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美国文化论文-有关美国文化特色的essay-American culture

时间:2012-03-06 10:00:25 来源:www.ukassignment.org 作者:美国文化论文网 点击:1287

The American culture, in a sense, is the extension of European culture, because the American language, she of the population structure, and her national spirit from Europe. On the other hand, the U.S. and European culture with different, because European settlers in North America continent go after Indian driven, in a barren desert land created marveled at the splendid civilization. So, talking about American culture and social etiquette, we must take care of European and American cultures is gay, and to pay attention to the phase of the opposite sex.
Culture is a wide range, content complex title, involves people in social life and all aspects of the communication. The author in the form of 杂谈 worked, American culture briefly summarized. KuanRongXing.

America is a nation of immigrants, it ancestors came from all over the world. People are moving to the United States, not only geographically move it, and they are the country's appraisal and customs brought to the new residence. Because the miscellaneous, each person is very outstanding differences; Because the difference is very common, people would not have paid special attention to unity. As time passes, the American cultural convention formed a higher degree of KuanRongXing (tolerance), to heterogeneous culture and different evaluation the tolerance, acceptable attitude. At this point, American society feasible custom than any other country in the world to come broad.

Politically speaking, this KuanRongXing in terms of the pursuit of freedom and rights to freedom of maintenance. From religious, it reflects different faith harmonious coexistence. Look from life range, it appeared in different RACES, different ethnic community peace get along. To cap it all, in the United States, everyone basically can choose any different ideas, beliefs, life style and traditional habit; People can also considerably keep their customs and instrument. For example, the jews can celebrate their religious holiday, and christians is able to their Christmas and Easter. Then for example, the Chinese can in Chinatown in Chinese life and work; In the same way, immigrants to Vietnam in their "little Saigon" according to Vietnam way of business management, and engaged in all kinds of activities.

American tolerate sex, in addition to the above the United States is an immigrant country this factor, but also with the American people about the frequent migration. It is well known, the American history in the development of a important part is her KaiFaShi west. At that time, American settlers or trek, riding in the car, from the east side to the west, from the south to the north, where there is opportunity, to go there. Frequent migration and the constantly changing people to live is always in the "flow" condition, to temporarily faces all sorts of different phenomenon more easy to tolerance and accept. In addition, often migration also to be able to help people enlarge my horizons, know more know broadly, to a different customs the sympathy, understanding, and gradually formed a diversity is better than the openness of the oneness of concept.

Because the American KuanRongXing is stronger, so few americans put their will impose on other people, and the Chinese Confucius "do unto others as you would be done by" value very like. For example, the husband may be a republican, but he must never pushed him that support the Democrats wife change political position. Similarly, the mother may be a Catholic, but she can never forced her that was converted to a Muslim son to change religious beliefs. In the daily habits peace transaction processing, the tolerant spirit but also common occurance, are common.

neglects

Americans to be informal known to the world. At the office, people often can see "white-collar" don't wear a jacket, don't tie in the office work. A telephone conversation, they go back a depend, the foot to rest on the table, leisurely leisurely in the phone "kan" on a half a day. On the campus, dressed in jeans, American professor foot Nike shoes into the classroom. What is more, the professor said strength, will be a bottom to go to the platform on sit, the butterflies to a voluble, regardless of age, regardless of sex. More often the case, is the United States between father and son, mother and daughter of the relationship between the amiable, relaxed. Whether in the film, or in real life, we always see the elders and the young generation mutual pat on the shoulder, unrestrained lens. All this comes from americans to be informal (informality) habit.

From the cultural perspective, the American people are informal habit and their democratic equal ideas related. We know, the United States history development process, not the feudal society this stage. Noble, a pariah, grade, the royal family and other European mainland popular a set of things, in the United States have no or no real meaning. People to family, status, identity not very value: more important are the actual performance of itself. This raised in the United States in the early stage of the development concept to a great extent, has become a traditional American culture of "deposits". Because everyone value equal rights and people interact with each other in need not excessive pay attention to all kinds of overelaborate etiquette. On this point, people as long as pay attention to the United States to meet the way when playing for will understand. Whether the subordinate see boss, or the students meet teachers, the average American just smile and say Hi or Hello can, and don't need to add various kinds of first street. Also, the americans in a social situation SanXi business meetings or more diversity, less people one by one and to say goodbye, but to everybody waved and said, "Well, we see you" (Well, so long everybody). Do not say people lack of respect each other, but the people of the matter of habit.

To be informal is to make people more easily in contacts, at ease some, thus faster shorten the distance between people. Perhaps this is the American character, cheerful one reason.

Titles and call

Because American emphasis on equality, their social rank idea is relatively weak, so they don't have family hereditary titles. Instead, the American people like to use professional title as a call, because it on his own "earn", not from in the hereditary. His attempt for example: harry Judge (Judge Harley), Senator Smith (Senator Smith), General Clark (General Clark), Dr Brown (Dr. Brown), Professor Green (Professor Green), reverend Wright (Father White), Cohen teacher (Rabbi Cohen, to the respect of the jews language), Gray Bishop (Bishop Gray), etc. Engaged in other industries, americans to "sir", "young lady", "wife" proportion.

The americans first meeting, if don't know each other's title, but to show him respect, they used "sir" (sir) or "lady" (madam) call. Be you of so called will immediately understand, you don't know how to call him, so he will place the call to tell you. Generally speaking, unless one engaged in a professional work, such as doctors, professors, etc, the American people don't use official title. This is because American emphasis on friendly, neglects relationship, and do not take the title status. Americans believe that, even if the direct address of a person's name, people can also said to him respect. In fact, most americans don't want their own for age or social status and the relationship between want others to special respect him. This will so that they don't feel comfortable and feel the distance of each other too separate widened. Many American people even think "sir", "wife", "miss" call too serious, so, they tend to call names. For example, "don't call me Mrs. Smith, call me Sally good". Americans think, call him by his first name, often easier to being friendly and loved. Of course, the paper, people must be even with a name, like "Mary Smith, this is John Jones." Just beginning, introduced may still use each other's name is called for, such as "miss Smith", "Mr Jones", etc. But before long, wait for the other party to know, talked about speculation after, one of them would ask, "do you mind if I use your name call you?" In general, no one would mind. So, both sides will call name, to continue their conversation. Therefore, the American people come together to chat, rarely used title or words like "sir".

Everything yourself

Europe, Asia and other countries the rich, in order to show the style, or from the housework trivial to extricate, often hire maid, cooks and driver who serve and his family. In the United States, this situation is not much, because they pay attention to "do-it-yourself" (do it yourself). In the United States, whether doctors, professors, lawyers, businessmen, they all cook, clean, the market purchase. They have social identity, but don't think do housework will lower their decent identity. They also have economic strength hire "nanny", but I thought I'd be doing, not necessary. The somebody else away, people can often see big professor, a doctor you cook cooks cooking. As for mowing the lawn, sorting out the garage and paint the roof of such as unskilled work, social identity not only no tired feeling, but will joyfully into them.

"Do-it-yourself" habit and the American frontier spirit has close relationship. Imagine, the men in the west of the desolate, people and wilderness forever, and natural coexistence, from basic dietary daily life to complex medical education, all must depend on yourself. After many years' of influence, and the "do-it-yourself" self-reliance spirit and deeply into the culture of the United States casting of genes. In addition, in the American people, not only reflect people's DIY independent spirit, and people still can from "begin" after the results of their ability and see their value.

Of course, the "do-it-yourself" culture and other reasons. Americans like to practical, and hire others work is actually buy services. The average American, as long as their capable, competent, and didn't want to spend money please help others, think this is unnecessary spending. Still, the American people are paying more attention to privacy (privacy), concern about the home halcyon. A stranger in the house often ambulating, will no doubt to privacy and caused the influence of quiet negativity. So, they don't want to sacrifice privacy and peace for a at leisure.#p#分页标题#e#

Don't like silent

And the United States have had contact with people who have the feeling, and westerners to several americans in the most bold and unrestrained, the most amiable, the most frank-this of course is the American lovely place. This is bold and unrestrained, easy-going character in "just" behave very significant. Americans once and people began opened, it will be writing just keep talking. They don't like to do sit doesn't work, if found interlocutors long doesn't work, will soon get him to join ShenKan in.

Sometimes, they will ask if someone body unwell; Sometimes, he will ask whether interface what's on your mind; Sometimes, they simply ask whether to ask for help. Silence for them, often means "talk", or "can't compliment", or "don't want to talk to you." Therefore, the American people chat after a few pause, speak both sides always tried to keep the conversation going until 谈兴 so weak. If the americans in a conversation about both found not approach, they often use silence to say: now that both sides of the argument is difficult to match, continued to argue the matter will be impolite, even hurt feelings. And that, as with silence with relief.

The pace of life

Americans natural disposition is good, move, gets involved. Like an energetic young people, the American people kept at it this busy that, seems to have never make not over of energy. The person in the city seems never to rush to what place; The country people are always in the farmland, chicken farm, barns, dairy farm run between keep; The office of the people had a similar words into mountain work (paper work) to do; The company secretary thumbs and kept the phone, send files. You walk in the street, we the people behind will step to get your super meteor ahead; You go to a restaurant, a rare to find with your cold; and the partner talking and laughing. The rhythm of the life like a foot on the spring and methodically constantly running, make up a busy, near crazy modern life in pictures.

The fast pace of the American way of life, and to the extent of their society is closely related to the fierce competition. The United States is a country with highly developed market economy, "the survival of the fittest" the law of its operation rule, not to advance is to go back, be it defeats. In order to survive and success, the American people have to fight and struggle, and fighting and struggle is one of the important aspects of the fight against time with others, the struggle speed, make oneself always in rely on status. This shows, the American people of the fast rhythm of life style is fierce society by their competition "persecuted" come out. Because this "persecuted" the ever-present, be everywhere, the American way of life of fast rhythm is habit is a second nature.


Individual progress

The United States is a respect individuality, advocating individualism country, individual struggle success story is "American dream" is the essence of parts. Whether from impoverished apprenticeship to Carnegie steel king of rich festivals, or even the house of people from Lincoln to compete on the presidency, they are ordinary americans with relish, dream of personal success story.

In many countries in the world, human relations, family background is one of the success of the necessary conditions, such as in Italy, people need the help of the godfather, in Africa, people must get the chief's introduced. But in the United States, human relations is helps people to succeed, but more important, is a man's efforts to wisdom, the enterprising spirit, courage and easy-going personality. The United States is a "do-it-yourself" society, people on the idea of equal opportunity persuaded in. There, success is not by the family "heirloom", also not give others. Individual progress, all in my own hard efforts and not the struggle; Individual progress, is also the main mark self value realization. In a certain extent, personal improvement measure is to see one of a person's position advancement, for common sense tells people, any one unit, whoever does appoint people by abilities of the spirit, only those who have the ability, good performance, just may often get promoted promoted. In view of this reason, the American people to get a good job, one can often brings opportunities work, very seriously. Party b before, they all around, careful investigation, try to sure that job in its favor. Once found work environment adverse, americans will not hesitate to Celtic, for another job, namely job-hopping (job-hopping), because most americans will abide by the act is, the resignation for them what is not decent things; Instead, we pursue personal progress made it a symbol, is seen as a chance for advancement of a kind of effort.

Frank talk

China has a saying, "the ritual people don't blame". We asked people to come home to eat, clearly made a table of dishes, but say to the guest: "today, no food, literally eat". The reason that we do so because we culture in modesty is a polite. However, the American people for this kind of "the wind" expression of manners found it hard to compliment. And most European countries people, the American people like to express themselves freely views and opinions. In their view, one, pull, not was necessary in the simple fact that add extra words before modification. For example: the American people please people go to his home away, they will be pointed at the table of dishes specifically told guests, "for your coming, we prepared these of delicious things, hope you like them". Americans believe that, I sincerely invite you to, of course, have to let you know that I sincerity is in. Since americans pay attention to frank, in the usual relationships, their things and people are ready to express your opinion, said mutually tell. They think, each different opinion is taken for granted, and so, people in the exchange of views and chat, for you will never difference of opinion and a fuss. In a word, as long as the words don't angry, bitter, opinions dispute is harmless.

