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TEDGlobal 2012

Karen Thompson Walker: What fear can teach us

カレン・トンプソン・ウォーカー: “恐怖” が教えてくれること

June 28, 2012

想像してください。あなたは遭難した船員で、広大な太平洋を漂流しています。自分と仲間の生存をかけて3つの針路から選択できますが、どの選択肢にも恐ろしい結末が待ち受けています。あなたならどう選びますか?小説家カレン・トンプソン・ウォーカーは捕鯨船エセックス号の話を通して、恐怖によっていかに想像が広がるかを説明します。恐怖によって私達は、起こりうる未来とその対処法を考えるようになるのです。

Karen Thompson Walker - Novelist
Fiction writer Karen Thompson Walker explores the connection between fear and the imagination. Full bio

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Double-click the English subtitles below to play the video.
One day in 1819,
時は 1819年―
00:15
3,000 miles off the coast of Chile,
チリ沖 から4,800km離れた
00:18
in one of the most remote regions of the Pacific Ocean,
太平洋の ど真ん中で
20名のアメリカ人船員が
00:20
20 American sailors watched their ship flood with seawater.
自分達の船が
沈むのを見ていました
00:23
They'd been struck by a sperm whale, which had ripped
巨大なクジラに衝突して
00:27
a catastrophic hole in the ship's hull.
船体に大きな穴が開いたのです
00:30
As their ship began to sink beneath the swells,
船が波間に飲まれる間
00:32
the men huddled together in three small whaleboats.
彼らは3隻の小さな捕鯨用ボートで
身を寄せ合っていました
00:35
These men were 10,000 miles from home,
故郷から 16,000km―
00:39
more than 1,000 miles from the nearest scrap of land.
最も近い陸地でも
1,600km も離れています
00:41
In their small boats, they carried only
ボートの備品は
00:45
rudimentary navigational equipment
ごく基本的な航海計器と
00:47
and limited supplies of food and water.
限られた食料と水だけでした
00:48
These were the men of the whaleship Essex,
彼らは捕鯨船
エセックス号の乗組員です
00:52
whose story would later inspire parts of "Moby Dick."
後に 『白鯨』 の
モデルの一部になりました
00:54
Even in today's world, their situation would be really dire,
現在だったとしても
深刻な状況ですから
00:57
but think about how much worse it would have been then.
当時の過酷さがしのばれます
01:00
No one on land had any idea that anything had gone wrong.
陸地では 事故のことなど
知る由もなく
01:02
No search party was coming to look for these men.
捜索隊が来るはずもない
01:05
So most of us have never experienced a situation
この船員達ほど―
01:08
as frightening as the one in which these sailors found themselves,
恐ろしい体験を
する人は まれですが
01:11
but we all know what it's like to be afraid.
怖いという感情は
誰もが知っています
01:14
We know how fear feels,
ただ 感覚的には
わかっていても
01:16
but I'm not sure we spend enough time thinking about
恐怖の意味を きちんとは
01:18
what our fears mean.
考えてきませんでした
01:20
As we grow up, we're often encouraged to think of fear
成長するにつれて
恐怖は 弱さの表れで―
01:22
as a weakness, just another childish thing to discard
捨てるべき幼稚なものと
考えるようになります
01:25
like baby teeth or roller skates.
乳歯やローラー・
スケートと同じように・・・
01:28
And I think it's no accident that we think this way.
でも私達が そう考えるのは
偶然ではありません
01:31
Neuroscientists have actually shown that human beings
神経科学は人間が本来
01:33
are hard-wired to be optimists.
楽観的にできていることを
明らかにしています
01:36
So maybe that's why we think of fear, sometimes,
私達が恐怖を
危険なものと考えるのは
01:39
as a danger in and of itself.
そのせいかも知れません
01:41
"Don't worry," we like to say to one another. "Don't panic."
「心配ないよ」「慌てないで」と
人はよく言います
01:43
In English, fear is something we conquer.
私達にとって
恐怖は克服すべきもの―
01:46
It's something we fight. It's something we overcome.
戦う相手であり
乗り越えるべき障害です
01:49
But what if we looked at fear in a fresh way?
でも見方を変えると
どうなるでしょう
01:53
What if we thought of fear as an amazing act of the imagination,
恐怖は 見事な
想像力の作用であり
01:55
something that can be as profound and insightful
“物語” と同じくらい深遠で
01:59
as storytelling itself?
洞察に満ちていると
考えてみてはどうでしょう?
02:01
It's easiest to see this link between fear and the imagination
小さな子供の場合
恐怖と想像力の関係が
02:04
in young children, whose fears are often extraordinarily vivid.
はっきりしています
恐怖がとても鮮明だからです
02:07
When I was a child, I lived in California,
