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为什么有一些人会更加无私?

Why some people are more altruistic than others | Abigail Marsh

有这么一个男人
There’s a man out there, somewhere,
长的有点像演员伊卓瑞斯·艾巴
who looks a little bit like the actor Idris Elba,
或者说是艾巴20年前的样子
or at least he did 20 years ago.
我并不认识他
I don’t know anything else about him,
但他曾经救了我一命
except that he once saved my life
不顾自己的安危
by putting his own life in danger.
那天夜里 那男子横穿了四条高速车道
This man ran across four lanes of freeway traffic in the middle of the night
将我从一场致命车祸中救出
to bring me back to safety
并将我带到安全的地方
after a car accident that could have killed me.
整件事除了带给我恐慌
And the whole thing left me really shaken up, obviously,
还在我心头遗留了一个挥之不去的困惑
but it also left me with this kind of burning, gnawing need
为什么他要这么做
to understand why he did it,
是什么驱使着他做出了这样的决定
what forces within him caused him to make the choice
不顾安危来救我
that I owe my life to,
冒着生命危险去救一个陌生人的命
to risk his own life to save the life of a stranger?
换句话说 是什么原因导致他 或者其他人自发地去帮助别人
In other words, what are the causes of his or anybody else’s capacity for altruism?
我想先讲讲事情的经过
But first let me tell you what happened.
那时候我才19岁
That night, I was 19 years old
我正开车返回位于华盛顿州塔科马的家
and driving back to my home in Tacoma, Washington,
在距离洲际公路五公里的时候
down the Interstate 5 freeway,
一只小狗窜到了我的车前
when a little dog darted out in front of my car.
我做了不应该的事
And I did exactly what you’re not supposed to do,
我为了不撞到它 转了方向盘
which is swerve to avoid it.
而且这之后我明白了为什么我不应该这样做
And I discovered why you’re not supposed to do that.
因为我还是撞了那只狗
I hit the dog anyways,
随之 我的车也开始剧烈晃动
and that sent the car into a fishtail,
然后在公路上打转
and then a spin across the freeway,
最后停在了公路的快车道上
until finally it wound up in the fast lane of the freeway
并且逆向面对疾驰而来的车辆
faced backwards into oncoming traffic
偏偏这时引擎熄火了
and then the engine died.
那个瞬间 我非常确切地感受到了死亡
And I was sure in that moment that I was about to die too,
但我沒有死
but I didn’t
因为那个勇敢的人
because of the actions of that one brave man
在看到我的车抛锚的那一刻
who must have made the decision
做出了救我的决定
within a fraction of a second of seeing my stranded car
他靠边飞驰过四条行车道
to pull over and run across four lanes of freeway traffic
在黑夜里
in the dark
救了我一命
to save my life.
之后 他修好了我的车
And then after he got my car working again
带我到安全的地方 并确保我一切无恙后
and got me back to safety and made sure I was going to be all right,
他才开车离去
he drove off again.
他甚至沒有告诉我他的名字
He never even told me his name,
我敢肯定还忘了说谢谢
and I’m pretty sure I forgot to say thank you.
在我继续讲下去之前
So before I go any further,
我真的很想花点时间
I really want to take a moment
向那位陌生人表达我的谢意
to stop and say thank you to that stranger.
(掌聲)
(Applause)
我之所以告诉你们这件事
I tell you all of this
是因为那晚的事情在某种程度上地改变了我的人生轨迹
because the events of that night changed the course of my life to some degree.
我成为了一位心理学研究者
I became a psychology researcher,
并且致力于研究人类关爱他人的能力
and I’ve devoted my work to understanding the human capacity to care for others.
这样的能力是怎么来的又是怎么发展的
Where does it come from, and how does it develop,
在极端情况下 又能发展到什么程度
and what are the extreme forms that it can take?
这些问题非常重要
These questions are really important to understanding basic aspects
有助于理解人类社会性的基本层面
of human social nature.
许多人 包括各个行业的
A lot of people, and this includes everybody
从哲学家 经济学家到普通人
from philosophers and economists to ordinary people
都认为人性是自私的
believe that human nature is fundamentally selfish,
认为人们的行动只为利益所驱使
that we’re only ever really motivated by our own welfare.
但如果真是如此 为什么有些人像那个陌生人一样 救了我却不求回报
But if that’s true, why do some people, like the stranger who rescued me,
无私地帮助他人
do selfless things, like helping other people
不管冒着多大的危险 付出多少代价
at enormous risk and cost to themselves?
要想回答这个问题
Answering this question
我们需要探索利他行为的根源
requires exploring the roots of extraordinary acts of altruism,
到底是什么让他们乐于帮助他人
and what might make people who engage in such acts
而不是随大流呢
different than other people.
