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Self Determination

Among the people I met up with in Porto last weekend (see chapter 21, “Social Business Regulation: Introduction & Socio BIZ Rule #1“) was a woman from Latvia who spoke really excellent English (probably because — as she mentioned in passing — she now lives in England). She noted that she feels it is wrong the way some people expect everyone on Earth ought to be able to understand (and speak) English. Unfortunately, she had to leave abruptly to catch up with some of her friends, otherwise I would gladly credit her for her insightful remark (which I can’t, because I don’t even know her name).

One thing which I feel often gets overlooked in the “free will” vs. “determinism” argument, and which in particular especially gets overlooked in regard to the term “self determination” is that it is obviously a far-fetched dream: Not one being (whether living or dead) on Earth has ever managed something like self-determination. We are born into the world with a very large number of “pre-set” settings. Let alone all of the genetic presets, we are born into our native environments, our native habitats, our indigenous information technology and systems. And this seems completely natural — i.e. that nature should work this way. While eskimos have many words for snow, it is Americans (from the USA) who invented and created marketing plans for eskimo pies. Being born into a community means having your indigena (native information) settings set. You acquire a world view from the community you were born into. You do not actually practice anything like “self determination”. I plan to reflect on this more and also to write about this more at the indigena information blog; here, I wish to point out that it is probably in resistance to propaganda information technology that indigena information technologies give rise to a demand for self determination.

In this vein, I also wish to remark on my experience discussing indigena information technologies — primarily the concepts of native and “native speakers” — with a wide array of vendors for multilingual information services. I was amazed at the wide variety of awareness of the issues related to working with so-called “natural” languages, ranging from complete ignorance through quite lacking sensitivity all the way to measured concern (and perhaps even a willingness to engage). By and large though, these projects were all driven by the dream of building a “product” with which one could simply press a button in order to get results, and whether these results were satisfactory or not was apparently more of a secondary issue than a true focus of attention.

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