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耶鲁校长苏必德2019开学演讲:一切伟大的发现,都基于提出问题
耶鲁校长苏必德2019开学演讲:一切伟大的发现,都基于提出问题
9/5/2019 6:12:49 AM | 浏览:379 | 评论:0

耶鲁校长苏必德2019开学演讲:一切伟大的发现,都基于提出问题

耶鲁校长苏必德2019开学演讲:一切伟大的发现,都基于提出问题

早上好!向所有Eli Whitney项目的学生,所有的交换生,国际访问学生以及我们新一届的耶鲁新生致敬,欢迎你们来到耶鲁!

在这里,我谨代表学校里的同事,对今天来参加活动的家庭致以诚挚的问候。请诸位尽情享受与家人共度大学第一段生涯的美好时光。

通常来说,在开学演讲中,校长都会告诉学生:你们是从世界上万千的精英高中生里选拔出来的,都是能独挡一面的个体。

当然,这是事实,不过这并非我今天想要表达的观点。

相比之下,我更鼓励你们:

不要因为自己的独特而怡然自得;

学生们应当多接触我们的校园;

相比答案,能更多地提出自己的问题;

能承认自己处于迷茫或困惑的状态;

愿意表达:虽然我不太了解... ... 但我会去寻找答案。

并且,最重要的是,我们的学生要勇于承认:或许我错了,或许其他人的观点是正确的。

这是新生们从老师与同学处最能学到的东西。并且,这也是我们聚集于此的原因。我们来耶鲁是为了提出问题,提出关于彼此、关于我们所处世界的问题。

1

在耶鲁,我们着重对好奇文化的培养。

在刚刚度过的夏天里,我阅读了一个有关于伊西多·艾萨克·拉比(Isidor Isaac Rabi)的故事。

作为一个婴儿,拉比于1898年诞生在美国。在这之后,他开始注重对粒子束的研究,他的相关研究让MRI(核磁共振)以及诸多学科获得了提升。1944年,拉比还因为自身的成就获得了诺贝尔物理学奖。

拉比的父母在布鲁克林经营着一家小杂货店。他的母亲没有受过正规教育。不过,拉比记得母亲曾问过他一个重要的问题,正是这个问题,成就了自己璀璨的人生。

拉比是美国最杰出的科学家之一,他也是核磁共振仪的发明者

普通的家长,每天下午都会向孩子提问:你今天在学校里学到了什么?拉比表示,自己的母亲与其他家长不同。她只会问我一件事:你今天有提出一个优质的问题么?

拉比认为,正是母亲的这一举动,让他养成了不断提出优秀问题的习惯,为迈向杰出科学家的道路埋下了伏笔。

所以,我建议在场的所有家长,当你们给孩子打电话的时候,在关注他们的同学、室友与就餐情况之外,请记得问问孩子,看他们近期提出过怎样的问题。

从牛顿的万有引力到量力科学的重大突破,这些或来自耶鲁或来自其他顶尖高校的伟大发现,其实都是基于提问所产生的。

当音乐家开始采用一段新的旋律;当社会学家开始观察一段社交行为时,他们都会问为什么?如果这样/那样的话,会发生什么事情呢?正是他们的好奇心,点燃了人们心中的火苗,并且引领世界往全新的方向前进。

对自我的发掘与提升,同样来自于提问。举例来说,当我们质疑一件事并表示为什么我要相信它?为什么我要这么做?的时候,我们其实已经学会了反思,并获得了成长。

我想起了诗人比利·柯林斯(Billy Collins)的话语:诗歌存在的问题,就是在鼓励更多诗歌的出现。

我觉得这一言论同样适用于提问。诗歌和提问,都是通过一个点,去点亮另一个点;通过一扇门,去打开更多的门。

有些时候,我们问题会把我们引向一条死胡同。这个问题或许并不能带来正确的解答,一扇知识的大门也因此无法打开。

但请你们牢记,沿途中的那些收获,能帮助我们在将来提出更优秀的问题。

比利·柯林斯,美国著名诗人

电影粉红豹The Pink Panther)中有这么一个著名的场景:乌龙探长克鲁索(Clouseau)在一家德国酒店检查,他在酒店大堂看到了一只腊肠犬,所以向酒店老板询问:

你的狗咬人么?

