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时间:2019年09月19日 08:23:02

It#39;s time to stop wallowing in pessimismabout the world#39;s future.不要再悲观于世界未来了。Over the past four weeks, we’ve had a runof undeniably good news. A panoply of data has shown that the U.S. economicsystem appears to be on firm ground. More people have jobs, albeit notnecessarily sterling jobs, and the pace of overall activity as measured by GDPis at the highest level in two years, expanding at 4.1 percentannually. On the political front, Congress passed a budget for the first timein more than three years, which suggests a period ahead where Washingtontantrums do not threaten to upend whatever delicate equilibrium currentlyexists.在过去四周时间里,确实发生了很多好新闻。华丽丽的数据表明美国经济正变得稳健。更多人找到工作,虽然这些工作并非都是非常好的工作,总体的GDP是两年来最好的,每年都增加4.1%。在政治领域,国会三年多来首次通过了预算案,表明在未来一段时期内,不管华盛顿政界风云如何变化,都不可能威胁到目前的大好局势。And yet, an aura of unease still seems tohover over us. In the year or more that I have written this column, I haveoften emphasized the way in which things may be going at least a bit right.That contrasts with the frequently repeated mantra that we are goingdangerously off the rails. Of course, like anyone, I may be right or wrong orsomewhere in between. What’s been perplexing about responses to this column,however, isn’t whether the analysis is right or wrong, wise or na#239;ve, but thatthe very hint of optimism makes a fair number of people extremely angry.然而,一种不安气氛依旧笼罩着我们。在我写专栏文章的这一年多来,我一直都强调事情正在好转。与此形成相反的是,坊间还是流传着大量的悲观咒语,说我们正在一步步危险的脱离正轨。当然,像任何人一样,我的看法有对的,也有不对的,或者介于两者之间。然而在看了人们对我文章的回复后,令人费解的他们所关心的并非我所写的东西是对是错、明智的还是天真的,而是对文章中的乐观情绪表现出极度的愤怒。It may be, of course, that my optimism ismisplaced. It may be that the ed States is actually headed to hell in aproverbial handbasket; that Europe is in a brief lull before its next legtoward dissolution of the Union; that Japan’s easy money spigot unleashed bythe new government of Shinzo Abe will end with the same no-exit stagnation ofthe past 20 years; and the glorious story of emerging economies from Brazil toMexico to India to China will end not so gloriously. It may also be thatwhatever appears to be working in the developed world is in truth working onlyfor a small minority—for the wealthy and members of the middle class inprivileged urban areas, and for anyone tethered to financial markets and globalcommerce.当然,也有可能是我的乐观情绪放错位了。或许美国越来越没得救了;欧盟也存在解体的风险;而日本如今的宽松货币政策或许将导致另外一个衰退的20年;而新兴国家比如巴西、墨西哥、印度和中国的经济神话或许不会有灿烂的结局。还有就是不管发达国家如何发展,其最终受益者都是那些都市里的特权中产阶级,或者是金融市场和全球贸易里的商人。But possibly being wrong doesn’t explainthe anger my columns have provoked, in the form of email and online reactions.Weather forecasters and sports experts are routinely wrong about outcomes, andwhile those missed predictions can trigger some ridicule, they’re not usually arecipe for rage.虽然我的乐观情绪可能是不对的,但是这并不能解释为何我的文章会引发这么多的愤怒,有些人发邮件给我表达他们的愤怒,有的直接在网上回复。天气预报和体育专家也有不准确的时候,虽然二者的错误预测可能会引发人们的嘲弄,但并不经常引起人们的巨大愤怒。True, the online world of comments andcommentary skews towards the negative, especially in the realm of economics andpolitics. People are more likely to express feelings based on disagreement anda sense of outrage than they are to react based on concord. Anger is a hotexperience that triggers action; agreement, even strong agreement, tends to bea more passive reaction.是的,网民们的和观点都倾向于消极,特别是在经济和政治议题上。人们更倾向于表达自己的异议和愤怒,而不是赞许。愤怒才能起激发人们行动;而赞许,甚至是强烈的赞许,只是一种更加消极和被动的反应。But why does optimism about today’s worldgenerate such strong hostility? Perhaps because it contradicts what many peoplebelieve. Positive views on the present are seen as a slap in the face by peoplewho have negative experiences, which, according to some polls, is the majorityof Americans. Surveys suggest that more Americans than ever—66 percent,according to one poll—believe that the country is headed in the wrongdirection. Other polls say much the same thing. Two years ago the numberswere even worse. Americans of the past few years are less positive about thefuture than they have been at any point since the 1970s.