雅思备考素材:Why do humans kiss?
2021-11-25 13:09 | 编辑:川外外语培训中心  来自:未知 
导读:人类为什么会接吻?接吻起源于何处?在古代,接吻也许是为了向不合意的婚姻发起挑战,异性亲吻也常被描写为不幸命运的开端。现在,亲吻随处可见,它能让我们暂时忘却世间俗事,逃离现实,进入理想的境界。 A question that comes up frequently on Google is w


  A question that comes up frequently on Google is why humans kiss, and while the kissing of various parts of the body (the face and the hand, for instance) are a feature of many social functions, the question, as I read it, is not about social kissing, but about romantic lip-kissing, known technically as osculation(唇吻). Is osculation a modern-day leftover from some ancient animal courtship display, as Darwin called mating rituals(求偶仪式)? If so, one would expect it to be universal, cutting across time and cultures. (如果是这样,我们就会认为唇吻是普遍现象,无论何时,无论何文化。)But it is not. To this day, some societies are either unaware of osculation or, if they are aware, have sanctions(处罚) against it.

  The word “romantic” is key. It needs to be differentiated from “sex”, “love” and “courtship”. Sex is, of course, a mating urge in all animals. Kissing is not necessarily connected to sex, unless one uses it as a form of foreplay. Love is, well, love (to wax poetic). There is no culture on earth that does not possess some notion of what love is. It comes in many forms and guises, but we all instinctively(本能地)recognise all of them as love. Philosophers such as Plato wrote treatises(论著;论点)on love and similar works are found throughout the ancient world. Love and sex are often intertwined(相互缠绕) in writings such as the Indian Kama Sutra, a manual on the practical art of love-making. Lip-kissing is portrayed in the Kama Sutra as part of that art, because the lips are seen as sensitive erogenous(情欲的) organs.

  Writers such as Homer, Aristophanes and Catullus were also obsessed with love and sex. Catullus implores(请求)his beloved to give him an infinite number of “kisses”. But, as in the Kama Sutra, one gets the impression that the kiss (wherever it is placed anatomically) is about sex and love (more about the former), with the male (Catullus) in charge of the situation and the female at his beck and call(听从他的指使).

  Courtship may or may not involve love or even sex. It is a prenuptial(婚前的)practice, taking on many ritualistic forms, dictated by specific traditions that are designed to ensure marriage typically as an agreement between families. Love is certainly not a prerequisite(前提条件)for courtship practices, and the kiss has rarely played a role in them – until recently, of course.

  So where does the kiss fit in? The “romantic” (not “sexual”) lip-kiss is an invention that comes, in all likelihood(非常有可能地), from medieval courtly love traditions. It is imbued with(充满) “true” (rather than “arranged”) love; it is a subversive act(反抗行为) against arranged courtship and against boring love. To this day, betraying or cheating on a partner starts with a kiss. Sex follows, of course. But the two cannot be reversed(反转) – sex is never put before kissing.

  The origins of the kiss may well be found in a declaration of freedom from stultifying(沉闷的)nuptial and love practices.(接吻极有可能源于宣称摆脱沉闷的婚姻和恋爱行为。) Is there any proof? There is no direct proof, of course. But there is plenty of anecdotal evidence.

  The first stories in which the romantic kiss appears, generally depicting star-crossed(命运多舛的)lovers away from the strictures of society, are the medieval fables, legend, and troubadour songs based on chivalry(骑士般的)and courtly love. A classic example is the story of the love affair between Paolo and Francesca in the 13th century, immortalised(使不朽)by the poet Dante in Canto V of his Inferno. It is about Francesca da Rimini, whose hand in marriage was given to Giovanni Malatesta (also known as Gianciotto) to solidify(巩固)the peace between warring families. Because her father knew she would reject the ugly and deformed(畸形的)Gianciotto, he asked his younger brother, Paolo, to retrieve Francesca. She fell instantly in love with the handsome Paolo, as the two kissed passionately – an image that influenced many subsequent(后来的)art works, including Rodin’s awe-inspiring(令人敬畏的)The Kiss sculpture. Realising that Paolo was not going to be her spouse, but that she was going to marry Gianciotto, Francesca became enraged. Her love for Paolo could not be denied.