我的狗不会咬人,先生。

得到答复的克鲁索便放开戒备逗狗,没想到自己的手却被深深地咬了一口。他开始与老板对峙:

我记得你告诉过我,你的小狗不咬人。

那只腊肠犬并不是我的狗,先生。

很多年前,我曾参与组织了一场本科研讨会。这个课程讨论的其中一个问题是——你曾为哪一件重要的事情改变过自己的想法?

令我感到惊奇的是,有少部分学生从来没有为任何一件事而改变自身最初的想法!最终,我们决定,这门课只接收那些改变过想法的学生。

所以,我们的学生应当乐于转变自身的观念;勇于提问并且拥抱耶鲁的好奇文化对不同的观点与经验持开放的态度,并将其视为一种学习的契机,即使有时会因此受到一些伤害(像克鲁索一样被腊肠犬咬)。

2

我是一名社会心理学家。作为从耶鲁毕业的一员,我的好奇心是在情绪相关的研究中迸发的。

当然,我的好奇心也受到了本科顾问的启发,他曾问过我必德,你觉得人类为什么会有情感?情感对我们产生了怎样的作用?从那时起,我与团队的课题之一,就是情商研究。

在早期的工作中,我们将情商视为一种技能——通过系统性的学习,人们可以掌握情商这项能力,并借此解析人们情感中所包含的那些数据

多年的相关研究后,我和同事们意识到:我们并没有找到那个正确的提问。我们需要确保情商能在日常生活中展现出来——能组建朋友圈、能在学校成功学习、能融入团队工作等,诸如此类的能力。

问题来了:我们如何进行情商能力的评级?

就此,团队进行了内部提问,通常而言,心理学家如何进行个人特征的测量?答案是他们经常让人们给自己打分,即一份称之为自我评估的报告。

然而,这一答案使得我们更为沮丧,人们怎么样才能知道自己是一个善于识别、理解、管理并且运用情绪的人呢?我们有没有想过,或许自己以为的高情感张力,对他人而言却是情商缺乏的表现呢?

我们(将情商视为可量化的技能这一)错误的提问,使得真理之门无法打开。

为此,团队提出了一个新的问题:如果我们想要了解一个人是否具备优秀的棒球运动员的能力(比如:击球、投掷、接球、高效地跑垒等),那么,此时的自我评估有多少的可信度呢?

显然,可信度不高,因为所有的球员都认为自己是下一位A-Rod。我小时候和哥哥在家中后院玩耍时,还自认为是下一位卡尔·雅泽姆斯基(Carl·Yastrzemski,美国职棒大联盟成员,是棒球名人堂成员之一 )。

还好,我从未因为自己的这种骄傲而被排挤。

为什么情商(技能)的评级与棒球不同呢?如果我们想要知道某人是否具备高情商,我们就需要将这些技能视为能力。那怎样的标准可以用来衡量情商能力呢?

自我反思上述这些问题,有助于我们更加接近正确的答案。(目前,耶鲁基于能力形成的情商测试,已经被应用于数百项科学研究之中。)

承认我们并未寻得所有的答案,并采取一个好学的、好奇的态度,这有助于我们去创造或发现全新的事物。

所以,身为学生的你们将会提出什么样的问题呢?你们将来的好奇心又会因何而启发呢?

3

不久前,我收到了封来自一位耶鲁家长的电子邮件。这位家长在邮件中十分骄傲的跟我分享:自己的儿子在耶鲁的第一年,就已经听完了77位不同演讲者的讲座。

77位!他从这些政治领域的思想家和领导者那里学到了很多,并且还参加了由各种社团举行的活动。这是怎样的一种度过第一学年的方法呀!在场的诸位,你们能坚持这样的举动一年,并且不改初心么?

