Англофил (valchess) wrote,

Цитатник Англофила - 23: Modern Morals из Times

Каждый рабочий день в газете The Times (а точнее, во вкладке, носящей название Times2, на 3-й странице) можно найти небольшую колонку под названием "Modern Morals". Автор Joe Joseph разбирает очередную этическую дилемму, поставленную перед ним читателями. Дилеммы эти обычно не высоколобо-абстрактны, а связаны с ситуациями морального выбора, возникающими в обыденной жизни. Даваемые автором в его миниатюрах советы обычно непретенциозны, ироничны и являются воплощением здравого смысла в его традиционно-английском варианте.

Коль скоро на носу Christmas, я приведу недавнюю колонку, написанную в ответ на такой вопрос: "Мой брат болеет болезнью Паркинсона, а муж болен раком. Я купила рождественские открытки, выпущенные фондами, собирающими пожертвования для исследований по болезни Паркинсона и для местного хосписа. Какую из открыток послать моему брату?"

Это такая очень английская история. Рождественские открытки - это святое дело (их посылают и получают десятками - несмотря на новый электронный век). Часто это открытки, изданные благотворительными фондами (они стоят немного дороже обычных). Ну и ответ, приводимый ниже, очень такой по духу английский.

И далее - еще одна, практически первая попавшаяся, колонка из этого цикла - о допустимости "маленькой лжи".

Modern morals

by Joe Joseph

I have a brother with Parkinson’s disease, and a husband with cancer. I have bought Christmas cards for Parkinson’s and for our local hospice. Which should I send to my brother?

Unless your brother is one of those people who turns to the final page of a novel first so that he knows how the story will end even before he has read even the first chapter, I don’t think it much matters which charity’s name is listed on the back of the Christmas card. It is unlikely to be the first place on the card that he’ll be inspecting. What will be important to your brother is that he has a sister who loves him. Equally important is that you have made, by purchasing these cards, donations to two charities whose work – while it might not bring immediate relief to your husband or your brother – may yet help to brighten the lives of those yet to be stricken by Parkinson’s or cancer. This will, in turn, also make life a little less bleak for the families of those who are suffering from these two diseases: people like you.

Only you might guess if your brother would be gladdened to see evidence that funds are being funnelled towards a disease that has treated him so cruelly, or whether he is the sort who would rather not be reminded at every turn of the hand that he has been so randomly dealt.

I should pick whichever of the two cards carries an image that you feel would appeal more to your brother. Christmas is not just an opportunity to show that you love your family by giving them things you could have bought much more cheaply in the Boxing Day sales. It is also a chance to show faith in the future; even if it’s only through buying charity Christmas cards. And, of course, faith in the Royal Mail to deliver those cards on time, to the correct address.

My friend smokes but does not like his children to know. He pops out, making various excuses to hide his habit. Occasionally he asks me to cover for him by telling lies to his children — something that I feel uncomfortable doing. Should I refuse to support this deception?

Honesty can be an overrated virtue. Ask O. J. Simpson! There are many times in life when we don’t really want to know the whole truth, such as when someone asks, “How are you?” or “How do you like my new haircut?” or “Would you like the last chocolate truffle?” or “Wait a second! Are you telling me I actually slept with you last night?”

Honesty is like one of the options in the game rock-paper-scissors. It is often the best hand to play (it’s certainly assumed to be the most noble). But honesty can also, occasionally, be trumped — not because there is anything intrinsically wrong with it as a strategy, but simply because, in this instance, a better hand wins.

After all, what is to be gained from, say, confirming to someone that they are not as handsome as Cary Grant or as cute as Monica Bellucci or as smart as Einstein? Or from telling a child that the injection he is about to be given from the nice nurse will really hurt? When it comes to crimes, tax returns, any professional certificates needed to apply for a job as a surgeon — then honesty is the most laudable policy.

In other instances, it can pay to weigh up the benefits over the downsides. Lying to children is wrong, yes. But planting the thought in their minds that if the father they adore and admire smokes, then it can’t be all that bad, is surely also wrong, isn’t it? Also, letting down a friend is unattractive. It is understandable for you to feel uncomfortable, but your discomfort is like offering a fist of paper to your friend’s outstretched scissors. This time, you lose.

What’s your view and do you have a dilemma of your own?
E-mail: modernmorals@thetimes.co.uk
Write to Modern Morals, times2, 1 Pennington Street, London E98 1TT
Tags: times, Британия, Образ жизни, Пресса, Цитатник
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