On standards and hypocrisy
Hold yourself and those you support to the same standards you demand of your enemies and opponents, and show the same respect to those who fail them as you would want for yourself and those you care for.
Sweden – A socialist state or not?
I often see a bit of confusion regarding the Nordic model and whether Sweden has been a socialist country or not. And I see people who are against socialism actually arguing both. This confusing right wing stance on whether Sweden is socialist or not depends on whether Sweden is regarded as successful or not. Those on the right who regard it as a socialist state, claim it is a failure, which is common among right wing Swedes, and especially so in the far right. Those on the right who instead recognizes it as successful do not however recognize socialism as being the reason, but tend to emphasize the things they see as in opposition to the socialist aspects.
And it is different to what you find in many other countries for sure, not quite the stereotypical idea of socialism, but certainly not a libertarian free market either, especially not if we look at the period that really defined Sweden. It is one modern definition of socialism though, being a variation thereof.
“The problem with reactionary conservatism and fascism is that it is a bit like a soup made from pickled herring, roquefort cheese, liver paté, banana, spinach, garlic, caviar and marshmallows. Most of the elements are good on their own and can be quite tempting, but when combined it’s pretty bloody awful and tastes like shit when you are forced to eat it.
And here we again have people who love those ingredients, like so many of us actually do, hell bent on trying to make that soup again, not seeing how they do not fit together, not understanding the properties of the ingredients, and not caring about the failures of earlier attempts, thinking if they just tweak the proportions a little bit, it will work this time around.”
On reactionary conservatism
…“It is curious how the reactionary conservatist and fascistoid obsession with tradition and culture never really focuses on the actual, living and near traditions, never on the ambitions and hopes of those living two, three, four generations back, who worked hard at making society better, often living under very harsh and oppressive circumstances, making great sacrifices in the process.Instead the focus is on timewise quite distant cultures and traditions millennias or at least several centuries back, predating the French Revolution and “modern society”, completely rejecting democracy and strive for equal opportunity. In that it literally is against the dreams, traditions and culture of our closer ancestors of the last 150 years or so, and against their hardwon legacy, rejecting them as not part of tradition, while in reality it is very much a consequence of our history, our culture and our traditions, and something which has been constantly debated and fought over for millennias in our societies, not least in the past times these people choose to look to, even in the Talmud, the Bible and the Koran, and certainly in Greek, Roman, medieval and Renaissance philosophy.It is a pure fantasy of a time with no connection to anyone alive, outside of theory and book reading, and often quite ill-informed, built on romanticized stereotypes and cherry-picking of pretty and cool pieces of times which for the majority were very far from what most of us would want or desire.
What to fight over and what is at stake
“It is curious how we have come to a time of idealized hypermasculinity. Now more than ever, media shows us men very muscular, toned and fit, and capable of withstanding and delivering more and more brutal violence than ever before. Looking back to the idealized decades and centuries before, people were in reality, in some ways likely more resistant, while in other ways likely less so, but the concept of manhood was quite different to how it is perceived today, and quite a bit less focused on muscles and raw violence. Just going back to the 60s and 70s shows how even the hero at times is knocked out by a single punch and by comparison is commonly quite skinny or chubby compared to today’s ‘heros’.
And the violence was commonly extremely tame in comparison to the extended scenes of blood and assault of even standard dramas of the current time, now constantly pushing the edges. Of course one aspect of hypermasculinity peaked already in the 90s with the new bodybuilding and martial arts subcultures, but other aspects continue, not least with a hypermasculinity tied to never displaying emotion, and not shying away from the most brutal of violence or even cruelty. We seem to, with a few rare exceptions, be moving away from the clever and witty hero, who acts with compassion and solves issues using his intelligence, as opposed to the simple, brutal and violent nature of the evil and criminal protagonists. It’s a move away from inner greatness, to outer one. From the strength of the righteous, to the righteousness of the strong.
“Every single word spoken or not spoken, every single action taken or not taken, counts and matters, as in some way your choices have changed the life of someone else. The final question is whether it was for the better or not.”
The hardest lies
“The hardest lies to see through are the ones you tell yourself”
He will make mistakes
“You, on the other hand, are a creature placed in charge, and a particle of God himself; there is a bit of God within you.
