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moral dimension

English translation: question of right or wrong

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GLOSSARY ENTRY (DERIVED FROM QUESTION BELOW)
English term or phrase:moral dimension
English translation:question of right or wrong
Entered by: Zhoudan
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07:37 Dec 27, 2003
English to English translations [PRO]
Art/Literary
English term or phrase: moral dimension
Never bore my nose so rubbed in the quotidian. The flow of events in the outside of world, the moral dimension of my plight if that is what it is, a plight, even the prospect of defending myself in court, have lost all interest under the pressure of appetite and physical functions and the bordom of living one hour after another.

This is from Coetzee's Waiting for the Barbarians. I do not understand what the author refers to by "the moral dimension of my plight".
Zhoudan
Local time: 10:33
question of right or wrong
Explanation:
He is totally focussed/wrapped up in the 'now', the real situation of being in prison (I am guessing), and dealing with that. His mind is focussed on the simple acts of eating, sleeping and the other physical activities that he has to go through to stay sane and deal with the monotony and boredom of prison life.
Totally insular.
What is happening in the outside world, the events that led to his incarceration, whether his actions were right or wrong have faded into insignificance with the effort of dealing with his day to day, minute by minute existence.
Selected response from:

jerrie
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:33
Grading comment
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

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Summary of answers provided
5 +4the moral aspect of my situation
airmailrpl
5 +2...ethical proportion of my disastrous condition...xxxAlex Zelkind
3 +3the rights and wrongs of this difficult situation
chica nueva
5moral plane, moral part
Yuri Smirnov
4a basis for judgment
R. A. Stegemann
4questions of right or wrong action, right or wrong belief, reason to feel shame ...Dorene Cornwell
5 -1The dilemma to choose between the comfort of the temporal world and the eternal principles.
hira
3 +1question of right or wrong
jerrie
3moral nature
Tony M
3moral considerationScience451


Discussion entries: 1





  

Answers


5 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): +4
the moral aspect of my situation


Explanation:
the moral dimension of my plight

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Note added at 14 mins (2003-12-27 07:52:04 GMT)
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Friday\'s Inspiration 8/23/2002 - Decisions, Decisions!
... to the moral dimension of a situation may mean ... be so technically overwhelming that a moral aspect may not ... Often, my decision may cause these ripples cross into ...
www.angelfire.com/journal/fridaysinspiration/ archives/082302.html

airmailrpl
Brazil
Local time: 00:33
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish, Native in PortuguesePortuguese
PRO pts in pair: 1152

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  cendrine marrouat
2 mins
  -> thank you

agree  Rusinterp
1 day 13 hrs
  -> thank you

agree  xxxAnglo-German
1 day 18 hrs
  -> thank you

agree  joannap
2 days 10 hrs
  -> thank you
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4 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5
moral plane, moral part


Explanation:
He means that there was a whole bunch, whole pile of problems. In that pile there were some (problems) that were of purely moral character (right or wrong kind of stuff).

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Note added at 15 mins (2003-12-27 07:53:14 GMT)
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Like when I am playing in casino and I have an itching back, a fear that I lose the money and pangs of conscience if if I win that would be morally right.
Itch - bodily dimension
Fear to lose the money - psychological dimension
Fear to win the money (just the opposite) - moral one.
3 in 1.

Yuri Smirnov
Local time: 05:33
Native speaker of: Native in BelarusianBelarusian, Native in RussianRussian
PRO pts in pair: 4
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43 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5
moral consideration


Explanation:
I think he considers his life in that plight irrelevantly from a moral point of view.At the moment, he is totally interested in 'surviving'. Moral consideration may come later (or not).

Science451
Italy
Local time: 03:33
Native speaker of: Native in ItalianItalian
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48 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): +2
...ethical proportion of my disastrous condition...


Explanation:
Plight is a distress.

