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Old April 29th, 2018, 03:09 AM   #31
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I have never bothered to check, but a high school history teacher of mine told the class that there is only one word in German to cover both "stranger" and "enemy". He claimed that was an insight into their thinking.

I could see such a thing being true but as I said, I personally doubt this factoid without any factual basis.
My wife, who is good at German, says this is a confusion about words that look similar, perhaps in Gothic scrip or someone's writing, namely Feind (enemy) and Fremd (strange). The words for stranger are less like - fremder for as male one, Fremde as female one. Since I know little German other than dumkopf, which a German friend used to call me in school, I have no further information!
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Old April 29th, 2018, 03:13 AM   #32
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Yah, I think most people are willing to discuss interesting matters. But of course, it's the matters that interest that particular person. So the broader the education someone has, the likelier you are to find points that you can discuss with them - this includes people that learn by reading lots of books, or watching lots of educational video/DVDs, etc. Or simply by listening carefully - although that last is tough - if no one around has any interesting ideas, it's hard to form a whole universe of discourse by yourself.

Yes, property rights are very important, especially in Western Civilization. (The native peoples throughout the World found this out @ the sharp end.) Once the common laws were reduced to writing - Greece & Rome? before then? - then more & more, literacy became a real must-have for the elites, & gradually, for anyone who hoped to acquire real property.
I wouldn't want to suggest that the position of women in British Britain was all that brilliant, but they did seem to have queens like Boudicca sometimes. There is a book that although our country is supposed to be very egalitarian, 'Wales' does have a ruling class. It is composed of individuals who are addressed as 'Mam'!

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Old April 29th, 2018, 03:16 AM   #33
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Oh wow, property rights are so important! When a person has property rights the person has an essential degree of human rights.

I am listening to lectures about life in ancient Athens, and life for women in Athens was really awful compared to our expected rights today. They were prisoners in their homes, with no more rights than women in radical Muslim countries today. In fact the Quran gave women better protection than women in the west had. While property could be in an Athenian woman's name, she was like a serf to the land, not the master of it. Only males had legal rights, and she went with the land. This could be seen as a protection for the woman, because a man would want her to have control of the land, however, if meant always being dependent on someone else. That really sucks! Even worse, because they didn't know young women were not fully developed inside and were at much higher risk of dying during child birth, they kept marrying the women off too young and killing them because of being too young to safely give birth to a child. At the time, the woman's value was bearing children and the land tied to her name.

I think we have something really good going in this thread, with at least three people willing to discuss interesting matters. I like what you have done with this discussion.

I am assuming you are both are male because nothing has been said about a language that always uses the pronoun "he". Right now we have shifted to the pronoun "she" and this is most uncomfortable to me because I know the harm of being made non existent with language. When I looked for information, I saw some effort is being made to have non gender words. I like using s/he to cover both genders but this does not work in all cases.

Interesting how property rights and language go with human rights.
I wouldn't like to suggest that it was all that good, but even if a wife walked out on her, husband she could even get her dowry back (looked it up) in case of (his) leprosy, lack of sexual activity or bad breath. That's in addition to any property-sharing. The law is complicated and full of technical terms.
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Old April 29th, 2018, 07:42 AM   #34
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Yah, I think most people are willing to discuss interesting matters. But of course, it's the matters that interest that particular person. So the broader the education someone has, the likelier you are to find points that you can discuss with them - this includes people that learn by reading lots of books, or watching lots of educational video/DVDs, etc. Or simply by listening carefully - although that last is tough - if no one around has any interesting ideas, it's hard to form a whole universe of discourse by yourself.

Yes, property rights are very important, especially in Western Civilization. (The native peoples throughout the World found this out @ the sharp end.) Once the common laws were reduced to writing - Greece & Rome? before then? - then more & more, literacy became a real must-have for the elites, & gradually, for anyone who hoped to acquire real property.
What you said of indigenous people and western civilization screams insanity when we consider property rights is no more than a concept we treat as a concrete reality. Same as 8 A.M. is only a concept that we treat as a concrete reality. Our cultures reality is what we make it. Laugh, and how many more millions of dollars did we gain by the bankers mirror tricks? Money, now there is an interesting idea of what is real. Money, property rights, human rights or the lack of them.

What if we were aliens from another planet trying to figure our fantasies of reality (abstract thoughts such as time and money)? Perhaps, could they have a better fantasy that we could use to resolve problems?

Since we were speaking of how concepts of gender and language shape our reality, I began pondering, what if we had no words for sin (whatever this is I am not sure), shame and guilt? Would our moral system without those words?
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Old April 29th, 2018, 07:51 AM   #35
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I wouldn't like to suggest that it was all that good, but even if a wife walked out on her, husband she could even get her dowry back (looked it up) in case of (his) leprosy, lack of sexual activity or bad breath. That's in addition to any property-sharing. The law is complicated and full of technical terms.
Now you made me want more information. What did you use for a source of information? The information I got from a college lecture made me think the life of an Athenian woman would be pretty intolerable, but it couldn't have been as bad I think or women would not have tolerated it. They had to get a payoff.
Was this nothing more than material security?

The lectures I listened to said Athenians wanted small families, so the land would not be divided up and the girls would not drain the families wealth in the form of her dowry. For sure the mentality seems very focused on materialism.

I have to say, this discussion of a woman's place in society is a whole lot more interesting than another thread I created for that purpose! Heaven would be walks in nature and discussions as we are having here with interesting people.

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Old April 29th, 2018, 09:08 AM   #36
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What you said of indigenous people and western civilization screams insanity when we consider property rights is no more than a concept we treat as a concrete reality. Same as 8 A.M. is only a concept that we treat as a concrete reality. Our cultures reality is what we make it. Laugh, and how many more millions of dollars did we gain by the bankers mirror tricks? Money, now there is an interesting idea of what is real. Money, property rights, human rights or the lack of them.

