Bleak House Chapter 22-27

These few chapters are slow moving while you can’t skip them.

Main events:

Caddy formally engaged with Prince-got their selfish parents half-heart consent.

Richard changed his mind again and dropped Law. Suggested by Mr. J, Ada and Richard disengaged-I started dislike Richard.He is a victim of the case while he is foolish and lazy enough to be influenced by it. Facing the same problem, one has different choice and this choice undoubtedly leads him to Madness.

Charley became maid of Esther-But still don\t know what role she will play in the story.

Mr. Bucket found Mr. Gridley who has been hiding in Mr. George’s place. But Gridley dropped dead before Bucket took him away. -From here, the connections between different people become very complicated. One character leads to the other and I am quite lost sometimes. I think Dickens might purposely lengthen the story to get paid more. Some description in minor characters are not very necessary and distracting. But I might  be wrong and it is too early to draw the judgement.

Noname=Captain Hawdon ?-but why people took huge interested in finding out who he was? who commission them to do that?

我们为什么要说谎

《美国国家地理杂志》(2017年6月)主打文章WHY WE LIE是关于说谎的,我觉得很有意思。

人的理智告诉我们,说谎是不好的,从小父母、老师、各种社会势力都让人认识到谎言的丑恶。但人却不能停止说谎,区别只不过是有些谎言会造成不好的影响(fraud,fake,cheating,plagiarism etc),有些无伤大雅(White lies)。但无论是什么谎言,说谎始终是不真实,这种矛盾让人类既是羞愧,又是欲罢不能。如果有人说,这辈子从来不说谎,本身这个宣言就是谎言。越是洗白自己的,越是黑心,越是不可信。

文章里指出谎言具有保护作用,能够让人了解他人,更是人思维活跃的表现。说谎的孩子平均能力和发展都比不说谎的孩子要强一点。

“What drives the increase in lying sophistication is the development of child’s ability to put himself or herself in someone’s shoes. Known as theory of mind, this is the facility we acquired for understanding the beliefs, intentions, and knowledge of others. Also fundamental to lying is the brain’s executive function: the abilities required for planning, attention, and self-control.”

我回想自己的过去,说谎最活跃的时期,是工作之前的二十多年。大部分原因是为达到自己目的,不希望父母干扰,不想受到他人指责和教训,例如偷懒、贪吃、借口去图书馆但其实去谈恋爱、画画却说这是功课等等。若干年后,我当然是觉得自己不好,但长期编织大大小小谎话,让我知道别人的心思如何,更加容易去看穿别人,也许对我日后工作能力有间接提升。所以我认同,谎言存在不是不合理,人说谎的动机很复杂,但不是不能接受,说谎也并不是完全是消极负面。

文章后面提到一个实验,要参加的人答20道数学题,答对的越多,得到的奖励越多。参加的人大多都作弊了(特意提供作弊机会),但是大多数人报答对的数目都是十几,而不会报答对全部。这是因为人内在有诚实的调节机制,也会因为社会共识产生羞耻感。

“Here we give people a chance to steal lots of money and people cheat only a little bit. So something stops us–most of us–from not lying all the way…the reason…is that we want to see ourselves as honest, because we have, to some degree, internalized honesty as a value taught to us by society. Which is why, unless one is a sociopath, most of us place limits on how much we are willing to lie.”

文章有一个数据,人6-8岁说谎最少,然后逐渐增多,13-17岁到顶峰,然后逐年下降,到老年,说谎概率差不多回到6-8岁的规模。也就是说,人在生长发育、青少年叛逆期说谎是最厉害的。生活逐渐稳定,人慢慢认清楚自己乃至人性,说谎的奖励也许就没有那么大,人就渐渐减少说谎。就拿我自己来说,工作4年后,职位薪水还满意,婚姻满意,周围的人熟悉了,就觉得没多大必要说不是自己所想的话,精力会放在“如何做更真实的自己”上。到了退休,不需要挣面包时,可能就更加没有动力去说谎吧。到死前,人大多数会吐真言,将以前自己不敢说的都说,大概就是不需要再用谎言保护自己吧。

有关谎言的电影书籍:

Lie to Me

Catch me if you can

Big little lies

The Dressmaker