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“Honour, and perceptions of it, does not by itself in any way prevent men from doing evil. In fact, the opposite can be just as true. It can encourage it.”
Quite often provoked responses are a pretty good thermometer up the butt of society. And we clearly have some distance to go yet, needing to challenge our often fairly losely founded conceptions of the world. And it is the most apparent when questioning those at an advantage, temporarily elevating those who are not, such as often happens with issues of gender. Commonly it has no other argument for it than “tradition”, which is a very weak and time-bound argument, and sometimes the reasoning even disregards its own logical universe.
This can go so far as to blame the “victims”, only acting according to the opportunities given and the requirements put on them, instead of questioning the system and those who built it. Such as when slut shaming female actors for accepting nudity scenes, or the obligatory female shower scene.… Read more
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“For idiots admire things all the more
When they find them hidden in tangled words, and
set great store
In anything that tickles the ear, in phrases dyed a shade
-Lucretius, On the Nature of Things, ca 50BC.
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“… Year after circling year,
the ring upon a finger thins from the inside out with wear.
The steady drop of water causes stone to hollow and yield,
The curving iron of the ploughshare fritters in the field
By imperceptible degrees. The cobbles of the street
We see are polished smooth by now from throngs of passing feet.
And at the city gates, right hands of statues made of brass
Are worn away by touches of the greeting hands that pass.
And thus we see things dwindle by their being rubbed away-
But what is lost at any given moment we can’t say
Because our stingy sense of sight will never let us see.”
– Lucretius on Creation and Decay, speaking of matter and void, atoms and particles, and how those combined create mass and density of it. From De Rerum Natura, ca 50BC.
“Men are born for the sake of each other. So either teach or tolerate.”
– Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
Another good one, which sums up a lot of his core philosophy…
I find his so called “meditations” a bit of a tough read due to its repetitiveness and dominant focus on death, but it is a journal after all, and the obsession with death perhaps not so strange given how many children he lost. And there a good number of chunks of gold in there, so a good read still.
Still trying to figure out the logical reasoning underneath his stoicism, but I think I finally begin to see it. It’s all about nature, and living in chime with it. Not so sure I agree with that definition of natural, though.
Trying to wrap my head around how to be indifferent and compassionate at the same time.… Read more
“… remember too that the happy life depends on very little. And do no think, just because you have given up hope of becoming a philosopher or scientist, you should therefore despair of a free spirit, integrity, social conscience, obedience to god. It is wholly possible to become a divine man, without anybody’s recognition.”
– Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
“Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common. And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all. Nor was there anyone among them who lacked; for all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold, and laid them at the apostles’ feet; and they distributed to each as anyone had need.”
– The Bible, Acts, Ch 4
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“One great difference in our ways is that, like the early Christians, the Indian was a Socialist.
Always follow these two rules: first, act only on what your reasoning mind proposes for the good of humanity, and second, change your opinion if someone shows you it’s wrong. This change of mind must proceed only from the conviction that it’s both correct and for the common good, but not because it will give you pleasure and make you popular.
– Meditations, Marcus Aurelius
The quote and the art by Martin Schongauer are chosen to represent ideas which revolve around a few different topics. First of all hypocritical kindness to strangers, extending it only for personal benefit. See for instance in Grimnismál where King Geirröd makes a fool of himself by treating his guest, Odin in disquise, unhospitably and badly, and as a consequence loses all of Odin’s support, falling on his own sword, literally. … Read more
“A person’s worth is measured by the worth of what he values”
– – –
“Everything material soon disappears in the substance of the whole; and everything formal [causal] is very soon taken back into the universal reason; and the memory of everything is very soon overwhelmed in time.”
Marcus Aurelius, on the importance of valuing your spirit and soul over your body’s pleasure, and the divine in you over the ephemeral material, as it is the only thing that truly matters and is in your control.
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“As Antoninus, my city and country is Rome: as a human being, it is the world”.
– Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
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“Vanity is the greatest seducer of reason: when you are most convinced that your work is important, that is when you are most under its spell.”
– Meditations, Marcus Aurelius
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“Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?”
– Galatians 4:16, the Bible
“Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth.”
– Albert Einsten, in letter to Jost Winteler, ca 1901
The most devious form of extremism is the one that hides in plain sight and masks itself as something else, as something commonplace and benign, similar to you, and thus agreeable and sensible. This you will have great difficulty in distinguishing from yourself and your kin, as they are not likely to be arriving in uniform or wearing symbols that mark them. They will be like your friend, your brother and sister, kind or harsh, witty or boring, funny or serious, clever or dumb, attractive or ugly. Human. And an absolute terror if given the power to unleash their demons.… Read more
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“The best revenge is to not be like your enemy.”
– Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
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There is a Latin tag “cui prodest?”, meaning “who stands to gain?” When it is not immediately apparent which political or social groups, forces or alignments advocate certain proposals, measures, etc., one should always ask: “Who stands to gain?”
– – –
We live in an age of commerce, when the bourgeoisie have no scruples about trading in honour or conscience.
– – –
Yes, indeed! In politics it is not so important who directly advocates particular views. What is important is who stands to gain from these views, proposals, measures.
For instance, “Europe”, the states that call themselves “civilised”, are now engaged in a mad armaments hurdle-race. In thousands of ways, in thousands of newspapers, from thousands of pulpits, they shout and clamour about patriotism, culture, native land, peace, and progress—and all in order to justify new expenditures of tens and hundreds of millions of rubles for all manner of weapons of destruction—for guns, dreadnoughts, etc.
Yet another example of these constant propaganda and media manipulations. Here’s a clip supposedly showing the incompetence of the British police, being completely incapable of handling a knifeman. Comments revolve around immigration, muslims and broken society with coward and weak UK police, and suggesting arming the cops so they can shoot his head off.
What isn’t said is that the short 15 second video was clipped a second before the man is in fact tasered and apprehended without any injuries to anyone. It also doesn’t mention that the man was pepper sprayed before being tasered… And the 15s are shown twice, to make it less apparent that just a tiny bit of the incident is shown. As a result, many perceive it as longer than it really is.
This clip has currently had 1.1 million views on Facebook and has been shared 12,464 times.… Read more
Political labels are meaningless other than as banners to rally around, which is their only real value. They can gather people around certain core ideas, but as a whole they rarely match the actual beliefs of any thinking individual, and for a good many people their beliefs overlap several different ideologies, regardless of the labels others and they themselves put on them. In that respect, these labels are also a great hinder for communication and exchange, as they bring false assumptions based on generalizations and lack of actual knowledge of individual beliefs, and enforce false division.
Furthermore, it is perfectly possible to as an individual, be both radical, conservative and progressive in different aspects, all at the same time, thus sharing beliefs and values over the various fences raised between people.… Read more
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Love the art you have learnt, and take comfort in it. Go through the remainder of your life in sincere commitment of all your being to the gods, and never making yourself slave or tyrant to any man.
– Meditations, Marcus Aurelius
We must always seek to grasp the ever changing present as we walk, inescapably, right next to the abyss of nothingness. It is there in its very ephemerality that wonder hides, and it is that sense of wonder which quickens and heals our souls.… Read more
While it is something people often leave as they become adults, having good role models in life is hugely important as it allows us to hone our personalities and shape our lives with consciousness and defined intent, while keeping us humble and grateful. Living or dead, fictional or real, they can be prophets, philosophers, leaders, writers, parents or relatives, and if you are truly lucky; your partner or friend.
