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Unit 8 Text A A meaningful life翻译,原文和录音

[2018年11月6日] 来源:新视野大学英语Unit 8 编辑:给力英语网   字号 [] [] []  

A meaningful life


1 The death of an angel of animal rights activism does not rate with that of a drugged-out rock star. So when Henry Spira died of cancer in September 1998 his death passed without notice apart from a brief obituary in The New York Times. Yet Henry Spira's life tells us something important not only about the modern animal movement but about the possibility of an individual making a difference in the modern world.


2 I first met Henry when he turned up at an adult education seminar I was giving at New York University. I offered a course on "Animal Liberation" that attracted about 20 students. One student was an unusual specimen outside the regular aesthetic of an "animal person. His clothes were untidy and his hair uncombed. His language was so blunt and earthy that at times I thought I was listening to an assassin from a violent mob. Yet I couldn't help feeling intrigued with his direct way of speaking and his solemn secular oath to help animals in need.


3 I left New York soon after that but one day got a call from Henry. He talked with me about his work. I knew that for over a century the animal rights movement had been putting out graphic brochures leaflets and audio propaganda alerting people to the dreadful experiments on animals. But in all that time the number of animals used in experiments had risen from a small batch of a few hundred to more than 30 million. No activist had managed to stop a single experiment or improve the lives of animals living in tiny constricted enclosures. Henry changed that. One of his earliest campaigns permanently closed down a laboratory conducting experiments with toxic vapor on about 60 rabbits.


4 Following that success Henry rapidly moved on to bigger targets. He laid siege to Revlon over their use of rabbits to test cosmetics for potential eye damage and exerted enough pressure to persuade them to put $750000 into the search for alternatives. Having seen the boycott that Revlon had narrowly averted and being afraid of incurring similar wrath Avon Bristol-Myers and other major cosmetics corporations soon followed suit. Though it took 10 years for the research to achieve results it was largely Henry's public and judicious watchdog efforts that brought so many cosmetics corporations to where they now truthfully state their products are not tested on animals.


5 From decades spent working on the side of the weak and oppressed Henry became efficient at masterminding campaigns. His victory over Revlon didn't require wealth legislators or the help of big governments. He learned how to build public awareness campaigns how to shape malpractice lawsuits to successfully sue large companies and how to build committed groups of supporters for the cause.


6 We often assume that society has become too big and too bureaucratic for individuals to make a difference. How could one individual however humane and passionate possibly bring about change in the face of powerful global corporations ministerial indifference and complicated parliamentary rules?

7 Henry's life was dedicated to the cause of preventing suffering of innocent helpless animals especially those used in research. He didn't stand on the sidelines or try to get revenge for the suffering he observed. Henry was practical. He acted. He appealed to the public and created publicity kits to help common people become activists.


8 On April 21 1996 I sent Henry a fax telling him I was thinking about writing a book to chronicle his life and work. I asked whether I could stay with him for a few days in June to talk about it.


9 Henry called that evening. He said he'd really like me to write the book but he wasn't sure he was still going to be around in late June. He explained that he'd been diagnosed with cancer and asked whether I could come earlier.


10 I was in New York six days later. Henry had lost a lot of weight and lacked the energy I was used to seeing in him. His life expectancy was a matter of months. Death seemed to be stalking him.


11 The most remarkable thing about Henry though was the total absence of any sign of depression. Life had been good he said refusing to hear my sympathy and condolences. He said he'd done what he wanted to do and enjoyed it a lot. Why should he be depressed?


12 Henry's life did not terminate in the time his doctors predicted. For the next two years he kept working helping develop the material I needed for the book through interviews and questionnaires. When I began writing I never thought Henry would see a completed draft but he lived to see the book on sale in a New York bookstore. Then within a week wearing his favorite striped pajamas he died.


13 One essential mark of living well is to be satisfied with one's accomplishments when taking a retrospective look at life and to be able to accept death and face infinity calmly. Henry's life seemed to lack many of the things that most of us take for granted as essential to a good life. He never married or had a long-term live-in relationship. He had no children or successors. He never went to concerts to the theater or to fine restaurants. He didn't bring antibiotics to the needy or vaccinate the poor. He was never called a hero like the caped crusaders of our comic books. There is no fancy stone for him at the cemetery after his death. He just cared for the weakest creatures in his society. What gave Henry Spira's life depth and purpose? What did he  and others  find meaningful in the way he lived his life?