  According to Dante, it was kindled(点燃)after the two lovers had themselves read the story of Lancelot and Guinevere. The tragic ending comes when the jealous Gianciotto, rapier in hand, is about to kill Paolo. Francesca throws herself between the two brothers. The blade passes through her, killing her. Gianciotto, completely beside himself, for he loved Francesca more than life itself, then kills his brother. The two lovers are buried in the same tomb, symbolising their union beyond mortal life.

  Paolo and Francesca’s love story is overwhelmingly sad and powerful at the same time. It is about “romantic” love, sealed with a kiss, that transcends(超越)both life and death, even though society sees their act as a sin. As Juliet tells Romeo in the Shakespearean version of that medieval tragedy, “Then have my lips the sin that they have took,” to which Romeo answers, “Sin from thy lips? O trespass sweetly urged! Give me my sin again.” From the outset(一开始), kissing and “ill-fated love” go hand in hand. This is perhaps the only possibility for true love. Sinful, maybe, as Juliet says, but irresistible. Today this subtext is found throughout pop-culture narratives, from the movies to the Harlequin bestsellers. The power of the furtive(偷偷摸摸的)kiss to change people’s lives draws us inexorably(不可避免地) to kissing.

  In the courtly love literature, women are portrayed as “angelic” beings, not mere sexual objects. The kiss was seen as the conduit(渠道) to spiritual love, not a prelude(序曲)to sex. The idea of the woman as an angel has lived on. It can be seen in pop songs such as Curtis Lee’s Pretty Little Angel Eyes (1961) and Neil Sedaka’s Next Door to an Angel (1962). The lyrics resonate with the celestial metaphors of the medieval poems and songs. Of course, in some of the lyrical portraits, the metaphor of the angel is juxtaposed(并置)against that of the devil, as in Elvis Presley’s The Devil in Disguise (1963).

  It is mind-boggling(无法想象的)to think that kissing might have originated simultaneously(同时地) as an act of love and as an act of defiance(反抗) against stifling courtship practices, as the Paolo and Francesca story implies. From that period on, kissing has become the romantic act par excellence(杰出的,卓越的). What’s more romantic than two people hugging, looking into each other’s eyes, and then, to put the final touches on the idyllic moment, kissing each other on the lips? At that instant, the kiss transports the lovers to another plane of existence – high above the mundane(世俗的). Only when romance ends does the power of the kiss fade. Because of the global village in which we live, the kiss has spread throughout the world, finding its way into traditions and courtship practices everywhere. It continues to be a subversive act of love. There’s a lot riding on a kiss, setting off a complex set of chemical reactions that enhance romantic feelings and make physical acts such as sexual intercourse much more meaningful and intimate.(亲吻作用重大,它能启动一系列复杂的化学反应,促进浪漫感情,让性行为这样的身体动作显得更有意味,更加亲密。) The kiss is, in a phrase, an intoxicating(令人陶醉的) “elixir”(灵丹妙药).

  In the end, romance is an ideal; it is part of the way we fantasize about the world. Everyone wants to be part of a great love story, even though it may never happen. The kiss is about the ideal, not the real. For a moment in time, it suspends(搁置)the real and makes the world perfect. When it works, it shatters the habitual, making us forget the trivial (不重要的)things that make up everyday life. (当亲吻起作用时,它会打碎常规,让我们忘记日常生活的细枝末节。)Let’s celebrate it always and hope that it never disappears.


  ritual 仪式

  sanction 惩罚

  instinctively 本能地

  treatise 论文;论点

  intertwine 交织;缠绕

  implore 请求

  at one's beck and call 受某人支使

  prenuptial 婚前的

  prerequisite 前提条件

  in all likelihood 极有可能地

  be imbued with 充满......

  subversive 颠覆的;反抗的

  reverse 逆转

  star-croseed 命运多舛的

  chivalry 骑士般的

  immortalize 使不朽

  solidify 巩固

  deform 变形;畸形

  subsequent 后来的

  awe-inspiring 令人敬畏的

  kindle 点燃

  transcend 超越

  from the outset 从一开始

  furtive 偷偷摸摸的

  inexorably 不可避免地

  conduit 渠道

  prelude 序曲

  juxtapose 与......并置

  mind-boggling 不可想象的

  simultaneously 同时地

  defiance 反抗

  par excellence 卓越的

  mundane 世俗的

  intoxicating 令人陶醉的

  elixir 灵丹妙药

  suspend 悬置;搁置

  trivial 不重要的

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