, as the socialists squirmed, as the speaker on the platform and the perspiring crowd were squirming even now as they counselled together for some new device with which to minimize the penalties of living and outwit the Cosmos.

So Martin thought, and so he spoke when Brissenden urged him to give them hell. He obeyed the mandate, walking up to the platform, as was the custom, and addressing the chairman. He began in a low voice, haltingly, forming into order the ideas which had surged in his brain while the Jew was speaking. In such meetings five minutes was the time allotted to each speaker; but when Martin's five minutes were up, he was in full stride, his attack upon their doctrines but half completed. He had caught their interest, and the audience urged the chairman by acclamation to extend Martin's time. They appreciated him as a foeman worthy of their intellect, and they listened intently, following every word. He spoke with fire and conviction, mincing no words in his attack upon the slaves and their morality and tactics and frankly alluding to his hearers as the slaves in question. He quoted Spencer and Malthus, and enunciated the biological law of development.

"And so," he concluded, in a swift resume, "no state composed of the slave-types can endure. The old law of development still holds. In the struggle for existence, as I have shown, the strong and the progeny of the strong tend to survive, while the weak and the progeny of the weak are crushed and tend to perish. The result is that the strong and the progeny of the strong survive, and, so long as the struggle obtains, the strength of each generation increases. That is development. But you slaves - it is too bad to be slaves, I grant - but you slaves dream of a society where the law of development will be annulled, where no weaklings and inefficients will perish, where every inefficient will have as much as he wants to eat as many times a day as he desires, and where all will marry and have progeny - the weak as well as the strong. What will be the result? No longer will the strength and life-value of each generation increase. On the contrary, it will diminish. There is the Nemesis of your slave philosophy. Your society of slaves - of, by, and for, slaves - must inevitably weaken and go to pieces as the life which composes it weakens and goes to pieces.

"Remember, I am enunciating biology and not sentimental ethics. No state of slaves can stand - "

"How about the United States?" a man yelled from the audience.

"And how about it?" Martin retorted. "The thirteen colonies threw off their rulers and formed the Republic so-called. The slaves were their own masters. There were no more masters of the sword. But you couldn't get along without masters of some sort, and there arose a new set of masters - not the great, virile, noble men, but the shrewd and spidery traders and money-lenders. And they enslaved you over again - but not frankly, as the true, noble men would do with weight of their own right arms, but secretly, by spidery machinations and by wheedling and cajolery and lies. They have purchased your slave judges, they have debauched your slave legislatures, and they have forced to worse horrors than chattel slavery your slave boys and girls. Two million of your children are toiling to-day in this trader-oligarchy of the United States. Ten millions of you slaves are not properly sheltered nor properly fed."

"But to return. I have shown that no society of slaves can endure, because, in its very nature, such society must annul the law of development. No sooner can a slave society be organized than deterioration sets in. It is easy for you to talk of annulling the law of development, but where is the new law of development that will maintain your strength? Formulate it. Is it already formulated? Then state it."

Martin took his seat amidst an uproar of voices. A score of men were on their feet clamoring for recognition from the chair. And one by one, encouraged by vociferous applause, speaking with fire and enthusiasm and excited gestures, they replied to the attack. It was a wild night - but it was wild intellectually, a battle of ideas. Some strayed from the point, but most of the speakers replied directly to Martin. They shook him with lines of thought that were new to him; and gave him insights, not into new biological laws, but into new applications of the old laws. They were too earnest to be always polite, and more than once the chairman rapped and pounded for order.

It chanced that a cub reporter sat in the audience, detailed there on a day dull of news and impressed by the urgent need of journalism for sensation. He was not a bright cub reporter. He was merely facile and glib. He was too dense to follow the discussion. In fact, he had a comfortable feeling that he was vastly superior to these wordy maniacs of the working class. Also, he had a great respect for those who sat in the high places and dictated the policies of nations and newspapers. Further, he had an ideal, namely, of achieving that excellence of the perfect reporter who is able to make something - even a great deal - out of nothing.

He did not know what all the talk was about. It was not necessary. Words like REVOLUTION gave him his cue. Like a paleontologist, able to reconstruct an entire skeleton from one fossil bone, he was able to reconstruct a whole speech from the one word REVOLUTION. He did it that night, and he did it well; and since Martin had made the biggest stir, he put it all into his mouth and made him the arch-anarch of the show, transforming his reactionary individualism into the most lurid, red-shirt socialist utterance. The cub reporter was an artist, and it was a large brush with which he laid on the local color - wild-eyed long-haired men, neurasthenia and degenerate types of men, voices shaken with passion, clenched fists raised on high, and all projected against a background of oaths, yells, and the throaty rumbling of angry men.

