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Thread: JFORUM: A Tower of Babel

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    Question JFORUM: A Tower of Babel



    This is a hypothetical question, but I'm a curious person, too.
    What do you think will happen if 10,000 people from around the globe joined JFORUM and read and responded to each other's posts for 10 years?

    Will they become more alike in mind from the exchange of ideas, or more different from all the heated debates?

    If this hypothetical question doesn't mean much to you, how did your time at JFORUM affect your ways of thinking?
    Z: The fish in the water are happy.
    H: How do you know ? You're not fish.
    Z: How do you know I don't ? You're not me.
    H: True I am not you, and I cannot know. Likewise, I know you're not, therefore I know you don't.
    Z: You asked me how I knew implying you knew I knew. In fact I saw some fish, strolling down by the Hao River, all jolly and gay.

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    One Of The Great Things About This Forum.....

    is being able to exchange ideas with people of all ages from many countries.
    The members of this Forum seem to be more open minded and polite about disagreeing. We used to have many more posts that were serious discussions of a deep thought nature. Some were to difficult to respond to, but I sure did enjoy reading them. Not that anime & J-Rock aren't interesting, but posts that make you think about & comtemplate new ideas are what teach us new things about our world. If we are ever going to get the much wanted "WORLD PEACE" that beauty contestants say they want; we need to keep communications between the people open. As long as we respect other peoples opinions and not fight and get nasty over things we disagree with ; we just might live to see that world peace thing come true!

    Frank

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    Good question.

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    Most part of this forum, I find very uplifting and helpful. Reading other people's post relating the topic I'm interested in is fun.
    I also think this forum is very well-mannered despite the fact that there are so many members.

    It sure would be amazing if this forum is still active in 10 years, and I would love to be there. Things about Japan might change a lot, and I'm curious about it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sabro
    Good question.
    NO IT'S NOT!!!



    Sometimes I just can't help myself...

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    Wait, what was the question again?

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    Maybe this depends on how much time the individual member spends at JRef...
    I certainly get enlightened by many members' views in some of the topics, however, I don't think we will get "alike" just because we happen to spend time in the same forum/fora, as we all have different opinions...

    So, in my opinion, no, we will not get "alike", but somewhat learn from each other...

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    Hey, thanks for your thoughts, all.
    Since I used to be a firm believer of anti-internet culture, I hesitated to say much until I've had some exposure.
    Now since it's been 30 days since I joined the forum, or any forum as a matter of fact, I thought I might be able to say something from experience.

    First of all, on-line experience turned out to be as real as the real thing.
    I don't get to see you people in person, but having a talk thru posting or exchanging PM is as real as the real thing. O, I said the same thing twice. I'll leave it as it is, to make it more real. How can anything be more real than real?

    Second, on-line documents are not meant to last forever, maybe 30 yrs at most, or even less. This used to be my prejudice, and it still is. What I found out besides this obvious and gloomy fact was that the material continuation of documents is only one aspect of preserving memory. The other and almost as important aspect is the reading of documents. How many books in my personal library never get to be read? I am sure some never will, and some only for occasional referencing. The broad range of views coming from different people turned out to be a good education for me. It is because I see you as a person, more than a material book.

    Third, books never reply to you. The on-line posts do, in most cases. This kind of dialogue, or multilogue, never existed in human history. The new perspective that will come out of this mew medium is exciting to watch. A generation from now, I believe something like the forum here, will bring about a fundamental change in our way of looking at things. A higher sense of awareness without relying on mind-expanding substance will be a detriment to the continuation of the drug trafficking industry. :)

    I probably have more things to say, but my mind is getting muddled. Besides, lenghty talk is not welcome here. So these are my thoughts for today.

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    lexico, I'm in agreement with you.

    After 10 years of being active "online", this is the one place I'd like to settle. Wait...I think I already have. Anyway, when I first came to this forum, what impressed me, was that the people here seemed to treat each other with respect, even when they disagreed with one another. People that represented all different countries and cultures, which I'd always been most fascinated by.