为什么对如今世界的乐观情绪会激发如此强烈的敌意呢?或者这是因为这与人们的信念相违背了。对那些经历过消极经验的人来说,对现状的乐观情绪就好像是一巴掌拍在他们脸上,而根据一些调查结果显示,大多数美国人都有过消极经验。调查结果表明比以往任何时候都多的美国人——根据一项调查的结果,是66%——认为美国正在朝错误的方向前进。其他民调结果也表明了这一点。而在两年前,这个数据更加糟糕。最近几年的美国人比70年代以来大部分时间里的美国人都更加消极悲观。Interestingly, according to these surveys,blacks and Hispanics in the ed States are more positive about the futurethan whites, perhaps reflecting the degree to which white males have seen theirfortunes decline on a relative basis over the past decades, while Hispanicsespecially have seen significant improvement in incomes andeducation. That said, it is difficult to know the race and gender breakdown ofonline reactions to my political and economic analysis.好玩的是,根据这些研究的说法,美国的西班牙人和黑人比白人对未来更加积极乐观,这或许反映了过去几十年来白人财富在相对缩水,而西班牙人在收入和教育上有了长足的进步。即便如此,在对我的经济和政治性文章做出回复的人中,我们也不知道这些人是由哪种性别和种族构成的。The problem is that in a country of 300million people, let alone a world of 7 billion, any statement about an economicor societal trend is likely to differ from the actual experience of a greatmany people. While there may be upsides to the changing mechanisms of oureconomic system, there are unequivocally winners and losers and many shadesbetween. Any suggestion that the struggles of one group may be juxtaposedagainst, though not offset by, the flourishing of another group can seemdisrespectful and even indifferent to the challenges faced by many people.问题是,在一个3亿人口的国家中,更别提全世界的70亿了,任何对经济和社会趋势所进行的预测都很可能与很多人的实际经验存在反差。虽然经济系统的改变存在好的一面,但是肯定有输家和赢家,还有介于这两者之间的人。一些人的富有与另一些人的贫穷尽管没法抵消,但是可以并行存在,持这种看法的人会被人认为是不敬的和冷漠的。The answer, however, is not to focusrelentlessly on what isn’t working. Every society must find some balancebetween addressing real shortcomings and building on real strengths. The edStates in particular oscillates between excessive self-congratulation (“theindispensable nation,” “the freest nation on Earth”) and extremeself-criticism. We can be making a transition from a manufacturing economy toan idea economy that sees millions finding a new way, and millions suffering.We can be educating millions brilliantly while failing to educate millions atall. We can see thriving urban centers even as suburban sprawl melts under toomuch debt and overpriced homes.然而,问题的并不在于总是关注不好的一面。任何一个社会都得在解决实际缺陷和建立实际优势之间取得平衡。尤其是美国,在过度的沾沾自喜(“不可或缺的国家,”“世界上最自由的国家“)和极端自我批评之间摇摆不定。我们可以做出转变,把美国从一个制造业经济转变成理念经济,从而使有些人找到了新的生活方式,而另外一些人遭受痛苦。我们可以对一些人进行成功的教育,而使另外一些人在教育上失败。我们可以建立起繁荣的都市中心,而与此同时,郊区负债累累、房价高昂。Optimism, as the theoretical physicistDavid Deutsch so brilliantly describes in The Beginnings of Infinity,doesn’t mean surety about good future outcomes. Optimism is simply thecertainty that any human progress to date has been a product of our collectiveability to understand how things work and to craft solutions. The convictionthat the present is a prelude to a bad future negates that collective ability.Yes, we may indeed be at the end of the line, but by angrily dismissingoptimistic arguments we are likely to fail more rapidly. Why bother strivingfor constructive change if you firmly reject the possibility? That leaves onlyone viable alternative: to envision a path forward. That path may notmaterialize, but striving to find it is a vital component of creating thefuture we dream about, and not the one that we fear.正如理论物理学家DavidDeutsch在《无限的开端》中所生动描述的,乐观主义并不是对未来美好结果的保。乐观主义是对我们人类迄今为止所取得的成就是我们集体思考和能力的产物的观念的肯定。而如果你消极悲观的话,那么你就是在否定这种集体智慧和能力。是的,或许我们已经到达了极限,但是如果我们以愤怒的态度来拒绝乐观的言论,那么我们可能会失败得更快。如果你对未来完全没有信心,那进行结构性的改变又有什么意义?所以我们只有一个选择:想象出一条前进的道路。这条道路或许无法实现,但是只有努力探索我们才可能创造出我们想要的未来,而不是我们害怕的未来。 /201312/270975

