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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?