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【NAUTILUS】这就是我害怕蟑螂的理由

怕蜘蛛,怕老鼠,怕蛇,怕从高处坠落,怕幽闭的电梯,怕门后有人,怕黑暗中床肚里会突然伸出的手……理智告诉我们这些只是臆想出来的恐惧,情感却让我们禁不住瑟瑟发抖。人类的恐惧究竟从何而来?是本能的自我保护,还是后天形成的心理障碍?多年前,郭美美在歌里唱道,“看见蟑螂,我不怕不怕啦”,可是我们真的能不害怕吗?

这就是我害怕蟑螂的理由

 

作者:MATHIAS CLASEN

译者:朱星汉

校对:杨婧娴

导读&笔记:王旻彦

策划:朱星汉 朱小钊

The universal grip of Stephen King’s personal terrors

史蒂芬·金早已洞悉一切

本文选自 NAUTILUS | 取经号原创翻译

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The most effective monsters of horror fiction mirror ancestral dangers to exploit evolved human fears. Some fears are universal, some are near-universal, and some are local. The local fears—the idiosyncratic phobias such as the phobia of moths, say—tend to be avoided by horror writers, directors, and programmers. Horror artists typically want to target the greatest possible audience and that means targeting the most common fears. As the writer Thomas F. Monteleone has observed, “a horror writer has to have an unconscious sense or knowledge of what’s going to be a universal ‘trigger’. All common fears can be located within a few biologically constrained categories or domains.

恐怖小说最令人毛骨悚然的怪物身上,往往带有人类远古时代所面临威胁的影子,从而让人心生恐惧,这种恐惧是人类不断进化的产物。有些恐惧很普遍,有些则适用于大部分人,还有的只适用于少数人,恐怖小说、电影、游戏极不待见少数像“飞蛾恐惧症”这类清奇的恐惧感。恐怖题材的创作者通常会想办法扩大受众面,因此他们会重点关注那些最容易令人心生恐惧的事物。如托马斯·F·蒙特利昂纳所言:“恐怖小说家必须知道什么是打开人们内心恐惧的万能钥匙。”所有常见的恐惧,都能在某些生物学领域内找到依据。

Phobia: [‘fəʊbɪə] strong and persistent irrational fear 恐惧症

Not all human fears are instinctual and hardwired—we need to learn what to be afraid of.

并非所有的恐惧都是与生俱来、由基因决定的,所以我们要获悉什么是危险的

 

Over evolutionary time, humans and their ancestors have faced potentially lethal danger in the domains of predation, violence, contamination-contagion, status loss, and in the domain of dangerous nonliving environmental features. In other words, they faced danger from predatory animals (ranging from mammalian carnivores to venomous animals such as spiders and snakes); from hostile members of their own species; from invisible pathogens, bacteria and viruses; from loss of status, ostracization, and ultimately social exclusion, which in ancestral environments could mean death; and they faced the risk of lethal injury following dangerous weather events such as violent thunderstorms, falls from cliffs, and other potentially hazardous topographical features. The selection pressures from these types of danger have resulted in domain-specificity in the reactivity of the fear system, meaning that the system has evolved special sensitivity toward such dangers. Sometimes such sensitivity allows the fear system to unreasonably expand a category and target an innocuous object, such as expanding the category of “dangerous animals” to include moths. In the domain of survival the golden rule is “better safe than sorry.”

在人类的进化史中,现代人和他们的先祖都要面对种种致命的危险——捕猎,种内斗争,污染物传播,族群地位的丧失,以及一些连生命之花都无法开放的环境。即:捕食性动物(大到肉食性哺乳动物,小到带有剧毒的蜘蛛和毒蛇);人类族群中的敌对阵营;肉眼不可见的病原体、细菌、病毒;社会地位不保、被排挤、最后被逐出社会(这在远古时期就意味着死路一条);危险的气候条件(例如雷暴)、险峻的地貌(跌落悬崖)造成的致死性的伤害。这些对人类而言都是致命的。由此造成的选择压力(译者注:自然界施与生物体选择压力从而使得适应自然环境者得以存活和繁衍)使得人类的恐惧系统针对某一类的危险产生了特有的反应,即是说,恐惧系统对以上提到的这类危险具有高度敏感性。有些时候,这会导致恐惧系统毫无缘由地将某些无害事物纳入到有害事物的范畴中,比如将飞蛾视为危险动物。因为事关生存,所以恐惧系统奉行的原则是“小心驶得万年船”。

Contagion: [kən’teɪdʒən] spreading of a disease from one individual to another; infectious disease; rapidly spreading influence (i.e. fear or doctrine) 传染,蔓延

