Vocabulary Wars – How Nations Compete For Their Terminologies
Capitalism forces nations to compete for market share, natural resources and human capital. Less obvious so, they also compete for names, brands and terminologies.
“The true victory (the true ‘negation of the negation’) occurs when the enemy talks your language.” -Slavoj Zizek
CAPITALISM forces nations to compete for market shares, natural resources, and human capital. Less obvious so, they also compete for names, brands, and terminologies. It is time that Asian cultures bring their own terms to the table and defend their originality.
Already 2,500 years ago, humankind had spread the globe and clustered into countless groups, divisions and commandos now often referred to as ‘cultures.’ Cultures skimmed earth and sea, coined all things, played sophisticated mind games, and immortalized all their strange ideas and concept by giving them unique names. They sometimes adopted loanwords from each other, if one obviously had what the other had not, but such acts of generosity happened arbitrary and without system.
Most of the time, interesting ideas or concepts were simply plagiarized, stolen, or given new names to disguise their origin, to create familiarity, or to give them a new twist. In other words, all cultures – some more, some less – always used language as a sure-fire way to differentiate and distinguish themselves from the others or to expand at the cost of others. It also gave them an early sense of creativity, self-image, and cultural property rights: this is how we see it; this is how we name it.
Thus, for the most part of history if conquerors invaded a weaker culture, the latter’s “knowledge” was quickly disowned and simply “translated” into the conquerors’ own lexicon - as if the victorious had always owned it, as if they deserved it.
Because translation was such an effective tool for expansion, ‘dictionaries’ were composed which technically reduced and limited the infinite world – all things known and unknown – to a tiny set of counted words. In effect, each and every tinsel nation, if it had its own dictionary, now believed it could – in practice – administer all knowledge and replace – in theory - all others cultures any time without any loss of information.
These man-made dictionaries grew over time but still clashed with empirical realities; for example we today know that there exist 3 to 30 million animal species in the world; yet the German dictionary in its entire never had more than ½ million words. Billions of human beings have had great ideas in ten thousand languages throughout the millennium, yet modern English, supposedly the “international language,” in 2013 barely counted 1.1 million words.
In history, no war could ever affect the faith of a nation more lasting than translation did: Saint Jerome ended the Jewish world order, literally, by translating the Hebrew Bible into Latin. And when Martin Luther, the German priest, translated the Latin Bible into German, the last reminiscences of the Roman Empire vaporized.
As a rule, any nation that aims high in world history first translates all major works of its competitors into its own vernacular. This naturally creates a creepy “I Know You” effect, and indeed cruel theories have been proposed (by Georg Hegel, Max Weber etc.) about how only non-members can ever fully grasp a foreign culture or religion [which to this day only seems to work for Western scholars, apparently].
Another side-effect of institutionalized translation was Europe’s dominance over Eastern thought, as European categories were now applied to Asia – one shoe to fit them all! Hence the common notion that India can’t think (for itself) and that China is a place of zero originality.
My language, your prison
Even today, long after the age of European colonialism supposedly ended, Western students and Eastern pupils are still conveniently taught that there are “saints” and “philosophers” all over Asia. Yet evidently there has never been a single “buddha,” “bodhisattva,” or “shengren” in Europe or America. Think. If this isn't the continuation of European culture aiming for planetary dominance, what is?
Translators - a form of soldiers
The reduction of all the world’s vocabularies to a few inherently European words makes it effortless for our elites to compose for example a ‘Philosophy of China’ without using a single original Chinese term. Even the word ‘philosophy’ is a Western import.
Most intellectuals faint what total translation does: It destroys the target terminology and replaces it with another – it’s the killing of words, and it’s, talking about sophistication, not very far from its older brother genocide – the killing of people. Translators are just that – a form of soldiers.
Defenders of words
The world needs a common language in order to communicate. English may have become the international language, but it is far from a global language; in fact the future global language will have to adopt tens of thousands of non-Western concepts.
The coming emancipation of Eastern vocabularies is real and inevitable; and it will be met by heavy Western resistance (especially from the media and publishing industry). However, it is in the best interest of China or any other Eastern culture to identify, promote, and defend its own words, brands, and terminologies.
