Cross-cultural Communication
10 February, 2011

It’s time to master Cross-Cultural Communications in this country! If you ask me, Cross-Cultural Communication needs to be made a core subject at every efficiently functioning university of Georgia because this is what our times are dictating persistently.
Historically, Georgia has never been standing apart (except the Soviet period of 1921-1991) from the rest of the world. Every possible species of invader has been here trying to teach us their ways and means, and the language of-course, but when it comes to correct and useful communications with other cultures, our people need to know more, much more. The globalized world means that the global society is gradually acquiring global sense of etiquette, but before this happens and starts functioning to a full extent, nations have to learn how to introduce their ethical culture to other peoples and vice versa, learn other peoples’ manners and models of behavior. Georgia may not be exclusion here! Economic success of any nation, which probably is the most important tool of human survival, has come to depend on how tight are the links of that nation with other countries. This is called an ‘interdependent world’, to use one of those commonest of terms. Hence, in that interdependent world Georgia needs to find its most fitting niche – snug and cozy and comfortable. And to do that, we have to reasonably and conveniently communicate with other cultures in order for us to simply make a living. And this will never be feasible unless we learn the technique of that reasonable communication. The theoretical knowledge is in place. What remains to be done is the acquisition of practical know-how. To compress the entire course of Cross-cultural Communication into one brief newspaper article would be impossible, but let’s at least present the gist of it right here and right now! Conventionally, cultures might be divided into Individual and Collective ones – this is at least what modern text-books are saying. Georgia seems to be stuck somewhere in the middle, but looks more like collective culture whereas the Western culture is absolutely individualistic. Further comment or the detailed explanation will take us very far away into the issue. This comment is just a faint signal on what we represent as a culture in general terms. There is another categorization that I would love to throw in – the High- Context and the Low-Context cultures.  Again, Georgia could be placed somewhere in-between them. The former comprises mostly the oriental nations and the latter will embrace purely- Western and Western-oriented countries. The world is almost completely globalized, but it remains amazingly motley, and Georgia is part of the palette, having its own unique shades and hues. Let’s take my today’s piece of mind as a hint for the arriving necessity to stay unique as we are, but at the same time to organically inscribe ourselves into the entire global gamut of colors. Otherwise, we will never make it towards our doubtless and complete recognition by the rest of the world, which is a definite prerequisite for our happy survival – both physical and spiritual.

Other Stories
Phrase-Mongering
I have always wondered if phrase-mongering was part of our national character and everyday life. A considerable number of good and nice people in this country are desperately carried away with verbiage. We love to talk without putting much meaning into the words and phrases we are using when communicating with each other at any age and on any level, including political. What matters most for us is to say something as if the main function of a word we utter is to serve as an emotional exhaust. We are saying something because we just want to say it. We just have a physical need to say what we are saying.
Which way to go?
Historical destinies of the Georgian people have it that we always stood at crossroads, looking around in fear and doubts about the painful geopolitical choices we had to make. A crossroad-mode of existence has persisted up until now, keeping us in abeyance interminably without a clearly-cut model of the nation’s future. The annals are pointing at only one historical period, called the “Golden Era” – in 11th and 12th centuries – when Georgia was a large powerful country, playing its significant regional and international role. At all other times, Georgia was torn apart between some great powers – holders of geopolitical reigns at this or that historical stage in the duration of more than two millennia.
Geopolitical Daydream
I am opening my eyes in one of these fine spring mornings and guess what – the TV set, in front of which I had fallen asleep the previous night, is still on, with my favorite anchor shoving the breaking news
Referendums... Plebiscites ...
Discontent prevails, dissatisfaction perseveres, displeasure persists, disgruntlement reigns and disapproval continues everywhere in the world. A sense of misery and desolation is more commonplace among humans than a feeling of bliss and delight – based on average global measurements. Not a single government of any country throughout history has ever performed to complete satisfaction of the governed. In this lovely world of direct, pure, representative, participatory, deliberative, mature, immature, partial, full, embryonic, developed or whatever sort of democracy, humans are more angered, annoyed and irritated at the performance of their elected, imposed or hereditary rulers than pleased, content and happily settled.
Russia vs. Humanity
Russia is today under huge stress if not in deep trouble. On a more generalized note, she has always been invariably worried and exasperated. This is Russia’s character, formed and tempered by her historical fate. Russia is used to a role of an unfair player in matters international. Otherwise, why has Russia been putting up with that much pressure and condemnation since she was shaped into statehood many centuries ago? How come that Russia has that much patience to listen to those unending disparaging comments in her address on the part of the rest of the world? Has Russia any serious reasons to reconcile herself with the massive unconcealed odium that is thrown on her big neurotic head from every direction?