The most basic, universal, genetically hardwired fears are the fears of sudden, loud noises and of looming objects—those are the fears that we aim to evoke when we hide behind a door, waiting to spook an unsuspecting friend by jumping at them with a roar. Sudden, loud noises and looming objects will cause an involuntary startle response in humans and in many other species as well. You can sneak up behind a rat and yell at it, and its reaction will be similar to your own, if somebody sneaks up behind you and yells at you. You can also try the experiment with a dog or a squirrel or a human infant; it’s guaranteed to work. The startle reflex is primitive and swift, and very effective in orienting the organism toward, and preparing it for, danger. Horror video games and horror films, in particular, exploit this innate fear when they resort to “jump scares,” such as having a monster jump out of a closet without any warning and frightening the viewer or player.

听到突然产生的巨大噪音、看到赫然出现的物体,所有人都会心生恐惧,这是一种最基本、最普遍的恐惧,已经写入了人类的基因。我们躲在门后,意图跳出来朋友个猝不及防的时候,要的就是这种效果。遇此情形,不但人类会作出无意识的惊吓反应,许多其他物种也会如此。如果你蹑手蹑脚地靠近一只老鼠身后,冲它大叫一声,它的反应大概和被这样吓到的你差不多。对狗、松鼠、人类婴儿,这招也屡试不爽。受惊是生物体的一种原始反应,反应期极短,也是一种使生物体适应危险环境并准备应对危险的有效手段。尤其是在一些恐怖题材的游戏和电影情节中,衣柜里会突然跃出一只怪兽,把毫无准备的观众和玩家吓个魂飞魄散,这样的“突发惊吓”正是抓准了人类与生俱来的某些恐惧。

Spook: [spuːk] frighten or scare, and often provoke into a violent action 吓唬,使吃惊

 

Other fears are universal but relatively transient. As developmental psychologists have demonstrated, children reliably develop highly specific fears along a predictable developmental trajectory. And as evolutionary psychologists have demonstrated, these predictable fears emerge when children are most vulnerable to the dangers targeted by the fears—or more precisely when children would have been most vulnerable to such dangers in ancestral environments, the kinds of environments in which our species evolved. These environments in significant respects diverged from modern environments, but the fears persist. For infants, incapable of self-propelled motion and self-defense, the most dangerous situations—in ancestral environments and now—are the absence of caregivers and the presence of potentially hostile strangers. Hence infants reliably develop separation anxiety and stranger anxiety, which persist until the toddler years. As children begin to move about on their own, they reliably develop fear of heights. At around age 4–6, as children begin exploring their environments more extensively and thus become more vulnerable to predation, they typically become obsessed with death, afraid of monsters lurking in the dark, and preoccupied with dangerous animals such as lions and tigers. In middle to late childhood, fears of injury, accidents, and contagion emerge, and in late childhood and particularly early adolescence, social threats become “salient” to children—children tend to become highly anxious of losing status, losing friends, being ostracized, and so on, at precisely the developmental stage where peers begin to be more important to them than parents, and when their major challenge is to “find a specific social niche and build stable networks of reciprocity.”

还有些恐惧虽然很普遍,但并不会持续很久。发展心理学家已证实,儿童在心理发展历程中会产生一系列十分特别的恐惧感。进化心理学家的研究则表明,一旦儿童处在极度危险的环境中,特定的恐惧便会随之袭来。确切来说,这种环境对远古时期的幼儿而言是极度危险的,尽管现代人的生存环境相比过去已经大相径庭,但人类在危机四伏的环境中经历了十分漫长的演化,所以这种恐惧感仍然留存了下来(译者注:社会现代化历程不过人类进化史中的一瞬)。对于既无法自由行动也无法保护自己的婴儿,最危险的环境莫过于左右是“怀有敌意”的陌生人而非看护者(这一点同样适用于现代社会)。因此,婴儿在看护者不在或者陌生人在旁的时候,都会焦虑万分。等他们到蹒跚学步的年纪,这种焦虑感才会消失。不过等到他们学会走路的时候,又会开始恐高。到了4至6岁的年纪,他们开始更广阔地探索身边的世界,这也意味着更容易成为捕食者的猎物。通常,从这个时候开始,死亡的阴影在他们心中挥之不去,他们担心黑暗中匍匐着怪兽,对老虎和狮子这类危险动物提心吊胆。7、8岁之后,他们会开始害怕受伤,害怕出意外,害怕感染传染病。进入青少年期的前后(尤其是开始进入青少年期的时候),他们更加看重自己的社交问题了,丧失社交地位、失去朋友、被排挤之类的问题能让他们寝食难安。这一段时期正是儿童发展到重视同龄人超过父母的阶段,没有比构建特定的社交圈和各取所需的稳定社交网络更重大的挑战了。