When you eat, bear in mind who it is exactly you are feeding. When you have sex, reflect who you are during the act. In conversation, exercise, discourse – do you remember that it is God you are feeding? God you are exercising? You carry God around with you, and don’t know it, poor fool!
– – –
What are we anxious about when we graduate a young man from school and out into the real world? That he will make mistakes, eat poorly, have sexual affairs, humiliate himself and go around in rags, or else affect the latest fashions. And why? Because he is ignorant of his personal god and does not realize who goes with him when he leaves school and his former friends. Yet we indulge him when he writes to us to say: ‘I wish you were here with me!’ You have God there with you – Who else do you need?
Epictetus, Discourses, ca 130AD
“Arguing that you can’t have racist views since you appreciate other cultures, or even have a partner or friend of a different ethnicity is about as valid as saying you can’t be sexist because you like women and are married to one. It just doesn’t work like that. And exoticism is a thing too, not seldom used to mask or justify racist attitudes.”
A Christmas letter
On reactionary conservatism
In these conflicted times with a hodgepodge of various authoritarian ideologies ranging from far left to far right, there is a little noticed growing of interest in reactionary conservative philosophy that borders on fascism and which also has a distinct overlap with it, with fascists and reactionaries mingling and debating their ideas on fora, reading the same literature with works by e.g. Spengler, Schmitt, Burke and Evola, but also modern fascists like Donovan. All of it commonly masked under a cover of admiration for beauty, history and culture.
Getting a grasp of these very radical ideas takes a bit of work, but is very important as we need to recognize that it is just not some quaint grumpy old man’s desires, and all of it would have very far reaching although conflicting and conflicted implications, both for society, but also for the individuals, for you, in your home, at your work even at leisure activities, with fundamental and extreme changes, and removal of hard earned rights and freedoms that people have struggled over and died for, for centuries, and which have been debated for millennias in e.g. Greek, Roman and medieval philosophy, by e,g. Aurelius, Epictetus, Seneca and in the Kitab Sirr al-Asrar, even parts of both the Bible and the Quran.
Some of those fundamental changes which reactionary conservatism commonly seek at national, municipal, even at small organisational level in companies and even “clubs”, and in your home, are the following.
- A society should only change when it needs to do so in order to defend its institutions.
Public safety in the past
Funny. Reading one of the most renowned reactionary bloggers talking about how things used to be so much better, how we used to feel safe (when we were kids) but now worry about our own walking to school (Yes, it is different being a parent and not a child…), and how all men used to be proper virile men, I come to think of the contemporary protests in the press when they built the Grand Theatre in Gothenburg, in the late 1850s. It was the first official building outside of the city moat, and the press protested fiercely as by going there it would expose the fine folks to all sorts of dangers, and with the harsh elements threatening their health and clothing. It was thus doomed to fail as people would just not want to go.
This theater, which the brave, fine people would not dare to visit in the late 19th cent was built a 100 meters outside of the city moat. Time for all of us modern snowflakes to man up.
Fulfilling the ultimate prophecy
“There lies great danger in any religion that promises end of the world and restored Paradise, as they essentially, at their core, are death cults, with acolytes waiting for and wanting an end, with a deep longing to see events unfold that trigger this apocalypse, even seeking to actively create or trigger those events, to bring on their saviour and a new, better world to replace the one we live in.
It is a very fundamental, human desire for a better world, but a mutated exploitation thereof, which instead of making this actual world we live in better, requires for the ‘true believers’ to fulfill the ultimate prophecy by making the world worse, to instigate cataclysmic violence and evil, so that the divine will, in reward of their sacrifices, steps in and gives relief to the faithful martyrs. And this drives reactionary extremists at all levels, be they terrorists, neo-fascists, corporate leaders or top level politicians.
This can be balanced by a requirement of proving one’s humility and kindness to become worthy of entering paradise, but too often is not, and especially not against the unworthy unbelievers, who to the fundamentalists are almost everyone, but a very select few, with only those deemed worthy being shown respect and kindness.”
