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  1. #31
    Wonderer Samuel De Mazarin's Avatar
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    I've learned from a more informed friend that technically only Arabia and India are 'subcontinents' and Europe is not a separate landmass in any sense whatsoever. Ivy has brought out into the open (apart from myself) what I'm, yes, complaining about. The arbitrariness of modern-day naming systems, which in turn breed completely erroneous generalizations about "Asian" culture.

    The cultural separation idea doesn't fly with me, because from the time of Persian empire and the 'barbarian' invasions from the upper-east of Asia, Europe has been extensively involved with the rest of Asia, including its own excursions out.

    Oh well.... I guess I'll write a book and be an angry old man in the corner.
    Madman's azure lie: a zen miasma ruled.

    Realize us, Madman!

    I razed a slum, Amen.

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  2. #32
    Strongly Ambivalent Ivy's Avatar
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    I don't think the geology of plate tectonics had been discovered yet when the continents were conceived, had it? So I don't think landmasses really factored into it at all. (EDIT: Except in the sense that some of them were separated by mountain range or ocean which made a physical and in most cases cultural barrier.) The modern-day naming system isn't all that modern, really, but it's pretty firmly entrenched.
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  3. #33
    `~~Philosoflying~~` SillySapienne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Samuel De Mazarin View Post
    No need to say sorry... I'm not entitled to anything!

    Very interesting nomenclature... so if Africa=Motherland and Eurasia=Otherland, what are the Americas, Australia, and Antarctica?
    Antarctica is not even worth mentioning, from the anthropological stance I'm taking.

    And the Americas, hmm, the Americas shall be called "Another land"

    (Because people from the "Other land" went in search for another)

    `
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  4. #34
    Wonderer Samuel De Mazarin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ivy View Post
    I don't think the geology of plate tectonics had been discovered yet when the continents were conceived, had it? So I don't think landmasses really factored into it at all. (EDIT: Except in the sense that some of them were separated by mountain range or ocean which made a physical and in most cases cultural barrier.) The modern-day naming system isn't all that modern, really, but it's pretty firmly entrenched.
    bleh... I'll just keep filling in Other.

    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainChick View Post
    Antarctica is not even worth mentioning, from the anthropological stance I'm taking.

    And the Americas, hmm, the Americas shall be called "Another land"

    (Because people from the "Other land" went in search for another)

    And Australia gets "Under land"? Yeesh... that sounds too dark...
    Madman's azure lie: a zen miasma ruled.

    Realize us, Madman!

    I razed a slum, Amen.

    ...............................................

  5. #35
    Strongly Ambivalent Ivy's Avatar
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    I was once friends with the guy who conceived of and ran MTV World, which was targetted toward Asian-Americans. They had three channels, Desi (Indian-American), Chi (Chinese-American), and K (Korean-American). It only lasted about two years. I'm not quite sure what it says except something something marginalization something. It must suck to be an "other" all the time.
    The one who buggers a fire burns his penis
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  6. #36
    Free-Rangin' Librarian Jae Rae's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Samuel De Mazarin View Post
    i know what 'inveigh' means... i was having a laugh at the virulence of many internet discussions... i have to learn how to use language which is more transparent and doesn't assume people's understanding of my humor.
    And perhaps allow that other people might be making a joke, too.

    You complained that your thread wasn't getting much action. I pointed out your choice of inveigh might be keeping them away.
    Proud Female Rider in Maverick's Bike Club.

  7. #37
    Wonderer Samuel De Mazarin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jae Rae View Post
    And perhaps allow that other people might be making a joke, too.

    You complained that your thread wasn't getting much action. I pointed out your choice of inveigh might be keeping them away.
    I can appreciate that other people are making a joke, but some statements are less ambiguous than others.

    I know what you were doing and am highly appreciative of your specificity and altruism.
    Madman's azure lie: a zen miasma ruled.

    Realize us, Madman!

    I razed a slum, Amen.

    ...............................................

  8. #38
    Wonderer Samuel De Mazarin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ivy View Post
    I was once friends with the guy who conceived of and ran MTV World, which was targetted toward Asian-Americans. They had three channels, Desi (Indian-American), Chi (Chinese-American), and K (Korean-American). It only lasted about two years. I'm not quite sure what it says except something something marginalization something. It must suck to be an "other" all the time.
    I was asked to do an interview for one of MTV Desi's major new ad campaigns, to just talk about what I thought, anything. So I spoke about massive misunderstandings, inaccuracies, and convenient pseudo-truths propagated by commercial interests and the undereducated laity regarding such categories and systems as "yoga", "desi", "Asian", "Bengali", "Pakistani", "Indian", "Hinduism", "Buddhism", "Sikhism", "Khalistaan", and "Brown people". Naturally, nothing I said was included in the final cut.