Each role model can provide you with a template with certain admirable characteristics that guide you in various aspects and contexts of life. And the deeper the insight into your chosen inspiration, the more rigid your understanding of your guide will be. Make sure to choose with great care, as they can also equally well mislead you, if chosen unwisely. And define for yourself what, specifically, you consider important.… Read more
– As a general rule, it is OK to kill anything, if you eat it. Otherwise, leave it be. This goes for the smallest of lives too..
Little son, now looking a bit stressed at that little ant that’s been bugging him…… Read more
The Scandinavian Union Period, the Georgian Period, or whatever name you give it, which started just a few decades before the Victorians really was terrible in the sense that it started the whole large scale destruction of historical landmarks, tearing down old fortifications and buildings, turning them to rubble. And the same can be seen in so many places in Europe. And while fascists and nazis, old and new, often hated on and blame modernism and late modernity, not least in architecture and art, for this, this brutal destruction of historical landmarks quite clearly predates it by a good number of decades, starting already in the early 1800s.
Of course, this in turn was a result of a neglect over many decades, in turn due to changing times.
The illustration shows Gothenburg in the late 1600s, protected by a 15 meter tall city wall and 13 bastions and 7 ravelins, all of them except for two, and the two city gates, torn down in ca 1815-20.… Read more
Every single person is important, as each and everyone carries potential for greatness. Not everyone realizes or wishes to recognize this though, thus voiding their importance, and stripping away value that could have been.
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Say to yourself first thing in the morning: today I shall meet people who are meddling, ungrateful, aggressive, treacherous, malicious, unsocial. All this has afflicted them through their ignorance of true good and evil. But I have seen that the nature of good is what is right, and the nature of evil is what is wrong, and I have reflected that the nature of the offender himself is akin to my own – not a kinship of blood or seed, but a sharing in the same mind, the same fragment of divinity. Therefore, I cannot be harmed by any of them, as none will infect me with their wrong.
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We are trying to show him not only what we are fighting against, but what we are fighting for. So many of these boys have only a very hazy idea of the real issues of the war. About all they see is “going back to the good old days.” This is a dangerous state. If they don’t stand for something, they will fall for anything. They need to realize that we are fighting two wars—the war of arms and the war of ideas—that other war of which the war of arms is one phase.
– Dr. Gordon A. Eadie on Mental Health needs for war veterans, using a Boston saying on “standing for something”, January 1945
Just as there is a certain positive naïveté when looking at the world and society, there is also a negative one and the half-empty glass analogy is getting more and more relevant as more and more people seem to be changing towards the half empty outlook, rather than the opposite, never seeing the good, only the bad. And this inevitably leads to a very volatile combination of a sense of entitlement, fear, paranoia, and a corrosive loss of hope.
That combination in return can be exploited by redirecting it towards weak targets, by offering just a sliver of hope to the greater majority if we only exclude the few. Again, this is a cancer that feeds on itself, as once we exclude those, another minority will just take their place. And another, and another, looking for smaller and smaller differences that set us apart, seeking a forever unreachable uniformity rooted in a falsified image of history, while constantly making us weaker, poorer and less adaptable in the process.… Read more
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Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
– Matthew 7:15-17
Just as water will smooth a rock, with time we will figure out the way forward, as the population growth that came with industrialism and the great medical advances of the 19th and 20th cent eases off. We will likely need to try looking at new and different models though, and to strive for decentralization and ruralization, truly putting power back in the hands of the majority, preferably in a controlled and peaceful fashion, as the alternative will likely be extremely damaging to all and can lead to horrible results very distant from what is needed.
None of this can happen peacefully without a common trust in those in control of these processes and the tools used, and currently that trust has been made dangerously weak, making violent change all the more likely. Belief in ethical behavior needs to permeate all of society, or at a minimum, there has to be a belief that it does, or it will collapse.… Read more
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He became thirsty and went to his favorite brook in the hills, to take a drink. As he was drawing the crystal clear water in his palm and putting it to his mouth, something caught his eye.
He saw drops of water falling on a huge stone – drip, drop – and directly where the drops were falling, there was a deep hole in the stone. Akiba was fascinated. He gazed at the drops, and at the stone.
“What mighty power there is in a drop of water, the shepherd thought.” “Could my stony heart ever be softened up that way?”
– About Rabbi Akiba, from D’Rabbi Natan, retold by Nissan Mindel
In well-being lies both something important, but also fundamentally dangerous, as a sense of satisfaction can be positive and inspiring, but complacency can lead to fossilization and stop growth.… Read more
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We are condemned now to rule people who do not want to be ruled by us. I have fears about the kind of seeds we will sow in the near future in the hearts of the occupied. Even more, I have fears about the seed that will be planted in the hearts of the occupiers.
– Amos Oz
We don’t grasp the true range of freedom and possibilities until we look beyond the reach of the leash we let ourselves be controlled by.… Read more
Every now and then I see a post about Japan not having any Islamic terrorism, implying that their strict immigration policy and fairly uniform ethnicity keeps the nation safe, and yes it is true that Islamic terrorism in Japan is extremely rare, with a single islamic terrorism incident over the last few decades.
However, Islamic attacks on Tokyo would make about as much sense as the IRA bombing Tokyo, given that Japan is not considered an enemy to Islamists… And more importantly, their uniformity does not mean that the Japanese don’t suffer terrorism or mass attacks. Extreme left wing activists did multiple attacks in the 70s, the nationalist right in the 80s and onwards (with 23 attacks in 2002-2003 alone, and let’s not forget the 600 people injured in the Matsumoto sarin attack in -94, the 5,500 people who went to hospital after the sarin attack in the subway of Tokyo in -95, the 67 injured in the Wakayama arsenic attack of -98, or the nail bomb attack in Sapporo in 2000, or the man stabbing eight people to death in a school in Ikeda, or the man driving a truck into a crowd and then stabbing people in Tokyo in 2008, or the man who stabbed a number of people in Ibaraki in 2010, or the man who wounded 20 and stabbed 19 people to death in 2015 at a handicap facility.… Read more
National pride and cohesion can also be built on diversity, inclusiveness, liberty and acceptance of differences, together building a greater whole. Conversely, forced driving towards strict monoculture and uniformity, can lead to both increased internal conflict and disenfranchisement, due to a growingly oppressive state, with stricter and stricter control of thought, expression and behaviour, and through this cause an eventual disintegration of both nation and empire. In short, nationalism can also, ironically, become a threat against the very thing it is seeking to protect and preserve.
Just as full equality can never be achieved, neither can full uniformity lead to complete unity. As you peel away the things that stand out, new layers with finer peculiarities will just take their place and there will always be someone at the bottom to kick around.… Read more
As fear mongering about foreigners is still happening, and conciously done with inflated numbers, bunching a lot of people into a seemingly homogenous group, it is high time to break down the numbers in more detail. These are the actual statistics from 2014, for how many people living in Sweden were born in another country. It is still not 21-25% as is commonly argued.
The numbers include people who came many decades ago, during ww2, people who come to study, to work etc, and a very good chunk of them are other Scandinavians or Europeans. In fact about a third are other Scandinavians and about another third from Europe. Only a tiny minory are from the Middle-East or Africa, and we get muslims from Europe, just as we get Christians from other parts of the world.
