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我们最好和最坏的自我的生物学 – 译学馆
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我们最好和最坏的自我的生物学

The biology of our best and worst selves | Robert Sapolsky

克里斯·安德森:过去几年 罗伯特都在
Chris Anderson: So look Robert spent the last few years
思考人类的行为有多怪异
think about how weird human behavior is,
以及大多尝试解释它的语言 有多匮乏
and how inadequate most of our language trying to explain it is.
能听到他初次公开说明
And it’s very exciting to hear him explain
这背后的一些想法 是很让人激动的
some of the thinking behind it in public for the first time.
接下来就交给 罗伯特·萨波斯基
Over to you now, Robert Sapolsky.
[掌声]
[Applause]
罗伯特·斯波斯基:谢谢!
Robert Sapolsky: Thank you !
幻想总是像这样的
The fantasy always runs something like this.
我击败了他的精英守卫
I’ve overpowered his elite guard,
闯入了他的秘密地下碉堡
burst into his secret bunker
手持随时待发的机关枪
with my machine gun ready.
他冲向他的鲁格尔手枪
He lunges for his Luger.
我把枪从他的手中击落
I knock it out of his hand.
他冲向他的自杀药丸
He lunges for his cyanide pill.
我把药丸从他的手中击落
I knock that out of his hand.
他咆哮起来
He snarls,
以无比的力量冲向我
comes at me with otherworldly strength.
我们扭打起来
We grapple, we fight,
我将他压倒在地
I manage to pin him down
给他上了手铐
and put on handcuffs.
我说“阿道夫·希特勒”
“Adolf Hitler,” I say,
“我以反人类罪逮捕你”
“I arrest you for crimes against humanity.”
荣誉勋章版本的幻想于此结束
Here’s where the Medal of Honor version of the fantasy ends
影像渐渐暗去
and the imagery darkens.
如果我抓到希特勒 我会怎么做?
What would I do if I had Hitler?
这并不难想像 只要让自己想就行
It’s not hard to imagine once I allow myself.
从颈部切断他的脊椎
Sever his spine at the neck.
用钝器挖出他的眼睛
Take out his eyes with a blunt instrument.
刺穿他的耳膜 切掉他的舌头
Puncture his eardrums. Cut out his tongue.
让他靠着呼吸器活着
Leave him alive on a respirator,
用导管喂食 不能说话 不能活动 看不见 听不到 只是有感觉
tube-fed, not able to speak or move or see or hear, just to feel,
然后给他注射致癌物
and then inject him with something cancerous
让他身上溃烂 长脓包
that’s going to fester and pustulate
直到他身上的每一个细胞都在痛苦地哀号
until every cell in his body is screaming in agony,
直到每一秒都感觉像在地狱里的永恒
until every second feels like an eternity in hell.
我会这样对待希特勒
That’s what I would do to Hitler.
我从小就有这个幻想 到现在仍然有时还会有
I’ve had this fantasy since I was a kid, still do sometimes,
在幻想时 我的心跳加快
and when I do, my heart speeds up
这是对史上最邪恶 恶毒的灵魂所做的计划
all these plans for the most evil, wicked soul in history.
但是有个问题
But there’s a problem,
就是我并不相信灵魂或邪恶
which is I don’t actually believe in souls or evil,
且我认为恶毒只属于音乐剧
and I think wicked belongs in a musical.
我乐见某些人死掉
But there’s some people I would like to see killed,
但是我反对死刑
but I’m against the death penalty.
我喜欢劣质的暴力电影
But I like schlocky violent movies,
但是我赞成严格管制枪械
but I’m for strict gun control.
但是有一次 我在一个玩镭射对战的地方
But then there was a time I was at a laser tag place,
我很享受躲在角落里向人射击
and I had such a good time hiding in a corner shooting at people.
换句话说 谈到暴力时 基本上我是个很困惑的人
In other words, I’m your basic confused human when it comes to violence.
从物种层面看 显然我们有暴力问题
Now, as a species, we obviously have problems with violence.
我们使用淋浴头来喷毒气
We use shower heads to deliver poison gas,
用信件传播炭疽杆菌 用飞机当武器
letters with anthrax, airplanes as weapons,
以大规模强暴作为军事战略
mass rape as a military strategy.
我们是可悲暴力的物种
We’re a miserably violent species.