Foreign Relations
Let us put it as trivially as we can – even a child in a nursery school today knows what Foreign Relations means. If we define it in a more or less quizzical way, Foreign Relations would connote the nations, rubbing up against each other in amicable or hostile circumstance, seeking as much benefit from one another as a particular situation would allow at the moment of interaction. Wow, what a perfectly comprehensive new definition, ready for entry into any reputable reference book on the subject.
Soviet Pattern Recurrence

When Putin said that the collapse of the USSR was the biggest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century, he had probably wished to let the world know that he was regretful about the inevitable soviet calamity that had come about so instantaneously. Who knows, the tsar in democratic clothing could have been right. Looking back into the last twenty-five years of history, the momentous change in the life of the populous human conglomerate, called the Soviet People was indeed a disaster, which swept away the halcyon years of peaceful existence for otherwise demoralized and despondent experimental nation.

Minorities
Fair and right treatment of minorities by the nations of the world is one of the most pronounced features of our times, and one of the outstanding achievements too. Achievement yes, but not every nation has achieved the status of a fair-and-right handler of minorities in their own countries. I wonder where Georgia stands in this respect. Does this nation have a right sense of what Minority means? Are we reasonable enough a people to co-exist with minorities in our land lovingly and peacefully? Or are we still shrugging our shoulders and goggling our eyes at those who do not look, behave and feel exactly as the majority does?
To go or not to go
There cannot be more fun in the world than having a chance to attend Olympic Games – the most fascinating pastime, invented by man ever. Not everybody is lucky enough to have the pleasure of course. Some of us get an occasional chance though, like myself – I have had my felicitous Olympic moments a couple of times in the past. There is no way to disallow the opportunity of feeling part of the global Olympic family. The temptation is so big that you just pack up and take off to where the games are on, even if you are laid up with a tough case of pneumonia or bleeding ulcers in the stomach.
HOMILY
I love reading into the sermons of His Holiness . . . and not only reading – I usually listen in considerately and digest them meticulously. The sermons of his Beatitude are like a high-morality text-book reading matter, the modern Bible of itself, written and voiced with caring deliberation for the people of Georgia of various confessions and denominations. Speaking of those superb homilies, I cannot help mentioning that my breath was taken by the last Sunday sermon, delivered with strong sense of truth and civil determination. This excerpt – We love being liberated, we lack restraint, and we entertain excess in enjoyment, delight and grief – has impressed me to death.
Telling Right from Wrong
Even a child would know that life is full of right and wrong, but a child might not be aware that the balance between the two might determine how comfortable our life is. If right prevails, our life feels good, and if wrong preponderates, the life feels bad. Very plainly put, isn’t it? But sounds uncannily logical! I wonder what is more abundant in Georgia – right or wrong. As if I don’t know! And are we good enough to tell right from wrong when the difference is asking to be revealed? My bones and brains, and the guilty conscience are telling me that wrong is showing more viability and resilience here.
Making a Difference
Making a difference is a very difficult thing to achieve. Not everybody can make a difference. Only a chosen few can make a difference.
Celebrating Twice
I know what faith means, and I respect people’s sense of preference for religious belonging. I do not go to church, but that does not mean that I am an atheist. I was brought up as a nonbeliever but I would sooner say that there is God than not, although I am more inclined to respond undecidedly to the question about God’s existence, which probably makes me an agnostic rather than a convinced believer. Whatever I make out of my wretched self, I treat with an unambiguous respect any faith, any cult, any religion that man wanted to perpetuate in thousands of years that our civilization is counting. I was born into a communist’s family.
Resolutions 2014
The Christmas Day is much, much bigger in America than the first day of New Year. Christmas is everything with its sales, presents, feasts and family reunions – not as much in its religious content though any more. Sorry, but the Christmas and New Year commercialism has overpowered anything that is called faith. New Year in the States is something pointedly trivial, meaning nothing more than a start of the arriving New Year. People would even go to work in America if the 1st of January falls on a weekday. The only thing that makes a New Year meaningful in the United States is the New Year’s Resolutions.
Going Physical
Some might think that it should be a terribly big deal whether the politicians in Georgia box or wrestle publicly inside the premises of the legislative body, but I wish I were a professional psychoanalyst to better explain the fistfights, occurring from time to time in the Georgian parliament. It is so funny that these guys want to lick each other instead of sparring, making use of their smarts, if there are any, instead of their physical mass.
