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On Mon, Nov 17, 2008 at 12:44 PM, Rex May <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> Exactly so, Jens.  If all cultures are equal, then how can you possibly
> improve any of them?
> If you did, then it would be superior to all the others.  If you mean that
> all cultures are
> potentially equal, that's another thing entirely.


To a point I can agree with you. Certainly not equal, but I'm not sure this
necessarily means better or worse. I think that just because culture A has
more bad points than culture B, it does not necessarily mean that culture B
can't learn anything from culture A. The culture of the US might be superior
in some ways to some less technologically advanced one, but Americans might
learn something from the many other cultures in the world where you can
scold other people's children without worrying about being sued for
psychological damage or something like that.

>
>
> What I'm getting at, is that the sentiment that cultures are equal is
> absurd on the face of it,
> and if it is meant that human beings en masse have equal potential, that's
> what should be
> said.
>

I again, I can definitely agree about not equal. Thinking that all people
can do math the same and swim at the same speed is patently absurd. For
human beings, the potential doesn't really have to be the same. But
certainly worthy of the same rights and responsibilities as human beings.
Equality before the law, in other words.

Even with languages, it would not be right IMO to say that all languages are
equal. They are all worthy as languages, but clearly some modern languages
like English have a much fuller technical vocabulary than languages spoken
in less advanced technological societies. So people speaking those languages
may not have proper vocabulary to express things. But I don't think this can
be made into "good" and "bad". After all, the fact that medical terms are
complicated Latin words in English sometimes makes it hard for people to
understand what doctors are saying. In Japanese, the words used by doctors
and those understood by people are somewhat closer (maybe because of the
kanji). In English, the term "orthostatic hypotension" is really hard if you
are not familiar with it. In Japanese, the term is self-evident from the
kanji. In another, more "primitive" language, the doctor might have no
choice to say "low blood pressure that makes you faint when you stand up."

-- 
Jens Wilkinson
Neo Patwa (patwa.pbwiki.com)