This kind of direct evaluation on reflected in use, the American people in the conversation "nonsense" (waste words) is less. They answer questions in others, like to use simple, but views clear "yes", "sure", "No", "of course" word. The simple answer is not said americans polite, or brain simple, but they are informal, frank candid personality of reflect.

Many people with the United States has this experience: when you appreciate a U.S. person, such as said he car well, speaks Chinese beautiful, he will GuanErYiXiao, say thank you. But when we praise the Chinese compatriots, such as saying that someone good writing, speak English fluently, he will modesty to connect said, "not good, not good", or "where, where". The humanism of the east and west of the difference is worth pondering, should also learn English learners caused the enough attention.

Critical spirit

In eastern culture system, the critical spirit is a weak links. Or out of respect, or out of politeness, or out of fear, or out of fear, the people to question the little authority, let alone the challenge. In fact, these countries most heavily rating system comparison, people have long hierarchy by influence, and had the internalized in their heart, carry out in line. Since childhood, babble children were told, "adult word is always right". Young students have new discovery, often for wet behind the ears to confidently and authority theory a war chest. In the long run, people's "rough edges" be ground flat, curiosity is constrained, critical spirit be way, each one become too compliant, parrot "echo" "echo" person. In western countries including the United States, people since the childhood training children asking questions, and cultivate their knowledge and a habit. The child proposed problem, the parents and the teachers not immediately give the answers, but persuasive voice to inspire, the induction, help children think together. Sometimes, the adults will charge the children themselves to the library for the answers, rarely for children "arranged" solutions. Life in this culture atmosphere, children and company out such a truth: any problem of the answers are not ready, it depends on the person looking for and thinking.

People in the United States this question, the exploring spirit naturally lead them to the authority or authoritative view critical type (critical) attitude. Young people and the elders opinions and argue for each other; Students and teachers will because don't agree and "acrimonious debate" a; Novice and authority will for a different view and eyeball over. Americans do not respect for authority not questioning authority, but think that only through the free lectures to discrimination authenticity, thus gradually close to the truth. In addition, in the American people, the elements of the dignity of people is to have independent personality, and independent personality is the premise of independent thinking. To think independently, critical spirit is indispensable. Moreover, questioned and criticized, not the people in, but the person's opinion and view.

The truth on polite

In many countries, people talk to each other, like pick each other glad to hear it said, rather than pointed out that the truth, so as not to hurt you. This is mostly out of polite (courtesy) and polite (politeness). But in the U.S. the eye, this kind of polite and courteous not as good as the truth important. Americans have a ethical values motto: "Honesty is the best policy" (Honesty is the best policy). In other words, in the more honest, kind, courteous, family reputation is less likely to suggest heavy, the American people the truth in the first place. Thus, in the American if to say something bad about someone, the most severe of one is "You can't believe in him" (You cannot trust him).#p#分页标题#e#

Try for example. An American in driving on, on the way, he asked a stranger: "here under the distance a town how far is it?" In some put a polite in higher than the real position, the country may immediately think of Mr. The roadside GanLuZhe already exhausted, anxious to arrive at your destination, so they spoke, and said, "go down this road was" (Just down the road). He thought this answer can make GanLuZhe heart relief and then more vibration foot spirit. However, when the americans open a good half-day car to reach to the town he will not free mood, or even angry, feel cheated (feeling tricked). In his view, the man who knows the long trip, but knowingly deceive him. The same problem, the people of the United States how to answer? Americans believe that, if he knew the next town and 24 miles and said "Just down the road" is not honest performance. So, despite the tired to find extremely rich sympathy passers-by, but he is still the truth mutually tell: "there is a long way to go, and at least 24 miles". (You have a long way to go; at least 24 miles more). The way to may be disappointed, but he learned that his own situation, so also won't produce misunderstanding.

Don't understand asked, answer their questions

Americans pay attention to frank, and true value, so, no matter in class, or chat at ordinary times, encountered do not understand the question, or didn't listen to clear sentences, they love being follow, figure out what a good grasp. The so-called "known for know the motto," also. In their eyes, don't understand is not terrible, was enough to make people feel shame. Terrible and shame is the ignorant, smooth. Based on this principle, the American teacher prelect, if students don't ask questions, and he think that students understand. He would never initiative to ask students to answer some of what problem, because he thought it was a party to the students things: for students, there is no need to consider face problems, if you don't know, ask the student the basic standards is.

Once asked, the American people generally must give a clear answer, in a social situation, in talking to friends, in the workplace, is so. In the east and talk to people, sometimes, for the American people question XiaoErBuDa, often make americans feel puzzling, at a loss. This in a way will be americans as kind of a faux pas. Therefore, the americans to chat or get down to business, answer their questions as the basic manners. If really don't know, or difficult to answer, but clearly, such as I don ''s happened to, I am afraid I cannot answer your for Must not be silent, ignore them.

Making friends

People interact with each other, because they often speaks, hit it off, have a common hobbies and interests and make friends (making friends), this is the same in any society. What is different, in the LiuDongLiang small countries and regions, the friendship general development more slow, because on the one hand, people contact, on the other hand be cautious. And once made friends with each other, a friendship, they often try to maintain this friendship, not only depend on each other, and his own reputation and personality also "bet" up, even affected both sides of the other family members. So, in this society, the friendship will last quite long, or bush. But in the U.S. such a regional flow (geographical mobility) and the social mobility (social mobility) are very countries, making friends has its characteristics. Because people often migrate from one place to another place, they make friends in that was set at the friendship may close and firm. But once migrate each other, their friendship may soon disappear namely, both sides to find the right their new friends. Americans won't because this friendship means of dealing with and feel "lady", more not felt he was each other's contempt, or insult. In most cases, "getting" friends may keep communication, or call for an additional year or two, and then gradually interrupt contact. Interesting is, once have the chance to meet again, no matter how long interval, old friends will "reconciliation", a review of friendship, even continue to have close contacts for a period of time. Based on the way to make friends, the foreign guest to visit the United States the somebody else, you can freely, relaxed freely and they chat, play. They can share with people in the United States holiday, or even live together, and you don't have to keep friendship for life worrying about the worry. Will americans, they invited the foreign guests to visit is from a friendship and hospitable, they pleased for this short friendship it can take time and energy.

Of course, though, americans are friendship is not very long lasting, but in making friends, they still emphasize sincere and trust and friendship with no false and deceit. Just because regional flow and the social mobility is frequent, did they formed a "hand in a group of friends, in a group of friends" way. This is not so much to chop and change, wider and wider than the world friend.

invited

Invite (invitations) relatives and friends to participate in an activity can put forward to, also can use telephone and mail notification. In the United States, to attend a formal party or a dinner invitation, whether written notice or phone call, is invited as the reply, let invited a party know whether you attend. If accepted the invitation to suddenly find that can't keep the after, were invited to a party is necessary to inform the male host (host) or the hostess (hostess), indicating that the cause of can't keep the appointment. Really keep the appointment, what should the guests arrive on time, or in the agreement after the time of 5 minutes to 10 minutes. If early to words, the guest had better not immediately into the house, and can place outside the spinning in nearby look, until time to ring the doorbell again into the house. Did so, because americans on time for sexual particularly exquisite, their activities are often in strict accordance to the timetable laid operation. When americans invite others to eat away, the host or hostess mostly you cook cooking. To prepare for the good delicious dishes, he (she) in general to busy to sitting before. The guests came early, master attending guest cooking two head not landing, for both inconvenient, and host and guest too afraid of reckless. If the guest for some reason more than 15 minutes late for words, americans usually look forward to the guest call them, or they will be delayed for guests to but increase and anxiety. The dinner table, guests usually not left in a hurry, but sit awhile, chew. About half an hour or so, the guest rises to leave, and thank you again for men and women before leaving the host hospitality.

If the receiving party (cocktail party) or tea party (tea party), and other social activities of the invitation, people in general can find specific on the invitation of time, such as "afternoon 5 to 7". That case, was invited to people can be in 5 to 7 when between any of the moment to the cocktail party or tea party, of course, not in cocktail party near the end of the just hurried to go to. As for leaving time, the guest not necessary 7 when leave on time, slightly stay long hair some general. In the 7:30, the guest should consider got up and went home.

gate

Pay attention to the social level in the country, the reds (place of honor) must be to VIP, to show respect. Americans in addition to formal diplomatic occasions in the outside, rarely pay attention to this one. Americans bowed to the people, not for each other identity grandeur and appear especially attentive, also won't bowed more several times bow. No matter away at home, or ride a bus, americans usually nothing specific gate position to VIP arrangement. If so, americans are made to distance the master recently places, such as in eating, let the VIP sitting on the host or hostess side; In private cars in, let a guest on the driver's seat of the table. Obviously, here said the "reds", have no nobility, prominent connotation, is more of equality and close of idea.

Quantity concept

American civilization, accounting for a large proportion of material civilization. In the United States people, life is insurrection taken for granted. For this reason, they often with a look at the life level below the superiority of their people. From quite extent, americans tend to number to evaluate almost all all things.

When asked about the value of a person, the American people generally refers to can use to measure the value of digital, such as this person for years by education, there are a few years of work experience, a few times a reward, and yearly salary, by the Numbers seem to add up enough to reflect the amount of individual character, moral character, including, habits, etc, all of the problems. When asked about a enterprise success or not, the American people like to enumerate a long string of data, such as day, output value of the market share, years, the number of export by the number of employees, the workshop area, etc, it seemed that the data itself represents the enterprise life force. Because the United States people are number from the Angle, that things, they in solving problems and ready to quantify. For example, the government likes to say how much money used to pull out under the poverty relief plan; The party school like to say how much strength recruited spend how many minority students; Companies like to say how much capital investment for development in the new project; The labor department said a year like how many jobs and create, and so on. In these are good at digital expression of the people, as the once dial model, and the poverty relief plan is implemented; Once recruited into the minority students, racial equality problem would be solved; Once the money for new project development, social can benefit; Once the new jobs are created, people will be satisfied with. This is clearly a digital instead of actual solution by the question too.#p#分页标题#e#

Americans thought concept of the quantity concept largely reflects their pragmatic spirit. We know, the American people in different, France, Britain and other European people, they hate profound theory and abstract thinking. Pay attention to actual, practical and effective Benjamin Franklin, is the heart of the American role model and hero, and skilled in theology, good at speculative metaphysics of Jonathan, Edwards makes most americans to his stay at a respectful distance from sb, difficult to compliment. Generally speaking, any kind of beyond the philosophy of common sense to cause the United States people's interest, many abstract things must deduce metaphysics into the most simple daily ethics are likely to accept the ordinary people. Practical master philosophy-true American goods, is the best example. From this Angle in the number of American the preference of the concept, we can understand the: digital give people a clear concept, see, touch it, truly, truly, ZhiDeYouSheng, therefore it for the American people and people judge things have provided the certain basis.

Love make the experiment

The national character, love make the experiment is one of her important characteristic. From the large range of speaking, the United States itself is one of the biggest experiment field. Since the Columbus "discovery" after the new North America, a group of and a number of immigrants into the United States, according to their respective ideal blueprint, in the United States for different types of experiment. The pilgrims in there to build a "land", the republican activists want to where to build a "datong world", pay attention to the economic development of the the vast and rich land into a "strong nations". From childhood the range look, generation after generation of Portland from all over the world, continue to take every opportunity to do a variety of trying. Some tried to in politics began, some managed to get rich in economy, also some for his own ideal dream and devoting. Whether large scope on, or small Angle range, the United States was regarded as a "land of opportunity" (land of opportunity), and therefore can be there on the experiment.

Because of the sex life make the experiment, the united national character growth out of the strong business spirit of the pioneer. When the development of the western region, many people taking risks and endured all sorts of difficulties, there being sow the land. The industrial revolution rise, many people take risks, in the iron and steel, petroleum and automobile industry a large investment, taste in the fierce competition and bitters. Because the chance, and less traditional and precedent restriction, the American people are happy to to new things for a challenge. They dislike the idea of conservative lead, don't like the old things, and the total love refurbished pattern, try to do other people have not done. Because love make the experiment, and persistent spirit, bold and open, americans don't miss experts, such as rules of discipline bound less pay attention to, and more willing to miss his--his own ability and good luck. American invention patent of the world's first, this and they are not afraid of cultural customs authority, the spirit of the bold experiment that there is a close relation.

