剑桥雅思8Test3阅读Passage2原文翻译 The Nature of Genius

剑桥雅思8Test3阅读Passage2原文翻译 The Nature of Genius 天才的本质



雅思真题阅读词汇 剑桥雅思8 test 3 passage 2 天才的本质

剑桥雅思8Test3阅读Passage2答案解析 The Nature of Genius

剑桥雅思8 Test3 Passage2阅读原文翻译


There has always been an interest in geniuses and prodigies. The word ‘genius’, from the Latin gens (= family) and the term ‘genius’, meaning ‘begetter’, comes from the early Roman cult of a divinity as the head of the family. In its earliest form, genius was concerned with the ability of the head of the family, the paterfamilias, to perpetuate himself. Gradually, genius came to represent a person’s characteristics and thence an individual’s highest attributes derived from his ‘genius’ or guiding spirit. Today, people still look to stars or genes, astrology or genetics, in the hope of finding the source of exceptional abilities or personal characteristics.

人们一直对天才和神童感兴趣。“genius”一词来自拉丁语gens(= family)和“genius”(意为“生子”)。它来自罗马人早期对一家之主神性的崇拜。天才最早的时候与一家之主使自己永存的能力有关。逐渐地,天才开始代表一个人的特征。因此一个人的最高属性源于他的“天才”或指导精神。如今,人们仍在寻找星象或基因,占星术或遗传学,以期找到卓越能力或个人特征的来源。


The concept of genius and of gifts has become part of our folk culture, and attitudes are ambivalent towards them. We envy the gifted and mistrust them. In the mythology of giftedness, it is popularly believed that if people are talented in one area, they must be defective in another, that intellectuals are impractical, that prodigies burn too brightly too soon and burn out, that gifted people are eccentric, that they are physical weaklings, that there’s a thin line between genius and madness, that genius runs in families, that the gifted are so clever they don’t need special help, that giftedness is the same as having a high IQ, that some races are more intelligent or musical or mathematical than others, that genius goes unrecognised and unrewarded, that adversity makes men wise or that people with gifts have a responsibility to use them. Language has been enriched with such terms as ‘highbrow’, ‘egghead’, ‘blue-stocking’, ‘wiseacre’, ‘know-all’, ‘boffin’ and, for many, ‘intellectual’ is a term of denigration.

天才和天赋的概念已成为我们民间文化的一部分。人们对它们的态度也很矛盾。我们羡慕有天赋的人,不信任他们。在天才的神话中,人们普遍认为,如果人们文章来自在某个领域有才华,他们必定在另一个领域有缺陷,知识分子是不切实际的,天才们过早地燃烧并耗尽了精力,有天赋的人是古怪的,身体很虚弱,天才和疯狂之间的界限很窄,天才在家族中遗传,有天赋的人是如此聪明,他们不需要特殊的帮助,拥有天赋与拥有很高的智商一样,有些种族比其他人更聪明,或在音乐或数学更有优势,天才不被承认和很难得到奖励,逆境使人聪明,或者有天赋的人有责任使用它们。这些语言中充斥着“高傲”,“傻瓜”,“突破常规”,“ 自以为是”,“无所不知”,“ 书呆子”等词。对于许多人来说,“智力”是贬义词。


The nineteenth century saw considerable interest in the nature of genius, and produced not a few studies of famous prodigies. Perhaps for us today, two of the most significant aspects of most of these studies of genius are the frequency with which early encouragement and teaching by parents and tutors had beneficial effects on the intellectual, artistic or musical development of the children but caused great difficulties of adjustment later in their lives, and the frequency with which abilities went unrecognised by teachers and schools. However, , the difficulty with the evidence produced by these studies, fascinating as they are in collecting together anecdotes and apparent similarities and exceptions, is that they are not what we would today call norm-referenced. In other words, when, for instance, information is collated about early illnesses, methods of upbringing, schooling, etc. , we must also take into account information from other historical sources about how common or exceptional these were at the time. For instance, infant mortality was high and life expectancy much shorter than today, home tutoring was common in the families of the nobility and wealthy, bullying and corporal punishment were common at the best independent schools and, for the most part, the cases studied were members of the privileged classes. It was only with the growth of paediatrics and psychology in the twentieth century that studies could be carried out on a more objective, if still not always very scientific, basis.



Geniuses, however, they are defined, are but the peaks which stand out through the mist of history and are visible to the particular observer from his or her particular vantage point. Change the observers and the vantage points, clear away some of the mist, and a different lot of peaks appear. Genius is a term we apply to those whom we recognise for their outstanding achievements and who stand near the end of the continuum of human abilities which reaches back through the mundane and mediocre to the incapable. There is still much truth in Dr Samuel Johnson’s observation, ‘The true genius is a mind of large general powers, accidentally determined to some particular direction’. We may disagree with the ‘general’, for we doubt if all musicians of genius could have become scientists of genius or vice versa, but there is no doubting the accidental determination which nurtured or triggered their gifts into those channels into which they have poured their powers so successfully. Along the continuum of abilities are hundreds of thousands of gifted men and women, boys and girls.

天才,无论它们如何定义,都不过是在历史的薄雾中脱颖而出的山峰。他们能被特点的观察者从特点的视角看到。改变观察者和观察位置,清除一些薄雾,然后就会出现许多不同的山峰。天才是一个术语,我们用它来形容那些因其杰出成就而得到认可,或者那些站在人类能力范围极限的人。塞缪尔·约翰逊(Samuel Johnson)博士的观察仍然有很多道理:“真正的天才具备杰出的普遍能力,无意中决定了某个特定方向”。我们可能会不同意“普遍”,因为我们怀疑是否所有的天才音乐家都可能成为天才科学家,反之亦然,但毫无疑问,偶然的决定使得他们的天赋进入能够成功发挥自己能力的渠道。成千上万的有才华的男人和女人,男孩和女孩分布在能力的光谱表上。


What we appreciate, enjoy or marvel at in the works of genius or the achievements of prodigies are the manifestations of skills or abilities which are similar to, but so much superior to, our own. But that their minds are not different from our own is demonstrated by the fact that the hard-won discoveries of scientists like Kepler or Einstein become the commonplace knowledge of schoolchildren and the once outrageous shapes and colours of an artist like Paul Klee so soon appear on the fabrics we wear. This does not minimise the supremacy of their achievements, which outstrip our own as the sub-four-minute milers outstrip our jogging.



To think of geniuses and the gifted as having uniquely different brains is only reasonable if we accept that each human brain is uniquely different. The purpose of instruction is to make us even more different from one another, and in the process of being educated we can learn from the achievements of those more gifted than ourselves. But before we try to emulate geniuses or encourage our children to do so we should note that some of the things we learn from them may prove unpalatable. We may envy their achievements and fame, but we should also recognise the price they may have paid in terms of perseverance, single-mindedness, dedication, restrictions on their personal lives, the demands upon their energies and time, and how often they had to display great courage to preserve their integrity or to make their way to the top.



Genius and giftedness are relative descriptive terms of no real substance. We may, at best, give them some precision by defining them and placing them in a context but, whatever we do, we should never delude ourselves into believing that gifted children or geniuses are different from the rest of humanity, save in the degree to which they have developed the performance of their abilities.


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