Shortage of panoramic thinking: signs seen everywhere
By Dr. Uladzimir Tratsiakou
From March 2012 to April 2014 was accessible as Lecture 5 for the Free School for Panoramic Thinking on wiser.org portal to be then existing
*Qui pro quo: in place of the preamble
*What does mean to live with SPT
*Awareness of others' under-thinking
*Blunted tool of the thought
*OCAs revealed in Russian
*Let's plan a constructive approach
*You are said, you repeat
*Responsibility with prefix “ir”
*Parliamentary delegates with blindspots
*SPT seen in state terms
*Power for people: is or to be?
*Independence in 1/365 part
*Awful ideological under-thinking
Qui pro quo: in place of the preamble
I come in the cuisine where my wife Lena finishes preparing a dinner.
– Dilute the water! – asks she me, not stopping dividing fishes. And thinks suddenly: – Îh, what I say?!
For me, it is just the same what I want to hear, as a cause is appearing to speak about the language, the main tool of the thought.
– On your side, it is a significant slip of the tongue. Really, to dilute (what?) the water is the same absurdity as to open (what?) the door .
– Forever you go ahead with your nonsensical ideas! Open the door, close the window – all say like this every day!
– Nevertheless, situations are similar. Really, you wanting to dilute the soup speak on diluting the water, as well as other people, you among them, wanting to open any lodging closed with doors speak on opening doors not remarking that something is not OK. Difference is that you have suddenly thought with your first misdeed, but other people, you among them again, still not realize their not OK inside their heads. D'you snatch?
– Even if you are right, what from this? Any language, it is a sort of the public agreement. People have agreed to understand such words just so, not otherwise. By the way, what your pretension how we use doors and windows? Can you say more exactly?
– I repeat for a stupid: if a door is closed , everybody may be interested: OK, let be closed , but with what? Rolette, panel, tin-plate, veneer, plank – what of these? Correspondingly, opening a door, you should remove any similar cover. But you and other open doors doing nothing of the kind!
– What a difference how to speak? The main that people apprehend each other. Any language has a mass of similar incorrect forms. Moreover, this is evidence of its richness.
– There are “two big differences”, how Odessa residents say. You may say, having met your old friend long unseen: “Hi, a hundred years didn't see you!” And your friend surely won't remember in which 1911 month your last meeting had been. It's an all-perspicuous manner of speaking. As well as, for example, “he lost his head” or “I am so busy, literally torn up by peaces”, or “have done it, it'll take no time!”
– Here you see, you grasp yourself!
– But you haven't grasped the difference. It is one thing when ALL speaking understand inner incorrectness of the said, other thing is when NOBODY remark absurdity of the said.
– Nobody but one? As I see, you pretend to be exception?
– It was a happy obstacle what helped me to realize the inner imperfectness of the language. I imagined as defect lexemes had been carefully transferred from parents to children, generation by generation, and began them looking for. Thus it is of big interest to open people their eyes how it is stupid to say so. Your slip of the tongue was one-off, occasional; absurdity fixed as a language norm in dictionaries is already multi-slip, a very serious symptom.
– Of what?
– Of any imperfectness of human reason, because of which people may in during of some generations not mark absurdity of wordy constructions.
– I know your arguments: opening the door, we really open not the door but any room, apartment, or lodging. Doors, you count, are not opened but opening something; windows are not closed by somebody but closing something.
– Clever woman! Are you ready to say in another way, correctly?
– In no circumstances! Open by the door or close with this window – such the constructions may be only for crazy people!
– Though to speak in such way is correct, but I dislike similar expressions too. At that I hate to thrust on something. Let variants be.
– For literates and illiterates?
– The life forces all to be literate now with open/close question. Many doors or windows you already may OPEN if only you previously CLOSED them with something. Usually the something is a roulette .
– Well, I've known you want to turn in 19 th century for doors to TURN IN and TURN OUT…
– Now, doors may be as well MOVED TOGETHER and MOVED APART. Hotels, underground, shops, even lodging, everywhere there are such doors.
– And you are such naive that think after your explanation of any words' absurdity people will want speak in another way?
– Yes, somebody possibly will realize and re-learn…
– In such the case, you behave as a sectarian. There will be very narrow circle of the people TURNING OUT their windows and doors!
– Well, but then how it will be pleasant to meet a person with such fine sense of the language!
– I don't know why but it appears me that such the pleasure you won't have time to experience… Oh, soup is burnt!
– That is why you asked me to dilute WATER, not SOUP!
