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In Indian culture, knowledge (viveka) is always accompanied with humility (vinaya).

Thus, counter-intuitively, saying 'I don't know' is an indicator of the speaker's knowledge, as he is aware of areas of his ignorance.

Contrast with an arrogant attitude of "I-know-everything-or-can-find-it-out" and the fuck-ups that inevitably follow.

Aside: I would really like to know what the solution to keeping the listings updated was. Or, is that a trade secret? ;)

edit: s/Aide/Aside

It's interesting that you brought that up. As a westerner, I admit I don't have a great understanding of eastern cultures outside of the few movies I've seen. One stereotype, which I'd like some real clarification on, is the Chinese or Japanese societal culture of "saving face", or honor code. Could you give some insight on that cultural facet and how it pertains to knowledge/humility? I remember after the Fukushima incident, there was some talk of the officials' honor preventing them from admitting things were as bad as they were, making the entire situation worse. Is this pervasive as I'm led to believe? Would this come up in interviews and professional careers? Does it hinder our advances in technology?

Just because someone is from India, it doesn't mean they know everything about (incredibly diverse) cultures from every other country on the same continent. It's like asking an American of the culture of Brazil.

Yes, "Hey you're from India, what's it like it Japan" is almost hilariously insensitive. (Actually just tragic).

It's along the same lines as:

[Hears X is from country Y] "Oh do you know bob?"

Where is it stated that nsomaru is from India? The insensitive/tragic note here is that you've assumed that because someone has knowledge of a region, then they are from that region.

S/is from x/knows about x culture.

whether he is indian or he only knows about Indian culture, it is a stretch to say "so you must know about Japan!"

> [Hears X is from country Y] "Oh do you know bob?"

Which is an entirely reasonable question, because if X from country Y is at the same party as you, then there's a good chance he might know your friend Bob. It's a small world, they say.

With smaller countries and specific industries this gets scary close to the truth: If I ever hear about another Finn from a person here in San Francisco, my first reaction is to ask the full name in case I know them - and in surprisingly many cases I do. World is a small place when you're part of a community.

A small world that really really wants to be connected via triangles, or at least that is what LinkedIn tells me.

Who said nsomaru is from India? All we know is that nsomaru has knowledge of cultures other than my own.

You've got an interesting perspective on "The East". My favorite comment on the subject:


In 1982, however, immigrant Indian and Pakistani businessmen, looking for low interest SBA loans and affirmative action in government contracting, talked the Reagan Administration into reclassifying them from white/Caucasian to Asian/Oriental, even though grouping Indians with Chinese rather than with Afghans makes little sense from the standpoint of physical, genetic, linguistic, or cultural anthropology.


What was it about India that made you think it made sense to ask about China and Japan?

I recommended you read a few wikipedia entries on the "saving face" mentality, it is good to know when faced with the situation.

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