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How To Get To Planet X: Their Can’t Ain’t Your Can’t

If you’re trying to get to point X, then the only people whose opinion matters…the only opinions that matter are those of people who’ve been there.

And if no one else has ever been there, then no one else’s opinion matters.

It doesn’t matter that they’ve been to point M and you’re still at point A. They’ve never been to point X. They can tell you how to get to point M. But they can’t tell you how you can’t get to point X: they are thoroughly and totally unqualified for that. That is not their juris-their-diction.

Be real.

  • Do you take financial advice from poor people?
  • Do you take weight loss advice from fat people?
  • Do you listen to that perpetually red-eyed, alcoholic uncle-in-law who tells you that one drink won’t kill you?

What? No? Wait, but…then why do you read and believe the poorly punctuated ramblings of Japanese-illiterate forum trolls telling you you can’t get used to Japanese [because they can’t]? Why take reading advice from functional illiterates? It doesn’t add up, son. They have nothing to teach you except how not to think and how not to live.

Their can’t isn’t your can’t.

  14 comments for “How To Get To Planet X: Their Can’t Ain’t Your Can’t

  1. Jon
    February 8, 2012 at 00:21

    I think you’re stretching the sentiment past the logical breaking point—following the argument, this means that if you’re trying to get to Pluto or Tau Ceti, NASA’s opinion doesn’t matter, which seems more than a little suspect.

    Now, I do think there is an argument about the difference between physical travel with well-understood natural laws and the ability to do things like calculate with fair precision how much energy/work it takes to get from where person X has been to where you’re trying to go and something like language learning where the theory is all off in the weeds and imprecise, but suddenly the nice, neat, catchy slogan is gone.

    • dc0cc
      February 8, 2012 at 06:51

      Well – I think his point is that, out of your available resources, you should listen to those that are furthest along on that path. In the case of Japanese, there are enough people that went from A to X that you don’t have to listen to M. Whereas with Pluto – nobody is at X, so your best bet is to listen to the guy at M and then figure it out from there.

    • Dangph
      February 8, 2012 at 08:35

      When I read “Planet X”, I imagined something like a Star Trek universe. Planet X is just some planet that is hard but not impossible to get to. It’s surrounded by weird space anomalies or something. 

    • ロジャー・スミス
      February 8, 2012 at 08:47

      I’m thinking Planet X might just be a metaphor.

  2. ahndoruuu
    February 8, 2012 at 02:35

    You could say NASA’s opinion doesn’t matter in that they’re not going to help you get there.  They’d tell you its impossible and to simmah dahn nah.

  3. February 8, 2012 at 05:07

    “Their can’t isn’t your can’t.” My can’t isn’t really my can’t either. It just got Inception-ed into my head via other people’s limiting beliefs. Identify the foreign thought, eliminate it, get back to L2 comics.

  4. ライトニング
    February 8, 2012 at 13:27

    Thanks a lot for the post, now I know exactly what to say to people who think my efforts are pointless 😀

  5. Ken
    February 11, 2012 at 03:10

    Somewhat related is the spiel some people vomit about how Japanese is a “useless” language and an utter waste of time to learn. They say you should learn Mandarin or Cantonese or Spanish or some random Middle Eastern language because they’re more “useful” and will earn you the big bucks in Corporate America.

    Because learning for the sake of learning — and not simply to earn more money — is something only a fool would do, am I right?

    Those people I auto-ignore with extreme prejudice. Interestingly, the people who tend to make this assheaded proclamation are usually monolingual and brazenly Anglo-centrist… Take that how you will. =/

  6. Mr Dax
    February 13, 2012 at 07:40

    I am only going to paste this quote:

    “The world is moving so fast these days that the man who says it can’t be done is generally interrupted by someone doing it.” –   —  Elbert Hubbard   

    • March 10, 2012 at 18:38

      If someone ever tells me that what I’m trying to do is impossible, I’ll just reply with:
      “Yeah, it’s impossible… for you.”

      • May 11, 2012 at 14:48

        Wow… I made a HUGE mistake in that comment. I didn’t mean to say “what I’m trying to do”.
        I meant to say: “what I’m doing“.
        “Do or do not; there is no try.” – Some green elf weirdo 😀

  7. February 20, 2012 at 06:52

    I agree 100%. I’m not studying Japanese exactly (I practice writing kanji for fun, but that’s about it), but I’m an accent reduction coach for foreign learners of English, and I have a lot of experience with teaching Japanese speakers to make a perfect American ‘r’. A couple of years back I ran across a newspaper article that said it’s impossible for Japanese speakers to ever learn to make a perfect American ‘r’. Probably the author had asked some English teacher who had never been able to teach it successfully herself. Glad nobody told me that before I started doing it — and I hope no Japanese English-learners ever get exposed to that nonsense and get discouraged. Sounds like there’s similar nonsense in the other direction concerning English-speakers learning Japanese. I like your attitude about it. 

    • February 28, 2012 at 06:37

      Ha, making a perfect American R is something anyone can do. It might take a few years for someone to master sounds perfectly depending on the time they devote to practicing and the coach they have, but it’s possible.

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