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Andrius Kulikauskas

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Culture • Cognition • Communication (Inter)cultural perspectives on language and the mind (ICPLM 2017), September 14-15, Lublin, Poland

How Do Things Come to Matter?

Evolution of Self-Identity in the Intercultural Debate on Whether to Restore Vilnius's Oldest Jewish Cemetery.

Key words: Argumentation, self-identity, origins of language, pattern language, Litvak heritage

In Vilnius, Lithuania, a controversy unfolds over whether to convert a Soviet Sports Palace into a European Convention Center, or whether to restore the Jewish cemetery which the Soviets desecrated there. We take the opportunity to analyze the origins of related self-definitions, decisions, positions and questions which matter for various self-identities: the Soviet government, Soviet Lithuanian architects, real estate developers, post-Soviet Lithuanians, anti-Soviet Lithuanians, post-anti-Soviet Lithuanians, the Lithuanian government, the Lithuanian Jewish community's official leaders, orthodox Lithuanian Jews and local residents.

We illustrate how self-identity gets extended with 12 different contexts:

  • states of being, doing or learning;
  • perspectives of a person, of "people", and of beyond this world;
  • accepting a world, entering a world, or listening outside one's world;
  • rejecting a context, acknowledging it conditionally, and allowing for parallel contexts.

We describe some of the "equations" by which these contexts are further composed. We look for parallels with universal constructs in natural language and explore how these constructs (such as the distinction between nouns, verbs and modifiers) might arise from a grammar of self-identity which defines why and how we identify with issues, why and how they matter to us or not.

We note especially that peace is the healthy reference point for Why we should act? We can then study our emotions as deviations from peace which clarify for us the boundary between our self and our world, and also reveal whether we are expecting what we truly wish. Architect Christopher Alexander calls this peace "the quality without a name". His pattern languages foster it, and his 15 properties of life enhance it. We show that 3 of these properties (strong centers, strong boundaries, levels of scale) are manifested by the other 12, which match with our 12 contexts which extend self-identity. Adding contexts tell us How do we behave? but removing them tells us Why do we behave? We can care even when we can't take action, and thus the behavioral question, How do we behave? is incomplete without the additional moral question, How should we behave?

20170914CultureCognitionCommunication


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Puslapis paskutinį kartą pakeistas 2017 gegužės 04 d., 23:55
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