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灵魂是什么

时间:2010-07-29 13:07    来源:    作者: 点击:
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    One of the most painful circumstances of recent advances in science is that each one of them makes us know less than we thought we did. When I was young we all knew, or thought we knew, that a man consists of a soul and a body; that the body is in time and space, but the soul is in time only. Whether the soul survives death was a matter as to which opinions might differ, but that there is a soul was thought to be indubitable. As for the body, the plain man of course considered its existence self-evident, and so did the man of science, but the philosopher was apt to analyze it away after one fashion or another, reducing it usually to ideas in the mind of the man who had the body and anybody else who happened to notice him. The philosopher, however, was not taken seriously, and science remained comfortably materialistic, even in the hands of quite orthodox scientists.

    Nowadays these fine old simplicities are lost: physicists assure us that there is no such thing as matter, and psychologists assure us that there is no such thing as mind. This is an unprecedented occurrence. Who ever heard of a cobbler saying that there was no such thing as boots, or a tailor maintaining that all men are really naked? Yet that would have been no odder than what physicists and certain psychologists have been doing. To begin with the latter, some of them attempt to

    reduce everything that seems to be mental activity to an activity of the body. There are, however, various difficulties in the way of reducing mental activity to physical activity. I do not think we can yet say with any assurance whether these difficulties are or are not insuperable. What we can say, on the basis of physics itself, is that what we have hitherto called our body is really an elaborate scientific construction not corresponding to any physical reality. The modem would-be materialist thus finds himself in a curious position, for, while he may with a certain degree of success reduce the activities of the mind to those of the body, he cannot explain away the fact that the body itself is merely a convenient concept invented by the mind. We find ourselves thus going round and round in a circle: mind is an emanation of body, and body is an invention of mind. Evidently this cannot be quite right, and we have to look for something that is neither mind nor body, out of which both can spring.

    Let us begin with the body. The plain man thinks that material objects must certainly exist, since they are evident to the senses. Whatever else may be doubted, it is certain that anything you can bump into must be real; this is the plain man's metaphysic. This is all very well, but the physicist comes along and shows that you never bump into anything: even when you run your head against a stone wall, you do not really touch it. When you think you touch a thing, there are certain electrons and protons, forming part of your body, which are attracted and repelled by certain electrons and protons in the thing you think you are touching, but there is no actual contact. The electrons and protons in your body, becoming agitated by nearness to the other electrons and protons, are disturbed, and transmit a disturbance along your nerves to the brain; the effect in the brain is what is necessary to your sensation of contact, and by suitable experiments this sensation can be made quite deceptive. The electrons and protons themselves, however, are only a crude first approximation, a way of collecting into a bundle either trains of waves or the statistical probabilities of serious different kinds of events. Thus matter has become altogether too ghostly to be used as an adequate stick with which to beat the mind. Matter in motion, which used to seem so unquestionable, turns out to be a concept quite inadequate for the needs of physics.

    Nevertheless modern science gives no indication whatever of the existence of the soul or mind as an entity; indeed the reasons for disbelieving in it are of very much the same kind as the reasons for disbelieving in matter. Mind and matter were something like the lion and the unicorn fighting for the crown; the end of the battle is not the victory of one or the other, but the discovery that both are only heraldic inventions. The world consists of events, not of things that endure for a long time and have changing properties. Events can be collected into groups by their causal relations. If the causal relations are of one sort the resulting group of events may be called a physical object, and if the causal relations are of another sort, the resulting group may be called a mind. Any event that occurs inside a man's head will belong to groups of both kinds; considered as belonging to a group of one kind, it is a constituent of his brain, and considered as belonging to a group of the other kind, it is a constituent of his mind.