    I remember the very first post I made. It was regarding a conversation about Japanese/Western relationships. I believe many people were saying that Japanese men were to blame for faulty relationships, and I replied to say that I didn't think the blame could be placed on Japanese males alone. That thread touched a nerve and I was pretty "to the point" with my reply, but no one ever flamed me or said anything negative to me about it. That is when I knew I was in a much more mature place on the web. Everywhere I had been in the past could not even compare to the positive atmosphere here.

    To me, the people I have met on this forum are very real(with the obvious exceptions) and I have made a lot of very dear friends here. I will even be meeting one in the Spring, finally, and wish that more could come. I would hope that this forum could be here in 10 years and hope that the "regulars" would still be with it, but we never know. No matter what happens, though, I expect I will always be attached to those people I've met here.

    Long live JREF!
    You have bewitched me, body and soul...

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    Isnt the tower of babel the story of the people who builded a tower that should reach to God? And God punished them with different languages so that they could not communicate an build that tower? I think I leared that on school or something..

    Or maybe Im just babbling crap!

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    Good Question!

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond
    Isnt the tower of babel the story of the people who builded a tower that should reach to God? And God punished them with different languages so that they could not communicate an build that tower? I think I leared that on school or something..

    Or maybe Im just babbling crap!
    Yes, Raymond-san, you're right on.
    That was the tower of Babel.
    But one day I found out that this was only the Hebrew version of it.
    It was meant as a word-play to explain the place name.
    The pun worked because B-B-L also meant "confusion," which was the backdrop of the dispersion legend.
    In the language of the Akkads, who succeeded the Sumers, BAB=gate, IL=God.
    So at least one Semitic people used the tower to perform the proper rituals to keep in touch with God.
    There was no negative connotation at all in this Akkad version of Babel.
    Aside from etymology, I used the "image" of Babel as a place where people come with good intentions.
    I hope this clears away some of your wonderings about the strange title.
    No, it's not crap at all; thanks for having a genuine interest, and asking, too!

    EDIT: I missed your pun; babble! Very good, Raymond-san!

    EDIT: This post by no means intends to promote anti-semitism of any sort. Reference to the Hebrew Tanak, therefore, must surely be qualified. The allegory of Babel probably refers to the collapse of the Neo-Babylonian Empire, or it could have been a Baylonian tradition accodring to some scholars. Hence the qualifier Hebrew should probably be replaced by Neo-Babylonian, still the difficulty remains because our main source is still the Hebrew book. In fact they and the people of Judea in captivity were in close contact for roughly two generations. Sorry if that was in any way derogatory to any of our Jewish members. Not that anybody complained, though. Shalom!
    Last edited by lexico; 21-01-05 at 09:26.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lexico
    This is a hypothetical question, but I'm a curious person, too.
    What do you think will happen if 10,000 people from around the globe joined JFORUM and read and responded to each other's posts for 10 years?

    Will they become more alike in mind from the exchange of ideas, or more different from all the heated debates?

    If this hypothetical question doesn't mean much to you, how did your time at JFORUM affect your ways of thinking?
    I think what you'd end up with is a "tower of babble".

    Since people's political or sociological beliefs are suspected to be already "wired" by the time they are able to coherently express them, I doubt that we would end up with a concensus. However, we would stand a greater chance of understanding each other's views and why we hold them, which in itself is quite valuable.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lexico
    how did your time at JFORUM affect your ways of thinking?
    I have never thought about that.

    The time I spend at the forum is like a concentrated interaction, not that I post many posts or PM lots of people, but reading the posts from someone elses' point of view and the new things I learn on this forum is just amazing. I actually think about what other members post even when I'm not logged in.

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    Quote Originally Posted by misa.j
    I have never thought about that.

    The time I spend at the forum is like a concentrated interaction, not that I post many posts or PM lots of people, but reading the posts from someone elses' point of view and the new things I learn on this forum is just amazing. I actually think about what other members post even when I'm not logged in.
    Very well put in so few words!
    Your last line to me is like watching Space Odyssey 2001 with Wagner on!
    The birth of a new mind, cosmic, boundless, from space and time!
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    Goodbye, HAL....

