To: ray evans harrell
Anumber of people have commented on the disadvantages of scientific
thinking and also on the disadvantages of English as the lingua franca of
the world. Having had a lot of experience in both fields, I am optimistic
that the situation is not so bleak as perhaps perceived.
A few words on science: It is certainly true that most people think of
science as the language of 'fact'. The good news is that all the best
scientists understand that all of scientific 'fact' is really about
metaphor. Scientists construct theories in terms of other systems that we
think we understand. All of the good science -- that on the boundaries of
what we think we know -- is about ambiguous and unclear metaphor. This is
actually where all the fun is.
Regarding English as the lingua franca of business, this may be a
disadvantage for the person who only speaks English, but need not be.
First, understand that if 2 Indonesians are trying to do business, yes
they will be able to work faster and more clearly than an American and an
Indonesian. But if one of them is Japanese, one Indonesian, and one
American, then there is no advantage. They all use English as their only
common language. In West Afrrica the universal language is not English,
it is Dioula. But there must be a universal trade language, because there
are 78 different language dialects in Ivory Coast alone. Without a common
language there is no communication at all. In East Africa there is
another universal language. But there is always some universal language.
It happens that it is English in most of the world.
The far more important point is that while there are certainly ugly
Americans, there are for more who are appreciative of other cultures. And
it is this -- appreciation, admiration, struggle to understand -- that is
more important. These attitudes and values do not require language
ability, but it certainly does help to share the language.
Rol Fessenden <76234.3636@CompuServe.COM>
Learning-org -- An Internet Dialog on Learning Organizations For info: <email@example.com> -or- <http://world.std.com/~lo/>