Monday, May 30, 2011

A small distinction in language and culture…

can be such an amazing window into the soul of different cultures. The difference between the get go/DIY spirit of the anglo-saxon world and the receptive/angst-ridden world of the European spirit of dependency. This might be a bit harsh, but it still is very well defined in the very notion of how to surmount a problem.

The difference I am speaking of is what you are saying when a third person has a problem. In English you say: Get some help. At least, more often than not that is the choice of words. In French or German, it is let me help you (“Lass dir helfen/faites-me t’aider).

I think this very nicely reflects the current status of Europe and where the root problem lies. We Europeans have given up on individual choice and action, on responsibility, at least in cultural and political questions. We are more cowed than Americans in certain fields, while Americans seem to follow the European spirit and get angsty on other fields (national security f.e.).

And still I think the notion that Europeans believe that individuals are that non-powerful that they need to be rescued says a lot about their culture and their state of government.

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