英文原文:Conducting scientific research on this most difficult of groups can be compared to viewing a whale through a keyhole. The bulk of the animal glides past from time to time while we try desperately to figure out what on earth it is. In spite of lots of sparks and smoke, we have so far accomplished little more than a small enlargement of this keyhole. Someday--perhaps in the next hundred years--we may have a picture-window-sized keyhole and will finally see what the whole whale looks like. But even then the enigma of the whale will still stand, undecoded, before us.


  英文原文:I have been studying whales continuously since 1967. One of the delights of that experience has been discovering that there is no way to get a whale to adopt a human time scale. This is no more possible than it would be for a human to adopt a weasel's speed of living. Whales are unhurriable. It's one of their most endearing traits. Nowhere is this more engagingly seen than in trying to figure out what a whale is doing when what you are watching is, say, play but you have not yet figured that out. The difficulty comes from the fact that one of the major clues to the function of a behavior pattern is the rhythm of its occurrence. Because we commonly associate play with quick motions, the key to being able to recognize play in whales is learning to think differently--in terms of long, slow rhythms, where things occur very lingeringly (it would be a comparable problem to learn to recognize play in snails, or sloths, or tortoises). To understand whales one must be deeply patient, must slow way down and be content to observe passively for a long time. Only at the end of, say, a day may one say to oneself, "Now let me see; what did I see? Well, I saw the whale do this . . . and then it did this . . . and then this . . . and then . . . For heaven's sake, it was play I was looking at. " In order to observe whales, you must be willing to set your metronome on adagio. Then, to understand what you have seen, you must fast-forward through your observations by setting your metronome on allegro.

  【译文】自从1967年以来我就一直在研究鲸鱼。那段经历的一个愉快之处是发现你永远也没有可能让鲸鱼去使用人类的时间观。这就好似你不可能让人类去有鼬鼠的生活速度一样。鲸鱼是不可能加快速度的。这是它们最讨喜的特点之一。 尤其当你试图去琢磨这只蠢鲸鱼在干嘛,其实它是在玩耍,而你又没有意识到它是在玩耍的时候,你就愈发突出地感受到了它的这个特点。难点来于这样一个事实:一个行为模式的作用最大的线索之一是它出现的节奏。因为我们通常会把玩耍和快速的行动联系在一起,能够意识到鲸鱼在玩耍的关键就在于要有不同的思维,它们玩耍要有更长,更缓慢的节奏, 动作更加地绵延迟缓(就好似你在看蜗牛,树懒,海龟玩耍一样。)为了去了解鲸鱼,一个人必须无比有耐心,必须慢下来,必须能够开开心心的静静观察好长一段时间。到了一天快结束的时候,这个人会自言自语:好吧,我看看,我看到了什么,嗯,我看到了鲸鱼做这个了,然后它又做了这个,还有这个,天啊,它在玩耍。为了能够观察鲸鱼,你必须乐于去把你的节拍器调到慢板上。然后,为了理解你看到了什么,你必须在把节拍器调到快板上来快进这一过程。

  英文原文:During the first ten years of my career in biology, I was an experimentalist. I worked in neurophysiology and behavior and did experiments on how bats determine the direction from which a sound is coming, how owls locate their prey in total darkness by hearing it, and how moths determine the direction from which a bat is approaching (so they can make evasive maneuvers to avoid it). When I started studying whales--a group of species upon which it is all but impossible to experiment--I worried whether I would find the work stimulating enough or whether it would seem boring simply observing, without ever being able to manipulate anything--or do an experiment. I had enjoyed experimental work--at that time of my life I liked manipulating things, but I had very little idea of how to make good, passive field observations. But one does, eventually, grow up, and I soon appreciated the greater rewards of finding things out through passive observation. It's a lot like astronomy--another field in which you can never perform an experiment but must wait for nature to present you with something interesting to observe. I soon realized that the constraints posed by passive observation can be more challenging than those posed by experimental work. It is rather like the constraints of the sonnet form, which make composing poetry exquisitely challenging. Passive observation is a different kind of challenge than experimentation, but I believe it requires a subtler way of thinking, and that the result can be sonnets rather than ballads.