但复杂的是
But there’s a complication,
我们并不憎恨暴力
which is we don’t hate violence,
我们憎恨错误的暴力
we hate the wrong kind.
如果暴力是正确的
And when it’s the right kind,
我们为它喝彩 我们颁予勋章
we cheer it on, we hand out medals,
我们支持他们 也想结识当中出类拔萃者
we vote for, we mate with our champions of it.
如果暴力是正确的时候
When it’s the right kind of violence,
我们喜爱它
we love it.
还有另一个枝节
And there’s another complication,
那就是 除了我们是非常暴力的物种
which is, in addition to us being this miserably violent species,
我们也是极度利他 有同理心的物种
we’re also this extraordinarily altruistic, compassionate one.
对于我们最好的 最不好的
So how do you make sense of the biology of our best behaviors,
在两者间的行为背后有什么生物学理论?
our worst ones and all of those ambiguously in between?
首先
Now, for starters,
去了解行为的肌肉运动层面是非常无聊的
what’s totally boring is understanding the motoric aspects of the behavior.
你的大脑告诉你的脊椎 告诉你的肌肉
Your brain tells your spine, tells your muscles
去做某事或是其他事
to do something or other,
然后 好哇 你就做了
and hooray, you’ve behaved.
困难的是去了解行为的意义
What’s hard is understanding the meaning of the behavior,
因为在某些情况 扣下扳机是骇人行为
because in some settings, pulling a trigger is an appalling act;
而其他情况 是自我牺牲的英勇行为
in others, it’s heroically self-sacrificial.
在某些状况 你把手放在别人手上
In some settings, putting your hand one someone else’s
是表示深切的同情
is deeply compassionate.
而其它情况是深深背叛
In others, it’s a deep betrayal.
我们的挑战是要了解
The challenge is to understand
我们的行为情境背后的生物学
the biology of the context of our behaviors,
而那是很难的
and that’s real tough.
但有一点很清楚 如果你认为会有
One thing that’s clear, though, is you’re not going to get anywhere
确切的大脑区域 激素
if you think there’s going to be the brain region or the hormone
基因 童年经验
or the gene or the childhood experience
或进化机制能解释一切 那你是不会有进展的
or the evolutionary mechanism that explains everything.
反之 每个行为背后都有多重原因
Instead, every bit of behavior has multiple levels of causality.
我们来看一个例子
Let’s look at an example.
你有一支枪
You have a gun.
有一个危机正在发生:
There’s a crisis going on:
群众暴动 暴力 人们跑来跑去
rioting, violence, people running around.
一位陌生人很激动的跑向你
A stranger is running at you in an agitated state —
你无法明确判断他的表情是害怕 威胁或生气
you can’t quite tell if the expression is frightened, threatening, angry —
他手上拿着的东西看起来像手枪
holding something that kind of looks like a handgun.
你不确定
You’re not sure.
那个陌生人冲向你
The stranger comes running at you
而你扣下扳机了
and you pull the trigger.
结果 这个人手里的东西
And it turns out that thing in this person’s hand
是一台手机
was a cell phone.
所以我们问这个生物学问题:
So we asked this biological question:
发生了什么导致了这种行为?
what was going on that caused this behavior?
什么导致了这种行为?
What caused this behavior?
这牵涉一大堆问题
And this is a multitude of questions.
我们开始
We start.
在扣动扳机的前一秒 你在想什么?
What was going on in your brain one second before you pulled that trigger?
这将我们带到大脑中被称为杏仁核的区域
And this brings us into the realm of a brain region called the amygdala.
杏仁核是暴力和恐惧的中心
The amygdala, which is central to violence, central to fear,
它会启动一连串的反应
initiates volleys of cascades
造成你去扣扳机
that produce pulling of a trigger.
在前一秒钟你的杏仁核的活动度有多高?
What was the level of activity in your amygdala one second before?
但要了解这点 我们必须后退一步
But to understand that, we have to step back a little bit.
在几秒钟 几分钟前 周遭的环境中发生了哪些
