当前位置:首页 >> 英语学习 >>

The Ancient and the Modern


The Ancient and the Modern Robert Fulghum Ever seen an abacus ? You know , those centipede-like things with wooden beads in rows . They’re sold mostly in knickknack import shops , for wall decoration . But , in fact , an abacus is an adding machine , calculator , and computer . On second thought , that’s not quite true . The abacus is just a visual record of the computations going on in the mind of person using it. Millions of people in Asia still use the abacus daily . And it has been in use there for a couple of thousand years or more . Not only is it an effective , practical tool , but it is nice to look at . Nice to hold and touch . Wood and brass and ivory . And the older they get and the longer they are handled by a human being , the lovelier they get – smooth and dark and polished . They will last for a lifetime ; they will never need updating ; all the software needed to drive them is between your ears ; and if they break they can be fixed by an eight-year-old with household tools . The presence of the abacus puts some kinds of progress in perspective. I remember a time when a Japanese-American computer conglomerate moved into the Chinese market in a big way . In order to demonstrate the value of its small pocket calculators , it arranged a contest . The great abacus-PC shootout . The guy who won – the one with the abacus , of course – was named Chan Kai Kit . Hong Kong Chinese – a senior clerk for a shipping company . It is true that the operator of the little computer did handle the pile of invoices forty-four seconds faster than Chan Kai Kit and his abacus . But the computer got the wrong answer . Seems the machine operator was in too big a hurry to prove how smart his machine was and fed it fuzzy

facts . Much face was lost . Now don’t get me wrong . Pocket calculators are here to stay , and they have their place . A Luddite I am not – machines are not evil in themselves . And a careful , thoughtful man like Chan Kai Kit might do even better with his own pocket calculator instead of his abacus – who knows ? It’s just that I’m a sentimentalist about the wonders of the human hand and mind . And when I find evidence that it can still hold its own in the face of the wizardry of the electronic circuitry of little chips , I am pleased . It is comforting to know that some very old and very simple ways of getting from one place to another still work . And ponder the fact that an ancient and worn abacus will find its way to the walls of the twentieth century as a thing of art and wonder , made lovely by its usefulness and made useful by its beauty . I have an old wooden bowl and an elderly chopping knife I would stack up against a food processor any day . It’s the same story . 古今较量 罗伯特富尔格姆 见过算盘吗?算盘,就是一串串珠子排成排,给人感觉跟蜈蚣的肢节很像, 一般在进口小商品市场作为壁饰出售。实际上,算盘不单是算术工具,还是计 算器,甚至计算机。可是反复掂量后,觉得也不完全是那样。算盘只不过是把 运算者脑子里的计算过程给视觉化了。 上百万亚洲人至今还在他们的日常生活中使用算盘。在此之前,算盘已经 有了两千多年的历史,甚至更久。这不单是因为它算得快而准,还因为它长得 好看,而且触感也不错——有木制的,有铜制的,还有象牙制的。算盘的历史

越久,使用的次数越多,就越发地光滑,乌亮,更惹人喜爱了。它很耐用,也 不需要什么更新,程序就在你的脑子里,就算被弄坏了,一个八岁的孩子用常 用的工具就可以搞定。 算盘的存在使我们可以正确地看待我们所取得的一些进步。我记得曾经有 一家日美合资的电脑公司大规模地挺进中国市场,为了显示袖珍计算机的优势, 特地举行了一次比赛。于是一场算盘与计算机的大决战上演了。当然了,结果 是某货运公司一名香港籍高级职员——陈佳杰用算盘赢得了比赛。的确,那位 用计算机的选手在计算那一大堆发票时比陈佳杰和他的算盘节约了 44 秒,但是 结果却是错的。看来是那位选手急于想证明它的计算机是多么的聪明,结果输 入了错误的数据,这回可糗大了。 我没有别的意思。袖珍型计算器有存在的必要,也有它自己的市场。我并 不是那种反对自动化的勒德分子,机器无罪。也许像陈佳杰那样一个谨慎细心 的人,用起计算器也许比用算盘效果会更好,谁知道呢?这只不过是我,一个 喜欢发点牢骚的人,面对人类用双手和大脑创造出来的奇迹时,激起的一丝感 慨罢了。当我看到算盘面对那一片小小的但却集合了高科技魔法的芯片时,面 无惧色,我的心算是放下了。一种古老而简便的解决问题的方法至今依然行之 有效,这实在让人欣慰。 想看看这样一个事实:古老陈旧的算盘作为工艺品和珍奇物挂在 21 世纪 的墙上,因着实用而美丽,也因着美丽而实用。我这儿有一个古朴的木碗还有 一把有些年头的菜刀,它们可以媲美任何年代的食品加工器。这跟算盘与计算 器是一个道理。


相关文章:
...Democracy in Ancient Greece and the Modern World...
PO110 ESSAY-Direct Democracy in Ancient Greece and the Modern World_军事/...In theory, directly democracy in ancient Greece is the best and complete ...
Free love in Ancient China and Modern China(古今中...
Free love in Ancient China and Modern China(古今中国的自由恋爱)_英语学习_...After registering on an Internet dating site, we can use the search ...
M Finley- Democ Ancient & Modern
M Finley- Democ Ancient & Modern_英语学习_外语学习_教育专区。Finley: ...nonstarter; democ is rule by the many, and the many are always, ...
...of ancient or modern days can surpass the Indian...
No hero of ancient or modern days can surpass the Indians with their lofty contempt of death and the {{U}}fortitude{{/U}} with which they sustain ...
医学史英文简述
A Survey of Modern Medicine The history of modern medicine: In ancient ...With the passage of time, medicine moved further and further away from ...
高二英语the olympic games教案2
Unit2 The Olympic Games Goals: (1)Talk about ancient and modern Olympic ...---Women: (2) What do you know about the modern Olympic Games? ---Comp...
2013届高三英语二轮专题复习短文改错
and only got 50 marks in the Chinese exam.On ...the most ancient language in the world.It is ...the modern world are the result of cooperation. ...
更多相关标签: