发布者: 千缘 | 发布时间: 2020-11-12 01:00| 查看数: 104| 评论数: 0|

Daniel Goleman,哈佛大学心理学博士,现为美国科学促进协会(AAAS)研究员,曾四度荣获美国心理协会(APA)最高荣誉奖项,20世纪80年代即获得心理学终生成就奖,并曾两次获得普利策奖提名。今天为我们解析为什么我们更多的时候不那么有同情心。

You know, I'm struck by how one of theimplicit themes of TED is compassion, these very moving demonstrations we'vejust seen: HIV in Africa, President Clinton last night. And I'd like to do alittle collateral thinking, if you will, about compassion and bring it from theglobal level to the personal. I'm a psychologist, but rest assured, I will notbring it to the scrotal.


There was a very important study done awhile ago at Princeton Theological Seminary that speaks to why it is that whenall of us have so many opportunities to help, we do sometimes, and we don'tother times. A group of divinity students at the Princeton Theological Seminarywere told that they were going to give a practice sermon and they were eachgiven a sermon topic.


Half of those students were given, as a topic, theparable of the Good Samaritan: the man who stopped the stranger in -- to helpthe stranger in need by the side of the road. Half were given random Bibletopics. Then one by one, they were told they had to go to another building andgive their sermon. As they went from the first building to the second, each ofthem passed a man who was bent over and moaning, clearly in need. The questionis: Did they stop to help?


The more interesting question is: Did itmatter they were contemplating the parable of the Good Samaritan? Answer: No,not at all. What turned out to determine whether someone would stop and help astranger in need was how much of a hurry they thought they were in -- were theyfeeling they were late, or were they absorbed in what they were going to talkabout. And this is, I think, the predicament of our lives: that we don't takeevery opportunity to help because our focus is in the wrong direction.


There's a new field in brain science,social neuroscience. This studies the circuitry in two people's brains thatactivates while they interact. And the new thinking about compassion fromsocial neuroscience is that our default wiring is to help. That is to say, ifwe attend to the other person, we automatically empathize, we automaticallyfeel with them. There are these newly identified neurons, mirror neurons, thatact like a neuro Wi-Fi, activating in our brain exactly the areas activated intheirs. We feel "with" automatically. And if that person is in need,if that person is suffering, we're automatically prepared to help. At leastthat's the argument.


But then the question is: Why don't we? AndI think this speaks to a spectrum that goes from complete self-absorption, tonoticing, to empathy and to compassion. And the simple fact is, if we arefocused on ourselves, if we're preoccupied, as we so often are throughout theday, we don't really fully notice the other. And this difference between theself and the other focus can be very subtle.


I was doing my taxes the other day, and Igot to the point where I was listing all of the donations I gave, and I had anepiphany, it was -- I came to my check to the Seva Foundation and I noticedthat I thought, boy, my friend Larry Brilliant would really be happy that Igave money to Seva.


Then I realized that what I was getting from giving was anarcissistic hit -- that I felt good about myself. Then I started to thinkabout the people in the Himalayas whose cataracts would be helped, and Irealized that I went from this kind of narcissistic self-focus to altruisticjoy, to feeling good for the people that were being helped. I think that's amotivator.


But this distinction between focusing on ourselvesand focusing on others is one that I encourage us all to pay attention to. Youcan see it at a gross level in the world of dating. I was at a sushi restauranta while back and I overheard two women talking about the brother of one woman,who was in the singles scene. And this woman says, "My brother is havingtrouble getting dates, so he's trying speed dating." I don't know if youknow speed dating?


Women sit at tables and men go from table to table, andthere's a clock and a bell, and at five minutes, bingo, the conversation endsand the woman can decide whether to give her card or her email address to theman for follow up. And this woman says, "My brother's never gotten a card,and I know exactly why. The moment he sits down, he starts talking non-stopabout himself; he never asks about the woman."


And I was doing some research in the SundayStyles section of The New York Times, looking at the back stories of marriages-- because they're very interesting -- and I came to the marriage of AliceCharney Epstein. And she said that when she was in the dating scene, she had asimple test she put people to. The test was: from the moment they got together,how long it would take the guy to ask her a question with the word"you" in it. And apparently Epstein aced the test, therefore thearticle.


Now this is a -- it's a little test Iencourage you to try out at a party. Here at TED there are great opportunities.The Harvard Business Review recently had an article called "The HumanMoment," about how to make real contact with a person at work. And theysaid, well, the fundamental thing you have to do is turn off your BlackBerry,close your laptop, end your daydream and pay full attention to the person.There is a newly coined word in the English language for the moment when theperson we're with whips out their BlackBerry or answers that cell phone, andall of a sudden we don't exist. The word is "pizzled": it's acombination of puzzled and pissed off.


