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The Myth of Invincible (Asian) Languages

This entry is part 7 of 18 in the series The Art of War of Learning

Invincible opponents only exist in our nightmares. They are the stuff of imagination. No real opponent is invincible. And so that means that for any opponent to defeat you, not only must they do significant things right, but you must also do significant things wrong. Both these things have to maintain.

No nation ever fell purely due to external causes. There was always something inside, some set of flaws. This is liberating — you are free from fear, free from any sense of inferiority. But also sobering — you’re on the hook to win. Freedom comes at the price of responsibility, I guess.

No human language is closed off to you because it’s just too much for your mind and muscles. Will it take time? Hail yeah. But that’s true for all learners; everybody sings for their supper; everybody pays the toll to enter and remain in Languageland. Besides, time’s going to pass anyway. So the real question becomes how you want to orient yourself, how you orient your sails to catch the gusty winds of time as you traverse the ocean of existence. Or something like that.

You can’t control the opponent’s thoughts or actions, but you can control essentially all of your own. Don’t be perfect, just screw up less on the things that matter.

The “opponent” may be a person, project or task. Even an idea. It can be quite metaphorical. The lesson remains the same; concrete ideas scale into the abstract and vice versa — that’s part of what’s so cool about being a human in this universe.

Every language has “weak points”: words and phrases that are easy for you to memorize. These are what you “attack”. You win there and use your newly acquired “weapons” to attack even juicier targets; you always aim for ones that are weak, but because you’re growing stronger, your definition of “weak” also evolves. And it all works to your advantage, like a snowball, like how those dastardly Communists took over mainland China. Communism sucks, but they did win. Winners win for reasons and it behooves us to learn and imitate them.

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