What was going on in the environment seconds to minutes before
会影响到杏仁核的事?
that impacted the amygdala?
很显然 是暴动的影像和声音
Now, obviously, the sights, the sounds of the rioting,
那是相关的
that was pertinent.
但 此外
But in addition,
如果 那位陌生人是高大且不同种族的男性
you’re more likely to mistake a cell phone for a handgun
你比较有可能
if that stranger was male
将手机误认为手枪
and large and of a different race.
再者 如果你正遭受痛苦
Furthermore, if you’re in pain,
如果你很饥饿 或是很疲惫
if you’re hungry, if you’re exhausted,
你的前额皮质也不会运作得很好
your frontal cortex is not going to work as well,
大脑中负责及时联络杏仁核的那部分
part of the brain whose job it is to get to the amygdala in time
说 “你确定那是一把枪吗?”
saying, “Are you really sure that’s a gun there?”
但我们必须再退到更早以前
But we need to step further back.
我们必须看看几小时 几天前
Now we have to look at hours to days before,
这就带我们进入了激素的领域
and with this, we have entered the realm of hormones.
例如 睾丸激素
For example, testosterone,
不管你的性别如何
where regardless of your sex,
如果你血液中的睾丸激素升高了
if you have elevated testosterone levels in your blood,
你更有可能把中性表情的面孔
you’re more likely to think a face with a neutral expression
当作具有威胁性
is instead looking threatening.
睾丸激素升高 应激激素升高
Elevated testosterone levels, elevated levels of stress hormones,
会让你的杏仁核更活跃
and your amygdala is going to be more active
你的前额皮质会更迟钝
and your frontal cortex will be more sluggish.
更进一步推到几周 几个月前
Pushing back further, weeks to months before,
这时的相关性是什么?
where’s the relevance there?
有个叫神经可塑性的领域
This is the realm of neural plasticity,
也就是你的大脑可以根据经验而改变
the fact that your brain can change in response to experience,
如果你前几个月的生活充满压力和创伤
and if your previous months have been filled with stress and trauma,
你的杏仁核会扩大
your amygdala will have enlarged.
神经元会变得比较容易兴奋
The neurons will have become more excitable,
前额叶皮质会萎缩
your frontal cortex would have atrophied,
这些都与扣扳机的那一秒有关
all relevant to what happens in that one second.
但我们再向前追溯到几年前
But we push back even more, back years,
比如 回到你的青春期
back, for example, to your adolescence.
青春期的大脑的重要特色是
Now, the central fact of the adolescent brain
前额叶皮质以外的部分
is all of it is going full blast
都是马力全开的状态
except the frontal cortex,
而前额叶皮质尚未成熟
which is still half-baked.
要到大约25岁时它才会完全成熟
It doesn’t fully mature until you’re around 25.
因此 青春期和成年前期
And thus, adolescence and early adulthood are the years
是环境与经验把额叶皮质塑造成
where environment and experience sculpt your frontal cortex
你在成年后那一关键时刻会有的
into the version you’re going to have
版本的时期
as an adult in that critical moment.
但再向前追溯
But pushing back even further,
回到童年和胎儿期
even further back to childhood and fetal life
以及可能形成的各式版本
and all the different versions that that could come in.
很显然 这个时期你的大脑正在被建造
Now, obviously, that’s the time that your brain is being constructed,
那很重要
and that’s important,
但除此之外 那些时期的经验
but in addition, experience during those times
会产生所谓的表观遗传变化
produce what are called epigenetic changes,
某些情况 永久改变
permanent, in some cases,
会永久性地启动某些基因 关闭其他基因
permanently activating certain genes, turning off others.
有一个例子可以说明
And as an example of this,
如果在胎儿时期 你接触到很多来自母亲的应激激素
if as a fetus you were exposed to a lot of stress hormones through your mother,
表观遗传学会造成你在成年期的前额叶皮质
