RE: future language

From: Trupeljak Ozren (
Date: Tue Apr 30 2002 - 23:26:02 BST

  • Next message: Trupeljak Ozren: "Re: future language"

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    Subject: RE: future language
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    --- Vincent Campbell <> wrote:
    >> Having said the above, perhaps a less "natural" and more colonial
    > form of arriving at a common language may occur in coming years, but
    > the
    > same is said about cultural trends more widely- cultural imperialism,
    > globalisation etc. etc. Apart from the previously mentioned
    > knowledge of
    > local plants for medicines, at the risk of annoying the hell out of
    > people,
    > I don't see the loss of tribal peoples' cultures as a huge thing
    > (unless
    > it's being done in a kind of ethnic cleansing way, which does of
    > course
    > apply to many, many instances).

    This argument reminds me very much of what my grandfather (the farmer)
    used to state about a number of things. If it ain't useful to me, it
    might just as well not exist at all. And he made sure that that is
    exactly what happened to a number of animal and plant species that
    tried to eke their existence on his farm. You might argue that this is
    quite all right, since his farm was that much more efficient in
    producing food for feeding more people. I argue that this is *the*
    wrong thing about the dominant culture on our planet - not taking into
    account that there is far more than just food producing plants that
    makes this planet habitable. By destroying everything that we don't see
    the immediate use for, we are effectively destroying the very life
    support system that makes this planet habitable at all.
    Same analogy, IMO, goes for destroying other cultures. They are result
    of a huge number of cultural experiments, and we should not be so quick
    to discard the end results. Ask any anthropologists about why they
    think that their job is important, and what good came out of it....

    > I'm sure I'd feel differently if the
    > shoe
    > were on the other foot... The reason I don't see it as a huge thing
    > is that
    > there's a vast gap between the often tribal societies of indigenous
    > peoples,
    > and the post-industrial societies of the developed world, and even
    > the
    > industrial societies of the developing world. So they have unique
    > languages, customs, beliefs blah, blah, blah, what utility is gained
    > across
    > that societal gap? Cultural diversity perhaps? (but then you might
    > as well
    > say let's keep an enclave for the Taliban to preserve their culture
    > for posterity).

    Right now, you don't see the "use" for such other cultures at all.
    Might I point out to you that even your definition of what is "useful"
    is actually culturaly determined? And determined by the culture that is
    notorious for it's shortsightedness and focus on short-term benefit to
    the exclusion of long-term viability.
    > Perhaps I should stop before someone leaps on a plane to Scotland (I
    > wouldn't the weather's terrible today) to ram my keyboard down my
    > throat...
    > Vincent

    Nah. You are representative of the vast majority of people on this
    planet - a product of a culture that has rather specific value system
    (based on short term economic gain, almost exclusively), and therefore
    are just the right subject to try out some memetic vaccines on...;P

    But if I were a poor Romany tribesmen from Transylvania or Slovakia,
    your abovementioned idea might not look so bad at all. Such are
    cultural defense mechanisms...:)

    There are very few men - and they are exceptions - who are able to think and feel beyond the present moment.

    Carl von Clausewitz

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