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Denis Dutton 談美學進化論

Denis Dutton: A Darwinian theory of beauty

 

講者:Denis Dutton

2010年2月演講,2010年11月在TED2010上線

 

翻譯:                劉契良

編輯:                洪曉慧

簡繁轉換:            趙弘

後制:                劉契良

字幕影片後制:        謝旻均

 

影片請按此下載

 

MAC及手持裝置版本請按此下載

 

閱讀中文字幕純文字版本

 

關於這場演講

TED 與動漫家 Andrew Park 合作描繪 Denis Dutton 具爭議性的美學理論,藝術、音樂及其他美麗的東西,不單只是「見仁見智」,更是具有深層革命性起源的人性核心。

 

關於 Denis Dutton

Denis Dutton 是哲學教授及《Arts & Letters Daily》編輯,他在《The Art Instinct》著作中提及,人性本身即潛藏著找尋美感的慾望。

 

為何要聽他演講:

為何人類享受藝術創作?在其 2009 年的著作《The Art Instinct》中,哲學家 Denis Dutton 提出,藝術是一種內建於我們系統中的需求,就像我們對語言的天賦一樣,是一種複雜、微妙的演化適應。我們人類進化到能喜愛藝術,因為那有助於我們的生存。舉例而言,表達得當的藝術鑑賞,就算是在現代還是能作為擄掠芳心的手段,這是一個大敢的論述,支撐點建於 Dutton 瞭若指掌的寬廣藝術史範例。

 

Dutton 在紐西蘭坎特伯利大學教授哲學,並兼任《Arts & Letters Daily》編輯,這是個三欄形式的網路文化新聞摘要,他的個人首頁更是另一處寶庫,藉由他在哲學與文化領域的廣泛涉獵,站內收集了許多珍聞。他也是 Cybereditions 的指導委員,該出版商專攻電子書與非小說作品的隨選列印出版,另外,他還是《Climate Debate Daily》的編輯,一個活躍且對某些氣候變化論述持懷疑看法的部落格。

 

Denis Dutton 的英語網上資料

首頁:DenisDutton.com

 

[TED科技娛樂設計]
已有中譯字幕的TED影片目錄(繁體)(簡體)。請注意繁簡目錄是不一樣的。

 

「翻譯編輯:myoops.org

 

 很榮幸能在此與各位分享我所著迷的主題,美學,我以藝術哲學與美學維生,我試圖從學識、哲學及心理學的角度找出美的經驗為何?如何明智地加以表述,以及人們如何脫軌似地試圖瞭解美,這是一個極為複雜的主題,部份原因是我們稱之為美的東西十分不同,我是說,想想其中的多樣性,一張嬰兒的臉龐、白遼士的《哈羅德在義大利》、電影《奧茲國精靈》或是契訶夫的劇作、加州中部景觀、葛飾北齋看富士山的角度(日本江戶時代浮世繪派大師)、歌劇《玫瑰騎士》、精彩的致勝球發生於世界盃足球賽、梵谷的「星夜」、珍‧奧斯汀的小說、Fred Astaire 舞過螢幕,這份簡短的清單包含人類、自然地形、藝術作品及精巧的人類動作,任何想要解釋這份清單上所呈現的美學都非易事,然而,我可以給各位品味一點我視為最夠力的美學理論,我們所得到這理論的源由非來自藝術哲學家,亦非來自後現代藝術理論家或是大亨藝評,No,這個理論來自一位專家,專事藤壺、蟲及鴿子繁殖,各位明白我指誰,達爾文,當然,許多人認為他們已知道問題的正確答案,何謂美?美是見仁見智的,任何讓您個人感動的人事物,或者,對某些人而言,特別是學術圈,傾向於視美是文化條件下的主觀意識,人們同意,畫作、電影及音樂是美,因為他們的文化決定了統一的美學品味,對自然美與藝術的品味跨越了文化且輕而易舉,日本人傾慕貝多芬、秘魯人喜愛日本的浮世繪、印加雕塑被大英博物館視為寶物,另外,莎士比亞的劇作已被翻成地球上每一種主要的語言,或像是美國爵士樂、美國電影行銷全球,藝術間有許多不同點,但也有普遍性及跨文化的美學愉悅與價值,我們要如何解釋這種普遍性?

