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    災難面前,你能不能做到那么勇敢?

    作者: 2020-02-18 13:23:00 0

    從喬恩·科萊考爾(Jon Krakauer)1997年記錄珠穆朗瑪峰攻頂之行的書籍《走進空氣稀薄地帶》(Into Thin  Air),到2013年的太空題材大片《地心引力》(Gravity),我們總在想,“還能更慘一點么?”災難故事越來越慘,作為讀者,我們的胃口卻越來越得不到滿足。

    為什么這類書籍和電影如此引人入勝?難道我們只是著迷于他人的不幸?他人的運氣越差,我們就越幸災樂禍?還是面對那些潛在的傷害源,我們需要一個宣泄焦慮感的出口?在某種程度上,上述兩種解釋或許都成立。但我認為,我們如此熱愛這些故事的另一個重要原因在于對道德選擇的深度審視。

    在最極端的狀況下,登山者、宇航員、水手、徒步者以及飛機乘客會作何決定?換做自己,在類似情況下,我們會怎樣表現?普利策獎獲獎作家謝里·芬克(Sheri Fink)在《紀念醫院的5天》(Five Days at  Memorial)一書中,生動描繪了美國一家醫院如何應對卡特里娜颶風后的騷亂。按照她的說法,“在這種強壓下,我們很難想象自己會作何反應。”當你閱讀她的故事或同類作品時,你會不由自主地想要驗證自己的道德理性能否經受住類似災難的考驗。你的行為會被自私自利或其他觀念左右嗎?

    道德抉擇問題是《紀念醫院的5天》的核心所在。在書中的某一部分,芬克對比了同處于新奧爾良的兩家醫院:紀念醫院(Memorial  Medical Center)和臨近的慈善醫院(Charity  Hospital)。它們都在颶風襲擊過后經歷了幾天絕望期。紀念醫院遭遇水災與停電。在供應短缺,救援情況不明的情況下,醫護人員給幾位患者注射嗎啡,疑似導致了他們的死亡。被注射的患者中,有些被指定為“不予急救者”,一人因肥胖而被救生機拒載。醫護人員做出的注射決定是出于憐憫心,而非哪些做法更得當。后來,一位名叫安娜·波烏(Anna Pou)的主治醫生因二級謀殺罪被捕。由于對她的聲援日漸高漲,陪審團最終駁回了對她的起訴。

    在鄰近的慈善醫院,事態則大不相同。醫護人員繼續為患者提供護理,盡管那里的情況甚至比紀念醫院還糟糕。醫院領導從未因為患者病情太重而把他們歸類為不予急救者。這樣看來,波烏及其同事的決定似乎不那么站得住腳。

    根據定義,危機是置人于挑戰中的情境。哈佛大學的拉克倫·福羅(Lachlan Forrow)是一位醫學道德與臨終關懷方面的專家。針對紀念醫院醫生實施安樂死的指控,他的回應是,“我們應該把那些超常的道德情境,看作展示我們最深層道德價值觀的機會”。

    寫得最好的災難故事中,角色面對的考驗并不是非黑即白,而是呈現出不同色調。如果你置身于停水停電的醫院中,需要負責命懸一線的病人,你會怎樣做?如果你擔任攀爬珠峰的向導時遭遇暴風雪,會不會撇下攀登者獨自下山?如果你在“9·11”那天碰巧乘坐了美聯航93號航班,會不會冒著生命危險與恐怖分子對峙?

    如果缺乏這些道德選擇的困境,災難故事會變得蒼白許多。《地心引力》雖然包含驚險情節與3D特效,但它缺乏人物做決策的情節,除了桑德拉·布洛克(Sandra Bullock)飾演的宇航員從頭到尾都在決定繼續求生還是就此放棄。記者尼爾·斯維登(Neil  Swidey)所著《受困海底》(Trapped Under the  Sea)也有類似問題。它講述了一群工人1999年被困在10英里長的波士頓港海底管道里的故事。故事十分精彩,敘事動人,但當災難降臨時,被困工人所面臨的惟一抉擇困境就是是否尋找伙伴的遺體。然而,作者對故事中真正的道德困境——被困前,工程督導無視危險信號,執意讓工人戴著有故障的呼吸系統進行作業——卻著墨甚少。

    哈佛商學院教授埃米·埃德蒙森(Amy   Edmondson)通過大量案例研究與文章,分析了那些最終導致災難發生的失誤決策,以及人們在災難中不得已作出的艱難決策。她不僅展示了領導力失敗的案例,比如美國NASA在挑戰者號發射預備階段作出的錯誤決策,也剖析了成功案例,例如2010年智利礦難救援中,救援指揮接受了24歲的年輕工程師提出的創新救援方案,最終促成救援成功。這種開明的決策需要勇氣。如果負責救援的領導者當時更在乎根深蒂固的等級制度,那么他或許不會聽取這樣一位缺乏經驗的年輕工程師的建議。

    無論時局好壞,還是危機前后,領導力的效果依賴于領導者內在的道德感。如果領導者道德感強,那么在災難降臨時他很可能會做出正確的抉擇,或者從一開始就避免災難的發生。如果他們對道義的堅持不算“特別堅定”(借用拉克倫·福羅的話),那么他們在投機取巧時就可能播下災難的種子,或者在災難過程中為求自保,不顧他人死活。

    看到災難場景中的主人公,我們捫心自問,“我是不是和他們一樣?不管我平時多么無私,在壓力下我的道德指南針是不是也會失靈?”大多數人可能會把自己想象成英雄,在災難中不顧個人私利,帶領團隊渡過難關。問題是,我們能不能做到那么勇敢?

