What our society suffers from most today is the absence of consensus about what it and life in it ought to be; such consensus cannot be gained from society's present stage, or from fantasies about what it ought to be. For that the present is too close and too diversified, and the future too uncertain, to make believable claims about it. A consensus in the present hence can be achieved only through a shared understanding of the past, as Homer's epics informed those who lived centuries later what it meant to be Greek, and by what images and ideals they were to live their lives and organize their societies.
Most societies derive consensus from a long history, a language all their own, a common religion, common ancestry. The myths by which they live are based on all of these. But the United States is a country of immigrants, coming from a great variety of nations. Lately, it has been emphasized that an asocial, narcissistic personality has become characteristic of Americans, and that it is this type of personality that makes for the lack of well-being, because it prevents us from achieving consensus that would counteract a tendency to withdraw into private worlds. In this study of narcissism, Christopher Lash says that modern man, "tortured by self-consciousness, turns to new therapies not to free himself of his personal worries but to find meaning and purpose in life, to find something to live for". There is widespread distress because national morale has declined, and we have lost an earlier sense of national vision and purpose.
Contrary to rigid religions or political beliefs, as are found in totalitarian societies, our culture is one of the great individual differences, at least in principle and in theory; but this leads to disunity, even chaos. Americans believe in the value of diversity, but just because our is a society based on individual diversity, it needs consensus about some dominating ideas more than societies based on uniform origin of their citizens. Hence, if we are to have consensus, it must be based on a myth - a vision about a common experience, a conquest that made us Americans, as the myth about the conquest of Troy formed the Greeks. Only a common myth can offer relief from the fear that life is without meaning or purpose. Myths permit us to examine our place in the world by comparing it to a shared idea. Myths are shared fantasies that form the tie that binds the individual to other members of his group. Such myths help to ward off feelings of isolations, guilt, anxiety, and purposelessness - in short, they combat isolation and the breakdown of social standards and values.
26.In the eyes of the author, the greatest trouble with the US society may lie in
[A] the nonexistence of consensus on the forms of the society should take.
[B] the lack of divergence over the common organizations of social life.
[C] the non-acceptance of a society based on individual diversity.
[D] the pervasive distress caused by national morale decline.
27.The asocial personality of Americans may stem from
[A] the absence of a common religion and ancestry.
[B] the multiracial constituents of the US society.
[C] the want of a shared myths they possess in life.
[D] the counterbalance to narcissistic personality.
28.Homer's epics is mentioned in Paragraph 1 in order to
[A] exemplify the contributions made by ancient poets.
[B] illustrate the role of shared fantasies about society.
[C] show an ideal stage of eternal social progress.
[D] make known myths of what a society ought to be.
29.The author concludes that only shared myths can help Americans
[A] to bring about the uniformity of their culture.
[B] to regain their consensus about a common experience.
[C] to stay away from negative feelings in their life.
[D] to counteract the effects of consensus about society.
30.It can be inferred from Paragraph 2 that Christopher Lash is most probably
[A] a reform advocate.[B] a senior psychologist.
[C] a reputed poet.[D] a social historian.