History, Culture, and Future

26 Nov

The second edition:

History, culture, and future

Society is about people and their living environment; it is identified by its history, culture, and its future.

Language reflects culture of the society we live.

Language communicates history, from which we learn.

Language expresses future, for which we create and build together.

Language is a city to the building of which every human being brought a stone. – -Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

Culture is the trending of the happening today collectively, and separated with pop culture and traditional culture or with lowbrow and highbrow culture.

 

For example “swag” is a word popularized via pop singers and their hits. I stumbled on it recently and did a little research to understand it. Justin Bieber, a Canadian teenager singer, had a new song “boyfriend”. In it, he brags that he is going to  “swag, swag, swag on you” swag can be used as a noun or a verb. It is the latest high profile hip-hop slang term, for which, Jay-Z, an American rapper has claimed credit in 2001: “I guess I got my swagger back” from the song “all I need”.

 

“Who invented swag?”is an article of the online magazine, slate, published in March, 2012. Among comments to the article, one noted: swagger was invented by Shakespeare in his “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” (Act III, Part I, Line 79.) Another has commented: it’s not important who initiated the term, but it’s important whether the new meaning has impacted the pop culture.

Culture reflects contemporary trends, the pop culture’s representation of slang language is like fashion in clothing: it is timely, unlike the traditional culture, which passes on generation to generation.  However, an attractive design in language is the same as in fashion, it gets recycled.

 

Language reflects culture. Here is another example, in one of my toastmaster assignments, I was the general evaluator and I made some comments about one of evaluations of a toastmaster’s speech.  A senior toastmaster provided me his feedback afterward: “You should evaluate not criticize.” My immediate response was “what’s wrong with criticize?”  To me criticism is the most important part of any evaluation and an improvement is achieved via criticism.

 

In Chinese culture, where I grew up, Evaluation and criticism are the synonym.  Studying and working in the states, as a researcher, I hold my motto dearly “research grows in criticism.” As an engineer, my goal is to build products that work. Criticism can be the best of all helps, which not only sharpening my thinking, but also is keeping me be honest as well as from getting complacency.

 

On the other hand, hearing the explanation of my fellow toastmaster’s definition on the word “criticism,” i.e., “putting down on the people you are criticizing,” I get his point: nobody wants to be criticized. His comment reminded me of a rule of thumb given by an American, a management guru: “it’s more effective if you surround one criticism with five praises.”  That is the culture of our society.

 

It is true that culture is different in different societies. However, the futures of different cultures may have a lot in common.

For example, “Atom” is the word initially used to mean indivisible by Ancient Greeks. It was later recruited by physicists to name small particle of matters in English. It was popularized by its usage in Atomic bomb, a lethal weapon.  Since it is the fundamental concept in nuclear energy, it becomes a popular word. It may have a long lifespan into the future of any society.

 

We learn from yesterday, history. We live today, immersed in culture. We create future, for us and our offspring to live tomorrow. The question or concern is that,  What is the best in us to contribute to the building of our society: history, culture, and future?

I hope I am able to inspire you to ponder along this thinking.

 

criticism

[krit-uh-siz-uh m] Show IPA noun

1. the act of passing judgment as to the merits of anything.

2. the act of passing severe judgment; censure; faultfinding.

3. the act or art of analyzing and evaluating or judging the quality of a literary or artistic work, musical performance, art exhibit, dramatic production, etc.

4. a critical comment, article, or essay; critique.

5. any of various methods of studying texts or documents for the purpose of dating or reconstructing them, evaluating their authenticity, analyzing their content or style, etc.: historical criticism; literary criticism.

criticism c.1600, “action of criticizing,” from critic + -ism. Meaning “art of estimating literary worth” is from 1670s.

Society is about people and their living environment; it is identified by its history, culture, and its future.
Language reflects culture of the society we live.
Language communicates history, from which we learn.
Language expresses future, for which we create and build together.
Language is a city to the building of which every human being brought a stone. – -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Culture is the trending of the happening today collectively, and separated with pop culture and traditional culture or with lowbrow and highbrow culture.

For example “swag” is a word popularized via pop singers and their hits. I stumbled on it recently and did a little research to understand it. Justin Bieber, a Canadian teenager singer, had a new song “boyfriend”. In it, he brags that he is going to “swag, swag, swag on you” swag can be used as a noun or a verb. It is the latest high profile hip-hop slang term, for which, Jay-Z, an American rapper has claimed credit in 2001: “I guess I got my swagger back” from the song “all I need”.

“Who invented swag?” is an article of the online magazine, slate, published in March, 2012. Among comments to the article, one noted: swagger was invented by Shakespeare in his “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” (Act III, Part I, Line 79.) Another has commented: it’s not important who initiated the term, but it’s important whether the new meaning has impacted the pop culture.
Culture reflects contemporary trends, the pop culture’s representation of slang language is like fashion in clothing: it is timely, unlike the traditional culture, which passes on generation to generation. However, an attractive design in language is the same as in fashion, it gets recycled.