私は 小さい頃
カリフォルニアにいました
02:10
which is, you know, mostly a very nice place to live,
住むには いい所でしたが
02:12
but for me as a child, California could also be a little scary.
子供の私には少し
怖いこともありました
02:15
I remember how frightening it was to see the chandelier
小さな地震が起きる度に
食卓の上のシャンデリアが
02:19
that hung above our dining table swing back and forth
ゆらゆら揺れるのを見て
02:22
during every minor earthquake,
怖かった事を覚えています
02:24
and I sometimes couldn't sleep at night, terrified
寝ている間に
大地震が来やしないかと
02:27
that the Big One might strike while we were sleeping.
不安で眠れない
こともありました
02:29
And what we say about kids who have fears like that
私達はそんなささいなことを
恐れる子供を見て
02:31
is that they have a vivid imagination.
想像力が
たくましいと考えます
02:34
But at a certain point, most of us learn
でも いつしか私達は
02:38
to leave these kinds of visions behind and grow up.
こうした想像力を忘れて
成長します
02:40
We learn that there are no monsters hiding under the bed,
私達は ベッドの下に
怪物などいないことや
02:43
and not every earthquake brings buildings down.
地震で必ず家がつぶれる
わけではないことを学びます
02:46
But maybe it's no coincidence that some of our most creative minds
一方 才能あふれる人々が
大人になっても
02:49
fail to leave these kinds of fears behind as adults.
恐怖を忘れないのは
偶然ではないかもしれません
02:52
The same incredible imaginations that produced "The Origin of Species,"
『種の起源』や
『ジェイン・エア』―
02:55
"Jane Eyre" and "The Remembrance of Things Past,"
『失われた時を求めて』を
生んだ想像力が
02:59
also generated intense worries that haunted the adult lives
同時に強い不安を生み
大人になったダーウィンや
03:02
of Charles Darwin, Charlotte BrontĂŤ and Marcel Proust.
シャーロット・ブロンテや
プルーストを脅かしたのです
03:05
So the question is, what can the rest of us learn about fear
では 恐怖について
天才や子供達から
03:10
from visionaries and young children?
何を学べるでしょうか?
03:13
Well let's return to the year 1819 for a moment,
話を1819年に戻して
03:16
to the situation facing the crew of the whaleship Essex.
エセックス号の乗組員が
直面した状況を思い出してください
03:19
Let's take a look at the fears that their imaginations
太平洋の真ん中で
漂流する彼らが
03:22
were generating as they drifted in the middle of the Pacific.
想像した恐怖とは
どんなものだったでしょう
03:24
Twenty-four hours had now passed since the capsizing of the ship.
船が転覆してから
24時間が過ぎていました
03:28
The time had come for the men to make a plan,
生き残るための
算段が必要でしたが
03:32
but they had very few options.
選択肢は限られていました
03:35
In his fascinating account of the disaster,
ナサニエル・フィルブリックは
著書の中で
03:37
Nathaniel Philbrick wrote that these men were just about
遭難の様子を
こう描写しています
03:40
as far from land as it was possible to be anywhere on Earth.
「彼らは地球上の誰よりも
陸地から遠い場所にいた」
03:42
The men knew that the nearest islands they could reach
最も近い島は
1,900km先にある
03:47
were the Marquesas Islands, 1,200 miles away.
マルキーズ諸島だと
彼らは分かっていました
03:49
But they'd heard some frightening rumors.
ただ そこには恐ろしい噂がありました
03:53
They'd been told that these islands,
マルキーズ諸島とその周辺には
03:55
and several others nearby, were populated by cannibals.
食人種が住んでいるという噂です
03:57
So the men pictured coming ashore only to be murdered
彼らは上陸してすぐに殺され
04:01
and eaten for dinner.
食べられる自分を想像したのです
04:04
Another possible destination was Hawaii,
もう一つの選択肢は
ハワイでした
04:05
but given the season, the captain was afraid
しかし季節が悪く
04:08
they'd be struck by severe storms.
激しい嵐に合うことを
船長は恐れました
04:10
Now the last option was the longest, and the most difficult:
最後の選択肢は
最も長く 厳しいものでした
04:13
to sail 1,500 miles due south in hopes of reaching
まず 2,400km 南下してから
04:17
a certain band of winds that could eventually
風をとらえて
04:21
push them toward the coast of South America.
南アメリカ沿岸を
目指すのです
04:22
But they knew that the sheer length of this journey
ただ 長旅になるので
04:25
would stretch their supplies of food and water.
食料と水はギリギリでした
04:27
To be eaten by cannibals, to be battered by storms,
食人種に食われるか
嵐に襲われるか
04:31
to starve to death before reaching land.