Numbed to the now
“Really wish I could learn to always savour instead of just eating. And this is true for everything in life. But incredibly hard to remember. Too often I don’t really use my senses, just numbed to the now, with my mind on something else instead of the moment.
Staying in the moment for the most of the time is so hard. And you realize how much you miss out on experiencing in those glimmering and intense moments when you do. And trying to experience things as they are constantly. It is incredibly difficult to really do.
It’s the same thing with our vision. I remember how magical the world became when I praciticed painting, how I suddenly became so conscious of all the colours of our reality. It was like becoming a child again, experiencing everything for the first time. We lose so much by becoming used to things and getting complacent and not really sensing or appreciating them. Goes for people too.”
Our root state of being
“About 20 years ago I witnessed an episode that has stuck with me ever since, as I thought it was such a poignant example of the complex and contradictory nature of the human soul.
While browsing rental videos at the store around the corner I overheard a middle-aged man talking to the clerk, asking if the thriller he was holding in his hand was any good, and the clerk answered; “Oh yes, it’s fantastic! You have to see it! It is brilliant!” The man then asked if the clerk thought it’d be suitable for his young daughter’s all-girl birthday party, to which the clerk responded “Hell no! They cut fingers off of little girls in it.”
Similarly, I remember the documentary I saw about the travelling cinemas of India, where the owners for the last 70 years have been driving their buses across India showing big screen Bollywood movies to people in villages who have never seen a movie or even read a book before. In such villages violence is extremely rare, and in some cases the cinema owner was struggling as these people were so shocked by the comparatively mild violence they saw in the movies that they literally felt physically ill, and in some villages everyone walked away, incapable of continuing watching.
This has stuck with me ever since. It is interesting how we can condition ourselves and what our “root state” of being is. There is a potential hidden there, if hard to reach.
This of course also has some interesting consequences and follow up questions:
First of all, since that root state is always under threat from those already conditioned to the use of violence, protective counter-violence will likely always be necessary, and in order to preserve that root state for as many as possible, others will have to submit themselves to a conditioning for threat and use of violence, serving as police or soldiers, thereby, and by necessity, choosing to become less sensitive to it.
Sometimes there is no perfect solution
“Seems to me as if many, if not all, religions and philosophies are built around the ultimate goal of everyone accepting them as their guides in life, and that when everyone does, these systems will finally be fulfilled and work as intended.
Meanwhile, as these philosophies are unable to cope with various issues in society and life, the blame for this is put on various groups of people who do not accept these philosophies. In extreme cases those people are then forcefully converted or even removed, killed. But a society, and its people, can never be forcefully, nor fully converted, and there will always be dissidents and opponents, and the more it is forced, the less successful it will be.
The other aspect of this is, that if not aggressively seeking to convert, many philosophies go the other way of idealizing pacifity and acceptance of “fate”, promising rewards after and outside of the world and individual life, thus making both society and its people very vulnerable to exploitation and brutalization. This too is problematic if it is to be used as a system for governing society.
No matter the path chosen, the fundamental goal of these philosophies is very flawed, breaking the whole system, regardless of whether they are implemented with force or not. They are idealistic, but unrealistic and in a larger perspective doomed to fail, this due to a fundamental unwillingness to accept the nature of humanity, and this idealistic view, while understandable, maybe even needed, is also also at the core profoundly problematic because of its willing blindness to its own inevitable ineffectiveness and inability to build the world it seeks to, just because of the fact that as we breed and become many, fewer and fewer will share the same beliefs, and some will always exploit or brutalize others.
Shouldn’t this blind man, and this deaf man, be executed?
“… what grounds do we have for being angry with anyone? We use lables like ‘thief’ and ‘robber’ in connection with them, but what do those words mean? They merely signify that people are confused about what is good and what is bad. So should we be angry with them, or should we pity them instead. Show them where they go wrong and you will find that they’ll reform. but unless they see it, they are stuck with nothing better than their usual opinion as their practical guide.
‘Well shouldn’t we do away with thieves and degenerates?’ Try putting the question this way: Shouldn’t we rid ourselves of people deceived about what’s most important, people who are blind – not in their faculty of vision, their ability to distinguish white from black – but in the moral capacity to distinguish good from bad? Put it that way and you will realize how inhumane your position is. It is as if you were to say, ‘Shouldn’t this blind man, and this deaf man, be executed?’