From the deepest sense, the American people love the nature and make the experiment by the American spirit of the pioneer derivative is because of the U.S. optimism thought. Throughout the history of the world, not a country like the United States that had hoped. Her superior natural conditions, the stability of her political order, her constant flow of talent source, and her conform to the law of development of the things a series of policies, make many, many enterprising, diligence and willing to do americans in this "land of opportunity" benefit profit, and the country is so constantly become rich and powerful. Then, the American people from these simple and was discovered in the fact that such a truth: now that the wild can be turned into good farmland, the village can be transformed into the city, so, in this world, as long as people unremitting efforts to struggle, there is nothing can't do it, this is what we usually speak spirit of optimism. Optimism is the essence of it all depends on human effort, to the future with confidence, and love make the experiment is the import of efforts to innovation, the pursuit of victory. Visible, both success and positive belief in the struggle is down and mutual conversion.

Literally and restriction

Europe is formalist, like get bogged down in the details, German and British people in this respect was especially prominent. The United States are otherwise, wait for a person to act on flexible casually. Almost every English gentleman all know that they do not break how should do just like a gentleman; And the American people, despite the etiquette book through the city, but few in the etiquette and unified on customs. Except in the upper social situations, and American ordinary people in social interaction from various against most people close to the level of the sexual imho.

People in the United States with this attitude reflects their ideas. In the United States people, polite standard is drawn up by the people, they should not become the limit of stiff mode. Therefore, in the United States, without a court make social etiquette, also does not have the upper class forced provisions of this kind of etiquette. All kinds of social etiquette mainly according to people's natural disposition is used to implement in action.

Since americans in the bound her behavior less, they were, in many ways played very literally. They speak casually, dressed casually, eating, literally, to the person's attitude also casually. Reflected in the English language use, americans to its "use" attitude, and often makes some hidebound old literati saddened; And those widely Hu in folks of irregular expression, more make many grammarian ACTS sigh a helpless. As for language veiled show society in rank idea words, americans often despise an attend to ignore them. Also may be due to lack of discipline American attention, their discipline concept is light, it often makes the administration officials and enforce discipline of the people felt a headache. There is a kind of view, saying that British people think that abide by the rules is a fun, americans put him to some tough requirements as his provisions disrespectful, even insult. The party school, students loose discipline; American families, parents lax discipline their children; The United States army, soldiers freedom is famous far and lax.

Surprisingly, American education is successful, the children grow up to be good parents, most good citizens, the United States army also occasionally can play some battle. This seemingly contradictory phenomenon it might be explained: americans love freedom, don't want to be forced to control, however, in really exercise free right, they are still bound by legal concept, measured in their scope "freedom is free and easy". In fact, though, americans are on the surface care work, don't respect the law, but in fact, the American people are extremely advocate the rule of law. The world no nation as the United States does effort study law, no nation lawyer as the United States does in political and daily life plays such an important role. Americans can go to town with criticism of the President and congress language, but to the Supreme Court but the spirit of the fear of one another. Perhaps this is the American people on casual constraints and balance, she is the prime example of a fitting.

Individualism and the cooperation spirit

Speaking of individualism, it's easy to think of heart, a mercenary force have perfumed unite bourgeois ethical values, and especially the way the United States this typical capitalist countries. In fact, the English of individualism (individualism) in the United States has two meanings. The first layer is its positive significance, refers to the independent ego, ego is the struggle, to control the persistent spirit of his own fate. The sense of individualism often has to do with the American image link: he is a brave pioneers, migration to the wilderness, and ManYi company, with their own wisdom and strength develop, laid the path to success, he has done all the full of entrepreneurial spirit and unique vitality. The second is its negative meaning, refers to the individual to pursue their own interests, buy others interests and public interests in the face, crazy request, insatiable greed. The sense of individualism often has to do with the American image link: he is a selfish speculators, in order to meet the personal desires, by hook or by crook, to the exclusion of all social and draws from nature useful thing, to social welfare and natural environment cold talk numbness, indifference. So to speak, the two layers of individualism mean the word the connotation inalienable overall, as a coin has its two sides.

The good point, the individualism to entrepreneurial spirit of the carry forward, it gives people a chance, given freedom, encourage diversity, so as to promote and promote the America of the industry, agriculture, science and technology, education, entertainment and sports. From the bad Angle, individualism of incontinence inflation to nature caused the most damage, the interpersonal relationship to the society and a thick layer of coldfrost. Many people in cold individualism competition, extrusion, or life, frustrated for the poor, or human distortion, cynical. Therefore, from the individualism positive, negative factors to see, the key to the problem is how to reward good jealous evil, and this is the American culture never properly solve the "difficult" ".

However, it is worth XunWei, americans although individualism strong, but they are willing to cooperation. So to speak, in addition to outside Britain, no country in western countries like the United States that is willing to some common purpose and voluntary associate; No country has the United States that the association of private and that have been very effective.#p#分页标题#e#

In the European continent, build a church, a college, a hospital, a charities, often time-consuming difficult, difficult. But in the United States, as long as individuals or groups are interested in it can easily establish such institutions. So, all kinds of organization established in succession, and the organization of the music good, prosperity of organization, influence business political organization, collection of historical data organization, planning the organizations of the future, the research of the culture organization, have guns, organization and so on. Almost everyone in the society has its own organization. This kind of phenomenon shows that people in the pursuit of individual character development and at the same time, still pay attention to the construction of community organizations, in order to ensure that the society can have order and stability, make personal interests and collective interests balance between to a certain extent.

Do STH unconventional or unorthodox

Americans may be the world's most keen on, also avant-garde national. Either from the founding of the United States set up the United States federal government hired for, still the separation from the United States to see; Whether from the americans in the invention of the science and technology to create for, or from the americans in the construction process of innovation to see the painstakingly; Whether the contemporary American youth love from Richard "punk" head or Yin and Yang head for, or from American men and women wearing the dress dont see, the United States goes to show a different, the pursuit of having a unique style, a kind of very confident, persist in style.

Historically speaking, americans do STH unconventional or unorthodox spirit began in colonial period. At that time, many political or religious persecution of the European people, especially English, who believe that the European royalty and theocratic rule by, glamorous people are busy all day long intrigue, killed each other, causing the whole Europe has been constantly war, indeed, life hopeless. To escape the corruption of the world, the European people at risk his life, across oceans, came to the North America, the wasteland. The reason that they leave their homes and willing to risk, important is one of the reasons for in the "new" in the world to create a different from a different, in the old world society-the so-called "the mountain top city" (a city upon the hill), for the world to admire, let the world follow. In such a society, they will try to make new developed countries not only in government system and social structure with different European countries, but also in the thought idea and life styles and European countries form bright contrast.

From the cultural concept of speaking, americans do STH unconventional or unorthodox and their personal idea of closely related. We know, individualism is the morale of the outstanding individual the essence of value, advocate personal characteristics, and to highlight the personal value, complete personality mold, the inevitable requirement people different, do STH unconventional or unorthodox. Only then, just can make in their justification made chickens as an elite member, dominate. Because of life in this culture atmosphere, members of society everyone pursuing innovation, all are deliberately quality win, americans for the novel thing can not only accept with tolerance, but also often praised, a compliment. Perhaps because do STH unconventional or unorthodox ideas already deeply rooted in American culture the soil, so it is reflected in the United States all aspects of the social life. For example, some artificial some of the car so far, it has a kitchen, swimming pool, phone, TV, sitting room and other kinds of facilities. Some ingenuity, pull on his beloved person, sit on a hot air balloon launch slowly only after all this is announced to the wedding ceremony. Still others is more telling, but want to climb up to the electric wire pole, who can play against each other in hanging on the sitting time longer. This kind of pursuit of novelty examples can be found everywhere in the United States, to enumerate. I'm afraid that this is "guinness world records" are being broken, guinness world records published on the new version of the main reason is.

Break the mysterious

Many of the people in the world has a very strong sense of mystery, such as Africa and Latin American nations with some of the nation to nature, for god, of human things have profound mystery, etc. They or worship to these things, convinced, or to these things by fear, afraid to over the top half step. The americans and the people are different, few such mystique. If the americans found something too mysterious, they often can't break it, make it exposed "true colors looming. For example. Politics in many countries often full of mysteries, the determination of national leaders, partisan faction contest, major policy decisions, and government mechanism of action process, etc, to the common people speaking is a permanent solution doesn't open the fan. However, in the United States, politics like a an entertaining game, ordinary people can use newspapers, TV and the mass media, viewing politicians to fight each other, to tease each other, blamed each other and so on various aspects of the brilliant performance. Big to run for President, congressional hearing, small to students and SMC conflict, people can see from all the political game use trickery, interest exchange and GuanGuanXiangHu case, etc. As long as the us politicians play political games in abide by the rules and regulations, they can get as viewers for the voters of recognition. If politicians in violation of the relevant rules, such as Nixon watergate, Reagan's Iran door events, so, they would have relevant organization investigation and inquires, and even make exposure. So, the American political because higher and less transparency mystery, the common people of the political mechanism of operation and thus is well known. Also, America's religious zeal is high, but the fear of god and not hindered americans opened this world he created the crowds of courage and effort. From the development of the western border area, to outer space exploration, from the bottom of the resources, to the atmosphere of resources exploration, the American people do not seem to because god's universal and was struck to live, but in this bold experiment, brave to use scientific knowledge to answer the secrets of nature.


Americans break the most significant example of the mystery of performance in their own understanding. The bible speak, god created man. In the United States, nearly 95% of the people who claim to believe in god. But the American doctor thoracotomy to break belly transplant heart, kidneys, "and all hands" behavior not only without objection, but with admiration. What is more, the American people should go against "god made man" of the historic sense, its guts to eke out her test tube babies. Of course, the most incredible is, the American sex education has been completely to "social". Sex as a known as oil and salt sauce vinegar, common sense, for thousands of years by human sexual mystery was revealed americans at all. In the open, free dominant in the country, is still in the mystery break expected. Just break a mysterious had gone very, has not been immune to privacy, it makes people feel a little "that".


The middle of the s, Darwin founded the science of biological evolution doctrine to natural selection as the core of Darwin's theory of evolution, for the first time to the nature of the occurrence, development, make the materialistic and regularity explanation, overturned, and idealism of metaphysics dominance in biology, there was a revolution biology change. In addition to the biology, his theory on anthropology, psychology and the development of philosophy has not allow to ignore effects.

1, background in Renaissance and after thought enlightenment, the modern scientific rational thinking has been set up. Darwin's age is 19 th century, it is out of be mention, advocate science in the previous stage, in the thought and the rational, natural selection for Darwin created evolution for thoughts basis; And the youth travel, is he accumulated the massive extends, caused him about species of thinking and eventually evolved into a complete system.

2, main points: he thinks, biological exists between the struggle of existence, the fittest survive, who were not be washed out, this is the natural choice. Biological it is through heredity, mutation and selection, from low to high, from simple to complex, from small to many species evolving, development. Above at 3 o 'clock, is we often hear "the survival of the fittest", now genetics birth was born, therefore provides important evidence, in fact, natural selection and competition is the "genetic".

3, influence: theory of evolution in the history of mankind is the second major scientific breakthrough, the first is heliocentrism replace geocentrism, denied in the center of the universe of human arrogant complex; The second is the theory of evolution, the human down to the same level with normal biological, all life on earth, as humans have or far or near the blood relationship, completely broke the human puffed up, and have a under god, above all the folly of self-esteem. Fortunately, Darwin is not in the middle ages, so he not under Bruno's treatment, people still give extremely high opinion, even religious, also represent a certain tolerance, of course, that and when religion, far less than the power in the middle ages.