The job of raising children is a tough one. Children don#39;t come with an instruction manual. And each child is different. So parents sometimes pull their hair out in frustration, not knowing what to do. But in raising children-as in all of life-what we do is influenced by our culture. Naturally then, American parents teach their children basic American values.  养育孩子是件伤脑筋的差事,孩子们并不是生下来就附有说明书的,而每个孩子又都不尽相同,所以有时候父母们真是挫折地扯光了头发,还不知该怎幺办。然而以教养孩子而言,就像生活中所有的事一样,我们的行为都受文化的影响,因此,美国父母很自然地会教导他们的孩子基本的美国价值观。  To Americans, the goal of parents is to help children stand on their own two feet. From infancy, each child may get his or her own room. As children grow, they gain more freedom to make their own choices. Teenagers choose their own forms of entertainment, as well as the friends to share them with. When they reach young adulthood, they choose their own careers and marriage partners. Of course, many young adults still seek their parents#39; advice and approval for the choices they make. But once they ;leave the nest; at around 18 to 21 years old, they want to be on their own, not ;tied to their mother#39;s apron strings.;  对美国人而言,教养的目标在于帮助孩子们自立更生。从婴幼儿期开始,每一个孩子都可能拥有自己的房间;随着孩子的成长,他们有更多机会自己作决定;青少年们选择自己喜欢的方式,以及跟什幺样的朋友一起玩;当他们进入了青年期之后,他们选择自己的事业和结婚伴侣。当然,很多的年轻人在作选择时,还是会寻求父母的忠告和赞同,但是当他们一旦在十八到二十一岁左右「离了巢」之后,就希望能够独立,不再是个离不开妈妈的孩子了。  The relationship between parents and children in America is very informal. American parents try to treat their children as individuals-not as extensions of themselves. They allow them to fulfill their own dreams. Americans praise and encourage their children to give them the confidence to succeed. When children become adults, their relationship with their parents becomes more like a friendship among equals. But contrary to popular belief, most adult Americans don#39;t make their parents pay for room and board when they come to visit. Even as adults, they respect and honor their parents.  在美国,亲子之间的关系不是那么地严肃,美国父母们试着将孩子视为个体,而不是他们自我的延伸,他们允许孩子去实现自己的梦想。美国人会赞美并鼓励孩子以给予他们成功的信心。当孩子长大成人之后,亲子之间的关系会更像地位平等的朋友,可是与大家一向所以为的恰好相反,当父母来访时,大部份的美国成年人并不会要求父母付食宿费,因为就算已经成年,他们还是很敬重父母的。  Most young couples with children struggle with the issue of childcare. Mothers have traditionally stayed home with their children. In recent years, though, a growing trend is to put preschoolers in a day care center so Mom can work. Many Americans have strong feelings about which type of arrangement is best. Some argue that attending a day care center can be a positive experience for children. Others insist that mothers are the best caregivers for children. A number of women are now leaving the work force to become full-time homemakers.  大部份有孩子的年轻夫妻们都为了养育孩子的问题而大伤脑筋。传统上,母亲们会和孩子待在家里,但是近几年来,把孩子放在幼儿园好让妈妈去工作的趋势渐长。对于哪一种安排才是最好的,许多美国人都有自己强烈的主张,有些人认为进幼儿园对孩子而言是很正向的经历,另一群人则坚持母亲是照顾孩子的最佳人选,许多的妇女现在也离开工作市场成为全职的家庭主妇。母来访时,大部份的美国成年人并不会要求父母付食宿费,因为就算已经成年,他们还是很敬重父母的。  Disciplining children is another area that American parents have differing opinions about. Many parents feel that an old-fashioned spanking helps youngsters learn what ;No!; means. Others prefer alternate forms of discipline. For example, ;time outs; have become popular in recent years. Children in ;time out; have to sit in a corner or by a wall. They can get up only when they are y to act nicely. Older children and teenagers who break the rules may be grounded, or not allowed to go out with friends. Some of their privileges at home-like TV or telephone use-may also be taken away for a while. Although discipline isn#39;t fun for parents or children, it#39;s a necessary part of training.  训诫孩子是另一项引起美国父母们争议的议题。许多父母觉得老式的责打能够帮助年幼的孩子明白:父母说「不」就绝对禁止去做,然而某些人则较赞同其它形式的训诫方式。例如:「隔离法」即是近年来颇被接受的方式,被隔离的孩子必须坐在墙角或是墙边,除非他们肯乖一点才可以起来;年纪稍大的孩子或是青少年若是违反规定,则可能受到被迫停止某项权益或是不准和朋友出去的处罚,而他们在家中的某些特权,像是看电视或是打电话,也会被取消一段时间。虽然处罚对于亲子双方都不是什么有趣的事,但是它仍是训诫孩子时必要的一部份。  Being a parent is a tall order. It takes patience, love, wisdom, courage and a good sense of humor to raise children (and not lose your sanity). Some people are just deciding not to have children at all, since they#39;re not sure it#39;s worth it. But raising children means training the next generation and preserving our culture. What could be worth more than that?  担任亲职是必须付出极大代价的,教养孩子需要付出耐心、爱心、智能、勇气以及高度的幽默感(同时不失去你明智的判断力)。有些人根本就决定不生孩子,因为他们不确定这样的付出值不值得,但是养育孩子意味着训练下一代并且保留我们的文化,又有什么会比这更有价值呢? /201303/228234


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