作者：北美考试教学中心 托福写作组 张晟凯
Conflicts between traditions and personal preferences seem to be unavoidable in modern society. When it comes to the issue about whether it is more important to follow the traditions while encountering such dilemmas, opinions vary from one person to another. As far as I am concerned, our personal preferences are supposed to be given top priority.
To start with, traditions, as a conclusion of past experience, cannot adapt to contemporary lifestyles to some extent. More often than not, a so-called tradition is formed in a long period before the Industrial Revolution, which means that these customary ways of solving specific problems might work merely in the past rather than at present. With the advent of the information age, the past decades have witnessed profound changes in human society. Under these circumstances, some traditions should be eliminated when they are dramatically different from personal preferences. For example, Spring Festival, as known as the Chinese new year, is traditionally celebrated with various fireworks. The loud sound and the radiant light are thought to be a deterrent for upcoming misfortunes. However, as the appeal of environmental protection and the belief in science have lodged in the public mind, many families are inclined to stop the traditional activity of shooting fireworks. They are more willing to replace it by sending blessings through the Internet.
Additionally, traditions may lead to a refusal to changes, which prevent young people from realizing dreams. The meaning of life, as is accepted by the majority, lies in the pursuit of dreams, which requires a great emphasis on individual preferences. The belief that a man is supposed to pursue his ideal life has taken root in young people’s hearts. After all, if one can only live once, why not choose to live life to the fullest in your own way? Traditions ask you to obey the rules, pass the exams, enter colleges and then find a job. Nevertheless, those who make great achievements all do things according to their preferences. Steve Jobs dropped out of Reed College and devoted himself to electronic devices. Elon Musk invested in electric vehicles when everyone thought he was crazy. Christopher Nolan decided to make movies although his major in college is literature. If they all follow the traditions, there will be no iPhone, Tesla, and Inception. Thus, traditions play quite an embarrassing role nowadays, which act as an impediment to dreams.
In conclusion, I still firmly believe that individual preferences are much more significant than traditions. I hope that everyone could find their own appropriate way to loosen the bonds of tradition, which is bound to be a new start in his or her life.