4, debate: from two aspects of the debate: on one hand, the scientific community internal debate, on the one hand, the scientific community outside of the religious and evolution debate. In the world of science inside, there is no evolution is formed of debate and questioned, the fact that evolution has proved, doubt the establishment of the theory of evolution, but, in the evolution of the concrete forms and reasons, still dispute continuously, such as gradient and mutation of controversies (this has indisputable, evolution speed for different conditions and different), human evolution of the disputes,...... Religion and science of debate, this is part of the most people feel, is also the most influential field debate. Because people professional biology is meagre knowledge, we learned the middle school is the study conclusions, and no professional explanation, therefore, especially the Christian religion, is accustomed to distort biology and evolution, the evolution of science, described as the unruly, ridiculous, no evidence or fabricated......#p#分页标题#e#

American: from "the monkey trial" to the school teach creationism

With the growing secular Europe compared, in the more than 80% of the people of the United States, a religion, Darwin's theory of evolution meet question and against more. The most famous is on July 10, 1925 Dayton town in Tennessee, held a worldwide attention, is called "the monkey trial" history of the century trial, Hollywood in 1960 according to the case made movies. At that time, the United States to promote religious Tennessee congress passed a bill, banned in school biology teaching of evolution, and only allow professor Christian creationism sous peine d 'amende as much as $500. But the state in the town of Dayton young teacher John scopes are unwilling to go against the knowledge of science, in the biology to continue teaching of evolution, and the results were religious court, prompt attention of the public opinion of the United States. The plaintiff lawyer Bryan is a former secretary of state, once three times was elected as the democratic candidates for President, despite the famous human rights lawyer darrow to appear in court for the defense, but professor evolution is still was sentenced to losing. In 1987, the United States Supreme Court judge, creationism for religious doctrine, banned in schools to teach.

In the early 80 s, American religious circles and launching a new round of the theory of evolution counter-offensive, by religious scientists come forward, starting a "intelligent design" movement. They say that the world life complex range, only with Darwin's theory of evolution is difficult to explain make sense, there will be a wise designers of the almighty. But they still cannot prove the existence of the designer, it can only skirt around him. They once let some schools began to intelligent design theory, the results of the parents of the students were strongly against, in 2005 the United States state court judge "intelligent design" for the new-look creationism, not a scientific theory, not in the classroom to teach.

Today, still have forty percent of americans don't agree with Darwin's theory of evolution. Charles Darwin in the two hundredth anniversary, the American media, a poll showed the theory of evolution, only 39% of americans believed, and 25% of americans are not believe, another 36% of americans of evolution and creationism unable to agree. And whether you believe in evolution and the education level and religion has great concern. Graduated from a high school in only 21% of people believe in evolution, and have graduate degrees in nearly 74% of people believe in evolution. In church the number who, the more don't believe in evolution. Young people more than older people believe in evolution, but in the age of 18 to 34, among people, and only 49% of people believe in evolution.

In Chinese class, Darwin's theory of evolution has been students and the teacher generally accepted. The other side of the states, but complicated: Darwin and under the banner of god creationism, has been fighting for many years.

S Darwin and god battle, Darwin and god's first meeting in 1925.

At the beginning of the last century, the number of American high school students, surged to 1920 a total of about 2.5 million, is seven times as much as 30 years ago, more students are exposed to evolution. In 1925, Tennessee Dayton, middle school teacher John T • scopes, for professor evolution creationism supporters to court. At that time, the state law prohibits teaching in middle school in violation of any "bible" theory.

Obviously, scopes touched Christian about people come from bottom line. Creationism supporters, will be simplified distorted evolution for "people come over from monkeys is changed". They think that a man such senior complex organisms, could not through the long evolution; Man is god's own design and manufacturing. The famous "monkey trial" as a result, scopes was fined 100 dollars. More seriously, the textbook publishers worry about the boycott of creationism, active cuts off the content of the theory of evolution. After 30 years, science education in the United States in evolution, few voice.

When the Soviet union lead the United States, in 1957, after the successful launch satellites, the people of the United States to sit still. On government funding, biological science research project team set up, americans are beginning to pay attention to and strengthen scientific education, biology curriculum reform is put on the agenda. The group editing and publishing textbooks, emphasizing disappeared years of evolution.

Results is obvious. In the mid 1960 s, nearly half of all American high schools used to support the new teaching material of the theory of evolution. In addition, the United States Supreme Court convicted in 1968 of the Arkansas anti-evolution laws in violation of federal constitution. This means that those who banned public schools to teach evolution laws are unconstitutional.

But the creationism did not dampen, they adjusted the strategies, proposed the scientific creationism. This is the 2.0 upgrade edition creationism, but essentially, it still is creationism. Scientific creationism fact book "the genesis flood", the latest scientific achievements as support "Noah flood" evidence, and believe in god, about 6000 years ago, according to genesis the description of the process, created the universe.

The religious beliefs dressed as a scientific sample, scientific creationism achieve great success in the 1980 s. In Louisiana, in the public school equal treatment of creation science and science of evolution guidance act, passed in 1981. Scientific creationism had entered the classroom, and obtained the legal guarantee. Then, the United States more than 25 state legislators to put forward, scientific creationism/evolution should be entitled to the same teaching time. In June 1987, the Supreme Court is to seven votes to two votes, sentenced to Louisiana's guidance law is illegal, and will be their abolition.

S intelligent design theory of high-end course

The morning sun never lasts a day. Two years later, the creationism change again, become "intelligent design theory". To preach the theory, the United States thought and moral foundation, especially write "about the panda and people," a book. The book think, of all things is god, alien designer may or through time and space cell biologists. No matter how to package, intelligent design theory and creationism in essence is consistent, they make the same scientific mistake, need the same religious terms.

Intelligent design theory the high-end course. Through the academic rent-seeking, play with highly educated and academic position the advantage of people, a large conference, to keep the academia penetration erosion. Through lectures, television and the Internet, intelligent design theory to the spread of invasive. In 2008, the first film to creationism as the theme, accused the scientific community views of discrimination film "drive evolution" theaters. This one wheel in 1052 home theaters documentary, the main content is the scientific community plotting the creationism view of the scientists persecution, for public sympathy.

Like this, the sympathy of intelligent design theory people are beginning to remain high. Although the scientific community to quite a theory of evolution, but the social movement against evolution successive rise. And in recent years, "evolution from the United States in the middle school textbooks to delete the news" continues to hear. In 2005, the Kansas a hearing, in the starting a stir. This year in May, the state education committee for school science professor how "the origin of life" problem, listen to many social opinion, and will be update relevant teaching outline. The focus of the debates is whether, evolution can appear in the textbook as truth? Textbooks can absorb other opinion, such as creationism and intelligent design theory.

The BBC have launched a web poll. The results showed that 56% of people think the "theory of evolution is a perfect scientific theory, the present teaching don't need to modify", others think that "many americans to question evolution, and education should reflect different faith".

In June 2008, Louisiana through a scientific education bill, which contains the content of the theory of evolution is against. The method that should be "allow and help teachers and school management personnel, in public elementary school and middle school to build a kind of atmosphere, so as to facilitate the students' critical thinking skills and logical analysis ability and the training of open discussion can objectively what science theory". This clause, for in the public schools about creationism, critical Darwinian theory provides a new opportunity. In between god and Darwin, new fight and will open. Can foresee that, as a Christian influence by the country, in the United States, a similar battle will also continue.

S bush interfere with the theory of evolution

In 2002, President bush issued the no child left behind act (NCLB), is generally thought is the 1965 basic education since promulgated, the most important basic education a law. Key goal is to narrow NCLB student achievement gap, for all children to provide high quality education. One involving evolution education problem, might have more elementary school students accept the evolution theory, as early as possible, without doubt, arouse the creationism new counterattack.

Can't ignore that bush is typical of religious conservative position in dealing with creationism, obfuscating the ambiguous attitude. And under 8 years, bush ban all stem cell research. Time, American society from Washington's frequent antiscience mood, Darwin's theory of evolution also will receive severe impact.

Proponents of intelligent design theory, also wander, on a cultural, scientific controversy, attacked those who only professor of school of evolution. They think, evolution explain the evolution of complex nature all content, it is just a kind of theory of hypothesis. This means that, other about biological come from theory have walked into class.#p#分页标题#e#

Pennsylvania, intelligent design theory will be included in the teaching content of the first states. In October 2004, the Dover city school district in the state of JiaoWeiHui regulation, middle school students in grade 9 before evolution course, must first understand the intelligent design theory. In the biology class, the teacher still need to read a statement: "evolution is a theory, not a fact". And then, also have other states began in classroom of evolution for critical introduction. In 2005, the United States about 24 states and local government to consider science course of similar changes. In Georgia, cloth county, biological in the textbook has labeled as write have a similar statement stickers. Want to tear off sticker, have to get the court permission.

In 2005, President bush said in an interview at, agree with professor in the school of intelligent design theory, think that students can contact and evolution of different theories. The rebellious scientific not responsible for comments, no doubt, let evolution is injured. In August, 2006, the United States "science" an investigation shows that, almost forty percent people think that evolution is a fake, accept the theory of evolution was significantly lower in other countries. In 34 countries, http://www.ukassignment.org/mgessaydx/2012/0306/19304.html ranked second. In contrast, Japan and western European countries the approval of the theory of evolution is more than 80%.

In 2009, is undoubtedly evolution of the year of fist exhibition. Borrow Darwin's 200th birthday, the origin of species published 150 anniversary, the United States each big science organization and the mainstream media spare no effort to publicity of the theory of evolution is correct. At present, already enumerate 31 countries will hold 281 games of activities, there are 170 games will be held in the United States. The Obama White House beginning, also explicitly support evolution education, no doubt is a good news.

S science is also created by god?

In the United States, the living creature teacher are the major teachers have a position. This is because, students want to read medical, must first learn biology. Some of the living creature teacher in the school, and a small privilege-pick the best students, with higher academic institutions carry out cooperative research, to provide students with internships.

But the living creature teacher in treating the evolution, not complete reunification, such as some states of middle school, professor evolution is illegal. Have Chinese americans in the blog describe such a sight. Biology teacher didn't believe that Darwin's theory of evolution. The teacher and the students agreed that everything is created by god. When American students hear that the Chinese people don't believe in god, United States students curiously ask her what Chinese people believe. She wanted to think, proudly told them: "the Chinese believe that the science." But as the United States of classmate answer than she also proudly: "science is also created by god."

In high school, as long as the credits to 22 points can graduate, scientific accounts for the three points. Science courses including biological, earth, chemical, physical, weather, and other disciplines and each course one credit. Students can choose course combination. This means, there could be a part of the students would not choose biology curriculum, hard to reach to the evolution of the content.

As a modern scientific the most important theory, the theory of evolution if not for people to accept, with potential harm is obvious. Students, parents and teachers, need to recognize all sorts of creationism appearance, but that can matting good biological medicine and life science foundation.