Language reflects culture. Here is another example, in one of my toastmaster assignments, I was the general evaluator and I made some comments about one of evaluations of a toastmaster’s speech. A senior toastmaster provided me his feedback afterward: “You should evaluate not criticize.” My immediate response was “what’s wrong with criticize?” To me criticism is the most important part of any evaluation and an improvement is achieved via criticism.

In Chinese culture, where I grew up, Evaluation and criticism are the synonym. Studying and working in the states, as a researcher, I hold my motto dearly “research grows in criticism.” As an engineer, my goal is to build products that work. Criticism can be the best of all helps, which not only sharpening my thinking, but also is keeping me be honest as well as from getting complacency.

On the other hand, hearing the explanation of my fellow toastmaster’s definition on the word “criticism,” i.e., “putting down on the people you are criticizing,” I get his point: nobody wants to be criticized. His comment reminded me of a rule of thumb given by an American, a management guru: “it’s more effective if you surround one criticism with five praises.” That is the culture of our society.

It is true that culture is different in different societies. However, the futures of different cultures may have a lot in common.
For example, “Atom” is the word initially used to mean indivisible by Ancient Greeks. It was later recruited by physicists to name small particle of matters in English. It was popularized by its usage in Atomic bomb, a lethal weapon. Since it is the fundamental concept in nuclear energy, it becomes a popular word. It may have a long lifespan into the future of any society.

We learn from yesterday, history. We live today, immersed in culture. We create future, for us and our offspring to live tomorrow. The question or concern is that, What is the best in us to contribute to the building of our society: history, culture, and future?
I hope I am able to inspire you to ponder along this thinking.

criticism
[krit-uh-siz-uh m] Show IPA noun
1. the act of passing judgment as to the merits of anything.
2. the act of passing severe judgment; censure; faultfinding.
3. the act or art of analyzing and evaluating or judging the quality of a literary or artistic work, musical performance, art exhibit, dramatic production, etc.
4. a critical comment, article, or essay; critique.
5. any of various methods of studying texts or documents for the purpose of dating or reconstructing them, evaluating their authenticity, analyzing their content or style, etc.: historical criticism; literary criticism.
criticism c.1600, “action of criticizing,” from critic + -ism. Meaning “art of estimating literary worth” is from 1670s.

Language is a city to the building of which every human being brought a stone. –Ralph Waldo Emerson

Language reflects the culture.

Language communicates history, which includes the culture of the past.

Language expresses the future, for which we are going to create or build together.

Culture is the trending of the happening today collectively. Culture is divided into pop culture and traditional culture. Pop culture is naturally sectored, such as corporate culture, community culture, and so on, and so forth. Culture is created by people within communities and ethnic groups by the use of languages.

For example, “swag” is a word popularized via songs, the hits. I stumbled on it recently and did a little research to understand it.

In Justin Bieber’s new song “Boyfriend” he brags that he is going to “swag, swag, swag on you.” “Swag” can be used as noun or verb; and it is the latest high-profile appearance of the hip-hop slang term, for which, Jay-Z, an American rapper, has claimed credit in 2001: “I guess I got my swagger back” from the song “All I Need”.

Among comments to the slate article, “Who Invented ‘Swag’?” one noted: swagger was initially used by Shakespeare in his A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Act III, Part I, Line 79.) . Another replied, it is not important who used a word initially, but it is important that the new meaning of the word has impacted the pop culture. Pop culture, as opposed to traditional culture,  reflects the contemporary trends, the pop culture’s representation in slang language is like fashion in clothing. That is, it’s rather timely.  Traditional culture, on the other hand, include things that are passed on from generation to generation.

Here is a fairytale posted on the Internet from which we can peek into the meaning in “swag”:

…The palace chiefs are in search of a personality that exceeds all the attributes and quality of the late king in terms of aesthetic, swag, creativity, intellectual abilities, and wits.

Among listed qualities possessed by the late king, swag is to display the rest in a charming manner, the charisma.

Here is another example to explain “swag” with a comic drawing: “who needs good grads when you have swag?” The clue via the title: swag can only get you so far; and the illustration has indicated the meaning of “so far” as working at McDonald’s.

swag

My immediate thought upon reading this drawing is: what’s wrong with working at McDonald’s?

Apparently, “swag” is a quality within people naturally; moreover, the quality in a person is being attractive to others, a leadership quality. It fulfills us with the satisfactions to stay where we are without being motivated to do better.

On the contrary, we should bring out the best of talents in us through education and training. The meaning of “to do better” is that we can build a better future for the next generation and leave a better history for the future generation to learn.

We learn from yesterday, the history and the culture of the past.

We live in today, immersed in culture.

We create future, for us and our offspring to live tomorrow.

My question or concern is that, what is the best in us to contribute the building of our society, History, Culture, and Future?

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