One Language, Many Worlds

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic
One language that we speak, no matter any cultural differences, opens the gates to the beautiful and inspiring worlds of other people's selves.

Submitted: April 29, 2014

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Submitted: April 29, 2014

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Elena Brili?t?

 

This essay has been written for the United Nations Students essay writing competition "Many Languages, One World"

One Language, Many Worlds

I must admit, I’m not too intelligent. I mean, I don’t read “The Economist” or “European Voice” to raise my IQ coefficient. Perhaps the most intellectual magazine which I buy is “National Geoprahic”. I enojy articles about Phascolarctos cinereus living safely in their trees.

That’s why I felt rather shocked (?..) when my English teacher selected me to participate in a public speech competition for high school students. The topic was globalization. Oh, memories! How well I remember standing lonely in the preparation room, waiting for my turn to star on the stage. There were plenty of other students around, wearing flash black suits and shouting to each other “interiorization” or “associationism”. I started to feel so small and worthless, having no idea of how to say even “hi there” in the scientific language…

When I finally stepped on the stage in front of hundreds of captious eyes, my arms and legs were totally shaking. I didn’t know what to say, the head was empty, the heart full of panic. My notes slipped from the hands and at that very moment I anticipated I would be the biggest fail of my life.

Suddenly I heard some music. Not only me – all the people in the hall turned their necks to the left willing to find out what dumb person forgot to turn his cell phone off. They were ready to resent, but me… not. I recognized the tune and suddenly it made all the fear vanish. I knew the lyrics. I started to rap, too.

It’s the coolest of the coolest…

The audience stared at me and I couldn’t blame them. However, the song was good! One by one they joined me.

It's the coolest of the coolest

We were clapping our hands where necessary, shaking heads and moving rhythmically. Party time! The cell phone’s owner didn’t think about turning it off any more. After the song had ended, I said several inspirational sentences about necessity of being extra cool in today’s globalized society and left. Flowers and candies were flying behind me and the audience screamed begging me to stay.

That’s how I won my first public speech competition. The prize is still lying on the shelf, but… taking a look at it only gives me a silent question: “Was I right?”.

“Right for what?” you may ask. “Don’t you see that everybody is supposed to sing this song? And not only supposed, one is actually welcome to sing? Why should you feel shameful about it?”

For that reason, I must quote the essential lines right here:

It's the coolest of the coolest
It's the smoothest of the smoothest
It's the crudest and the rudest of the stupid kids

<…>

I'm the leader of the leaders on the leader boards
We be winning when I'm spitting I don't need the score
I just eat you like a cheetah and it's getting boring

Sounds like this popular hit of American star Jaden Smith sends ripples throughout the world. Oh man, here is your voice again: “Are you sure? How could people barely speaking English understand such quite an ambiguous lyrics? Cool? You mean, winter time?..” But me, I only tap on your shoulder and answer with a sly smile: “So that is the trick, my dear.”

I’ve noticed, you spend hours learning French, not to mention your daily German grammar drills. It’s natural that we believe foreign languages are vitally necessary in the world. I mean, in this world which can approach in a single click of a keyboard button; no matter if it is a Skype conversation or a flight reservation (got a rhyme!). But do you also believe that being able to speak several more of them would win you it? “The limits of my language are the limits of my world,” xxx said. What language did he mean? What language or how many of them could expand our horizons to the desirable width?

Go on, try it! Why don’t you take a trip all over the world? Why don’t you meet every single person of those 7 billions? You’ll see that your foreign language alone is very useful when you read a booklet about a local temple. However, haven’t you told me that your dream is so much more than being a stranger, a tourist who comes and disappears without a sign?

I think, if you really want to expand your horizons, you should admit that the foreign languages themselves are only the tools. Like any other tool they can be used in many different ways and seems that we all choose the rules of usage in the light of globalization.

What language do you speak? What language has globalization forced you to learn? Hey, you’d better not hurry to answer. Take your time and think of what that very globalization is for you.

Is it a cardinal change of your life? I mean, not only like in Lithuania where “The little cow’s milk” turned into “Euromilk” and formal “Cafeteria” into “New York Chiller”. Has it filled your streets with foreigners and made you addicted to your social network even though you never intended to admit that?

Maybe it is a threat for your cultural and historical heritage? Here, in Lithuania there are public players, who believe fighting against anything foreign is the mission of their life. That might be necessary for a nation compiled of three million people. But even if your country is much bigger, do you think it is possible to hide from what is inexorably happening around us?

Me, I would say, globalization is quite a challenge. What else could I think, when I see hundreds of my peers being forced to choose between carrier and family, empathy and marble indifference, being a winner or a loser?