陸に着く前に
飢え死にするか・・・
04:34
These were the fears that danced in the imaginations of these poor men,
そんな恐怖が
想像力を支配し
04:38
and as it turned out, the fear they chose to listen to
その結果
どの恐怖に従うかが
04:41
would govern whether they lived or died.
彼らの生死を
分ける事になりました
04:44
Now we might just as easily call these fears by a different name.
さて恐怖は 別の言葉で
言い換えられるでしょう
04:47
What if instead of calling them fears,
“恐怖” ではなく
04:51
we called them stories?
“物語” と呼んでは?
04:53
Because that's really what fear is, if you think about it.
恐怖は本来
物語なのです
04:55
It's a kind of unintentional storytelling
恐怖とは 私達が
生まれつき知っている―
04:57
that we are all born knowing how to do.
無意識の物語なのです
05:00
And fears and storytelling have the same components.
恐怖と物語は
共通の要素と
05:03
They have the same architecture.
構造をもっています
05:06
Like all stories, fears have characters.
恐怖には 物語と同様に
登場人物がいます
05:08
In our fears, the characters are us.
恐怖では 登場人物は
私たち自身です
05:10
Fears also have plots. They have beginnings and middles and ends.
筋書きも
起承転結もあります
05:13
You board the plane. The plane takes off. The engine fails.
飛行機に乗り 離陸し
エンジンが停止 といったように
05:17
Our fears also tend to contain imagery that can be
また恐怖には 
小説に出て来そうな
05:21
every bit as vivid as what you might find in the pages of a novel.
生々しいイメージがつきがちです
05:24
Picture a cannibal, human teeth
想像してください 食人種の歯が
05:27
sinking into human skin,
人肌に食らいつく・・・
05:30
human flesh roasting over a fire.
火であぶられる人肉・・・
05:32
Fears also have suspense.
恐怖にはサスペンスの
要素もあります
05:35
If I've done my job as a storyteller today,
もし私が上手に語っているなら
05:38
you should be wondering what happened
皆さんはエセックス号の乗員が
05:40
to the men of the whaleship Essex.
どうなったか知りたいはずです
05:42
Our fears provoke in us a very similar form of suspense.
恐怖は これによく似た
サスペンスを生みます
05:44
Just like all great stories, our fears focus our attention
あらゆる傑作と同様に
恐怖に導かれて私達が意識するのは
05:48
on a question that is as important in life as it is in literature:
文学においても人生においても
重要な問い すなわち―
05:52
What will happen next?
「次は何が起こるだろう?」
という問いです
05:56
In other words, our fears make us think about the future.
つまり 恐怖を通して
未来を考えるのです
05:58
And humans, by the way, are the only creatures capable
未来について このように考え
06:01
of thinking about the future in this way,
未来に自己を投影する能力は
06:03
of projecting ourselves forward in time,
人間だけがもっています
06:05
and this mental time travel is just one more thing
このような頭の中の
タイム・トラベルも
06:08
that fears have in common with storytelling.
恐怖と物語の
共通点の一つです
06:10
As a writer, I can tell you that a big part of writing fiction
フィクション作家の主な仕事は
06:14
is learning to predict how one event in a story
ある出来事が 他に与える —
06:16
will affect all the other events,
影響を予測することです
06:18
and fear works in that same way.
恐怖も同じです
06:20
In fear, just like in fiction, one thing always leads to another.
小説と同様に
ある出来事が他へと続きます
06:22
When I was writing my first novel, "The Age Of Miracles,"
処女作 『奇跡の時代』を
書いていたとき―
06:27
I spent months trying to figure out what would happen
私は何か月も考えていました
06:30
if the rotation of the Earth suddenly began to slow down.
地球の自転が 突然
遅くなったら何が起こるか―
06:33
What would happen to our days? What would happen to our crops?
人生はどうなるか
作物はどうなるか―
06:36
What would happen to our minds?
精神にはどんな変化が生じるのか?
06:39
And then it was only later that I realized how very similar
後になって気付いたのですが
私が考えていたことは
06:41
these questions were to the ones I used to ask myself
子供の頃 夜中に怯えながら
06:44
as a child frightened in the night.
考えたことに似ていました
06:46
If an earthquake strikes tonight, I used to worry,
子供の頃は
今夜 地震が来たら
06:48
what will happen to our house? What will happen to my family?
家や家族はどうなるだろうと
いつも心配していました
06:51
And the answer to those questions always took the form of a story.
そして その答えはいつも
物語になっていました
06:55