 

 

最佳解答來自試圖重建一套達爾文式的演化歷史,以我們藝術與美學品味的角度,我們必需逆向建立現時藝術品味與偏好,並解釋那如何在我們心中烙下深刻的印象,透過我們史前的行為,主要是我們成為全人當時的更新世環境,還有我們演化當時的社會情境,這等逆向工程也能由人類記錄中得到幫助,其詳載於史前年代,我是指化石、洞穴壁畫等,我們也應考量有種美學愛好,對於孤立的集獵團體,一直到 19 和 20 世紀還存在,我個人毫不懷疑任何美學經驗及其情緒張力及愉悅是屬於我們已演化的人類心理,美學經驗是其中一項構成要素,落在達爾文適應論的整個系列中,美是一種適應的效應,我們加以延伸與強化在藝術與娛樂作品的創造與愉悅當中,誠如各位所知,演化主要是透過兩種主要的機制運作,首先是天擇,即隨機突變與選擇性保留,根據我們的基本結構與生理像是胰臟、眼睛或是指甲的演化,天擇亦解釋了許多基本的情緒反感,像是對腐肉異味的厭惡或是恐懼,對蛇的恐懼,或是站在懸崖邊,天擇也解釋了愉悅,性愉悅,我們對甜味、脂質及蛋白質的偏好也因此解釋了許多食物受歡迎的原因,從熟果到巧克力麥芽糖及火烤肋排,另一項主要演化是性擇,其運作十分特異,孔雀華麗的尾翼是最佳範例,其演化並非為了自然生存,事實上,那有違自然生存,孔雀的尾翼是擇偶選擇的演化結果,由雌孔雀主導,那是個大家都熟悉的故事,實際上是女人在引導歷史,順道一提,達爾文自己沒懷疑過孔雀的尾翼在雌孔雀眼中亦是美麗的,事實上,他用了那個字眼。

 

 

如果各位將這些概念牢記心中,我們可以說美學經驗是一種途徑,演化藉此激發與延續興(性)趣或魅力,甚至是迷戀,以鼓勵我們做出最能適應的抉擇,便於生存與繁衍,美是自然保持距離的方式,可以這麼說,我是說,各位不能期待吃下一「鍋」合宜有益的景觀,那無益於繁衍或擇偶目的,所以,演化的技巧是美化,使其發揮某種吸引力,讓人只用看的就能感到愉悅,稍想一下美感愉悅的重要來源,來自美麗風景的吸引力,來自非常不同文化的人,全世界皆然,都傾向於喜好特定的景觀,一種碰巧類似於我們演化源頭之更新世大草原的景觀,這類景觀顯見於今日的日曆、明信片、高爾夫球場與公園的設計及鑲金邊的照片,常見掛在客廳牆上,從紐約到紐西蘭皆是如此,像是哈德遜河畫派的景觀,特色是開放的空間、遍地低矮的綠草點綴著欉欉灌木,另外,這些樹通常傾向於樹枝分叉到地面,也就是說那些樹木有利於攀爬,彷彿它可將您牢牢抓住,景觀呈現出水源就在視線的範圍內,或以一抹藍色遠景點出水的形跡,也顯示動物或鳥類生命的存在,以及綠意盎然的景像,最後,是這個(圖示:獵人),一條小徑或道路,或是河岸,或海岸線向遠處延伸出去,幾乎像是在邀請您沿路尋去,這種景觀類型被視為美麗,甚至對那些處於根本沒有這類景觀國家中的人們亦然,典型大草原景觀是最清晰的一個範例,各地的人們都覺得美,都有相似的視覺體驗,但有些人認為那只是自然美,藝術美又當如何?那不徹底就是文化嗎?

 

 

不,我不這麼認為,我要再次回顧史前,以詳加敘述,大家普遍認為人類最早的藝術作品是雄偉且技術高超的洞穴壁畫,如眾所皆知的拉斯科與肖維穴群,肖維穴群約有 32,000 年的歷史,同期還有些許小型、寫實的雕塑,關於女人與動物,但藝術與裝飾技能實際上更加古老,美麗的貝殼項鍊,就像在藝術工藝展覽中所見,還有赭土身體彩繪,存在於約 100,000 年前,但最引人入勝的史前工藝品甚至比此更古老,我意指的是,所謂的阿舍利手斧,最古老的石器是來自東非奧杜瓦伊峽谷的斧頭,年代約是 250 萬年前,這些未經加工的工具在數千個世紀以前就已存在,直至約 140 萬年前,當直立人開始塑造單一的薄石刀,有時是圓卵形,但吸引我們目光的常是對稱伸展的葉形或淚形,這些阿舍利手斧其名源自法國聖阿舍爾,考古發現是在 19 世紀開始,出土物成千上萬,地域橫跨亞洲、歐洲與非洲,範圍幾乎是所有直立人與匠人遊走之地,但這些手斧的龐大數量顯示它們不是用於宰殺動物,情節變得複雜,當您瞭解到,不像其他的更新世器具,這些手斧常是沒有半點變鈍的現象,針對其精細的刀鋒而言,另外,有些根本就太大,不能用於屠宰,其對稱性、迷人的材料,及最重要的,其細緻的手工,確實十分漂亮,即使今日看來亦同,這些古董有何功用?我是說,它們古老、奇異,但同時也很相似,這些藝品有何功用?

