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道德本能

(2010-04-04 11:24:47)
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杂谈

The Moral Instinct
  
  By STEVEN PINKER
  Published: January 13, 2008
  
  Which of the following people would you say is the most admirable: Mother Teresa, Bill Gates or Norman Borlaug? And which do you think is the least admirable? For most people, it’s an easy question. Mother Teresa, famous for ministering to the poor in Calcutta, has been beatified by the Vatican, awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and ranked in an American poll as the most admired person of the 20th century. Bill Gates, infamous for giving us the Microsoft dancing paper clip and the blue screen of death, has been decapitated in effigy in “I Hate Gates” Web sites and hit with a pie in the face. As for Norman Borlaug . . . who the heck is Norman Borlaug?

下面几个人中,你觉得谁最可敬?是特蕾莎修女、比尔*盖茨,还是诺曼*博洛格?他们之中,你又觉得谁相对来说最不那么可敬?对大多数人来说,这绝非难题。特蕾莎修女,因在加尔各答行善,帮扶穷人而受到梵蒂冈的赐福,获得诺贝尔和平奖,在一次美国民调中被列为20世纪最可敬之人首位。比尔*盖茨,因给其用户带来的蓝屏死机和Office软件的跳舞别针(早期Word软件的蹩脚屏幕助手)而臭名昭著,其肖像在“我恨盖茨”网上惨遭毁容。置于诺曼*博洛格,他又是何方神圣?
  
  Yet a deeper look might lead you to rethink your answers. Borlaug, father of the “Green Revolution” that used agricultural science to reduce world hunger, has been credited with saving a billion lives, more than anyone else in history. Gates, in deciding what to do with his fortune, crunched the numbers and determined that he could alleviate the most misery by fighting everyday scourges in the developing world like malaria, diarrhea and parasites. Mother Teresa, for her part, extolled the virtue of suffering and ran her well-financed missions accordingly: their sick patrons were offered plenty of prayer but harsh conditions, few analgesics and dangerously primitive medical care.

然而再往深处想一想,你可能就会重新考虑你的答案了。博洛格,“绿色革命之父”,采用农业科学来缓解世界饥饿,被誉为十亿生命的救星——历史上再没有谁像他这样拯救过如此之多的生命。盖茨,在决定如何使用他的财富时,出人意料地把钱投入到抗击发展中国家常见病中,希望以此来减轻大多数人的苦难。而特蕾莎修女,则弘扬了苦行的美德,并据此来经营她的资金周转不灵的使团:他们的病号主顾得到了许多的祷告,但生活条件严酷,没有镇痛剂,医疗设备也原始得令人堪忧。
  
  It’s not hard to see why the moral reputations of this trio should be so out of line with the good they have done. Mother Teresa was the very embodiment of saintliness: white-clad, sad-eyed, ascetic and often photographed with the wretched of the earth. Gates is a nerd’s nerd and the world’s richest man, as likely to enter heaven as the proverbial camel squeezing through the needle’s eye. And Borlaug, now 93, is an agronomist who has spent his life in labs and nonprofits, seldom walking onto the media stage, and hence into our consciousness, at all.

不难发现,这三个人的道德名声跟他们所行的善何其不成比例。特蕾莎修女是神圣的化身:白色的袍子,哀伤的目光,禁欲克己,照片中的她常与大地上的贫苦人群相伴。盖茨则是一个书呆子中的书呆子,还是世界首富,他要是能上天堂那骆驼都能钻过针眼了。而博洛格,现年93岁,一个农学家,把一辈子的时间都花在了实验室里和非营利组织中,极少走上媒体,也就压根没走进过我们的视线。
  
  I doubt these examples will persuade anyone to favor Bill Gates over Mother Teresa for sainthood. But they show that our heads can be turned by an aura of sanctity, distracting us from a more objective reckoning of the actions that make people suffer or flourish. It seems we may all be vulnerable to moral illusions the ethical equivalent of the bending lines that trick the eye on cereal boxes and in psychology textbooks. Illusions are a favorite tool of perception scientists for exposing the workings of the five senses, and of philosophers for shaking people out of the naïve belief that our minds give us a transparent window onto the world (since if our eyes can be fooled by an illusion, why should we trust them at other times?). Today, a new field is using illusions to unmask a sixth sense, the moral sense. Moral intuitions are being drawn out of people in the lab, on Web sites and in brain scanners, and are being explained with tools from game theory, neuroscience and evolutionary biology.

