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How honest are you? 你诚实吗?

你诚实吗?你撒过慌、骗过人吗?在生活、工作中,诚实一定是上策吗?本集《随身英语》讨论“诚实守信”是人的本能还是社交生活的必然产物?

课文内容

Vocabulary: honesty 词汇: 诚实

Let's be honest – I'm sure we've all done something a little dishonest in our lives – maybe copying someone's work, borrowing some money from a friend and not paying them back or being given too much change in a shop and keeping quiet about it. Or maybe I'm wrong, maybe you're a good, upstanding citizen who believes that honesty is the best policy.

This proverb, 'honesty is the best policy', was written back in the 1700s by American statesman, Benjamin Franklin. We may agree that owning up to our mistakes and behaving in a genuine and decent way, is the right way to lead our lives but is there something in our human nature that makes us unscrupulous? For example, in some shops and car parks you can find an honesty box – a box where you pay for something by putting money in it – but it relies on you putting the right amount of cash in. This relies on people being honest and not trying to cheat but it does provide a temptation to get away with not paying the full amount.

Philip Graves, a psychologist, and author of the book Consumerology, suggests that this temptation is part of our evolution. He says: "We have evolved with the capacity to be dishonest. It's part of our evolutionary psychological make up – because if we can gain an advantage over the people around us, we have a greater chance of surviving."

So why do we place such importance on being honest if we benefit from being dishonest? It's because it is selfish behaviour – which other members of our social group won't like. If everybody acted selfishly and dishonestly all the time, the world would be a very unpleasant place. As Philip Graves says: "There is a balance to strike between the extent to which we can feather our own nest, so to speak, and the risk of being ostracised by the group." So, for societies to work together we need to trust each other and therefore we need to be honest.

Being trustworthy with money is of course crucial for an economy to survive and there are laws to protect us from dishonest practices like corruption and fraud. But being honest with words is another matter; saying what we think to someone can get us into hot water. However a new anonymous messaging app has been designed that lets anyone with a link to your profile to send you a message without knowing who it's from. The app now has 300 million users which perhaps indicates how honest we really like to be – but in all honesty, do you want to know what people think about you? Is honesty always the best policy?!

词汇表

let's be honest 咱们诚实点,实话实说
dishonest 不诚实的
upstanding 正直的
honesty is the best policy 诚实是上策
own up 承认,坦白
decent 正派的
unscrupulous 不诚实的,没有道德原则的
honesty box (没有服务人员时) 公众凭自觉与诚实去付款的容器
cheat 欺骗
temptation 有诱惑力的事情
to get away with 做(坏事)而未被发现
evolution 进化
capacity 能力
evolutionary psychological make up 演化心理学的记号、标签
benefit 从…受益
selfish 自私的
feather our own nest 从中得利,中饱私囊
ostracise 排斥
trustworthy 值得信任的
fraud 诈骗
get into hot water 陷入困境,使尴尬
in all honesty 老实说

测验与练习

1. 阅读课文并回答问题。

1. What does an honesty box rely on people doing?

2. According to psychologist Philip Graves, what is the advantage of being dishonest?

3. True or false: Societies can trust each other if everyone behaves honestly.

4. Which word used in the article means 'extremely important because it has a major effect on the result of something'?

5. Why do you think being honest with your words can be a bad thing?

2. 请在不参考课文的情况下完成下列练习。选择一个意思合适的单词填入句子的空格处

1. Sam worked for an ______ employer and when it closed down he still hadn't been paid.

decent        cheat        unscrupulous        corruption

2. Daisy finally ______ to breaking the window and was made to pay for repairing it.

owned up        owe up        own up        owed

3. The car seller seemed ______ so we decided to buy from him instead of the garage down the road.

ostracised        trustworthy        let's be honest        unscrupulous

4. Mandeep asked me what I thought of the film but ______ I couldn't really say that I enjoyed it.

in all my honesty        all in honesty        in all honesty        in all dishonesty

5. I went to the bureaux de change around the corner and got a ______ exchange rate for my yuan.

decent        upstanding        trustworthy        benefit

答案

1. 阅读课文并回答问题。

1. What does an honesty box rely on people doing?
Being honest! Putting the correct amount of money in the box.

2. According to psychologist Philip Graves, what is the advantage of being dishonest?
He said if we can gain an advantage over the people around us, we have a greater chance of surviving.

3. True or false: Societies can trust each other if everyone behaves honestly.
True.

4.Which word used in the article means 'extremely important because it has a major effect on the result of something'?
crucial ("Being trustworthy with money is of course crucial for an economy to survive.")

5. Why do you think being honest with your words can be a bad thing?
It can offend people and upset their feelings.

2. 请在不参考课文的情况下完成下列练习。选择一个意思合适的单词填入句子的空格处

1. Sam worked for an unscrupulous employer and when it closed down he still hadn't been paid.

2. Daisy finally owned up to breaking the window and was made to pay for repairing it.

3. The car seller seemed trustworthy so we decided to buy from him instead of the garage down the road.

4. Mandeep asked me what I thought of the film but in all honesty I couldn't really say that I enjoyed it.

5. I went to the bureaux de change around the corner and got a decent exchange rate for my yuan.


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