Linguistic objects of critical attention
It is about in any sense defective lexemes like those qui pro quos above.
Leo Tolstoy said formerly: “To use own language anyhow means to think anyhow.” Later, George Orwell wrote in essence something similar: “Slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts. ”
Obviously, these writers meant here any declinations from or perversions of wordy norms written down in dictionaries as correct. But their thoughts have undoubtedly wider content by taking into account possibility, let be only theoretical, to change for better dictionary norms existing .
At first some words why and how objects of critical attentions (OCAs) may appear in a language.
“Just think”, said a humorist, “the language thought up illiterates!” Right, surely we may be convinced that a modern language had been formed and replenished exclusively by those who had fine sense of the language and wanted, something proposing, to come to agreement with other words and wordy constructions? It is a folk what has created their language. But let's take into considerations that different people, different conditions of the life, different ages, different cultures, different centuries even… Thus the question is rhetoric. So, each language should have its OCAs to look for and then change.
The inset to be deemed better
Pupils doing orthographic mistakes are corrected by teachers; writers expressing their ideas unfortunately are corrected by editors; why to exclude that may not be such intrinsically imperfect lexemes what are not remarked even by editors? Knowing this any diligent linguistic seeker may be successive in finding OCAs even in normative dictionaries.
Why such is possible? If any defect lexeme got any distributions, it might be switched in the mechanism of language transfer from parents to children and from teachers to pupils. At early age when kids had been only mastering the language as something given, they hadn't had possibility to be critical; later, being adult, they had got accustomed to use it as something out of criticism. The same had been earlier with their parents and teachers. Of course, because of such lexical conservatism the living generations understand each other and cultural transfer exists from generations having lived formerly to those who are living now and will be living after.
It means such the reasoning as well confirms a possibility for defect lexemes to be carefully saved and exist unrevealed in during of some human generations.
Any language under suspicion
Let's pay attention: Leo Tolstoy said about Russian language, George Orwell – about English. It is characteristic moment. Every language on Earth is not perfect, because people, creators and bearers of that language, have common evolution-conditioned deficiency what may be named as well the narrow field of consciousness (NFC).
I repeat here the thought from Lecture 1 in other words: earlier, until pre-humans lived by tribes, NFC had been even necessary for INDIVIDUAL survival, how it is necessary now for wild animals; when humans got living within tribes, evolution press loosened and Homo sapiens people got possibility to slightly widen their thinking over current tasks of survival; for modern people, NFC is already awful deficiency, any shortage of panoramic thinking (SPT) being maybe the main threat for the very humanity's existence.
Still further, we can remember one cause more why defect lexemes may exist long. The cause is so called self-esteem. Had there been no self-esteem , the SPT as a phenomenon would be discovered long ago, and linguistic criticism would permit to reveal them and perfect language used. But there is Idol of the Human Race , being the “father” of self-esteem, what interferes in our process of self-cognition and hampering people to adopt something unpleasant and, on the contrary, pushing slightly to adopt what is flattering to their self-esteem. Really, it is pleasant to believe that we are the top of the evolution and that only our mighty Reason might create such the enormous civilization. Thus to discuss any deficiency of such the Reason appears out of place for the majority people.
What does mean to live with SPT
Here are some general regularities existing in human society owing (in inverted commas) the shortage of panoramic thinking rooted into our mentality. Because of SPT:
* people can debate long time with no result;
* always there are people who, after having lived almost all the life, suddenly realize that their lives were for nothing;
* PR services propose advertising texts what later appear to be anti-advertising, to great surprise of those who have prepared it;
* MPs adopt laws turned out to be shortly needing to be changed; politicians always found human material for their suggestive recruiting of adherents;
* a murderer almost always finds justifications for the murder performed;
* heads of state can't come to agreements with others heads of state -- to avoid wars, and with own peoples -- to avoid revolutions.
The list may be gone on.
But having SPT appears to have positive consequences. Really:
* people realized since prehistoric times, consciously or unconsciously, that panoramas of their thinking and impression are limited by their ignorance – and learning and teaching were honored as necessary kinds of activity to be better fitted to reality;
* people realized as well that to overcome their SPT, i.e. to think in more panoramic way, means to remove further horizons of unknown, and the science and inventiveness arose and got necessary convoy of human existence;
* people live not only governed by reason, as well by passions being including into huge complex of SPT phenomenon; the art based wholly on Reason would be poorer, hardly at all might be claimed;
* long ago they as well got aware that to overcome SPT, their own or others', in unserious way gave more possibilities for them to live and survive inside their communities and within wild nature. In result humor appeared, initially situation humor, later wordy one.