These numbers include people who have come here through marriage and adoption, as students, for work & business, as refugees & relatives and just as unspecified migration.… Read more
Manufacture, growth and expansion do not in any way equate to high degree of civilization or culture. A complex and highly civilized culture can exist with very little technology, and vice versa.… Read more
So, woke up on a cold, rainy morning with an extra blanket that I hadn’t on when I went to bed. It’s good to have a sweet caring wife. She’s my guiding light and has been so for nearly 25 years now. She’s the kind of woman who has dedicated her life to helping kids and people learn, the kind of woman who also donates a substantial amount to charity every month, even when times are tough. The kind of woman who adopted two lonely elders in our house, visited them regularly, helped them, even bought bags full of goodies and traditional foods for the bigger holidays. If only more people were like her, especially a few of those who talk big about the horrors of our society, but never, ever do anything good or actually important. We need more proper social justice warriors, and we need to believe in the possibility that we can make things better.… Read more
Watching the US is a lot like watching a kidnapping in progress, from a distance. Good people in the hands of some really evil and greedy fucks, but only some realize, or *want* to realize, what is going on. It’s a lovely country that I long to revisit, and I really like the people a LOT, but at the same time I am also glad I am not American with all the smoke and mirrors masking cages as freedom. It makes me sad to see friends caught in this confusing flux though.
Other countries are heading in the same direction, but the US always seems to be a bit ahead in this kind of extremism, perhaps partly due to the propaganda that has been connected with it ever since the 19th cent and especially since WW2. It is getting very hard to see a deeper difference between corrupted modern socialist and communist states, republics and Renaissance monarchies, with true freedom being a chimera in these corrupted systems, all of them instead giving us decorated and pretty dog collars that allow us free movement within the distance of the leash.… Read more
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German cities are completely independent, don’t have much territory around them and obey the emperor only when it suits. They are not afraid of him, nor any other powerful rulers in the area. This is because these towns are so well fortified that everyone realizes what an ardous wearisome business it would be to attack them. They all have properly sized moats and walls; they have the necessary artillery; they have public warehouses with food, drink and firewood for a year; what’s more, to keep people well fed without draining the public purse, they stock materials for a year’s worth of work in whatever trades are the lifeblood of the city and whatever jobs the common folk earn their keep with. They hold military exercises in high regard and make all kinds of arrangements to make sure they are routinely practiced.”
– Niccoló Machiavelli on Assessing a state’s strength.
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A king who comes to power with the help of the rich nobles will have more trouble keeping it than the king who gets there with the support of the people, because he is surrounded by men who considers themselves his equals, and that will make it hard for him to give them orders or to manage affairs as he wants.
But a man coming to power with the support of the common people holds it alone and has no one, or hardly anyone, around him who is unwilling to obey. What’s more, you can’t in good faith give the nobles what they want without doing harm to others, but you can with the people. Because the people’s aspirations are more honourable than the nobles: the nobles want to oppress the people, while the people want to be free from oppression.
What’s more, a king can never be safe if the common people are hostile to him, because there are so many of them, but he can protect himself against the nobles, since there are not so many.
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…nothing is harder to organize, more likely to fail, or more dangerous to see through, than the introduction of a new system of government. The person bringing in the changes will make enemies of everyone who was doing well under the old system, while the people who stand to gain from the new arrangements will not offer whole-hearted support, partly because they are afraid of their opponents, who still have the laws on their side, and partly because people are naturally skeptical: no one really believes in change until they have solid experience of it. So as soon as the opponents of the new system see a chance, they’ll go on the offenseive with the determination of an embattled faction, while the supporters will offer only half-hearted resistance, something that will put the new rulers’s position at risk too.
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If, on the other hand, you decide to send an occupying army rather than establish colonies, the operation will be far more expensive and all the revenues from the new territories will be used up in defending it, turning what should have been a gain into a loss. And you’ll provoke more hostility: An army moving about requisitioning lodgings will do damage across the entire territory, something that has consequences for the whole population and turns them all into enemies. And these are enemies who can hit back, people beaten but still on their own ground.
– Niccoló Machiavelli on establishing new monarchies in territories with different language and culture
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…men are quick to change ruler when they imagine they can improve their lot – it is this conviction that prompts them to take up arms and rebel – then later they discover they were wrong and that things have got worse rather than better.
So not only do you make enemies of those whose interests you damaged… but you can’t even keep the friendship of the people who helped you take power, this for the simple reason that you can’t give them as much as they expected.
– Niccoló Machiavelli on new monarchies
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Come evening, I walk home and go into my study. In the passage I take off my ordinary clothes, caked with mud and slime, and put on my formal palace gowns. Then when I am properly dressed I take my place in the courts of the past where the ancients welcome me kindly and I eat my fill of the only food that is really mine and that I was born for, I’m quite at ease talking to them and asking them why they did the things they did, and they are generous with their answers. So for four hours at a time I feel no pain, I forget all my worries. I’m not afraid of poverty and death doesn’t frighten me. I put myself entirely in their minds.
– Machiavelli, private letter to a friend
So much in politics and society depend on disconnect. Much like it is easier for most people to kill at a distance, dropping a bomb from 30,000ft rather than killing up close with a knife or club, it is also far easier to argue against free healthcare, social benefits, foreign aid and refugees when you don’t see the consequences up close, with the actual suffering caused.
Ideally, everyone who makes the decisions should be forced to get a taste of the up close experience first. I’d even extend it to anyone who likes to express an opinion, at least if you desire influence on things. Theoretical ideas disconnected from reality are always potentially very dangerous… Read more
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Therefore, dear son Alexander, despise no man of low birth, nor of small stature, if you see any science or any wisdom in him, and if he also has good behaviour and manners in him, and keeps from vices. Anyone so well-mannered is worthy to be loved by princes and kings. And you should do nothing without counseling. And I pray, dear son, that you love him that love truth & who counsel you faithfully and sometimes in opposition to your opinion. For such a man is steadfast of courage, faithful & just to you & your subjects. And the counsel of such a man is good for the governance of the king & of his realm.
Therefore dere sone Alexander dyspyse no man of lowe byrthe nor of small stature yf thou se ony scyence or ony wysdome in hym, and that he have also cood condycyons and maners in hym, and dooth exchewe vyces.
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Above all things (dear son) beware that you do not break your trust and the oaths that you have made. For it belongs to violators and whores, and also to people that do not keep, nor care for their trust and oath. Wherefore keep your trust that you have promised, for and if you do otherwise, it will come to an evil end at last.
And if you break your trust, you shall be regarded by every man as a child or a brute beast so beware thereof.
And if you wish to know what was the destruction of Nubia and the Assyrians, I certify that their king made oaths deceitfully, to deceive the men and citizens next by. And broke his alliances and promises that he had made, because they were profitable to his realm. And also to his subjects he made many false oaths to destroy their next neighbours. The righteous Judge could sustain nor suffer them no longer.
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I require you, sweet son, that you out of your goodness, think and inquire oftentimes about your poor subjects, and know their necessities. And set among them such men as be virtuous and who love god and Justice and who know their manners, and understand their way of speaking, and can govern them peaceably and in love. And if you do it in that way, you shall do the pleasure of your Creator, And it shall be a safeguarde to your realm, and gladness of you and your people.
I requyre the swete sone that thou of thy goodnesse thynke and inquyre oftentymes of thy poore subgectes, and knowe theyr necessytees. And set amonge them suche men as be vertuous and that loveth god and Justyce and that knoweth theyr maners, and understandeth theyr speches, and can governe them peasybly and in love. And yf thou do thus, thou shalt do the pleasure of thy creatoure.
