移动课堂
您的位置:外语教育网 > 英语四六级 > 备考指导 > 四级备考指导 > 正文

大学英语精读:第六册 UNIT 5

2007-03-02 16:05   来源:旺旺英语       我要纠错 | 打印 | 收藏 | | |

  If modern life is so wonderful, why do we feel so unhappy? In the following article, the author suggests that though living standards have improved, we, rather than feeling content, never become completely satisfied with what we have achieved. This is because we always find ourselves with new and higher expectations. To meet these expectations and solve the new problems that arise, new strategies should be adopted.

HOW COULD ANYTHING THAT FEELS SO BAD BE SO GOOD?

Richard E. Farson

  Maybe it is time to adopt a new strategy in trying to figure out why life today is so difficult, and what can be done about it. Assume that not only are things often not what they seem, they may be just the opposite of what they seem. When it comes to human affairs, everything is paradoxical.

  People are discontented these days, for example, not because things are worse than ever, but because things are better than ever. Take marriage. In California there are about six divorces for every ten marriages —— even higher in some of the better communities. One must admit that a good deal of discontent is reflected in those statistics. But the explanation so frequently offered —— that the institution of marriage is in a state of collapse —— simply does not hold. Marriage has never been more popular and desirable than is it now; so appealing in fact, that even those who are in the process of divorce can scarcely wait for the law to allow them to marry again.

  The problem is that people have never before entered marriage with the high expectations they now hold. Throughout history, the family has been a vital unit for survival, starting as a defense system for physical survival, and gradually becoming a unit for economic survival. Now, of course, the family has become a physical and economic liability rather than an asset. Having met, as a society, the basic survival and security needs, people simply don't need each other anymore to fight Indians or spin yarn —— or wash dishes or repair electrical plugs for that matter. The bonds of marriage and family life are no longer functional, but affectional. People used to come to love each other because they needed each other. Now it's just the other way around. They need each other because they love each other.

  Listening to the complaints of those recently divorced, one seldom hears of brutality and desertion, but usually something like, "We just don't communicate very well", "The educational differences between us were simply too great to overcome", "I felt trapped in the relationship", "He won't let me be me", "We don't have much in common anymore". These complaints are interesting, because they reflect high-order discontent resulting from the failure of marriage to meet the great expectations held for it. Couples now expect —— and demand —— communication and understanding, shared values and goals, intellectual companionship, great moments of intimacy. By and large, marriage today actually does deliver such moments, but as a result couples have gone on to burden the relationship with even greater demands. To some extent it has been the success of marriage that has created the discontent.

  The same appears to be true in the civil rights movement. The gains that have been made have led not to satisfaction but to increased tension and dissatisfaction, particularly among those benefiting from such gains. The discontent is higher in the North than in the South, higher in cities than in rural areas.

  The disturbing paradox of social change is that improvement brings the need for more improvement in constantly accelerating demands. So, compared to what used to be, society is way ahead; compared to what might be, it is way behind. Society is enabled to feel that conditions are rotten, because they are actually so good.

  Another problem is that everything is temporary, nothing lasts. We have grown up with the idea that in order to develop personal security we need stability, roots, consistency, and familiarity. Yet we live in a world which in every respect is continually changing. Whether we are talking about sky-scrapers or family life, scientific facts or religious values, all are highly temporary and becoming even more so. If one were to plot a curve showing the incidence of invention throughout the history of man, one would see that change is not just increasing but actually accelerating. Changes are coming faster and faster —— in a sense change has become a way of life. The only people who will live successfully in tomorrow's world are those who can accept and enjoy temporary systems.

  People are also troubled because of the new participative mood that exists today. It's a do-it-yourself society; every layman wants to get into the act. Emerson's "do your own thing" has become the cliché of the times. People no longer accept being passive members. They now want to be active changers.

  This participative phenomenon can be seen in every part of contemporary life —— on campus, in the church, in the mass media, in the arts, in business and industry, on ghetto streets, in the family.

  The problem is that modern man seems unable to redesign his institution fast enough to accommodate the new demands, the new intelligence, the new abilities of segments of society which, heretofore, have not been taken seriously. Consequently, people are frightened by the black revolution, paralyzed by student activism, and now face what may be even more devastating —— the women's rebellion.

  Society simply has not had these kinds of problems before, and to meet them it will have to adopt strategies for their solution that are as new, and as different, and as paradoxical as are the problems themselves.

  Instead of trying to reduce the discontent felt, try to raise the level or quality of the discontent. Perhaps the most that can be hoped for is to have high-order discontent in today's society, discontent about things that really matter. Rather than evaluating programs in terms of how happy they make people, how satisfied those people become, programs must be evaluated in terms of the quality of the discontent they engender. For example, if a consultant wants to assess whether or not an organization is healthy, he doesn't ask, "Is there an absence of complaints?" but rather, "What kinds of complaints are there?"

