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大学英语精读第六册 Unit 5

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             Unit Five

Text
    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 collapse2 -- 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 defense3 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 yarn4 -- or wash dishes or repair electrical plugs for that matter. The bonds of marriage and family life are no longer functional5, 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 brutality6 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 intimacy7. 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 paradox1 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, consistency8, 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 layman9 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 ghetto11 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 devastating12 -- 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 engender13. For example, if a consultant14 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 increments15, make big changes. After all, big changes are relatively16 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 sweeping17 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 automobiles18 and highways instead of trying to improve drives. The same concept should be applied19 to human relations. There is a need to think in terms of social architecture, and to provide arrangements among people that evoke20 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 component21. 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 esthetic22 experiences. Social technology as well as physical technology need to be applied in making human arrangements that will transcend23 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-contradictory24 statement that is or may be true; a person or situation exhibiting apparently25 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.  worthy26 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 socket27 to make an electrical connection 插头

    bond
n.  sth. that binds28 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, lasting29 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, considerably30

    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 participation31; participating

    layman
n.  a person who does not have specialized32 or professional knowledge of a subject 门外汉,外行

    passive
a.  not joining in or taking part; not acting33

    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 defiance34 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 appreciation35 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.) thoroughly36 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


点击收听单词发音收听单词发音  

1 paradox pAxys     
n.似乎矛盾却正确的说法;自相矛盾的人(物)
参考例句:
  • The story contains many levels of paradox.这个故事存在多重悖论。
  • The paradox is that Japan does need serious education reform.矛盾的地方是日本确实需要教育改革。
2 collapse aWvyE     
vi.累倒;昏倒;倒塌;塌陷
参考例句:
  • The country's economy is on the verge of collapse.国家的经济已到了崩溃的边缘。
  • The engineer made a complete diagnosis of the bridge's collapse.工程师对桥的倒塌做了一次彻底的调查分析。
3 defense AxbxB     
n.防御,保卫;[pl.]防务工事;辩护,答辩
参考例句:
  • The accused has the right to defense.被告人有权获得辩护。
  • The war has impacted the area with military and defense workers.战争使那个地区挤满了军队和防御工程人员。
