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全新版大学英语综合教程第四册Unit 6B

Come on, admit it -- you like living at breakneck speed.

好了,承认吧――你就喜欢忙得团团转。



Life in the Fast Lane

人在快车道

James Gleick

詹姆斯·格利克



1 We are in a rush. We are making haste. A compression of time characterizes many of our lives. As time-use researchers look around, they see a rushing and scurrying everywhere. Sometimes culture resembles "one big stomped anthill," say John P. Robinson and Geoffrey Godbey in their book Time for Life.

我们东奔西忙。我们急急匆匆。时间紧迫是我们许多人的生活特点。时间利用研究者环顾四周,只见人人忙乱,处处步履匆匆。有时文明就像是“一个被踩瘪的大蚁冢”,约翰·P·鲁宾逊和杰弗里·戈德比在《生活时间》一书中写道。



 

2 (1) Instantaneity rules. Pollsters use electronic devices during political speeches to measure opinions on the wing, before they have been fully formed; fast-food restaurants add express lanes. Even reading to children is under pressure. The volume One-Minute Bedtime Stories consists of traditional stories that can be read by a busy parent in only one minute.

即时行为主宰着一切。人们发表政治演说时,听众尚未形成看法,民意调查人员就利用电子装置进行当场测定;快餐店增设了快速通道。甚至给孩子念故事也得赶时间。《一分钟临睡前的故事》一书收的都是让忙碌的家长仅用一分钟就能讲完的老故事。







3 There are places and objects that signify impatience. The door-close button in elevators, so often a placebo used to distract riders to whom ten seconds seems an eternity. Speed-dial buttons on telephones. Remote controls, which have caused an acceleration in the pace of films and television commercials.

许多场所和物件都表明人们有急躁情绪。电梯里的关门按钮常常起心理安慰作用,好让那些连10秒钟都觉得漫长难捱的乘梯人分散注意力。还有电话机的快拨键。还有可使影片和电视广告快速播放的遥控器。





4 Time is a gentle deity, said Sophocles. Perhaps it was, for him. These days it cracks the whip.(2) We humans have chosen speed, and we thrive on it -- more than we generally admit. Our ability to work and play fast gives us power. It thrills us.

时间之神温雅从容,索福克勒斯如是说。他那时或许如此。当今社会时间扬鞭催人。我们人类选择了速度,凭借着速度而繁荣兴旺――其程度超过人们所普遍承认的那样。我们快节奏工作、娱乐的本领赋予我们力量。我们为此兴奋不已。



5 And if haste is the accelerator pedal, multitasking is overdrive. These days it is possible to drive, eat, listen to a book and talk on the phone -- all at once, if you dare. David Feldman, in New York, schedules his tooth flossing to coincide with his regular browsing of online discussion groups. He has learned to hit PageDown with his pinkie. Mike Holderness, in London, watches TV with captioning so that he can keep the sound off and listen to the unrelated music of his choice. An entire class of technologies is dedicated to the furtherance of multitasking. Car phones. Bookstands on exercise machines. Waterproof shower radios.

如果匆忙是加速器的踏板,一心多用就是超速档。如今,完全可能做到边开车边吃东西边听录音书籍边打电话--要是你敢这么做。纽约的大卫·费尔德曼把用洁牙线清洁牙缝安排在日常浏览网上讨论之时。他已经学会用小手指敲击下行键。伦敦的迈克·霍尔德内斯看带字幕的电视节目,这样他就能把音量调低到听不见,好欣赏自己喜欢的与电视节目无关的音乐。有一整套的技术专门用来促进一心多用。如汽车电话。如健身器材上的搁书架。如防水的淋浴间收音机。



6 Not so long ago, for most people, listening to the radio was a single task activity. Now it is rare for a person to listen to the radio and do nothing else.

不久以前,对大多数人而言,听收音机是一项单一的活动。如今极少有人在听收音机时,别的什么也不干。



7 Even TV has lost its command of our foreground. In so many households the TV just stays on, like a noisy light bulb, while the life of the family passes back and forth in its shimmering glow.

