智力到底是什么?大学英语精读第2册第9单元课文及翻译

Asimov explains why there is much more in intelligence than just being able to score high on intelligence tests.

What is intelligence, anyway? When I was in the army I received a kind of aptitude test that all soldiers took and, against a normal of 100, scored 160. No one at the base had ever seen a figure like that and for two hours they made a big fuss over me. (It didn't mean anything. The next day I was still a buck private with KP as my highest duty.)

All my life I've been registering scores like that, so that I have the complacent feeling that I'm highly intelligent, and I expect other people to think so, too. Actually, though, don't such scores simply mean that I am very good at answering the type of academic questions that are considered worthy of answers by the people who make up the intelligence tests - people with intellectual bents similar to mine?

For instance, I had an auto-repair man once, who, on these intelligence tests, could not possibly have scored more than 80, by my estimate. I always took it for granted that I was far more intelligent than he was. Yet, when anything went wrong with my car I hastened to him with it, watched him anxiously as he explored its vitals, and listened to his pronouncements as though they were divine oracles - and he always fixed my car.

Well, then, suppose my auto-repair man devised questions for an intelligence test. Or suppose a carpenter did, or a farmer, or, indeed, almost anyone but an academician. By every one of those tests, I'd prove myself a moron. And I'd be a moron, too. In a world where I could not use my academic training and my verbal talents but had to do something intricate or hard, working with my hands, I would do poorly. My intelligence, then, is not absolute. Its worth is determined by the society I live in. Its numerical evaluation is determined by a small subsection of that society which has managed to foist itself on the rest of us as an arbiter of such matters.

Consider my auto-repair man, again. He had a habit of telling me jokes whenever he saw me. One time he raised his head from under the automobile hood to say: Doc, a deaf-and-dumb guy went into a hardware store to ask for some nails. He put two fingers together on the counter and made hammering motions with the other hand. The clerk brought him a hammer. He shook his head and pointed to the two fingers he was hammering. The clerk brought him nails. He picked out the sizes he wanted, and left. Well, doc, the next guy who came in was a blind man. He wanted scissors. How do you suppose he asked for them?

I lifted my right hand and made scissoring motions with my first two fingers. Whereupon my auto-repair man laughed heartily and said, Why, you dumb fool, he used his voice and asked for them. Then he said, smugly, I've been trying that on all my customers today. Did you catch many? I asked. Quite a few, he said, but I knew for sure I'd catch you. Why is that? I asked. Because you're so goddamned educated, doc, I know you couldn't be very smart.

智力到底是什么呢?当我在部队服役时,我曾接受过一种所有士兵都参加的智能测验,在标准得分为100的情况下,我得了160分。基地上没有哪个人曾见过这样的高分,于是他们便对我大加吹捧了两个小时之久。(这对我毫无意义。第二天我仍然是一名列兵,最高的职务是担任伙食值勤员。)

我一生中一直得到这样的高分,因此便有一种自鸣得意之感,认为自己非常聪明,而且期望别人也这样认为。然而,实际上,难道这类分数不是仅仅意味着我很善于回答那些编制智力测验的人们——智力爱好跟我类似的人们——认为值得回答的那类学究式的问题吗?

比方说吧,我过去有位汽车修理师,据我估计,在这类智力测验中,他的得分不大可能会超过80。我过去总是想当然地以为我比他聪明得多。然而,每当我的汽车出了毛病,我总是急急忙忙地去找他,焦急地注视着他检查汽车的主要部位,恭听着他的见解,仿佛聆听神谕一般——而他总能把我的汽车修好。

那好,假定让我的汽车修理师来为智力测验设计题目。或是让一位木匠、一个农夫或者是除了学究以外的几乎任何一个人来设计题目。按每一次这类的测验来衡量,我都会表明自己是一个笨蛋,而且我也会真的成为一个笨蛋。在一个无法运用我所受过的学校训练以及我在词语方面的才能,而不得不用双手工作,做一些复杂或艰苦的事情的世界上,我会干得很差劲。因此,我的智力并不是绝对的。它的价值是由我生活在其中的社会所决定的。它的数值是由那个社会中的一小部分人决定的,他们作为这类事情的仲裁人已设法把他们的意志强加在我们身上。

再来考虑一下我的汽车修理师吧。他有个习惯,每次见到我都要跟我讲些笑话。有一次他从汽车引擎罩下面抬起头来说:“博士,有一个又聋又哑的人走进一家五金店买钉子。他把两个手指头一起放在柜台上,用另一只手做了几次锤击动作。”“店员给他拿来一把锤子。他摇摇头,指了指他正在敲击的那两个手指头。店员给他拿来了钉子。他选出了自己需要的尺寸,然后就走了。听好,博士,接着进来的是一个瞎子。他要买剪刀。你猜他是怎样表示的呢?”

我举起右手,用食指和中指做了几次剪切动作。我的汽车修理师一看就开心地哈哈大笑起来说:“啊,你这个笨蛋,他是用他的嗓子说他要买剪刀的。”接着他又沾沾自喜地说:“今天我用这个问题把我所有的主顾都考了一下。”“上当的人多吗?”我问。“不少,”他说。“但我事先就吃准你一定会上当。”“那为什么?”我问。“因为你受的教育太多了,博士,我知道你不会太精明的。”