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如果特朗普的确是一个共情大师会怎样?

Richard A Friedman 2017-10-11
陈明 编译
What if Trump is actually a master of empathy?

如果特朗普的确是一个共情大师会怎样?
Richard A Friedman/卫报
陈明 编译

‘Trump made a strong empathic connection with his supporters.’ Photograph: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

特朗普和他的支持者建立了非常强的共情链接。”
摄影:Brendan Smialowski /AFP/Getty Images

Many Americans see President Trump’s preoccupation with the protesting NFL athletes – and his near silence on the unfolding humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico – as evidence that Trump has no empathy. Wrong.

许多美国人认为特朗普总统念念不忘于橄榄球运动员的抗议,而且他沉默于最近在波多黎各展开的人道主义危机,人们以这些为依据来证明特朗普不具同理心。这是错误的。

Actually, Trump is a master of empathy. Most people confuse empathy with sympathy and don’t understand the nature – or power – of empathy. There is nothing necessarily nice about empathy, which is essentially the ability to imagine and intuit how other people think and feel.

事实上,特朗普是一位共情大师。大多数人混淆了共情和同情,不理解共情的本质或力量。共情不一定是好的,本质上,共情是想象和凭直觉知道他人所思所感的能力。

It has nothing to do with genuinely identifying with others or actually feeling their pain; that would be sympathy. Instead, empathy is really about having an accurate theory of mind of other people – and getting under their skin.

这与真正认同于他人或真实的体会到他们的痛苦都无关,那是同情。相反,共情是对他人真正准确的心理理论——并且钻到他们的皮肤下面。

Trump has lots of empathy. What he doesn’t have is sympathy – he doesn’t really feel badly for other people. He is not using his considerable empathy skills for Puerto Rico for a simple reason: they are not his base and he has little interest in them.

特朗普很有共情心。他没有同情心——他并不觉得对不起别人。在波多黎各飓风灾害上,他并没有利用他可观的共情技能,其原因很简单:波多黎各不是他们的根据地,他对他们没有什么兴趣。

All successful politicians have unusually high levels of empathy. That is what makes their supporters feel and believe that they are understood, regardless of the true motives of the political figure.

所有成功政治家的共情水平都非常高。这让他们的支持者觉得自己被理解,并且相信自己被理解,而不管政治人物的真正动机是什么。

The same is true of successful demagogues and psychopaths who have an uncanny ability to read the mind of their victims in order to manipulate and control them. Thus, depending on the moral compass of a leader, empathy could be a very positive or very destructive force.

蛊惑人心的政客和精神病患者也是如此,他们有一种不可思议的了解受害者心智的能力,以便操纵和控制他们。因此,基于领导者道德准则的共情,可以是一种非常积极的或非常有害的力量。

Trump made a strong empathic connection with his supporters by acknowledging their pain and economic hardship and by promising to Make America (and by extension, them) Great Again. How? It hardly mattered once he made people feel he understood and liked them, something far more effective than policy details.

特朗普承认支持者们经济困境的痛苦,并承诺使美国(以及他们)再次伟大起来,通过这些 ,他与他的支持者建立了强烈的共情链接。这是如何产生的呢?答案是:一旦他让人们觉得他理解他们,并且喜欢他们,一切就都好说了,这比政策细节更为有效。

But there is an extra twist to what Trump has done when it comes to empathy that helps us understand not only his success, but the puzzling and enduring loyalty of his core supporters, many of whom are unemployed, angry and stressed.

但是,特朗普在共情方面所做的事情有一个特别的扭曲,这不仅帮助我们理解了他的成功,也让我们了解了他的核心支持者的困惑和持久的忠诚,他们中的许多人都失业了,愤怒并压力重重。

Despite considerable evidence to the contrary, they still believe he will deliver on his campaign promises because the empathic connection he’s made with them, which emphasizes fear and threat, is psychologically and neurobiologically much more powerful than mere facts. Why?

尽管有许多相反的证据表明,他们仍然相信他会履行他的竞选诺言,由于强调恐惧与威胁,特朗普与他们产生了共情的连接,这些在心理学上和神经生物学上比仅有的事实更强大。为什么?

Studies of humans and other animals show that chronic stress tends to makes us more fearful while at the same time less critical and analytical in our thinking.