“来吧,咱们到区分部去。”

布里森登说。他半小时以前才吐了血,仍然头晕目眩——三天来他已是第二次吐血。他手上仍然照例擎着威士忌酒杯,手指颤抖着喝光了酒。

“社会主义对我有什么用?”马丁问道。

“非党员可以发表五分钟讲话,”病人劝他,“你准备放一炮吧,告诉他们你为什么不需要社会主义,把你对他们和他们那贫民窟道德的意见告诉他们;拿尼采去教训他们,让他们因此跟你辩论,然后粉碎他们。那对他们会有好处。他们需要的就是辩论,你也一样需要辩论。你看,我倒希望在去世之前看见你变成社会主义者,那能批准你活下去。你以后准会遇见失望的,那时只有社会主义能救你。”

“你竟是个社会主义者,我怎么也想不通,”马丁思索着说,“你这么讨厌群氓。那些身合之众肯定不会有什么能打动你审美灵魂的地方的。”布里森登正在斟满酒杯,马丁伸出一根指头责难地指着他。“社会主义似乎没有法子救你的命。”

“我已经病入膏盲,”他回答说,“可你不同。你身强力壮,还有许多值得活着去追求的东西,因此非得跟生活铐在一起不可。至于我,你不懂我为什么成了个社会主义者。找告诉你吧,因为社会主义是无法避免的;因为目前这种腐朽的不合理的制度是长不了的,而你那马背上的人又已经过时。奴隶们是不会忍受他的。奴隶太多,无论他们愿不愿意,不等你那人跨上马背,已经被他们拉了下来。你摆脱不了他们的奴隶道德,只好接受。我承认那种混乱不能算好,可它已经在酝酿,你只好把它囫囵吞下去。你那尼采思想早过了时,那位硬说历史会重演的人是个骗子。我当然不会喜欢乌合之众,但是像我这样的人能有什么办法?马背上的人是没有了,可无论什么人来统治也要比现在这批胆怯的猪猡强。现在,好了,我已经有点晕晕忽忽了,再坐下去怕会醉倒的。医生说过,你知道,——让医生滚蛋吧!我还要糊弄糊弄他。”

那是星期天晚上,他们发现那小厅里挤满了奥克兰的社会主义者,主要是工人阶级的成员。发言的人是个聪明的犹太人,他使马丁钦佩,也叫他气闷。那人的塌陷的窄肩和萎缩的胸膛宣布他的确是个在拥挤不堪的犹太贫民窟里长大的孩子。他给了马丁一个强烈的印象:瘦弱的困苦的奴隶们尽管为反对那一小撮趾高气扬的统治者进行了许多代人的斗争,叶仍然受着他们统治,而巨还要永远被统治下去。马丁觉得这个萎缩的生灵便是一个象征,一个突出的形象,代表着整个可怜的软弱无能的群体,按照生物学的规律在生命的狭窄崎岖的天地早被消灭掉,因为他们不是“适者”。大自然为了给超人让路,拒绝了他们,没有理会他们狡猾的哲学和蚂蚁一样的合作天性。她在用她那丰盈的手撒播出的会公众生里只选拔出最优秀的人;而人类也跟大自然一样用这种方法在繁殖看黄瓜和赛跑用的马。毫无疑问,宇宙的创造者是能够设计出更好的方法的;但是这个特定的宇宙里的生物却只好接受这个特定的方法。当然,他们在被消灭时可以蠕动挣扎,正像此刻社会主义者们在蠕动挣扎,台上那个发言人在蠕动挣扎,现在流着汗的人群在蠕动挣扎一样。他们正在商量新的办法,要想竭力减少生活的鞭挞,击败宇宙的法则。

马丁像这样想着,布里森登却建议他去教训他们一顿。于是他发了言。他服从命令,按照习惯走上讲台,向主席致了意。什始时他的声音低沉而犹豫,同时把听那犹太人说话时沸腾在脑子里的想法整理出了头绪。这种会议给每个发言人的时间只有五分钟,但是马丁的五分钟用完时他却正讲到要紧之处,他对他们的学说的攻击才进行到一半,但已引起了听众的兴趣。他们鼓掌要求主席给他延长时间。他们欣赏他,认为他是个值得他们使用智慧对待的对手,于是听得很仔细,一字不漏。他感情炽烈,信心十足,他攻击奴隶们和他们的策略和道德观念,而且直言不讳,坦率地向听众们暗示他们就是那些奴隶。他引用了斯宾塞和马尔萨斯的话,阐述了生物发展的规律。