epigenetics is going to produce your amygdala in adulthood
成为比较会激动的状态
as a more excitable form,
而你也将会有较高的应激激素
and you’re going to have elevated stress hormone levels.
再向前追溯
But pushing even further back,
回到你只是胎儿时
back to when you were just a fetus,
回到你只是一堆基因时
back to when all you were was a collection of genes.
基因对这一切而言都很重要
Now, genes are really important to all of this,
但关键是 基因不决定什么
but critically, genes don’t determine anything,
因为在不同环境中 基因运作不同
because genes work differently in different environments.
这里有个重要的例子:
Key example here:
有一种基因变体叫做MAO-A
there’s a variant of a gene called MAO-A,
如果你有那种基因
and if you have that variant,
你就非常有可能会做出反社会的暴力行为
you are far more likely to commit antisocial violence
但前提是 你在孩提时被虐待过
if, and only if, you were abused as a child.
基因和环境会交互作用
Genes and environment interact,
在你扣下扳机前一秒所发生的事
and what’s happening in that one second before you pull that trigger
反应出的是你一生中的基因和环境的交互作用
reflects your lifetime of those gene-environment interactions.
现在 值得注意的是 我们还要向前追溯
Now, remarkably enough, we’ve got to push even further back now,
回到几世纪前
back centuries.
你的祖先在做什么?
What were your ancestors up to?
比如 他们是游牧的放牧者
And if, for example, they were nomadic pastoralists,
他们是放牧者
they were pastoralists,
住在沙漠或草原的人
people living in deserts or grasslands
带着他们成群的骆驼 奶牛 山羊
with their herds of camels, cows, goats,
有可能他们发明了所谓的荣誉文化
odds are they would have invented what’s called a culture of honor
这种文化充满了勇士阶级
filled with warrior classes,
惩罚式的暴力 家族世仇
retributive violence, clan vendettas,
惊人的是 几世纪之后
and amazingly, centuries later,
那仍然会影响到养育你的价值观
that would still be influencing the values with which you were raised.
但我们还要再向回追溯
But we’ve got to push even further back,
再向前数百万年
back millions of years,
因为如果我们要谈论基因
because if we’re talking about genes,
背后其实就是在谈基因的演化
implicitly we’re now talking about the evolution of genes.
比如 你所看见的这个
And what you see is, for example,
是跨不同灵长类物种的模式
patterns across different primate species.
有些在演化之后的侵略程度是极低的
Some of them have evolved for extremely low levels of aggression,
其他的演化方向则恰恰相反
others have evolved in the opposite direction,
而落在两者之间的 就是人类
and floating there in between by every measure are humans,
这个困惑且几乎不明确的物种
once again this confused, barely defined species
会朝哪个方向偏移都是有可能的
that has all these potentials to go one way or the other.
所以这代表什么?
So what has this gotten us to?
基本上 我们在这里所看到的是
Basically, what we’re seeing here is,
如果你想要了解一个行为
if you want to understand a behavior,
不论是骇人的行为 令人惊奇的行为
whether it’s an appalling one, a wondrous one,
或在当中模糊地带的行为
or confusedly in between,
如果你想了解它
if you want to understand that,
你需要考量的是从前一秒前发生了什么
you’ve got take into account what happened a second before
一直到数百万年前发生了什么
to a million years before,
中间的一切都要考量
everything in between.
所以 在这个时间点 我们能下什么结论?
So what can we conclude at this point?
正式宣布 这极为复杂
Officially, it’s complicated.
哇 这实在太有帮助
Wow, that’s really helpful.
这极为复杂
It’s complicated,
你最好要非常小心 非常谨慎
and you’d better be real careful, real cautious
不要轻易认定你知道一个行为的成因
before you conclude you know what causes a behavior,
特别是针对你在严厉评断的行为
especially if it’s a behavior you’re judging harshly.
对我来说 这一切当中 最重要的一点