事实证明,这位学生还十分擅于提问。他在过去的一年中采访了数十人,这其中,有来自不同领域的学者、活动家、记者以及企业家。

在耶鲁,这位同学就像许多学生与教职工一样,培养自身的一种好奇文化。

往届的耶鲁人已经提出了许多的问题。比如,那些提出男女同校的先驱们。

五十年前,在1969年,588名妇女来到耶鲁大学学习。她们进入了一个长期以来一直被男性占领领地,并且她们提出了从未被提及的问题(即男女同校)。

今年,在女性入读耶鲁艺术学院150周年之际,我们也将纪念这一具有里程碑意义的事件

我还想起1971届的玛格丽特·华纳(Margaret·Warner),她是一位屡获殊荣的记者,知道如何提出那些精彩的问题。她从事战区报道数十年,亲眼目睹了历史并试图借此了解我们世界的真实模样。

我也想起1971届的爱丽丝·杨(Alice·Young),她曾环顾整个校园,并疑惑为什么没有更多来自公立学校的学生入学。后来,她成为了耶鲁大使并回到家乡夏威夷州进行宣传。她还是亚裔美国学生联盟的创始人之一,今年,是该联盟成立的50周年。

我们还记得其他重要的纪念日,以及参与这些变化的,那些好奇的学生。

1969年,由于学生的努力,被称为“The House”的美国黑人文化中心开业,这一中心现在正在创建非裔美国人研究系。

同年,学生们建立了MEChA的耶鲁分会(Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán,是一个致力于促进高等教育、文化和历史交流的学生组织)。

我相信,我们应该感谢所有勇敢的开拓者。纵观整个耶鲁的历史,他们是今天耶鲁之所以能成为耶鲁的主要原因。

我再次回到刚才的提问:你将会提出什么样的问题呢?你的问题又会如何改变耶鲁与我们的世界呢?

你们在耶鲁度过的这些时光,是与众多人、众多思想以及众多经验进行互动的最佳时光。在这里,你能与诸多领域中世界知名的专家进行交谈。你们将有机会通过严谨的研究去创造出知识,并且参加那些能挑战自我、激发灵感的艺术、文学或体育活动类项目。在耶鲁大学,你们将会度过一段,与同龄人完全不同的生活!

勇敢走出舒适与安全区,并借此培养自己的好奇心。那样的你们该如何耀眼?我很难去想象。

走出安全区,意味着你们能在耶鲁大学实验室或某一展览中进行研究;意味着你能接触到来自世界不同地区,不同政治领域的同学。

当然,走出安全区,也意味着你们要去参加那些不太了解的主题讨论;意味着讨论中还会出现一些与你们意见相悖的人。

当你做这些事情时,当你利用这些耶鲁带来的机会时,你会提出怎样的问题呢?

世界上存在着太多的未知,因此,我们需要为自身的谦逊而庆贺——我们愿意承认目前存在许多我们尚未能发现的事物。毕竟,如果你知道所有的答案,你就不需要耶鲁。如果人类知道所有的答案,世界就不需要耶鲁。

所以,今天我们的学生会提出什么样的问题呢?明天呢?后天呢?

耶鲁的新生们,(我希望)在毕业典礼我与你握手之后的几天、几个月、或者几年之内,你能告诉我,那些你所提出来的、切实地改变了你生活的问题。

2023届的耶鲁新生们,祝你们好运!

 Good morning! On behalf of my colleagues here on stage, I extend a warm welcome to all the family members with us today. And to the first-years, transfer students, and Eli Whitney students:Welcome to Yale!

  Today is a day of pageantry and excitement. Many of you bring members of your extended families to cheer you on, celebrating this milestone with justifiable pride and just a little anxiety.

  Today is also a day of Yale traditions. You will encounter countless wonderful rituals here, some recent and some quite old. Many are steeped in history yet remain popular, even beloved, among Yalies.(And remember, you are now a Yalie!)

  One of our Yale traditions is singing an old song, “Bright College Years.” Written in the late 19th century, it is our unofficial, but widely acknowledged, alma mater. You will hear it at many campus events, often sung by the Yale Glee Club and other Yale groups, and played by the Yale Precision Marching Band after football games.

  Now, I am not a singer. I am a bluegrass bass player. But I hope you will indulge me for a moment:

  The seasons come, the seasons go,

  The earth is green or white with snow,

  But time and change shall naught avail

  To break the friendships formed at Yale.

