Results 1 to 8 of 8
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Chinese
      • Home Country:
      • China
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Dec 2006
    • Posts: 431
    #1

    ironies, tragic temptations and temper

    "A nation informed by a vivid understanding of the ironies of history is, I believe, best equipped to manage the tragic temptations of military power. Let us not bully our way through life, but let a growing sensitivity to history temper and civilize our use of power."



    Three issues:


    1. ironies of history: When plural form is used, does this imply actual instances of irony rather than the general concept of irony of history?
    2. Tragic temptations of military power: what is tragic? The result of the use of military power or the temptation itself is tragic?
    3. "Temper and civilize": I would say "temper" here means making moderate, so it goes side by side with "civilize". Is there a significant difference between the two that requires a separate treatment in saying this in another language or it is more as a stylistic variation? Thanks.


    • Join Date: Oct 2006
    • Posts: 19,434
    #2

    Re: ironies, tragic temptations and temper

    Quote Originally Posted by ian2 View Post
    "A nation informed by a vivid understanding of the ironies of history is, I believe, best equipped to manage the tragic temptations of military power. Let us not bully our way through life, but let a growing sensitivity to history temper and civilize our use of power."



    Three issues:


    1. ironies of history: When plural form is used, does this imply actual instances of irony rather than the general concept of irony of history? Not necessarily - there are many ironies within history generally.
    2. Tragic temptations of military power: what is tragic? The result of the use of military power or the temptation itself is tragic? It's a subtle one - I think it is that both the temptations of military power AND their effects are tragic.
    3. "Temper and civilize": I would say "temper" here means making moderate, so it goes side by side with "civilize". Is there a significant difference between the two that requires a separate treatment in saying this in another language or it is more as a stylistic variation? "Temper" here = serve as a neutralizing or counterbalancing force to something; "civilize" =bring to an advanced stage of social development. I think they are separate concepts and will need translating as such.

    Thanks.
    .

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Chinese
      • Home Country:
      • China
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Dec 2006
    • Posts: 431
    #3

    Re: ironies, tragic temptations and temper

    Quote Originally Posted by Anglika View Post
    .
    Thanks. The reason I intend to lump temper and civilize together is that both are making efforts in the same general direction, that is, trying not to use or use less power. To temper the use of power seems to mean soften the use of power and to civilize seems to mean "raise from a barbaric to a civilized state", which to me is sort of softening the use of power. So I lump them together. Honestly I still don't have a clear picture of "civilize the use of power" . How can you civilize something that is barbaric in the first place? Could you throw some light on this?

    Alway read your comments with gratitude.

    Ian


    • Join Date: Oct 2006
    • Posts: 19,434
    #4

    Re: ironies, tragic temptations and temper

    It's interesting. It is a fairly strong condemnation of the [unspecified country's] use of power, implying that it is fundamentally barbaric. The author sees a necessity for a good understanding of history and what has happened before with misused power, and regards this awareness as something that can alter and in end soften the use of power.

    It is barbaric society that can be civilized = civilising means to educate a society so that its culture becomes more developed. Barbaric societies are usually pretty undeveloped socially and economically.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Chinese
      • Home Country:
      • China
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Dec 2006
    • Posts: 431
    #5

    Re: ironies, tragic temptations and temper

    Quote Originally Posted by Anglika View Post
    It's interesting. It is a fairly strong condemnation of the [unspecified country's] use of power, implying that it is fundamentally barbaric. The author sees a necessity for a good understanding of history and what has happened before with misused power, and regards this awareness as something that can alter and in end soften the use of power.

    It is barbaric society that can be civilized = civilising means to educate a society so that its culture becomes more developed. Barbaric societies are usually pretty undeveloped socially and economically.
    It's written by an American historian condemning the US.
    But again a language question, apparently the verb "civilize" is used to modify the use of power, not the society. In other words, the use of power is civilized. In what way did you link the verb civilize with society when it is apparently used to modify the use of power? That is the hard part for me to handle in translation, as I would be seen as moving away too much from the original if my interpretation involves development of society. Your insight.


    • Join Date: Oct 2006
    • Posts: 19,434
    #6

    Re: ironies, tragic temptations and temper

    The author would seem to be saying that American use of power can be seen as aggressive and obtrusive, which can be equated with "barbaric". By learning the lessons of history, this [pushy American use of power] can be both tempered and civilized - made less aggressive and more in tune with the interests of the other party.

    I think you have a digression with the link between "civilize" and "society" - the reference in the text is clearly to changing the use of power in the international scene.

    I

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Chinese
      • Home Country:
      • China
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Dec 2006
    • Posts: 431
    #7

    Re: ironies, tragic temptations and temper

    Thanks again. Anglika.

  1. beascarpetta's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Great Britain
      • Current Location:
      • Austria

    • Join Date: Oct 2007
    • Posts: 2,331
    #8

    Re: ironies, tragic temptations and temper

    One would also have to take into consideration that this bit of text is heavy with rhethoric such as alliterations,anaphoras,etc
    the guy seems to know his Cicero

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •