Keats School

User profile: Alien

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  • RegisteredSeptember 2, 2007
  • RegionChina
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  • RegisteredSeptember 2, 2007

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Forums > Living in Kunming > the second thing-language issue

Dudeson: language is the tool that allows us to reason. Dishonesty destroys the ability to reason and cooperate.

We are not just the species that, far beyond the capabilities of any other, destroys its own habitat and that of other species, we are also the one that creates its own habitat and that of other species. Because of our uniqueness, evolutionary theory really can't predict the results, so it behooves us to take the task seriously - and not just for the future, but for fully-human, fully-conscious living in the present as well. Or we can persist in sneaking about in mutual distrust and remaining blind to and suspicious of what each other knows, sees, etc.

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Forums > Living in Kunming > the second thing-language issue

In short, if real honest communication is impossible, then what is really going on has to be intuited, guessed at, approximated, gambled on, etc., so that the great gift of human language becomes just another tool or weapon and can be self-serving but not the medium of cooperation. Cf. the entire advertising industry, PR, and political discourse everywhere within the globally-competitive self destruction that we engage in, where the greatest ability to manipulate lies not in what is said (such as by lying), but in the bottom-level dishonesty of attempting, by whatever means, to get other people to believe something that the speaker does not believe himself.
There is a certain equality, however, in the mutual understanding that what is formally written is bullshit - but after that mutual understanding is established, what are we left with? I suggest that it is words-as-weapons.
Hmmm - perhaps I've gotten off the subject.

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Forums > Living in Kunming > the second thing-language issue

Dudeson, the written language is difficult, but I really don't think the reason for the unreliability of contracts & other documents is the nature of the language. I do, however, think it has to do with the fact of widespread illiteracy in the past and the sophisticated, albeit self-serving, use which those who dominated society through a preachy-moralistic bureaucracy for thousands of years made of it - to the point where written documents became impossible aids to practical life, did not represent real events or conditions, and so were formally respected and then ignored, by people who had real lives to live and had developed the practical sense of how to do it. The preachy-moralism has survived and been incorporated into modern bureaucratic rule, as has the the commonsense that allows people to say yes sir yes sir three bags full and then go do what will allow them to get by as individuals or interest groups divorced from written hypocrisy. And of course this survival strategy produces, and/or reinforces, a hypocrisy of its own. So the contract becomes, like: "Well this is what we will say so that everybody can look good but of course we're not fools who would believe that pretend statements will protect us or advance our interests."

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Not quite what you'd call a jumping place, but not bad at all for rather standard US-type meals, not overly expensive, and with a really good salad bar that's cheap, or free with most dinner dishes after 5:30PM. You can get a bottle of beer or even wine if you really want to, but I've never seen anybody do it - maybe that's just to take out. Chinese Christian run, and they hire people with physical disadvantages, who are pleasant and helpful. Frequented by foreign (mostly North American) Christians and Chinese Christians - was started by a Canadian couple associated with Bless China (previously, Project Grace), who are no longer here, but no religious pressure or any of that. Steaks are nothing special, and I avoid the Korean dishes, which I've had a few times but which did not impress me.

As a shop and bakery, it's very good bread at reasonable prices, of various kinds (Y18 for a good multigrain loaf that certainly weighs well over a pound. Other stuff too, like granola and oatmeal that is local, as well as imported things, including American cornflakes and so forth, which some people seem to require.

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Large portions, seriously so with the pizza, which is Brooklyn/American style, I guess. Convivial, conversational, good place to drink with good folks on both sides of the bar, especially after about 9PM.

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Really good pizza and steaks. The wine machine fuddles me when I'm a bit fuddled, & seems unnecessary. Good folks on both sides of the bar.