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    If people were left in a forum cubicle with a den4 around, then the babbling would grow exponentially until everybody fled in terror, causing the great foundations of this forum to come crashing down in a cascade of clones of Frank, because they'd be all be crazy and old prematurely, shrieking like banshees in their madness of knowing nothing or having lost all their knowledge....fortunately, this is not so....so every body is safe from sorcery...
    I know nothing...except the answer is 42. You know more than I do.

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    Thanks Lexico for starting this wonderful thread.

    First, I think that there would be more than 10,000 people in 10 years' time, as we have already grown from 3,000 to 9,000 in just one year.

    As for online documents having a lifespan of 30 years, I don't think so. The time they stay online is as long as there is someone to take care of the webiste and financing the server. But the good thing with electronic data is that it can be saved on HD, CD-ROM's or whatever support exist. In that way it can last for as long as technology last (probably for as long as the current human civilization will last).

    To come back to the main question, I think that in a community like ours where so much information and opnions are exchanged, we can indeed learn a lot from others, but that also help our own opinion evolving. In that sense, I think we are getting closer (even just a bit) together as discussions allow us to understand new points of view that we may not have envisaged without this multicultural exchange. Therefore I think that we are a real community, where communication is often better than in face-to-face relationships.

    The great advantage of such forums is that everyone can read and express themselves at their own pace, and people can write their reactions at the exact same moment, which would not be possible in an oral group debate. What is more, it is easier to understand people from any country and language when things are written and accents do not interfere with communication. Yet another advantage is that we can take more time to consider the topic and what has been said before replying, which also facilitate communication, especially in "sensitive debates" (people do not have to raise the voice and fight to be heard).
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    Quote Originally Posted by den4
    If people were left in a forum cubicle with a den4 around, then the babbling would grow exponentially until everybody fled in terror, causing the great foundations of this forum to come crashing down in a cascade of clones of Frank, because they'd be all be crazy and old prematurely, shrieking like banshees in their madness of knowing nothing or having lost all their knowledge....fortunately, this is not so....so every body is safe from sorcery...
    ƶ ² ׽
    Please forgive my bad Japanese. I tend to do that when I am nervous.
    I was meaning to say, *coughs twice, clears throat* I know it's crazy to try to analyze a work of art.
    But I couldn't help noticing "a" before den4, as if a common noun.
    Are you implying that there are more den4's out there, cloned perhaps?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    First, I think that there would be more than 10,000 people in 10 years' time, as we have already grown from 3,000 to 9,000 in just one year.
    Thank you for filling in the obvious blank in my membership projection. Even a conservative two-fold increase in membership per year could mean 1,024-fold increase in just ten years, if the curve keeps to that constant of 2. With a three-fold increase starting at base 9,000, you would have 81,000 members in 2 yrs, 729,000 in 4 yrs, 6,561,000 in 6 yrs, 59,049,000 in 8 yrs, 531,441,000 in 10 yrs. Therefore I admit that my flat-membership model at 10,000 was a gross mis- & under-representation of JREF reality. But at some point before the 14th year, however, the growth will have to slow down for population growth to catch up!
    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    As for online documents having a lifespan of 30 years, I don't think so. The time they stay online is as long as there is someone to take care of the webiste and financing the server. But the good thing with electronic data is that it can be saved on HD, CD-ROM's or whatever support exist. In that way it can last for as long as technology last (probably for as long as the current human civilization will last).
    (underline by me)
    I am both happy and sad about the prospects of document life cycle. I am excited that there exist still such ardent supporters as you of the notion that "Digital info lasts forever."
    Please see the Long Now Foundation document @ http://www.longnow.org/10klibrary/library.htm

    The history of books and library diasters clearly show that documents will be destroyed in the long run; in the spirit of the Cosmic Laws of Murphy, book 3, chaprter 13, article 4. It is only a matter of selecting which piece of document is more worthy of preservation that helps extend its life cycle beyond the average. How many works of the Great Library of Alexandria survive to this day? Of Constantinople? Of the Great Library of Pergamum, of Carthage, of Athenes, of Changan, of Nanjing survive to this day? We are lucky for even a partial catalogue of titles in holding; even these are mostly gone; turned into mush or ash to become one with the universal mass flow.