但迄今为止 有关人类社会性的研究成果甚少
But until recently, very little work on this topic had been done.
救我的那个男人的行为
The actions of the man who rescued me
将利他主义表达到了极致
meet the most stringent definition of altruism,
那是种自发的 不计代价的行为
which is a voluntary, costly behavior
被帮助他人的渴望所驱使
motivated by the desire to help another individual.
这是一种无私的行为 只为了让他人受益
So it’s a selfless act intended to benefit only the other.
这种行为该怎么解释呢
What could possibly explain an action like that?
有一种答案是因为同情心
One answer is compassion, obviously,
这是利他主义的一个关键驱动力
which is a key driver of altruism.
但问题也随之而来
But then the question becomes,
为什么有的人好像比别人有更多的怜悯心
why do some people seem to have more of it than others?
可能是具有高度利他行为的人们
And the answer may be that the brains of highly altruistic people
他们的大脑本质上跟别人就不同
are different in fundamental ways.
为了搞清楚这个问题
But to figure out how,
我开始逆向思考
I actually started from the opposite end,
研究精神病患者
with psychopaths.
我用了一个常用的方法去研究人类天性
A common approach to understanding basic aspects of human nature,
比如研究人类帮助他人的意愿
like the desire to help other people,
这个方法就是去研究缺乏帮助他人的意愿的人群
is to study people in whom that desire is missing,
精神病患者就是典型例子
and psychopaths are exactly such a group.
精神病是一种发展性失常
Psychopathy is a developmental disorder
基因上的缺陷
with strongly genetic origins,
导致他们冷酷无情
and it results in a personality that’s cold and uncaring
具有反社会性的倾向 甚至有时候会有暴力行为
and a tendency to engage in antisocial and sometimes very violent behavior.
在国家心理学研究院
Once my colleagues and I at the National Institute of Mental Health
我和同事开展了第一个此领域的研究
conducted some of the first ever brain imaging research
是有关患精神疾病青少年的脑部成像的
of psychopathic adolescents,
我们及后续研究者发现
and our findings, and the findings of other researchers now,
患有精神病的人
have shown that people who are psychopathic
普遍具有三个特征
pretty reliably exhibit three characteristics.
首先 他们对于感受别人的情绪并不迟钝
First, although they’re not generally insensitive to other people’s emotions,
但是他们对于别人的痛苦很麻木
they are insensitive to signs that other people are in distress.
特别是
And in particular,
他们识别不了恐惧的面部表情 例如这张
they have difficulty recognizing fearful facial expressions like this one.
恐惧的表情传达出一个人的窘迫和精神上的痛苦
And fearful expressions convey urgent need and emotional distress,
而这些情绪能激发他人的怜悯和帮助的意愿
and they usually elicit compassion and a desire to help
所有能感受到别人的痛苦情绪的人 都会这样做
in people who see them,
这就解释了为什么同情心缺失的人
so it makes sense that people who tend to lack compassion
常常感知不到别人的痛苦
also tend to be insensitive to these cues.
人的大脑内
The part of the brain
识别恐惧表情的重要部分
that’s the most important for recognizing fearful expressions
叫做杏仁体
is called the amygdala.
有极少部分人的杏仁体发育不健全
There are very rare cases of people who lack amygdalas completely,
这些人对恐惧表情的辨识有障碍
and they’re profoundly impaired in recognizing fearful expressions.
而健康的成人或小孩
And whereas healthy adults and children
他们的杏仁体有较高的活跃性
usually show big spikes in amygdala activity
在看到恐惧表情的时候
when they look at fearful expressions,
精神病患者的杏仁体反应并不活跃
psychopaths’ amygdalas are underreactive to these expressions.
有时候甚至没有任何反应
Sometimes they don’t react at all,
这也是为什么他们感觉不到别人的痛苦
which may be why they have trouble detecting these cues.
并且 精神病患者的杏仁体比正常人要小
Finally, psychopaths’ amygdalas are smaller than average
大概小了百分之十八到二十
by about 18 or 20 percent.
这些发现可信度相当高
So all of these findings are reliable and robust,
也很有意思
and they’re very interesting.
但我最感兴趣的
But remember that my main interest
不是有的人为什么不关心他人
is not understanding why people don’t care about others.
而是为什么人们会关心别人
It’s understanding why they do.
所以我真正想要了解的人是
So the real question is,
极端的利他主义者
could extraordinary altruism,
也就是在精神病患者对立面的人群
which is the opposite of psychopathy
充满同情心并乐意帮助他人的人
in terms of compassion and the desire to help other people,
这类人的大脑是否也和精神病患者截然不同
emerge from a brain that is also the opposite of psychopathy?