    Thus both mind and matter are merely convenient ways of organizing events. There can be no reason for supposing that either a piece of mind or a piece of matter is immortal. The sun is supposed to be losing matter at the rate of millions of tons a minute. The most essential characteristic of mind is memory, and there is no reason whatever to suppose that the memory associated with a given person survive, that person's death. Indeed there is every reason to think the opposite, for memory is clearly connected with a certain kind of brain structure, and since this structure decays at death, there is every reason to suppose that memory also must cease. Although metaphysical materialism cannot be considered true, yet emotionally the world is pretty much the same as it would be if the materialists were in the right. I think the opponents of materialism have always been actuated by two main desires: the first to prove that the mind is immortal, and the second to prove that the ultimate power in the universe is mental rather than physical. In both these respects, I think the materialists were in the right. Our desires, it is true, have considerable power on the earth's surface; the greater part of the land on this planet has a quite different aspect from that which it would have if men had not utilized it to extract food and wealth. But our power is very strictly limited. We cannot at present do anything whatever to the sun or moon or even to the interior of the earth, and there is not the faintest reason to suppose that what happens in regions to which our power does not extend has any mental causes. That is to say, to put the matter in a nutshell, there is no reason to think that except on the earth's surface anything happens because somebody wishes it to happen. And since our power on the earth's surface is entirely dependent upon the supply of energy which the earth derives from the sun, we are necessarily dependent upon the sun, and could hardly realize any of our wishes if the sun grew cold. It is of course rash to dogmatize as to what science may achieve in the future. We may learn to prolong human existence longer than now seems possible, but if there is any truth in modem physics, more particularly in the second law of thermo-dynamics, we cannot hope that the human race will continue for ever. Some people may find this conclusion gloomy, but if we are honest with ourselves, we shall have to admit that what is going to happen many millions of years hence has no very great emotional interest for us here and now. And science, while it diminishes our cosmic pretensions, enormously increases our terrestrial comfort. That is why, in spite of the horror of the theologians, science has on the whole been tolerated.

    最近科学提高中的最不幸工作之一便是,每一件新成绩都让我们对天下的理解理睬比以往更少。当我年青时,我们都知道,可能我们以为自己知道,一个人私家由一个魂灵和一个身材组成。而且,阿谁身材存在于时刻和空间中,而阿谁魂灵则只存在于时刻中。至于魂灵是不是可以逾越衰亡,确实是仁者见仁智者见智,不过魂灵存在的毕竟应该是无可争议的。对平常人而言,身材的存在是不证自明的,科学家也这么想。而哲学家,则偏向于以这种方法可能那种方法把身材剖析得云云疏远,仿佛身材凡是只存在于一个拥怀孕体的人的精神中可能任何一个适值望见阿谁人的另一个人私家的不雅见识中。不过,哲学家的这些怪设法并不为众人所正视,而在科学规模,纵然是最正统的科学家也是唯物主义的。

    此刻,往时那些年夜略了然的美景已然磨灭。物理学家讲述我们,物质这种对象毕竟上并不存在,生理学家则声称,天下上根柢没有所谓精神。这是史无前例的景遇。有谁听到一个补鞋匠自己说,毕竟上没有靴子这种对象?可能一个裁缝师说,天下上悉数人都没穿过衣服?要是他们这么说,也并不比此刻的科学家和生理学家说得更神怪。咱们先看看生理学家,某些生理学家正试图把悉数看来是精神的勾当划归到身材勾当的层次上去。固然,把精神勾当归纳到心理勾当层次去,也有很多坚苦。我不信托人们已经有操作独霸确信这些坚苦是可以战胜的,照样根柢不成超越的。我们只能说,到今朝为止,所谓的我们的身材是一个真正的科学布局并不与任何物质现实相对应。在此,一个当代的自称为唯物主义者的人,会发明自己陷入一种稀罕的两难地步。一方面,他在必然程度上乐成地把自己的生理勾当归纳到心理勾当中去,另方面,他又没法开脱这样的毕竟,即所谓身材其本身只不过是他的意识发现出来的便利评释原理的一个不雅见识而已。这时,我们在一个陷阱里绕圈圈:精神是身材成果的一种外射,而身材不过是精神勾当的一个发现。很较着,这不成能是精确的。我们必需找到此外的来历,既不是精神,也不是身材,而无论精神照样身材都能够劈头于这个根柢。