    The bigger the collection, the greater the disaster. Mega biblion, Mega kakon, The greater the book, the greater the evil, shouted the ancient Greeks. Please remember that the schools of enginering are in line with the consumer goods producing industry in which an "adequate" life expectancy just beyond a couple of years is considered beneficial for business owners. Malfunctioning products after the limited warranty period actually helps the business sales figures to grow and to guarantee an adequate cash inflow. The magnetic memory of the sputtered hard disk surface can only dimish in readability until one gets the frightening error message;

    "Unable to access media.
    Quit, retry, or ignore?"

    Even more frightening is the industry's decision to discontinue old technology for obvious reasons. One Scientific American article (see http://www.informatics-review.com/cl...views/long.pdf) projected the readability of the Read Only CD-ROMs at roughly 30 years at best. Without an industry that continues to mass produce these onld generation Compact Disc readers, only several libraries, institutes, and museums will have them, and the number of those working devices will gradually decrease unto the absolute figure of nill. The backward compatibility will eventually cease given the ever-decreasing market pressure to continue the costly investment necessary for backward compatibility.

    The human factor, however, is one last dim prospect of hope. But that too, will end when the aspiring individual is no more. What do we do when the juice stops to flow? What can we do when civilization degenerates into the dark abyss? Do we have a salvaging list in descending order of priority?
    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    To come back to the main question, I think that in a community like ours where so much information and opnions are exchanged, we can indeed learn a lot from others, but that also help our own opinion evolving. In that sense, I think we are getting closer (even just a bit) together as discussions allow us to understand new points of view that we may not have envisaged without this multicultural exchange. Therefore I think that we are a real community, where communication is often better than in face-to-face relationships.
    (underline by me)
    I couldn't agree with you more! This is exactly how I would like to think.
    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    The great advantage of such forums is that everyone can read and express themselves at their own pace, and people can write their reactions at the exact same moment, which would not be possible in an oral group debate. What is more, it is easier to understand people from any country and language when things are written and accents do not interfere with communication. Yet another advantage is that we can take more time to consider the topic and what has been said before replying, which also facilitate communication, especially in "sensitive debates" (people do not have to raise the voice and fight to be heard).
    (underline by me)
    Every point you raised are pivotal changes that this new medium can and has improved on the old one. We could probably write a whole book on these!

    Two theoretical questions.

    Do you think (in the case of the English subforum) that there is a cultural bias skewed towards Western European or North American cultures?
    True it is Japan that has brought us together, but how are we expanding the horizon from this language-related cultural bias (if there is one)?

    Are we imitating natural language, or are we on the threshold of evolving into something totally new?
    I would not be able to tell, because I am looking from the inside.
    Do you have any instights into the future?
    Last edited by lexico; 29-01-05 at 12:32.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lexico
    Do you think (in the case of the English subforum) that there is a cultural bias skewed towards Western European or North American cultures?
    True it is Japan that has brought us together, but how are we expanding the horizon from this language-related cultural bias (if there is one)?

    Are we imitating natural language, or are we on the threshold of evolving into something totally new?
    I would not be able to tell, because I am looking from the inside.
    Difficult questions. I think the cultural bias also depends on the activity and influence of each member over others. I also think that people from different cultures can be more similar than some people from a same culture, thanks to their personality and interests.

    I think that online communication is not exactly the same as oral communication, and so we may be evolving toward something new (eg. with the smileys, fonts, absence of visual sign language or vocal emotions...).

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    I wonder....

    Much as I would like to believe that these kinds of forums encourage understanding and tolerance, I have some doubts.

    As I said before, my Jesuit upbringing makes me look at the down side of all things, so do not take my opinions too much to heart, however this is not the only forum to which I have subscribed--although in keeping with the Japanese flavor, it is the most polite and restrained of them all. In almost every one, there is a pervasive attitude that coats the membership and is not exactly welcoming toward opposing thought. This often drives parties into neutral corners--or worse--when the debate is over widely divisive topics. I have seen that attitude even here (again, it is much more polite and civil, but it is...it exists). After a time, edges of debate often (always?) become sharper and more caustic and the margin of civility often slowly evaporates.