If you must be affected by other people’s misfortunes, show them pity instead of contempt. Drop this readiness to hate and take offence.
We get angry because we put too high a premium on things that they can steal.”
– Epictetus, Discourses, c. 108 AD…
Fundamental rights and freedoms
“As a theoretical state of being born “free”, as an individual, unconnected to anyone else you are perfectly free and self-reliant, although consequently thereby also subjected to the whims of nature and wildlife, as well as other people and societies. Speaking of ‘fundamental rights’ here is perphaps not quite as correct as speaking of ‘not having anyone restricting your choices’ in an pre-approved manner.
However, as soon as you decide to rely on others, as most of us have to, you will need to make compromises and give up some of that freedom, being given certain rights and protection in return, and all of it associated with certain obligations. All societies work this way, and any right you have in those are all dependant on the shared agreements made in those societies.
Ideally, if you don’t accept those agreements, you would have two choices; either work to influence those agreements, or leave the society altogether, to complete independence or another society more fitting to your views. Naturally, this is less easy to do today and leads to various issues, but theoretically we are able to withdraw into the isolation of the wild, or move to states closer to our views.
Fundamental rights and freedoms is still an agreement in society though, not something that actually exists outside of that, just like an animal in the wild doesn’t have “rights and freedoms”. Any animal can attack or kill another, and this without repercussions outside of perhaps a temporary counterattack from flock members.
Citizens of the world and children of God
“If what philosopher’s say about the kinship of God and man is true, then the only logical step is to do as Socrates did, never replying to the question of where he was from with ‘I am Athenian,’ or ‘I am from Corinth,’ but always, ‘I am a citizen of the world.’
– – –
But anyone who knows how the whole of the universe is administered knows that the first, all-inclusive state is the government composed of God and man, He appreciates it as the source of the seeds of being, descending upon his father, his father’s father – to every creature born and bred on earth, in fact, but to rational beings in particular, since they alone are entitled by nature to govern alongside God, by virtue of being connected with him through reason. So why not call ourselves citizens of the world and children of God? And why should we fear any human contingency?
– – –
Let us go home, then, to be free, finally from the shackles that restrain us and weigh us down. Here we find robbers and thieves, and law-courts, and so-called despots who imagine that they wield some power over us precisely because of our body and its possessions. Allow us to show them that they have power over precisely no one.”
– Epictetus, Discourses, c. 108 AD…
Snake eating its own tail
“Conflict feeds dogma and closes minds, feeding more conflict. It’s a snake eating its own tail until almost nothing remains. Changing its mind is ever more difficult the more it eats.”…
The morally right vs norms
“Living in accordance with the norms, or laws, of society and one’s peers does not by any means equate to making the morally ‘right’ choice, and not seldom means doing the opposite. The morally right transcends laws and customs, but the understanding of it is difficult and can lead us down both bright and very dark paths, depending on how clear-sighted and honest one is.”
In the ashes all men are levelled
“One thing I know: all the works of mortal men lie under sentence of mortality; we live among things that are destined to perish.
Such, then, are the comforting reflections I would offer… A setback has often cleared the way for greater prosperity. Many things have fallen only to rise to more exalted heights.
– – –
So the spirit must be trained to a realization and an acceptance of its lot. It must come to see that there is nothing fortune will shrink from, that she wields the same authority over emperor and empire alike and the same power over cities as over men. There is no ground for resentment in this.
– – –
Resent a thing by all means if it represents an injustice decreed against you personally; but if this same constraint is binding on the lowest and the highest, then make your peace again with destiny, the destiny that unravels all ties… In the ashes all men are levelled. We’re born unequal, we die equal.”
– Seneca, in a letter to the boy who would become Emperor Nero
Worship what is divine, love what is human
“As things are, there is about wisdom a nobility and magnificence in the fact that she doesn’t just fall to a person’s lot, that each man owes her to his own efforts, that one doesn’t go to anyone other than oneself to find her. What would you have worth looking up to in philosophy if she were handed out free? Philosophy has the single task of discovering the truth about the divine and the human worlds. The religious conscience, the sense of duty, justice and all the rest of the close-knit, interdependent ‘company of virtues’, never leave her side. Philosophy has taught man to worship what is divine, to love what is human, telling us that with the gods belong authority, and among human beings fellowship.
