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2014中石油职称英语选读文章:To Be Content with One's Lot

2014-01-07 19:12:00 来源:网络发表评论


  To Be Content with One's Lot 乐天知命

  1. Peter Hessler described two lifestyles and asked his Chinese students to choose the one they preferred, either a very long yet ultimately average and uneventful life, or a very exciting, fun-filled life that only lasted 24 years. Almost all of his 20 something year old students chose the first option. This surprised Peter because, from his experience with American youths, he was sure the Americans wouldn't have chosen a long, uneventful life.


  2. The Chinese traditionally think an uneventful, but long life is better than a short life full of fun and adventure. There's even an idiom for the traditional Chinese attitude, "A good death is worse than a lazy life." This saying reveals a deeply ingrained sense of optimism and acceptance of fate. It's nothing at all like the Western idea of heroes made through tragedy.


  3. 30 years ago, at the beginning of China's reform, a group of intellectuals believed the acceptance of one's lot would hurt the growth of the People's Republic. The way they saw it, the Westerners' "seafaring culture" had allowed them to expand and advance while China's "agrarian culture" had shut the country off from the world and kept it focusing on itself.

  3. 30年前改革开放之初,一批知识分子认为乐天知命、安于本分的传统观念有害于中华民族的发展。在他们看来,西方的“蓝色文明”使其开放、进步;而中国的“黄土文化”使之封闭、守成。

  4. Researching the unique traits of a nationality can reveal a number of interesting features. David N. Keightly is a professor of history at the University of California Berkerley and he made a study of the unique attitudes of the Chinese people. He believed their acceptance of fate originates from a geographical standpoint. The birthplace of the Chinese civilization is the Central Plains where the climate has less variation than the Mediterranean or the Near East. China's two main rivers, the Yellow River and the Yangtze River, both run from West to East, and don't change much in latitude. This means the cultivation both upstream and downstream are very similar. This uniformity of the agrarian culture reduced the incentive for mutual trade and the need for people to travel very far. Hence, the exchange of thoughts, ideas and technology became restricted and the ancient Chinese culture tended to isolate itself within their regions of influence.


  5. According to Professor Keightly's theory, the climate of ancient China was very good. This would create a sense of optimism in the Chinese culture. In comparison, the people of the Mediterranean and the Near East had to face more natural disasters and were less optimistic. Besides the geographical factor which influences the development of cultures, Keightley believes the Chinese practice of ancestor worship has significantly influenced the makeup of the Chinese people. Keightley says, "I believe, the cultures that engage in ancestor worship are going to be conservative cultures. They're not going to find new things attractive because, that will be a challenge to the ancestors. There's no room in this culture for a skeptic."


  6. Chinese people tend to want to return to the past, while Westerners are always looking towards the future. By comparing their lives to the past, it creates an unlimited feeling of satisfaction. With no other desires, people in ancient times had the opportunity to coexist harmoniously with nature. They worked towards an existence where their social development was in sync with the natural world. This sort of self-satisfaction and oneness with nature helped Chinese people develop a more optimistic attitude towards life.


  7. The Westerners have the opposite approach because they fear the uncertainty of the future. This leads them to work hard in changing their current situation in the hope of making tomorrow better than today. During this process, it's almost impossible to abide by the rules of the natural world or human nature. The idea of being content with one's lot is hard-pressed to take hold in this sort of environment.


  8. Over these past few decades, the ideas of the West and the East have practically been reversed. The Chinese people have little choice but to drop the traditional idea of being content with one's lot if they want to improve their economic standing. They now emulate the West in opening up and becoming more enterprising. Unfortunately, this process of chasing materialistic dreams results in the destruction of nature. People have had to deal with increasing pressure and the income gap between rich and poor has become larger and larger. People are beginning to realize that the traditional idea we inherited from our ancestors, of being content with what one's lot, makes a lot of sense. As the West has forged ahead over the centuries, on the basis of its enterprising attitude, corruption and malpractice has kept pace. Today, the West is turning towards the East to find a way out.


  9. Maybe there's something in the text-message that's doing the rounds on the Internet, when it says, "Once you're 50, pretty and ugly look the same. Once you're 60, high-rank and low-rank look the same. Once you're 70, lots of money and little money look the same. Once you're 80, men and women look the same. Once you're 90, living and dying look the same."


  10. In a way, the message, pretty much, suggests that, even though China exported computers to America and Chinese people have traded in their bikes for BMWs, the past thirty years of reform hasn't changed our traditions and, the idea of being content with one's lot has never left our bones.


  注释:加利福尼亚大学,简称加州大学或加大(University of California,简称UC)是美国加州的一个公立大学系统。加州大学起源于1853年建立在奥克兰的加利福尼亚学院。如今已发展成一所拥有10个分校并对加州发展影响深远的巨型大学系统。加州大学是美国最具影响力的公立大学之一,其伯克利分校、旧金山分校、圣地亚哥分校和洛杉矶分校都是世界一流的学府。在US News & World Report历年的全美公立大学排行榜中,UCBerkeley经常位列第一在美国通常与UM(密歇根大学)UVA(弗吉尼亚大学)并称为公立大学三强。

本文关键字: 2014 中石油 职称英语



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