  Instead of trying to make gradual changes in small increments, make big changes. After all, big changes are relatively easier to make than are small ones. Some people assume that the way to bring about improvement is to make the change small enough so that nobody will notice it. This approach has never worked, and one can't help but wonder why such thinking continues. Everyone knows how to resist small changes; they do it all the time. If, however, the change is big enough, resistance can't be mobilized against it. Management can make a sweeping organizational change, but just let a manager try to change someone's desk from here to there, and see the great difficulty he encounters. All change is resisted, so the question is how can the changes be made big enough so that they have a chance of succeeding?

  Buckminster Fuller ahs said that instead of reforms society needs new forms; e.g., in order to reduce traffic accidents, improve automobiles and highways instead of trying to improve drives. The same concept should be applied to human relations. There is a need to think in terms of social architecture, and to provide arrangements among people that evoke what they really want to see in themselves. Mankind takes great pains with physical architecture, and is beginning to concern itself with the design of systems in which the human being is a component. But most of these designs are only for safety, efficiency, or productivity. System designs are not made to affect those aspects of life people care most about such as family life, romance, and esthetic experiences. Social technology as well as physical technology need to be applied in making human arrangements that will transcend anything mankind has yet experienced. People need not be victimized by their environments; they can be fulfilled by them.

  The great frontier today is the exploration of the human potential man's seemingly limitless ability to adapt, to grow, to invent his own destiny. There is much to learn, but we already know this: the future need not happen to us; we can make it happen.

  New Words

  strategy

  n.  the art of planning action that lead to gaining a goal or victory

  paradox

  n.  a seemingly absurd or self-contradictory statement that is or may be true; a person or situation exhibiting apparently contradictory characteristics 似非而是,自相矛盾

  paradoxical

  a.  of or having the nature of a paradox

  discontented

  a.  dissatisfied and restlessly unhappy

  statistics

  n.  facts and figures gathered together for information or on a particular subject 统计(资料)

  institution

  n.  an established custom, law or relationship in a society or community 风俗,制度,惯例

  popular

  a.  enjoyed, accepted or liked by many people

  desirable

  a.  worthy of being desired

  liability

  n.  sth. for which one is responsible, esp. by law; sth. that limits one's activities or freedom 责任,义务; 不利条件

  liable

  a.  responsible under the law

  asset

  n.  sth. that is useful or valuable; (pl.) the property of a person, company, etc. 宝贵的东西,资产

  anymore

  ad. (used in negative sentences) any longer

  yarn

  n.  a long continuous thread, as of wool or cotton, use in making cloth, mats, etc.

  electrical

  a.  concerned with or using electricity

  plug

  n.  a device at the end of an electrical cord that fits into an electrical socket to make an electrical connection 插头

  bond

  n.  sth. that binds or unites 联结物;联系

  functional

  a.  made for or concerned with practical use only 功能的

  function

  n.  normal use; duty or work 功能

  affectional

  a.  relating to or implying affections 感情的

  affection

  n.  gentle, lasting love, like that of a parent for a child; fondness

  desertion

  n.  (an example of ) the act of leaving one's duty, family, etc. 抛弃,遗弃

  overcome

  vt. fight successfully against; defeat

  order

  n.  kind, sort, type

  intimacy

  n.  a close and affectionate personal relationship; familiarity

  intimate

  a.

  dissatisfaction

  n.  lack of satisfaction; displeasure

  improvement

  n.  the act of improving or the state of being improved

  way

  ad. far, considerably

  familiarity

  n.  thorough knowledge

  religious

  a.  of religion

  plot

  vt. draw (a curve) on a graph to show certain stated facts

  incidence

  n.  the rate at which sth. happens or exists 发生率

  participative

  a.  characterized by participation; participating

  layman

  n.  a person who does not have specialized or professional knowledge of a subject 门外汉,外行

  passive

  a.  not joining in or taking part; not acting

  contemporary

  a.  belonging to the present time; of or belonging to the same time

  changer

  n.  one who makes change

  medium (pl. media)

  n.  a method for giving information;  form of art 媒介;艺术手段

  mass media

  the means of communication that reach large numbers of people in a short time, such as radio, television, newspapers, magazines, etc.

  activism

  n.  the process of campaigning in public or working for an organization in order to bring about political or social change

  rebellion

  n.  the act of rebelling; open defiance of authority

  engender

  vt. bring about; produce

  assess

  vt. estimate the value or amount of; evaluate

  gradual

  a.  happening or developing slowly and by degrees; not sudden

  increment

  n.  an increase or addition, esp. one of a series

  resist

  vt. work or fight against

  resistance

  n.

  mobilize

  vt. organize for a purpose 动员

  organizational

  a.  of or having to do with organization

  reform

  n.  an improvement, esp. one made by removing faults or abuses 改革

  arrangement

  n.  a plan made in preparation for sth.