就连我们生活中占据重要地位的电视机也失去了控制力。在许多家庭里,电视机就一直开着,如同一个发出噪声的灯泡,人们在其微弱的闪光里日复一日地过着他们的家庭生活。



8 (3) A sense of well-being comes with this saturation of parallel pathways in the brain. We choose mania over boredom every time. "Humans have never, ever opted for slower," points out the historian Stephen Kern.

脑海中充斥的这种种并行不悖的情况带来的是一种幸福感。每次我们都宁可大干一番而不愿厌倦懈怠。“人类从未,也永远不会选择放慢速度,”历史学家斯蒂芬·克恩说。

9 We catch the fever -- and the fever feels good. We live in the buzz. "It has gotten to the point where my days, crammed with all sorts of activities, feel like an Olympic endurance event: the everydayathon," confesses Jay Walljasper in the Utne Reader.

我们染上了狂热――感觉竟然还不错。我们生活在忙乱中。“程度已经如此严重,我的生活排满了各种各样的活动,感觉就像是在进行奥运会耐力项目比赛:每日马拉松赛,”杰伊·沃加斯泼在《读者》上坦言。



10 All humanity has not succumbed equally, of course.(4) If you make haste, you probably make it in the technology-driven world. Sociologists have also found that increasing wealth and increasing education bring a sense of tension about time. We believe that we possess too little of it. No wonder Ivan Seidenberg, an American telecommunications executive, jokes about the mythical DayDoubler program his customers seem to want: "Using sophisticated time-mapping and compression techniques, DayDoubler gives you access to 48 hours each and every day. At the higher numbers DayDoubler becomes less stable, and you run the risk of a temporal crash in which everything from the beginning of time to the present could crash down around you, sucking you into a suspended time zone."

当然,并非人人同染此病。如果你奔忙不停,很可能你是奔忙在由技术所驱动的社会中。社会学家也发现,富裕程度和教育程度的提高带来时间的紧迫感。我们认为自己时间太少。难怪美国一位电信公司经理伊凡·塞登伯格拿子虚乌有、用户们却似乎颇为心仪的"一天变两天"程序开玩笑:“‘一天变两天’运用先进的时间安排、压缩技术,使你天天拥有48小时。时间比较多了,该程序就不很稳定,你会面临时间崩溃的危险,从有时间起到当前所有的一切都会倾倒在你身旁,把你吞入一个暂时不起作用的时区。”



11 Our culture views time as a thing to hoard and protect. Timesaving is the subject to scores of books with titles like Streamlining Your Life; Take Your Time; More Hours in My Day. Marketers anticipate our desire to save time, and respond with fast ovens, quick playback, quick freezing and fast credit.

我们的文化把时间看做可囤积、保护之物。省时是众多书籍的主题,如《提高生活效率》、《悠着点》、《我的一天不止24小时》。商人预见到我们一心省时的欲望,于是推出快速烤炉、快速回放装置、快速解冻以及快速贷款作为应对。



12 We have all these ways to "save time," but what does that concept really mean? Does timesaving mean getting more done? If so, does talking on a cellular phone at the beach save time or waste it? If you can choose between a 30-minute train ride, during which you can read, and a 20-minute drive, during which you cannot, does the drive save ten minutes? Does it make sense to say that driving saves ten minutes from your travel budget while removing ten minutes from your reading budget?

我们有那么多“节省时间”的方法,可省时这个概念真正意味着什么呢?省时是否意味着做得更多?如果是这样,那么在海滩用手机通话是节省还是浪费时间?如果你有两个选择:乘坐30分钟火车,其间你可以看书;开车20分钟,其间你不能看书。那开车是否算是省下10分钟?



13 These questions have no answer. They depend on a concept that is ill formed: the very idea of timesaving. Some of us say we want to save time when really we just want to do more -- and faster. It might be simplest to recognise that there is time and we make choices about how to spend it, how to spare it, how to use it and how to fill it.

这些问题并没有答案。它们取决于一个很不明确的概念,即省时这一观念本身。有些人说想节约时间,其实是想多做些事,而且要做得更快。也许,最简单的是要认识到,时间就在这儿,我们可以选择如何花时间,如何节约时间,如何利用时间,如何填补时间。



14 Time is not a thing we have lost. It is not a thing we ever had. It is what we live in.

时间不是我们遗失的东西。时间不是我们曾拥有的东西。我们生活在时间之中。
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