  These couplets are some of my favorites from “Bright College Years,” and, in my experience, they are truthful. I suspect they will prove accurate for you as well. But it is the song’s final lines, popular at alumni gatherings and always sung with gusto, complete with the waving of handkerchiefs, that I want to use to launch my topic for today:

  Oh, let us strive that ever we

  May let these words our watch cry be,

  Where’er upon life’s sea we sail:

  “For God, for Country and for Yale!”

  “For God, for Country, and for Yale:” A member of the Yale College Class of 1881 named Henry Durand wrote this ballad, and the final lines were meant to be a rallying cry. It made sense in those days to presume, as Durand did, that most Yale students shared, or at least professed to share, the same god and the same country. Most Yalies, until recent decades, were white, Protestant, and American. And of course, until fifty years ago in Yale College, they were all men.

  Today, Yale is a different place from the college Durand knew. We welcome people from around the world, from every background and from every walk of life.

  I am proud to be a Yale graduate. I received my Ph.D. in psychology from Yale in 1986. A hundred years earlier, I may have been less likely to have been admitted to Yale on account of my background; I am Jewish, with roots in Eastern Europe. My wife Marta, another proud Yale graduate, received her master’s degree in public health in 1984; her family is from Puerto Rico. Our stories are not unique. Over the past decades, Yale has opened its doors wider and wider. We have expanded the circle of belonging.

  Yet despite our differences and diversity, we have at least one very important thing in common:we all share Yale. No matter where you are from, or who you are, or your path to arriving here, now you are—among other things—a member of this community. You belong here. You are citizens of Yale.

  In our country and our world today, questions about citizenship and immigration are hotly contested. But at Yale, we share none of this uncertainty about the critical importance of immigrant and international students and scholars. The work of the university—education and research—requires the free movement of people and ideas across national borders. On behalf of this university, I advocate for policies that will allow us to welcome students and scholars from around the world to our campus.

  Our Yale citizenship, however, is not based on national origin. Our students hail from 121 countries. Nor is it based on our adherence to a certain set of beliefs or dogma, as we bring an enormous range of viewpoints and perspectives to this campus. Instead, we are citizens of Yale because we share a desire to know, understand, and create. We are members of an academic community dedicated to Urim v’Thummim, lux et veritas, light and truth.

  We are poets and psychologists, historians and scientists, physicians and deans, and yet we all share the same fundamental goal:to expand the horizons of the known world. To ask questions that shake the foundations of knowledge and to rebuild them again with new answers.

  Our world is desperate for new ideas and solutions. We need to understand the human condition and our planet. We need insights into the genome. We need breakthroughs in our ability to fight disease, alleviate suffering, and find justice. We need answers to urgent and long-standing questions.

  You will tackle this important work at Yale. The experiences you have here will shape the rest of your lives, and you will have opportunities that most people only dream of.

  And because a Yale education is a great privilege, it comes with certain obligations. I want to speak today about some of the most important obligations of Yale citizenship. I will delineate four of them:

  The responsibility to be curious, constantly;

  The duty to listen to others, even those whose thoughts you despise, and to exchange ideas freely;

  The obligation to create a culture of respect here;

  And the requirement to use the gifts you have been provided to serve others and the world.

  So, the first obligation concerns our intellectual and scholarly work. Our campus must be a place conducive to deep study that will motivate both a lifetime of learning and the development of character that will serve you well as future leaders.

  Yale will demand much of you. There will be times when you don’t understand an assignment or struggle with a problem set. You may do poorly on a midterm. At least I hope so! Those failures—as much as your successes—mean you are doing something right. Be kind to yourself, and remember that you have come to Yale because you don’t know everything—not yet.

  The faculty will be alongside you, as teachers and mentors. This is my thirty-third year on Yale’s faculty, and I know that working with students is one of the great joys of this profession. Go to office hours. Get to know your professors, and they will help you deepen and expand your expertise. Most of all, allow your curiosity to take wing—to take you in unexpected directions and lead you to new areas of study, practice, and discovery.

  I enrolled in courses in college that I hadn’t planned to take, and they changed the way I see the world now, forty years later:a course in the history of theater styles, a course in writing poetry, a course in real-world(applied)sociology, a course in geology that involved fascinating fieldwork. Make sure you explore the great range and diversity of academic experiences available to you here.

