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What Is Happiness?

时间:2006-11-08 16:00来源:互联网 提供网友:nerlly   字体: [ ]
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What Is Happiness?

              

"Are you happy?" I asked my brother, Ian, one day.

"Yes. No. It depends on what you mean," he said.

"Then tell me," I said, "when was the last time you think you were happy?"

"April 1967," he said.

It served me right for putting a serious question to someone who has joked his way through life. But Ian's answer reminded me that when we think about happiness, we usually think of something extraordinary, a 1)pinnacle1 of 2)sheer delight. And those pinnacles2 seem to get rarer the older we get.

For a child, happiness has a magical quality. I remember making hide-outs in newly cut 3)hay, playing 4)cops and robbers in the woods, getting a speaking part in the school play. Of course, kids also experience lows, but their delight at such peaks of pleasure as winning a race or getting a new bike is 5)unreserved.

In the teenage years, the concept of happiness changes. Suddenly it's conditional3 on such things as excitement, love, popularity and whether that zit will clear up before a 6)prom night. I can still feel the agony of not being invited to a party that almost everyone else was going to. But I also recall the ecstasy4 of being plucked from obscurity at another event to dance with a 7)John Travolta look-alike.

In 8)adulthood5 the things that bring 9)profound joy - birth, love, marriage - also bring responsibility and the risk of loss. Love may not last, loved ones die. For adults, happiness is complicated.

My dictionary defines happy as "lucky" or "fortunate", but I think a better definition of happiness is "the capacity for enjoyment6". The more we can enjoy what we have, the happier we are. It's easy to overlook the pleasure we get from loving and being loved, the company of friends, the freedom to live where we please, even good health.

I added up my little moments of pleasure yesterday. First there was sheer bliss7 when I shut the last lunchbox and had the house to myself. Then I spent an 10)uninterrupted morning writing, which I love. When the kids came home, I enjoyed their noise after the quiet of the day.

You never know where happiness will turn up next. When I asked friends what makes them happy, some mentioned 11)seemingly 12)insignificant8 moments. "I hate shopping," one friend said. "But there's this clerk who always chats and really cheers me up."

Another friend loves the telephone. "Every time it rings, I know someone is thinking about me."

We all experience moments like these. Too few of us register them as happiness.

While happiness may be more complex for us, the solution is the same as ever. Happiness isn't about what happens to us; it's about how we perceive what happens to us. It's the 13)knack9 of finding a positive for every negative, and viewing a 14)set-back as a challenge. It's not wishing for what we don't have, but enjoying what we do possess.

 

什么是幸福?

“你幸福吗?”一天我问我的兄弟伊恩。

“又幸福,又不幸福。这要看你指的是什么,”他说。

“那么告诉我,”我说,“你最近一次感到幸福是什么时候?”

19674月,”他说。

向一个游戏人生的人提问这么严肃的问题,我真是自讨苦吃。但是伊恩的话启发了我,当我们考虑幸福的时候,我们通常想到一些不同寻常的事情和愉快无比的时刻,而随着年龄的增长,这种时刻是越来越少。

对于孩子来说,幸福充满了魔力。我记得在新割下的草堆里捉迷藏,在树林里扮演警察和强盗,在校剧中担当有台词的角色。当然孩子也有情绪低落的时候,但是当赢了赛跑或得到一辆新自行车时,他们流露出快乐是无可比拟、没有任何保留的。

到了少年时期,幸福观发生了变化。突然间幸福有了条件,例如:刺激、爱情、名气以及舞会前青春痘是否能消除等。我还能感受到因未被邀请去参加一个几乎人人有份的晚会所体会到的痛苦;我还记得在另一次活动中因与一位酷似约翰·屈沃塔的人跳舞而大出风头的那份激动心情。

成年时,能带来深深欢乐的事情(如出生、爱情和婚姻),同时也带来了责任和失去的危险。爱情也许难以持久;心爱的人也许会离开人世。对于成年人来说,幸福是复杂的。

我的字典把幸福定义为“幸运”或“好运”。但是我想幸福更好的定义是“享受的能力”。我们越能享受所拥有的一切,我们就越幸福。从爱与被爱、友情、随心所欲择地而居、甚至到拥有的健康,其中获得的快乐很容易被我们忽视了。

我总结了一下我昨天的幸福时刻:首先是我合上最后一个午餐饭盒,独自在家时的那种无比幸福;然后过了一个写作不受干扰的上午,令我愉快;等到孩子们回家,我享受安静的一天过后他们吵闹的声音。