4 yarn LMpzM     
n.纱,纱线,纺线;奇闻漫谈,旅行轶事
参考例句:
  • I stopped to have a yarn with him.我停下来跟他聊天。
  • The basic structural unit of yarn is the fiber.纤维是纱的基本结构单元。
5 functional 5hMxa     
adj.为实用而设计的,具备功能的,起作用的
参考例句:
  • The telephone was out of order,but is functional now.电话刚才坏了,但现在可以用了。
  • The furniture is not fancy,just functional.这些家具不是摆着好看的,只是为了实用。
6 brutality MSbyb     
n.野蛮的行为,残忍,野蛮
参考例句:
  • The brutality of the crime has appalled the public. 罪行之残暴使公众大为震惊。
  • a general who was infamous for his brutality 因残忍而恶名昭彰的将军
7 intimacy z4Vxx     
n.熟悉,亲密,密切关系,亲昵的言行
参考例句:
  • His claims to an intimacy with the President are somewhat exaggerated.他声称自己与总统关系密切,这有点言过其实。
  • I wish there were a rule book for intimacy.我希望能有个关于亲密的规则。
8 consistency IY2yT     
n.一贯性,前后一致,稳定性;(液体的)浓度
参考例句:
  • Your behaviour lacks consistency.你的行为缺乏一贯性。
  • We appreciate the consistency and stability in China and in Chinese politics.我们赞赏中国及其政策的连续性和稳定性。
9 layman T3wy6     
n.俗人,门外汉,凡人
参考例句:
  • These technical terms are difficult for the layman to understand.这些专门术语是外行人难以理解的。
  • He is a layman in politics.他对政治是个门外汉。
10 cliche jbpy6     
n./a.陈词滥调(的);老生常谈(的);陈腐的
参考例句:
  • You should always try to avoid the use of cliche. 你应该尽量避免使用陈词滥调。
  • The old cliche is certainly true:the bigger car do mean bigger profits.有句老话倒的确说得不假:车大利大。
11 ghetto nzGyV     
n.少数民族聚居区,贫民区
参考例句:
  • Racism and crime still flourish in the ghetto.城市贫民区的种族主义和犯罪仍然十分猖獗。
  • I saw that achievement as a possible pattern for the entire ghetto.我把获得的成就看作整个黑人区可以仿效的榜样。
12 devastating muOzlG     
adj.毁灭性的,令人震惊的,强有力的
参考例句:
  • It is the most devastating storm in 20 years.这是20年来破坏性最大的风暴。
  • Affairs do have a devastating effect on marriages.婚外情确实会对婚姻造成毁灭性的影响。
13 engender 3miyT     
v.产生,引起
参考例句:
  • A policy like that tends to engender a sense of acceptance,and the research literature suggests this leads to greater innovation.一个能够使员工产生认同感的政策,研究表明这会走向更伟大的创新。
  • The sense of injustice they engender is a threat to economic and political security.它们造成的不公平感是对经济和政治安全的威胁。
14 consultant 2v0zp3     
n.顾问;会诊医师,专科医生
参考例句:
  • He is a consultant on law affairs to the mayor.他是市长的一个法律顾问。
  • Originally,Gar had agreed to come up as a consultant.原来,加尔只答应来充当我们的顾问。
15 increments bdcd8afd272389c6d991cf0d3ddcc111     
n.增长( increment的名词复数 );增量;增额;定期的加薪
参考例句:
  • These increments were mixed and looked into the 5.56mm catridge case. 将各种药粒进行混和,装在5.56毫米的弹壳中。 来自辞典例句
  • The Rankine scale has scale increments equal to the FahrenheIt'scale. 兰氏温标的温度间距与华氏温标的相同。 来自辞典例句
16 relatively bkqzS3     
adv.比较...地,相对地
参考例句:
  • The rabbit is a relatively recent introduction in Australia.兔子是相对较新引入澳大利亚的物种。
  • The operation was relatively painless.手术相对来说不痛。
17 sweeping ihCzZ4     
adj.范围广大的,一扫无遗的
参考例句:
  • The citizens voted for sweeping reforms.公民投票支持全面的改革。
  • Can you hear the wind sweeping through the branches?你能听到风掠过树枝的声音吗?
18 automobiles 760a1b7b6ea4a07c12e5f64cc766962b     
n.汽车( automobile的名词复数 )
参考例句:
  • When automobiles become popular,the use of the horse and buggy passed away. 汽车普及后,就不再使用马和马车了。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • Automobiles speed in an endless stream along the boulevard. 宽阔的林荫道上,汽车川流不息。 来自《现代汉英综合大词典》
19 applied Tz2zXA     
adj.应用的;v.应用,适用
参考例句:
  • She plans to take a course in applied linguistics.她打算学习应用语言学课程。
  • This cream is best applied to the face at night.这种乳霜最好晚上擦脸用。
20 evoke NnDxB     