So if we think of our fears as more than just fears
恐怖を単なる感情ではなく
06:59
but as stories, we should think of ourselves
物語としてとらえるなら
その物語の作者は
07:02
as the authors of those stories.
自分自身のはずです
07:05
But just as importantly, we need to think of ourselves
もう一つ重要なことは
07:07
as the readers of our fears, and how we choose
恐怖の読み手も
自分だと考えるべきです
07:09
to read our fears can have a profound effect on our lives.
恐怖をどう捉えるかで
人生は大きく変わります
07:12
Now, some of us naturally read our fears more closely than others.
恐怖を細かく読み取るのが
上手な人がいます
07:16
I read about a study recently of successful entrepreneurs,
最近 成功した起業家に関する
論文を読んだのですが
07:19
and the author found that these people shared a habit
著者によると
彼らには共通して
07:22
that he called "productive paranoia," which meant that
「恐怖心を生かす」習慣が
あるそうです
07:24
these people, instead of dismissing their fears,
彼らは自分の恐怖を無視せず
07:28
these people read them closely, they studied them,
きちんと読み取って 検討し
07:30
and then they translated that fear into preparation and action.
準備や行動の
指針として理解していました
07:33
So that way, if their worst fears came true,
だから仮に最悪の事態が起きても
07:37
their businesses were ready.
仕事を進められるのです
07:38
And sometimes, of course, our worst fears do come true.
しかも最悪の事態は
しばしば起こります
07:41
That's one of the things that is so extraordinary about fear.
恐怖の驚くべき所はここです
07:45
Once in a while, our fears can predict the future.
恐怖を通じて
未来を予知できるのですから
07:48
But we can't possibly prepare for all of the fears
でも想像しうる
あらゆる恐怖に
07:53
that our imaginations concoct.
準備できるわけではありません
07:56
So how can we tell the difference between
では私達が従うべき恐怖と
07:59
the fears worth listening to and all the others?
そうでないものを
どうやって見分ければいいのでしょう
08:01
I think the end of the story of the whaleship Essex
エセックス号の話は
08:05
offers an illuminating, if tragic, example.
悲劇に終わりますが
教訓になると思います
08:07
After much deliberation, the men finally made a decision.
船員たちは
考えた末に決断しました
08:11
Terrified of cannibals, they decided to forgo the closest islands
食人種を恐れて
最寄りの島をあきらめ
08:16
and instead embarked on the longer
より遠く
遥かに困難な
08:20
and much more difficult route to South America.
南アメリカ行の
ルートを選んだのです
08:22
After more than two months at sea, the men ran out of food
漂流を始めて2か月
予想していた通り―
08:25
as they knew they might,
食料が尽きました
08:29
and they were still quite far from land.
陸地はまだ遥か彼方です
08:30
When the last of the survivors were finally picked up
通りかかった2隻の船に
最後の生存者が救助されたとき―
08:33
by two passing ships, less than half of the men were left alive,
生き残りは
半数以下になっており
08:36
and some of them had resorted to their own form of cannibalism.
中には人肉を食べて
生き延びた者もいました
08:40
Herman Melville, who used this story as research for "Moby Dick,"
メルヴィルはこの話を
『白鯨』の題材に使い
08:45
wrote years later, and from dry land, quote,
後年 次のように
書いています
08:48
"All the sufferings of these miserable men of the Essex
「可哀想なエセックス号の乗員は
08:52
might in all human probability have been avoided
難破した場所から すぐに ―
08:55
had they, immediately after leaving the wreck,
タヒチ島に向かっていれば
08:57
steered straight for Tahiti.
苦しまずに済んだであろう
09:00
But," as Melville put it, "they dreaded cannibals."
しかし彼らは
食人種をひどく恐れた」
09:02
So the question is, why did these men dread cannibals
不思議なのは なぜ彼らが
飢える可能性よりも
09:06
so much more than the extreme likelihood of starvation?
食人種の方を
恐れたのかということです
09:10
Why were they swayed by one story
なぜ彼らは 2つの物語の
09:14
so much more than the other?
片方に強く
惹かれたのでしょう?
09:16
Looked at from this angle,
このような視点から見ると
09:18
theirs becomes a story about reading.
これは解釈についての
物語だと わかってきます
09:20
The novelist Vladimir Nabokov said that the best reader
小説家ナボコフは言っています
「最良の読者は―
09:23
has a combination of two very different temperaments,
2つの異なる気質を
あわせ持っている
09:26
the artistic and the scientific.
芸術的気質と科学的気質だ」
09:28
A good reader has an artist's passion,