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Note added at 2003-12-27 09:43:37 (GMT)
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The personage is indiferent to moral issues. He eats, sleeps and takes care of his primitive needs. He has no worries, just apathy. He is about to defend himself in court but even that does not make him passionate, emotional. He lost the sense of orientation, lost the feeling of time, he is missing purpose and lost faith.
However, his pitiful condition does not bother him. He does not care anymore.

This is how I interpret the passage.

xxxAlex Zelkind
Native speaker of: Native in RussianRussian
PRO pts in pair: 18

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  verbis
51 mins
  -> Thank you

agree  NancyLynn
3 hrs
  -> Thank you

neutral  Dorene Cornwell: "proportion" doesn't work here. The rest of the text makes fine sense though
18 hrs
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50 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +3
the rights and wrongs of this difficult situation


Explanation:
It seems the narrator might be imprisoned, and out of contact with the outside world. This is possibly his/her plight (a difficult situation which one would like to be rescued from). He/she is also about to face charges in court with no support.

It seems to me the moral dimension of the plight concerns the rights and wrongs of it. Without more background, it is difficult to know whether it is the morals of the narrator or of others, which is being referred to.

dimension = aspect = side

chica nueva
Local time: 15:33
Native speaker of: English
PRO pts in pair: 83

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Anne Lee: Think of Kipling's poem 'If': "If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken twisted by knaves..., If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,.."The narrator is alone and dispirited but trying to remember what he stands for.
3 hrs

agree  Nado2002
16 hrs

agree  Rusinterp
1 day 12 hrs
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1 hr   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5
moral nature


Explanation:
I'm going to suggest something slightly skewed from the other answers.

As I read it, the 'moral dimension' means that the inherent nature of his plight [unhappy situation] is to a large extent a 'moral' one; just as we talk about physical dimensions of length, mass, temperature etc., so the author here is talking figuratively about the 'plight' having a dimension of 'morali(ty)'

His problem is by its nature a moral one (and not a physical one, emotional one, etc...)

Of course, the exact NATURE of that moral aspect will be very dependent on the rest of the context; covers such wide possibilities! But I guess it was the 'dimension' that you were reallt asking about?

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Note added at 1 hr 19 mins (2003-12-27 08:57:24 GMT)
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As Yuri also says, the \'character\' of his plight is a moral one.

Tony M
France
Local time: 03:33
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in pair: 3261
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2 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +1
question of right or wrong


Explanation:
He is totally focussed/wrapped up in the 'now', the real situation of being in prison (I am guessing), and dealing with that. His mind is focussed on the simple acts of eating, sleeping and the other physical activities that he has to go through to stay sane and deal with the monotony and boredom of prison life.
Totally insular.
What is happening in the outside world, the events that led to his incarceration, whether his actions were right or wrong have faded into insignificance with the effort of dealing with his day to day, minute by minute existence.


jerrie
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:33
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in pair: 773

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Dorene Cornwell
16 hrs
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4 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): -1
The dilemma to choose between the comfort of the temporal world and the eternal principles.


Explanation:
It cannot be explained in simplistic terms.A quotadian is a fever that recurs everyday.The protagonist of the novel the magistrate is always torn between two worlds in his mind.In one he is serving the Empire,on the other he helps the barbarian girl and wants to return her to her own people,the people againts whom the Empire co-existed for years together,but now is engaged to push them out of the empire.The magistrate is charged with treason againts the Empire.What does he do now? Like a quotadian the struggle between the conscience and the lure of the temporal world vis-s-vis disenchanment always creeps up in his mind.

hira
India
Local time: 08:03
Native speaker of: Native in AssameseAssamese, Native in BengaliBengali

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
disagree  Dorene Cornwell: Maybe stick close to the text and let the reader make inferences like this. Also the word "QUOTIDIAN" means mundane, daily life.
9 hrs
  -> Thanks.Quotadian as an adjective means daily,mandane etc. Here with reference to the context it is a noun which on the other hand means recuring fever.And it is my inference of the text.
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8 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
a basis for judgment


Explanation:
He believes that he has lost his struggle, and sees no chance of regaining his former ground. Tormented by his defeat, even the threat of an impending trial means little to him. He is imprisoned, but necessarily by others.