* people have a chance, after realizing that their mentality has an “under-evolution” imperfection, may go ahead and reform world education towards overcoming this imperfectness with pedagogic means.
Awareness of others' under-thinking
By the way, absurdities and thoughtlessness of spoken or written language are maybe the most popular objects for mockery. Humorists even are doing attempts to think “for others” and think up as-if-absurdities and as-though-thoughtlessness to give rise to a comic effect. (Some of similar samples are given in Lecture 3).
It is no accident that appearances of SPT, or mistakes of under-thinking, are apprehended so interestingly as good causes to smile, though those were said with no intention to arise a comic effect. Rubrics under title “Purposely not to think up!” or similar (in newspapers, magazines and on websites) are certificating it.
The below is illustration of the said. Pay an attention that we like to have remarked under-thinking's appearances to be demonstrated by people narcissistic, arrogant, hostile to us, and having higher social status than ours.
“If there are any idiots in the room, will they please stand up" said the sarcastic lecturer.
After a long silence, one freshman rose to his feet. "Now then mister, why do you consider yourself an idiot?" enquired the lecturer with a sneer.
"Well, actually I don't," said the student, "but I hate to see you standing up there all by yourself."
"If you're sick and tired of the politics of cynicism and polls and principles, come and join this campaign!"
"I haven't committed a crime. What I did was fail to comply with the law."
David Dinkins, New York City Mayor.
"Outside of the killings, Washington has one of the lowest crime rates in the country."
Marion Barry, Washington City Mayor.
"I'm not going to have some reporters pawing through our papers ‘We are the president'."
Hillary Clinton , US 1 st Lady.
Blunted tool of the thought
Russian poet Fyodor Tyutchev was sure:
“There are thin and powerful connections
Between a flower's form and smell”.
It is deemed there should have been yet more “powerful connection” between quality of the language, that instrument realizing our thinking, its correctness and self-coordination, and quality of the very thinking.
One can carry out an argument more why direct influence of the language used on the quality of thinking. Any language is seen as an INSTRUMENT, and our thoughts formed in words of this language may be then liked things produced with help of this language-instrument. To reveal UNNOTICED (by none!) defect lexemes in English, the most international language, is the right way to “sharpen” the language and help many millions of people to realize a better thinking.
OCAs revealed in Russian
Here are some my findings of Russian language doubt lexemes translated into English as literally as possible. You are proposed to evaluate whether their English versions apprehended as well as doubt.
*My Oxford Russian-English dictionary translates a word ñåíîêîñ (action when one mows the grass to make the hay) as hay-mowing ( in place of grass-mowing). It means as well as in Russian, it is OCA in English. Are you agreed?
*In Russian, there are expressions îòêðûòàÿ îäåæäà / îáóâü , çàêðûòàÿ îäåæäà / îáóâü , literally open wear / footwear, closed open wear / footwear . In Harrap's Standard Learners' English dictionary I found similar doubt lexeme open weave cloth , though, in point of fact, it is about weave cloth opening the body. Do you see here misunderstanding or even under-thinking?
*Am I right that situation when a state is open / closed for entrance for people from neighboring country is corresponding in English open / closed frontier ? If so, may you consider that such lexeme is OCA?
*Here is Harrap's once more: the door is wide open, the door opened . It is quite in correspondence with Russian norms, but is not in agreement with the sense, because any door is not CLOSED, but CLOSING (any apartment). Really, if the door is closed is correct, then we should say not close your eyes and close your mouth but close your eye-lids and close your lips . Your opinion: whether “door expressions” are OCAs?
*My homephone has taught to speak when anyone comes in the porch or comes out of it. It says always the same words:
Enter, the door is open!
I see here 5 words and 3 (!) mistakes.
First you know: the door is not opened, it is opening (the porch).
Second: homephone mechanism is not opening the door fully, but only unlocking it. It used to be, though seldom, some people are waiting a while when the door will turn and open the entrance.
Third: imagine you hear those words Enter, the door is open when you are coming out of the porch. You are invited to enter out …
It would seem, so simply to think up without mistakes:
Please, the door's unlocked!
*Is there something like Russian form used when people say in place of (literally) to fasten / to unfasten the shirt absurd words to fasten / to unfasten the buttons ?
*The same question when one says open the cork! in place open the bottle! Do you see OCAs there and here?
