Old Father Time Becomes a Terror

琴湖英语2019-03-14 15:43:56

    

 As the pace of life in today‘s world grows ever faster,we seem forever on the go. With so much to do and so little time to do it in, how are we to cope?Richard Tomkins sets about untangling the problem and comes up with an answer.

  随着当今世界生活节奏日益加快,我们似乎一直在不停奔忙。事情那么多,时间却那么少,我们该怎么办?理查德·汤姆金斯着手解决这一问题,并提出了解决方法。


Old Father Time Becomes a Terror

Richard Tomkins

1 Once upon a time, technology, we thought,would make our lives easier. Machines were expected to do our work for us,leaving us with ever-increasing quantities of time to waste away on idleness and pleasure.

从前,我们以为技术发展会使我们的生活变得更安逸。那时我们觉得机器会替代我们工作,我们则有越来越多的时间休闲娱乐。

2 But instead of liberating us, technology has enslaved us. Innovations are occurring at a bewildering rate: as many now arrive in a year as once arrived in a millennium. And as each invention arrives, it eats further into our time.

但技术发展没有把我们解放出来,而是使我们成为奴隶。新技术纷至沓来,令人目不暇接:一年涌现的技术创新相当于以前一千年。而每一项新发明问世,就进一步吞噬我们的光阴。

3 The motorcar, for example, promised unimaginable levels of personal mobility. But now, traffic in cities moves more slowly than it did in the days of the horse-drawn carriage, and we waste our lives stuck in traffic jams.

 比如,汽车曾使我们希望个人出行会方便得让人难以想象。可如今,城市车辆运行得比马车时代还要慢,我们因交通堵塞而困在车内,徒然浪费生命。

4 The aircraft promised new horizons, too.The trouble is, it delivered them. Its very existence created a demand for time-consuming journeys that we would never previously have dreamed of undertaking -- the transatlantic shopping expedition, for example, or the trip to a convention on the other side of the world.

飞机也曾有可能为我们拓展新天地。问题是,飞机提供了新的天地。其存在本身产生了对耗时的长途旅行的需求,这种旅行,如越洋购物,或远道前往地球的另一半参加会议,以前我们是根本无法想象的。

5 In most cases, technology has not saved time, but enabled us to do more things. In the home, washing machines promised to free women from having to toil over the laundry. In reality, they encouraged us to change our clothes daily instead of weekly, creating seven times as much washing and ironing. Similarly, the weekly bath has been replaced by the daily shower, multiplying the hours spent on personal grooming.

在大多数情况下,技术发展并未节省时间,而是使我们得以做更多的事。在家里,洗衣机可望使妇女摆脱繁重的洗衣劳作。但事实上,它们促使我们每天,而不是每星期换一次衣服,这就使熨洗衣物的工作量变成原来的7倍。同样地,每周一次的沐浴为每日一次的淋浴所代替,使得用于个人穿着打扮的时间大大增加。

6 Meanwhile, technology has not only allowed work to spread into our leisure time -- the laptop-on-the-beach syndrome -- but added the new burden of dealing with faxes, e-mails and voicemails. It has also provided us with the opportunity to spend hours fixing software glitches on our personal computers or filling our heads with useless information from the Internet.

 与此同时,技术发展不仅听任工作侵入我们的闲暇时间――带着便携式电脑去海滩综合症――而且添加了收发传真、电子邮件和语音邮件这些新的负担。技术发展还向我们提供机会,在个人电脑上一连几小时处理软件故障,或把因特网上那些无用的信息塞进自己的大脑。

7 Technology apart, the Internet points the way to a second reason why we feel so time-pressed: the information explosion.

除去技术发展,因特网指出了我们为何感到时间如此紧迫的第二个原因:信息爆炸。

8 A couple of centuries ago, nearly all the world's accumulated learning could be contained in the heads of a few philosophers. Today, those heads could not hope to accommodate more than a tiny fraction of the information generated in a single day.

几个世纪以前,人类积累的几乎所有知识都能装在若干哲人的大脑之中。如今,这些大脑休想容纳下一天中产生的新信息中的小小一部分。

9 News, facts and opinions pour in from every corner of the world. The television set offers 150 channels. There are millions of Internet sites. Magazines, books and CD-ROMs proliferate.

各种消息、事实和见解从世界各个角落大量涌入。电视机能收到150个频道。因特网网址多达千百万。杂志、书籍和光盘只读存储器的数量也激增。

10 "In the whole world of scholarship, there were only a handful of scientific journals in the 18th century, and the publication of a book was an event," says Edward Wilson, honorary curator in entomology at Harvard University's museum of comparative zoology. "Now, I find myself subscribing to 60 or 70 journals or magazines just to keep me up with what amounts to a minute proportion of the expanding frontiers of scholarship."