 

 

最簡單的答案是,它們根本上就是我們所知最早的藝品,實用器具轉化成迷人的美麗物件,不論是其優雅的造型或其大師級的手藝,手斧標誌著人類歷史上的演化進步,器具經造型,功能轉為達爾文派所稱的健壯信號,也就是說,其展示出,表現出,像孔雀尾翼般的功能,除了,不像髮絲與羽飾,手斧是有意識的精巧工藝,稱職工匠手下的手斧,顯示出令人嚮往的個人特質,智力、良好的運動神經控制力、計劃能力、認真盡責,有時是獲得稀有物質的能力,超過萬代以來,此類技能提升那些能展示這些本領者的地位,也因此佔有較優的繁衍優先權,對比於那些能力較差的人,以下這句台詞已是老掉牙,但屢試不爽,「要不來我的洞中,我讓你看我的手斧」(笑聲),當然,有趣的是,除了我們不確定這行為是如何表達,因為直立人並無語言,即製作這個物件的人種,很難抓個準頭,但這卻是不爭的事實,這個物件是由人類祖先所製造,即直立人或匠人,年代介於 50 到 100,000 年,我是指語言出現之前,橫跨一百萬年的時間,手斧傳統是最悠久的藝術傳統,無論是人類或原人類的歷史,手斧史詩過後,現代人,我們給冠上的名字,最終,毫無疑問地找出新方法取悅並使彼此驚喜,天曉得,也許是透過講笑話、說故事、跳舞或設計髮型,沒錯,設計髮型,我沒說錯。

 

 

對我們現代人而言,匠心,是用於創造想像的世界,在小說及電影中,以表達強烈的情感,方法是透過音樂、繪畫及舞蹈,話說如此,一個我們先祖性格中的基本特質,長留在我們對美麗的渴望中,那種美存在於技藝的展現中,從拉斯科穴到羅浮官,再到卡內基音樂廳,人類擁有一種永恆天生的品味,對於藝術中所顯示的匠心,我們發現美存在於製作完美的事物中,因此,當各位下次經過珠寶店櫥窗,看到雕工精美的淚型石的時候,先別急著說那很美,那只是各位的文化那麼教導的結果,將閃亮的珠寶歸入美的範疇,各位的遠祖也喜愛那種形狀並從製作技能中發現美,甚是早於他們能將心中愛慕化作文字前,美是見仁見智的嗎?不,美早已深藏我們心中,那是天賦,傳承自我們最古老先祖的智慧技能及豐富情感生命,我們強而有力反應,針對影像、藝術中所傳達的情感,音樂之美及夜空,都將一直與我們及後代同在,只要人類還存在,感謝聆聽。

 

(掌聲)

 

以下為系統擷取之英文原文

About this talk

TED collaborates with animator Andrew Park to illustrate Denis Dutton's provocative theory on beauty -- that art, music and other beautiful things, far from being simply "in the eye of the beholder," are a core part of human nature with deep evolutionary origins.

About Denis Dutton

Denis Dutton is a philosophy professor and the editor of Arts & Letters Daily. In his book The Art Instinct, he suggests that humans are hard-wired to seek beauty. Full bio and more links

Transcript

Delighted to be here and to talk to you about a subject dear to my heart, which is beauty. I do the philosophy of art, aesthetics, actually, for a living. I try to figure out intellectually, philosophically, psychologically, what the experience of beauty is, what sensibly can be said about it and how people go off the rails in trying to understand it. Now this is an extremely complicated subject, in part because the things that we call beautiful are so different. I mean just think of the sheer variety -- a baby's face, Berlioz's "Harold in Italy", movies like "The Wizard of Oz", or the plays of Chekhov, a central California landscape, a Hokusai view of Mt. Fuji, "Der Rosenkavalier", a stunning match winning goal in a World Cup soccer match, Van Gogh's "Starry Night", a Jane Austen novel, Fred Astaire dancing across the screen. This brief list includes human beings, natural landforms, works of art and skilled human actions. An account that explains the presence of beauty in everything on this list is not going to be easy.

