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Unit 4 Text A The surprising purpose of travel翻译,原文和录音

[2018年11月6日] 来源:新视野大学英语Unit 4 编辑:给力英语网   字号 [] [] []  

The surprising purpose of travel


1 It's 4:15 in the morning and my alarm clock has just stolen away a lovely dream. I almost return back to sleep before my eye catches my packed suitcase and I groan remembering that I'm going to the airport. The taxi is late and then lost and I'm getting increasingly nervous that I'll miss my flight. I run in when we arrive stagger through security and finally get to my gate. After all the trouble of this morning my flight is canceled and I'm stuck in this terminal for the next 218 minutes and my only consolation is a cup of complimentary airport coffee. This is traveling a burdensome series of running and waiting and after countless hours finally getting there.


2 Why do we travel? I don't mind the actual flying the wonder of being airborne in a dense metal bird. The rest of the journey however can feel like a tedious lesson in the ills of modernity from the predawn x-ray screening to the sad airport malls selling clusters of keepsakes. It's the result of a globalized world and it sucks.


3 Sometimes of course we travel because we need to. Because in this digital age there is still something important about the handshake at a business luncheon. Or eating mom's special food on Thanksgiving. Or seeing your girlfriend on your 2-year anniversary.


4 But most travel is decidedly optional. Only corporate travel about 30% of trips over 50 miles is truly compulsory. Instead we travel because we want to because the annoyances of the airport are offset by the thrill of being someplace new. Because work is stressful and our blood pressure is too high and we need a vacation somewhere tropical. Because home is boring. Because the flights are on sale. Because Paris is Paris.


5 Thanks to modern aviation we can now move through space at an inhuman speed. For the first time in human history we can outrun the sun and move from one hemisphere to another in a single day. Of course it's not enough to simply get on a plane. If we want to realize the creative benefits of travel then we have to re-think its overall purpose. Most people after all escape to Paris so they don't have to think about those troubles they left behind. But here's the irony: Our mind is most likely to solve our most stubborn problems while we are sitting in luxury in a Left Bank café. So instead of contemplating that buttery dessert we should be conscious of those domestic issues we just can't solve.

6 The larger lesson though is that our thoughts are saturated with the familiar. The brain is a space of near infinite possibility which means that it spends a lot of time and energy choosing what not to notice. As a result creativity is traded away for efficiency; we think in finite literal prose not symbolic verse. A bit of distance however helps loosen the cognitive chains that imprison us making it easier to mingle the new with the old; the mundane is grasped from a slightly more abstract perspective. According to research the experience of an exotic culture endows us with a valuable open-mindedness making it easier to realize that even a trivial thing can have multiple meanings. Consider the act of leaving food on the plate: In China this is often seen as a compliment a signal that the host has provided enough to eat. But in America the same act is a subtle insult an indication that the food wasn't good enough to finish.


7 Such multicultural contrasts mean that seasoned travelers are open to ambiguity willing to realize that there are decidedly different (and equally valid) ways of interpreting the world. This in turn allows them to expand the circumference of their "cognitive inputs" as they refuse to settle for their first answers and initial guesses.


8 Of course this mental flexibility doesn't come from mere distance a simple change in latitude and longitude. Instead this renaissance of creativity appears to be a side effect of difference: We need to change cultures to experience the disorienting diversity of human traditions. The same facets of foreign travel that are so confusing (Do I tip the waiter? Where is this train taking me?) turn out to have a lasting impact making us more creative because we're less insular. We're reminded of all that we don't know which is nearly everything; we're surprised by the constant stream of surprises. Even in this globalized age we can still be amazed at all the earthly things that weren't included in the Let's Go guidebook and that certainly don't exist back home.


9 So let's not pretend that travel doesn't have its drawbacks or that we endure jet lag for pleasure. We don't spend 10 hours lost in the Louvre because we like it and the view from the top of Machu Picchu probably doesn't make up for the trouble of lost luggage. (More often than not I need a vacation after my vacation.) We travel because we need to because distance and difference are the secret cornerstones of creativity. When we get home home is still the same. But something in our mind has been changed and that changes everything.

