Semirandom Collection of Thoughts and Observations, Set 1

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Core of Trade

Someone else has some excess resources (animal skins, food, arrows, "money", "time to spend") and the task is to get it from them with acceptable losses to oneself. Some people rob, some steal, some manipulate the owner of the resources to give the resources away, some initiate an exchange by offering one's own services or goods in return.

Marketing: first look, who has "excess" of the desirable resources, usually "money", and then study, what might that particular person desire.

The more people, who have the excess resources, are around, the "bigger the market".

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In the west people are mostly evaluated, how they treat their children, but in Confucian countries it's the other way around, people are evaluated, how they treat their parents. In Confucian countries parents are not for helping their children to start an independent life, but children are lifelong servants of their parents. That was also the case with Chinese emperors.

Mandate of Heaven is a term that is applied to the emperor and it means that the king is legitimate only as long as he delivers, "does its job", regardless of brutality or the way it came to power. If people are in trouble, the king has not "done its job", then it is legitimate for civil servants to kill the king. To keep the power within a family, the family of the Chinese emperor tended to kill the emperor, if the emperor lost its Mandate of Heaven. To prevent being killed, the Chinese emperors preventively killed its families.

The Imperial Civil Service Exam was to avoid a situation, where civil servants were nominated according to family ties rather than by merits. Questions varied, but the topic, Confucian philosophy, stayed the same over 1000 years. The examination was conducted in rounds. Anybody could enter the first round. Grades were given by existing civil servants. Grades of the very last round were given by the Emperor himself. The names of the 3 best contestants of the last round were carved to stone and their house was marked with a special label that listed their name and grade and a text "Person blabla, who got blaba points in imperial civil service exam of year blabla lived here blabla." The exam was only about memorization and was meant to leave no room for interpretation based grading. Cheaters of that exam were allowed to keep their head, i.e. were not executed, but from social point of view they totally lost their face to the point that they had to move to another village.

If in the west there's the private sector and then there's the state and there's a confrontation between the 2, e.g. how much should the government intervene, etc. then in China the understanding is that the state is us and us means all under the sky, often translated to the west as "our country". As where the Chinese respect goes, first comes their family, then come other Chinese, then the people within the Confucian culture space and then, at the very last, come all the rest. For example, a Chinese emperor could not understand the "greeting from the British king", because the British king is of lower rank then an ordinary Chinese person. A joke says that this explains, why the Chinese are so rude towards others in the traffic.

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According to "a source" the following joke circulates within the upper and middle classes of mainland China:

"China should have a war with Japan, because then we get rid of Japan or we get rid of the Party."

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According to "a source" the Chinese government does not have to promote entrepreneurship, because one of the worst places to be is between 2 pounds and a middle-aged Chinese woman.

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As of 2014 Confucian countries are: China, South-Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam, Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong and Macao. The most Confucian country of them all is actually Singapore, despite their "malls and Ferraries".

Academically there are 3 classes of Confucianism:

Confucianism: the earliest form that does not cover Public Administration, but is based on the idea that if civil servants are virtuous, then Public Administration will be perfect regardless of the system.

Neo-Confucianism: all about Public Administration, the former official state religion of China.

New Confucianism: something that certain 2014 modern academics consider themselves to advocate.

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There is Hollywood, there is Bollywood and then there is the Hong Kong class of expensive movies. Monkey King is in China about the same as Kalevipoeg is in Estonia and Kalevala is in Finland. The Fu, Lu, Shou are Chinese saints, of whom at least 2 were civil servants.

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A situation from real life: GUI-s and other "user interfaces".

2 non-IT people are discussing, whether Ubuntu Linux is a suitable alternative to Windows. Person A claims that even, when the Ubuntu runs fast on its computer, the user interface is so unintuitive that his productivity is low and he can consider the Ubuntu Linux as "too slow". Person B asks: "But is your girlfriend fast?"

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A situation from real life: learning without understanding.

2 students, nice-looking "chicks", chat on campus. One of them tells to the other, her friend, that it would be so nice, if she had time to attend lectures, enjoy the social event of lectures, have time to think about the material and actually thoroughly understand the material that is presented, but due to time constraints she just has to skim through the material and passes the tests as an academic formality.

I (Martin Vahi) note in this blog that I have been able to get through that way myself, but I'm stubborn enough to get into details of one subject and take the failure in some other. It's just my psychological nature.

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This set of thoughts and observations will probably be edited in the future.

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