可能没人会承认盖茨比特蕾莎修女更圣洁。不过这些例子足以反映我们的头脑是会被神圣的光环所左右的,因此无法对于行为本身(无论是让人贫困还是让人富裕的行为)做出客观公正的判断。仿佛我们在道德错觉面前是不堪一击的,这迷惑人的道德错觉无异于麦片包装盒上的不真实的广告图片,或者是心理学课本上的变幻线。
  
  “Two things fill the mind with ever new and increasing admiration and awe, the oftener and more steadily we reflect on them,” wrote Immanuel Kant, “the starry heavens above and the moral law within.” These days, the moral law within is being viewed with increasing awe, if not always admiration. The human moral sense turns out to be an organ of considerable complexity, with quirks that reflect its evolutionary history and its neurobiological foundations.

“有两种东西,我越是经常持久地对之凝神思索,就越是使我内心充满常新而日增的爱慕和敬畏,”康德写道,“那便是天上的星空和心中的道德律令。”如今人们越探索道德准绳,心里就越发感到敬畏,而人类的道德感(是非观念)原始一种相当复杂的结构。
  
  These quirks are bound to have implications for the human predicament. Morality is not just any old topic in psychology but close to our conception of the meaning of life. Moral goodness is what gives each of us the sense that we are worthy human beings. We seek it in our friends and mates, nurture it in our children, advance it in our politics and justify it with our religions. A disrespect for morality is blamed for everyday sins and history’s worst atrocities. To carry this weight, the concept of morality would have to be bigger than any of us and outside all of us.
  
  So dissecting moral intuitions is no small matter. If morality is a mere trick of the brain, some may fear, our very grounds for being moral could be eroded. Yet as we shall see, the science of the moral sense can instead be seen as a way to strengthen those grounds, by clarifying what morality is and how it should steer our actions.
  
  The Moralization Switch
是什么触发了道德感  

  The starting point for appreciating that there is a distinctive part of our psychology for morality is seeing how moral judgments differ from other kinds of opinions we have on how people ought to behave. Moralization is a psychological state that can be turned on and off like a switch, and when it is on, a distinctive mind-set commandeers our thinking. This is the mind-set that makes us deem actions immoral (“killing is wrong”), rather than merely disagreeable (“I hate brussels sprouts”), unfashionable (“bell-bottoms are out”) or imprudent (“don’t scratch mosquito bites”).

要承认人的心理有专门的一部分作用于道德,就得先认识到人们对事物的既定的道德评价与他们对其他事物的成见是截然不同的两样东西。道德化(moralization)是一种心理状态,就像一个开关,可开可关。当这种道德开关被打开的时候,一种截然不同的思维模式便驾驭了我们的思考。这种思维模式使我们将某些行为视作是不道德的,而不仅仅是难如人意的,或不合时宜的,又或者是不太明智的。

  
  The first hallmark of moralization is that the rules it invokes are felt to be universal. Prohibitions of rape and murder, for example, are felt not to be matters of local custom but to be universally and objectively warranted. One can easily say, “I don’t like brussels sprouts, but I don’t care if you eat them,” but no one would say, “I don’t like killing, but I don’t care if you murder someone.”
道德感的首要特征是:被援引为规则的道德信条通常被视作是普适通用的。比方说,禁止强奸、禁止谋杀,这不会被人们视作一种当地风俗,而更具普适而客观的公允。

  
  The other hallmark is that people feel that those who commit immoral acts deserve to be punished. Not only is it allowable to inflict pain on a person who has broken a moral rule; it is wrong not to, to “let them get away with it.” People are thus untroubled in inviting divine retribution or the power of the state to harm other people they deem immoral. Bertrand Russell wrote, “The infliction of cruelty with a good conscience is a delight to moralists — that is why they invented hell.”

道德感的另一项特征是:人们觉得那些犯下不道德罪行的人理应受到惩罚。对那些违反道德律的人施加人身伤害仿佛是天经地义的;相反,让他们“侥幸脱逃”才是一种过错。因此人们可以毫无不安地奉上帝之名或假国家之权来伤害那些他们认为不道德的人。伯特兰·罗素曾写道:“让道学家们兴奋不已的,莫过于心安理得地对人施以残暴——也正因此他们才发明了地狱。”

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