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Alexander right worthy son, covet not always worldy things, for they are corruptible. And know that you must leave everything. Desire then such things that can not corrupt. That is the life that can not change and the eternal realm. And raise your thoughts in goodness, and therein keep yourself strong and glorious. And leave the life of beasts that always live in their filthiness. Believe not lightly all things that are told to you.
Alexander ryght worthy sone, coveyt not alwayes worldly thynges, for they be corruptyble. And thynke that thou must leave all. Demaunde than suche thynges as can not be corrupte. That is the lyfe that can not chaunge and the relme perdurable. And reyse thy thoughts in goodnesse, and therin kepe the stronge & gloryous. And leave the lyfe of bestes that alwaye lyve in theyr fylthynesse.
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Sweet son Alexander it is a good thing precious, and honourable when then king speaks but little, but if ever great need require it. It is better that the ears of the people be willing to hear the words of a king, than to be weary of his too much speaking. For when the ears be glutted with the king’s speech (and twittering) their hearts be weary to see him.
Swete sone Alexander it is a goodly thyng precyous, and honourable whan the kynge speketh but lytell. But yf over grete nede requyre it. It is better that the eeres of the people be wylling to here the wordes of a kynge, than to be wery of his to moche spekyng. For whan the eeres be glutted with the kynges speche theyr hertes be wery to se hym.
– Aristotle to Alexander the Great, from Kitab Sirr al-Asrar, 10th cent, (2nd passage from 1528 translation).
Take heed that you have studies and schools in your cities. And cause all your people to learn their children letters and noble sciences, and use them to study. For you ought to help and succor the governance of studies and poor scholars. And give advantages and prerogatives to good students that profit to their learning…
Take hede that thou have studyes and scoles in thy cytees. And cause all thy people to lerne theyr chyldren lettres and noble scyences, and use them to studye. For thou ought to helpe and socoure the governayle of studyes and poore scolers. And gyve avauntages and prerogatyves to good studyentes that proufyte to theyr lernynge…
– Aristotle to Alexander the Great, Kitab Sirr Aal-Asrar, 10th century, and the 1528 translation
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And then you ought to give as your power will (by measure) to them that have need, and be glad of it. For he that gives otherwise he breaks the rule of largess and charity. And he that gives his goods to him that has no need, he gets no thanks. And all that he gives to them that be not glad of it, is lost. And he that spends his goods outrageously, shall soon come to the wildest edge of poverty, and is like him that gives victory to his enemies over him. But a king that gives his goods measurably to them that have need, is liberal to himself and his subjects. And his realm shall come to great prosperity, and his commandment shall be fulfilled.
– Aristotle to Alexander the Great, Kitab Sirr Al-Asrar, 10th cent
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But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.
– Galatians 5:15
Very few of the people who claim to stand for completely free speech actually do want completely free speech. It is just a matter of where the line is drawn, not a matter of if a line should be drawn at all.… Read more
There are things I miss from my childhood on my home island up north, and it usually revolves around nature and seasons, like the perfect polarity of black skies and white ground in winter, and now in spring; the breaking of the ice on the strait, and the ground frost kissing the old dirt roads good bye.… Read more
Elitism will only appeal to those who feel included and part of it and will only be respected by the masses as long as it speaks gently to them, although the respect can be intact, even reinforced, as long as it is unkind only to a small outsider minority. Inevitably though, the mask will fall off, with the ugliness behind becoming apparent and that same unkindness and contempt extended to the masses, by the self-righteous “elite” that seeks to rule them.… Read more
The childish and savage taste of men and women for new patterns keeps how many shaking and squinting through kaleidoscopes that they may discover the particular figure which this generation requires today. The manufacturers have learned that this taste is merely whimsical. Of two patterns which differ only by a few threads more or less of a particular color, the one will be sold readily, the other lie on the shelf, though it frequently happens that after the lapse of a season the latter becomes the most fashionable.
Comparatively, tattooing is not the hideous custom which it is called. It is not barbarous merely because the printing is skin-deep and unalterable.
– Walden, and other things. Henry David Thoreau
In other words he considered a tattoo a strong individual statement based on firm conviction, while fashion meant submitting to the wills of others and a sign of a weak identity.… Read more
So, modern art sucks in comparison to medieval and Renaissance art, huh? I strongly disagree for a number of reasons.
First, of all what we consider art and artists were not quite what we define them as today. Most art was illustrative, depicting scenes, or more importantly, portraits, and made on order from the rich or the Church. And much of it was also quite topically boring, with little relevance today outside of its display of technical skill. It has mostly lost its original meaning to people who today largely admire it for very different reasons. What once carried meaning through its symbolism and intentional references, has become merely decorative and “pretty”. That said, there is still a great amount of artwork from history that is important and valuable for a great many different reasons.
As much as I like the good things that have come with it, I think we are now finally seeing the results of the Google generations. Knowledge used to be difficult and hard to gain, requiring going to school and university for years, or to libraries, and digging through archives, registries and hundreds if not thousands of books in a lifetime, line by line. Today, for good and bad, it is very different, and data is just a keyword entry away.
However, as online debates move quickly, and are commonly not based on *actual* knowledge, but rather on quickly and superficially collected data, this data is never really given any in depth analysis, and the sources it is collected from is never really read in full, no matter if it is a simple blog or a full scientific/academic report. This superficial and incomplete “knowledge” is with time amassed, forming a block of believed “truths”, built on often misinterpreted or mismatched uncorrelated data, and not seldom contradicted by the very sources the data is collected from.… Read more
Really missing the woods now and all those magical moments of solitude; the talkative raven, that lone hooting owl above me at night, the singing ice, the dancing fog rolling out over the lake from the swamp at 5 in the morning, the smell of pine resin and fire, and of dried pine needles in the sun, and the sound of nothing but the wind in the trees, how the wind calms down in the evening, and the bats flying over the lake at twilight. Unfortunately I am tied up with numerous obligations, but soon… I have to. Maybe you do too, without knowing it.… Read more
Compromises are important, but can also lead to accepting evil, hoping it will lead to something better. Commonly though, it does not.… Read more
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Write these staves on white calfskin with your own blood; take the blood from your thigh and say:
I write you eight áss-runes, nine naudh-runes, thirteen thurs-runes – that will plague thy belly with bad shit and gas, and all of these will plague thy belly with great farting. May it loosen thee from thy place and burst thy guts; may thy farting never stop, neither day or night, thou wilt be as weak as the fiend Loki, who was bound by all the gods; in thy mightiest name Lord, God, Spirit, Shaper, Ódhinn, Thórr, Saviour, Frey, Freyja, Oper, Satan, Beelzebub, helpers, mighty god, warding with the companions of Oteos, Mors, Notke, Vitales”
– Galdrabók, late 16th -17th cent.
Every time you look away you lose another bit of your compassion
Compassion is not, I believe, a hindrance in moral decision making. In fact I think it is crucial even, and lack thereof inevitably leads to flawed decisions. And it is not just about political decision making, but also about everyday life.
However, I also think that losing compassion is one of the many methods of the human psyche to cope with the brutalities of reality, which is why many soldiers, cops, firemen and ambulance staff end up with some pretty rough humor and in some cases a distinct distancing from the people they attend to.
Politicians and other decision makers often go down a similar route, but I think for very different reasons, more to do with personal comfort. And many “civilians” go down the same route.… Read more
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In this twilight of its declining age, it too frequently mistakes the colours of good and evil.