Let's plan a constructive approach
Thus, in each language, including English, there are (should be!) many expressions/words distorting our thinking, impeding us to be adequate to the complexity of the world. Then, we can wish that this lexical ‘viruses' be 1) discovered and after that 2) deleted, corrected or replaced. The first task admits a participation any of us, with collective discussions; the second, it can be resolved only by long consultations (‘consiliums') of the most advanced linguists and editors.
At the case, I ask you to imagine situation when there is awareness in human community that it is the right time already to follow imperative of survival and try with help of educational remedies to improve the human mentality so it would be better corresponding complexity of the information society and the very hardness of the hanging-over global problems. Then I believe this HUNTING FOR LANGUAGE VIRUSES will be one of methods how to sharpen and widen the human thinking tool for to meet better civilization challenges.
I consider I have found convictive arguments for your participation in this language “hunting”. I hope you will wish “to follow foot-prints” of whole nation having created the language and demonstrate that big independence of the thinking demanded for this very hard activity. The independence is needed because you may want to question NORMATIVE lexemes cited in dictionaries as recommended for using.
Summarizing, we can hope there are cause-effect links in the row “ more clean and perfect language — better individual thinking — wiser Earth — lesser criminality — higher social moral — higher quality of human life ”.
You are said, you repeat
In Russia, there is Orthodoxy feast Maslennitsa what ends with Forgiven Sunday . I tried to explain among believers: “Say me, for heaven's sake, which had been the guilt of any Sunday that it was forced to ask be forgiven? At that, each year it used to be guilty, and many Sundays came away before the next, 53 rd one, appears to be forgiven. Why?”
Usually I only heard: “All so say! Just on that Sunday all forgive all!”
I think I have all right to write down Forgive Sunday as a OCA once more.
Responsibility with prefix “ir”
When question is concerning human lives, it needs to be especially accurate in formulation. However informing us about new terroristic act committed in any city, Russian TV conveys the event with similar words (in literal translation):
“In result of terroristic act committed (on place, at central shop, market, railway station, airport…) N people have perished , and NN ones have been wounded. Responsibility for the act was taken by organization ….”
It appears to me that have been perished would be more correct form, not turning the lost people into the self-lost. As for the last utterance I deem it is bestially unfair as turning terrorists into responsible people. Really, what their responsibility is worthy if being announced they are not ready to appear in court and answer for the done?
Let's only imagine feels of relatives crying and mourning over victims. They want for terrorists to name killers, not responsible people. But TV and other media, not pondering, once and again repeat that their formula of withdrawal from responsibility , and demonstrate as well responsibility with prefix “ir”.
Parliamentary delegates with blind-spots
Members of Russian State Duma having permanently deals with good visible texts did not appear to be able to have read that they see every day in some years. I mean here State Duma electronic score-board (and similar ones of parliaments other republic of the former USSR ), where 2 variants are admitted after results of discussion on bills and proposals for them to change, namely:
Ðåøåíèå ïðèíÿòî or Ðåøåíèå ÍÅ ïðèíÿòî
(i.e.: Decision taken or Decision NOT taken).
It appears as if the variant is admitted that MPs may in no way to estimate their colleagues' proposals, neither to adopt the proposed nor to reject. Any initiative to rebuild the score-board for it to give intelligent variants: Ïðåäëîæåíèå ïðèíÿòî or Ïðåäëîæåíèå ÍÅ ïðèíÿòî (Proposal adopted or Proposal NOT adopted) is until now for some causes launched.
This OCA has several decade prehistory because similar double formula to express relation to delegates' proposals appeared at begin of Soviet power's parliamentary activity…
SPT seen in state terms
In during of some years in Republic of Belarus was existing Committee on organized criminality and corruption.
Why not, it would seem.
But aside there were for example Committee on land-tenure and Committee on price-forming.
It meant to all appearance the government took up to have formed organized criminality and corruption at the state level.
It had been formerly. But now in Russia within Ministry of Internal Affairs there are óáîéíûå îòäåëû (killing sections), what not many better than Committee on organized criminality and corruption .
I propose to see in not prejudiced way and juxtapose: criminal person, criminal authority, criminal offence --
criminal policy, criminal law, criminal legal proceedings.
Don’t you account there is a cause to discuss whether last three terms being of positive content, if those have in explicit way keen negative formal evaluation?
Power for people: is or to be?
Do you believe that Belarusian opposition might arrange in different places of the capital stationary posters, inserted into the city's landscape and good illuminated, and that the power makes no attempt to take away those advertising erection? Even, better to say, anti-advertising one as discrediting the power in drastic way.