    Frankly, I love being the "Other"... but not as defined by others.
    Madman's azure lie: a zen miasma ruled.

    Realize us, Madman!

    I razed a slum, Amen.

    ...............................................

  9. #39
    Senior Member substitute's Avatar
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    The names Europe and Asia are not modern names but go back an awfully long way, to long before European colonialism. And I don't think they're arbitrary at all. There is a large mountain range or several and some rather inhospitable landscape that effectively divide the Eurasian landmass and which, until modern methods of transportation have made it rather difficult for people to travel between the two 'halves' (more like three-quarters and one-half) of the landmass.

    I believe the geographical factors are enough to have caused, historically, enough of an impediment to regular contact between Europe and Asia for the land masses to have considered each other as separate, with distinct cultural centres. For example, a medieval Chinaman was well aware that India existed and that people had gone there from his homeland. His own religion was probably heavily influenced by Indian religions. But to a medieval Frenchman India was like some mythical place that came from stories, where three-legged people and dragons lived; he had no idea what Indian people looked like or what their religion was - he might possibly have even assumed they were Christian.

    While Asia for a long time was looking towards India as a cultural centre, Europe was looking to Rome. And the influence of these centres fanned out and didn't really meet each other until modern transportation started to make it possible to travel across the plains and mountains at speeds that meant you didn't die of starvation before you got there. And apart from the geographical factors, there's also the thing about how Europe and the Middle East have been at war over religion or one thing or another for centuries, so even if you could've gotten across the steppes without dying of starvation, you might've been killed for being the wrong religion.

    Personally however, what I said in my earlier post in this thread was all taking it as read that we're running with the names for the time being. In reality, my ideal is a completely open world with free movement throughout. As a linguist I can see the clear links between Asia and Europe in the evolution of the Indo-European languages, which clearly show an Englishman is more related, linguistically, to an Indian than a Moroccan, whose homeland is nearer. So in that respect I'm agreeing with you de Mazarin, that Eurasians must share a common ancestral culture of some kind and must've been in closer contact at some point, cos we can't ignore that our languages come from the same 'stock' Sanskrit, while Turkish and Arabic do not. But then again, neither does Chinese - or Basque!

    It's all a puzzle *shrug*

    edit - and while we're talking about whatever-centrism, let's not forget that Chung-guo-ren or "Middle Kingdom" is how you say China in Chinese - so-called because it's the centre (sic) of the world...
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  10. #40
    Wonderer Samuel De Mazarin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by substitute View Post
    The names Europe and Asia are not modern names but go back an awfully long way, to long before European colonialism. And I don't think they're arbitrary at all. There is a large mountain range or several and some rather inhospitable landscape that effectively divide the Eurasian landmass and which, until modern methods of transportation have made it rather difficult for people to travel between the two 'halves' (more like three-quarters and one-half) of the landmass.
    There's an infinitely more imposing mountain range separating India from Asia: the Himaalayas. Beyond that there's desert. The first major mass movement into India was probably around 2000-1500 BCE. After that Alexander the Great was able to penetrate only as far as the Indus river, after which India is named, and which lies in modern Pakistan. After that, it was only in the 9th century or so, and mainly in the 11th, that waves of the "Mughals", largely from Afghanistan, though they claimed to be from Iran and Turkey as well, came in and invaded/settled in India.

    The supposed Europe-Asia divide has been historically well-traversed all throughout history, starting from the Proto-Indo-European movement from, in all likelihood, somewhere in modern Iran. The region of Anatolia is an easy pathway into 'Europe'. Well before Christ the Persian empire extended into Europe (particularly Greece). Later on, the Huns occupied most of Europe, having originated in Central Asia. After that, Muslim invaders went all the way into Spain. After that, Europeans have a sordid history of invasions into the Fertile Crescent area, often by land as well as by sea.

    Quote Originally Posted by substitute View Post
    I believe the geographical factors are enough to have caused, historically, enough of an impediment to regular contact between Europe and Asia for the land masses to have considered each other as separate, with distinct cultural centres. For example, a medieval Chinaman was well aware that India existed and that people had gone there from his homeland. His own religion was probably heavily influenced by Indian religions. But to a medieval Frenchman India was like some mythical place that came from stories, where three-legged people and dragons lived; he had no idea what Indian people looked like or what their religion was - he might possibly have even assumed they were Christian.
    Just as India shared Buddhism with China and several other cultures in eastern Asia, so did the Fertile Crescent share much of its culture, including Christianity via the Roman Empire, with 'Europe'. As for medieval Europeans, most of them were very aware that India existed. Indeed, the discovery of the Americas was largely precipitated by European desires for spices and silk from the "Indies" and "Cathay". As far back as Megasthenes Europeans were writing about India. Regardless, ignorance of other cultures doesn't justify a naming convention.