– – –
She shows us what are real and what are only apparent evils. She strips men’s minds of empty thinking, bestows a greatness that is solid and administers a check to greatness where it is puffed up and all an empty show… ”
– Seneca, in a letter to the boy who would become Emperor Nero
Equal to the law
“I have no wish of weakening in the least degree our laws and institutions. All Roman citizens must be equal to the law. I ask my country then, to make the most of what I have done for her, but without me. If she owes it to me, that she is today a free country, let me also prove that she is free. If my stature has grown too great for her best interests, then out I go.”
-General and consul Scipio Africanus
The appearance of good
“A fundamental thing we need to understand about the people who do truly evil things is that a great many of them sincerely believe they are doing good, or at least something that is necessary in order to create good. This can make them very hard to distinguish as they will often have the appearance of good and moral men and women. The crucial difference lies in a craving for control over others, mind and body, instead of just their own lives, habitually passing moral judgements, aiming to restrict the lives of others and especially those different to themselves. We need to be very alert for such people, as giving them power and control is the first step towards an authoritarian society which turns its people into victims of itself. As has happened so many times before, especially as we move away from such a state of things.”
There is no path inbetween
“We can’t live outside of our existance, outside of the world and ourselves. Therefore there can never be any true neutrality and standing outside of events in it. Neutrality is no more than an invented concept and an often misused and misunderstood idea, used to avoid guilt and blame, and to protect conscience, believing neutrality equals blamelessness. It does not. And often quite the contrary.
Being alive and conscious means awareness and an unavoidable relation to everything, and to the activitity and inactivity of others. Action and inaction are both choices always made with intent and purpose, and both always have direct effects, either making, or affecting, things to happen in a certain way, or allowing things to run their course. There is no path inbetween, no middle-road.
This said, the desire to sometimes, even often, stay neutral and outside of things is very human, and understandable. It is just not truly possible.
This should not be confused with the notion of ‘with us or against us’ which is a social, not a consequential concept.”
Nothing ever disappears and nothing is ever wholly pure
“Good people do bad things, and bad people do good things. What matters the most is what weighs the heaviest on the very last day, and even then the good done, for ever more, still remains good, and the bad done still remains bad. Nothing ever disappears and nothing is ever wholly pure, but believing anything is so often leads to great evil and brutality, with idealism blinding us to the reality of things.”
Here am I with a babel of noise
I cannot for the life of me see that quiet is necessary to a person who has shut himself away to do some studying as it is usually thought to be. Here am I with a babel of noise going on all about me. I have lodgings right over a public bath-house. Now imagine to yourself every kind of sound that can get you hating your years. When the streonuous types are doing their exercises, swinging weight-laden hands about, I hear the grunting as they toil away – or go through the motions of toiling away – at them, and the hissings and strident gasps every time they expel their pent up breath. When my attention turns to a less active fellow who is contenting himself with an ordinary inexpensive massage, I hear the smack of a hand pummeling his shoulders, the sound varying according as it comes down flat or cupped. But if on top of this some ball player comes along and starts shouting out the score, one’s done for! Now add someone starting up a brawl, and someone else caught thieving, and the fellow who likes the sound of his voice in the bath, and the people who leap into the pool with a tremendous splash, going beyond from those sounds which are, if nothing else, natural, call to mind the hair remover, repeatedly giving vent to his shrill and penetrating cry the better to advertise his presence, never silent unless it be while he is plucking someon’s armpits and making the client yell for him! Then think of the various cries of the man selling drinks, and the one selling sausages and the other selling pastries, and all the ones hawking for the catering shops, each publicizing his wares with a distinctive cry of his own.
True only in its small context
“It is perfectly possible to only see a part of a larger truth, and thus honestly believe one is correct, thinking it is the full truth, and still be quite wrong, because it really is only the larger, more complex truth that matters, and not the fragmented, incomplete piece thereof. So while true in its small context, it may still lead you to very flawed conclusions and views of the world. Not realising this, or refusing to acknowledge it is quite common in extremist circles.”
