Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Origin of my Fondness for Chornological Order??

Towards the end of my college life, I took a course in Multicultural Communication, and there I learned the different systems of thinking and presentation.  In the Western world, according to one textbook, the most respected approach was conclusion/s first, then details/examples.  In Japan, details/anecdotes/chronology, were followed by conclusion, often approved beforehand by general consensus. Most interesting was the Arab way, which was similar to a vortex of reasons and arguments at the bottom of which was the big conclusion. I know it's oversimplifying, but I found this fascinating. 

As far as my experiences go, the author was right about Japan, and this is why I ran into so much trouble while I worked in there; older men called me "Miss No Smalltalk" because I hated wasting time at work and went straight to the point.  In my old age, though, I'm so mindful of how I operate I don't know when to stop the smalltalk sometimes.

Most helpful was when I worked at the Syrian Embassy in Tokyo as a translator.  (English/French/Japanese - they didn't want me learning Arab.) When the diplomats tried to explain something, the background information was presented in a spiral fashion; this was more noticeable with the older men. When things got repetitive, I'd picture a 60's psychedelic black and white spiral and it actually helped me remember his main points. And in that light, our ambassador was a very good orator.  And, no, my French was never that good, but the wee bit I had came in handy.

I also think it's the processes of weaving that makes me think chronologically, because I didn't automatically fall into this world view pre-weaving. It's not a problem, as systems go, but I need to train to think more concisely.

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