 “在18世纪,整个国际学术界总共只有屈指可数的几家科学刊物,出版一本书是件了不起的大事,”哈佛大学比较动物学博物馆昆虫馆名誉馆长爱德华·威尔逊说。“如今,我本人就订阅了60或70种期刊杂志,以便自己跟上不断拓展的学术前沿中一个微小部分的发展动向。”

11 There is another reason for our increased time stress levels, too: rising prosperity. As ever-larger quantities of goods and services are produced, they have to be consumed. Driven on by advertising, we do our best to oblige: we buy more, travel more and play more,but we struggle to keep up. So we suffer from what Wilson calls discontent with super abundance-- the confusion of endless choice.

我们产生日益加重的时间紧迫感还有一个原因:日渐繁荣富足。由于生产的物品与提供的服务越来越多,我们必须去消费。在广告的推动下,我们努力照办:我们多多购买多多旅游多多玩儿,但得尽力坚持下去。于是我们就深受威尔逊所谓的对极大富足不满之苦――即无休止的选择所造成的困惑。

12 Of course, not everyone is overstressed. "It's a convenient shorthand to say we're all time-starved, but we have to remember that it only applies to, say, half the population," says Michael Willmott, director of the Future Foundation, a London research company.

当然,并非人人感到时间过度紧迫。“说我们都缺少时间只是随意讲讲,我们应该记住,这种说法大约只适用于一半人,”未来基金公司――一家伦敦研究公司――的经理迈克尔·威尔莫特说。

13 "You've got people retiring early,you've got the unemployed, you've got other people maybe only peripherally involved in the economy who don't have this situation at all. If you're unemployed, your problem is that you've got too much time, not too little."

 “有些人早早退休了,有些人失业了,有些人或许只与经济活动沾点边,根本不会有这种情况。如果失业了,那你的问题就是时间太多,而不是太少。”

14 Paul Edwards, chairman of the London-based Henley Centre forecasting group, points out that the feeling of pressures can also be exaggerated, or self-imposed. "Everyone talks about it so much that about 50 percent of unemployed or retired people will tell you they never have enough time to get things done," he says. "It's almost got to the point where there's stress envy. If you're not stressed, you're not succeeding. Everyone wants to have a little bit of this stress to show they're an important person."

总部设在伦敦的亨利中心预测小组组长保罗·爱德华兹指出,压力感也可能被夸大,或者被强加于自身。“人人都大谈压力,以至于多达半数的失业者或退休人员都会跟你说,他们根本来不及把事情做完,”他说。“这几乎是到了羡慕压力的程度。没有感到有压力,就不是成功者。人人都想表现几分时间紧迫感,以显示自己的重要。”

15 There is another aspect to all of this too. Hour-by-hour logs kept by thousands of volunteers over the decades have shown that, in the U.K.,working hours have risen only slightly in the last 10 years, and in the U.S., they have actually fallen -- even for those in professional and executive jobs, where the perceptions of stress are highest.

这一切还有另外一个方面。几十年来由数千名志愿者所作的钟点日志表明,英国在最近十年中工作时间只略微增加,而在美国,即使对工作压力最大的专业人士和管理人员而言,工作时间实际上减少了。

16 In the U.S., John Robinson, professor of sociology at the University of Maryland, and Geoffrey Godbey, professor of leisure studies at Penn State University found that, since the mid-1960s, the average American had gained five hours a week in free time -- that is, time left after working, sleeping, commuting,caring for children and doing the chores.

在美国,马里兰大学社会学教授约翰·鲁宾逊和宾夕法尼亚州立大学研究闲暇问题的教授杰弗里·戈德比发现,自20世纪60年代中期以来,普通美国人每周增加了5小时空余时间,即工作、睡眠、乘车上下班、照料孩子和家务劳动之余的时间。

17 The gains, however, were unevenly distributed. The people who benefited the most were singles and empty-nesters. Those who gained the least -- less than an hour -- were working couples with pre-school children, perhaps reflecting the trend for parents to spend more time nurturing their offspring.

但增加的时间分配得并不均匀。受惠最多的是未婚者和子女不在身边的人。得益最少的――增加了不足1个小时――是有学前子女的双职工夫妇,这或许反映了父母在抚养子女方面花费更多时间这一倾向。

18 There is, of course, a gender issue here, too. Advances in household appliances may have encouraged women to take paying jobs: but as we have already noted, technology did not end household chores. As a result, we see appalling inequalities in the distribution of free time between the sexes. According to the Henley Centre, working fathers in the U. K. average 48 hours of free time a week. Working mothers get 14.