Restoration of Justice
This is today the most frequently used term in the Georgian media, in our political circles and on grass-roots level all over the country. Restoration of justice! I need to recognize that the term is absolutely overwhelming and multi-meaningful. Saying that justice needs to be restored means that we are voluntarily admitting that justice was not administered, in its own time, in the most appropriate way, and we are all part of that faulty social process.
Initialing the Future
The prevailing political sentiment in this Nation is that we are Europeans more than anything else – looks, manners, tastes, thoughts, aspirations . . . But certain patterns of our culture and social behavior would still make a looker-on think that part of us is Asian, which does not mean at all that Georgia should give up on dreaming of fulltime economic and political integration in the European Union, which is Georgia’s final address and ultimate destination. EU is our future! And that future has already been initialed in black-and-white, officially, right in front of the entire world, including the teeth-grinding Russians. Oops! I am sorry Russia! Congrats Georgia! Shame on you, Ukraine! What’s wrong with you, man? Why are you scared that much?
Who are we after all?
I mean, who are we Georgians, in principle? What sort of phenomenon are we? I know that we are a people, a nation, a country. . . that much I know, of course. What gives me a feeling of discomfort and puts me at a loss is the ceaselessly nagging question of what kind of people, nation and country we are.
It is well known and widely recognized that we usually impress others with our national character, which they say resembles ‘Mediterranean,’ if this kind of classification could be considered philosophically justifiable at all.
Fifth Inauguration
Four presidents and five inaugurations! Not much, ha! And still, the history is made, the history of democratically organized Georgia - young, trying and scrambling. Presidential inaugurations are important... to a certain extent, and they are only done to formalize the results of elections thereby. Inaugurations should not be allowed to shatter the life in the country and to paralyze traffic in the capital city; they should be compatible with the country’s size and international weight and power; they cannot be overly expensive, bothering and extravagant; and they have to make certain constructive political sense. I think we have every reason to say that the fifth presidential inauguration in Georgia was compatible with all those parameters and demands.
Presidential Palace
It was built as a presidential palace of Georgia. And money was spent on it – the taxpayers’ money. A lot of money! What happened after is very much in the Georgian political tradition – eradicating both good and bad that are connecting us with previous governments! I would definitely get rid of anything that is in our people’s way to be better off, but I would not bother to reject the things that might still be helpful even if those things are inherited from erstwhile authorities. The palace that was built in Tbilisi as a presidential office and residence looks gorgeous and I thought it could serve our state as the White House has proudly been serving the people and the government of the United States of America in a very long time.
First lady
The ardent and extended talk in media, and beyond, about First Lady and her role in our society is clearly symptomatic. It is an indication that Georgia has matured as a working democracy and it is firmly on its way of westernizing itself for real.
Are two heads really better?
Georgia now has a new President which is good. Or is it? Our democratically organized state has followed a couple of existing western examples to build its democratic statehood. We have not based it on only European or only on American political paradigms. Our constitution has borrowed bits from here and bits from there, and finally we received something good enough for our modern national state to proceed with its development successfully, but I don’t think the model is optimal and rational enough for turning Georgia into a functioning strong democracy.
Leaders, leaders, leaders...
I have said this many times, and I am saying it again... Georgia is a classic example of a country whose most valuable production is a leader as such. It is the most popular commodity we have ever created industrially. We produce leaders. That’s what we do! We are the most prolific nursery of leaders in the entire human world. All of us are leaders – the entire nation!
New ways, New means...
Georgia is a republic – socialist, presidential or parliamentary – whatever! Georgia is a democracy – unreal, partial or transitional – who cares! Georgia is a state – ancient, modern or futuristic – why to bother? Georgia is a territory – whole, split or undefined – when to get a clue? Georgia is a terra firma – steady, tremulous or shaky – where to get the idea?
Back to Command Economy
A couple of days ago I was asked to make a translation of the Law on Agricultural Cooperatives from Georgian into English, which was meant to be sent out to the International Cooperative Alliance for comments thereof. I am chronically short of time but I agreed to do the job because I am interested in matters concerning the global cooperative movement in general and a chance for this movement to be developed here in Georgia, in particular.
GJ Editor's comment
10 April, 2014
I have always wondered if phrase-mongering was part of our national character and everyday life. A considerable number of good and nice people in this country are desperately carried away with verbiage. We love to talk without putting much meaning into the words and phrases we are using when communicating with each other at any age and on any level, including political. What matters most for us is to say something as if the main function of a word we utter is to serve as an emotional exhaust. We are saying something because we just want to say it. We just have a physical need to say what we are saying.
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