    让我们从身材起头。平常人想,物质的对象必定存在,由于它们很轻易为感官所感知。不管其他什么可以被猜疑,一个你猛地碰撞上了的对象,必定是真实的。这是一个平常人的玄学。这固然不错。不过,一个物理学家会过来,他会向你展示,你永久也不会碰撞上任何对象,纵然你用你的脑袋猛地撞上了一道石墙,你也不会真正地碰上它!当你想你触到一样对象,必定有一些电子和质子组成了你身材的一部分,这些电子和质子肯定被你以为你碰触到的对象里的一些电子和质子所吸引和排出,但他们之间并不产生真正的打仗。你身材里的电子和质子因为靠近了阿谁对象里的电子和质子而被引发,这些剧烈行为的电子和质子就发射一种扰动,沿着你的神经体系传导到你的年夜脑,这些传输的下场便是你脑海里的所谓碰撞的感官感应熏染。纵然没有这种打仗,经由过程相宜的尝试,也可以把这种感应熏染下场做得非凡很是真切。那些电子和质子,不过是一种原初的根基的类似存在,是将一系列的波可能一系列差别变乱的统计上的年夜概集束在一路的方法而已。这样,物质就显得过分飘渺虚幻,难以像一根现实的棍棒去敲击精神。行为的物质,以往看起来那么不容置疑,此刻已经成为一个无法餍足物理学必要的不雅见识。

    不过,当代科学没有对魂灵可能精神的存在给出任何昭示,确实,不信托魂灵或精神的理由,在很洪程度上与不信托物质的理由一样。精神和物质有点像狮子和独角兽在为皇冠而争斗,其效果不是一方或另一方的胜利,而是发明他们双方都只是起标识浸染的发现。天下不是由对象构成的,而是由存在了良久的一直厘革的变乱构成。变乱可以由它们之间的偶发相关集束到组合里。要是那些偶发相关属于某种范例,就把这一组合里的变乱称为物体,要是属于另一种范例,就称之为精神。一个人私家脑筋里产生的任一变乱可以归类到两种范例的任一类中。当归集为其中一类时,它便是构成他的年夜脑的一部分,当归集到其中的另一类时,它便是构成他的精神的一部分。

    这样,精神和物质只不过是用于对变乱举办组合的权宜性方法而已。也就没有理由去假设是精神是不朽的,可能物质是不朽的。太阳正以每分钟几百万吨的速率失踪去自己的物质和存在。精神的核心特性是影象,并且没有任何理由去假想一个特定的人在他死后,其影象还存活。固然,也可以有充沛的理由去做相反的假想。由于可以非凡很是清楚明明地说,影象与年夜脑的某种布局相接洽相关,当这种心理布局在身材衰亡后腐臭了,就有充沛的理由信托这种影象也跟着心理布局的腐臭而肯定停歇。虽然玄学的唯物主义不能被人信为真理,不过,从激情上说,纵然唯物主义是对的,天下也不会与它应该是的样子相差多远。我想,唯物主义的对手每每被两种冲动所差遣,一是要证实精神的不朽;其次是要证实宇宙的最终动力是精神性的,而不是物质性的。对付这两个题目,我想唯物主义是对的。在地球表层的勾当规模,我们的欲望切实其实闪现了惊人的力气。但在这个星球的更年夜部分上,要是人们不是用于出产食物和工业的话,必闪现非凡很是差此外特性。我们的力气实际上非凡很是有限。当下,我们根柢不能对太阳,可能玉轮,可能地球的内部规模有任何作为。并且也没有涓滴理由去假想在那些人类气无能为力的人迹罕至的处所产生的工作里有几何精神的身分参预其中。也便是,年夜略地说,没有任何理由去信托在地球外貌之外任一处所产生的任何工作发源于某人但愿它产生。而且,由于我们在地球外貌上默示出的力气终极抉择于地球从太阳获取的能量,我们实际上依靠于太阳的供给,因而,不成能假想太阳变冷后还可以实现人类的任何祈望。我们固然不能坚决地断言,未来属于哪种科学。我们年夜概可以学会怎样让人类能够存在得比此刻看起来更持久。但要是当代物理学有必然的真理,出格是要是第二热力学定律是对的,那么我们就不能想象人类可以永世存在。某些人年夜概发明这些结论有些颓丧,但要是我们厚道待己,我们就不能不承认,那些年夜概产生于几百万年后的工作,对我们此时而今的感情不会有多年夜影响。至于科学,由于它已经缩减了我们在宇宙规模上的远景,也就极年夜地晋升了我们在有限地区内的安宁感。这也是为什么只管引起了神学家的惊骇,科学在总体上照样可以忍受的。




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