That he is consumed with his physical needs, indicates that he has not yet surrendered, He has not yet become suicidal. On the other hand, that he questions the severity of his situation suggests that he is nearing a point of resignation.

That he acknowledges the moral dimension of his plight indicates that he is probably of strong moral character. Simply his pride has been so deeply wounded, or is situation has become so desperate, that no moral banner can excite him.

His self-pity is not entirely unjustified, as he appears to be alone. It will take time for his wound to heal or his situation to improve, but it is uncertain that the time remaining will be sufficient.

Perhaps his trial will mean his death, and he is simply waiting to die and be freed from his torment.




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Note added at 2003-12-28 01:42:42 (GMT)
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A BASIS FOR DELIBERATION

In addition to a BASIS FOR JUDGEMENT you might also consider adding a basis for deliberation. This is because a dimension is, as lai\'an suggests above, an aspect of the individual\'s plight. Other important dimension might include, for example, the feelings and attitudes of others, self-righteous hypocritical stances, bigoted value systems, sadistic inclinations, self-aggrandizing intents, etc. Contributing factors that are not necessarily moral in nature but are common to the human condition.



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Note added at 2003-12-28 02:22:49 (GMT)
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Administratitive:

The ProZ.com KudoZ bulletin board is a forum in which suggestions are provided by participants to the Asker in an attempt to help him or her select an appropriate understanding or translation of the text in question. As the text under consideration is almost always provided in the absence of the full text, participants are obligated to provide their explanations and translations based upon their own assumptions about the hidden context.

Creative assumptions that are clearly stated help the Asker to judge whether the participants response is the appropriate one for the context that the Asker does not provide.

R. A. Stegemann
Saudi Arabia
Local time: 11:33
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in pair: 132

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
neutral  Dorene Cornwell: A Basis for judgment isn't bad. But this is another answer that should stick to the text for translations and consider putting the commentary in a note or a separate paper.
5 hrs
  -> Please see above.
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13 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
questions of right or wrong action, right or wrong belief, reason to feel shame ...


Explanation:
Now that I have written two comments about commentary as opposed to rephrasing the text, here I go off in the same, ...

I will try not to reuse the words "moral" or dimension" too many times and will try to focus on this part of the text:

"the moral dimension of my plight if that is what it is, a plight"

I think "dimension" refers to an almost physical concept just like length or width or height or time. In this case, all the physical details of a difficult daily life loom so large in the narrator's mind that they obscure larger questions, the eternal or some abstract conceptions of right, wrong, justice, shame, good citizenship or other laudable qualities that usually correspond to people's ideal of moral behavior.

"plight" means unpleasant situation, unfortunate circumstance, perhaps distress or shame.

"if that is what it is, a plight" means the narrator is trying to decide whether he feels the situation is unfortunate or shameful. I also read in it a lack of moral opprobrium cast on himself and possilby the narrator viewing his situation as the logical result of injust or simply arbritrary, mechanistic external forces or of his own choice to resist those forces.

Now, "the moral dimension...:" the narrator is in a position where many people would feel great shame or embarrassment. Others might blame themselves and feel they have committed some sin or misdeed or just be thinking about questions of right or wrong action, right or wrong belief. And the narrator is thinking only about needing to eat and tend to basic biological functions.


Dorene Cornwell
Local time: 18:33
Native speaker of: English
PRO pts in pair: 16

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Nado2002
3 hrs
  -> thank you

disagree  R. A. Stegemann: Is there some reason that you did not also treat the topic of hypocrisy in your treatise? Surely, it would have been more in keeping with your opening remarks?
3 hrs
  -> Hamo, I am not quibbling with your answer, I have not read this story. Have you? If you say that, what you write might carry more weight. I am responding only to the text here, thinking of ways to illustrate the linguistic content I see
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