 美国文化论文,从某种意义上说,是欧洲文化的延伸,因为美国人的语言、她的人口构成,以及她的立国精神都源于欧洲。另一方面,美国文化又与欧洲不同,因为欧洲移民在北美大陆上驱赶走印第安人后,在一片荒芜旷野之地创造了令人赞叹不已的灿烂文明。所以,在谈论美国文化习俗与社交礼义时,既要顾及欧美文化的相同性,又要注意两者的相异性。
文化习俗是个范围广泛、内容复杂的题目,涉及人在社会生活和交往中的方方面面。笔者拟定以杂谈的形式,就美国人的文化习俗作一粗浅概述。 宽容性。
美国是个移民之国,它的祖先来自于全球各地。人们移居美国时,不仅仅在地理位置上挪动一下,而且还把他们所在国的评议和风俗习惯带到了新的居住地。因为杂,人们各自的差异十分突出;因为差异十分普遍,人们就不特别注重统一性。久而久之,美国人的文化习俗中形成了较高程度的宽容性(tolerance),对异质文化和不同评议持容忍、可接受的态度。在这一点上,美国社会里可行的习俗要比世界上其他国家来得宽泛。
从政治上讲,这种宽容性表现在对自由的追求和对自由权利的维护。从宗教上说,它体现在不同信仰的和谐共存。从生活范围上看,它显现在不同种族、不同族裔社区的平安相处。一言以蔽之,在美国,每个人基本上可以任意选择不同的观念、信仰、生活方式和传统习惯;人们也可以在相当程度上保持自己的习俗和仪。譬如,犹太人可以庆祝他们的宗教节日,而基督教徒则能够他们的圣诞节和复活节。再譬如,美国华人可以在唐人街用华语生活和工作;同样的道理,越南移民能够在他们的“小西贡”按越南的方式经营业务,从事各种活动。
美国人的容忍性,除了上面的美国是个移民国这个因素以外,还与美国人的频繁迁徙有关。众所周知,美国历史发展中的一个重要部分是她的西部开发史。那时,美国拓荒者或徒步跋涉,或骑马坐车,从东到西,从南到北,哪里有机遇,就往那里移居。频繁的迁移和不断地更换居处使人们始终处于“流动”状态,对暂面临的种种不同现象更易于宽容和接受。此外,经常迁移还能够帮助人们扩大眼界,知多识广,对不同的习俗持同情、理解的,并逐渐形成多样性胜于单一性的开放性观念。
由于美国人的宽容性较强,所以美国人很少把自己的意志强加在其他人身上,它与中国孔夫子“己所不欲,勿施于人”的古训十分酷似。譬如说,丈夫可能是个共和党人,但他决不能逼迫他那拥护民主党的妻子改变政治立场。同理,母亲也许是个天主教徒,但她决不能强迫她那已皈依成穆斯林教徒的儿子改变宗教信仰。在日常生活习惯和平时事务处理中,这种宽容精神更是屡见不鲜,司空见惯。
不拘礼节
美国人以不拘礼节著称于世。在写字楼里,人们常常能看到“白领”不穿外套、不系领带坐在办公室里工作。有电话交谈时,他们会朝椅背一靠,把双足往桌子上搁,悠哉悠哉地在电话里“侃”上个半天。在大学校园里,美国教授身穿牛仔裤、足蹬耐克鞋进教室上课。更有甚者,美国教授讲到劲头,会一屁股往讲台上一坐,神采飞扬地滔滔不绝一番,不分年龄,不分性别。更常见的情形,是美国父子之间、母女之间的随和、轻松关系。无论是在电影里,还是在实际生活中,我们以常看见美国长辈与幼辈互拍肩膀、无拘无束的镜头。所有这一切都源于美国人不拘礼节(informality)的习性。
从文化角度上讲,美国人不拘礼节的习性与他们的民主平等观念相关。我们知道,美国历史发展进程中,没有封建社会这一阶段。贵族、贱民、等级、王室等欧洲大陆盛行的一套东西,在美国没有或者没有实际意义。人们对家庭、地位、身份不十分看重:更主要的是当事人本身的实际成就。这种产生于美国早期开发阶段的观念很大程度上已成了美国文化传统中的“沉淀物”。因为大家珍视平等的权利,人们互相交往中就没有必要过份讲究各种各样的繁缛礼节了。关于这一点,人们只要注意一下美国人见面时的打招方式就明白了。不管是下属见到上司,还是学生见到师长,美国人一般只需笑一笑,说声Hi或者Hello即可,而不必加上各种头街。还有,美国人在社交场合散席或者业务会议散会时,较少与人一个个地道别,而是向大家挥手说一声“好啦,我们再见吧”(Well, so long everybody)。这样做并不表示人们相互间缺少敬意,而是人们长年累月的习惯使然。
不拘礼节是为了使人们在交往中更轻松、自在一些,从而更快地缩短人们之间的距离。这也许是美国人性格开朗的一个原因。
头衔与称呼
由于美国人强调平等,他们的社会等级观念相对而言比较淡薄,所以他们没有家庭世袭的头衔。相反,美国人喜欢用职业的名衔作为称呼,因为它靠自己“挣得”的,而不是世袭相传的。试举例如下:哈利法官(Judge Harley)、史密斯参议员(Senator Smith)、克拉克将军(General Clark)、布朗医生(Dr. Brown)、格林教授(Professor Green)、怀特神父(Father White)、科恩老师(Rabbi Cohen,对犹太人的尊敬用语)、格雷主教(Bishop Gray)等。从事其他行业的人,美国人以“先生”、“小姐”、“太太”相称。
美国人首次见面,若不晓得对方的头衔,但又要表示对他尊敬,他们常用“先生”(sir)或者“夫人”(madam)称呼。被你这样称呼的人将立刻明白,你不清楚该如何称呼他,于是,他会把合适的称呼告诉你。一般而言,除非一个人从事于某种专业性工作,如医生、教授等,美国人不常用正式名衔。这是因为美国人强调友好、不拘礼节的关系,而不重视名衔地位。美国人认为,即使直接称呼一个人的名字,人们同样可以对他表示尊敬。 事实上,大多数美国人不愿意自己因年龄或社会地位的关系而要他人特别尊敬他。这样会叫他们觉得不自在,觉得互相的距离过于分开拉大。许多美国人甚至觉得“先生”、“太太”、“小姐”的称呼也太一本正经,所以,他们倾向于直呼名字。譬如,“别叫我史密斯太太,叫我萨莉好了”。美国人认为,直呼其名,往往更容易表示友善和喜爱。当然,作介绍时,人们须连名带姓,如“玛丽 史密斯,这位是约翰 琼斯。”刚开头时,被介绍认识的人可能仍用对方的姓作称呼,如“史密斯小姐”,“琼斯先生”等。但没过多久,待对方开始熟悉、谈得投机之后,其中一人会问对方,“你介意我用你的名称呼你吗?”一般情况下,没人会介意。于是,双方便直呼名字,继续他们的交谈。因此,美国人聚在一起聊天时,很少使用头衔或者“先生”之类的词。#p#分页标题#e#
样样自己动手
欧洲、亚洲等国家的有钱,为了显示气派,或者为了从琐碎的家务中解脱出来,常常雇佣女仆、厨师和司机等人侍候自己及家人。在美国,这种情形不多,因为他们讲究“自己动手”(do it yourself)。在美国,不管是医生、教授、律师、商人,他们都是自己煮饭、洗衣、上市场购货。他们有社会身份,但不认为干家务会降低他们的体面身份。他们也有经济实力雇佣“保姆”,但觉得自己会做,没此必要。上美国人家作客,人们可以常常看见大教授、名医生自己下厨烧饭做菜。至于修剪草坪、整理车库和油漆屋顶等之类的粗活,有社会身份的人不仅无厌烦之感,反而会乐此不疲地投入其中。
“自己动手”的习惯与美国人的拓荒精神有密切关系。想像一下,在人烟荒芜的大西部,人们与荒野相伴,与自然共存,从基本的饮食起居到复杂的医疗教育,一切都得依赖自己。经过几十多年的锤炼熏陶,这种“自己动手”的自立精神便深深地铸造进美国人的文化基因之中。此外,在美国人看来,DIY不仅体现着人们的自立精神,而且人们还能从“动手”之后的成果中看到自己的能力和自己的价值。
当然,“自己动手”的文化习俗还有其他原因。美国人喜欢务实,而雇佣他人干活实际上就是花钱买服务。一般的美国人,只要自己能干、能胜任,不愿花钱请他人代劳,认为这是不必要的开销。还有,美国人重视隐私(privacy),关注家里的宁静。有陌生人在屋内经常走动,无疑会对隐私和宁静造成消极性的影响。因此,他们不愿牺牲隐私和宁静去换取一份清闲。
不喜欢沉默
与美国人有过接触的人都有这种感觉,西方人中要数美国人最奔放、最随和、最坦率――这当然是美国人的可爱之处。这种奔放,随和性格在“侃大山”中表现得十分显著。美国人一旦与人拉开话匣子,便会滔滔不绝地讲个不停。他们不喜欢干坐着不出声,若是发现对话者久不出声,会马上设法让他加入神侃之中。
有时,他们会问某人是否身体不适;有时,他介会问是否有什么心事;有时,他们干脆询问是否要求帮忙。沉默对他们来说,往往意味着“话不投机”,或者“不敢恭维”,或者“不想与你谈”。因此,美国人聊开后很少有停顿,说话双方总是尽力使谈话继续下去,直至谈兴淡薄为止。如果美国人在谈话中发现两者谈不拢,他们往往以沉默来表示:既然双方的观点难以相吻合,继续争辩下去会有失礼貌、甚至伤害感情。与其那样,不如以沉默泰然处之。
生活节奏
美国人生性好动,不甘寂寞。像个精力充沛的年轻人,美国人不停地干这忙那,似乎有永远也使不完的精力。城市里的人似乎永远赶着去什么地方;乡村里的人总是在农田、养鸡场、谷仓、奶牛场之间奔跑不停;办公室里的人有着堆成山似的文字工作(paper work)要做;公司里的秘书手脚不停地接电话、送文件。你在街上走逛,后面的人会大步流星地超赶到你的前面;你去餐馆就餐,难得寻觅到能与你说笑寒喧的伴侣。生活的节奏像一根上足了的发条一样,有条不紊地不停运转,构成了一幅繁忙、近乎于疯狂的现代人生活画面。
美国人的快节奏生活方式,很大程度上与他们社会的激烈竞争息息相关。美国是个市场经济高度发达的国家,“物竞天择,适者生存”的法则是它的运转规律,不进则退,不胜则败。为了生存和成功,美国人必须拼搏和奋斗,而拼搏与奋斗的一个重要方面是与他人抢时间、争速度,使自己始终处于依靠地位。由此可见,美国人的快节奏生活方式是被他们紧张激烈的社会竞争所“逼迫”出来的。因为这种“逼迫”无时不在、无处不有,美国人对快节奏生活方式也就习惯成自然了。