    There comes a point in every tale of disaster—from Jon Krakauer’s 1997 Everest chronicle, Into Thin Air, to last year’s blockbuster space movie, Gravity—when you think, Could it get any worse?

    Of course, it always does. And as readers or viewers, we can’t get enough.

    Why are these books and movies so compelling? Are we simply fascinated by others’ misfortune? The worse their luck, the greater our thrill? Or is it a need for catharsis—for acknowledgment of, and release from, all our repressed anxieties about the things that could harm us?

    Perhaps both, to some degree. But I think another reason we love these tales is the deep examination of moral choices they often offer.

    What decisions did the climbers or astronauts or sailors or hikers or airplane passengers make in the most dire of circumstances? And how would we behave in similar emergencies? As Pulitzer Prize winner Sheri Fink writes in Five Days at Memorial, her eloquent book about a hospital’s response to Hurricane Katrina, “It is hard for any of us to know how we would act under such terrible pressure.”

    When you read her story and others in this genre, you can’t help wondering how your own carefully constructed but mostly untested moral reasoning would hold up in a catastrophic situation. Would your behavior be guided by selflessness, self-interest, or something else?

    Five Days at Memorial is a fascinating story on several levels, but the issue of moral choice comes to dominate the tale. At one point Fink draws a comparison between what went on at Memorial Medical Center and events at nearby Charity Hospital in the desperate days after the hurricane hit New Orleans. Memorial flooded and lost power. With supplies running low and rescue uncertain, the medical staff gave several patients morphine injections that allegedly caused their deaths. Some of those patients had been designated do-not-resuscitate; one was considered too obese for airlifting; they were suffering. Compassion, not just expediency, appeared to motivate the health care workers. Indeed, after an attending physician, Anna Pou, was arrested on second-degree murder charges, there was a groundswell of support for her, and in the end, a grand jury declined to indict her.

    Over at Charity Hospital, things were very different. The staff continued to provide care to patients, despite conditions that were possibly even worse than those at Memorial. Leaders never categorized patients as too ill to rescue. In that light, the decisions made by Pou and her colleagues seem less defensible.

    Crisis settings by definition present extraordinary challenges. Yet as Harvard’s Lachlan Forrow, an expert in medical ethics and palliative care, wrote in response to the euthanasia charges leveled at Memorial staffers: “We should almost always see exceptional moral situations as opportunities for us to show exceptionally deep commitment to our deepest moral values.”

    The best disaster narratives offer up those types of character tests—none black-and-white, all colored in shades of gray. If you had been responsible for patients in a hospital with no power and little food, what would you have done? If you had been a guide on Mount Everest in blizzard conditions, would you have left climbers behind while you descended from the summit? If you had been on United Airlines Flight 93 on 9/11, would you have risked your life by storming the terrorists? 

    Sometimes the absence of moral choices can make a disaster story seem strangely empty. For all its thrills and breathtaking 3-D effects, Gravity was mostly devoid of character decisions, except whether Sandra Bullock’s astronaut should give up or go on. Trapped Under the Sea, a new book from journalist Neil Swidey about a disaster that left a group of workers stranded in a 10-mile-long tunnel beneath Boston Harbor in 1999, has a similar problem. It’s a vivid story, well told, but once calamity strikes, the only dilemma facing the trapped men is whether to try to recover colleagues’ bodies. The moral choices that truly mattered get scant probing; they were made earlier by the supervising engineer who implemented the workers’ faulty breathing system and pushed ahead despite warning signs.

    Harvard Business School’s Amy Edmondson, in numerous case studies and articles, has analyzed both the flawed decision making that leads to disasters and the tough choices people must make as a consequence. Her work has showcased leadership failures (at NASA, for example, in the run-up to the Challenger explosion) as well as triumphs, such as the willingness of the head of the 2010 Chilean mine rescue operation to try an innovative drilling idea suggested by a 24-year-old engineer. That open-mindedness took some moral courage—a leader more concerned about protecting entrenched hierarchies might have ignored advice from someone so young and inexperienced.

    In good times and bad, before crises and after, leadership quality often rests on the strength of leaders’ intuitive moral sense. If that sense is powerful, the leaders will probably do the right thing when disaster strikes (or prevent trouble from happening at all). If their commitment to ethics isn’t “exceptionally deep,” to borrow Lachlan Forrow’s words, they might find themselves cutting corners and thus courting catastrophe, or, in the midst of a crisis, pushing people aside to save themselves.

    We look at the central figures in disaster scenarios and ask, “Is that a portrait of me? However unselfish I may be, would my moral compass go haywire under pressure?” Most of us probably imagine ourselves putting aside fear and personal needs to lead others through a crisis. But would we be that heroic? Could we be?

    安德魯·奧康奈爾是《哈佛商業評論》資深編輯,著有《〈哈佛商業評論〉中的統計數據與好奇心》(Stats and Curiosities: From Harvard Business Review)一書。

    康欣葉  | 譯 牛文靜 | 校 萬艷 | 編輯

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