– George Mackenzie, 1667
Regarding the idea that men, ready to use violence to defend their honour would equate to pillars of society: There is a historical backside to this notion too, and it was a topic hotly debated back in the day with a number of books treating the subject greatly outnumbering the fencing treatises. In fact, it was even at times considered a *threat* to the very stability of society, leading to harsh punishment and restrictions against such behaviour, ranging all the way up to the death penalty.
And contemporary critics argued that this kind of violent behaviour went against morality, religion, common sense and was even in opposition to honour itself. Proponents, of course, saw it differently.… Read more
So my terrible, evil SJW of a wife is teaching a class of mostly Syrian refugee teachers, helping them get into university quicker so they can start teaching in schools in a few years. She is the definition of decency and honour to me, and I am damn proud of both her and my country.… Read more
Quoting Umberto Eco again, because I think a lot of people just don’t recognize what they are seeing. As Eco put it:
“There was only one Nazism… But the fascist game can be played in many forms, and the name of the game does not change.”
Don’t skip through it. Give it time. This is important.
1. The first feature of Ur-Fascism is the cult of tradition.
Traditionalism is of course much older than fascism. Not only was it typical of counter-revolutionary Catholic thought after the French revolution, but it was born in the late Hellenistic era, as a reaction to classical Greek rationalism. In the Mediterranean basin, people of different religions (most of them indulgently accepted by the Roman Pantheon) started dreaming of a revelation received at the dawn of human history.… Read more
This is exactly how fascism grows in a nation. Self-righteousness, mixed with a strong sense of not knowing where we are going, feeling bereaved, and seemingly strong leaders, at all levels, speaking simple truths that seem to heal this, making the many feel good on behalf of the few and a great number of people not recognizing what they are seeing. And then the inevitable appeal to honour and decency contrasted by a scenario of doom, of the fall of society caused by the different, scaring you into accepting concessions on the decent to repair the proclaimed deficiencies at the root of it all.
I will never accept any leader who even hints at this.… Read more
Just a comment since I know symbols like the Aegishjalmur and the Vegvisir are popular motifs for norse-inspired tattoos.
To my knowledge, the absolute majority of these date to 17th century and later, like the Aegishjalmur from 1670AD, with a rare few symbols stretching back to 14th century and some, like the Vegvisir, dating to the second half of the 1800s. While indeed icelandic, they are just a bit more “viking” than Shakespeare, but not by much.
Magical runes existed earlier of course, but that is something different to this and many were changed in the 19th century. The tradition of magical symbols was also popular all over Europe in the Renaissance and seen in for instance the fencing treatise of Achille Marozzo.
They are still fantastic, but I think it is important to know what they are.… Read more
One interesting aspect of tradition and culture is that in many ways we have a vastly better historical overview of this now than people ever had before the 20th century. This is why e.g. in medieval and Renaissance artwork depicting the ancients, the depicted scenes show people dressed in contemporary clothing of the time, with pluderhosen and doublets. Bits by bit we have learned since, through ancient texts and archaeology, but the actual historical understanding of history was quite short in span and mostly based off of what the priests told you in church.
This of course also means that history, in a historical perspective, hasn’t been regarded as terribly important outside of the religious context, for a particularly long time, and is basically a very modern concept only evolved with archeology in the late 19th cent, where also nationalromanticism grows, defining cultural traits claimed to be rooted in history, but often on very loose grounds.… Read more
Provocations can often be good as they function as a thermometer up the butt of society, indicating the health of it. The more reactions to them, the greater the unhealthiness and drive towards authoritarianism and control over the members of the society.… Read more
Are you racist? Probably not. But there is a pretty good chance that you are xenophobic to some degree as most of us are, even I. And this can easily lead to various racist attitudes and actions, even for people who are against racism. This is why it is easy to appreciate, even celebrate, other cultures from a distance or when travelling, enjoying their exoticism, but not as much when they affect your own, at home.
Actual systematic racism isn’t so much of a problem in society. Xenophobia however, is far more spread and can lead to issues at all levels. To understand it, we basically need to separate between three things .
- The act
- The individual
- The system
An individual can do a racist or xenophobic act quite unintentionally and unawares, and through this perpetuate a racist system.… Read more
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“Washed and fed,
one may fare to the Ting:
Though one’s clothes be the worse for Wear,
None need be ashamed of his shoes or hose,
Nor of the horse he owns,
Although no thoroughbred.
Fire is needed by the newcomer
Whose knees are frozen numb;
Meat and clean linen a man needs
Who has fared across the fells,
Water, too, that he may wash before eating,
Handcloth’s and a hearty welcome,
Courteous words, then courteous silence
That he may tell his tale.
The sitters in the hall seldom know
The kin of the new-comer:
The best man is marred by faults,
The worst is not without worth.
I give you advice Loddfáfnir – heed it well!
You will use it if you learn it,
it will get you good if you understand it.
Do not abuse a guest – or drive him out the door.
Instead do well for the wretched.
Never thought I’d see it, but the US right now seems like one of those late teen pre-club parties where everyone is drunk as fuck and everyone suddenly decides it’s time to head out and realizes that the designated driver is wasted too, and another dude, drunk out of his mind and loud, convinces everyone to hand him the car keys. And it’s off to town, excited and a wee bit scared, zigzagging across the narrow forest road as the car windows start fogging up with all the dudes in a mess in the back seat and one of them looking a bit pale and starting to make funny noises.… Read more
“I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.”
– On the Final Judgment, Matthew 25:43, The Bible
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…”he was wearing a blue cloak and said his name was Grimnir but would say nothing further about himself when he was asked. The king said he would be forced to speak and set him between two fires; and he sat there for eight nights. King Geirrod had a son ten years old and had named him Agnar after his own brother.
Agnar went to see Grimnir and brought him a horn full of wine to drink and said that the king did wrong to torment him for no reason. Grimnir emptied the horn. The fire was by that time so close that it was burning Grimnir’s cloak.
Fire, you’re too hot, and much too fierce,
take your flames further away!
Here’s something that has been bugging me for a few years now.
Quite commonly, I see a whole lot of people on the right spewing insults to anyone they perceive as “left”, habitually calling them snowflakes, delicate flowers, libtards, morons, naive children, etc, etc. And this comes from people I am supposed to respect, who demand my respect and who ask other people to behave with honour.
This really pisses me off, not least since these people also commonly are so easily triggered and sensitive to anything that goes against their own worldviews. It’s very much like a taliban calling someone else a fanatic.
But more importantly, when you use such words, it doesn’t just insult people directly in front of you, but also loved ones, families and relatives going back many generations.… Read more
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The party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command.
And if all others accepted the lie which the Party imposed – if all records told the same tale – then the lie passed into history and became truth. “Who controls the past,” ran the Party slogan, “controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.
– 1984, George Orwell
Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common. And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all. Nor was there anyone among them who lacked; for all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold, and laid them at the apostles’ feet; and they distributed to each as anyone had need.
– The Bible, Acts, Ch 4
Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all
– The Bible, Colossians 3:11
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus
– The Bible, Galatians 3:28
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One great difference in our ways is that, like the early Christians, the Indian was a Socialist.
Ideals are by their very nature unfulfillable as true perfection can never be achieved. That however, does not mean ideals are pointless as the journey towards the goal has a great value on its own, especially the closer you get to the goal.
The closer you get, however, the more difficult it gets holding on to them, since you easily loose sight of both the starting point and the distance travelled, focusing on the small distance ahead, and like the event horizon of a black hole, close to it the remaining distance seems to extend, stretching to appear longer than it actually is.