I can, however, give you at least a taste of what I regard as the most powerful theory of beauty we yet have. And we get it, not from a philosopher of art, not from a postmodern art theorist or a bigwig art critic. No, this theory comes from an expert on barnacles and worms and pigeon breeding. And you know who I mean -- Charles Darwin. Of course, a lot of people think they already know the proper answer to the question, what is beauty? It's in the eye of the beholder. It's whatever moves you personally. Or, as some people -- especially academics -- prefer, beauty is in the culturally-conditioned eye of the beholder. People agree that paintings or movies or music are beautiful because their cultures determine a uniformity of aesthetic taste. Taste for both natural beauty and for the arts travel across cultures with great ease. Beethoven is adored in Japan. Peruvians love Japanese woodblock prints. Inca sculptures are regarded as treasures in British museums, while Shakespeare is translated into every major language of the Earth. Or just think about American jazz or American movies -- they go everywhere. There are many differences among the arts, but there are also universal, cross-cultural aesthetic pleasures and values.

How can we explain this universality? The best answer lies in trying to reconstruct a Darwinian evolutionary history of our artistic and aesthetic tastes. We need to reverse engineer our present artistic tastes and preferences and explain how they came to be engraved in our minds. By the actions of both our prehistoric, largely pleistocene environments, where we became fully human, but also by the social situations in which we evolved. This reverse engineering can also enlist help from the human record preserved in prehistory. I mean fossils, cave paintings and so forth. And it should take into account what we know of the aesthetic interests of isolated hunter-gatherer bands that survived into the 19th and the 20th centuries.

Now, I personally have no doubt whatsoever that the experience of beauty, with its emotional intensity and pleasure, belongs to our evolved human psychology. The experience of beauty is one component in a whole series of Darwinian adaptations. Beauty is an adaptive effect, which we extend and intensify in the creation and enjoyment of works of art and entertainment. As many of you will know, evolution operates by two main primary mechanisms. The first of these is natural selection -- that's random mutation and selective retention -- along with our basic anatomy and physiology -- the evolution of the pancreas or the eye or the fingernails. Natural selection also explains many basic revulsions, such as the horrid smell of rotting meat, or fears, such as the fear of snakes or standing close to the edge of a cliff. Natural selection also explains pleasures -- sexual pleasure, our liking for sweet, fat and proteins, which in turn explains a lot of popular foods, from ripe fruits through chocolate malts and barbecued ribs.

The other great principle of evolution is sexual selection, and it operates very differently. The peacock's magnificent tail is the most famous example of this. It did not evolve for natural survival. In fact, it goes against natural survival. No, the peacock's tail results from the mating choices made by peahens. It's quite a familiar story. It's women who actually push history forward. Darwin himself, by the way, had no doubts that the peacock's tail was beautiful in the eyes of the peahen. He actually used that word. Now, keeping these ideas firmly in mind, we can say that the experience of beauty is one of the ways that evolution has of arousing and sustaining interest or fascination, even obsession, in order to encourage us toward making the most adaptive decisions for survival and reproduction. Beauty is nature's way of acting at a distance, so to speak. I mean, you can't expect to eat an adaptively beneficial landscape. It would hardly do to your baby or your lover. So evolution's trick is to make them beautiful, to have them exert a kind of magnetism to give you the pleasure of simply looking at them.

Consider briefly and important source of aesthetic pleasure, the magnetic pull of beautiful landscapes. People in very different cultures all over the world tend to like a particular kind of landscape, a landscape that just happens to be similar to the pleistocene savannas where we evolved. This landscape shows up today on calendars, on postcards, in the design of golf courses and public parks and in in gold-framed pictures that hang in living rooms from New York to New Zealand. It's a kind of Hudson River school landscape featuring open spaces of low grasses interspersed with copses of trees. The trees, by the way, are often preferred if they fork near the ground, that is to say, if they're trees you could scramble up if you were in a tight fix. The landscape shows the presence of water directly in view, or evidence of water in a bluish distance, indications of animal or bird life as well as diverse greenery and finally -- get this -- a path or a road, perhaps a riverbank or a shoreline, that extends into the distance, almost inviting you to follow it. This landscape type is regarded as beautiful, even by people in countries that don't have it. The ideal savanna landscape is one of the clearest examples where human beings everywhere find beauty in similar visual experience.