“因此,”他迅速作出结论,“古老的发展规律仍然有效,奴隶型的人构成的国家是不能持久的。正如我已经指出的,在生存竞争之中强者和他们的子孙更适于生存,而弱者和他们的子孙则要被碾碎,被消灭。其结果是,强者和强者的子孙会生存下去,而只要斗争仍然继续八就会一代比一代更加出色,这就叫做发展。可是你们这些奴隶——我承认,做奴隶是很痛苦的——可你们却梦想着一个发展规律被消灭而弱者和无能者不会被消灭的社会,在那里无能的人每天想吃多少顿就能吃多少顿,都能结婚,都能生育后代——强者弱者没有区别。结果怎么样呢?人的强力和生命的价值不是一代一代增加,反倒一代一代削弱了。复仇女神会给你们的奴隶哲学以报应的。你们那奴隶治、奴隶有。奴隶享的社会一定会随着构成它的生命的削弱和崩溃而垮掉的。

“记住,我阐述的不是感伤的伦理道德而是生物科学。没有一个奴隶的社会能够经得起——”

“那么美国会怎么样呢?”听众里有人叫了起来。

“它会怎么样?”马丁反驳,“北美十三州当年推翻了他们的统治者,建立了一个北美共和国。奴隶们成了自己的主人。再也没有握着刀子的奴隶主了。可是没有某种意义上的主人你们过不下去,于是出现了一批新主人——不是那种伟大的、精力充沛的、高贵的人,而是些蜘蛛一样的精明的生意人,放债人。他们重新奴役看你们——可并不是坦率地奴役,像那些真诚的高贵的、用右手的高压统治你们的人,而是像蜘蛛一样用阴谋、谎言和甜言蜜语阴险地统治你们的人。他们收买你们的奴隶法官,败坏你们的奴隶议会,用比最恶劣的奴役还要可怕的形式奴役你们的奴隶子女。今天在美国,你们有两百万子女在这种生意人的寡头专制之下做苦工,有一千万人缺吃少住。

“不过,话又说回来,我曾经告诉过你们,奴隶社会是长不了的,因为就其本性而言,这样的社会必须消灭发展规律。奴隶的社会一开始组织,立即会蜕变。你们侈谈消灭发展规律,那倒容易,但是能让你保留自己力量的新发展规律又在哪里?提出来吧?是不是已经提出来了?要是提出来了你们说说看。”

马丁在一片哄闹声中回到了座位。一二十个人站了起来,叫喊着要求主席同意发言。他们一个个受到喧闹的欢呼鼓掌的鼓励,怀着火焰和激情,打着激动的手势,回答了对他们的攻击。那是个疯狂的夜晚,但是是智力的疯狂,是思想的交锋。有的人偏离了话题,但是大部分都直接反击了马丁。他们用一些他从没有听见过的思路震撼了他,启发了他,他们并没有提出什么生物学的新规律,而是启示他从新的角度使用旧规律。他们太真诚,不可能永远有礼貌。主席不只一次敲桌子。捶桌子维持秩序。

碰巧那天听众里坐了个半瓶醋记者,是在那个到处是新闻的日子里被派来的。他心急火燎,只想搞到轰动的新闻。作为新手,他不太能干,只会检便宜和信口开河。他没有思想,听不懂他们的讨论,实际上他还有一种高人一等的得意之感,觉得自己比工人阶级这些学里罗嗦的疯子不知要高明多少。他也对身居高位指挥着国家政策和报纸的人必恭必敬,而且有个理想,要出人头地,做一个十全十美的记者,哪怕无中生有也要弄出点名堂——甚至是大名堂来。

这场谈话的意义他并不懂得,也用不着横。革命这类字眼就已经给了他线索。他从革命这一个词就可以虚构出整个的发言,就像古生物学家靠一块骨骼化石就可以建造出一副完整的骨架一样。那天晚上他就是那样搞的,而且搞得很漂亮。由于马丁的发言最引起轰动,他便把一切都写进了马丁嘴里,把他变成了那番骚动里的无政府主义元凶,把他那反动的个人主义理论改造成了最阴险的。穿赤色短衫的社会主义的发泄。那半瓶醋记者是个艺术家,大笔一挥,还加上了些现场色彩——目光疯狂长发飘动的人,神经质的蜕化型的人,激动得发抖的声音,高举的捏紧的拳头,这一切的背景则是愤怒的人们的咒骂、喊叫和低沉的咆哮。
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