令人惊奇的旅行目的


早晨四点一刻,闹钟把我从美梦中惊醒,要不是突然看见早已收拾好的行李箱,我几乎又要睡着。想起来还要去机场,我叹了口气。出租车来晚了,并且在途中迷了路,我越来越担心会赶不上飞机。出租车一到机场我就冲进去,跌跌撞撞通过安检处,终于,我来到了登机口。经历这一早所有的麻烦事,我乘坐的航班却被取消了。在接下来的218分钟里,我被困在了机场,唯一觉得安慰的是机场提供的一杯免费咖啡。这就是旅行,让人心烦的跑跑停停。最终,在不知经过多少小时之后,终于到达要去的地方。


我们为什么要旅行?其实,我并不介意飞行本身,在这样一个密实的金属大鸟中飞行,让我感到很奇妙。然而,旅程其余的部分,从一大早X光检查到出售大堆纪念品的糟糕的机场商场,感觉就像是关于现代社会弊病的乏味课程。这是全球化的结果,它糟糕透了。


当然,有时候我们旅行是因为我们需要去旅行。因为即使在这个数字化时代,我们仍然有一些很重要的事情要去做,比如在商务午餐中与生意伙伴握手,或是在感恩节这天吃上妈妈特别准备的食物,或是在你和你女朋友的两周年纪念日这天去看她。


但是大多数旅行是可去可不去的,在超过50英里的旅行中,只有30%属于真正必需的商务旅行。我们旅行是因为我们想要去旅行,因为到一个新地方的兴奋和激动可以抵消在机场的各种烦心事;因为工作压力太大,我们的血压太高,我们要去热带地区度假;因为在家实在太无聊;因为航班都在打折;因为巴黎毕竟是巴黎。


多亏了现代航空技术,我们现在可以以非凡的速度在空中穿梭。在人类历史中,这是我们第一次超过太阳——在短短一天中从一个半球到达另一个半球。当然,仅仅往飞机上一坐是不够的。我们要想认识到旅行在提高创新力方面的价值,还得再全面考虑其目的。毕竟,大多数人逃到巴黎,是因为这样他们就可以不必考虑家里的那些烦心事。但是,具有讽刺意味的是,当我们坐在豪华的左岸咖啡馆时,我们的脑子极有可能能解决那些最棘手的问题。因此,我们应该考虑那些在家里解决不了的问题,而不是琢磨那些奶油甜点。


但更应该知道的是我们的思想被熟悉的东西所充满。大脑是一个几乎具有无限可能性的空间,这就意味着它花了大量的时间和精力选择不去注意什么。因此,我们牺牲创造力来换取效率。我们以字义明确的散文方式思考,而非以具有象征意义的诗歌方式思考。然而,一点的距离就可以帮助我们放松禁锢我们认知的链条,使新旧思想的结合更容易,对平淡无奇的事情可从更抽象的角度加以认知。有研究指出,体验异国文化可以赋予我们宝贵的开放性思维,使我们更容易明白即使是微不足道的事物也可以有多种意义。想一想把食物剩在盘子里这个行为:在中国,这通常被看成是一种赞美,说明主人提供了足够的食物。但是在美国,同样的行为却暗含侮辱,表明食物不够好,人们不愿意吃完。


这种多元文化对比说明,经验丰富的旅行者会接受对事物的多样性解读,他们欣然认识到对这个世界可以有截然不同(但却同样有效)的方式进行解释。这也从而让他们扩大了“认知输入”的范围,因为他们拒绝仅仅满足于他们的最初答案和先前的猜测。


当然,这种思维的灵活性不仅仅来自纯粹的距离变化,即简单的经纬度的变化。相反,这种创造力的复兴似乎是差异所带来的副产品: 我们需要处于不同的文化中,体验人类传统中纷繁复杂的多样性。在国外旅行中让人迷惑的同一个方面的问题(如我该给服务生小费吗?火车要把我带到哪里?),产生了一种持久的影响,使我们更加具有创造性,因为我们不再那么视野狭隘了。我们了解了我们不知道的东西,而这些东西几乎涵盖了一切;我们对接连不断的惊喜感到惊奇。即使在这个全球化的时代,我们仍然会对所有未包括在《旅行指南》中的、平常的东西感到惊奇,而这些东西在自己家中也不存在。


当然,我们也并不是假装旅行没有缺点,或是说我们忍受飞行时差综合反应只是为了消遣。在卢浮宫我们迷路十个小时,那不是因为我们喜欢迷路。我们站在马丘比丘古城遗址顶端俯瞰的风景可能也并不能弥补我们丢失行李的麻烦。(通常,我在假期结束后还需要一个休假。)我们旅行是因为我们需要旅行,因为距离与差异是创造力的秘密基石。我们回家后,家还是那个家,但是我们的思维已经有所改变,而这就可以改变一切。