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时间:2006-09-22 16:00来源:互联网 提供网友:clian1   字体: [ ]

     Is America going to decline like other great nations have before? The author thinks not, arguing that the type of society being created in America is quite unlike any that has gone before it. Read what he has to say and see whether you agree.



America as a Collage1

Ryzsard Kapuscinski

1     The mere2 fact that America still attracts millions of people is evidence that it is not in decline. People aren't attracted to a place of decline. Signs of decline are sure to be found in a place as complex as America: debt, crime, the homeless, drugs, dropouts. But the main characteristic of America, the first and most enduring impression, is dynamism, energy, aggressiveness, forward movement.



2    It is so hard to think of this nation in decline when you know that there are vast regions of the planet which are absolutely paralyzed, incapable4 of any improvement at all.

3    It is difficult for me to agree with Paul Kennedy's thesis in The Rise and Fall of Great Powers that America must inevitably5 follow historical precedent6. That's the way history used to be -- all powerful nations declined and gave way to other empires. But maybe there is another way to look at what is happening. I have a sense that what is going on here concerns much more than the fate of a nation.
      我很难同意保罗·肯尼迪在《列强之兴衰》中的论点, 即美国将不可避免地重蹈历史覆辙。历史一直如此循环—强国衰落,为新兴的帝国所取代。但或许我们能从另外一个角度看待正在发生的一切。我有种感觉,这个国家正在发生的一切不仅仅关乎一国之命运。

4    It may be that the Euro-centered American nation is declining as it gives way to a new Pacific civilization that will include, but not be limited to, America. Historically speaking, America may not decline, but instead fuse with the Pacific culture to create a kind of vast Pacific collage, a mix of Hispanic and Asian cultures linked through the most modern communication technologies.

5    Traditional history has been a history of nations. But here, for the first time since the Roman Empire, there is the possibility of creating the history of a civilization. Now is the first chance on a new basis with new technologies to create a civilization of unprecedented7 openness and pluralism. A civilization of the polycentric mind. A civilization that leaves behind forever the ethnocentric, tribal9 mentality10. The mentality of destruction.       传统意义上的历史一直是各个国家的历史。但在美国,自罗马帝国以来,首次出现了创建一个文化的历史的可能。现在第一次有了这样一个机遇,在新的基础上用新技术创建一个有着前所未有的开放性的多元文化。一个有着多种精神中心的文化。一个永远抛弃种族中心主义心态、部落心态的文化。那是一种破坏性的心态。

6    Los Angeles is a premonition of this new civilization.

7    Linked more to the Third World and Asia than to the Europe of America's racial and cultural roots, Los Angeles and southern California will enter the twenty-first century as a multiracial and multicultural11 society. This is absolutely new. There is no previous example of a civilization that is being simultaneously12 created by so many races, nationalities, and cultures. This new type of cultural pluralism is completely unknown in the history of mankind.

8    America is becoming more plural8 every day because of the unbelievable facility of the new Third World immigrants to put a piece of their original culture inside of American culture. The notion of a "dominant13" American culture is changing every moment. It is incredible coming to America to find you are somewhere else -- in Seoul, in Taipei, in Mexico City. You can travel inside this Korean culture right on the streets of Los Angeles. Inhabitants of this vast city become internal tourists in the place of their own residence.
      由于来自第三世界的新移民所具有的将本族文化融入美国文化的令人难以置信的本领,美国正变得越来越多元化。美国有“主导”文化的概念时刻在改变。来到美国,你会不可思议地发现自己身在别地—来到了汉城,台北,墨西哥城。你在洛杉矶街头行走, 就可以感受到韩国的文化氛围。这个大城市的居民成了自己居住地的游客。

9    There are large communities of Laotians, Vietnamese, Cambodians, Mexicans, Salvadorans, Guatemalans, Iranians, Japanese, Koreans, Armenians, Chinese. We find here Little Taipei, Little Saigon, Little Tokyo, Koreatown, Little Central America, the Iranian neighborhood in Westwood, the Armenian community in Hollywood, and the vast Mexican-American areas of East Los Angeles. Eighty-one languages, few of them European, are spoken in the elementary school system of the city of Los Angeles.

10    This transformation14 of American culture anticipates the general trend in the composition of mankind. Ninety percent of the immigrants to this city are from the Third World. At the beginning of the twenty-first century, 90 percent of the world's population will be dark-skinned; the white race will be no more than 11 percent of all human beings living on our planet.

11    Something that can only be seen in America: In the landscaped, ultraclean high-technology parks of northern Orange County there is a personal computer company that seven years ago did not exist. There were only strawberry fields where the plant is. Now, there is a $500 million company with factories in Hong Kong and Taiwan as well.

12    The company was founded by three young immigrants -- a Pakistani Muslim and two Chinese from Hong Kong. They only became citizens in 1984. Each individual is now probably worth $30 million.

