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From Stefano Mazzocchi <>
Subject Re: Cocoon 2 suggestions
Date Tue, 11 Apr 2000 22:12:45 GMT
Mike Engelhart wrote:
> Stefano Mazzocchi wrote:
> > Mike Engelhart wrote:
> >>
> >> Kevin A. Burton wrote:
> >>
> >>> It is eventually inevitable that everyone will speak the same language.
> >>> Although it won't may still be called English the influence from other
> >>> language will modify and introduce newer words.
> >> Sadly this is mostly true
> >>
> >>> It does scare me that cultural diversity will fade but you can get in
> >>> the path of the future or you will get run over :(
> >> I don't really want to get run over, but as I don't want to be known as
> >> someone who was a member of a movement (i.e., programming geeks) who helped
> >> give the death blow to cultural diversity on Earth, I'd love to be able to
> >> access ResourceBundle's from my XSP pages. :-)
> >
> > The roman empire _forced_ the use of the latin language (which is can be
> > considered the technical-english of today moved back 2000 years ago)
> > thru-out all their empire. Which ranged from the scottish border to
> > today's Israel.
> >
> > There was a jewish man called "Jesus Nazarenus" that was born at the
> > time where the most common and used language was latin... was he
> > influenced by this "lack of cultural diversity imposed by a common
> > language"?
> >
> > Or look at ancient greece, where different state-cities fought battles
> > but shared a common language and became the craddle of occidental
> > sciences.
> What you're  missing here is that when hellenism (the mono-culture being
> pushed around the time of Jesus) was being forced upon society, more than
> 90% of the people were uneducated and never would have entered a city ( or
> to reference our current world, had access to a DSL line and computer -that
> is even if they have electricity) so basically missed out on all the
> advantages that hellenism was supposed to bring about!  So in effect Greek
> was the language of the educated urban elite.  Not very enlightening...

What you are missing here is graduality. True, hellenism didn't say
anything about democracy, or freedom of speech, or human rights... but
it went way ahead of other civilizations that even kept the technology
of writing in the hands of the few king couselors (egypt, for example).

So, you're totally right in saying that poor africans don't benefit from
an open and free internet if they cannot survive starvation or even get
their hands on a computer... but there is a difference if a 25-year old
kid is able to influence thousands of people and even technology
standards with his ideas about software.

It will always be a gradual process, but we must lower those energy
barriers... one of which is this babel of natural languages.
> > I see that programming geeks will _free_ this world from a babel of
> > languages that _imposes_ diversity, reduces communication, and increases
> > differences between rich and poor countries. Of course, geeks, rather
> > than soldiers, appreaciate cultular differences and will try to
> > "preserve" them from being forgotten, like monks did for ancient
> > thinkers. such as
> I'd say this is optimistic at best.  I'm not sure of the analogy between
> soldiers and geeks so I'll just skip that one?? I think geeks as a
> stereotype are not some enlightened version of human being.  I've met plenty
> of geeks who are complete social morons with little appreciation for
> anything other than their new Athlon linux box.  Just because they know how
> to write software or build silicon wafers I wouldn't place them into the
> category of cultural saviors.

It depends on the geeks you know. :)

> > But, please, let's remove this stereotype that a single world-wide
> > language is a bad thing, ok? As long as it's open and not imposed, I
> > can't see why it would be a bad thing to have.
> How can it not be imposed??  Just the fact that my site can decide to only
> display it's pages in English is imposing limitations on who I allow to view
> my information.  That's rather imposing wouldn't you say?  Of course it's
> only me, but what about the 10 million other web developers who are doing
> the same thing.

Imposition is lack of freedom. A site that expresses information in a
single language is not imposing anything, it's "exposing" itself. Living
in a country where almost nobody knows english well enough to be able to
browse an english web site, I tell you that italians browse 90% italian
pages. Just like 100% movies are dubbed.

But this is just market: if you don't dub a movie, nobody is going to
watch it. Same thing with a site.

> > I'd be happy to see the internet and freedom of speech succeed where
> > governments and wars couldn't in the whole history of mankind. It would
> > prove something, wouldn't it? :)
> It may well do that.  I hope you're right and I'm wrong.  :-)

> If anything considering the ease of use of things like ResourceBundles from
> the Java programming world, the monks should start offering their services
> as web page translators so that all sites could have access to multi-lingual
> translated pages.  It would be a lot cheaper than using all their energies
> in trying to put whole cultures into storage... :-)

Great point :)

But you fail to understand a single thing: having a single language is
much more scalable :)

Stefano Mazzocchi      One must still have chaos in oneself to be
                          able to give birth to a dancing star.
<>                             Friedrich Nietzsche
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