Month: February 2011

The Bargaining Study Paradox

Since I am involved in studies and trainings on negotiations I have noticed an interesting phenomenon. There are cultures and countries where people negotiate everywhere, where negotiation is an essence of social life and where negotiation is not just an art but the Art. I call these cultures as bargaining cultures. Bazaar is the centre of the bargaining culture. People respect masters of bargaining and these masters have a high social status. We can think about many Eastern countries as bargaining cultures.

There are other cultures where people do not tend to bargain everywhere. Of course people do a lot of negotiations in their everyday and business life even in such non-bargaining cultures. However, there the bazaar is not a centre of social life, and in large shopping malls buyers and sellers do not bargain. We may say that many Western countries have non-bargaining cultures.

Paradoxically, most current negotiation studies (including studies of bargaining) are done in non-bargaining cultures. Interestingly, some people like to bargain but others prefer to study bargaining.

Language, mentality and reality

Language gives us some mental structure. Our thoughts are structured by the language that we use. That means that what we think depends on how we think. But there is another side of the coin: how we think depends on what we think. The culture, our environment provides natural materials for our thinking: in certain cultures people may think, for example, about cars and computers but in others this may not be a custom. Therefore any language, on the one hand, forms people’s mind and perception, but on the other hand, it is shaped by their mind and perception. That is why any language is a unique cognitive tool and there are always some limitations for translating from one language to another. We may say that people with different languages live in different worlds. In English one differentiates “translation” and “interpretation”. Obviously, not all interpretation is translation but all translation is interpretation.

 

Democracy of English

English, in my opinion, is the most democratic language. It constantly and readily absorbs an enormous number of foreign terms (like “Sputnik”), it adapts itself to many places and nations (for example, “Singlish” in Singapore), and it could be used in different formats, structures and styles (n the news headlines it might be used even without basic grammar rules). English is really a flexible and an adaptive language. Of course it has many rules, including grammar, orthography, etc. But all these rules coexist with its democratic and liberal spirit.

 

I decided to change the language of this blog

Some time ago – in fact a few years after I was born – I started to speak and write in my native Uzbek. I am happy that I have this language as my mother tongue because it is beautiful, rich, colourful and highly contextual. Following that I learnt Russian – another great language, a very powerful one. Russian is like an ocean, great and immense. I am happy that I created most my literary and scholarly work in this wonderful  language. My third language was English. I see enormous potential in English: it is eloquent, functional, operational, businesslike and very pragmatic. It has the largest number of words, expressions, idioms, etc. It is widely spoken everywhere, and it allows you to express almost every thought and emotion. I knew a little French and was very passionate about it but unfortunately I am not good enough to express myself in this beautiful and lovely language.

Yesterday I suddenly realised that now I need to write more in English. I do not know why, but I would like to try. I think I am quite good in expressing myself in Uzbek and Russian and now I feel like meeting a challenge to write more in English. I started to learn English seriously only when I was 32 (Karl Marx started to learn Arabic when he was 50). I still have many problems, especially in using definite and indefinite articles (Uzbek language has no articles so I don’t really feel the English articles). I speak this language quite freely, and I have no problems with public speaking and lecturing in this language (of course with some accent). I also wrote and published a few articles in English and regularly read English books. Nevertheless, I am not good enough in English grammar – that is undeniable. I have some way to go to reach a good style in English. But I would like to master the English grammar and style. To do so,  to achieve it, I need to work hard, to practice everyday, if possible.

So I decided to continue my blog in English. Let’s see what happens. Maybe I will enjoy it, or perhaps I will come back to Russian or even Uzbek once again. I am sorry if somebody who read this blog will feel some discomfort from this language change. But who knows maybe he or she will also progress in English with me. So let’s try, i don’t see why not.

Организм

Организм человека – величайший саморегулирующая лаборатория, производственный цех и мозговой трест. Он многое может отрегулировать, прибрать за человеком, очиститься. Он дает сигналы, указывающие на неблагополучие, повысить/понизить температуру тела или перестать принимать ту или иную еду или вообще какую-либо пищу. Увы, итальянец скорее поймет китайца, или испанец скорее выучит суахили, чем обычный человек поймет свой организм. Язык организма настолько прост, что его, пародоксальным образом, очень трудно понять. Даже каким-то образом поняв или почувствовав свой организм, человек часто идет против него. Будто в мире нет более непримиримого врага, чем собственный организм.

Больница

Больница – это место, где присутствуют жизнь и смерть, где они противостоят друг другу, борются. Порой более, а иногда менее зримым образом. Одни больные оказываются ближе к смерти, или, по крайней мере, идут к ней, пытаясь хотя бы остановиться, задержаться на какое-то время. Другие, почувствовав энергию жизни, тут же забывают о существовании смерти и строят планы на будущее. Ах, плохо мы знаем смерть. Она может притаиться, отпустить с ухмылкой человека на какое-то время, м.б. даже на многие годы. Но она все равно придет. Вернее она никуда и не уходит, но лишь ждет своего часа. И своего места. Больница – одно из ее любимых мест. Но и жизнь там не слабак: старается, карабкается, защищается, борется. Словом, больница, особенно реанимационное отделение – это драматический театр выяснения отношений между этими извечными партнерами-соперниками.