The distance travelled, the starting point and the reason for the journey musn’t be forgotten though. Anything else is a betrayal to ourselves and a great disrespect to our forefathers.
This is true for both individual perspective and for society.… Read more
It might seem odd writing about civilization and city life on a site that focuses on nature and traditional way of life, but as the latter connects to history and our reading of it, and to our way of applying our understanding of it to our own time and our place in nature, I think the topic discussed here is very relevant, and growingly more so by the day, even. So please bear with me for a bit.
I will begin by speaking a little bit about ideals. Ideals are by their very nature unfulfillable as true perfection can never be achieved. That however, does not mean ideals are pointless as the journey towards the goal has a great value on its own, especially the closer you get to the goal.
The closer you get, however, the more difficult it gets holding on to them, since you easily loose sight of both the starting point and the distance travelled, focusing on the small distance ahead, and like the event horizon of a black hole, close to it the remaining distance seems to extend, stretching to appear longer than it actually is.… Read more
“And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but perceivest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Either how canst thou say to thy brother, Brother, let me pull out the mote that is in thine eye, when thou thyself beholdest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to pull out the mote that is in thy brother’s eye.”
– Luke 6:42
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“Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?
So, here’s some good news to balance some of all of the negative bullshit we hear about primarily the young “effeminate” men of today. Looking at Sweden, over the last few decades, and especially in the last 15, they seem to be turning towards a lifestyle of less alcohol, drugs, violence and crime. The drop in drinking is in the range of 50-80% for 15-year olds and the lowest since 1971. And the number of very young teens which have gotten drunk before the age of 13 is cut in half.
Drugs too are dropping over the last few years, with the exception of cannabis which has increased a bit. Drug use was about three times as common in the 70s with about 15% of the students, but dropped with the heavy youth-targeting anti-drug campaigns of the 80s to a third, then rose again as the campaigns disappeared, to finally drop again in the last six years today down to about 5%, but 14-22% for the 17-18-year-olds.… Read more
Fuck it I am sick and tired of people arguing that it is the different culture and ethnicity of immigrants that is the current driving cause behind the (organized) crime in society.
Here are some of the real causes also presented by criminologists.
1. Biker gangs establishing themselves in Sweden in the 90s
While there has always been crime in various forms in cities, yes even at a time when Sweden was near 100% ethnically “Swedish”, sometimes even organized (just look at the larger 19th cent cities, e.g. in England, Italy, France and even little Sweden, then smaller than a great many cities are today), it changed drastically when Hells Angels and Bandidos established themselves in Sweden in the 90s. The Swedish police and law failed at countering them, not knowing how to handle this new threat and at the time the war between the biker gangs was quite brutal, with shootings, assassinations and bombings being a common thing, very similar to today.… Read more
Not so much spoken about but hugely important to understand the conflict in Afghanistan and why people still try to flee.
Here is a dangerous paradox. The better our lives get, as a society, the more demanding and displeased we get, not appreciating the immense wealth we possess. And this easily leads us to long for simpler times, when “people were happy”. But in doing so we ignore the fact that people were happy with simple luxuries just because life in so many other ways sucked so badly and they consequently were happy with the smallest and simplest of blessings. So we dream of the old days, thinking things were better, when it really is the suckiness of the times that signify them for the greater majority.
You don’t have to go very far back in time to see this, even my own grandparents, hell even my own parents when they were young. No influence, no proper education, broken bodies before the age of 40, crappy food, no healthcare for a whole lot of medical conditions or for the poor, no social security etc, etc.… Read more
The Devil, in whatever form he takes, will always start by telling you that you are fantastic, a deception which works especially well with those who feel entitled, mistreated, misunderstood and deserving of more, something which is true for most of us, to varying degrees.
The second trick the Devil will use is to tell you that you need to be afraid, because things are far worse than you know and believe, and then he will point to someone weak, different and defenseless to blame, promising a change for the better if you follow his command.
The third trick of the Devil is to tell you that you and him are the same, that he understands you completely, that you are family, leading you to identify more and more with him and his followers.
The fourth trick of the Devil is to appeal to your sense of loss and to your growingly inescapable longing for things you can’t have back, for the sense of safety of your childhood, for comforting familiarity, leading you more and more to withdraw from the different, regarding them as wrong by nature, and growing more and more resentful against them.… Read more
I do believe people can be good just as they have potential for bad. It is all in how we raise our children, in what examples we set, and in what hope we give people. I don’t believe people are egotistic by nature, as is often claimed today, and even it it were true, you could also argue that violence is natural and thus shouldn’t be unlawful. Society is not built around what is in “human nature”, but often in opposition to it, especially against what is in the nature of a small minority. We together set rules and boundaries for what we want as a society. Some will always break and exploit them, but that is true for any system, and society can’t be built around their behaviour. It must provide all its people with hope and faith in it, or it will always crumble.
The systems themselves aren’t really the problem.… Read more
Remember how a couple of years ago Facebook took the liberty of experimenting on unknowing users, adjusting their feed to see how it would affect their views on the world? Like I said then, this was of course not just an experiment but a testing of a product to be sold.
And it has now been used for both Brexit and the US Election, e.g. by Cambridge Analytica. Be very aware of the changing media, data mining and your role in it.
Read more about Cambridge Analytica
The Secret Agenda of a Facebook Quiz
These Toys Don’t Just Listen To Your Kid; They Send What They Hear
How the Trump Campaign Built an Identity Database and Used Facebook Ads to Win the Election… Read more
If you don’t want to give money to the beggars outside of the stores and supermarkets, at least consider giving a sandwich, a cup of coffee or something along those lines. It’s a really shitty position to be in and small things will make their lives a tiny bit easier. Of course there are larger political actions that need to be done, but that is far above everyday life for these people, and quite distant in time, likely to never really have any positive affect on their lives.
My wife has helped with contacts with charity organisations, raised some money for needed items and they know us so well that they aren’t afraid to ask for something, without being pushy or expecting to get anything. Simple things that make life slightly less shitty. They still have it very rough though, sleeping in an unheated, beat up car at winter temperatures.… Read more
From The Einstein Intersection, as awesome today as when I first read it about 30 years ago, as awesome as when Delany wrote it more than 50 years ago. There are a few things to ponder here, but above all, the idea is so great…
“Again, what do you know about mythology?`- I’m not asking you what myths you know, nor even where they come from, but why we have them, what we use them for.”
“I… don’t know”, I said. “When I left my village La Dire told me the myth of Orpheus.”
Spider held up the skull and leaned forward. “Why?”
“Lobey, Earth, the world, fifth planet from the sun – the species that stands on two legs and roams this thin wet crust; it’s changing, Lobey. It’s not the same.… Read more
Looking out our kitchen window I am struck by the crazy hard work of the travelling market traders, many of them fairly old, and none of them young.
They get up damn early in the morning to get prepared, travel to a new market every day (shifting between some 20-30 locations each month), set up the numerous take-down stands for products, set up the stalls for shelter, and then stand up for a full day (which is a killer for anyone) selling stuff, regardless of weather. Then put everything back in their trucks and tomorrow they will be at a new market place, perhaps even another city. And in between all of this they need to handle import/ordering of goods, book keeping, taxes etc, etc, like any other business owner.
They work harder than most people I know and yet they pretty much gain no respect for it.… Read more
Here’s a thought. When you take part in debates, especially political debates, and you choose to make derogatory generalizations like “The left/right are evil, infantile, nazi, ignorant, fascist, sjw, morons, snowflakes” etc. etc, you are not deriding some general, shapeless theoretical mass, but quite often the friends and loved ones; the children, parents and partners, of a great many people, striking far beyond the actual person you are attempting to debate.
