URS Momentum: An appreciation
与曾叔叔闲聊:势的欣赏 (翻译:Andy/Dixia)

I have always had a habit of doing things fast. Sometimes it seemed like when I did things faster, the results were better, which was kind of a surprise, and I was never sure whether it was really true, or I just imagined it. Somehow, I felt that it could be like running, when you are sprinting very fast in the home stretch, after a grueling run, you have a “high” from your brain hormones kicking in, stimulating your “opioid receptors” in your brain, so you feel great, at the same time as you move efficiently faster and faster.

我一直以来习惯做事很快。有时候,当我把事情做得越快,结果似乎就越好。这有些令我惊讶,而我从来不确定是否真的是这样,还是只是我自己的想象。不知怎么的,我觉得这可能就像跑步一样,在长时间奔跑后,当你在最后的冲刺中全速奔跑时,大脑荷尔蒙会产生作用,刺激大脑中的“阿片受体”,让你感觉很棒,同时也更高效,越跑越快。

In high school, I used to love to “cram” during the evening and midnight hours before a big test. Even though it seemed to be a counterproductive thing to be deprived of sleep, it always seemed that, as I was cramming very fast, I could feel the brain connections moving faster and faster, and I could see difficult concepts becoming clearer and clearer, until everything became crystal clear just before the exam. And I did well in exams, so I continued this odd practice. This was especially when I was trying to figure out mathematical concepts. I was exhilarated when I found that concepts were crystallizing right before my eyes, sometimes just before dawn, again as if I was on a “mental high.”

上高中的时候,我喜欢在重要考试前的晚上和半夜“突击复习”。尽管睡眠不足似乎是一件适得其反的事情,但当我快速突击复习时,我感觉大脑连接运作得越来越快,困难的概念也变得越来越清晰,直到考试前一切都变得清晰明了。我每次都考得不错,所以我一直延用这个奇怪的做法。特别是在我试图理解数学概念时,当我发现概念在眼前逐渐具体化时,有时候是在黎明前的时候,我感到非常兴奋,就像经历一种“精神上的快感”。

Photo 1A: Writing pinyin in full phrase rather than single words makes a difference, novel to me, but instinctive to many using any “pinyin language app.” 2B: Runners often claim to have a gathering momentum and great “mental high” especially towards the end of the race, that drives them sailing through the finish line.
照片1A:与其一个词一个词地输入拼音,不如用整句话输入好。对我很新鲜,但很多用“拼音语言应用”的人都直觉地这么做。2B:赛跑者常常声称,他们尤其在跑到终点时有越来越大的动力和强烈的“精神上的快感”,使他们以笑脸穿过终点线。

As I’m writing this I’m using a Nuance Dragon dictation system. The funny thing about the dictation system is that if I pause to dictate, the automatic dictation system doesn’t do too well. However, if I speed up my dictation a bit, everything seems to fall into place, and the words come out much better. The computer recognizes the speeded-up words as whole phrases, in a coherent conceptual framework, and is able to type up my words much more accurately than if each word was spoken singly, without the context of the words around it.

我现在用的是Nuance Dragon听写系统来写这篇文章。有趣的是,如果我口述时停顿下来,自动听写系统就容易出错。然而,如果我加快口述的速度,一切似乎就顺利起来,词语的表达也更好。电脑会把我快速说出来的词理解成统一概念框架之内的整句话,进而能够把我的话更加准确地输出来,而这比单独一个个地脱离语境说出每个词要准确多了。

My Chinese language writing skills have always been poor, and I had handwritten only one letter ever using Chinese characters when I was a child. The teacher insisted I write that letter directed to my mother, who ironically did not understand Chinese anyway! And of course, I never “officially learned” how to type Chinese on the computer, but in the last few years, I began to “guess” the spelling of the individual words in pinyin, from my understanding of the spoken words.