Now, to me, the single most important point about all of this
和改变有关
is one having to do with change.
我在这里所提到的所有生物学
Every bit of biology I have mentioned here
都有可能在不同的情况下有所改变
can change in different circumstances.
比如 生态系统体会改变
For example, ecosystems change.
数千年前 撒哈拉沙漠是苍翠的草原
Thousands of years ago, the Sahara was a lush grassland.
文化会改变
Cultures change.
十七世纪最可怕的欧洲人是瑞典人
In the 17th century, the most terrifying people in Europe were the Swedes,
狂暴的行为遍及各处
rampaging all over the place.
现在 瑞典军队做的是这种事
This is what the Swedish military does now.
他们已经有两百年没有过战争了
They haven’t had a war in 200 years.
最重要的是
Most importantly,
大脑会改变
brains change.
神经元会长出新的进程
Neurons grow new processes.
有些回路会断开
Circuits disconnect.
大脑中的一切都会改变
Everything in the brain changes,
这就造成了人类改变的非凡例子
and out of this come extraordinary examples of human change.
第一个例子:
First one:
这个人名叫约翰·牛顿
this is a man named John Newton,
是位英国神学家
a British theologian
在1800年代前期大英帝国废除奴隶事件中
who played a central role in the abolition of slavery from the British Empire
扮演中心角色
in the early 1800s.
惊人的是 这个人年轻时
And amazingly, this man spent decades as a younger man
当了数十年的奴隶船船长
as the captain of a slave ship,
接着又去当奴隶制度的投资者
and then as an investor in slavery,
透过奴隶制度致富
growing rich from this.
接着某样东西改变了
And then something changed.
他内在的某样东西改变了
Something changed in him,
是牛顿自己颂赞的 他最著名的
something that Newton himself celebrated in the thing that he’s most famous for,
是他所写的圣歌:
a hymn that he wrote:
《奇异恩典》
“Amazing Grace.”
1941年12月6日早上 这位名叫安倍晋三的人
This is a man named Zenji Abe on the morning of December 6, 1941,
准备要带领一个日本轰炸机小队去攻击珍珠港
about to lead a squadron of Japanese bombers to attack Pearl Harbor.
这是同一个人在五十年后
And this is the same man 50 years later to the day
拥抱当年地面上被轰炸的幸存者
hugging a man who survived the attack on the ground.
安倍到了这么年迈时
And as an old man,
他在珍珠港办的一个仪式中
Zenji Abe came to a collection of Pearl Harbor survivors
向许多当年的生还者
at a ceremony there
用结结巴巴的英语针对他年轻时所做的道歉
and in halting English apologized for what he had done as a young man.
不见得总要几十年的时间
Now, it doesn’t always require decades.
有时非凡的改变 可能在几小时内就会发生
Sometimes, extraordinary change could happen in just hours.
试想1914年第一次世界大战的圣诞节休战
Consider the World War I Christmas truce of 1914.
英国和德国通过谈判达成短暂的休战
The powers that be had negotiated a brief truce
士兵可以出去
so that soldiers could go out,
在两战壕间的无人之地捡回尸体
collect bodies from no-man’s-land in between the trench lines.
很快的 英国和德国的士兵
And soon British and German soldiers
就这么做了
were doing that,
他们还协助彼此搬运尸体
and then helping each other carry bodies,
协助彼此在冰冻之地挖出墓地
and then helping each other dig graves in the frozen ground,
然后一起祷告
and then praying together,
一起过圣诞节 交换礼物
and then having Christmas together and exchanging gifts,
等到隔天 他们已经在一起踢足球了
and by the next day, they were playing soccer together
交换地址 这样在战后才能再见面
and exchanging addresses so they could meet after the war.
这段休战一直持续着 直到军官抵达
That truce kept going until the officers had to arrive
说“你们要继续回去跟对方厮杀
and said, “We will shoot you
不然我们就会射杀你”
unless you go back to trying to kill each other.”
在这个事件中只花了几小时
And all it took here was hours
这些人就发展出了全新的“我们”定义
for these men to develop a completely new category of “us,”
