学习啦 韦彦 2016-09-14 09:45:24
Different from the Start
Five-year-old Albert Einstein stared at his hand as if it held magic. Cupped in his palm was a small，round instrument with a glass cover and a jiggling needle. Albert's father called it a compass. Albert called it a mystery. No matter how he moved the compass, the needle always pointed to the north. Quietly Hermann Einstein watched his son. Albert was a chubby little boy with pale, round cheeks and thick, black hair that was usually messy. His bright brown eyes were wide with discovery.
Something was in the room with him, Albert realized--something he couldn't see or feel, but that acted on the compass just the same. Spellbound, Albert listened to his father explain magnetism, the strange force that made the compass needle point north. But nothing his father said made the invisible power seem less mysterious or wonderful. To many children the compass would have been just another toy. To Albert the compass was a miracle he would never forget.
But then Albert had always been different from other children. Born March 14，1879，in Ulm, Germany, Albert hadn't been looked like other babies. As she cradled her new son in her arms, Pauline Einstein thought the back of his head looked strange. Other babies didn't have such large, pointed skulls. Was something wrong with Albert? Although the doctor told Pauline everything was fine, several weeks passed before the shape of Albert's head began to look right to her.
When Albert was one, his family moved to Munich，where his sister, Maja, was born a year later. Looking down at the tiny sleeping bundle, Albert was puzzled. Where were the baby's wheels? The disappointed two year old wanted to know. Albert had expected a baby sister to be something like a toy, and most of his toys had wheels.
Albert's parents were amused by his confusion. But any response at all would have delighted them. At an age when many children have lots to say, Albert seemed strangely backward. Hermann and Pauline wondered why he was so late in talking. Was their son developing normally? As Albert grew older, he continued to have trouble putting his thoughts into words Even when he was nine years old, he spoke slowly, if he decided to say anything at all. Pauline and Hermann didn't know what to think.
But Albert was a good listener and a good thinker. Sometimes when he went hiking with his parents and Maja, he thought about his father's compass and what it had revealed to him. The clear, open meadows were filled with more than the wind or the scent of flowers. They were also filled with magnetism. The very thought of it quickened Albert's pulse.
The Old Man and the Sea老人与海
The sun rose thinly from the sea and the old man could see the other boats, low on the water and well in toward the shore, spread out across the current. Then the sun was brighter and the glare came on the water and then, as it rose clear, the flat sea sent it back at his eyes so that it hurt sharply and he rowed without looking into it. He looked down into the water and watched the lines that went straight down into the dark of the water. He kept them straighter than anyone did, so that at each level in the darkness of the stream there would be a bait waiting exactly where he wished it to be for any fish that swam there. Others let them drift with the current and sometimes they were at sixty fathoms when the fishermen thought they were at a hundred.
But, he thought, I keep them with precision. Only I have no luck any more. But who knows? Maybe today. Every day is a new day. It is better to be lucky. But I would rather be exact. Then when luck comes you are ready.
The sun was two hours higher now and it did not hurt his eyes so much to look into the east. There were only three boats in sight now and they showed very low and far inshore.
All my life the early sun has hurt my eyes, he thought. Yet they are still good. In the evening I can look straight into it without getting the blackness. It has more force in the evening too. But in the morning it is painful.
Just then he saw a man-of-war bird with his long black wings circling in the sky ahead of him. He made a quick drop, slanting down on his back-swept wings, and then circled again.
"He's got something," the old man said aloud. "He's not just looking."
He rowed slowly and steadily toward where the bird was circling. He did not hurry and he kept his lines straight up and down. But he crowded the current a little so that he was still fishing correctly though faster than he would have fished if he was not trying to use the bird.
The bird went higher in the air and circled again, his wings motionless. Then he dove suddenly and the old man saw flying fish spurt out of the water and sail desperately over the surface.
"Dolphin," the old man said aloud. "Big dolphin."
He shipped his oars and brought a small line from under the bow. It had a wire leader and a medium-sized hook and he baited it with one of the sardines. He let it go over the side and then made it fast to a ring bolt in the stern. Then he baited another line and left it coiled in the shade of the bow. He went back to rowing and to watching the long-winged black bird who was working, now, low over the water.
As he watched the bird dipped again slanting his wings for the dive and then swinging them wildly and ineffectually as he followed the flying fish. The old man could see the slight bulge in the water that the big dolphin raised as they followed the escaping fish. The dolphin were cutting through the water below the flight of the fish and would be in the water, driving at speed, when the fish dropped. It is a big school of dolphin, he thought. They are widespread and the flying fish have little chance. The bird has no chance. The flying fish are too big for him and they go too fast.
He watched the flying fish burst out again and again and the ineffectual movements of the bird. That school has gotten away from me, he thought. They are moving out too fast and too far. But perhaps I will pick up a stray and perhaps my big fish is around them. My big fish must be somewhere.
Risk is endemic in human affairs. To say to someone "I love you" or to say in church "I believe"can never be risk-free undertakings. They are to make investments in things that are not fullyunder one's control. The other person may not love you back. The God in whom you stakeyour trust may turn out not to exist. The French philosopher Pascal famously attempted ametaphysical hedge with regards to the existence of God. He argued that if believers are rightabout God's existence, then they have gained everything. But if they are wrong about it, theyhave lost nothing. It's an attempt to eliminate risk from believing. But, like the risk avoidancestrategies of investment banks, where you invest your heart and your soul can never be riskfree. All commitment, whether it be financial, emotional or religious, is subject to thepossibility of failure. That's life. And indeed it may well be that the attempt to eliminate riskfrom life can, in extreme forms, become an attempt to eliminate life itself.