Image credit: Nejron Photo/Shutterstock.com
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Whether or not women think beards are sexy has to do with "moral disgust"
- A new study found that women perceive men with facial hair to be more attractive as well as physically and socially dominant.
- Women tend to associate more masculine faces with physical strength, social assertiveness, and formidability.
- Women who display higher levels of "moral disgust," or feelings of repugnance toward taboo behaviors, are more likely to prefer hairy faces.
Beards and perceptions of masculinity<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMjU5OTg0MC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0NzkxMjM3N30.cH-GqNwP5GVqvstgJWAhBPn1B_lYpVEAI0I7iax7EQw/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=0%2C1900%2C0%2C849&height=700" id="caae6" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="cb0a355a4e8e1899789bc45f3f7aef56" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Photo Credit: Wikimedia<p>The study used 919 American (mostly white) women ages 18-70 who rated 30 pictures of men they were shown with various stages of facial hair growth. The photographs depicted men with faces that had been digitally altered to look more feminine or more masculine, with a beard and without a beard. The women rated the men according to perceived attractiveness for long-term and short-term relationships. The study found that the more facial hair the men had, the higher the men were rated on their attractiveness, particularly for their suitability for a long-term relationship.</p><p>Part of this might be attributed to facial masculinity — i.e. protruding brow ridge, wide cheekbones, thick jawline, and deeply set narrow eyes — which conveys information to a woman about a man's underlying health and formidability. Women tend to associate more masculine faces with physical strength and social assertiveness. It can also indicate a man with a superior immune response. The researchers suggested that their findings favoring bearded men could be due to the fact that facial hair enhances the masculine facial features on a man's face, like creating the illusion of a thicker jaw line. This could communicate direct benefits to women like resources and protection that would enhance survival among mothers and their infants. In other words, while a beard doesn't mean superior genetics in and of itself, it might be a primitive, ornamental way of saying, "Hey girl, I'm a testosterone-fueled lean, mean, pathogen fighting machine." <br></p><p>It could also be that a beard becomes its own destiny. The researchers in this study cite prior research that found that by growing a beard, men felt more masculine and had higher levels of serum testosterone, which was linked to a higher level of social dominance. They also tended to subscribe to more old-school beliefs about gender roles in their relationships with women as compared to men with clean-shaven faces.<span></span><br></p>
What does disgust have to do with beard preference?<p>Obviously, not all women dig beards. The researchers were particularly interested in what traits make a women prefer bearded men over clean-shaven faces. They looked into several factors including a woman's disgust levels on various concepts, her desire to become pregnant, and her exposure to facial hair in her personal life. </p><p>According to the study, women who were not into facial hair were turned-off by potential parasites or other critters they imagined could be in the hair or skin. Women ranking high on this "ectoparasite disgust" scale might have viewed beards as a sign of poor grooming habits. However, women who ranked higher in levels of "pathogen" did find the bearded men to be desirable, possibly because they perceived beards as a signal of good health and immune function. An intriguing discovery in the study was links to morality. Women who displayed higher levels of "moral disgust," or feelings of repugnance toward taboo behaviors, were more likely to prefer hairy faces. The authors opined that this could reflect a link between beardedness, politically conservative outlooks, and traditional views regarding performances of masculinity in heterosexual relationships.</p>
Additional findings<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMjU5OTg1My9vcmlnaW4uZ2lmIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyNDI1NjUyOX0.P9B8WbmJR0q4nfzYZKbuNSA-2SAigVWJgrQE-_Gxlds/img.gif?width=980" id="49143" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="2ed3b1d6f20fc170bf2974646e565e8d" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />Giphy<p>The correlations that existed between married and single women's rating on the attractiveness of beards were not particularly clear, although the researchers noted that single and married women who wanted children tended to find beards more attractive than the women who didn't want children. They also found that women with bearded husbands found beards to be more attractive, which might indicate that social exposure to beards influences how desirable they are perceived of as being. Or it could be that men with wives who like beards grow beards.</p><p>It's important to note that culture plays a huge role in how attractive women perceive certain male characteristics as being. This study looked at a small, culturally specific group of American women, so no big, universal claims should be made about masculinity, facial hair, and male desirability to women. However, research like this is important in highlighting how human grooming decisions are driven by much more than fashion trends. Sociobiological, economic, and ecological factors all play a part in the way we choose to present ourselves.</p>
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