一个杏仁体过于发达的大脑
A sort of antipsychopathic brain,
是否能更好地识别他人的恐惧
better able to recognize other people’s fear,
他们的杏仁体在处理痛苦信息的时候是否更活跃
an amygdala that’s more reactive to this expression
甚至远远超过正常人的平均水平
and maybe larger than average as well?
我的研究表明
As my research has now shown,
这三个假设都是正确的
all three things are true.
通过测试那些真实的具有极端利他主义的人群
And we discovered this
我们有了有趣的发现
by testing a population of truly extraordinary altruists.
这些人曾把自己的一个肾脏
These are people who have given one of their own kidneys
捐献给了陌生人
to a complete stranger.
他们自愿承受大型手术
So these are people who have volunteered to undergo major surgery
将他们健康的肾脏转移
so that one of their own healthy kidneys can be removed
并移植到需要的陌生人身上
and transplanted into a very ill stranger
移植到那些他们过去甚至未来都不可能遇见的人身上
that they’ve never met and may never meet.
大家都会问 为什么要这么做
“Why would anybody do this?” is a very common question.
要寻求答案
And the answer may be
可能要深入研究他们的大脑
that the brains of these extraordinary altruists
那儿有些很特别的东西
have certain special characteristics.
他们更善于辨别别人的恐惧
They are better at recognizing other people’s fear.
并且能很敏感地感受到别人的困难
They’re literally better at detecting when somebody else is in distress.
可能是因为他们的杏仁体对恐惧情绪反应更活跃
This may be in part because their amygdala is more reactive to these expressions.
注意 精神病患者的杏仁体
And remember, this is the same part of the brain that we found
对此是不活跃的
was underreactive in people who are psychopathic.
最后一点 利他主义人群的杏仁体体积大于常人
And finally, their amygdalas are larger than average as well,
大了百分之八左右
by about eight percent.
综上所述 这些数据表明
So together, what these data suggest
世界上的人们组成了一条连续的爱心曲线
is the existence of something like a caring continuum in the world
有的人毫不关心他人 例如精神病患者
that’s anchored at the one end by people who are highly psychopathic,
有的人非常无私 乐意为人奉献
and at the other by people who are very compassionate
并且言行举止都是个极端的利他主义者
and driven to acts of extreme altruism.
但我要强调的是 这些极端的利他主义者异于常人的原因
But I should add that what makes extraordinary altruists so different
并不仅是他们比常人更富有同情心
is not just that they’re more compassionate than average.
他们的确是这样的
They are
但更加与众不同的是
but what’s even more unusual about them
他们的同情心和利他行为
is that they’re compassionate and altruistic
不仅是对于最亲近的人
not just towards people who are in their own innermost circle
例如朋友和家人
of friends and family. Right?
因为对自己爱的人有同情心
Because to have compassion for people that you love and identify with
并不特别
is not extraordinary.
真正极端的利他主义者的同情心 会延伸至亲近的人之外
Truly extraordinary altruists’ compassion extends way beyond that circle,
延伸到认识的人
even beyond their wider circle of acquaintances
延伸到自己社交圈以外的所有人
to people who are outside their social circle altogether,
甚至完全的陌生人
total strangers,
就像那个救我的男人
just like the man who rescued me.
我曾问过那些愿意捐献肾脏的人
And I’ve had the opportunity now to ask a lot of altruistic kidney donors
如何才能将自己的同情心延展至所有人
how it is that they manage to generate such a wide circle of compassion
延展至一个需要健康肾脏的陌生人
that they were willing to give a complete stranger their kidney.
我发现他们没有答案
And I found it’s a really difficult question for them to answer.
我问 是什么让你愿意去做
I say, “How is it that you’re willing to do this thing
大多数人都不愿意做的事
when so many other people don’t?
2000位美国人中都不一定会有一个你这样的
You’re one of fewer than 2,000 Americans
这样愿意捐肾脏给陌生人的人
who has ever given a kidney to a stranger.
这么做的意义是什么
What is it that makes you so special?”
你猜他们怎么说的
And what do they say?
他们说 没什么
They say, “Nothing.
我没什么特别的
There’s nothing special about me.
我和其他人一样
I’m just the same as everybody else.”
我想 这就是他们的答案吧
And I think that’s actually a really telling answer,
因为利他主义的交际圈不大一样
because it suggests that the circles of these altruists don’t look like this,
他们更像是
they look more like this.
从不以自己为中心
They have no center.
这些利他主义者不认为自己
These altruists literally don’t think of themselves
自己是任何事的中心
as being at the center of anything,
或者比别人更重要
as being better or more inherently important than anybody else.