I think it's quite apt. It's our empathy,it's our tuning in which separates us from Machiavellians or sociopaths. I havea brother-in-law who's an expert on horror and terror -- he wrote the AnnotatedDracula, the Essential Frankenstein -- he was trained as a Chaucer scholar, buthe was born in Transylvania and I think it affected him a little bit. At anyrate, at one point my brother-in-law, Leonard, decided to write a book about aserial killer. This is a man who terrorized the very vicinity we're in manyyears ago. He was known as the Santa Cruz strangler. And before he was arrested,he had murdered his grandparents, his mother and five co-eds at UC Santa Cruz.


So my brother-in-law goes to interview thiskiller and he realizes when he meets him that this guy is absolutelyterrifying. For one thing, he's almost seven feet tall. But that's not the mostterrifying thing about him. The scariest thing is that his IQ is 160: acertified genius. But there is zero correlation between IQ and emotionalempathy, feeling with the other person. They're controlled by different partsof the brain.


So at one point, my brother-in-law gets upthe courage to ask the one question he really wants to know the answer to, andthat is: how could you have done it? Didn't you feel any pity for your victims?These were very intimate murders -- he strangled his victims. And the stranglersays very matter-of-factly, "Oh no. If I'd felt the distress, I could nothave done it. I had to turn that part of me off. I had to turn that part of meoff."


And I think that that is very troubling,and in a sense, I've been reflecting on turning that part of us off. When wefocus on ourselves in any activity, we do turn that part of ourselves off ifthere's another person. Think about going shopping and think about thepossibilities of a compassionate consumerism. Right now, as Bill McDonough haspointed out, the objects that we buy and use have hidden consequences. We'reall unwitting victims of a collective blind spot.


We don't notice and don'tnotice that we don't notice the toxic molecules emitted by a carpet or by thefabric on the seats. Or we don't know if that fabric is a technological ormanufacturing nutrient; it can be reused or does it just end up at landfill? Inother words, we're oblivious to the ecological and public health and social andeconomic justice consequences of the things we buy and use. In a sense, theroom itself is the elephant in the room, but we don't see it. And we've becomevictims of a system that points us elsewhere. Consider this.


There's a wonderful book called Stuff: TheHidden Life of Everyday Objects. And it talks about the back story of somethinglike a t-shirt. And it talks about where the cotton was grown and thefertilizers that were used and the consequences for soil of that fertilizer.And it mentions, for instance, that cotton is very resistant to textile dye;about 60 percent washes off into waste water.


And it's well known byepidemiologists that kids who live near textile works tend to have high ratesof leukemia. There's a company, Bennett and Company, that supplies Polo.com,Victoria's Secret -- they, because of their CEO, who's aware of this, in Chinaformed a joint venture with their dye works to make sure that the wastewaterwould be properly taken care of before it returned to the groundwater. Rightnow, we don't have the option to choose the virtuous t-shirt over thenon-virtuous one. So what would it take to do that?


Well, I've been thinking. For one thing,there's a new electronic tagging technology that allows any store to know theentire history of any item on the shelves in that store. You can track it backto the factory. Once you can track it back to the factory, you can look at themanufacturing processes that were used to make it, and if it's virtuous, youcan label it that way.


Or if it's not so virtuous, you can go into -- today, gointo any store, put your scanner on a palm onto a barcode, which will take youto a website. They have it for people with allergies to peanuts. That websitecould tell you things about that object. In other words, at point of purchase,we might be able to make a compassionate choice.


There's a saying in the world of informationscience: ultimately everybody will know everything. And the question is: willit make a difference? Some time ago when I was working for The New York Times,it was in the '80s, I did an article on what was then a new problem in New York-- it was homeless people on the streets.


And I spent a couple of weeks goingaround with a social work agency that ministered to the homeless. And Irealized seeing the homeless through their eyes that almost all of them werepsychiatric patients that had nowhere to go. They had a diagnosis. It made me-- what it did was to shake me out of the urban trance where, when we see, whenwe're passing someone who's homeless in the periphery of our vision, it stayson the periphery. We don't notice and therefore we don't act.


One day soon after that -- it was a Friday-- at the end of the day, I went down -- I was going down to the subway. It wasrush hour and thousands of people were streaming down the stairs. And all of asudden as I was going down the stairs I noticed that there was a man slumped tothe side, shirtless, not moving, and people were just stepping over him --hundreds and hundreds of people.


And because my urban trance had been somehowweakened, I found myself stopping to find out what was wrong. The moment Istopped, half a dozen other people immediately ringed the same guy. And wefound out that he was Hispanic, he didn't speak any English, he had no money,he'd been wandering the streets for days, starving, and he'd fainted fromhunger. Immediately someone went to get orange juice, someone brought a hotdog,someone brought a subway cop. This guy was back on his feet immediately. Butall it took was that simple act of noticing, and so I'm optimistic.Thank you very much.



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