我的中文写作一直不好,而且我仅有一次用汉字写过一封信,小时候老师要求我写给我的母亲的。好笑的是,我的母亲根本看不懂中文!当然,我从未“正式学过”如何在电脑上用拼音打字,但近几年我开始根据我对口语的认识来“猜测”单词的拼音,以此打字出来。

And I never had the confidence to type up Chinese phrases in pinyin, until the last few months. But one day, I suddenly realized that if I didn’t stop after each word, but kept typing 2 or 3-word phrases, the computer did much better, and it was even able to correct my deficiencies in pinyin spelling of individual words. I found out, to my amusement, I was able to type out colloquial phrases sometimes quite nicely. I suddenly realized that the system was just like my dictation system: the “smart” computer finds it easier to catch a phrase than to catch single words; again, context counts.

直到几个月前,我从未有信心用拼音键入中文短语。但有一天,我突然意识到,如果我在每个单词后不停下来,而是继续输入两个或三个词的短语,电脑的处理就更好,甚至能够纠正我在单词拼写上的不足。令我感到好玩的是,有时我能够很好地打出口语短语。我突然明白,这个系统就像我的口述系统一样:“智能”电脑更容易捕捉短语而不是单个词语;再次强调,上下文语境至关重要。

In another story, I related that recently I have been trying to pray in the Chaozhou language. Chaozhou is a language I learned as a child, used sparingly, but recently rediscovered. Surprisingly, recently as I was trying out the language in my prayers, I found out that if I talked faster, actually formerly lost words came back very quickly, much quicker than if I spoke it out slowly.

在另一个故事里我讲过,最近我尝试用潮州话来祈祷。潮州话是我儿时学的语言,我用得少,但最近被重新捡起来。最近,当我尝试在祈祷中使用它时我有一个令人惊讶的发现:如果我说话快点,以前被遗忘的词汇很快就回来,而我说话慢的时侯就不是这样。

It’s as if my brain suddenly realized that there was a contextual sequence to all these phrases I was trying, and filled in for me the words I didn’t quite know, within the phrases, drawing I guess from the vast resources of my deepest brain. If I slowed down, I had difficulty remembering each single word, but when I went faster, words that I had not remembered for literally 60 to 70 years, suddenly found themselves inside my phrases, to my great amazement. Again, the brain is able to synthesize all that, much faster than trying to figure out each isolated word!

我的大脑似乎突然发现,我尝试输入的这些短句都有一个语境下的顺序,便在短句中帮我把我不熟悉的词汇添加进去,我猜是利用了我大脑深处所隐藏的大量资源。我如果慢下来,很难想起每个单词,但我加速的时候,甚至我六七十年没用过的词汇都会忽然涌现在我的短句中,令我非常惊奇。人的大脑能够把这一切合成得很快,远超过弄清每个单独的词汇的速度!

This might explain also the advice of scholars about reading texts that are difficult, but have deep meaning, like the Bible. Like, read over an entire chapter at quick pace first, before going into the text, word by word. The fast-paced reading, allows a global view of the chapter at a glance, quickly synthesizing various components, however imperfectly, before going into details. Contextual momentum matters.

这可能也解释了学者们关于阅读难懂但有深刻含义的文本(如《圣经》)的建议。比如,在逐字逐句仔细阅读之前,先快速浏览整章内容。快速阅读可以让你一览全书,快速综合各章(虽然可能不够完美),然后再深入细节。在理解整体语境之后再进入细节阅读可以帮助你把握更深层次的含义。上下文的节奏很重要。

Photo 2: Mobilizing the world through 2-day visits. Fly in, fly out, mobilize, set up committee, go-go-go. From United Kingdom to New Zealand and points in between; from Boston to California, and arcing over Toronto, and Winnipeg. Hong Kong, Australia and Malaysia mobilizations.
照片2:通过两天的探访调动世界。飞来飞去,征召人员,建立委员会,走走走。从英国到新西兰和两者之间的许多地点; 从波士顿到加州,经过多伦多和温尼伯. 香港、澳大利亚和马来西亚的动员会议。

When I was trying to raise up a huge team of people going to serve in the southwest part of China, I went around the world, to nearly 13 countries or territories, 25 locations in all, at a very fast pace. Usually I only stayed in each place a maximum of 2 days, but I realized quickly that a tremendous amount of work could be done, very rapidly and very efficiently within that time. It seemed that because I was only going to be there a maximum of 2 days, the local hosts were well attuned, and very efficiently prepared the groundwork so I would not waste any time.