对人类和其他动物的研究表明,慢性压力往往让我们更加恐惧,同时,我们也会让我们的思维缺乏批判性和分析性。

The reason is that chronic stress is toxic to the prefrontal cortex, which is the brain’s reasoner-in-chief and allows us to rationally evaluate evidence, among other things. In response to chronic stress, neurons in our prefrontal cortex shrink and, as a direct result, we lose some of our ability for flexible and critical thinking.

其原因是,慢性应激导致了前额叶皮层的中毒反应,前额叶皮层掌管大脑最高级别的推理,并且总是让我们在其它方面之外,理性地评估证据。在对慢性应激作出反应时,我们大脑中的前额叶皮层的神经元萎缩了,这直接导致我们丧失了灵活思考和批判性思维的能力。

In stark contrast, chronic stress causes neurons in the amygdala, the seat of anxiety and fear in the brain, to get larger and more active, increasing a sensation of danger.

与此形成鲜明对比的是,长期慢性的压力会导致杏仁核中的神经元——大脑中焦虑和恐惧的所在地——变得更大、更活跃,从而感觉到了危险的增加。

(Both these effects are usually reversible so long as the stress is not too severe or prolonged.)

(只要压力不太严重,或者压力不是长期的,这些影响通常是可逆的。)

Is it any surprise, then, that a fair chunk of President Trump’s core base – people who are probably chronically stressed – would be particularly receptive to “information” that conveys a sense of threat and more likely to dismiss reasoned argument and real facts as fake news?

令人惊讶的是,特朗普总统的核心支持者们——可能长期处于压力之中的人们——会特别愿意接受那些传达着威胁感的“信息”,更可能把理性的论据和真实的事实当作假新闻加以摒弃。

There is a clear adaptive advantage to being vigilant and anxious in the face of real danger. But you want to be able to dial down your fear once the danger has passed – or you discover there was little danger to start with – so that you have greater access to your critical faculties.

在真正的危险面前保持警惕和焦虑的优势是其清晰的适应性。但是,一旦危险过去,你希望能够降低你的恐惧感,或者你发现,一开始时就没有什么危险,这样你就有更多的机会开启你的批判能力。

That is exactly what President Trump is hoping his core supporters never get around to. From the moment of his inaugural speech where he declared that “this American carnage stops right here and stops right now” to the present, he never misses an opportunity to remind his base of their supposed enemies, be it Muslims or the liberal media, with a histrionic sense of threat and fear.

这正是特朗普总统希望他的核心支持者永远回避的部分。在他的就职演讲中,他宣称“我们国家中的这些屠杀行为将永远在此地结束,”结束在此刻。他从会不错过勾起支持者猜测的敌人机会,不管是穆斯林还是自由媒体,都带着戏剧性的威胁感和恐惧感。

So long as Trump continues to stoke his supporters’ fear, he strengthens their loyalty. It also explains, in part, why President Trump has been so eager to provide his base with convenient human scapegoats for their predicament.

只要特朗普继续向他的支持者煽动恐惧,这就会加强他们对他的忠诚。这也部分说明了为什么特朗普总统一直急于向困境中的支持者提供便利的替罪羊。

After all, if you are angry about having lost your job, it is far more emotionally satisfying to blame an immigrant than the likely truth, which is that you lost your job to automation or a shift in the nature of the economy – an abstract explanation without a human target for your anger.

毕竟,如果你愤怒于自己失去了工作,那么责备一个移民在情绪上获得的满足要远远大于可能的事实。这样,你失去工作的事实就会自动化切换到经济的本质之上了,经济的本质是一个抽象的解释,你的愤怒在这里找不到人性上的目标。

The disturbing truth is that we are most vulnerable to being exploited by an empathic demagogue like President Trump when we are stressed and anxious. In that state, we are hard-wired to favor fear over reason.

令人不安的事实是:当我们处在压力和焦虑中时,我们最容易被这种像特朗普总统的共情煽动者利用。在那种状态下,我们硬要找理由来战胜恐惧。

Richard A Friedman is Professor of Clinical Psychiatry at Cornell Medical College

Richard A Friedman是康奈尔医学院的临床精神病学教授


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标签: 共情 特朗普

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