Words for Emotions Tend to Translate Poorly

Unknown‘Equivalent’ Emotional Concepts May Not be Identical Across Languages/Cultures:

’The true meaning of words may be lost in translation, according to research suggesting the way people understand terms such as “anger” or “love” differs between languages.

For example, while the concept of “love” is closely linked to “like” and “want” in Indo-European languages, it is strongly linked to “pity” in Austronesian languages – a family that includes Hawaiian and Javanese.

“Even though we might say there is a word for anger in hundreds of languages, these words actually might not mean the same thing,” said Joshua Conrad Jackson, co-author of the research from University of North Carolina Chapel Hill.…’

Via The Guardian

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Feeling sick is an emotion meant to help you get better faster

Unknown’Animal behaviorists and neuroimmunologists use the term sickness behavior to describe the observable behavior changes that occur during illness.

Health care providers often treat these symptoms as little more than annoying side effects of having an infectious disease. But as it turns out, these changes may actually be part of how you fight off infection.

I’m an anthropologist interested in how illness and infection have shaped human evolution. My colleagues and I propose that all these aspects of being sick are features of an emotion that we call “lassitude.” And it’s an important part of how human beings work to recover from illness.

Your body sets priorities when fighting germs

The human immune system is a complex set of mechanisms that help you suppress and eliminate organisms – such as bacteria, viruses and parasitic worms – that cause infection.

Activating the immune system, however, costs your body a lot of energy. This presents a series of problems that your brain and body must solve to fight against infection most effectively. Where will this extra energy come from? What should you do to avoid additional infections or injuries that would increase the immune system’s energy requirements even more?

Fever is a critical part of the immune response to some infections, but the energy cost of raising your temperature is particularly high. Is there anything you can do to reduce this cost?

To eat or not to eat is a choice that affects your body’s fight against infection. On one hand, food ultimately provides energy to your body, and some foods even contain compounds that may help eliminate pathogens. But it also takes energy to digest food, which diverts resources from your all-out immune effort. Consuming food also increases your risk of acquiring additional pathogens. So what should you eat when you’re sick, and how much?

We humans are highly dependent on others to care for and support us when we’re sick. What should you do to make sure your friends and family care for you when you’re ill?

My colleagues and I propose that the distinctive changes that occur when you get sick help you solve these problems automatically.

Fatigue reduces your level of physical activity, which leaves more energy available for the immune system.
Increased susceptibility to nausea and pain makes you less likely to acquire an infection or injury that would further increase the immune system’s workload.
Increased sensitivity to cold motivates you to seek out things like warm clothing and heat sources that reduce the costs of keeping body temperature up.
Changes in appetite and food preferences push you to eat (or not eat) in a way that supports the fight against infection.
Feelings of sadness, depression and general wretchedness provide an honest signal to your friends and family that you need help.…’

Via The Conversation

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Cancel Culture: Chaotic Good?

UnknownIn our post-truth world, language has become more overtly dangerous, and this can be both bad or good:

’[S]ometimes it seems as though the one thing more frightening than a lone gunman (and it isn’t a young person responding to your well-intentioned life advice with “ok boomer”) is a random bunch of people who have banded together in some common cause. When this common cause is being aggrieved against someone’s problematic behavior, and results in “calling out,” silencing or boycotting the problematic behavior, we now call this “cancelling” someone. And the tendency toward this kind of behavior is called “cancel culture.”

Is the destructive power of cancel culture too much?
Perhaps more than anything else, cancel culture will be seen as an intrinsic part of life lived publicly in this decade, with the downfall of powerful Hollywood producers, racist and sexist comedians, white supremacists, and clueless corporations left in its wake. Cancel culture, not unlike cyberbullying, has also had its more “innocent” victims, ordinary citizens who said the unacceptable thing in a public forum. Is the destructive power of cancel culture too much?…’

Via JSTOR Daily

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The Best News of the Year

Images…and the bad news about good news:

Jason Kottke points to year-end lists of the good news that you may have missed (since it’s a truism that “good news doesn’t sell newspapers”). But he cautions us not to be misled by focusing too much on good news. The so-called New Optimists, led by Steven Pinker, delight in pointing out the data that there is less human misery now, by many measures, than ever before in history. But Kottke reminds us that there are good reasons to be cautious of such claims. A long piece by Oliver Burkeman in The Guardian suggests that, even if things are going well, we may not have reason for confidence either in the likelihood of continued improvement or in the ways we have been doing things politically and economically. Kottke links to several other critiques of Pinker’s work as well. (And all without any apology for being such a Downer Debbie.)

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Hong Kong protests: How unrest criminalized a generation

‘(A)lmost everyone who has attended protests in recent months has been at an event deemed unlawful. Many may be guilty of rioting, due to the offense’s broad legal definition, or of violating a ban on facial coverings at public assemblies, which city leaders introduced by invoking rarely-used emergency powers.

The number of people potentially eligible for arrest could number in the hundreds of thousands.

Many of those already arrested …are in their twenties, or even younger. They have been the drivers of the protest movement but have also borne the brunt of the reaction and could be the ones ultimately paying the cost — an entire generation criminalized, in a fight for their future which could end up costing them just that….’

Via CNN