当我试图组建一支庞大的团队前往中国西南部进行服务时,我飞遍了世界各地,到了近13个国家或地区的25个地方,速度非常快。通常我在每个地方只停留最多2天,但我很快意识到,在那段时间内可以完成大量的工作,非常迅速和高效。似乎因为我只会在那里呆上最多2天,当地的主办方对此非常敏感,并且非常有效地准备了前期工作,以免浪费时间。

So, I would fly to a place, stay at the home of a host, arrive usually at a church meeting site, give a 7-minute introduction at a big meeting, and ask for people who were interested to stay behind, so that I could talk to them for 90 minutes, often with something to eat! At the end of my “mobilization” talk I would ask them to sign up, and we instantly formed a small committee, that I could connect up with later. And I “anointed them” as a “mobilization center,” meaning a center that would mobilize professionals from their area, to go to China to serve. Then I flew off.

于是,我飞到一个地方,和接待家庭住一起,通常到教会,在聚会上分享7分钟,邀请感兴趣的人在聚会结束之后留下来,听我多讲90分钟,一般还会有点心!我在结束分享的时候会邀请他们报名,然后立即组成一个小小的委员会,让我后续可以联络。我还“选定他们”作为“动员中心”,就是去联络他们所在区域的专业人士去中国服事。然后我就飞走了。

After I returned home, I would personally fax (do you know what that is?) documents for hours each night, when rates were much cheaper. Soon, email communications came into use, which saved me hours of faxing. I was transmitting to each center, ultimately nearly 1,000 FAQ/ Q and A of my training guidelines and instructions. So that these centers could start training and preparing many teams to visit the 25 locations in China that we connected for them. Everything was fast-paced, but to my great surprise, everything worked like clockwork, sort of. At the end of the first 10 years, we had already organized 5,000 visits, of doctors, nurses and other professionals into China. From the United Kingdom to Singapore to New Zealand! Plus, cities across USA and Canada. I could feel that this was a very speedy process, and there was obviously a great momentum in the air.

我回到家之后,每天晚上花几个小时的时间亲自发传真文件(你知道那是什么吗?),因为夜间费用更便宜。不久,人们开始用电子邮件的通讯方式,节省了我不少发传真的时间。我向每个中心发信息,总共几乎1000份有关培训指南和说明的常见问题或问答文件,是为了让这些中心能够开始培训和准备团队去我们在中国联络好了的25个地方。一切都是快节奏的,但令我十分惊讶的是,一切运行得似乎像钟表一样。在头10年结束的时候,我们已经组织了5000次医生、护士及其他专业人士的访华。他们来自英国、新加坡一直到新西兰!加上美国和加拿大的各个城市。我能感觉到,整个过程很迅速,很明显这事有强大的势头。

For me, it seems like the very short visits packed everything together quickly, so that I could give the mobilization centers the entire picture quite efficiently, rather than losing the main points sometimes, if we dragged it out over many days. The “mobilization centers” caught the momentum of the times, well aware that all over the world, teams were forming around the same time, a very heartwarming experience of togetherness for a common great goal. It became an exciting momentum moving us all forward. I became the drive agent, and some of the spark that made things go. I really wasn’t aware of this kind of dynamic at first, as I was “just doing my job,” but it just happened like that, intuitively, and I could sense a “tian yi,” or divine inspiration, or Spirit, moving things quickly along, literally flying at times.