个人进步
美国是个尊重个性、崇尚个人主义的国家,个人奋斗成功的故事是“美国梦”的精髓部分。无论是卡内基从一贫如洗的学徒工到富甲天下的钢铁大王,还是林肯从平头百姓之家平步青云地登上总统宝座,他们都是普通美国人津津乐道、梦寐以求的个人成功典范。
在世界上许多国家里,人事关系、家庭背景是一个人获得成功的必不可少的条件,如在意大利,人们需要教父的帮助,在非洲,人们必须得到酋长的引荐。但在美国,人事关系固然有助于人们取得成功,但更重要的,是个人的努力精神、才能智慧、进取勇气和随和性格。美国是个“自己动手”的社会,人们对机会均等的观念坚信不移。在那里,成功既不靠家世“祖传”,也不靠他人赐予。个人进步,全在于自己的艰辛努力和不息奋斗;个人进步,也是自我价值实现的主要标志。 从一定程度上讲,个人进步的衡量标准之一是看一个人的职位升迁,因为常识告诉人们,任何一个单位,凡奉行任人唯贤精神的,只有那些有才能、工作成绩出色的人,才可能经常得到提拔晋升。鉴于这个原因,美国人对获取一份好工作――一份时常能带来机遇的工作,十分重视。受聘之前,他们多方打听,仔细调查,尽量设法确信那份工作对自己有利。一旦发现工作环境不利,美国人会毫不犹豫地改换门庭,另谋他职,即“跳槽”(job-hopping),因为大多数美国人都遵守此则行事,离职对于他们决非什么不体面的事情;相反,它睦作追求个人进步的一种象征,被看作寻觅升迁机会的一种努力。
说话直率
中国有一条古训,“礼多人不怪”。我们请人来家吃饭时,明明做了一桌子的菜,却对客人说:“今天没什么菜,随便吃吃”。我们之所以这么做,是因为自谦在我们文化里是一种礼貌。然而,美国人对这类“转弯抹角”方式表达的礼貌觉得难以恭维。与大多数欧洲国家的人一样,美国人喜欢直率地表述自己的观点和意见。在他们看来,一是一,二是二,没有必要在简单的事实面前添加多余的修饰词句。譬如:美国人请人去他家作客,他们会指着桌上的菜肴明确地告诉客人,“我们为你的到来,准备了这些好吃的东西,希望你喜欢它们”。美国人认为,我真诚地邀请你来,当然得让你明白我的诚意所在。由于美国人讲究直率,在平时的交往中,他们对事情和人都乐于直抒己见,坦言相告。他们认为,各人意见不同是理所当然的事,所以,人们在交换意见和随便闲聊中,决不会因你的意见不同而感到大惊小怪。一句话,只要言词不太唐突、尖刻,意见上的争执是无伤大雅的。
这种直率反映在评议使用上,美国人在交谈中“废话”(waste words)较少。他们在回答他人的提问时,喜欢用简单、但观点明确的“yes”,“sure”,“No”,“of course”等词。这些简单的答语并不表示美国人讲礼貌,或者脑子简单,而是他们不拘礼节、坦率直爽之性格的体现。
许多与美国人打交道的人都有这种体会:当你赞赏一个美国人时,如说他车子开得好,汉语讲得漂亮,他会莞尔一笑,道声谢谢。但当我们中国人称赞同胞时,如说某人文章写得好,英语讲得流利,他会自谦地连声说道,“不好,不好”,或者“哪里,哪里”。东西方人文化上的这种差异既值得玩味,也应引起学英语学习者们的足够注意。
批判精神
在东方文化体系中,批判精神是一个薄弱环节。或出于尊敬,或出于礼貌,或出于惧怕,或出于敬畏,人们对权威很少提出质疑,更遑论挑战。事实上,这些国家里的等级制度大多比较森严,人们长期以来受等级观念熏陶,早已把它们内化于心,落实于行。从孩提时代起,牙牙学语的儿童被告知,“大人的话总是对的”。年青学子有新发现时,往往因乳臭未干而不敢理直气壮地与权威理论一争高低。长此以往,人们的“棱角”被磨平,好奇心受压抑,批判精神被消蚀,一个个变成唯唯诺诺、人云亦云的“应声”“附和”者。 在包括美国在内的西方国家里,人们从小就训练孩子发问,培养他们求知和的习惯。孩子提出问题后,美国家长和老师们不是马上给个答案,而是循循善诱地启发、诱导、帮助孩子们一起思考。有时,大人们会嘱咐孩子们自己去图书馆寻找答案,很少为孩子们“包办”解答。生活在这种文化氛围下的孩子于是司出了这样一个道理:任何问题的答案都不是现成的,它得靠人的寻找和思考。
美国人的这种质疑、探究性精神自然地引导他们对权威或权威性观点持批评式(critical)态度。年青人与长者会因意见相左而互相争辩;学生与教师会因看法不一致而“唇枪舌战”一番;新手与权威会因观点相异而互不相让。美国人对权威质疑不是不尊敬权威,而是认为只有通过自由讲座才能辨析真伪,从而逐步接近真理。此外,在美国人看来,人的尊严之要素是要有独立的人格,而独立的人格的前提是独立思考能力。要独立思考,批判精神是必不可少的。再者,质疑和批判时,针对的不是人,而是这个人的意见和观点。#p#分页标题#e#
真话重于客气
在不少国家,人们互相交谈时,喜欢拣对方高兴听的知说,而不愿指出事实真相,以免伤了和气。这多半是出于客气(courtesy)和礼貌(politeness)。但在美国人的眼光里,这种心地善良的客气和礼貌不及真话重要。美国人的伦理价值观中有一条箴言:“诚实为上策”(Honesty is the best policy)。换句话说,在比较诚实、客气、礼貌、家族声誉孰轻孰重时,美国人把诚实放在首位。因此,在美国如果要说某人的坏话,最厉害的一句是“你不能相信他”(You cannot trust him)。
试举例说明。一个美国人驾车赶路,途中,他问一路人:“这里距离下一个市镇还有多远?”在一些把客气礼貌放在高于真实位置的国家里,路边这位先生也许马上想到赶路者已疲倦不堪,急欲抵达目的地,于是便客客气气地说,“顺着这条路走就到了”(Just down the road)。他以为这样回答能使赶路者心里宽慰从而更振足精神。然而,当这美国人开了好半天的车才到达要去的市镇时他会心情不畅,甚至气愤,觉得自己受骗了(feeling tricked)。在他看来,那位路边人明知路程很远,却存心欺骗他。同样的问题,美国人会怎样回答呢?美国人认为,假如他知道下一个市镇还有24英里的路程,回答说“Just down the road”是不诚实的表现。因此,尽管对那疲倦的寻路人极富同情,但他还是实话相告:“有好一段路呢,至少24英里”。(You have a long way to go ; at least 24 miles more)。问路者听了也许会失望,但他明白了自己的处境,所以也不会产生误解。
不懂就问,有问必答
美国人讲究直率,又珍视真实,所以,无论在课堂上,还是平时闲聊,碰到不懂的问题,或没听清楚的句子,他们爱刨根问底,弄懂弄通。所谓“知之为知之,不知为不知”也。在他们看来,不懂并不可怕,也不足以使人感到羞耻。可怕的和令人羞耻的是不懂装懂,蒙混过关。基于这条原则,美国教师讲课时,如果学生不提问题,他便认为学生都懂了。他决不会主动去问学生需要解答些什么问题,因为他认为那是学生一方的事情:对学生来说,没有必要考虑面子问题,不懂就问是做学生的基本准则。
一旦被问,美国人一般必须给予一个比较明确的答复,在社交场合,在朋友间交谈中,在工作场所,都是如此。东方人在与美国人交谈时,有时,对美国人提的问题笑而不答,常使美国人感到莫名其妙,不知所措。这在某种程度上会被美国人看作是种失礼之举。因此,在与美国人聊天或谈正经事时,有问必答为基本礼貌。如果实在不知,或者难以回答时,可明确说明,如I don’t know, I am afraid I cannot answer your question。切不可默不作声,置之不理。
交友
人们在互相交往中,常因讲得拢、合得来、有共同的爱好和兴趣而交上朋友(making friends),这在任何社会都一样。所不同的是,在人口流动量很小的国家和地区,友谊一般发展得比较缓慢,因为一方面人们接触有限,另一方面择友谨慎。而一旦互相交上了朋友,建立了友谊,他们往往尽力维护这种友情,不但彼此依赖,而且把自己的声誉和人格也“押注”上去,甚至波及双方的其他家庭成员。所以,在这种社会里,友谊持续得相当长,也比较牢靠。 但在美国这样一个地域流动(geographical mobility)和社会流动(social mobility)都很的国家里,交友自有它的特色。由于人们时常从一个地方迁徙到另一个地方,他们在交友时所建立的友谊可能一时密切而牢靠。但一旦彼此迁移他处时,他们的友谊可能不久即告消失,双方各自再找合适的新朋友。美国人不会因这种友谊的处理方式而感到“薄情”,更不会觉得自己受了对方的轻视,或者侮辱。大多数情况下,“劳燕分飞”的朋友可能保持通信、或者电话联系一两年,然后逐渐中断联系。有趣的是,一旦有机会再见面,不管间隔多久,昔日的朋友会“和好如初”,重温友情,甚至继续密切往来一段时间。 基于这种交友方式,外国客人去美国人家作客时,可以无拘无束、轻松自在地与他们闲谈、玩耍。他们可以与美国人共享假期,甚至一起生活,而不必为保持终身友谊而担忧犯愁。就美国人而言,他们邀请外国客人去作客是出于一种友情和好客,他们乐意为这种短暂的友谊花费一定的时间和精力。
当然,尽管美国人的友谊不很持久,但在交友中,他们还是强调真诚和信任,友情中掺不得任何虚假和欺骗。只是因为地域流动和社会流动极为频繁,他们才形成了“交一批朋友,换一批朋友”的方式。这与其说是朝三暮四,不如说是广结天下友。
邀请
邀请(invitations)亲戚朋友参加某项活动可以当面提出,也可以用电话和信件通知。在美国,接到参加正式宴会或某一晚餐的邀请时,不管是书面通知还是电话通知,被邀者一般得作出答复,让邀请一方知道你是否参加。如果接受邀请之后突然发现不能如约前往,被邀一方有必要及时通知男主人(host)或者女主人(hostess),说明不能赴约的原因。真的赴约时,客人应该准时到达,或在约定时间后的5分钟至10分钟内赶到。如果提前赶到的话,客人最好别马上进屋,而可以在外面附近地方溜溜看看,直到时间到了再按门铃进屋。之所以这样做,是因为美国人对准时性特别讲究,他们的活动安排常严格地按照定下的时间表运转。当美国人邀请他人来吃饭作客时,男主人或女主人大多自己下厨掌勺。为了准备好可口的菜肴,他(她)一般要忙到入席之前。客人来得过早,主人陪客做饭两头不着落,给双方带来不便,且主人还有害怕怠慢客人之嫌。如果客人因某种原因迟到15分钟以上的话,美国人通常期待客人打电话通知他们,不然,他们会因客人迟迟不来而徒增忧虑。用餐完毕,客人一般不匆匆离去,而是稍坐片刻,闲聊一番。约摸半小时左右,客人起身告辞,并在离开前再次感谢男女主人的盛情款待。
如果接到酒会(cocktail party)或者茶会(tea party)等社交活动的请柬,人们一般能在请柬上找到具体的时间安排,如“下午5时至7时”。这样的情况下,受邀人可以在5至7时之间的任何时刻赶赴酒会或茶会,当然不要在酒会临近结束时才匆匆赶去。至于离开时间,客人没必要7时准时告辞,稍许呆得长一些一般无伤大雅。在过到了7时30分,客人应该考虑起身回家了。
上座
在重视社会等级的国家里,上座(place of honor)必须让给贵宾,以示尊敬。美国人除在正式外交场合以外,很少讲究这一套。美国人向人鞠躬致敬,不会因对方身份地位显赫而显得特别殷勤,也不会多鞠几次躬。无论在家作客,或搭乘汽车,美国人通常没什么特定的上座位置给贵宾安排。如果说有的话,美国人是把安排在距离主人最近的地方,如在吃饭时,让贵宾坐在男主人或女主人的右面;在私人轿车里,让贵宾坐在驾驶座边上的位子。显然,这里所说的“上座”,已没有任何高贵、显赫的内涵,更多的是平等和亲近之意。
数量观念
美国文明中,物质文明占很大的比重。在美国人看来,生活作乱是理所当然的事情。为此,他们常常怀着一种优越感看待那些生活水准低于他们的人。从相当程度上讲,美国人倾向于以数量来评价几乎所有一切事物。