    Quote Originally Posted by substitute View Post
    While Asia for a long time was looking towards India as a cultural centre, Europe was looking to Rome. And the influence of these centres fanned out and didn't really meet each other until modern transportation started to make it possible to travel across the plains and mountains at speeds that meant you didn't die of starvation before you got there.
    I don't think it's puzzling at all though it's certainly not as simple, in my opinion, as you're making it out to be. As I've outlined above, 'Europe' was interacting with Asia throughout its history, due to invasions and travels both ways. Marco Polo's familiarity and writings about China are one example. Just because superstition and a mockery of scholarship entered into European writings about the so-called "East" doesn't mean they didn't know of its existence. In fact, they often defined themselves in opposition to it.


    Quote Originally Posted by substitute View Post
    And apart from the geographical factors, there's also the thing about how Europe and the Middle East have been at war over religion or one thing or another for centuries, so even if you could've gotten across the steppes without dying of starvation, you might've been killed for being the wrong religion.
    It's all a puzzle *shrug*
    Everyone's been at war across The Big Continent. India's culture is a by-product of Muslim invasion and integration. The Spanish language is scattered with Arabic words and grammatical conventions. India was a colony of the British Empire for centuries (officially from 1857, though de facto some time after the arrival of The East India Company)... Indian language and culture has been deeply affected by British and European culture. And, accordingly, European culture has been deeply affected by its interactions with civilizations like those of India and China, as can be gleaned from the massive changes in scholarship regarding European classical languages following (European) discovery and appreciation of the historical significance of Sanskrit back in the 1800's.

    __________________________________________________ __________

    I don't think the name "Europe" is a useless one. I think it very much isolates a distinctive set of cultures... but at the same time, it's not a monolithic entity and nor can one gainfully associate Europe with the "West" (qua rationalist and secularist), another fiction that's become real the more people talk about it. The histories of any region in the world are torn by fanaticism and ignorance, as well as good-natured postivism and intelligence. There's lots of porousness between social boundaries as well.

    What I find particularly vexing is that even today even the academic circles of the world persist in utilizing broad cultural generalizations and geopolitical schemata which simply fail to capture the reality on the ground and instead cater to idealized visions of "East" versus "West", or "Asia" as opposed to "Europe", or "Occident" versus "Orient".

    I mean, how can Europe be said to be so deeply divided from Asia when, particularly via Muslim civilization, massive amounts of knowledge were being transmitted across even the Himalayas? The concept of '0' and the modern numerical system originated in India, were taken by Arabs, and adopted by Europeans. Aristotle was rediscovered by Middle Age scholars in Europe because of Arabic translations and commentaries on Aristotle. The Crusades and trade between and across The Big Continent...

    This is not to say that there aren't major cultural differences... but what I am saying is that the justifications for calling Europe a continent are weak and, ultimately, Eurocentric... Europeans called Europe a continent because they're self-defined Europeans and Europeans have been writing the history books. The major arbiters of international knowledge are Europeans and Americans...

    Perhaps it is only fair that Europeans can define the world accordingly, because they have the power. This is what Foucault was talking about: power relations... though he didn't quite get to the topic we're addressing here.

    I'm one among quite a few, however, who asks why we persist in utilizing categories which, even on a cursory analysis, fail to hold up to reasonable scrutiny. At the very least, they are inconsistent... one of the easiest inconsistencies to question is that involved in separating Europe off as a continent, when it's very much Asian geologically-speaking, and not doing the same for the Arabian and Indian subcontinents, particularly the latter, which lies on its own tectonic plate and has just as much of a diverse and long-standing cultural autonomy as Europe ever did.

    __________________________________________________ _

    I am basically asking MBTIc members whether they think the present system is adequate... if not, how could it be changed? If it is, how do they respond to arguments about the history of the naming system and, beyond that, even if the naming system worked yesterday, does it work today and will it work tomorrow? Ought it change in a more globalized intellectual clime?

    --------------------------------------------------------

    It strikes me as strange that in the U.S.A., where I was born and raised, pretty much... that in assessing demographic statistics, people will refer to Whites, Latinos, Blacks, and Asians. It just seems like a very simplistic and silly way to divy up people. Also, I think it stems from issues like the division of the Big Continent and the trend of what I call the Novo Orientalism, aka Asianism.
    Madman's azure lie: a zen miasma ruled.

    Realize us, Madman!

    I razed a slum, Amen.

    ...............................................

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