...
Yah. Somewhere I read about the desacralization of the World - how that was a first step to treating the World not as a living system, but as a commodity, a thing that could be bought & sold. Maybe Bill McKibben, The end of nature, c2006? More likely Jerry Mander, In the absence of the sacred, c1991. I remember that Mander's tone was outrage.

Both are good - but if you want the visceral feel, read Mander first.
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Old April 29th, 2018, 10:23 AM   #37
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I have never bothered to check, but a high school history teacher of mine told the class that there is only one word in German to cover both "stranger" and "enemy". He claimed that was an insight into their thinking.

I could see such a thing being true but as I said, I personally doubt this factoid without any factual basis.
I messed your post and you mentioned something I have often pondered. Some groups of people are friendly and others are not. Also, if we are friendly or not seems to depend on our period in time. It seems to me something really awful has happened to the culture and friendliness of people in the US.

The mentality of abundance has certainly changed us. A Google search appears to treat the mentality of abundance as nothing but a state of mind, not connected with real economic factors. Can everyone afford $300 traffic fines? Now that we are using traffic fines as a means of having revenue, can we ignore what a $300 fine, or jail time, does to a young family with children? Do we want to make war on poverty or war on the people living in poverty? Do people from South America have human rights, or are they illegals? Are these questions associated with seeing the other as a friend or enemy?
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Old April 29th, 2018, 10:37 AM   #38
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Yah. Somewhere I read about the desacralization of the World - how that was a first step to treating the World not as a living system, but as a commodity, a thing that could be bought & sold. Maybe Bill McKibben, The end of nature, c2006? More likely Jerry Mander, In the absence of the sacred, c1991. I remember that Mander's tone was outrage.

Both are good - but if you want the visceral feel, read Mander first.
This is a dangerous question but does desacralization have something to do with religion? May desacralization be a doubled edged sword? Christians oppose superstition, right (ignoring they believe in supernatural powers themselves)? But that mentality comes out of the growing materialism of the Greeks and Romans. That can mean developing science and technology and that can be a good thing or can mean desacralization in a very negative way.

Toa and Mayan concepts share in common a more animated world. Folks in science forums have a very negative reaction to what I am saying here. But we know the ultimate reality is energy. I am not sure our materialistic understanding of life, with a few supernatural beings, is superior?

I am drowning in books at the moment, or I would read the ones you have recommended. Perhaps in the future, I can return to that focus on knowledge.
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Old April 29th, 2018, 11:08 AM   #39
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This is a dangerous question but does desacralization have something to do with religion? May desacralization be a doubled edged sword? Christians oppose superstition, right (ignoring they believe in supernatural powers themselves)? But that mentality comes out of the growing materialism of the Greeks and Romans. That can mean developing science and technology and that can be a good thing or can mean desacralization in a very negative way.

...
The very first religions may have been a regard for the natural world as alive - which it manifestly is. Ascribing that to superior beings - a god - is a step towards religion. I think it was Mander who talked about the difference between the ancient Chinese & Western Civilization - the Chinese had gunpowder, paper, lenses, bureaucratic government, ironworking, irrigation, printing presses, movable type, etc. - but they didn't develop these into an Industrial Revolution. Possibly the press of population - there was no pressing reason to streamline production, & make processes as efficient as possible.

The West, especially after the Black Death - needed better faster ways to produce food, crops, & goods. The person who could market @ better prices for comparable quality & quantity - had an advantage over the other sources. Advantage piled upon advantage, until the process became self-sustaining. Plus there were social/governmental changes as a result of population shortfalls, labor shortages, general dislocations.

Greek philosophy had worked up to materialism, not sure about the Romans - they seem to have borrowed a lot of Greek thought. This may be why early Christianity warred upon Greek & Roman philosophy & theology (& science/technology). Christianity only slowly adapted some Greek & Roman theology, mostly Greek, I think. & Christianity was still very leery of Greek science/tech - because it didn't necessarily agree with the Bible & other received church doctrine - which meant that Christianity tried to suppress the outside sources.
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Old April 29th, 2018, 11:24 AM   #40
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The very first religions may have been a regard for the natural world as alive - which it manifestly is. Ascribing that to superior beings - a god - is a step towards religion. I think it was Mander who talked about the difference between the ancient Chinese & Western Civilization - the Chinese had gunpowder, paper, lenses, bureaucratic government, ironworking, irrigation, printing presses, movable type, etc. - but they didn't develop these into an Industrial Revolution. Possibly the press of population - there was no pressing reason to streamline production, & make processes as efficient as possible.

The West, especially after the Black Death - needed better faster ways to produce food, crops, & goods. The person who could market @ better prices for comparable quality & quantity - had an advantage over the other sources. Advantage piled upon advantage, until the process became self-sustaining. Plus there were social/governmental changes as a result of population shortfalls, labor shortages, general dislocations.

Greek philosophy had worked up to materialism, not sure about the Romans - they seem to have borrowed a lot of Greek thought. This may be why early Christianity warred upon Greek & Roman philosophy & theology (& science/technology). Christianity only slowly adapted some Greek & Roman theology, mostly Greek, I think. & Christianity was still very leery of Greek science/tech - because it didn't necessarily agree with the Bible & other received church doctrine - which meant that Christianity tried to suppress the outside sources.
I think in history religion sprung up (sprung as in a geological time frame) for the same reason it persists today. Fear.

Fear of death and fear of the unknown.

If you jump through the hoops constructed by your particular religion, you will be protected, receive and advantage or have eternal life. Because many if not most people fear death and the uncertainty of what's beyond it.

And I guess that wasn't quite good enough so a variety of religions also invented hell to magnify the fear.
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