While the person you talk to might not be particularly personally offended, it may well be deeply offensive for that very reason, not least when those loved ones have dedicated their lives to help others. It is also a very childish way of arguing and not cool, tough or witty.… Read more
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The first principle is that you must not fool yourself — and you are the easiest person to fool.
– Richard Feynman
“One should never do that to another which one regards as injurious to one’s own self.”
“Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful.”
A man should wander about treating all creatures as he himself would be treated.”
“Never impose on others what you would not choose for yourself.”
“Avoid doing what you would blame others for doing.”
“Do not do to others that which angers you when they do it to you.”
Treat your inferior as you would wish your superior to treat you
“What is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow.”
“The stranger who resides with you shall be to you as one of your citizens; you shall love him as yourself.”
… Read more
“Do to others what you would want them to do to you.
As a father of two young men I really think there are a lot of bitter old fucks who should stop being so envious of the young kids’ youth and try to remember how much it sucked being young with little influence, too little skill & knowledge to be respected for it and a big, fuzzy and scary future, painted a lot worse by media and society. The kids are alright, always have been and always will be. But they won’t be you. Which is fantastic.… Read more
While some of my role models in life growing up were fictional characters, there were of course also real life people important to me. Obviously, my parents. My father was and is an amazing man who always supported both us kids, taking us to training and me to my, at times, almost weekly shooting competitions for nearly 15 years, and helping his wife a lot since she always had some serious side effects from the diabetes that eventually took her life at much too young age. He worked hard and still does, despite having retired. He has had a rough life in many ways, but still keeps an amazing attitude to things.
My mother was the one who got me to read and study. No one in our family or among our relatives had studied at university before so it was a big thing when I did. It meant moving away only meeting my parents once a year at most, and as a parent now I can’t really imagine that kind of sacrifice and sense of loss, meeting your child so rarely.… Read more
For some reason I keep returning to this passage. It just stuck with me as some of the most beautiful love poetry, and put together by a Sami man, probably illiterate and with no formal schooling at all, in the 1670s, and describing how his heart perceives his lover as so perfect that the water is cleaner after she has swum in the lake.
“So shall we quickly end our pleasing pain:
Behold my Mistresse there,
With decent motion walking over the Plain.
Kulnafatz, my reindeer,
Look yonder, where
She washes in the Lake.
See while she swims,
The waters from her purer limbs
New clearness take.”… Read more
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God aged Gautr
and prince of Ásgarðr
and lord of Vallhalla.
The mouth is the source of all language,
a pillar of wisdom and a comfort to wise men,
a blessing and a joy to every knight.
Estuary is the way of most journeys;
but a scabbard is of swords
Óss er algingautr
ok ásgarðs jöfurr,
ok valhallar vísi.
“Os byþ ordfruma ælere spræce,
wisdomes wraþu ond witena frofur
and eorla gehwam eadnys ond tohiht.”
“Óss er flæstra færða
fo,r; en skalpr er sværða.
– Icelandic Rune Poem
With our 9.9 million people Sweden is still about a million short of the population of Italy in the 1500s. Back in 1570 we were only about 900,000 though. And far fewer in the so called viking period.
Norway is estimated to have had only 80,000 people at the height of the viking period, growing to some 200,000 at the end of it, while Denmark had 500,000 in the beginning and near a million at the end. Sweden seems to have had about 600,000 in the middle of the 1300s. About half the people would have been children. And of course roughly half also female or male.
These early numbers are educated guesswork though as no contemporary census was ever made.… Read more
There are many things about the old Norse culture and belief systems that fascinate me. One of them is the idea that gods can and will die (which isn’t unique to this system, but very different to the Abrahamic religions which look at eternity and divinity quite differently). Another is the warrior culture that is ultimately part of preserving the universe against chaos, as every warrior is needed and need to hone their skills to help in the cyclic reboot of the world. Half a millennium later Meyer echoes the same sentiment; that trained warriors are needed to safeguard civilization, or else it is doomed to fall.
It is also fascinating to see how the pantheon seems to be built up of different tribal religions of different regions, some worshipping the more chaotic, darker and violent but also life giving sides, like the Axe/Club/Hammer cults, the Thunder God spread out with different names all over Europe ranging from Greece & Rome to Slavs, the Sami & Finland, the Myth of the Wild Hunt common again all over Europe, the Raven god, the Fertility & Hunting gods like Njord, Frej, Freja, Ull and so on, all of them later functionally replaced by saints in some of the Abrahamic religions.… Read more
So, let me tell you a bit about why I love my neighbourhood here in Gothenburg, Sweden, despite us just living in a rental apartment, in a neighbourhood that used to have old, beautiful but very worn-down buildings that are now replaced with modern, but aging, ones built in the late 70s/80s. It’s not a half-bad place despite all the horror stories about Sweden falling apart spread around the world.
The blocks where we live have about 50-60% people of foreign background, which is quite a bit more than the average of Sweden in total. This means that growing up with people of different colour and culture is a very normal thing for our kids, going to school and playing without any thought about these things. And no, we have no particular issues with criminality or gangs of unruly teens here.… Read more
Considering how it has always been better before, going at least as far back as the Greeks…
“The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households.”
… it must have been pretty fucking epically awesome back in the Stone Age. And yet brutal crime, poverty and suffering was a very strong part of urban life around the Victorian period & the 18th cent, and acts of violence a high risk for a citizen long before. Just look at the 30,000 strong Apaches Parisienne who plagued Paris at a time when it had just above 2 million people. They apparently even had sister gangs aroung the world, e.g.… Read more
It’s a bit funny. Rolf Lidberg was an artist who painted trolls, with the environments all coming from where I grew up, and with many of the objects being things I grew up with, both in my family but more so with my grandparents who I spent a lot of my early years with; like handmade baskets, copper coffee pots, the old ways of making coffee with rough grind straight into the pot which I started drinking already as a kid although not drinking from the saucer like the elders, socks made by my grandmother and Lovikka mittens that sucked for making snowballs, kicksleds used all through the winter and even racing them down icy streets, ice fishing perch and brown and rainbow trout, and arctic char, eating lingon- blue- and golden cloudberries, skiing or walking through the beautiful woods, mires and swimming in the lakes, with the neverending days of northern summer and the deep snow and darkness for half the year.
Around 1570, only 900,000 people lived in Sweden, and only 1.8 million in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Iceland and Finland in total.
In the late 1600s Gothenburg only had 10,000 people and in the early to mid 1800s only about 20,000, just doubling in about 150-170 years.
In the next 150 years of industrialization it grew 25 times bigger, to 550,000 inhabitants, while the national population grew about 11 times to 9.9 million, and the nordic region in total grew by 15 times to 26.5 million.
Quite scary numbers in a way, but still we have a lot of empty space.… Read more
… when I was a child that I never thought would happen to myself:
1. Thinking that vanilla icecream wasn’t an icecream that hadn’t had a proper flavour added to it yet.
2.Thinking that silence and solitude was nice and not just a void that needed to be filled.
3. Thinking that history can be interesting and not just stuffy and useless knowledge about things long gone.
4. Thinking that butter was a tasty spread in its own right and not just a glue to make actual spreads and toppings stay on the sandwich.
5. Thinking that a cap, wool socks and winter underwear actually was good, could be cool, and was comfy as an outfit in its own right indoors at home.… Read more
Not that it clears things up much but important to know.
