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  1. #31
    Senior Member Tiltyred's Avatar
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    I don't think it's reasonable to expect us to understand everybody else's worldview. I'm not sure what good it would do if we did.

  2. #32
    Lallygag Moderator Geoff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tiltyred View Post
    I don't think it's reasonable to expect us to understand everybody else's worldview. I'm not sure what good it would do if we did.
    It's probably an impossible ideal, but I am sure you can think of some reasons why it might be a good idea to understand other people's worldviews where it CAN be done.

  3. #33
    Sniffles
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    Quote Originally Posted by Geoff View Post
    English is still incredibly dominant in India (as it is throughout most of the world) as a convenient intermediate language. Much of India uses English simply because there are so many different Indian languages, and it is the only sure way to be understood. Apparently there are more than 29 languages in India with over 1 million speakers. Fun.
    And yet I still can't understand a word when I call customer service.

  4. #34
    Senior Member Tiltyred's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Geoff View Post
    It's probably an impossible ideal, but I am sure you can think of some reasons why it might be a good idea to understand other people's worldviews where it CAN be done.
    Whose shall I start with, and where does it end? It feels like intense pressure from non-Americans, really. Incessant -- and even from our own to ourselves, as in this thread. It kind of amazes me, the expectations.

  5. #35
    On a mission Usehername's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tiltyred View Post
    Yes, but it's true of any person who has not been outside his own country. Surely you don't mean to tell me that every Canadian in Canada knows his own geography as well as the geography of every other country in the world, etc? You can find an ignorant person in any country. You, as a traveling Canadian, met a Texan who was ignorant. Couldn't a Texan just as well go to Canada and find the same?
    I certainly don't mean to argue what you're addressing here. I'll try again with a sports analogy.

    So imagine someone is talking all about baseball; they're analyzing RBIs, constructing the best lineup to match against the lefty pitcher from the other team with the wicked slider, and they're standing at third base as the signal coach brushing their cap, touching their opposite shoulder, putting their two fingers across their left wrist, providing information to the on-deck hitter instructing them to take the first pitch in an effort to advance the runner...

    And imagine that this individual then comes back to the dugout while their team takes the field, and says to you with an annoyed look, "Why is Carter going to third base? I told him to play first base."
    And you look at the field, and Carter is definitely playing first base. You ask the coach and after trying to clarify the confusion, realize that this guy doesn't even have a basic understanding of the positions or "facts" about the game.

    You realize that though he can say all the right terms, he has only understood baseball from his very sheltered teaching of the game--he's never played or coached against other teams and therefore his entire understanding of anything to do with the game is coloured by where all of his information came from. He can't possibly understand baseball properly if he doesn't even grasp the basics, despite all the right signals while he was standing as the baseline coach, and despite him thinking he knows the game.

    IMO, this (flawed but the best off the top of my head) analogy is representative of what it's like with Americans who don't have base knowledge about other parts of the world. Everyone gets some of their information wrong when they learn about another place or worldview, whether from a misinterpretation, misremembering, or whatever. But exposure from multiple experiences and sources helps distill out the errors.

    We have ignorant Canadians, certainly. We probably have a lot of them, just like every other country in the world. But Canada is too young a country and too population-wise small a country to exist in a near-vacuum. By necessity, we cannot be as self-sustaining as America can if we are to be capitalist global competitors. As a consequence, Canadians are far more likely to be exposed to and interact with other worldviews. (Which doesn't mean they'll employ the experience in an intelligent way, it only means that Canada can't be as live-in-a-bubble because we're not big enough.) Back to the baseball analogy, Canadians by necessity would've had to pick up players or play against teams other than their own and therefore interact, and understand to a greater extent, how things work outside of their own team. They would've had more opportunities to catch the toxicity in their version of what they thought the game was by exposure and interaction with other versions.

    But what is unique about America is its ability as an entire country to exist within itself if the individuals so choose and remain a capitalist country. So when Americans talk about other worldviews, but yet have only read or been informed about those views by other Americans it incapacitates their ability to truly understand these worldviews.