The evolutionary logic behind this preset developmental schedule is clear: Children evolved to develop domain-specific fears at the phase where they would typically encounter, or be particularly vulnerable to, such evolutionarily recurrent dangers. Some people may feel that they grow out of these fears—that they no longer need to check under the bed for lurking monsters before they go to sleep—but most of the fears begin in childhood and persist in somewhat modified forms throughout life. Stephen King, in a foreword to a collection of stories, told readers that when he goes to bed at night, he is still “at pains to be sure that my legs are under the blankets after the lights go out. I’m not a child anymore but … I don’t like to sleep with one leg sticking out … The thing under my bed waiting to grab my ankle isn’t real. I know that, and I also know that if I’m careful to keep my foot under the covers, it will never be able to grab my ankle.” King is joking, but all the same, who hasn’t at some point conceded to a fearful, apparently irrational impulse from the limbic system, an ancient and anxious voice from the deepest recesses of the brain telling us to avoid a shortcut across a graveyard after dark or to keep the feet inside the bed covers when we’re alone? Not that we believe in ghosts or monsters or zombies, naturally, but … better safe than sorry, right? We may rationally dismiss the ostensibly childish fear targets—the monsters, the creepy strangers, the dangerous animals— but they at the very least live on in horror stories, even horror stories for adults, featuring giant monsters, psychos in hockey masks, and creepy-crawlies hiding in the dark.

这种早已预设好的心理发展模式,其背后的进化逻辑清晰明了:既然儿童在某个成长阶段通常会遭遇,或者说极可能遭遇这些在整个人类演化史中都不断出现的危险,那么在对应的领域进化出相应的恐惧,为长久应对之策便可。有些人可能会觉得,成长使他们不再恐惧,自己睡前再也不必提防床底潜伏的怪兽了。但实际上在儿童时期形成的多数恐惧并没有消失,它们只是略微变换了面目,继续潜伏在我们的恐惧系统中。史蒂芬金在他作品集的序言中写道,他在上床睡觉前依然要“煞费苦心地确保关灯后腿裹在毯子里面,虽然我已经不是孩子了,但是我依然不喜欢睡觉的时候把腿露出来,床底下的怪兽随时都会抓住我的脚踝,我当然知道怪兽并不存在。只要我把脚藏的好好的,它怎会得逞?”金先生在说笑罢了,但虽是如此,谁又没有在某一刻受大脑边缘系统支配,而感到害怕、冒出一些毫不理性的念头,从而任由脑海最深处某个惊恐遗音在你耳边私语:不要在天黑后为了抄近路而穿过坟场,不要在一个人睡觉的时候把脚伸出床外?并不是说我们天生就相信世界上存在鬼怪、怪兽和僵尸,不过是因为“小心驶得万年船”。我们出于理性,不会把怪物、令人毛骨悚然的陌生人、危险动物等这些看上去只有小孩子才会害怕的事物当一回事,但不管怎样,它们依然存活在恐怖故事里面。在一些成人恐怖故事里头,依旧少不了巨型怪兽、戴着守门员面具的变态和潜伏在黑暗中的爬虫。

Ostensibly: [ɑ’stensəblɪ] from appearances alone 表面上

Those fears that are near-universal are known as “prepared fears.” They are not hardwired in the same way as the fears of sudden, loud noises and looming objects are. Nobody learns to flinch at a rapidly oncoming basketball. Prepared fears are innate, though, in the sense that they are genetically transmitted but require environmental input for their activation. The human fear system, in this aspect, is relatively open-ended—that is, it is set up for environmental calibration. The evolutionary logic underlying this design characteristic is as follows: Humans evolved to be adaptable. Our species thrives in all climate zones, from the tropical to the arctic. Yet while some dangers are constant across time and space—the danger of choking, say, or of drowning—there is some environmental variation in threat distribution. There’s no sense for an Inuit child in being afraid of tigers or scorpions, whereas a child from rural India doesn’t need to worry about polar bears. And because our genes can’t “know” in what sort of climate and ecology we’ll grow up, those genes make us able and eager to learn about threats in our local environments. Humans quickly absorb local culture, including norms, language, knowledge about dangers, the sorts of things people in your culture consider edible or not, and so on. Learning, in fact, is an “evolutionarily derived adaptation to cope with environmental changes that occur within the life span of individuals and allows individual organisms to tailor their behavior to the specific environmental niche they occupy.”

