2022-01-15 12:31:12 来源:参考消息网 责任编辑:汤立斌
核心提示:所以,如果我们希望至少在一定程度上纠正这种不对称,那么有时我们就得刻意地多想想积极的方面。

参考消息网1月15日报道 I thought I hated my readers. They willfully misunderstand my columns and send me abusive and threatening emails. Then I took the trouble to browse through this year's reader emails again, and I made a surprising discovery. Yes, I saw all those memorable rants and insults again. But to hop from one to the next, I had to scroll through many notes of praise, encouragement and appreciation. Some readers offered nuanced arguments and insightful facts. I love my readers.

The reason that my initial and instinctive view of, well, all of you was so skewed is that I have a human brain. Cognitively, we've evolved to have what's called a negativity bias. Our ancestors in the savannas had a better chance of surviving and, therefore, of passing on their genes, if they paid disproportionate attention to anything actually or even just potentially bad.

The result is that our brains don't average, add up or net off positive and negative stimuli but consistently favor the bad and suppress the good. So the whole is more negative than the sum of its parts. That's why I vividly remembered your jeremiads but was foggy on your paeans. It's also why you can get a glowing performance review but later feel like a failure —because you're obsessing over that one footnote in “areas for improvement.” It's why past traumas still haunt you, but joyous memories are often elusive.

The negativity bias explains why spouses and others in intimate relationships tend to forget the thousands of lovable qualities in each other and —when facing those dirty dishes, say —focus exclusively on the few bugbears. It's why you can spend a whole week having polite interactions with strangers but on Friday night remember only that one driver with road rage, and tell your family that you had a terrible day. Overall, we lose a lot of harmony, happiness and health because our cognitive system is rigged.

The bad news is that we can't outrun evolution; and technology won't go away. The good news is that we have the option of awareness. The first step is to simply notice our negativity bias, then label and interrogate it —as I did when I inspected my email folder. A lot of dark thoughts drain away just while you're doing that. Observing that mental chatter and letting it evaporate is what Buddhists call mindfulness. So if we want to adjust the asymmetry at least partially, we have to intentionally dwell on the positive sometimes.

我原以为我恨我的读者。他们肆意曲解我的专栏文章,还发电子邮件来辱骂和威胁我。后来,我耐着性子重新浏览了一遍今年读者发来的电子邮件,结果有意想不到的发现。没错,我又看到了那些令人过目不忘的抱怨和辱骂。但从一封快进到下一封的过程中,我没法儿不看到许多表达称赞、鼓励和欣赏的邮件。一些读者提供了细致入微的论证和有深刻见解的论据。我爱我的读者。

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