13    Walking through this company we see only young, dark faces -- Vietnamese, Cambodians, Laotians, Mexicans -- and the most advanced technology. The culture of the work force is a mix of Hispanic-Catholic family values and Asian-Confucian group loyalty15. Employment notices are never posted; hiring is done through the network of families that live in southern California. Not infrequently, employees ask to work an extra twenty hours a week to earn enough money to help members of their extended family buy their first home.

14    In Los Angeles, traditional Third World cultures are, for the first time, fusing with the most modern mentalities16 and technologies.

15    Usually, the contact between developed and underdeveloped worlds has the character of exploitation -- just taking people's labor17 and resources and giving them nothing. And the border between races has usually been a border of tension, of crisis. Here we see a revolution that is constructive18.

16    This Pacific Rim3 civilization being created is a new relationship between development and underdevelopment. Here, there is openness. There is hope. And a future. There is a multicultural crowd. But it is not fighting. It is cooperating, peacefully competing, building. For the first time in four hundred years of relations between the nonwhite Western world and the white Western world, the general character of the relationship is cooperation and construction, not exploitation, not destruction.

17    Unlike any other place on the planet, Los Angeles shows us the potential of development once the Third World mentality merges20 with an open sense of possibility, a culture of organization, a Western conception of time.

18    For the destructive, paralyzed world where I have spent most of my life, it is important, simply, that such a possibility as Los Angeles exists.

19    To adjust the concept of time is the most difficult thing. It is a key revolution of development.

20    Western culture is a culture of arithmetical time. Time is organized by the clock. In non-Western culture, time is a measure between events. We arrange a meeting at nine o'clock but the man doesn't show up. We become anxious, offended. He doesn't understand our anxiety because for him, the moment he arrives is the measure of time. He is on time when he arrives.

21    In 1924, the Mexican philosopher José Vasconcelos wrote a book dreaming of the possibility that, in the future, all races on the planet would merge19 into one type of man. This type of man is being borne in Los Angeles, in the cultural sense if not the anthropological21 sense. A vast mosaic22 of different races, cultures, religions, and moral habits are working toward one common aim. From the perspective of a world submerged in religious, ethnic23, and racial conflict, this harmonious24 cooperation is something unbelievable. It is truly striking.

22    What is the common aim that harmonizes competing cultures in one place?

23    It is not only the better living standard. What attracts immigrants to America is the essential characteristic of American culture: the chance to try. There is a combination of two things that are important: culture and space. The culture allows you to try to be somebody -- to find yourself, your place, your status. And there is space not only in a geographical25 sense, but in the sense of opportunity, of social mobility26. In societies that are in crisis and in societies which are stagnant27 -- or even in those which are stable -- there is no chance to try. You are defined in advance. Destiny has already sentenced you.

24    This is what unites the diverse races and cultures in America. If the immigrant to America at first fails, he always thinks, "I will try again." If he had failed in the old society, he would be discouraged and pessimistic, accepting the place that was given to him. In America, he's thinking, "I will have another chance, I will try again." That keeps him going. He's full of hope.