Really, one would find hard to believe, but it was so, as in last 2006 in Minsk (evidently, in other Belarusian cities as well) people might see posters with the appeal ÇÀ Áåëàðóñü äëÿ íàðîäà! ( i.e. FOR Belarus for people!)
It is important to mark the slogan is just an appeal, proposition FOR being an evidence. Without FOR it'd be only ascertaining of the fact; with FOR it is just an appeal to reach that what is not, but should be. In other words, just that what promised opposition if they would appear at the power.
It meant there was any official at Administration of the President who gave «OK» to promote that explicitly opposition slogan. Just so, because in the slogan is asserted not only that at the country the power didn't belong to the people , i.e. the country isn't democratic, but in the slogan is contained implicit question: «Whom it belong to then?», and a hidden allusion: «To the very power». Which appears to appeal itself on returning the power to Belarusian people!
P.S. In some days after the text above was posted on my site, this analytical consideration got a deserve repulse. Just near from FOR Belarus for the people! poster was built another, as well in solid way formed asserting Belarus, a state FOR the people.
Independence in 1/365 part
FOR independent Belarus!
One might think the powers in self-critical way recognized that their policy connected with (after definition of Belarusian National Front) "the trade by sovereignty" was incorrect. Or, supposedly, the powers conceived that true state independence can't be if 85% (or so) energy resources came from one country, Russia .
It'd be a good version — if there not were slogans anywhere
Day of Independence of Republic of Belarus (Day of Republic)
How to combine in one head these two slogans: the appeal "on barricades" to fight for independence and to fete Day of independence? Any possibility however exists. There is one day of a year, just July 3, when the country is independent; in last 364 days, independence of Belarus should be concurred. So the paragraph's title is justified.
Such interpretation spoiling the holiday evidently fell out of propagandist officials' field of vision.
Awful ideological under-thinking
Can you believe that in times of the USSR, where the dialectic materialism was as if a religion to worship, under vigilant looking after of Politburo of CPSU, there had been existing -in more than half century!- a state organ that declared explicitly and frankly, by the very its name, an idealistic position of those who once signed decision about its creation? Moreover, such “contra” was remarked by none, and the organ stopped existing simultaneously with the USSR break-up.
That Soviet organ was named
the Committee on inventions and discoveries
at the Counsel of Ministers.
When geologists open new deposit of fossils, they are doing a geologic discovery. Really, layers of fossils lied under the earth being unseen, then a part of cover was removed (discovered), and fossils got opened for vision. So, here we see intelligible sense «to open», «to discover».
Let us look at a situation when a scientist performs a discovery, from point of view of “dis-cover”, i.e. of any cover removed. Well, having been a discovery made, a scientist apprehend it as if any cover removed and something new opened , or revealed before his mental look. It means the opened was existing before the discovery .
Just this metaphor was reflected in name of the Committee. While creating the Committee, its creators admitted that laws of Nature exist as ideas «before», being independent on researchers as like not discovered yet deposits of fossils.
Objective idealist Plato any 2.5 millennia didn't live to see the Committee and experience author's sense of pride that his imagination about “ Kingdom of Ideas ” existing on a level with the substantial world had proved.
How it was hard to look into philosophic investigation of discovery as a notion one may realize knowing that this state organ's creation had been received a blessing of Vladimir Lenin himself…
The lecture might be richer in content if SPT were studied in application to affairs and deeds of people, to the very human history. Here I am ready only to elucidate why the area of such SPT appearances is enormous wide.
There are people that may be called emotional. They are characterized by great influence their emotions onto reason. In the last resorts an emotional individual's reason is won, or suppressed by emotions. In particular, point of view of emotionally engaged people on something depends on at which mood they see and think, and their inferences are usually biased.
Let's remember such psychological phenomenon as the psychical tension. If to take into account that any unusual situation, a sudden event, a danger to be foreseen or to appear, new personal contact, a dispute, a bet, a keen discussion cause that psychical tension, then one may guess all people are in that or this degree emotional. From point of view of our evolution prehistory, when in extreme situations it had been advantage to have the single dominant hearth in the brain, then our nature make us in states of the psychical tension to narrow the field of the consciousness, i.e. to have SPT even more (i.e. worse for us) than in the rest.
People like leaders with the charisma, i.e. emotional and passionate ones. That is why human history may be a handbook of SPT appearances – if find someone who will want to overview it from such new point of vision.
As human stupidity may be of global scale, then after all the said you should not be surprised by my inference that all humanity will be fooled if educational programs overcoming shortage of panoramic thinking won't be elaborated and launched into action in nearest years (see more: All humanity must have been fooled).