But, someone might argue, that's natural beauty. How about artistic beauty? Isn't that exhaustively cultural? No, I don't think it is. And once again, I'd like to look back to prehistory to say something about it. It is widely assumed that the earliest human artworks are the stupendously skillful cave paintings that we all know from Lascaux and Chauvet. Chauvet caves are about 32,000 years old, along with a few small, realistic sculptures of women and animals from the same period. But artistic and decorative skills are actually much older than that. beautiful shell necklaces that look like something you'd see at an arts and crafts fair, as well as ochre body paint, have been found from around 100,000 years ago.

But the most intriguing prehistoric artifacts are older even than this. I have in mind the so-called Acheulian hand axes. The oldest stone tools are choppers from the Olduvai Gorge in East Africa. They go back about two and a half million years. These crude tools were around for thousands of centuries, until around 1.4 million years ago when Homo erectus started shaping single, thin stone blades, sometimes rounded ovals, but often in, what are to our eyes, an arresting, symmetrical pointed leaf or teardrop form. These Acheulian hand axes -- they're named after St. Acheul in France, where finds were made in 19th century -- have been unearthed in their thousands, scattered across Asia, Europe and Africa, almost everywhere Homo erectus and Homo ergaster roamed. Now, the sheer numbers of these hand axes shows that they can't have been made for butchering animals. And the plot really thickens when you realize that, unlike other pleistocene tools, the hand axes often exhibit no evidence of wear on their delicate blade edges. And some, in any event, are too big to use for butchery. Their symmetry, their attractive materials and, above all, their meticulous workmanship are simply quite beautiful to our eyes, even today.

So what were these ancient -- I mean, they're ancient, they're foreign, but they're at the same time somehow familiar. What were these artifacts for? The best available answer is that they were literally the earliest known works of art, practical tools transformed into captivating aesthetic objects, contemplated both for their elegant shape and their virtuoso craftsmanship. Hand axes mark an evolutionary advance in human history -- tools fashioned to function as what Darwinians call fitness signals -- that is to say, displays that are performances like the peacock's tail, except that, unlike hair and feathers, the hand axes are consciously cleverly crafted. Competently made hand axes indicated desirable personal qualities -- intelligence, fine motor control, planning ability, conscientiousness and sometimes access to rare materials. Over tens of thousands of generations, such skills increased the status of those who displayed them and gained a reproductive advantage over the less capable. You know, it's an old line, but it has been shown to work -- "Why don't you come up to my cave, so I can show you my hand axes."

(Laughter)

Except, of course, what's interesting about this is that we can't be sure how that idea was conveyed, because the Homo erectus that made these objects did not have language. It's hard to grasp, but it's an incredible fact. This object was made by a hominid ancestor -- Homo erectus or Homo ergaster -- between 50 and 100,000 years before language. Stretching over a million years, the hand axe tradition is the longest artistic tradition in human and proto-human history. By the end of the hand axe epic, Homo sapiens -- as they were then called, finally -- were doubtless finding new ways to amuse and amaze each other by, who knows, telling jokes, storytelling, dancing, or hairstyling. Yes, hairstyling -- I insist on that.

For us moderns, virtuoso technique is used to create imaginary worlds in fiction and in movies, to express intense emotions with music, painting and dance. But still, one fundamental trait of the ancestral personality persists in our aesthetic cravings: the beauty we find in skilled performances. From Lascaux to the Louvre to Carnegie Hall, human beings have a permanent innate taste for virtuoso displays in the arts. We find beauty in something done well.

So the next time you pass a jewelry shop window displaying a beautifully cut teardrop-shaped stone, don't be so sure it's just your culture telling you that that sparkling jewel is beautiful. Your distant ancestors loved that shape and found beauty in the skill needed to make it, even before they could put their love into words. Is beauty in the eye of the beholder? No, it's deep in our minds. It's a gift, handed down from the intelligent skills and rich emotional lives of our most ancient ancestors. Our powerful reaction to images to the expression of emotion in art to the beauty of music to the night sky will be with us and our dscendants for as long as the human race exists.

Thank you.

(Applause)
 


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