 这里当然也存在着性别问题。家用器具的更新换代或许鼓励妇女去做有报酬的工作,但正如我们已经注意到的,技术发展并没有扫除家务杂活。其结果是,我们发现男女空余时间的分配惊人地不平等。据亨利中心的调查,在英国,有工作的父亲平均每周有48小时的空余时间。有工作的母亲只有14小时。

19 Inequalities apart, the perception of the time famine is widespread, and has provoked a variety of reactions. One is an attempt to gain the largest possible amount of satisfaction from the smallest possible investment of time. People today want fast food, sound bytes and instant gratification. And they become upset when time is wasted.

除去不平等,缺乏时间的感觉也普遍存在,并引起了各种反应。反应之一是试图投入最少的时间以获取最大的满足。如今人们需要快餐,需要电台、电视台播放简短片断,还要即刻得到满足。时间一旦被浪费,人们就会很不高兴。

20 "People talk about quality time.They want perfect moments," says the Henley Centre's Edwards. "If you take your kids to a movie and McDonald's and it's not perfect, you've wasted an afternoon, and it's a sense that you've lost something precious. If you lose some money you can earn some more, but if you waste time you can never get it back."

“人们谈论着质量时间。他们需要最佳时光,”亨利中心的爱德华兹说。“如果你带孩子去看电影或去麦当劳,但度过的时光并不甜美,你浪费了一个下午,感觉就像是你丢失了宝贵物品。钱丢失了还能挣回来,但时间浪费了就再也无法追回。”

21 People are also trying to buy time. Anything that helps streamline our lives is a growth market. One example is what Americans call concierge services -- domestic help, childcare, gardening and decorating. And on-line retailers are seeing big increases in sales -- though not, as yet, profits.

人们还试图购买时间。任何能帮助我们提高生活效率的事物都有越做越大的市场。美国人所谓的家政服务――做家务,带孩子,修剪花木,居家装饰――即为一例。网上零售商在看着销售额大幅增长――虽然利润尚未同样大幅增长。

22 A third reaction to time famine has been the growth of the work-life debate. You hear more about people taking early retirement or giving up high pressure jobs in favour of occupations with shorter working hours. And bodies such as Britain's National Work-Life Forum have sprung up, urging employers to end the long-hours culture among managers and to adopt family-friendly working policies.

 对时间匮乏的第三个反应是有关人的一生应该工作多少年的争论增多。你比过去更常听到人们谈论早早退休,谈论放弃压力大的工作去从事工作时间短的工作。诸如英国全国工作年限论坛这样的机构像雨后春笋般出现了,敦促雇主终止让管理人员长时间加班的做法,而采取能适应家庭生活的工作方式。

23 The trouble with all these reactions is that liberating time -- whether by making better use of it, buying it from others or reducing the amount spent at work -- is futile if the hours gained are immediately diverted to other purposes.

所有这些反应的问题在于,把时间解放出来――无论是靠更充分地利用时间,靠购买他人的时间,还是靠缩短工作时间――是没有意义的,如果赢得的时间又即刻被用于其他目的。

24 As Godbey points out, the stress we feel arises not from a shortage of time, but from the surfeit of things we try to cram into it. "It's the kid in the candy store," he says."There's just so many good things to do. The array of choices is stunning.Our free time is increasing, but not as fast as our sense of the necessary."

正如戈德比所指出的,我们的紧张感并非源于时间短缺,而是因为我们试图在一个个时段中塞入过多的内容。“就像糖果店里的孩子,”他说,“有那么多美好的事情要做。选择之多,令人眼花缭乱。我们的空余时间在增加,但其速度跟不上我们心中日益增多的必须做的事。”

25 A more successful remedy may lie in understanding the problem rather than evading it.

更有效的解决方式或许在于去理解这一问题,而不是回避这一问题。

26 Before the industrial revolution, people lived in small communities with limited communications. Within the confines of their village, they could reasonably expect to know everything that was to be known, see everything that was to be seen, and do everything that was to be done.

工业革命前,人们居住在交通联系不方便的小社区里。在本村范围内,人们自然而然地期望了解该了解的一切,见到该见的一切,做该做的一切。

27 Today, being curious by nature, we are still trying to do the same. But the global village is a world of limitless possibilities, and we can never achieve our aim.

如今,生性好奇的我们仍试图这么做。然而,地球村是一个有着无限可能的世界,我们永远无法实现自己的目标。

28 It is not more time we need: it is fewer desires. We need to switch off the cell-phone and leave the children to play by themselves. We need to buy less, read less and travel less. We need to set boundaries for ourselves, or be doomed to mounting despair.

我们需要的不是更多的时间:是更少的欲望。我们定要关掉手机,让孩子们自己玩耍。我们定要少购物,少阅读,少出游。我们定要在有所为、有所不为方面给自己设定界限,不然则注定会越来越感到绝望。


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