当问及一个人的价值时,美国人通常指的是可以用数字来计量的价值,譬如此人受了几年教育,有了几年的工作经验,几次受过奖励,以及年薪多少等,似乎由这些数字累积起来的量足以反映出包括性格、个性、道德、习性等在内的一切问题。当问及一个企业的成功与否,美国人喜欢罗列出一长串数据,如日产值、市场占有量、年出口数、受雇工人数、厂房占地面积等,似乎这些数据本身代表了该企业的生命力量。 由于美国人热衷于从数量角度证明事物,他们在解决问题时也乐于用数量来表示。譬如,政府喜欢说下拔了多少钱款用于扶贫计划;党校喜欢说花了多大劲招收了多少少数民族学生;企业喜欢说投资了多少资金用于开发新项目;劳动部喜欢说一年内又创造了多少就业机会,等等。在这些擅长于数字表述的人看来,好像一旦拨了款,扶贫计划就落实了;一旦招收进了少数民族学生,种族平等问题就可以解决了;一旦资金用于新项目开发,社会就可受益了;一旦新就业机会创造了,民众就心满意足了。这显然有以数字代替问题得到实际解决之嫌。
美国人思想观念中的数量观念很大程度上反映了他们的务实精神。我们知道,美国人不同于德国、法国、英国等欧洲人,他们讨厌深奥的理论和抽象的思辨。讲究实际、务实有效的本杰明、富兰克林是美国人心目当中的榜样和英雄,而精于神学、擅长于形而上学思辨的乔纳生、爱德华兹则使大多数美国人对他敬而远之,难以恭维。一般说来,任何一种超越常识的哲学难以引起美国人的兴趣,许多抽象的形而上学东西必须演绎成最简单的日常伦理方有可能为美国普通民众接受。 实用主人哲学――不折不扣的美国货,是这方面的最好例证。从这一角度反观美国人对数量观念的偏爱,我们不难理解了:数字给人一个明确的概念,看得见,摸得着,实实在在,掷地有声,因而它为美国人判断事物和人提供了一定的依据。#p#分页标题#e#
爱搞实验
美利坚民族性格中,爱搞实验是她的一个重要特点。从大的范围讲,美国本身就是一个最大的实验场。自哥伦布“发现”北美新大陆后,一批又一批移民涌入美国,根据他们各自理想蓝图,在美国进行不同类型的实验。清教徒要在那里建立一个“天府之国”,共和主义者想在那里建立一个“大同世界”,注重经济发展的人要把那块广阔富饶的土地变成“强盛之邦”。从小的范围看,一代又一代来自世界各地的开拓者,不断地利用一切机会进行各种各样的尝试。有的试图在政治上发迹,有的设法在经济上发财,也有的为了自己的理想之梦而孜孜以求。不管是大范围着眼,还是小范围角度,美国都被看作是“机遇之地”(land of opportunity),因而可以在那里展开实验。
由于美国人生性爱搞实验,美利坚民族性格中滋生出了强烈的事业开拓精神。当年西部开发,许多人冒着危险,忍受着各种艰难,去那里开荒种地。工业革命兴起时,许多人冒着风险,在钢铁、石油、汽车等行业大量投资,品尝激烈竞争中的甜酸苦辣。因为机会多,且少有传统和先例制约,美国人乐意向新事物进行挑战。他们厌恶因袭守旧的观念,不喜欢老一套的东西,而总爱翻新花样,去试干别人未曾做过的事情。因为爱搞实验,且精神执著,大胆开放,美国人不想念专家权威,对条条框框等束缚性戒律较少理会,而更乐意想念自己――自己的能力和自己的好运气。美国人的发明专利占世界首位,这与他们文化习俗中不畏权威、大胆实验的精神是有密切联系的。
从深层意义上讲,美国人爱搞实验的秉性和由之衍生的开拓精神都源于美国人的乐观主义思想。纵观整个世界历史,没有一个国家像美国那样发展得顺利。她的优越自然条件,她的稳定政治秩序,她的源源不断的人才来源,以及她的顺应事物发展规律的一系列政策,使许许多多富有进取心、勤奋肯干的美国人在这“机遇之地”受益获利,而这个国家也因此不断变得富有和强大。于是,美国人从这些简单而又实在的事实中悟出了这么个道理:既然荒野可以变成良田,村庄可以变成城市,那么,在这个世界上,只要人们坚持不懈地奋斗,就没有什么事情不可以办到,这就是我们通常所讲的乐观主义精神。乐观主义的精髓是事在人为,对将来充满信心,而爱搞实验的要旨是努力创新,追求胜利。可见,两者在成功信念和积极奋斗上是一脉相承、互为转换的。
随便与约束
欧洲人比较死板,喜欢拘泥于细节,德国人和英国人在这方面表现得特别突出。美国人则不然,待人处事上表现得灵活随便。几乎每个英国绅士都知道他们应该怎样做才不失绅士风度;而美国人,尽管有关礼仪的书充斥于市,却很少在礼节和习俗上统一起来。除了在上层社交场合,美国的普通民众在社会交往中大多摆脱了种种不利于人们接近的等级性清规戒律。
美国人的这种待人接物态度反映了他们的思想观念。在美国人看来,礼貌规范是由人制订出来的,它们不应该成为限制人的僵硬模式。因此,在美国,没有法庭制订社会礼节,也没有上层阶级强行规定执行这类礼节。各种社会礼节主要按照人们的生性习惯去落实在行动上。
由于美国人在行为举止上较少约束自己,他们在许多方面都表现得很随便。他们说话随便,衣着随便,吃东西随便,对人的态度也随便。反映在英语语言使用上,美国人对它的“为我所用”态度,常令一些墨守成规的老派文人痛心疾首;而那些广泛地浒于民间的不规则表达法,更使不少语法学家徒叹无奈。至于语言中含蓄地表现社会等级观念的词语,美国人常常不屑一顾,置之不理。 也可能由于美国人对清规戒律缺乏重视,他们的纪律观念比较淡薄,这常使行政官员和执行纪律的人感到头痛。有一种说法,说是英国人认为遵守规章是种乐趣,而美国人则把强硬要求他遵守某种规定看作是对他的不敬、甚至侮辱。美国党校里,学生纪律松散;美国家庭里,父母管教孩子不严;美国军队里,士兵自由散漫更是远近闻名。
令人惊讶的是,美国的教育还算成功,美国的孩子长大后大多成为好父母、好公民,美国的军队也偶尔能打些胜仗。这种看似矛盾的现象也许可以这样解释:美国人热爱自由,不愿被人强行控制,然而在真正行使自由权利时,他们仍受法律观念约束,有分寸地在自己的权限范围内“自由潇洒”。事实上,尽管美国人表面上办事满不在乎,不尊重法律,但实际上,美国人是极其崇尚法治的。世界上没有哪一个国家象美国那样下功夫研究法律,也没有哪一个国家的律师象美国那样在政治和日常生活中起如此重要的作用。美国人可以无所顾忌地用粗话批评总统和国会,但对最高法院却以敬畏的精神相待。这也许是美国人在随便与约束上保持平衡、弛张相宜的最好例证。
个人主义与合作精神
说起个人主义,人们很容易想到利欲薰心、唯利是图的资产阶级伦理价值观,尤其是像美国这种典型的资本主义国家。其实,英文里的个人主义(individualism)在美国有两层意思。第一层是它的积极意义,指的是个人自我独立、自我奋斗、自己掌握自己命运的执著精神。这层意义上的个人主义常与这样的美国人形象相联系:他是一个勇敢坚强的拓荒者,向荒野迁移,与蛮夷作伴,用自己的智慧和力量独辟蹊径,铺设成功之路,他所做的一切充满着创业精神和独特活力。第二层是它的消极意义,指的是个人为了追求自己的利益,置他人利益和公共利益于不顾,疯狂索取,贪得无厌。这层意义上的个人主义常与这样的美国人形象相联系:他是一个自私自利的投机分子,为了满足个人的种种欲望,不择手段、不顾一切地从社会和大自然中攫取有用之物,对社会福利和自然环境冷谈麻木,漠不关心。可以这么讲,个人主义的这两层意思是该词内涵所不可分割的一个整体,如同一枚硬币有其正反两面一样。
从好的角度说,个人主义有利于创业精神的弘扬,它给人以机会,赋予自由,鼓励多样性,从而推动和促进了美国的工业、农业、科技、教育、娱乐和体育的发展。从坏的角度来讲,个人主义的无节制膨胀给大自然造成了很大的破坏,也给社会中的人际关系抹上了一层厚厚的冷霜。许多人在冷酷的个人主义的竞争、挤压下,或生活潦倒、心灰意懒,或人性扭曲、愤世嫉俗。因此,从个人主义的积极、消极两方面因素来看,问题的关键是如何嫉恶扬善,而这也是美国文化中始终没有妥善解决的“难结”。
不过,令人值得寻味的是,美国人虽然个人主义强盛,但他们也很愿意合作。可以这么讲,除英国之外,西方国家中没有哪个国家象美国人那样愿意为某种共同的目的而自愿联合起来;没有哪个国家私人的联合会有美国那样多和那样卓有成效。
在欧洲大陆,建立一个教会、一所学院、一座医院、一个慈善机关,往往费时费劲,困难重重。但在美国,只要个人或团体有兴趣就可以轻易地建立这类机构。于是,各种各样的组织纷纷成立――乐施行善的组织、繁荣商业的组织、影响政治的组织、收集历史资料的组织、规划未来的组织、研究文化的组织、拥有枪支的组织等等。几乎社会上的每个人都有自己的组织。这种现象说明,人们在追求个性发展的同时,仍注重团体组织的建设,以保证社会能有秩序和稳定,使个人利益和集体利益之间达到一定程度的平衡。
标新立异
美国人可能是世界上最热衷于、也善于标新立异的民族。无论是从当年美国建国元勋建立美国联邦制政体来说,还是从美国最早决定政教分离来看;无论是从美国人在科学技术的发明创造来说,还是从美国人在建筑工艺上的刻意创新来看;也无论是从当代美国青年爱理“朋克”头或阴阳头来说,还是从美国男男女女穿着的千奇百怪的服装来看,美国人处处显露出一种与众不同、别具一格的追求,一种极为自信、我行我素的风格。
从历史上讲,美国人的标新立异精神始于殖民时期。那时,许多政治或宗教上受迫害的欧洲人,尤其是英国人,认为欧洲受王权和神权统治,权贵们终日忙于勾心斗角,互相残杀,造成整个欧洲一直战火不断,民不聊生,生活无望。为了逃避这个腐败世界,这些欧洲人不惜冒着生命危险,远涉重洋,来到了北美这块荒芜之地。他们之所以离乡背井,甘冒危险,重要原因之一就是为了在“新”世界里创建一个有别于、相异于旧世界的社会――所谓的“山巅之城”(a city upon the hill),供世人景仰,让世人仿效。在这样一个社会里,他们要设法使新建立的国家不仅在政府体制和社会结构上与欧洲国家不同,而且还要在思想观念和生活方式上与欧洲国家形成鲜明的对照。
从文化观念上讲,美国人的标新立异与他们的个人主义观念密切相关。我们知道,个人主义的主旨是突出个人价值的本质,崇尚个人特性,而要突出个人价值,完成个性塑造,这必然要求人们与众不同,标新立异。唯有如此,方可使自己在芸芸众生中鹤立鸡群,独领风骚。由于生活在这种文化氛围下的社会成员人人都追求创新、个个都刻意求胜,美国人对新奇的东西不仅能宽容地接受,而且还常常大加赞赏,褒扬一番。 也许因为标新立异观念已深深扎根于美国文化土壤,所以它反映在美国社会生活中的方方面面。譬如,有的人造了一些奇大无比的轿车,内设厨房、游泳池、电话、电视、客厅等各类设施。也有人别出心裁,拉上自己心爱的人,坐上热气球徐徐升空后,才向众人宣布这是婚礼仪式。还有的人更令人叫绝,竟三五成群地爬上电线杆子,互相比赛谁能在电线杆子上坐的时间更长。这类追求新奇性的事例在美国比比皆是,不胜枚举。这恐怕也是“吉尼斯纪录”不断被破、《吉尼斯世界大全》不停出版新版本的主要原因之所在。#p#分页标题#e#
破除神秘
世界上的不少民族有浓郁的神秘感,如非洲的一些民族和拉美中的一些民族对大自然、对上苍、对人类自身等事物怀有深厚的神秘感。他们或者对这些东西顶礼膜拜,深信不疑,或者对这些东西敬畏不已,不敢越雷池半步。美国人与这些民族迥然不同,少有诸如此类的神秘感。如果美国人发现某些东西过于神秘,他们往往没法将其破除,使它暴露“庐山真面目”。举例来说。政治在许多国家往往充满神秘感,国家领导人的确定,党派之间的倾轧较量,重大政策的决定,以及政府机制的动作过程等,对平民百姓来讲是一个永远解不开的迷。然而在美国,政治像一场颇具观赏性的游戏,普通老百姓可以借助报纸、电视等大众传播媒介,观摩政客们互相攻击、互相嘲弄、互相指责等各方面的精彩表演。大至总统竞选、国会听证会,小至学生会与校董会的冲突,人们无不可以从中窥见政治游戏中的权术运用、利益交换和官官相护等事例。只要美国政客们在玩政治游戏时遵守有关规章制度,他们就能够得到作为观众的选民们的认可一样。如果政客们违反有关规则,如尼克松的水门事件、里根的伊朗门事件,那么,他们就要受到有关机构的查询和调查,乃至曝光出丑。所以说,美国的政治因透明度较高而较少有神秘感,普通百姓对政治机制的运作也因此而有相当程度的了解。 还有,美国人的宗教热情很高,但这种对上苍的敬畏并没有阻碍美国人揭开上帝创造的这个世界之迷的勇气和努力。从西部边疆的开发,到外层空间的探索,从海底资源的研究,到大气资源的探索,美国人似乎并不因上帝的万能而被震摄住,而是无所顾忌地大胆试验,勇敢地利用科学知识来解答大自然中的秘密。