  component

  n.  any of the parts that together make a whole machine or system

  romance

  n.  a love affair

  esthetic

  a.  having to do with beauty and the appreciation of beauty in nature an dart(审)美的

  victimize

  vt. cause (sb.) to suffer unfairly

  victim

  n.  a person or animal sacrificed, injured or destroyed; a person who suffers some hardship or loss 牺牲者;受害者

  environment

  n.  the physical and social conditions in which people live

  fulfill

  vt. supply or satisfy

  frontier

  n.  an area or field not yet developed

  exploration

  n.  the act of traveling in little known lands or seas for the purpose of discovery

  explore

  vt. examine (sth.) thoroughly in order to test or find out about it

  seemingly

  ad. in appearance; apparently

  limitless

  a.  without limit or end

  Phrases & Expressions

  when it come to

  when it concerns

  for that matter

  with regard to that; about that

  the other way round

  in the opposite order

  in terms of

  in regard to; especially about

  bring about

  cause; produce; lead to

  can't help but

  can only; be forced to

  take (great) pains (with/to do)

  try hard (to do)

  Proper Names

  Richard E. Farson

  理查德.E.法森

  California

  加利福尼亚

  Emerson

  爱默生

  Buckminster Fuller

  巴克明斯特.富勒

相关资讯:
网站导航:
 学位英语 指南 动态 经验 试题 资料  托福 指南 动态 考情 留学 复习
 雅思 指南 动态 机经 经验 辅导  公共英语 指南 动态 备考 试题 辅导
 日语 指南 资讯 辅导 留学 考试  法语 发音 词汇 语法 听说 阅读
 韩语 入门 口语 阅读 留学 文化  西语 口语 词汇 阅读 留学 风采

学位英语免费试听

更多>>
  • 四级辅导
  • 六级辅导
全科套餐
280元/门
超值优惠套餐=写作+词汇+听力+阅读+翻译+真题精讲班 70课时
词汇串讲 精讲大纲词汇,轻松记忆单词
课时数:10课时
阅读串讲 紧扣大纲要求,直达阅读高分
课时数:10课时
听力串讲 剖析解题秘笈,提升听力水平
课时数:10课时
写作串讲 解读命题规律,揭秘高分技巧
课时数:10课时
翻译串讲 梳理重要考点,提高应试能力
课时数:约6课时
真题精讲 讲授历年真题,直击命题精髓
课时数:24课时

网校介绍

更多>>

外语教育网(www.for68.com)是北京东大正保科技有限公司(CDEL)旗下一家大型外语远程教育网站,正保科技成立于2005年7月,是国内超大型外语远程教育基地,上榜“北京优质教育资源榜”--“百万读者推崇的网络教育机构”。


公司凭借雄厚的师资力量、先进的网络视频多媒体课件技术、严谨细致的教学作风、灵活多样的教学方式,为学员提供完整、优化的外语课程,既打破了传统面授的诸多限制,发挥了网络教育的优势,也兼顾面授的答疑与互动特点,为我国培养了大量优秀的外语人才。


为了满足学员学习不同语种、不同阶段的学习需求,网站开设了包括考试英语、行业英语、实用口语以及小语种在内的百余门语言学习课程,涵盖英语、日语、韩语、俄语、德语、法语、西班牙语、意大利语、阿拉伯语等主要语种,供学员自由选择。此外,网站还拥有各类外语专业信息和考试信息20余万条,是广大学员了解外语类考试最新政策、动态及参加各语种培训的优质网站。


北京东大正保科技有限公司成立于2000年,是一家具备网络教育资质、经教育部批准开展远程教育的专业公司,为北京市高新技术企业、中国十大教育集团、联合国教科文组织技术与职业教育培训在中国的唯一试点项目。


公司下属13家行业远程教育网站,业务涵盖了会计、法律、医学、建设、自考、成考、考研、中小学、外语、信息技术、汉语言教学等诸多领域,拥有办公面积8000多平米,员工近千人,公司年招生规模达270万人。由于正保远程教育(China Distance Education Holdings Ltd., CDEL)在中国互联网远程教育行业内的绝对优势和强大影响力,正保教育模式一直被广大投资人所追捧。2008年7月30日,公司在美国纽约证券交易所正式挂牌上市(股票交易代码:DL),是2008年唯一一家在美国纽交所上市的专业从事互联网远程教育的中国企业。


精彩推荐

版权声明
   1、凡本网注明 “来源:外语教育网”的所有作品,版权均属外语教育网所有,未经本网授权不得转载、链接、转贴或以其他方式使用;已经本网授权的,应在授权范围内使用,且必须注明“来源:外语教育网”。违反上述声明者,本网将追究其法律责任。
  2、本网部分资料为网上搜集转载,均尽力标明作者和出处。对于本网刊载作品涉及版权等问题的,请作者与本网站联系,本网站核实确认后会尽快予以处理。
  本网转载之作品,并不意味着认同该作品的观点或真实性。如其他媒体、网站或个人转载使用,请与著作权人联系,并自负法律责任。
  3、本网站欢迎积极投稿
  4、联系方式:
编辑信箱:for68@chinaacc.com
电话:010-82319999-2371