当我问一位利他主义者 为什么捐献肾脏对她来说有意义
When I asked one altruist why donating her kidney made sense to her,
她说 因为别人需要
she said, “Because it’s not about me.”
另一位利他主义者说
Another said,
我跟别人没什么不同 我并不是唯一一个会这么做的
“I’m not different. I’m not unique.
你的研究中应该也发现了 其实我与你没什么不同
Your study here is going to find out that I’m just the same as you.”
我认为 对于这种缺乏以自我为中心的意识的人
I think the best description for this amazing lack of self-centeredness
最好的形容词是谦卑
is humility,
在St.Augustine的描述中
which is that quality that in the words of St. Augustine
谦卑是天使的特性
makes men as angels.
为什么呢
And why is that?
因为你的人际圈中没有中心
It’s because if there’s no center of your circle,
也就没有圈内圈外之分了
there can be no inner rings or outer rings,
对你来说 关爱是没有区别对待的
nobody who is more or less worthy of your care and compassion
一视同仁
than anybody else.
我认为这是真正区分利他主义者和常人
And I think that this is what really distinguishes extraordinary altruists
最大的差异
from the average person.
但我认为这也是个可实现的远景
But I also think that this is a view of the world that’s attainable by many
对大多数人来说都是
and maybe even most people.
因为从社会层面来看
And I think this because at the societal level,
利他主义及同情心正扩散至世界的每个角落
expansions of altruism and compassion are already happening everywhere.
心理學家 Steven Pinker和其他研究者表示
The psychologist Steven Pinker and others have shown
世界上的人们越来越难接受
that all around the world people are becoming less and less accepting
对其他人受折磨袖手旁观 即使是陌生人
of suffering in ever-widening circles of others,
所以暴力残忍的事越来越少
which has led to declines of all kinds of cruelty and violence,
例如滥杀动物 家庭暴力 死刑
from animal abuse to domestic violence to capital punishment.
也有越来越多的各种利他行为出现
And it’s led to increases in all kinds of altruism.
一百多年前 人们曾讥讽
A hundred years ago, people would have thought it was ludicrous
那些坚持无私奉献的人
how normal and ordinary it is
说为别人捐赠血液及骨髓很可笑
for people to donate their blood and bone marrow
尤其是给陌生人
to complete strangers today.
或许在距今一百年之后
Is it possible that a hundred years from now
人们会认为捐献肾脏给陌生人
people will think that donating a kidney to a stranger
是一件再普通不过的事
is just as normal and ordinary
就像 今日的我们 认为捐血跟骨髓很普通一样
as we think donating blood and bone marrow is today?
或许吧
Maybe.
那么这些惊人变化的根源是什么
So what’s at the root of all these amazing changes?
也许一部分原因是
In part it seems to be
人民生活水平和财富的提高
increases in wealth and standards of living.
社会的富强
As societies become wealthier and better off,
让人们开始把注意力转向外界
people seem to turn their focus of attention outward,
因此 对陌生人的利他主义行为也越来越多了
and as a result, all kinds of altruism towards strangers increases,
例如 志工服务 慷慨地捐钱 甚至是捐出自己的肾脏
from volunteering to charitable donations and even altruistic kidney donations.
但所有的改变
But all of these changes also yield
都得出个奇怪又矛盾的结论
a strange and paradoxical result,
世界正在变的更好更人性化
which is that even as the world is becoming a better and more humane place,
然而
which it is,
大家却觉得世界变得更糟更暴力了
there’s a very common perception that it’s becoming worse
这跟前面的观点相互矛盾
and more cruel, which it’s not.
我不知道为什么会这样
And I don’t know exactly why this is,
但我认为可能是因为
but I think it may be that we now just know so much more
我们只是在感知到相距遥远的人们的苦难
about the suffering of strangers in distant places,
变得越来越关心他人
and so we now care a lot more
尤其是远处遭受苦难的陌生人
about the suffering of those distant strangers.
但显然 我们所了解到的变化
But what’s clear is the kinds of changes we’re seeing show
这些利他及同情心的根源
that the roots of altruism and compassion
其实跟人类的残忍和暴力天性相去不远
are just as much a part of human nature as cruelty and violence,
或许比利他和同情心所占的部分还多些
maybe even more so,
与此同时 有的人天生感受力更强
and while some people do seem to be inherently more sensitive
更能体会他人的痛苦
to the suffering of distant others,
我相信我们能做到
I really believe that the ability to remove oneself
去除以自我为中心的意识
from the center of the circle
并且把注意力延展向我们的外界 甚至包括陌生人
and expand the circle of compassion outward to include even strangers
包括世界 人人心连心
is within reach for almost everyone.
谢谢
Thank you.
(掌声)
(Applause)

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