Activity 03 Text Difficulty


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Activity 03 Text Difficulty

  1. 1. Activity 03: Text Difficulty The man who buried Marx and Freud U NTIL his death on September 17th, Sir Karl Popper was the best-known and most widely read of living philosophers. There were no challengers. Why? Because he had a simple idea that anybody can understand. It is that man makes progress by making mistakes. Popper applied this thesis to science and to politics. In science, he argued that the mark of a good theory was that it should be easily falsifiable - that is, open to correction. He attacked Freud for propounding theories so all-encompassing that they could not be refuted. Freudianism, argue Popper, could explain away any apparent criticism, and therefore did not count as genuinely scientific. In politics, Popper said the mark of a good system of government was that it too, should be open to criticism. No system could get everything right, so no system should have too much power. “The Open Society and Its Enemies” is a brilliant polemic against the political utopianism of Plato, Hegel and Marx. It remains the best intellectual defence of liberal democracy against know-it-all to- talitarianism. Popper, an assimilated Viennese Jew born in 1902, wrote it between 1938 and 1943 while in New Zealand. It was, he said, his war effort. In a preface to the latest edition of Popper’s autobiography, Helmut Kohl rightly described him as “among the most significant champions of the open society”. Mr. Kohl also wrote of Popper’s “great personal modesty”. In the flesh, perhaps, but not in the writings. One chapter of his autobiography is called “who killed Logical Positivism?”. The answer is unashamedly “Me”. In other books he repeatedly claimed to have solved one of the great philosophical puzzles, David Hume’s “problem of induction”. He didn’t. The refutation of Popper on this point is now a standard undergraduate exercise in philosophy. According to his own theories, Popper should have welcomed this fact, but he could not bring himself to do so. The irony is that, here, Popper could nor admit he was wrong. Popper’s range was much wider than his “fallibilist” fame suggests. There are writings on the brain, on quantum mechanics, on the theory of probability and many other topics that have not received nearly so much attention as his well-known work on politics and scientific method. Popper ought to have hoped that these other writings would be refuted that others could learn from his mistakes; but he probably did not. He is likely to be remembered most for “The Open Society” - for the unPopperian reason that it was right. (423 words) Text 1 1
  2. 2. Activity 03: Text Difficulty HEAD TO HEAD What’s the best way to control population growth in Vietnam? Adrie van Gelderen is Managing Director of Affiliate Ltd (HK) and Professor Dang Thu is director of the Centre for Population, national Centre for Social and Human Sciences. Adrie van Gelderen - In Vietnam, as well as in many other developing countries, the uncontrolled growth of the population is a problem that requires immediate and lasting solutions. It has been estimated that Vietnam Dang Thu - In 1934 in Hanoi, the child mortality will have 168 million people by 2050 at present growth rate was 50% and life expectancy was about 20 rates. years. In this kind of environment, if a married couple did not have seven to 10 children the Campaigns by the government and international population simply couldn’t keep its numbers up. organizations may have some effect in urban This is why people had big families. areas, but in the countryside and mountainous regions the number of young children in the Over the past 30 to 40 years, the mortality rate villages is staggering. Wherever one goes7öne is has been falling rapidly and life expectancy is now surrounded by hordes of toddlers. 66 years. But the birth rate is still high. Many people in the countryside view birth control The average educational level of Vietnamese is and modem methods of contraception as culturally 4.6 years of schooling, a figure which puts unacceptable. Vietnam above 90 countries in the world. But as there is a disparity between the level of learning However, a reason for the high birth rate and development from one area to another, the (compensation for high child mortality) is birth rate is still high in backward areas. disappearing with the increase of the quality of health care and personal hygiene. More children Decades ago, when the population was still are born healthy but many still feel the need to relatively small and land was plentiful, people reproduce at traditional levels. used to think that the bigger the family, the richer it was. These days this has been more or less Improvements in socioeconomic circumstances reversed with jobs scarce and oversupply of labor. have a certain influence on fertility statistics and Parents see that the economy of the family is there are family planning experts who argue that affected as soon as the first child is born and this economic improvement is the best contraceptive. is intensified with each successive child. In my opinion the surest way to a solution for But, although the feudal idea of favouring boys population control is an intensive and integrated over girls has more or less died out, there are still education programme on health care and family some married couples which, after having two planning aimed at the age girls, still want a boy. group that is not yet sexually % OF PEOPLE LIVING IN CITIES