你永远无法知道下一次幸福何时来临。我问朋友们什么能使他们感到幸福,一些人举出一些似乎不太重要的时刻。“我不喜欢购物,”一位朋友说,“但那里有一个爱聊天的售货员,让我感到很愉快。”

另一位朋友喜欢接电话。“每次电话铃声响,我就知道有人正想着我呢。”

我们都经历过类似的事,但视之为幸福的人寥寥无几。

虽然幸福对我们来说也许更错综复杂,但是获得幸福的途径永远是一样的。幸福不在于我们的遭遇如何,而在于我们如何看待所遭遇到的事情。这是化消极为积极、将挫折看作挑战的诀窍。幸福不是凭空许愿,而是享受拥有。

 

[注释]

1) pinnacle [5pinEkl] n. 顶点

2) sheer [FiE] a. 全然的,纯粹的

3) hay [hei] n. 干草

4) cop [kCp] n. 警察

5) unreserved [5Qnri5zE:vd] a. 无节制的,无保留的

6) prom [prCm] n. 正式舞会

7) John Travolta是好莱坞70年代的名演员,成名片是在1978年的“Grease”,他在其中演出的舞蹈风格曾一度风靡世界。

8) adulthood [5AdQlt7hud] n. 成人期

9) profound [prE5faund] a. 深刻的

10) uninterrupted [5QnintE5rQptid] a. 不被打断或干扰的

11) seemingly [5si:miNli] ad. 表面上地

12) insignificant [7insi^5nifikEnt] a. 无关紧要的,无意义的

13) knack [nAk] n. 诀窍

14) set-back [5set-bAk] n. 挫折,障碍

 

 

 

 


点击收听单词发音收听单词发音  

1 pinnacle A2Mzb     
n.尖塔,尖顶,山峰;(喻)顶峰
参考例句:
  • Now he is at the very pinnacle of his career.现在他正值事业中的顶峰时期。
  • It represents the pinnacle of intellectual capability.它代表了智能的顶峰。
2 pinnacles a4409b051276579e99d5cb7d58643f4e     
顶峰( pinnacle的名词复数 ); 顶点; 尖顶; 小尖塔
参考例句:
  • What would be the pinnacles of your acting and music? 对你而言什麽代表你的演技和音乐的巅峰?
  • On Skye's Trotternish Peninsula, basalt pinnacles loom over the Sound of Raasay. 在斯开岛的特洛登尼许半岛,玄武岩尖塔俯瞰着拉塞海峡。
3 conditional BYvyn     
adj.条件的,带有条件的
参考例句:
  • My agreement is conditional on your help.你肯帮助我才同意。
  • There are two forms of most-favored-nation treatment:conditional and unconditional.最惠国待遇有两种形式:有条件的和无条件的。
4 ecstasy 9kJzY     
n.狂喜,心醉神怡,入迷
参考例句:
  • He listened to the music with ecstasy.他听音乐听得入了神。
  • Speechless with ecstasy,the little boys gazed at the toys.小孩注视着那些玩具,高兴得说不出话来。
5 adulthood vKsyr     
n.成年,成人期
参考例句:
  • Some infantile actions survive into adulthood.某些婴儿期的行为一直保持到成年期。
  • Few people nowadays are able to maintain friendships into adulthood.如今很少有人能将友谊维持到成年。
6 enjoyment opaxV     
n.乐趣;享有;享用
参考例句:
  • Your company adds to the enjoyment of our visit. 有您的陪同,我们这次访问更加愉快了。
  • After each joke the old man cackled his enjoyment.每逢讲完一个笑话,这老人就呵呵笑着表示他的高兴。
7 bliss JtXz4     
n.狂喜,福佑,天赐的福
参考例句:
  • It's sheer bliss to be able to spend the day in bed.整天都可以躺在床上真是幸福。
  • He's in bliss that he's won the Nobel Prize.他非常高兴,因为获得了诺贝尔奖金。
8 insignificant k6Mx1     
adj.无关紧要的,可忽略的,无意义的
参考例句:
  • In winter the effect was found to be insignificant.在冬季,这种作用是不明显的。
  • This problem was insignificant compared to others she faced.这一问题与她面临的其他问题比较起来算不得什么。
9 knack Jx9y4     
n.诀窍,做事情的灵巧的,便利的方法
参考例句:
  • He has a knack of teaching arithmetic.他教算术有诀窍。
  • Making omelettes isn't difficult,but there's a knack to it.做煎蛋饼并不难,但有窍门。
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TAG标签:   疯狂英语  what  happiness
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