1 collage XWYyD     
  • A collage of coloured paper covers a table top.一副彩纸拼贴画盖在桌面上。
  • He has used a mixture of mosaic,collage and felt-tip pen.他混合使用了马赛克、拼贴画和毡头笔。
2 mere rC1xE     
  • That is a mere repetition of what you said before.那不过是重复了你以前讲的话。
  • It's a mere waste of time waiting any longer.再等下去纯粹是浪费时间。
3 rim RXSxl     
  • The water was even with the rim of the basin.盆里的水与盆边平齐了。
  • She looked at him over the rim of her glass.她的目光越过玻璃杯的边沿看着他。
4 incapable w9ZxK     
  • He would be incapable of committing such a cruel deed.他不会做出这么残忍的事。
  • Computers are incapable of creative thought.计算机不会创造性地思维。
5 inevitably x7axc     
  • In the way you go on,you are inevitably coming apart.照你们这样下去,毫无疑问是会散伙的。
  • Technological changes will inevitably lead to unemployment.技术变革必然会导致失业。
6 precedent sSlz6     
  • Is there a precedent for what you want me to do?你要我做的事有前例可援吗?
  • This is a wonderful achievement without precedent in Chinese history.这是中国历史上亘古未有的奇绩。
7 unprecedented 7gSyJ     
  • The air crash caused an unprecedented number of deaths.这次空难的死亡人数是空前的。
  • A flood of this sort is really unprecedented.这样大的洪水真是十年九不遇。
8 plural c2WzP     
  • Most plural nouns in English end in's '.英语的复数名词多以s结尾。
  • Here you should use plural pronoun.这里你应该用复数代词。
9 tribal ifwzzw     
  • He became skilled in several tribal lingoes.他精通几种部族的语言。
  • The country was torn apart by fierce tribal hostilities.那个国家被部落间的激烈冲突弄得四分五裂。
10 mentality PoIzHP     
  • He has many years'experience of the criminal mentality.他研究犯罪心理有多年经验。
  • Running a business requires a very different mentality from being a salaried employee.经营企业所要求具备的心态和上班族的心态截然不同。
11 multicultural qnIzdX     
  • Children growing up in a multicultural society.在多元文化社会中长大的孩子们。
  • The school has been attempting to bring a multicultural perspective to its curriculum.这所学校已经在尝试将一种多元文化视角引入其课程。
12 simultaneously 4iBz1o     
  • The radar beam can track a number of targets almost simultaneously.雷达波几乎可以同时追着多个目标。
  • The Windows allow a computer user to execute multiple programs simultaneously.Windows允许计算机用户同时运行多个程序。
13 dominant usAxG     
  • The British were formerly dominant in India.英国人从前统治印度。
  • She was a dominant figure in the French film industry.她在法国电影界是个举足轻重的人物。
14 transformation SnFwO     
  • Going to college brought about a dramatic transformation in her outlook.上大学使她的观念发生了巨大的变化。
  • He was struggling to make the transformation from single man to responsible husband.他正在努力使自己由单身汉变为可靠的丈夫。
15 loyalty gA9xu     
  • She told him the truth from a sense of loyalty.她告诉他真相是出于忠诚。
  • His loyalty to his friends was never in doubt.他对朋友的一片忠心从来没受到怀疑。
16 mentalities aa2189d628c024a60060455d46073180     
n.心态( mentality的名词复数 );思想方法;智力;智能
  • Paterfamilias mentalities are important factors to affect childrens rehabilitation. 家长心理是影响聋儿康复效果的重要因素。 来自互联网
  • All of us, genius included, think on the base of the mentalities are already known. 我们大家,包括的天才,在已经被知道的脑力的底上想。 来自互联网
17 labor P9Tzs     
  • We are never late in satisfying him for his labor.我们从不延误付给他劳动报酬。
  • He was completely spent after two weeks of hard labor.艰苦劳动两周后,他已经疲惫不堪了。
18 constructive AZDyr     
  • We welcome constructive criticism.我们乐意接受有建设性的批评。
  • He is beginning to deal with his anger in a constructive way.他开始用建设性的方法处理自己的怒气。
19 merge qCpxF     
  • I can merge my two small businesses into a large one.我可以将我的两家小商店合并为一家大商行。
  • The directors have decided to merge the two small firms together.董事们已决定把这两家小商号归并起来。
20 merges a03f3f696e7db24b06d3a6b806144742     
(使)混合( merge的第三人称单数 ); 相融; 融入; 渐渐消失在某物中
  • The 2012 Nobel Prize in Literature was awarded to Mo Yan"who with hallucinatory realism merges folk tales, history and the contemporary". 2012年诺贝尔文学奖得主为莫言,他“很好地将魔幻现实与民间故事、历史与当代结合在一起”。
  • A device that collates, merges, or matches sets of punched cards or other documents. 一种整理、合并或比较一组穿孔卡片或其它文档的设备。
21 anthropological anthropological     
  • These facts of responsibility are an anthropological datums- varied and multiform. 这些道德事实是一种人类学资料——性质不同,形式各异。 来自哲学部分
  • It is the most difficult of all anthropological data on which to "draw" the old Negro. 在所有的人类学资料中,最困难的事莫过于“刻划”古代的黑人。 来自辞典例句
22 mosaic CEExS     
  • The sky this morning is a mosaic of blue and white.今天早上的天空是幅蓝白相间的画面。
  • The image mosaic is a troublesome work.图象镶嵌是个麻烦的工作。
23 ethnic jiAz3     
  • This music would sound more ethnic if you played it in steel drums.如果你用钢鼓演奏,这首乐曲将更具民族特色。
  • The plan is likely only to aggravate ethnic frictions.这一方案很有可能只会加剧种族冲突。
24 harmonious EdWzx     
  • Their harmonious relationship resulted in part from their similar goals.他们关系融洽的部分原因是他们有着相似的目标。
  • The room was painted in harmonious colors.房间油漆得色彩调和。
25 geographical Cgjxb     
  • The current survey will have a wider geographical spread.当前的调查将在更广泛的地域范围內进行。
  • These birds have a wide geographical distribution.这些鸟的地理分布很广。
26 mobility H6rzu     
  • The difference in regional house prices acts as an obstacle to mobility of labour.不同地区房价的差异阻碍了劳动力的流动。
  • Mobility is very important in guerrilla warfare.机动性在游击战中至关重要。
27 stagnant iGgzj     
  • Due to low investment,industrial output has remained stagnant.由于投资少,工业生产一直停滞不前。
  • Their national economy is stagnant.他们的国家经济停滞不前。
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