    The examples of geography are only frustrating because, like in the baseball analogy, if the individual truly knew their shit about the subject, they wouldn't have made such a grave and basic informational error. Certainly wrt the Texan example, it was only a measure of his knowledge about Canada, and perhaps he is an expert on South America and their ideologies or ways of being. But likely he's the kind of American that's happy as a clam to stay in the cycle of never breaking outside of American views. There's no way the Texan could understand basic Canadian policies or worldviews or how relatively little our politics are coloured by religion, because he would be imposing his American worldview onto ours, and it would not fit even close. Canadians certainly do this too, but again, because by necessity we cannot exist in a vaccum because of less capitalist power and less numbers of population power, we are more likely to have integrated other worldviews into our understanding, and we're likely to have fewer errors. We'll still make them, but we're not as caught in a cycle because Canada doesn't operate that way.

    The frustrating part is that these same people often believe they are well-informed about some things that go on outside of America, or that these people are voting and making decisions thinking they understand the ideological POVs or whatever outside of America. But like the distorted version of baseball, if they aren't informed from outside sources or outside experiences, they can't see because it's the blind leading the blind.

    With respect to the OP, it's disheartening because there's no way an American that didn't know that Koreans spoke Korean would be able to really understand much of anything about Korea as a country. They'd be imposing American ways of being and living onto the country, and it would just not fit properly at all.

    This is the disheartening part.
    *You don't have a soul. You are a Soul. You have a body.
    *Faith is the art of holding on to things your reason once accepted, despite your changing moods.
    C.S. Lewis

  6. #36
    Senior Member Tiltyred's Avatar
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    It's like you think we're all superman. If only we understood, we could fix everything. *despair*

  7. #37
    Dreaming the life onemoretime's Avatar
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    The US is the international hegemon. Its citizens have the luxury of international ignorance, because there is a very low possibility on a given day that a foreign perspective will have any influence on their daily lives. That's why 9/11 freaked everyone out - for the first time since the end of the Cold War, this possibility was realized.

    Americans can be nationalistic because there's never been a point in the last 50 years where a nationalistic perspective is clearly unreasonable for the common citizen. That was also the case for Britain during the Empire's zenith.

  8. #38
    Lallygag Moderator Geoff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by onemoretime View Post
    The US is the international hegemon. Its citizens have the luxury of international ignorance, because there is a very low possibility on a given day that a foreign perspective will have any influence on their daily lives. That's why 9/11 freaked everyone out - for the first time since the end of the Cold War, this possibility was realized.

    Americans can be nationalistic because there's never been a point in the last 50 years where a nationalistic perspective is clearly unreasonable for the common citizen. That was also the case for Britain during the Empire's zenith.
    Partly true, for Britain. Don't forget Britain was hugely active all over the globe subduing the natives and inflicting it's views (and hopefully some "civilisation" occasionally). The impact of the British Raj, for example, should not be underestimated on British Culture. I don't think America looks outwards to the same extent?

  9. #39
    Senior Member lowtech redneck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Usehername View Post
    The factual area (knowing facts, like I said, about geography or language) is not the problem, as situationally frustrating as that can be. The problem is that when people don't have some semblence of understanding about these facts, i.e. when they don't hold an informed base knowledge about other places in the world, they simply cannot have a remotely "true" understanding about the worldviews.
    It sounds to me like you simply disagree with American interpretations of various facts and worldviews (that is, among those Americans curious enough about the world to research information about other countries, and would therefore claim to have an informed opinion on the matter), and would rather dismiss opposing (American) viewpoints as impoverished rather than directly debate the details of those disagreements.

    Edit: incidentally, I DID in fact know all those things about South Africa.
    Last edited by lowtech redneck; 08-10-2009 at 07:23 PM. Reason: self-evident

  10. #40
    Senior Member Tiltyred's Avatar
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    Britain at its height was convinced beyond the shadow of a doubt that the English way was best. It wasn't conciliatory, or interested in adopting anyone else's point of view; anyone else's point of view was a priori inferior. Britain was sure that if everyone else thought as they did, they would be better off. I'm not sure they were entirely wrong...

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