对我来说,短暂的访问使得我能够迅速将所有内容整合在一起,以便我能够高效地向动员中心传达整个图景,而不是拖拖拉拉失去重点。 “动员中心” 抓住了时代的趋势,充分意识到全世界各地的团队几乎同时组建,这是一种非常温暖的团结体验,为了一个共同的伟大目标而团结一致。它成为了一种令人兴奋的势头,推动我们共同向前发展。我成为了推动的力量,成为推动事物前进的一些火花。起初我并没有意识到这种动态,因为我只是在“做我该做的”,但它就是这样发生的,我直觉感受到一种“天意”、神圣的启示或灵性在迅速推动事情的发展,有时甚至是飞速前进。

I like to think back in history, that probably the fastest momentum in world history, was the 3 “lightning years” of Jesus’ work in the world. It is mind-boggling to realize that, he sped through the land of Israel, on foot (plus an occasional symbolic donkey ride), in just 3 very fast years, from Galilee to Jericho, lakeside to temple, rich to poor, child to very old. Zipping through the land, into the hearts and minds of many, but in such a short time, He produced a faith momentum that now has adherents from one third of the world’s population today, just amazingly.

我喜欢回顾历史,或许世界历史上最快速的势头,应该是耶稣在世间的那三年”闪电般的岁月”。令人难以置信的是,他只用了三年的时间,徒步(偶尔骑着象征性的驴子)穿越以色列的土地,从加利利到耶利哥,从湖边到圣殿,从贫穷到富裕,从儿童到老者。他迅速穿越土地,深入到许多人的心灵和思想中。然而,在如此短的时间内,他产生了一种信仰的势头,如今已经拥有全球三分之一的人口作为追随者,这真是令人惊叹。

Photo 3: A typical Sabbath Sunday of rest, modeled throughout the world after the zippy biblical days of Creation, momentum balanced by joyful rest for the week.
照片3:常见的星期天安息日,在全球各地仿照经文中的迅速创世与平衡其动力的快乐休息。

 

Maybe we could even go further in time, and even envision the creation of the world in this manner. No matter what your understanding of how fast the world was created, the biblical 6 days of creation has a zippiness, a momentum to it, that reflects the grandeur of the occasion: in one sweeping period of action, everything begins to emerge.

或许我们可以追溯到更遥远的过去,用类似的方式设想世界的创造。无论你如何看待世界被创造的速度,经文中所描述的六日创造表现出一种迅疾和动力,反映了这一伟大事件的壮丽:在一个迅猛的行动阶段内,一切的一切开始出现。

One of my super-bright Orthodox Jewish fellows in training, preparing to be a super-specialist in neonatal baby care and the beginning of life, put it in a very enlightened way: “I have no problem that God created the world in 6 days, but I would like to ask Him why He didn’t create it in one split-second.” Like a “big bang,” I would guess, a truly explosive momentum. However, the beauty of the biblical 6 days of intense action, followed suddenly by a seventh day of rest, reveals the genius of the Super-Artist. He has raced through his fast-paced momentous momentum of Creation, and stood back, in joyous amazement. The resulting Sabbath break is a biblical day modelled for us, to put our life of daily momentum, in joyous restful perspective!

我曾有一个同事,非常聪明,是正统犹太教徒。他在接受培训成为新生儿护理和生命起源的超级专家时,以一种非常开明的方式表达了他的观点:“上帝用六天创造了世界,这对我来说不是问题,但我想问他为什么不是在一瞬间创造的。”就像“大爆炸”一样,我猜想那是一个真正爆炸性的动力。然而,《圣经》中六天的激烈活动,紧接着是第七天的休息,其美妙之处表明了超级艺术家的天才。他以快节奏的重大动力穿越了创造的时刻,然后欢喜地退后一步。由此而来的安息日成为了一种让我们效仿的模式:既有日常的快节奏,也有欢欢喜喜的安歇,有张有弛。