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英语励志美文精华 19

时间:2009-02-12 03:19来源:互联网 提供网友:jinyingxue   字体: [ ]
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A Game of Cards

By Norman Cousins

Ever since I was old enough to read books on philosophy, I have been intrigued1 by the discussions on the nature of man. The philosophers have been debating for years about whether man is primarily good or primarily evil, whether he is primarily altruistic2 or selfish, cooperative or combative3, gregarious4 or self-centered, whether he enjoys free will or whether everything is predetermined.

As far back as the Socratic dialogues in Plato, and even before that, man has been baffled about himself. He knows he is capable of great and noble deeds, but then he is oppressed by the evidence of great wrongdoing.

And so he wonders. I don’t presume to be able to resolve the contradictions. In fact, I don’t think we have to. It seems to me that the debate over good and evil in man, over free will and determinism, and over all the other contradictions—it seems to me that this debate is a futile6 one. For man is a creature of dualism. He is both good and evil, both altruistic and selfish. He enjoys free will to the extent that he can make decisions in life, but he can’t change his chemistry or his relatives or his physical endowments—all of which were determined5 for him at birth. And rather than speculate over which side of him is dominant7, he might do well to consider what the contradictions and circumstances are that tend to bring out the good or evil, that enable him to be a nobler and responsible member of the human race. And so far as free will and determinism are concerned, something I heard in India on a recent visit might be worth passing along. Free will and determinism, I was told, are like a game of cards. The hand that is dealt you represents determinism. The way you play your hand represent free will.

Now where does all this leave us? It seems to me that we ought to attempt to bring about and safeguard those conditions that tend to develop the best in man. We know, for example, that the existence of fear and man’s inability to cope with fear bring about the worst in him. We know that what is true of man on a small scale can be true of society on a large scale. And today the conditions of fear in the world are, I’m afraid, affecting men everywhere. More than twenty-three hundred years ago, the Greek world, which had attained8 tremendous heights of creative intelligence and achievement, disintegrated9 under the pressure of fear. Today, too, if we read the signs correctly, there is fear everywhere. There is fear that the human race has exhausted10 its margin11 for error and that we are sliding into another great conflict that will cancel out thousands of years of human progress. And people are fearful because they don’t want to lose the things that are more important than peace itself—moral, democratic, and spiritual values.

The problem confronting us today is far more serious than the destiny of any political system or even of any nation. The problem is the destiny of man: first, whether we can make this planet safe for man; second, whether we can make it fit for man. This I believe—that man today has all the resources to shatter his fears and go on to the greatest golden age in history, an age which will provide the conditions for human growth and for the development of the good that resides within man, whether in his individual or his collective being. And he has only to mobilize his rational intelligence and his conscience to put these resources to work.


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1 intrigued 7acc2a75074482e2b408c60187e27c73     
adj.好奇的,被迷住了的v.搞阴谋诡计(intrigue的过去式);激起…的兴趣或好奇心;“intrigue”的过去式和过去分词
参考例句:
  • You've really intrigued me—tell me more! 你说的真有意思—再给我讲一些吧!
  • He was intrigued by her story. 他被她的故事迷住了。
2 altruistic hzuzA6     
adj.无私的,为他人着想的
参考例句:
  • It is superficial to be altruistic without feeling compassion.无慈悲之心却说利他,是为表面。
  • Altruistic spirit should be cultivated by us vigorously.利他的精神是我们应该努力培养的。
3 combative 8WdyS     
adj.好战的;好斗的
参考例句:
  • Mr. Obama has recently adopted a more combative tone.奥巴马总统近来采取了一种更有战斗性的语调。
  • She believes that women are at least as combative as are.她相信女性至少和男性一样好斗。
4 gregarious DfuxO     
adj.群居的,喜好群居的
参考例句:
  • These animals are highly gregarious.这些动物非常喜欢群居。
  • They are gregarious birds and feed in flocks.它们是群居鸟类,会集群觅食。
5 determined duszmP     
adj.坚定的;有决心的
参考例句:
  • I have determined on going to Tibet after graduation.我已决定毕业后去西藏。
  • He determined to view the rooms behind the office.他决定查看一下办公室后面的房间。
6 futile vfTz2     
adj.无效的,无用的,无希望的
参考例句:
  • They were killed,to the last man,in a futile attack.因为进攻失败,他们全部被杀,无一幸免。
  • Their efforts to revive him were futile.他们对他抢救无效。
7 dominant usAxG     
adj.支配的,统治的;占优势的;显性的;n.主因,要素,主要的人(或物);显性基因
参考例句:
  • 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。
8 attained 1f2c1bee274e81555decf78fe9b16b2f     
(通常经过努力)实现( attain的过去式和过去分词 ); 达到; 获得; 达到(某年龄、水平、状况)
参考例句:
  • She has attained the degree of Master of Arts. 她已获得文学硕士学位。
  • Lu Hsun attained a high position in the republic of letters. 鲁迅在文坛上获得崇高的地位。
9 disintegrated e36fb4ffadd6df797ee64cbd05a02790     
v.(使)破裂[分裂,粉碎],(使)崩溃( disintegrate的过去式和过去分词 )
参考例句:
  • The plane disintegrated as it fell into the sea. 飞机坠入大海时解体了。
  • The box was so old;it just disintegrated when I picked it up. 那箱子太破旧了,我刚一提就散了。 来自《简明英汉词典》
10 exhausted 7taz4r     
adj.极其疲惫的,精疲力尽的
参考例句:
  • It was a long haul home and we arrived exhausted.搬运回家的这段路程特别长,到家时我们已筋疲力尽。
  • Jenny was exhausted by the hustle of city life.珍妮被城市生活的忙乱弄得筋疲力尽。
11 margin 67Mzp     
n.页边空白;差额;余地,余裕;边,边缘
参考例句:
  • We allowed a margin of 20 minutes in catching the train.我们有20分钟的余地赶火车。
  • The village is situated at the margin of a forest.村子位于森林的边缘。
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