    In the end, the forums usually become toxic places where only argument reigns, only insult is supreme, and the atmosphere of understanding and forbearance no longer can be found.

    Will that happen here? Hope not. But before we start linking arms and singing "We Are the World" and "Kumbayah" I think we should consider that result, also.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lexico
    This is a hypothetical question, but I'm a curious person, too.
    What do you think will happen if 10,000 people from around the globe joined JFORUM and read and responded to each other's posts for 10 years?

    Will they become more alike in mind from the exchange of ideas, or more different from all the heated debates?

    If this hypothetical question doesn't mean much to you, how did your time at JFORUM affect your ways of thinking?
    I'd say something of either... some would become more open minded, but some others are quite preconceived and won't change their opinions no matter what.
    Luckily, this is a very friendly forum here, so the first is much more likely

    Yes, the "Tower of Babel" is about "God" (or "HaShem" in the Jewish version) crapping his pants as he sees what the humans can do, and out of fear that they might come near to him and find out about his true nature (not being much different from him and being certainly no god), he says to his fellow gods, "Let's go down and confuse their language", to prevent this from happening.

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    HaShem?

    Now, I was always told that the Hebrew name for God was Y*H*W*H, with the vowel sounds ommitted (it was thought to be dangerous or sinful to say the name of the God). I have also often heard God referred to as "adanoi" which translates roughly to "the all mighty" but I have never heard of HaShem.

    I do not doubt you, but for the sake of further illumation, would you be so kind as to elaborate on your source?

    Thank you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Censport
    I think what you'd end up with is a "tower of babble".
    This is the second instance someone mentioned /baebl/ in this thread, which prompts me to look into the etymology.
    I do not have an OED with me, but hopefully somebody can help on this.
    What I do remember is that our English word "barbarians" comes from Gk. barbaroi, and that it meant "people who speak in an unintelligible language."
    In other words, a person speaking a foreign language would be a "barbarian" in the etymological sense.
    A "babbler" might be "someone who doesn't talk good Japanese."
    I'm afraid I'm one of them.
    Quote Originally Posted by Censport
    Since people's political or sociological beliefs are suspected to be already "wired" by the time they are able to coherently express them, I doubt that we would end up with a concensus. However, we would stand a greater chance of understanding each other's views and why we hold them, which in itself is quite valuable.
    When practical necessisity demands immediate action, even close friends can rift apart in their votes. Having said that, I agree with you about the unique value of understanding why a person should think and talk in his or her own special way. I find that fascinating in itself, without concerning world peace.
    But peace shouldn't be that far off if we can do that!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shooter452
    Now, I was always told that the Hebrew name for God was Y*H*W*H, with the vowel sounds ommitted (it was thought to be dangerous or sinful to say the name of the God). I have also often heard God referred to as "adanoi" which translates roughly to "the all mighty" but I have never heard of HaShem.

    I do not doubt you, but for the sake of further illumation, would you be so kind as to elaborate on your source?

    Thank you.
    Sure. Just take a look at the JPS bible issued by the Jewish Publication Society. You can find it online here in its entirety:
    http://www.breslov.com/bible/

    The "Tower of Babel" story is here, Bereshit 11, Verse 1-9:
    http://www.breslov.com/bible/Genesis11.htm

    1 And the whole earth was of one language and of one speech.
    2 And it came to pass, as they journeyed east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there.
    3 And they said one to another: 'Come, let us make brick, and burn them thoroughly.' And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for mortar.
    4 And they said: 'Come, let us build us a city, and a tower, with its top in heaven, and let us make us a name; lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.'
    5 And HaShem came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded.
    6 And HaShem said: 'Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language; and this is what they begin to do; and now nothing will be withholden from them, which they purpose to do.
    7 Come, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech.'
    8 So HaShem scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth; and they left off to build the city.
    9 Therefore was the name of it called Babel; because HaShem did there confound the language of all the earth; and from thence did HaShem scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth.

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    I appreciate that

    Thank you, very much, Lina.

    I never assume that I know more than others, but I am not afraid to ask sources from those who seem to make responsible statements.

    Ex mea sententia....

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