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Recognise and Appreciate

Interesting quirk of language:

  • I recognise your interest in X
  • I appreciate your interest in X
  • I recognise and appreciate your interest in X

In the way I use language, the first two might mean exactly the same thing; an acknoweledgement and acceptance of the interest. The word appreciate has this as one of its meanings. However, the third sentence by using both words disambiguates "appreciate" to its "approval" meaning (rather than being a redundant phrasing of the shared meaning).

Kind of unsavoury reason this popped into my head this morning:Last night as I was getting ready to go to sleep, some guests of my upstairs neighbours came down to the front porch; one of them was talking about some woman he met whom he wanted to have sex with, speculating about getting her drunk enough, etc. Irritating on many levels! I was imagining how, were the woman he was lusting after someone I knew, I might get him to leave her alone.

  • I appreciate your sex drive, but lay off $hername
  • I recognise your sex drive, but lay off $hername
  • I recognise and appreciate your sex drive, but lay off $hername

The third is weird. Unless I'm sexually interested in someone or their having children/fun sexual experiences/whatever is otherwise important to me, I don't care about his/her sex drive, and it is weird/intrusive for me to express a preference on the topic (it might also touch on the homophobia pushed into males in our society (even me, despite being sex-positive and kinda-bisexual) to broach the topic).

I love the word 「recognise」, or at least one of its senses, and I think I'll take another shot at defining it. To recognise an interest, a treaty, a country, or some other (usually semi-abstract) thing is to accept its existence and to give its perogatives whatever respect is normally due. To not recognise is likewise to do the opposite. Some cultures don't recognise marriages done outside their restrictions, some religions don't recognise divorce, some groups don't recognise the existence of certain states. Sometimes what the law recognises and what cultures recognise don't line up (someone might be a dual-citizen by one legal system and not by another).

I also love what the word implies/requires; the idea that there are many perspectives in the world, that they all have their own frameworks of interpretation/thought, and that these are incompatible. To navigate this, people often must keep multiple versions of certain ideas in their head. This inner pluralism helps to make outer pluralism workable; by having inner diversity, we better understand the differences between us and our neighbours. Instead of having a single set of terms, we have preferred terms for the frameworks we most like.

In other news entirely, my initial short(ish)-term lease in Philadelphia starts next week, so I'll have two addresses for awhile. If only I had a Portal device.


another reason I like this particular definition of 'recognise' is to imagine it having the other definition when used properly such as here. imagine uganda putting its hand to its brow and squinting all "what's that off in the distance? it looks like some sort of marriage issue..."