Alan Kay 的 Our Human Condition ‘From Space’ 读后感

这篇认真读完的文章就是“Our Human Condition ‘From Space’”。仅仅是做名言名句摘抄,这篇文章可以整本抄录。

文章从一个我最近忽然很感兴趣的话题“地图”展开。

In other words, each of these maps is a kind of story that is written mostly inimages rather than words.

换句话说,这些地图每一张都是一种故事,主要是用图像而不是文字来写的。

介绍了很多关于地图的故事,提出其实地图对于现实的映射是不准确的。接着延伸到人们的认知其实也像地图一样是对外在世界的一个映射。同样也是不准确的,而且每个人脑中的地图也是不一样的。

Maps, as with all of our representations for ideas, are quite arbitrary and don’t automatically have any intrinsic claims to accuracy.

地图和我们所有的思想表征一样,都是相当随意的,并不自动具有任何内在的准确性要求。

it is not too far a stretch to say that we live not in reality, but in a waking delusional hallucinatory dream that we like to call “reality”.

如果说我们不是生活在现实中,而是生活在我们喜欢称之为 "现实 "的清醒的妄想幻梦中,也不为过。

人类文明是什么?

Civilization is not a state of being that can be reached, nor the journey, but it is a manner of traveling.

文明不是一种可以达到的状态,也不是旅程,而是一种旅行方式。

那么科学思维在制作这样的地图过程中扮演什么角色呢?

But the process of scientific thinking is able to deal with many of our own inabilities to think and other flaws in a strong enough manner to still come up with ever more accurate mappings of more and more complex parts of our universe. This is why we need to help all children in the world learn how to do it.

但是,科学思维的过程能够以足够强大的方式处理我们自身的许多思维能力不足和其他缺陷,仍然能够对我们宇宙中越来越复杂的部分提出越来越精确的映射。这就是为什么我们需要帮助世界上所有的孩子学习如何做的原因。

科学思维里重要的数学为什么难学?

I believe that it is not because they are so intrinsically complicated, but rather they are amazingly simple yet very very different from normal human commonsense ways of thinkingabout things.

我相信,这并不是因为它们有多么内在的复杂,而是它们简单得惊人,却与正常人的常识性思维方式有很大的区别的事情。

到这里开始阐述如何去利用生活中到各种资源去让孩子体验这些科学的思考方式。举例了一个测量轮胎周长的例子。其中提出了很多有意思的观点:

For many things we need to find ways to postpone quick recognition in favor of slower noticing.

对于很多事情,我们需要想办法推迟快速识别的时间,换取慢一点的注意。

So we have to find ways “to make the invisible visible”, to avoid “premature recognition”.

所以我们要想办法 “让看不见的东西看得见”,避免 “过早认识”。

“Art enters in when we labor thoughtfully with some goal in mind; that is, when we cut loose from actions that are merely mechanical”.

“当我们带着某种目标深思熟虑地劳动时,艺术就进入了;也就是说,当我们从仅仅是机械的行动中解脱出来时,艺术就进入了”。

文中还给出了很多如何利用计算机去辅助孩子去做科学的思考和尝试。

A further insight is that the range and depth of constructions that the children can carry through are vastly extended by using a suitable computer environment.

进一步的认识是,通过使用合适的计算机环境,孩子们可以进行的建构的范围和深度都得到了极大的扩展。

they can think very deeply about how robots and animals can make their way in the world and create truly subtle and profound programs on the computer that bring this ideas to life in a way that is far beyond their abilities to construct physical versions of these ideas at their age.

他们可以非常深入地思考机器人和动物如何在这个世界上行进,并在电脑上创造出真正精妙而深刻的程序,将这种想法变为现实,这远远超出了他们这个年龄段构建这些想法的物理版本的能力。

文章最后的总结也是我最喜欢的:

What if more issues than those of the physical world were thought about in this slower, suspended-perception, skeptical, careful, powerful, and map-and-model building manner? If you think that things would be vastly different and improved for the benefit of all humans, then please help children learn to think much better than most adults do today.

如果用这种慢一点的、悬空感知的、怀疑的、仔细的、有力的、建立地图和模型的方式来思考比物理世界更多的问题呢?如果你认为为了全人类的利益,事情会有很大的不同和改进,那么请帮助孩子们学会比今天大多数成年人更好的思考。

文章中很多观点可以与皮亚杰的图式,Seymour Papert 西蒙帕波特的计算的力量进行比较阅读。也是很有意思的。这是一篇2003年的文章,相见很晚。但还好的是文章提到的问题到今天仍然还是问题,而且还变得更大了。所以我们可以从中汲取能量,让我们更有信心去帮助孩子去用科学的态度认识世界。

最后提一个文章很有意思的观点:

the knowledge doesn’t cost money, but it does cost time and interest and focus.

知识不需要花钱,但需要花时间、兴趣和注意力。

但实际是我们会花钱买资料存入百度网盘,然后就没有然后了。

但你至少应该去把Alan Kay的这篇文章也保存到你的百度网盘

http://www.squeakland.org/content/articles/attach/humanCondition.pdf