倾听大自然的箫声

发现往往是在有意和无意之间,更多的是一个倾听和接收的过程,是每一个孩子都自然拥有的能力。最让我着迷的问题总是那些根本不知道如何formulate,或者not well-defined的问题,因为这些问题特别容易让你进入和享受这个倾听和接收的过程,这时候所有的知识都是包袱,你只需一个本来无一物的自由心灵,这时候也最是急不得,需要静下来,忘掉所有知识带来的噪音,一起来倾听大自然的箫声。

我们中国的教育非常强调知识,强调基础,仿佛真的有那么一个“基础”,确实有很多的数学家也确实相信有那么一个基础,在此之上他们建立了自己的美丽富饶的精神家园,但是美丽富饶家园往往也成了最坚实的精神牢笼。我不知道这个基础是什么,我也不相信它真的存在,我们离找到适合描述大自然的语言还很遥远,我们的寻找也许永远也没有尽头。在这个漫长的寻找和等待的过程里,很多时候知识都是包袱,你更需要一个能够去倾听的能力,一个曾经被我们的教育不断地剥夺的能力,这个能力当然也可以重新练习,天真也一定可以修行,否则佛教徒都是徒劳了。

文小刚老师问过“我们如何研究根本不知道是什么的东西”的问题,Grothendieck给出了一个非常有深度的回答。我们的修行也可以从聆听这位智者的低语开始,以下摘自Grothendieck的《收获与播种》。

One cannot invent the structure of an object. The most we can do is to patiently bring it to the light of day, with humility – in making it known it is “discovered”. If there is some sort of inventiveness in this work, and if it happens that we find ourselves the maker or indefatigable builder, we aren’t in any sense “making” or “building” these structures. They hardly waited for us to find them in order to exist, exactly as they are! But it is in order to express, as faithfully as possible, the things that we’ve been detecting or discovering, to deliver up that reticent structure, which we can only grasp at, perhaps with a language no better than babbling. Thereby are we constantly driven to invent the language most appropriate to express, with increasing refinement, the intimate structure of the mathematical object, and to “construct” with the help of this language, bit by bit, those “theories” which claim to give a fair account of what has been apprehended and seen. There is a continual coming and going, uninterrupted, between the apprehension of things, and the means of expressing them, by a language in a constant state improvement, and constantly in a process of recreation, under the pressure of immediate necessity.

As the reader must have realized by now, these “theories”, “constructed out of whole cloth”, are nothing less than the “stately mansions” treated in previous sections: those which we inherit from our predecessors, and those which we are led to build with our own hands, in response to the way things develop. When I refer to “inventiveness” ( or imagination) of the maker and the builder, I am obliged to adjoin to that what really constitutes it soul or secret nerve. It does not refer in any way to the arrogance of someone who says “This is the way I want things to be!” and ask that they attend him at his leisure, the kind of lousy architect who has all of his plans ready made in his head without having scouted the terrain, investigated the possibilities and all that is required.

The sole thing that constitutes the true “inventiveness” and imagination of the researcher is the quality of his attention as he listens to the voices of things. For nothing in the Universe speaks on its own or reveals itself just because someone is listening to it. And the most beautiful mansion, the one that best reflects the love of the true workman, is not the one that is bigger or higher than all the others. The most beautiful mansion is that which is a faithful reflection of the structure and beauty concealed within things.

About kongliang

I am a mathematician interested in quantum field theory.
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One Response to 倾听大自然的箫声

  1. Anonymous says:

    毫无心机,便逢天机

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