Loser. This is what this world despites the most. I tend to believe, this is the reason why globalization causes a secret fear. You may not speak about it, but you can’t help noticing its manifestations. My examples are from my own environment: articles about super luxurious trips in popular magazines; interviews on the news where a buddy with no high education tells about cosmic projects that he is up to; a candidate to the presidential elections so full of pride, but so short of honesty…

You’d say, you don’t know anything of these? Well, what about those Facebook photos from every single party? Haven’t they been published in order to finally and undeniably prove that you really, indisputably, definitely are better than the rests?

Seems that the global citizenship gives us a feeling of being somebody too small and insignificant. A dust among billions of others, who am I?.. This feeling is pretty similar to the sense of the famous Ein Kleiner Mensch. A little man, there is nothing what you could change and if you can, it is only an illusion.

However, contrary to the XX age, today’s world suggests a cure. Yes! It is the Mister Super, Mister I-Can-Do-Everything-I-Want. This person doesn’t know what it means to lose, to humble, to give up… No, he must either be a superstar or not exist at all.

In their first years at university psychology students learn what it is called “compensation”. If a person is in lack of something – self-esteem, inner balance, self-confidence – he must replace it with something else. Isn’t it like the Cool Person becomes the cure for the global Ein Kleiner Mensch? I think, this phenomenon of today is a perfect example of the globalized uncompensation.

So you see now? No need to translate Jaden Smith’s song – every person in the world can understand what “cool” means, because being “cool” is a highly promoted drug for us. You feel troubled? Your self-defense mechanism immediately orders: “Stay cool, man. Let’s show them who I really am.” As we are talking about foreign languages, here is a very confident person facing the strangers. You (let it be you this time) start talking in a sophisticated foreign language while being cool, but oh! They smile at you for a moment and the other one turn their backs. What an inexcusable impoliteness!

You think, they have never experienced coolness? Something what you touch and pull your hand back because it is too cold?  

I remember an article about a Lithuanian person who saved a foreigner drowning in the see. The foreigner spoke neither English, nor Russian nor Lithuanian which are most commonly understandable here. But what a surprise! That Lithuanian didn’t stop to use Google Translator to check what the foreigner was screaming. He just dropped off his clothes and jumped into the water. What could that mean? Is there any other language which doesn’t need the common words?

Exactly.

By the way, I must say that the cooler one is, the less understandable this language becomes.

It is easy to sing “It’s the coolest of the coolest”, especially if you perfectly match the global ideal of the person. And this is exactly what you are – frozen. Who might like to talk to you? Who would risk showing you his inner world? Who would waste his heart on you to get it cold?

“The limits of my language are the limits of my world,” xxx said. What language did he mean? I don’t know, because French and English are the tools to communicate. Me, I want to improve myself in the deeper language. This one is limitless. Not a single world it wins to me, but hundreds of them, mysterious, unknown and unique. Stunning worlds of each person’s self.

They could welcome you with their arms open and always find some place for you in their hearts. However, this is not what the coolness, but the warmth does. You won’t believe, but that even doesn’t require special Spanish or Italian skills. You are speaking their – our – language already.

Okay, it is a great challenge. Bigger than to choose between loser’s and winner’s paths. This challenge requires leaving them both. For this one you need to rise above the humdrum walls of the skyscrapers and breathe in a little bit of sun. Only then, after having grown up conscious and strong enough, you can land and say: “It’s the warmest of the warmest.”

Yes, it is a challenge. But haven’t we agreed that globalization is a serious challenge?  

It requires taking your eyes from the mirror where you have been admiring yourself and starting to treat other people with the same look of marvelling. Yes, even if they are (and, honestly, majority of them will be) poorer, less educated, more nerve-racking than you…

I think, a perfect example of the speaker of this language was Mother Teresa. Neither the race, nor the social status were the boundaries for her to see the beauty of human world. I think, Lithuanians who generally tend to be quite intolerant to other attitudes could learn a lot form her.

“What a naïve girl!” I hear you saying with a clement smile. “You think, your reasoning could change the world?”

And why do you think I am here to change the world? Isn’t it an idea from the “How to be cool” book? The first world I have to change is the inner one of my own. 

That’s why tomorrow I will step up on the stage in Annual students public speech competition and instead of greeting I will start to play some music. Something like:

It's the warmest of the warmest
It's the simplest of the simplest
Not the braggest but the kindest, love the smile he gives.

Yup. I have told you already I’m not too intelligent. I mean, I don’t read “The Economist” or “European Voice” to raise my IQ coefficient. What is more, there is only one language that I speak.

Humanity.

 


© Copyright 2020 Elena LT. All rights reserved.

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