美国人破除神秘感的最显著例子表现在他们对人自身的认识上。《圣经》上讲,上帝创造了人。在美国,近95%的人自称相信上帝。但美国人对医生开胸破肚移植心脏、肾脏等“动手动脚”行为非但无异议,反而赞叹不已。更有甚者,美国人竟然违背“上帝造人”之千古常理,胆大妄为地搞起试管婴儿。当然,最令人难以置信的是,美国人的性教育已全面走向“社会化”。性成为油盐酱醋一样人人皆知常识,几千年来人类蒙在性上的神秘感被美国人揭露得一干二净。在开放、自由占主导地位的国度里,神秘感被破除尚在预料之中。只是破除神秘走之过极,使privacy也不能幸免,这总让人觉得有点“那个”。

19世纪中叶,达尔文创立了科学的生物进化学说,以自然选择为核心的达尔文进化论,第一次对整个生物界的发生、发展,作出了唯物的、规律性的解释,推翻了特创论等唯心主义形而上学在生物学中的统治地位,使生物学发生了一个革命变革。除了生物学外,他的理论对人类学、心理学及哲学的发展都有不容忽视的影响。
1、产生背景在文艺复兴以及思想启蒙之后,现代科学的理性思维已经建立起来。达尔文的时代是十九世纪中后期,正是走出蒙提,提倡科学的前一阶段,在思想和理性上,为达尔文创立自然选择进化论提供了思想依据;而青年时的远游,则为他积累了大量的实据,引发了他关于物种进化的思考并最终形成一个完整的体系。
2、要点:他认为,生物之间存在着生存斗争,适应者生存下来,不适者则被淘汰,这就是自然的选择。生物正是通过遗传、变异和自然选择,从低级到高级,从简单到复杂,种类由少到多地进化着、发展着。 以上三点,就是我们常听到的“物竞天择,适者生存”,现在基因学诞生之生,为此提供了重要的证据,事实上,物竞天择,竞的是“基因”。
3、影响: 进化论是人类历史上第二次重大科学突破,第一次是日心说取代地心说,否定了人类位于宇宙中心的自大情结;第二次就是进化论,把人类拉到了与普通生物同样的层面,所有的地球生物,都与人类有了或远或近的血缘关系,彻底打破了人类自高自大,一神之下,众生之上的愚昧式自尊。 庆幸的是,达尔文已经不是在中世纪了,所以他没有受到布鲁诺的待遇,民众仍然给了极高的评价,即使是宗教,也表现出了一定的宽容,当然,这与当时宗教权力远不如中世纪有关。
4、有关争论: 争论来自两方面:一方面是科学界的内部争论,一方面是科学界以外的宗教与进化论争论。 在科学界内部,没有进化论是否成立的争论和质疑,进化的事实早已确凿无疑地证明了进化论的成立,但是,在具体的进化形式和原因中,依然争议不断,如渐变与突变的争议(这个已经不争了,进化速度因条件不同而不同)、人类进化历程的争议、…… 宗教与科学的争论,这是民众感受最多的部分,也是争论最有影响力的领域。因为民众专业的生物学知识很贫乏,中学时代我们学到的只是研究的结论,而没有专业的解释,因此,宗教尤其是基督教,则惯于歪曲生物学和进化论,把进化论描述为非科学的、蛮横的、可笑的、无证据的或者是捏造的……
美国:从“猴子审判”到学校禁教创世论
  与日益世俗化的欧洲相比,在超过80%的人信仰宗教的美国,达尔文的进化论遇到的质疑和反对更多。最著名的是1925年7月10日美国田纳西州戴顿镇举行了一场举世关注、被史书称之为“猴子审判”的世纪大审判,好莱坞在1960年根据此案拍过电影。当时,美国宗教徒推动田纳西州议会通过一项法案,禁止在学校生物课讲授进化论,而只允许教授基督教的创世论,违者罚款高达500美元。但该州戴顿镇的青年教师约翰•斯科普斯不甘违背科学知识,在生物课继续讲授进化论,结果被宗教徒告上法庭,即刻引起全美国舆论的关注。原告律师布莱安是前国务卿,曾三次被推选为民主党总统候选人,尽管有著名人权律师达罗出庭为被告辩护,但是教授进化论依然被判败诉。到了1987年,美国最高法院判定,创世论为宗教学说,禁止在学校传授。
  上个世纪80年代,美国宗教界又发起新一轮对进化论的反攻,由信仰宗教的科学家出面,掀起一场“智慧设计”运动。他们宣称,世间生命复杂繁多,仅凭达尔文的进化论难以解释得通,必有一个全智全能的设计者。不过他们始终无法证明这个设计者的存在,对此只能顾左右而言他。他们一度让一些学校开讲智慧设计理论,结果遭致学生家长的强烈反对,2005年美国州法院判定“智慧设计”为改头换面的创世论,而非科学理论,不能在课堂传授。
  今天,依然有四成美国人不认同达尔文的进化论。在查尔斯•达尔文诞辰二百周年前夕,美国媒体的一项民调显示,对进化论,只有39%的美国人表示相信,而25%的美国人则不相信,另有36%的美国人对进化论和创世论莫衷一是。而是否相信进化论与受教育水平和信仰宗教有极大关系。高中毕业者中只有21%的人相信进化论,而具有研究生学历者中近74%的人相信进化论。参加教堂礼拜次数越多者,越不相信进化论。年轻人比年长者更相信进化论,不过在年龄18到34岁的人群中间,也只有49%的人相信进化论。
在中国课堂上,达尔文的进化论已被学生和老师普遍接受。大洋彼岸的美国,情况却扑朔迷离:达尔文与打着上帝旗号的神创论,已经较劲很多年。
  ■达尔文与上帝的争斗,达尔文与上帝的首次交锋发生在1925年。
  上世纪初,美国中学生人数激增,到1920年共约有250万,是30年前的七倍,更多的学生有机会接触到进化论。1925年,田纳西州代顿市中学教师约翰•T•斯科普斯,因教授进化论而被神创论的支持者告上法庭。当时,该州法律禁止在中学讲授任何违反《圣经》的理论。
  显而易见,斯科普斯碰触了基督徒关于人从何而来的底线。神创论的支持者,将进化论简化歪曲为“人是由猴子变过来的”。他们认为,人如此高级复杂的生物,不可能通过漫长进化而来;人是上帝亲手设计并制造的。这场著名的“猴子审判”结果是,斯科普斯被罚款100美元。更为严重的是,美国教科书出版商担心神创论者的抵制,主动删减掉进化论的内容。随后的30年,进化论在美国科学教育中,鲜有声音。
  当苏联领先美国,于1957年成功发射人造卫星后,美国人坐不住了。在政府资助下,生物科学课程研究项目组成立,美国人开始重视和加强科学教育,生物课程改革被提上日程。该小组编辑出版的教科书,就重点强调了销声匿迹多年的进化论。
  成果显而易见。上世纪60年代中期,近半数美国中学采用了支持进化论的新教材。此外,美国最高法院还于1968年宣判阿肯色州的反进化论法律违反联邦宪法。这意味着,那些禁止公立学校教授进化论的法律都是违反宪法的。
  但神创论并未偃旗息鼓,他们调整了应对策略,提出了科学创造论。这是神创论的2.0升级版,但从本质来说,它依然是神创论。科学创造论的奠基性著作《创世纪洪水》,把最新科学成果说成是支持“诺亚洪水”的证据,并坚信上帝在大约6000年前按《创世纪》所描述的过程,创造了宇宙万物。#p#分页标题#e#
  把宗教信仰打扮成科学样,科学创造论在上世纪80年代取得巨大成功。在路易斯安那州,《在公立学校平等对待创世论科学和进化论科学的指导法案》于1981 年通过。科学创造论堂而皇之进入课堂,并取得了法律保证。随后,美国超过25个州立法者提出,科学创造论应与进化论享有同等教学时间。1987年6月,联邦最高法院则以7票对2票,判处路易斯安娜州的指导法案非法,并将其废除。
  ■智能设计论的高端路线
  好景不长。两年后,神创论再次变身,成为“智能设计论”。为鼓吹这一理论,美国思想与道德基金会,特意编写《关于熊猫与人》一书。该书认为,万物的设计者可能是上帝、外星人或穿越时空的细胞生物学家。无论如何包装,智能设计论与神创论在本质上是一致的,他们犯同样的科学错误,执迷于同样的宗教条款。
  智能设计论好走高端路线。通过学术寻租,发挥具有高学历和学术职位人士的优势,举办大型研讨会,不断向学术界渗透侵蚀。通过讲座、电视以及互联网,智能设计论的传播无孔不入。2008年,第一部以神创论为主题,指责科学界观点歧视的电影《驱逐进化论》上映。这一首轮在1052家影院公映的纪录片,主要内容是科学界密谋迫害持神创论观点的科学家,以争取民众同情。
  如此这般,同情智能设计论的民众开始居高不下。尽管科学界一致力挺进化论,但反对进化论的社会运动逐次兴起。而近几年,“进化论将从美国中学课本中删除的消息”仍时有耳闻。2005年,堪萨斯州的一场听证会,在全美掀起一场波澜。这年5月,该州教育委员会针对学校科学课程如何教授“生命的起源”问题,听取社会多方意见,并将可能修改相关教学大纲。争议的焦点在于,进化论能否作为真理出现在课本中?课本能否吸纳其他意见,比如神创论及智能设计论。
  全美广播公司特意发起一项网上民意调查。结果显示,56%的人认为“进化论是一个完善的科学理论,目前的教学不需要修改”,其他人则认为“许多美国人质疑进化论,而教育应该反映不同的信仰”。
  2008年6月,路易斯安那州通过一项科学教育法案,其中正含有反对进化论的内容。该法认为,应“允许并帮助教师及学校管理人员,在公立小学和中学营造一种氛围,以利于学生的批判性思考技巧以及逻辑分析能力的培养,能客观开放地讨论所学的科学理论”。这一条款,为在公立学校讲述神创论、批判达尔文进化论提供了新的机会。在达尔文与上帝之间的,新的争斗又将展开。可以预见的是,作为一个深受基督教影响的国家,在美国,类似争斗还将源源不断。
  ■布什妨碍了进化论
  2002年,布什总统颁布《不让一个孩子掉队法案》(NCLB),被普遍认为是继1965年基础教育法颁布以来,最重要的一部基础教育法律。NCLB重点目标是缩小学生成绩之间的差距,为所有孩子提供高质量的教育。其中涉及进化论教育问题,可能会让更多小学生尽早接受进化论理论,无疑激起神创论者新的反击。
  不能忽略的是,布什是典型的宗教保守派立场,在对待神创论上,闪烁其词,态度暧昧。而当政8年,布什禁止一切与干细胞有关的研究。期间,美国社会频现源于华府的反科学情绪,达尔文的进化论亦受到严重冲击。
  智能设计论的倡导者,也四处游走,展开一场文化、科学论战,抨击那些只教授进化论的学校。他们认为,进化论解释不了自然界复杂演变的全部内容,只是一种假说性理论。这意味着,其他关于生物从何而来的理论都得走进课堂。
  宾夕法尼亚州,成为将智能设计论纳入教学内容的第一个州。2004年10月,该州多佛市学区的校委会规定,中学九年级学生在学习进化论课程前,必须先了解智能设计论。在生物课堂上,教师还需宣读一份声明:“进化论只是一种理论,不是事实”。随后,亦有其他州开始在课堂对进化论进行批评性介绍。2005年,美国约有24个州及地方政府考虑对科学课程进行类似更改。在佐治亚州的科布县,生物课本上也贴上写有类似声明的贴纸。想揭掉贴纸,得先得到法庭许可。
  2005年,布什总统接受采访时表示,赞同在学校教授智能设计论,认为学生可以接触与进化论不同的理论。这一悖逆科学的不负责言论,无疑让进化论很受伤。 2006年8月,美国《科学》一项调查显示,美国近四成民众认为进化论是假的,对进化论的接受程度明显低于其他国家。在34个国家中,位列倒数第二。相比之下,日本及西欧国家对进化论的认可度超过80%。
  2009年,无疑是进化论大展拳脚的年份。借达尔文诞辰200周年、《物种起源》出版150周年纪念,美国各大科学组织和主流媒体不遗余力地宣传进化论的正确。目前,已列举出31个国家将举行的281场纪念活动中,有170场将在美国举行。年初入主白宫的奥巴马,亦明确支持进化论教育,这无疑是个好消息。
  ■科学也是由上帝创造的?
  在美国,生物老师都是有地位的主科教师。这是因为,学生想读医科,必须首先学好生物。一些学校里的生物老师,还有点小特权——挑最好的学生,跟高等学术机构开展合作研究,给学生提供实习机会。
  美国文化论文但生物老师在对待进化论上,并不完全统一,比如某些州的中学,教授进化论是非法的。曾有美籍华人在博客描述过这样的情景。生物教师居然不相信达尔文的进化论。老师和同学一致认为,世间万物是由上帝创造。当美国同学听说中国人不相信上帝后,有美国同学好奇地问她中国人信什么。她想了想,自豪地告诉他们:“中国人相信科学。”哪知美国同学的回答比她还自豪:“科学也是由上帝创造的。”
  在高中阶段,只要修到22分学分就能毕业,科学占3分。科学课程包括生物、地球、化学、物理、气象等学科,每个学科一学分。学生可自由选择课程组合。这意味着,可能有一部分学生不会选择生物课程,难以接触到进化论内容。
  作为现代科学最重要的理论,进化论如果不为民众所接受,潜在患害是显而易见的。学生、家长与老师,都需认清神创论的种种面目,惟如此,才能铺垫好生物医学和生命科学的基石。

 

 



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