James Pete

Nanning, China

Someone is shy

James hasn't completed a profile. Should we look for some other people?

Comments & conversations

Noface
James Pete
Posted almost 2 years ago
Telling the truth: are there limits?
The unmentioned assumption throughout these posts is that there an objective and knowable reality "out there" against which we measure a truth. I would argue that language, the matter of lies and of science also, is never value-free and context-free, that context is ever a part of our construct of reality, of what really happened. Perhaps a story will suffice. A farmer hauling a cow in his truck gets blindsided by another vehicle. The farmer sues the other guy. In court now, the lawyer for the other guy says, "The police report indicates that when asked, you said you were fine." "Look, I'm hurt and your client did it" "But at the scene of the accident, did you or did you not tell the officer that you were fine?" "After your client hit me, I was stuck in the cab, but I could hear my cow moaning. That's when the policeman drove up, approached my cow, and shot her between the eyes. He then opened the cab, gun drawn, and asked, 'How are you doing?' Oh, I'm fine, I said."
Noface
James Pete
Posted about 2 years ago
What is the purpose of small talk?
Sometimes goes by the name of gossip or phatic communication, chewing the fat, you might say. Do you remember the Louis Armstrong song, "it's a Wonderful World"? There's a part in there that goes "people saying 'How do you do?' when they really mean 'I love you.'" Thus, small talk can be heard as "I'm alive still. How about you?" It's also called ticking over, as in when we listen to a fridge or a really quiet motor or a baby breathing. The really funny part is I think this constitutes half or more of language use. Why? I mean what is the motivation? Pure play, to have fun. Actually, there's usually mixed motivations. Kids play with food while they eat it. We prepare a beautiful meal and then eat it. Why does a bird sing? Yes, maybe it's a mating thing, a warning about some danger nearby, or maybe she's singing because she likes to. I even think the play factor is primary. It elevates your question. It's one of those human things that computers can't do.
Noface
James Pete
Posted about 2 years ago
Is it best to give your honest opinion all the time?
A wonderful topic! One comment has listed three examples, and I myself think that everything is the case, i.e. each moment you consider what to do is its own case, as in a legal case. Of course, we have principles and sayings to guide us, but that's a top-down approach. If that's what you want, I'd say always be sincere, whether you mean it or not. So to the question, :"Do I look fat in this?" one can quickly reply, "Oh, no, no, no." That dirty word "rhetoric" enters into the fray wherever politics is involved. And what does it sound like? "Listening to my opponent's rhetoric(lies), how he twists the truth to suit his needs, how he puts a spin on everything, well . . . I don't know how he sleeps at night. I offer you only the simple and unvarnished truth." In other words, it's rhetoric when the other guy does it. We humans have many needs and many motivations. I think they come in a mix, not in any pure form. Honesty is good, but I will work, borrow or steal, if need be, to feed my family. Perhaps a better illustration is the Woody Allen quote: "Is sex dirty? If it's any good, it is."
Noface
James Pete
Posted about 2 years ago
do you write lists? i'm researching material for a book and would love to hear from any list-makers out there.
I used to be more list oriented and may return to it, thanks to your query. I have three anecdotes. I recall a writer speaking of the habits of the successful saying that they often made their to-do list at night. This way the subconscious mind could sort them a bit for importance and even create a solution to one or two. Thus, the list would look different in the morning. The second comes from the early days of business consulting, the 1920's or 30's. So a roomful of executives from, say, General Motors are asked to make a list of their ten most important tasks or duties, a prioritized list. The consultant then had them cut their paper list between the third and fourth task, telling them, "Work solely on these three. Delegate the rest." I take from this that we tend to do the easier things and avoid the difficult. The most recent comes from a book on medical care in hospitals. Many people die in hospitals, a large number due to ineptitude. The well educated and trained professionals make mistakes, due to fatigue or oversight or whatever. There are studies on this. One solution: make a list of the five most important steps in any procedure. Medical science is complex but the five mistakes in each part of hospital care that kill the most people are known. Oh! Don't forget, "I'm making a list, checkin' it twice, gonna find out who's . . . "
Noface
James Pete
Posted over 2 years ago
Chris Bliss: Comedy is translation
"True" facts? Are some facts truer than others? Might there then be a truest? I like your general approach and your citing of a sales technique. Aren't we always selling a story or argument when we communicate? I think that facts are just a part of our technique. Knowing the specs of a car, for example, can help you sell, but having the facts wrong won't necessarily block the sale.