The 'Dear Landlord' Convention
Some minor housekeeping
Please dive into these two shortish translations, touching on value rationality mentioned last time. They are by
economist Xu Chenggang 许成钢 on values in scientific research. The article is very recent, reflecting high-priority innovation policy.
philosopher Liu Yongmou 刘永某, who also writes frequently on tech innovation policy, plucking the same strings but in more literary mode; the article is currently (23 Oct 21) top-rated on Aisixiang.
Both of these come from Aisixiang [‘Love thought’], a highbrow aggregator that provides popularity ratings of the op-eds, articles and essays it publishes. Some eager grad student really should turn in a doctoral dissertation on it (apologies if this has already happened).
Your numbers have kept growing, inshallah! Meaning my skills need an upgrade. For instance, I’ve neglected to add ‘comment’ buttons. Some comments have been delivered by email, but I’m keen to capture those flash impressions.
As we’ve all learned, flash impressions punched in to a keyboard lead to all manner of rushes of blood to the head: I would be remiss not to offer some guidelines. My ‘Dear Landlord’ Convention will hopefully serve the purpose. If you don’t know the Bob Dylan song (from John Wesley Harding, 50 years ago), there’s an official version here. The important lines for the Convention are these:
If you don’t underestimate me, I won’t underestimate you.
Proceeding down this road, I hope to underestimate none and be underestimated by none.
I happen to have had an academic training, but I pledge never to underestimate those who have not. If the truth be told (that damnable ‘disposition not to mislead’), as a student I sometimes disappointed my teachers, failing to diligently absorb all that I could. Yet I claim to have made use of everything I did manage to digest. It’s a grand claim, and I wish it for everyone.
As the following photo of students at the Beijing Language Institute, 1975, shows, I lived and studied in Beijing in the late Cultural Revolution.
Back row centre is me. The jewfro and the mo are long gone. The others have all had amazing careers/lives. The girl to my right, bottom row, has been my partner for …the entire reform era. And that’s half of my subtitle, ‘where it all started’. For the other half, keep reading…