这些大部分人都有的恐惧也称之为“适应性恐惧”,和上文提到的人类与生俱来的惊吓式恐惧的形成机制并不相同。避开飞驰而来的篮球的本事可不是学来的——从基因遗传的角度来看,适应性恐惧也是与生俱来的,但是非环境刺激不能生效。从这一方面来看,人类的恐惧系统在一定程度上可以自由调整,随环境变化而变化。这种可自由调整的属性,其背后的进化逻辑是:不断进化是为了让人类适应性变得更强。从热带到北极,人类在所有的气候区都能繁衍生息。虽然有些危险对人类来说亘古不变,如窒息、溺死,但环境差异也会导致人类面临的危险各不相同。因纽特小孩没有理由害怕老虎和蝎子,农村地区的印第安小孩无需害怕北极熊。正因为基因无法知悉我们会在何种生态环境和气候环境下成长,因此(基因决定)我们会主动去探寻当下环境中的危险。人类能够快速吸收当地文化,学到当地的语言、社会准则、防范危险的知识,以及哪些东西可以吃,不一而足。学习,实际上是“一种进化产生的适应机制,通过这种适应机制,生物体得以在其一生中应对大大小小的环境变化,同时,生物体也能调整自身的行为来适应当前生存环境。”

 

Who hasn’t at some point conceded to an ancient and anxious voice from the deepest recesses of the brain telling us to avoid a shortcut across a graveyard after dark?

谁又没有在某一刻受大脑边缘系统支配,而感到害怕、冒出一些毫不理性的念头,从而任由脑海最深处某个惊恐遗音在你耳边私语:不要在天黑时为了抄近路而穿过坟场?

 

So, because different environments have somewhat different dangers, not all human fears are instinctual and hardwired. We need to learn what to be afraid of, but such learning takes place within a biologically constrained possibility space. While different environments feature different threats, some threats have been evolutionarily persistent enough, and serious enough, to have left an imprint on our genome as prepared fears, as potentialities that may be activated during an individual’s life in response to personal or vicarious experience, or culturally transmitted information. This explains why there may be surface variation in people’s fears but a stable, underlying structure of fear distribution. The 2012 ChildFund Alliance report “Small Voices, Big Dreams,” which quantified children’s fears and dreams based on responses from 5,100 individuals from 44 countries, found that the most common fear among children across developing and developed countries is the fear of “dangerous animals and insects.” Even children growing up in industrialized, urban environments free of nonhuman predators easily acquire fear of dangerous animals because such prepared learning is part and parcel of human nature. One study asked suburban American kids about their fears and found that they do not “fear the things they have been taught to be careful about,” such as “street traffic,” but “claim that the things to be afraid of are mammals and reptiles (most frequently): snakes, lions, and tigers.”

因为不同的环境下,危险的事物略有差异,而且并非所有的恐惧都是与生俱来、基因决定的,所以我们要获悉什么是危险的,但是我们获悉这些知识的途径依然要受限于生物学法则。尽管不同的环境下存在不同的危险,但有些危险因为无法忽视,长久以来一直威胁着人类的生存,而改写了人类的基因组,于是基因组产生了“适应性恐惧”作为应对之策。一旦人类通过自身或者他人获取到,或者从文化的传承中体悟到有关这类危险的知识,“适应性恐惧”就会生效。这也解释了为何人类的恐惧反应在表面上千差万别,深层次上却有其稳定的分布体系。《小声音,大梦想》是家扶国际联盟(ChildFund Alliance)2012年发布的调查问卷,问卷统计了来自44个国家的5100名儿童的恐惧和梦想,结果显示,无论来自是发展中国家还是发达国家的孩子,最怕的都是危险的昆虫和动物。即便是那些在工业化城市环境下成长的孩子,即使从未接触过捕食性动物,也很容易对危险动物感到害怕。为何会如此呢?答案在于,适应性恐惧是人类天性最根本的一部分。研究显示,当美国郊区的孩子被问到害怕的事物时,他们会回答自己害怕“大人要他们警惕的那些事物”,比如“车来车往”,但他们也承认,自己还会害怕像蛇这样的爬行动物以及像狮子、老虎这样的哺乳动物,最怕的还数爬行动物。

Vicarious: [vaɪ’kerɪəs] experienced at secondhand 体验他人经验的,产生同感的

Prepared fears include the fear of snakes, spiders, heights, blood, closed-in spaces, the dark, thunder, public or open spaces, social scrutiny, and deep water. Those are typical phobia objects, quite easy to acquire and very difficult to extinguish. A phobia can be defined as “fear of a situation that is out of proportion to its danger,” which suggests the very weirdness of phobias: They are extremely real, often crippling, to sufferers, even though phobias either don’t correspond to real-world dangers or exaggerate actual risks wildly. Almost nobody dies from being bitten by snakes or spiders—the most common phobia objects—in the industrialized world. According to recent statistics from the National Safety Council of the United States, the lifetime odds of dying from a motor vehicle accident for a person born in 2007 were 1 in 88.

