学习啦【英语美文欣赏】 编辑：韦彦 发布时间：2016-09-18 11:25:15
Comments on the American Dream
The phrase"American dream" generally refers to the hopes has for his own well-being in America.It is not necessarily a selfish notion, because achieving the dream is assumed to make America strong.Because the dream is held by individuals, there can be as many different dreams as there are people to have them.A new immigrant may dream of mastering the language, holding a steady job, and having his own apartment.A successful industrialist may dream of acquiring more companies.
In the past, the most typical components of the American dream for ordinary are as follows. The first component is a piece of land where one can sustain himself and raise a family.Having the land has to go beyond mere subsistence.It must also provide for a profit and expansion.Most importantly, it must help to give your children better opportunties than you had.A final component is freedom of movement within your geographic area.In our agriculrural age, freedom of movement came with horse and wagon.
We remain emotionally tied to our agricultural past.We replace the working farm of the American dream with a suburban house and an urban job.The horse that took our ancestors to town once a month for supplies is replaced by a couple of cars that take us several places everyday.
The essence of the American dream seems to me to be geographic space and physical freedom.One's efforts allow one to succeed independently while providing an improved future for one's children and making a contribution to the world that one can be proud of.
The dream has its constants,but is ever-changing with the people and with the times.For young students today, the dream might include a very high-paying technology job from which one could retire at an early ageand devote oneself to helping others.For middle-aged people today, the dream may include voluntary simplicity--a planned reduction in consump-tion with a potentially more satisfying lifestyle.
The Road to Happiness
If you look around at the men and women whom you can call happy, you will see that they allhave certain things in common. The most important of these things is an activity which at mostgradually builds up something that you are glad to see coming into existence. Women who takean instinctive pleasure in their children can get this kind of satisfaction out of bringing up afamily. Artists and authors and men of science get happiness in this way if their own workseems good to them. But there are many humbler forms of the same kind of pleasure. Manymen who spend their working life in the city devote their weekends to voluntary andunremunerated toil in their gardens, and when the spring comes, they experience all the joys ofhaving created beauty.
The whole subject of happiness has, in my opinion, been treated too solemnly. It had beenthought that man cannot be happy without a theory of life or a religion. Perhaps those whohave been rendered unhappy by a bad theory may need a better theory to help them torecovery, just as you may need a tonic when you have been ill. But when things are normal aman should be healthy without a tonic and happy without a theory. It is the simple things thatreally matter. If a man delights in his wife and children, has success in work, and finds pleasurein the alternation of day and night, spring and autumn, he will be happy whatever hisphilosophy may be. If, on the other hand, he finds his wife fateful, his children's noiseunendurable, and the office a nightmare; if in the daytime he longs for night, and at nightsighs for the light of day, then what he needs is not a new philosophy but a new regimen —different diet, or more exercise, or what not.
Man is an animal, and his happiness depends on his physiology more than he likes to think.This is a humble conclusion, but I cannot make myself disbelieve it. Unhappy businessmen, Iam convinced, would increase their happiness more by walking six miles every day than by anyconceivable change of philosophy.
The Two Drives in Man
Man is,at one and the same time,a solitary being and a social being.As a solitary being,heattempts to protect his own existence and that of those who are closest to him,to satisfy hispersonal desires,and to develop his innate abilities.As a social being,he seeks to gain therecognition and affection of his fellow human beings,to share in their pleasures,to comfortthem in their sorrows,and to improve their conditions of life.Only the existence of thesevaried,frequently conflicting,strivings accounts for the special character of a man,and theirspecific coombination determines the extent to which an individual can achieve an innerbalance and can contribute to the well-being of society.
It is quite possible that the ralative strength of these two drives is,in the main,fixed byinheritance.But the personality that finally emerges is largely formed by the environment inwhich a man happens to find himself during his development,by the structure of the society inwhich he grows up,by the tradition of that society,and by its evaluation of particular types ofbehavior.The abstract concept "society" means to the individual human being the sum total ofhis direct and indirect ralations to his contemporaries and to all the people of earliergenerations.The individual is able to think,feel,strive,and work by himself;but he depends somuch upon society — in his physical,intellectual,and emotional existence---that it isimpossible to think of him,or to understand him,outside the framework of society.It is"society" which provides man with food,clothing,a home,the tools of work,languag,the forms orthought,and most of the content of thought;his life is made possible through the labor andaccomplishments of the many millions past and present who are all hidden behind the smallword "society".
Education and Schooling
It is commonly believed in United States that school is where people go to get an education. Nevertheless, it has been said that today children interrupt their education to go to school. The distinction between schooling and education implied by this remark is important.
Education is much more open-ended(开放的) and all-inclusive(包括一切的;兼收并蓄的) than schooling(学校教育). Education knows no bounds(范围;限度). It can take place anywhere, whether in the shower or in the job, whether in a kitchen or on a tractor. It includes both the formal learning that takes place in schools and the whole universe of informal learning. The agents of education can range from a revered(受尊重的) grandparent to the people debating politics on the radio, from a child to a distinguished(著名的) scientist. Whereas schooling has a certain predictability, education quite often produces surprises. A chance conversation with a stranger may lead a person to discover how little is known of other religions. People are engaged in education from infancy on. Education, then, is a very broad, inclusive term. It is a lifelong process, a process that starts long before the start of school, and one that should be an integral(完整的) part of one’s entire life.
Schooling, on the other hand, is a specific, formalized(形式化的;拘泥于形式的)process, whose general pattern varies little from one setting to the next. Throughout a country, children arrive at school at approximately the same time, take assigned(指定的) seats, are taught by an adult, use similar textbooks, do homework, take exams, and so on. The slices of reality that are to be learned, whether they are the alphabet or an understanding of the working of government, have usually been limited by the boundaries of the subject being taught. For example, high school students know that there not likely to find out in their classes the truth about political problems in their communities or what the newest filmmakers are experimenting with. There are definite conditions surrounding the formalized process of schooling.