有意义的人生


一位动物权利保护运动的天使的去世还比不上一个沉溺于毒品的摇滚明星的死亡。所以,亨利·斯皮拉在1998年9月因癌症去世的消息根本没有引起公众的注意,只是《纽约时报》上刊登了一则简短的讣告。但是亨利·斯皮拉的一生让我们懂得了一些重要的东西,不仅关于现代动物权益保护运动,而且还有一个人改变现代社会的可能性。


第一次见到亨利,是我在纽约大学教一个成人教育研修班时他前来听课。我开设了一门关于“动物解放”的课程,吸引了大约20名学生。其中一名学生很另类,完全和通常意义上“动物权利保护者”的形象背道而驰。他的衣着邋遢,头发也未曾梳理。他说话非常直率并且粗俗,有时我甚至认为,我好像是在听一个暴力团伙的杀手在讲话。但是,我情不自禁地被他那种直截了当的说话方式,还有他那庄重的、不是出于宗教目的要帮助处于困境中的动物的誓言吸引住了。


在那之后,我很快就离开了纽约。但是有一天,我接到了亨利的电话。他和我聊起了他的工作。我知道,一个多世纪以来,动物权益运动的倡导者一直通过散发带图画的手册、传单以及音频宣传材料,来引起公众对那些可怕的动物实验的关注。但与此同时,用于实验的动物数量从原来区区几百骤增到三千多万。没有哪位活动家曾成功阻止过一项实验或改善了蜗居在狭小困笼中的动物的生活。亨利却改变了这一切。他早期的运动之一就是使一间用毒蒸汽在大约60只兔子身上做实验的实验室被永久关闭。


取得上述成功之后,亨利马上转向更大的目标。他谴责露华浓公司用兔子检测化妆品对眼睛可能造成的伤害。他还给露华浓施加了强大的压力,说服其投入75万美元进行研究,以寻找替代方法。雅芳、百时美及其他大型化妆品公司看到露华浓险些遭到抵制,担心自己也会招致同样的愤怒,所以很快也都纷纷效仿。虽然他们的研究历经10年才取得成果,但是正是亨利所作出的这种公开而又明智的监督,才使得这么多化妆品公司现在可以如实地说,他们的产品没有在动物身上进行实验。


经过几十年为弱势及受压迫群体所做的抗争,亨利变得非常善于策划各种活动。他在与露华浓的抗衡中获胜,靠的不是财富、立法者或庞大的政府的帮助。他学会了如何发起能够唤醒公众意识的活动,如何开展渎职诉讼以便成功起诉大公司,以及如何为这一事业建立忠实的支持者团队。


我们经常认为社会已经变得太大、太官僚,从而个体不可能改变它。在面对强大的跨国公司、冷漠的执政部门和众多复杂的议会规则时,单单一个人,不管他多么具有人道主义,多么富有激情,又如何能促成改变呢?


亨利的一生都致力于阻止无辜又无助的动物遭受痛苦,尤其是那些被用于研究的动物。他没有袖手旁观,也没有试图为他所看到的苦难复仇。亨利是个很实际的人。他采取了行动。他向公众呼吁,并做了各种成套的宣传材料来帮助普通人成为积极的参与者。


1996年4月21日,我给亨利发了一份传真,告诉他我正在考虑写一本记录其生平和事业的书。我问他我是否可以6月份过去和他待几天,以讨论这一事宜。


当天晚上亨利就给我打了电话。他说他很愿意由我来写这本书,但是他不确定自己6月下旬是否还会活在世上。他解释说他已经被确诊得了癌症,所以问我能不能早点来。


6天后我就到了纽约。亨利瘦了很多,而且也没有了我以前在他身上看到的精力。他的生命只剩几个月了。死亡似乎正在向他逼近。


尽管如此,亨利最了不起的一点就是,你根本看不到他有一丝一毫的沮丧。他说他一直过得很好,因而拒绝听我说同情和安慰的话。他说,他做了自己想做的事,而且很享受所做的一切,为什么要感到沮丧呢?


亨利的生命并没有像医生预言的那么快终止。在接下来的两年里,他一直坚持工作,通过采访和问卷调查的方式,帮助我准备写书需要的材料。在我开始动笔的时候,我从来没想到亨利能看到完整的初稿,但是他一直活到亲眼看到书在纽约的书店出售。然后,不到一个星期,他就去世了,当时身上穿着他最喜欢的条纹睡衣。


一个人活得好的一个根本标志就是,在他回首自己人生的时候,他对自己的成就感到满意,而且能够冷静地接受死亡、面对永恒。亨利的人生似乎缺少了我们大多数人想当然地认为美好人生所必须具备的很多东西。他一生未婚,也从未经历过长期的恋爱同居关系;他没有孩子或别的继承人;他从来不去音乐会、剧院或高级饭店;他也没有给生活艰难者带去抗生素或是给贫困者接种疫苗。他从来没有像我们的漫画书中那些披着斗篷的社会改革家那样被称为英雄。他死后墓地上也没有什么精致的墓碑。他只是关心社会中脆弱的生灵。是什么让亨利·斯皮拉的生活富有深度、目标明确呢?在他的这种生活中,他,以及其他人,又发现了什么有意义的东西呢?