vt.唤起,引起,使人想起
参考例句:
  • These images are likely to evoke a strong response in the viewer.这些图像可能会在观众中产生强烈反响。
  • Her only resource was the sympathy she could evoke.她以凭借的唯一力量就是她能从人们心底里激起的同情。
21 component epSzv     
n.组成部分,成分,元件;adj.组成的,合成的
参考例句:
  • Each component is carefully checked before assembly.每个零件在装配前都经过仔细检查。
  • Blade and handle are the component parts of a knife.刀身和刀柄是一把刀的组成部分。
22 esthetic 3tfzcU     
adj.美学的,审美的;悦目的,雅致的
参考例句:
  • That armchair is comfortable but not very esthetic.那张扶手椅坐起来舒服,但不太美观。
  • There are physical distance and esthetic distance between the esthetic subject and the object.审美的主客体之间有物理距离和心理距离。
23 transcend qJbzC     
vt.超出,超越(理性等)的范围
参考例句:
  • We can't transcend the limitations of the ego.我们无法超越自我的局限性。
  • Everyone knows that the speed of airplanes transcend that of ships.人人都知道飞机的速度快于轮船的速度。
24 contradictory VpazV     
adj.反驳的,反对的,抗辩的;n.正反对,矛盾对立
参考例句:
  • The argument is internally contradictory.论据本身自相矛盾。
  • What he said was self-contradictory.他讲话前后不符。
25 apparently tMmyQ     
adv.显然地;表面上,似乎
参考例句:
  • An apparently blind alley leads suddenly into an open space.山穷水尽,豁然开朗。
  • He was apparently much surprised at the news.他对那个消息显然感到十分惊异。
26 worthy vftwB     
adj.(of)值得的,配得上的;有价值的
参考例句:
  • I did not esteem him to be worthy of trust.我认为他不值得信赖。
  • There occurred nothing that was worthy to be mentioned.没有值得一提的事发生。
27 socket jw9wm     
n.窝,穴,孔,插座,插口
参考例句:
  • He put the electric plug into the socket.他把电插头插入插座。
  • The battery charger plugs into any mains socket.这个电池充电器可以插入任何类型的电源插座。
28 binds c1d4f6440575ef07da0adc7e8adbb66c     
v.约束( bind的第三人称单数 );装订;捆绑;(用长布条)缠绕
参考例句:
  • Frost binds the soil. 霜使土壤凝结。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • Stones and cement binds strongly. 石头和水泥凝固得很牢。 来自《简明英汉词典》
29 lasting IpCz02     
adj.永久的,永恒的;vbl.持续,维持
参考例句:
  • The lasting war debased the value of the dollar.持久的战争使美元贬值。
  • We hope for a lasting settlement of all these troubles.我们希望这些纠纷能获得永久的解决。
30 considerably 0YWyQ     
adv.极大地;相当大地;在很大程度上
参考例句:
  • The economic situation has changed considerably.经济形势已发生了相当大的变化。
  • The gap has narrowed considerably.分歧大大缩小了。
31 participation KS9zu     
n.参与,参加,分享
参考例句:
  • Some of the magic tricks called for audience participation.有些魔术要求有观众的参与。
  • The scheme aims to encourage increased participation in sporting activities.这个方案旨在鼓励大众更多地参与体育活动。
32 specialized Chuzwe     
adj.专门的,专业化的
参考例句:
  • There are many specialized agencies in the United Nations.联合国有许多专门机构。
  • These tools are very specialized.这些是专用工具。
33 acting czRzoc     
n.演戏,行为,假装;adj.代理的,临时的,演出用的
参考例句:
  • Ignore her,she's just acting.别理她,她只是假装的。
  • During the seventies,her acting career was in eclipse.在七十年代,她的表演生涯黯然失色。
34 defiance RmSzx     
n.挑战,挑衅,蔑视,违抗
参考例句:
  • He climbed the ladder in defiance of the warning.他无视警告爬上了那架梯子。
  • He slammed the door in a spirit of defiance.他以挑衅性的态度把门砰地一下关上。
35 appreciation Pv9zs     
n.评价;欣赏;感谢;领会,理解;价格上涨
参考例句:
  • I would like to express my appreciation and thanks to you all.我想对你们所有人表达我的感激和谢意。
  • I'll be sending them a donation in appreciation of their help.我将送给他们一笔捐款以感谢他们的帮助。
36 thoroughly sgmz0J     
adv.完全地,彻底地,十足地
参考例句:
  • The soil must be thoroughly turned over before planting.一定要先把土地深翻一遍再下种。
  • The soldiers have been thoroughly instructed in the care of their weapons.士兵们都系统地接受过保护武器的训练。
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