(中学篇)2019年第03期:综合视野下尊重学习者阅读生成过程的高中英语阅读教学——以The Paradox of Choice教学为例(浙江:曹军喜)一文涉及的教学内容

 
The Paradox1 of Choice
 
When I was a kid, we had three television channels, two churches, two kinds of cheese (mild or strong) and one telephone. The black box served no other purpose than making calls, and that did us just fine. In contrast2, anyone who enters a phone store today runs the risk of being completely defeated3 by far too many brands, models and contract options4. There has never been more choice.
 
It is true that selection measures progress, but there is a limit: Option floods5 can destroy our quality of life. Why is this paradox of choice?
 
First, a large selection almost makes you fall apart. To test this, a supermarket set up a stand where customers could try out twenty-four varieties6 of jelly7. They could taste as many as they liked before buying. The next day, the owners carried out the same experiment with only six varieties. The result? They sold ten times more jelly on day two. Why? With such a wide range8, customers could not come to a decision, so they bought nothing. The experiment was repeated several times with different products. The results were always the same.
 
Second, a broader selection leads to poorer decisions. If you ask young people what is important in a girlfriend, without a second thought, they tell you all the usual qualities: intelligence, good manners, warmth, the ability to listen, a sense of humour, physical attractiveness and so on. But do they actually take these qualities into consideration when choosing someone? In the past, a young man from a village of average size could choose among maybe twenty girls of similar age with whom he went to school. He knew their families and vice versa9, leading to a decision based on several well-known qualities. Nowadays, in the age of online dating, millions of personal data10 are available. It has been proved that the stress caused by this extremely complicated11 variety is so large that the male brain reduces the decision to one single criterion12: physical attractiveness!
 
Finally, large selection leads to dissatisfaction. How can you be sure you are making the right choice when 200 options surround and confuse you? The answer is: you cannot. The more choice you have, the more unsure and therefore dissatisfied you are afterward.
 
So, what can you do? Think carefully about what you want before you inspect existing offers. Write down these criteria and stick to them—rigidly13. Also, realize that you can never make a perfect decision. Instead, learn to love a “good” choice. Yes, even in terms of life partners. Only the best will do? In this age of unlimited variety, rather the opposite is true: “Good enough” is the new “best choice.”
 
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1. paradox /'pærədɒks/ n. [C] person, thing or situation displaying contradictory features 悖论
 
2. contrast /'kɒntrɑ:st/ n. [C; U] a difference between people or things that are being compared 对比;对照
 
3. defeat /dɒ'fiət/ vt. if sth. defeats you, you cannot understand it and therefore cannot answer or deal with it 把……难住
 
4. option /'ɒpʃən/ n. [C; U] choice; selection 选择
 
5. flood /flʌd/ n. [C] a very large number of things or people that arrive at the same time 大量
 
6. variety /və'raıətı/ n. [C; U] a type of thing that is different from others in the same group 种类;品种
 
7. jelly /'dʒelı/ n. [U] type of jam made of strained fruit juice and sugar 果酱
 
8. range /reındʒ/ n. [C] variety of things or people 一系列
 
9. vice versa /'vaısı'vɜsə/ the other way round 反之亦然
 
10. data /'deıtʒ/n. [plural, U] information or facts 资料;数据
 
11. complicated /'kɒmplıkeıtıd/ adj. difficult to understand or deal with, because many parts or details are involved 复杂的
 
12. criterion /kraı'tıərıən/n. [C] (pl. criteria /kraı'tıərıə/) standard by which sth. is judged 标准
 
13. rigidly /'rıdʒdli/ adv. strictly 严格地