Friday, March 7, 2014
Looking for Confucianism in Language (Video)
Sometimes the study of cultures makes you wonder: What if there's more Confucianism (or any other tradition) in language than in the real world? In that case, translation is to words what assimilation is to individuals. The only way to keep cultural pluralism alive is to respect and protect the terms on which each of traditions was build. Your author explains that with the example of 'daxue' which is not just a simple translation of the Western concept of 'university' but also plays into the realms of Confucianism -the 'Daxue' or the "Great Learning." We have addressed many areas of oppression in the world such as slavery, gender inequality, racism, and human rights; however, one aspect of life has never been touched: translation. We do it all the time, and often recklessly: targeting the words of others by deliberately translating them into convenient and familiar vocabularies of our own, and, therein claiming what the Germans call 'deutungshoheit' -the sovereignty over the definition of thoughts of others. That said, it is my strong belief that in particular the Chinese world, which for historical reasons (and in a Hegelian sense) had been excluded from participating in 'world history', should start to actively pursuing its cultural core interest and expand human knowledge by adding the correct names and brands of its own inventions (of the past three thousand years) to the future global lexicon. READ AT BIG THINK/DRAGON AND PANDAS.