适应性恐惧的对象包括蛇、蜘蛛、高处、血液、幽闭空间、黑暗、雷鸣、公共场合或开放空间、社会监督、深水区等,它们通常能轻易引发你的恐惧感,而你很难对其免疫。恐惧症的定义包括“对危险的担忧脱离实际”,其离奇之处在于,尽管恐惧症不是完全脱离实际便是过分夸大事物的实际危险性,但对于在恐惧中苦苦挣扎的人而言,危险不但非常真实,还常常伴随着极大的危害性。蜘蛛和蛇是最常见的恐惧对象,但在工业化世界,很少有人被蜘蛛和蛇咬伤致死。美国国家安全委员会近期发布的数据显示,2007年出生的美国人,其一生死于摩托车引发的交通事故的概率是1/88。

In contrast, the odds of dying from contact with venomous spiders were 1 in 483,457, and the odds of dying from contact with venomous snakes or lizards were 1 in 552,522. We should be terrified of cars and worry much less about snakes and spiders. But since the threats targeted by phobias have been lethal to humans and our hominin (and mammalian) ancestors for millions of years, we are still born with the evolved propensity to easily acquire fear of such targets.

而数据显示,美国人死于蛛毒的概率仅为1/483457,死于蛇毒或蜥蜴毒的概率仅为1/552522。看来,汽车的威胁反而要大得多。但数百万年来,我们祖先(以及其他哺乳动物的祖先)一直处于这种由特定对象引发的恐惧支配下,也就使得现代人生来就容易对它们心生恐惧,这是进化的偏向使然。

A list of Stephen King’s “personal terrors” was published in 1973. This list strikingly reflects the species-typical distribution of evolved fear objects much more so than it reflects the objects, creatures, and situations that a 20th-century inhabitant of Maine ought to fear:

1973年,史蒂芬金公布了一份清单,列出了他所害怕的事物。虽然清单本身反映了一个20世纪出生的缅因州人(译者注:缅因州是史蒂芬金的故乡, 20th-century inhabitant of Maine便是指他本人)对某些物体、怪物、环境应该会有的恐惧,但同时也深刻反映出了人类历经不断进化后产生的典型恐惧,后者的意义则更为重大。

  •    Fear of the dark

    怕黑

  • Fear of squishy things

    黏糊糊的东西

  • Fear of deformity

    怕畸形的人(或物)

  • Fear of snakes

    怕蛇

  • Fear of rats

    怕老鼠

  • Fear of closed-in spaces

    怕幽闭空间

  • Fear of insects (especially spiders, flies, and beetles)

    怕昆虫(尤其是苍蝇、蜘蛛、甲壳虫)

  • Fear of death

    怕死

  • Fear of others (paranoia)

    怕偏执狂

  • Fear for someone else

    怕人

Personal terrors they may be, but King’s list could be anybody’s list—an American’s list, an Asian’s list, an African’s list, a European’s list. It could be the list of someone living 1,000 or 50,000 years ago. Individuals of the species Homo sapiens tend to be afraid of the same things. People in the industrialized world may no longer face the threat of predation from carnivores, and we may no longer be in any real danger from venomous spiders and snakes, but these animals live on as ghosts in the human central nervous system.

金的个人清单具有普适性,不仅适用于美国人、亚洲人、非洲人、欧洲人,还可以代表距今1000至50000年前的人类的典型恐惧。智人的恐惧,往往相同。生活在工业化世界的人类,可能再也不会被肉食动物猎杀,再也不会受到毒蜘蛛和毒蛇的威胁,但是人类的中枢神经系统依然残留着对这些动物深入骨髓的恐惧。

 

注:Mathias Clasen is an associate professor of literature and media in the Department of English, Aarhus University.

马赛厄斯·克拉森:奥胡斯大学英文系的文学与传媒专业副教授

From Why Horror Seduces by Mathias Clasen.

该篇选自其作品:《Why Horror Seduces》

 

Copyright 2017 by Oxford University Press. 

All rights reserved.

 

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<原文链接:http://nautil.us/issue/53/monsters/how-evolution-designed-your-fear>

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