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新概念二英语写作:Instinct or cleverness?

英语网整理 | 2012-08-01
  Instinct or cleverness?  是本能还是机智?

  We have been brought up to fear insects. We regard them as unnecessary creatures that do more harm than good. We continually wage war on them, for they contaminate our food, carry diseases, or devour our crops. They sting or bite without provocation; they fly uninvited into our rooms on summer nights, or beat ageist our lighted windows. We live in dread not only of unpleasant insects like spiders or wasps, but of quite harmless one like moths. Reading about them increases our understanding without dispelling our fears. Knowing that the industrious ant lives in a highly organized society does nothing to prevent us from being filled with revulsion when we find hordes of them crawling over a carefully prepared picnic lunch. No matter how much we like honey, or how much we have read about the uncanny sense of direction which bees possess, we have a horror of being stung. Most of our fears are unreasonable, but they are impossible to erase. At the same time, however, insects are strangely fascinating. We enjoy reading about them, especially when we find that, like the praying mantis, they lead perfectly horrible lives. We enjoy staring at them, entranced as they go about their business, unaware (we hope) of our presence. Who has not stood in awe at the sight of a spider pouncing on a fly, or a column of ants triumphantly bearing home an enormous dead beetle?

  Last summer I spent days in the garden watching thousands of ants crawling up the trunk of my prize peach tree. The tree has grown against a warm wall on a sheltered side of the house. I am especially proud of it, not only because it has survived several severe winters, but because it occasionally produces luscious peaches. During the summer, I noticed that the leaves of the tree were beginning to wither. Clusters of tiny insects called aphides were to be found on the underside of the leaves. They were visited by a large colony of ants which obtained a sort of honey from them. I immediately embarked on an experiment which, even though if failed to get rid of the ants, kept me fascinated for twenty-four hours. I bound the base of the tree with sticky tape, making it impossible for the ants to reach the aphides. The tape was so stick that they did not dare to cross it. For a long time. I watched them scurrying around the base of the tree in bewilderment. I even went out at midnight with a torch and noted with satisfaction (and surprise) that the ants were still swarming around the sticky tape without being able to do anything about it. I got up early next morning hoping to find that the ants had given up in despair. Instead, I saw that they had discovered a new route. They were climbing up the wall of the house and then on to the leaves of the tree. I realized sadly that I had been completely defeated by their ingenuity. The ants had been quick to find an answer to my thoroughly unscientific methods! 我们自幼就在对昆虫的惧怕中长大。我们把昆虫当作害多益少的无用东西。人类不断同昆虫斗争,因为昆虫弄脏我们的食物,传播疾病,吞噬庄稼。它们无缘无故地又叮又咬;夏天的晚上,它们未经邀请便飞到我们房间里,或者对着露出亮光的窗户乱扑乱撞。我们在日常生活中,不但憎恶如蜘蛛、黄蜂之类令人讨厌的昆虫,而且憎恶并无大害的飞蛾等。阅读有关昆虫的书能增加我们对它们的了解,却不能消除我们的恐惧的心理。即使知道勤奋的蚂蚁生活具有高度组织性的社会里,当看到大群蚂蚁在我们精心准备的午间野餐上爬行时,我们也无法抑制对它们的反感。不管我们多么爱吃蜂蜜,或读过多少关于蜜蜂具有神秘的识别方向的灵感的书,我们仍然十分害怕被蜂蜇。我们的恐惧大部分是没有道理的,但去无法消除。同时,不知为什么昆虫又是迷人的。我们喜欢看有关昆虫的书,尤其是当我们了解螳螂等过着一种令人生畏的生活时,就更加爱读有关昆虫的书了。我们喜欢入迷地看它们做事,它们不知道(但愿如此)我们就在它们身边。当看到蜘蛛扑向一只苍蝇时,一队蚂蚁抬着一只巨大的死甲虫凯旋归时,谁能不感到敬畏呢?