是所有在战壕中的我们
all of us in the trenches here
不论哪一方 没有原因就送死的人
on both sides, dying for no damn reason,
也重新定义了“他们” 那些躲在战线后的掌权者
and who is a “them,” those faceless powers behind the lines
用这些士兵当棋子的人
who were using them as pawns.
有时 改变会在几秒间就发生
And sometimes, change can occur in seconds.
在越战中最可怕的事件应该就是
Probably the most horrifying event in the Vietnam War
美莱村屠杀
was the My Lai Massacre.
美军的一个军旅
A brigade of American soldiers
进入一个没有防御的村子 村中都是平民
went into an undefended village full of civilians
他们屠杀了350到500人
and killed between 350 and 500 of them,
大量强暴了女人和孩童
mass-raped women and children,
破坏尸体
mutilated bodies.
这事件十分骇人听闻
It was appalling.
这事件十分骇人听闻 因为它发生了 因为政府否认了
It was appalling because it occurred, because the government denied it,
因为美国政府最后的处理等同于在自己的手腕上打一下那么轻微
because the US government eventually did nothing more than a slap on the wrist,
这事件十分骇人听闻 因为几乎可肯定它不是单一事件
and appalling because it almost certainly was not a singular event.
这个人 休·汤普森 阻止了美莱村的屠杀
This man, Hugh Thompson, this is the man who stopped the My Lai Massacre.
他驾驶一架武装直升飞机
He was piloting a helicopter gunship,
降落在当地 下了直升机
landed there, got out
看见美国士兵在射杀幼儿
and saw American soldiers shooting babies,
射杀老妇人
shooting old women,
他明白发生了什么事
figured out what was going on,
然后他架着直升飞机
and he then took his helicopter
做了一件事 这件事推翻了他这一生
and did something that undid his lifetime of conditioning
对于谁是“我们” 谁是“他们”的判断
as to who is an “us” and who is a “them.”
他把他的直升飞机降落在
He landed his helicopter
存活居民和美国士兵中间
in between some surviving villagers and American soldiers
他把他的重机枪对准了他的美国同伴
and he trained his machine guns on his fellow Americans,
说“如果你们不停止杀戮 我会把你们全消灭”
and said, “If you don’t stop the killing, I will mow you down.”
这些人并没有比我们任何人还特别
Now, these people are no more special than any of us.
同样的神经元 同样的神经化学物质
Same neurons, same neurochemicals,
同样的生物学
same biology.
最后我们剩下这无可避免的老调:
What we’re left with here is this inevitable cliche:
“不研读历史的人 注定会重蹈覆辙”
“Those who don’t study history are destined to repeat it.”
我们这里的状况却完全相反
What we have here is the opposite of it.
那些不研读非凡人类变化历史的人
Those who don’t study the history of extraordinary human change,
那些不研读生物学 什么能把最糟作为转化为
those who don’t study the biology of what can transform us
最佳作为的生物学的人
from our worst to our best behaviors,
那些不这么做的人 注定不能够
those who don’t do this are destined not to be able
重复这些灿烂伟大的时刻
to repeat these incandescent, magnificent moments.
谢谢大家
So thank you.
(掌声)
(Applause)
克里斯安德森:有些演说真的能带给我们对某些事物的新心理模型
CA: Talks that really give you a new mental model about something,
我最喜欢这类的TED演说
those are some of my favorite TED Talks,
这场就是其中之一
and we just got one.
罗伯特 非常谢谢你 祝你的新书出版顺利
Robert, thank you so much for that. Good luck with the book.
这演说太棒了
That was amazing,
将来我们一定要找一年 邀请你亲自到这里来演说
and we’re going to try and get you to come here in person one year.
非常谢谢你
Thank you so much.
罗伯特·萨波斯基:谢谢你 谢谢大家
RS: Thank you. Thank you all.

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译制信息
视频概述

人性的好坏难以琢磨,复杂,希望这场演说能帮你重塑对某些事物新的心理模型。

听录译者

收集自网络

翻译译者

甪里

审核员

审核员@XG

视频来源

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ORthzIOEf30

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