Therefore I

That Bakushō Mondai boke ŌTA Hikari should call NEETs who blame their NEEThood on social trends "spoiled brats" (amattare) is not surprising or even news, really -- although it is Itai News, for obvious reasons. What I want to write about is the theme of the debate: Ware hataraku yue ni sachi ari? (我働く、ゆえに幸あり?).

An idiomatic translation of this would be "I work, therefore I am happy?" -- it's a slightly awkward variant of one of the oldest and most international snowclones in existence.

The standard Japanese translation of Descarte's Cogito, ergo sum (or Je pense, donc je suis) is Ware omou, yue ni ware ari. Note the pseudo-kanbun tone, for authority, like . Note also that omou isn't necessarily the best verb to use -- internet people and respected philosophers alike have mounted cases for kangaeru instead. The objection is that omou is really closer to "feel" (subject = perceiver), while kangaeru is more like "cogitate" (subject = effector/agent).

But that's just too bad. Omou it is and omou it shall ever be.

One more observation: because the original Japanese phrase is "... ware ari" ("I exist"), you can substitute in "... sachi ari" ("happiness exists" → "I am happy") without defusing the power of the final verb the way the "I am" → "I am X" change does in English.

Popularity factor: 3


Ah, now that commenting is fixed, I can ask: So, what is that diagram? I could not quite read it at this resolution, presuming, of course, that it is self-explanatory.


It really isn't, I'm afraid. It's Yang Hui's triangle, known to us Eurofolk as Pascal's triangle. I can't even remember why I threw it in there. Because both Pascal and Descartes were French? I really need an image editor.


a little late to the party, but today I ran across the Chinese for "Cogito, ergo sum" and thought I would share it:


Comment season is closed.