  Second, as citizens of Yale, we are obligated to listen carefully to others. Sometimes this means we must listen to ideas we find objectionable. You don’t have to agree, but each of us must enjoy the opportunity to express thoughts and opinions. We work hard to safeguard this right on our campus. I hope you will have many opportunities to think deeply and speak honestly and courageously about difficult issues during your time here.

  Discourse is the heart of the academic enterprise. So, find times and places for conversation, whether in a classroom, dining hall, or on the athletic field.

  There are many impediments to meaningful conversation, including technology. I am not going to try to persuade you to stop texting or tweeting altogether. But I would urge you to put down your phones whenever possible, and seek out face-to-face interactions. We are happier and our relationships are stronger when we do.(Just ask anyone who took “Psychology and the Good Life” with Professor Laurie Santos last year!)

  You will meet people of remarkable talent, promise, and integrity here at Yale. In the days and weeks ahead, I would urge you to seek out a wide variety of friends and associates. As I said to last year’s graduating class, draw a larger circle to include people who might look, talk, act, or think differently from you. Introduce yourself to staff members; get to know your neighbors in the city of New Haven. Your ability to speak but also listen, to reach beyond what is familiar and easy, will be one of the great measures of your time here at Yale.

  Third, as citizens of Yale we strive to support a culture of mutual respect on our campus. To do this we must accord each person the dignity and recognition they deserve.

  Claudia Rankine is the Frederick Iseman Professor of Poetry at Yale. In her powerful work, Citizen:An American Lyric, she explores what citizenship and belonging mean in contemporary America, often by describing mundane situations. I would like to read you a passage:

  “In line at the drugstore it’s finally your turn, and then it’s

  not as he walks in front of you and puts his things on the

  counter. The cashier says, Sir, she was next. When he

  turns to you he is truly surprised.

  Oh my God, I didn’t see you.

  You must be in a hurry, you offer.

  No, no, no, I really didn’t see you.”

  Who do we see—or not see? In our residential colleges and classrooms, in restaurants, on vacation and at work, in our country and in our world? Who do we see, and who do we look past?

  Your lives at Yale will be busy and full. You will study, work, volunteer, socialize, and—I dearly hope—sometimes sleep. But make sure you take time to see the people around you. Try to imagine the world through their eyes; bring empathy and imagination to all that you do. I am counting on each of you. Together we can ensure that Yale is a community where each person feels valued and welcomed.

  Finally, your obligations as citizens of Yale extend beyond this campus. Our alumni are perhaps the greatest illustration of Yale’s tradition of service. Five Yale graduates have served as U.S. presidents, four as secretaries of state, and eighteen as justices on the U.S. Supreme Court, representing viewpoints across the political spectrum. Yale alumni have served as heads of state of several foreign countries, including Italy, Mexico, Malawi, and South Korea. Many others have improved their neighborhoods and cities as teachers, philanthropists, and mentors. Still others have built businesses that created jobs. For generations, our students and alumni have contributed to the common good. I urge you to carry on this vital Yale tradition.

  “For God, for Country, and for Yale:” This is still the promise of “Bright College Years”—and I enjoy singing those words as much as anyone—that even if we worship differently or not at all, even if we are citizens of different nations or people without a country, we all share Yale. We take pride in our “rights and responsibilities” as members of this community. In return for the great privilege of a Yale education, we look beyond this campus to pursue a larger purpose, to “improve the world today and for future generations.”5 This is what we share in common.

  I am convinced that our Yale citizenship is just as vital today as it was 317 years ago when this college was founded. The world needs light and truth as much as ever. It needs your leadership and your service. It needs the meaning you bring to the world and the questions you ask. Most of all, it needs your best efforts—your successes and your failures.

  As citizens of Yale sharing a common purpose—the pursuit of knowledge and understanding—let us start today to begin the work we have come here to do:to ask new questions, to listen carefully and speak honestly, to see with new eyes, and to contribute to our communities and our world. Most of all, leave this hall today with a commitment in your hearts to be exemplary citizens of Yale, building the future we hope to see.

  Today, as I look out onto this room, I am optimistic about the future of Yale and the future of our world.

  Good luck, Class of 2022!

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