Currently there are some 1500 groups fighting in Syria, in constantly shifting alliances. While many foreign fighters join the IS, many also join the rebels, who are also made up by great numbers of jihadists, and it is a complete mess as the West has supported some of these groups with arms while also considering the very same groups as terrorists. And the IS are fighting the Rebels who are fighting both the IS and Assad, while the West is in alliance with some who bomb other of our allies.
And while the IS are incredibly brutal, Assad kills 6-7 times as many civilians and uses both torture, kidnapping and illegal weapons against civilians. And millions of civilians are still caught in this meat grinder.
And while removing Assad seems right, the worst fear is that it will lead to even worse things and some hope that a brutal dictator, much like Saddam Hussein, is needed to control things, and is therefore better than the alternative as a known and lesser evil.… Read more
Not a religious person I still find quite a few concepts in various religions very interesting. Hugin and Munin as two separate expressions of the root of Odin’s wisdom for instance, or the Norns as three aspects of time, somewhat similar to the Christian Trinity with the continuity of the Father-Son-Holy Spirit.
I find it difficult to take believing in gods fully seriously, although I respect those who do, but the rituals and philosophies certainly have their value, and dangers too. Regardless of the issues, the old concepts used to describe the world and the human psyche are very interesting and often far more complex and advanced than people give them credit for, even within their own belief systems.… Read more
Although my first tattoo was done for rather base reasons; wanting a visible change, to become adult and to toughen up, but without any clear idea of how to symbolize it, I consider tattoos to be like an oath, like marriage vows to yourself, swearing to stay true to things you believe in and care about. The tattoos are permanent for-life reminders of that. For me that is what tattoos are about. It is not intended for others to see, but for me to be constantly reminded by. It is like chapter titles from the book of my life, just like scars.… Read more
I find it utterly fascinating to read about the Stájnak, the transgender reindeer that the Sami considered a blessing as a “lucky animal” that would help protect the flock. These transgender cows fought the young bulls and even tried to mate with the cows, but the bulls did not try the same with the Stájnak. They were rare, but bigger and stronger than the other cows, with brighter colours and larger antlers. It was a holy animal, that even the wolf let alone.… Read more
It is funny how things connect and come back in loops. I’ve dedicated a good part of the last decade of my life to the study of historical European martial arts, including researching the 19th cent HEMA pioneers who sought to recreate these martial arts in the 2nd half of the 19th cent and early 20th cent.
Recently I decided to put more serious focus and time into another older interest of mine; outdoors life and nature, something I have neglected ever since I moved to the city I now live in. Being the old fart I am, I of course also have old ideas on certain things, prefering simple, low tech gear that is reliable, and I try to both refresh old knowledge as well as learn a few new tricks for what is today commonly called bushcrafting. Doing so, I am looking at the 19th cent writers on the topic, men who wrote about “woodcraft”, and it is striking how “bushcrafting” too has its 19th cent “pioneers”, trying to revive or recreate knowledge that was largely lost by their time.… Read more
Irony is in full effect when people who hate journalists who lie and twist the truth start a FB group about it and then lie themselves and get upset by their own lies, rather than the actual truth. We are just a small step from early nazi Germany with people building their own alternate realities born out of their frustration and mob mentality, enlarged and sped up through Internet and no understanding or concern for fact checking. Really scary shit and there will be more Breiviks and “Lasermannen” soon.… Read more
Speaking of propaganda and banging on war drums… Something which is currently making the rounds on the Internet, not least at anti-muslim and nazi sites is reports on the ISIS beheading children. Now, while I don’t have any doubts that the ISIS is a bunch of evil mf’s, it should be noted that all of the reports on this stem from one Christian American Iraq-born business man, living in San Diego, who’s an expert on viral marketing and who has some form of collaboration with the Obama administration as well as the Iraqi government.
Now this may turn out to have some truth in it, but pictures that have been posted thus far have not been confirmed to be tied to such events and are in several cases distinctly suspicious. And there seems to be no other reports other than a single interview with this business man.… Read more
It is really, really scary to see how media is constantly manipulated and some truly scary, but still rare events are magnified and repeatedly used for more or less racist generalization. There are tons of examples, even including photoshopped images that get circulated, even in daily press and on TV news broadcasting, with text inserted into placards at protests etc. Never before has it been done at this scale, although propaganda has always been important.
The worst of it all is that the real issues are obscured and lose validity and credibility when reported, as it is hidden underneath tons of bullshit and THAT I think is really, really dangerous. It is a great way of keeping people in control though, through fear mongering.… Read more
With all due respect to my friends who have friends and relatives in the region…
Current death toll in the latest conflict between Israel and Palestine: 340 “terrorists & civilians” vs 1 soldier
In total of the years 1987-2011 the numbers are 7978 vs 1503 with a huge escalation in the last 10 years.
2011 118 vs 11
2010 81 vs 8
2009 1034 vs 9 (This year a third of the palestinian casualties were children or youths)
2008 887 vs 35
2007 385 vs 13
2006 665 vs 23
2005 190 vs 51
2004 832 vs 108
Now who were the victims again?
This just isn’t right, not ethically, humanely, politically or tactically. There can’t be a winner here and it may well trigger much more serious events in the region, leading up to a new world war. At this point it is just slaughter, however much some try to mask it as defensive actions and push the blame onto the “enemy”.… Read more
Old pirates, yes, they rob I,
Sold I to the merchant ships,
Minutes after they took I
From the bottomless pit.
But my hand was made strong
By the hand of the Almighty.
We forward in this generation
Won’t you help to sing
These songs of freedom?
‘Cause all I ever have,
Emancipate yourself from mental slavery,
None but our self can free our minds.
Have no fear for atomic energy,
‘Cause none of them can stop the time.
How long shall they kill our prophets,
While we stand aside and look?
Some say it’s just a part of it,
We’ve got to fulfill de book.
Won’t you help to sing
These songs of freedom?
‘Cause all I ever have,
Emancipate yourself from mental slavery,
None but our self can free our mind.… Read more
A very strong documentary on the topic of racism, sexism etc and why you can’t understand the other sides’ views until you experience it yourself. Well worth looking through.
… Read more
“Here’s what I think, Mr. Wind-Up Bird,” said May Kasahara. “Everybody’s born with some different thing at the core of their existence. And that thing, whatever it is, becomes like a heat source that runs each person from the inside. I have one too, of course. Like everybody else. But sometimes it gets out of hand. It swells or shrinks inside me, and it shakes me up. What I’d really like to do is find a way to communicate that feeling to another person. But I can’t seem to do it. They just don’t get it. Of course, the problem could be that I’m not explaining it very well, but I think it’s because they’re not listening very well. They pretend to be listening, but they’re not, really. So I get worked up sometimes, and I do some crazy things.”
– Haruki Murakami
Sometimes I think we would see many more revolutions had we not had TV, Internet and video games to dull our minds and our anxieties with. The people in power, especially those basing their politics on religion seem to have not changed their ideas very much the last century or so… Distrust in the academics and science, not understanding the motives for civil unrest and so on…
… Read more
Imperial rule was the natural order of things, and to threaten it threatened the world itself; revolution was the harbinger of ‘famine, destruction, the death of culture, of glory, of honour and of spirit, the death of states and the death of peoples’. The monarchical system was very dear to Ungern; it was the centrepiece of the hierarchies that governed his world. The Russian monarchy, however, was the most sacred of all, blessed, like Russia, by God himself.