active. And there are still people in Singapore 100% rural areas who cling to the New views concerning family Hong Kong 95% three to five-child family for- structure and size must be Korea 76% implanted in the generation that Taiwan 75% mula. has not yet started creating a Philippines 45% With the electrification of rural Malaysia 44% areas and as the proportion of family. Pakistan 33% the population working in The major difficulty is the Indonesia 31% agriculture falls as services and question of how far one can or China 27% should go “brainwashing” India 26% industry grow, the television Thailand 24% and radio will give backward children on the subject, break- Vietnam 20% areas access to more ing down centuries-old tradi- Average 12 countries 29% information. This in turn will tions and values. stem backward habits and cus- World 42% Over the last 40 years most toms. People will be better off, money has been spent on Source: Deutsche Bank Research will concentrate on wealth providing contraception and creation and so have a smaller information through family planning, but I think that family. such methods do not bring about a change in Once the target of two children per family has people’s thinking and benefits stop when these been achieved, with such a large part of the activities finish. population quite young, the population will keep growing for some 50-60 years before it stops. (721 words) The problem will take a generation to work itself out. Text 2 2
  3. 3. Activity 03: Text Difficulty Hue Suite Ursula Nixon The Perfume River: Light makes silk the dark water Flowing like our lives *** Nine dynastic urns Adorn the dusty gardens Of a long-dead prince. *** Petals of the hand: The light caress of fingers Smoothing rich brocade. *** Tu Duc’s tomb awaits Ghosts and the living to cross Deserted courtyards *** Autumn’s yellow leaves Scatter across the flagstones, Emptying the year. Text 3 3
  4. 4. Activity 03: Text Difficulty Opera is expensive: that much is inevitable But expensive things are not inevitably the province of the rich unless we abdicate society’s power of choice. We can choose to make opera, and other expensive forms of culture, accessible to those who cannot individually pay for it. The question is: why should we? Nobody denies the imperatives of food, shelter, defense, health and education. But even in a prehistoric cave, mankind sketched out a hand not just to eat, drink or fight, but also to draw. The impulse towards culture, the desire to express and explore the world through imagination and representation is fundamental in Europe, this desire has found fulfillment in the masterpieces of our music, art, literature and theatre. These masterpieces are the touchstones for all our efforts; they are the touchstones for the possibilities to which human thought and imagination may aspire; they carry the most profound messages that can be sent from one human to another. What would we think of a society which did not attempt to teach its children about these achievements? And what would those children think if, having learnt that Mozart was one of the greatest creative minds who had ever lived, they discovered that his works were denied to all but those who passed the test of being rich? Nobody should denigrate the value of the patronage of the rich. It is one of the great traditions of our culture, and the desire and the ability to beautify your life and your surroundings at your own expense is a noble one. But in method, taste and consumption, it is individual and private, and thus at odds with the fundamental nature of music, theatre, and opera, which is public and communal. Theatre sprang out of a need to dramatize the unknowable. We learn from a handful of human beings, most born without exceptional material privileges, that theatre can aspire to a genuinely profound and mystical experience. When the people of a city gather together in the darkness and immerse themselves collectively in the works of Mozart and Verdi, they are not only imbibing these great spirits for themselves but in concert with their unknown neighbours on either side. This is a profound social activity, which is by no means to be compared with sitting in isolation listening to a reproduction. The great spiritual force of the highest forms of theatre, music and opera stems from its ability to inspire an audience to feelings which are generously and publicly expressed, not harboured secretly and privately. The civilised society will make music, theatre and opera the province of all its people. An uncivilized society reserves such achievements for a privileged few. The rest of society may learn about the existence of these achievements but denied access to them, they will tend to hate the ideals and aspirations they embody, and ultimately, hate society itself. It is simply a question of choice. (486 words) Text 4 4
  5. 5. Activity 03: Text Difficulty ITALIAN CHICKEN Prep. and Cook Time: 30 mins. Ingredients: • 4 to 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts • 1 kg jar spaghetti sauce of choice • 2 cups grated mozzarella cheese • Parmesan cheese • Salt, pepper, garlic • Fettuccine noodles Directions: Grease large casserole dish. Season chicken breasts with salt, pepper and garlic. Place flat in casserole dish. Bake for 20 minutes turning once. Pour spaghetti sauce over chicken and sprinkle generously with mozzarella cheese. Bake until bubbly and cheese has melted. Prepare noodles according to directions and serve chicken and sauce over noodles. Top with grated parmesan cheese. Text 5 5