よい読者は
芸術家のような情熱で
09:31
a willingness to get caught up in the story,
物語に没頭します
09:34
but just as importantly, the readers also needs
一方 読者は 科学者のような
09:36
the coolness of judgment of a scientist,
冷静な判断力を
持つ必要があります
09:38
which acts to temper and complicate
読者は直感的に
反応しますが
09:42
the reader's intuitive reactions to the story.
冷静さは 反応を和らげたり
強調したりします
09:43
As we've seen, the men of the Essex had no trouble with the artistic part.
エセックス号の船員は
芸術的気質には優れていました
09:46
They dreamed up a variety of horrifying scenarios.
様々な恐ろしい
シナリオを想像したのです
09:50
The problem was that they listened to the wrong story.
ただ 間違った物語に
注目したのは失敗でした
09:53
Of all the narratives their fears wrote,
恐怖が生み出した
物語の中で
09:57
they responded only to the most lurid, the most vivid,
彼らが反応したのは
最も怖ろしく 生々しい―
09:59
the one that was easiest for their imaginations to picture:
しかも想像しやすい物語
すなわち―
10:03
cannibals.
食人種でした
10:06
But perhaps if they'd been able to read their fears
もし彼らが自分の恐怖を
10:08
more like a scientist, with more coolness of judgment,
科学者のように捉え
冷静に判断していれば
10:11
they would have listened instead to the less violent
食人ほど
血なまぐさくないですが
10:14
but the more likely tale, the story of starvation,
より可能性の高い
餓死のシナリオに注目したはずです
10:17
and headed for Tahiti, just as Melville's sad commentary suggests.
メルヴィルが言うとおり
タヒチに向かっていたでしょう
10:20
And maybe if we all tried to read our fears,
自分の恐怖を解読すれば
10:26
we too would be less often swayed
ひどいシナリオに
左右されずに
10:29
by the most salacious among them.
済むかもしれません
10:30
Maybe then we'd spend less time worrying about
殺人鬼や航空事故を
10:32
serial killers and plane crashes,
心配する時間を減らして
10:34
and more time concerned with the subtler
より捉えにくく緩慢な
10:36
and slower disasters we face:
目の前の悲劇に
時間を割けるはずです
10:38
the silent buildup of plaque in our arteries,
例えば 静かに
進む動脈硬化や
10:40
the gradual changes in our climate.
少しずつ起こる
気候変動です
10:43
Just as the most nuanced stories in literature are often the richest,
文学では 繊細な物語が
最も豊かだとされます
10:45
so too might our subtlest fears be the truest.
同様に 小さな恐怖が
最も真実に近いのです
10:49
Read in the right way, our fears are an amazing gift
正しく読み取れば 恐怖は
想像力が与えてくれる―
10:54
of the imagination, a kind of everyday clairvoyance,
素晴らしい贈り物―
身近な予知能力です
10:56
a way of glimpsing what might be the future
未来に影響を
与えられる段階で
10:59
when there's still time to influence how that future will play out.
未来を垣間見る手段です
11:02
Properly read, our fears can offer us something as precious
正しく読み取れば
恐怖は 文学作品のように
11:05
as our favorite works of literature:
貴重なものを与えてくれます
11:08
a little wisdom, a bit of insight
それは 少しの知恵と洞察―
11:11
and a version of that most elusive thing --
そして 極めて
捉え難いもの―
11:14
the truth.
つまり 真実です
11:16
Thank you. (Applause)
ありがとうございます (拍手)
11:17
Translator:Kazunori Akashi
Reviewer:Sachiko Tanigaki

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Karen Thompson Walker - Novelist
Fiction writer Karen Thompson Walker explores the connection between fear and the imagination.

Why you should listen

In Karen Thompson Walker's 2012 book The Age of Miracles, a young girl and her family awake one morning to discover that the rotation of the Earth has suddenly begun to slow, stretching the length of the 24-hour day and throwing the natural world into disarray. It's a big, speculative book, but at heart, it's a simple human drama, told through the eyes of an observant adolescent girl.

A former book editor at Simon & Schuster, Walker worked on the novel for three years, an hour each morning before work. Fun fact: The Age of Miracles was published on June 21, 2012 -- the longest day of the year. Since then, the bestselling, much-awarded book has been translated into 29 languages.

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