Value them according to their character
“You’re quite mistaken, though, if you imagine that I’d bar from the table certain slaves on the grounds of their relatively menial or dirty nature of their work – that muleteer, for example, or that cowhand. I propose to value them according to their character, not their jobs. Each man has a character of his own choosing; it is chance or fate that decides his choice of job. Have some of them dine with you because they deserve it, others in order to make them so deserving.
– – –
… only an absolute fool values a man according to his clothes, or according to his social position, which after all is only something that we wear like clothing.”
-Seneca in letter to the boy who would become Emperor Nero
‘I’m glad to hear, from these people who’ve been visiting you, that you live on friendly terms with your slaves. It is just what one expects of an enlightened, cultivated person like yourself. ‘They’re slaves,’ people say. No. They’re human beings. “They’re slaves.’ But they share the same roof as ourselves.’ They’re slaves.’ No, they’re friends, humble friends.’ They’re slaves.’ Strictly speaking they’re our fellow-slaves, if you once reflect that fortune has as much power over us as them.
– – –
… the essence of the advice I’d like to give is this: treat your inferiors in the way in which you would like to be treated by your own superiors. ”
– Letter from Seneca to the boy that would become Emperor Nero
On influence and pragmatic realities
“The easiest way to block communism from gaining power is to make sure there are few truly poor people, as communism normaly requires popular desperation igniting revolution, or military power in order to gain control.
The easiest way to implement fascism is to make sure the middle class majority feels disillusioned, lost, displeased and deserving of more, and then just play on fear, nostalgia and need for hope, while tweaking the current political system towards ‘temporary’ infractions of rights, adding restrictions and limitations on rights to choice, privacy and integrity for the people.
Consequently, to hinder fascism to grow, the middle-class needs to be made to feel safe and satisfied, with hope for the future. And neglecting this can nurture both communism and fascism, but the latter more and quicker than the former.
This also means that for some on the radical left, it lies in their interest to provoke the government and the powers that be to blatant oppression and a more divised, unequal society, leading to despair, so a broad support for revolt can be built. This is one of the motivations behind the 70’s left-wing terrorism, like the RAF.
It also means that, as a society moves from despair and poverty towards a good, decent standard, it becomes more vulnerable to be exploited by hard authoritarian powers. It is an inbuilt natural process.
Likewise, it means that the same authoritarian powers can choose to inflate ideas about the many problems with the current state of things to gain power, and that the only way of stopping that is education and awareness.
A fine balance between acceptance and willful ignorance
“We humans really have a fantastic reluctance to see uncomfortable things for what they are and often do not until some cataclysmic event happens, and often not until it is too late. It is a blessing and a curse both, and it has kept us together, but has also brought us deep into brutality and cruelty so many times before.”
On war and truth
“If you plan on heading off to war, knowing your enemy is not enough. You also have to clearly see your own weaknesses well, so you avoid overestimating the strength of your own position. In the end, the victor isn’t necessarily the one who is right, but the one who has the strongest support, and it is his words that will be noted down in history as true. Failing to understand this can lead you to hurt the very thing you fight for.”
To remember and to know
“I have no doubt, too, they may be very helpful to the uninitiated and those who are still novices, for individual aphorisms in a small compass, rounded off in units rather like lines of verse, become fixed more readily in the mind. It is for this reason that we give children proverbs and what the Greeks call chriae to learn by heart, a child’s mind being able to take these in at a stage when anything more would be beyond its capacity. But in the case of a grown man who has made incontestable progress it is disgraceful to go hunting after gems of wisdom, and prop himself up with a minute number of the best known sayings, and be dependent on his memory as well, it is time he was standing on his own feet. He should be delivering himself of such sayings, not memorizing them.
Assume authority yourself and utter something that may be handed down to posterity. Produce something from your own resources. This is why I look on people like this as a spiritless lot – the people who are forever lurking in someone else’s shadow. They never venture to do for themselves the things they have spent such a long time learning. They exercise their memory on things that are not their own. It is one thing, however, to remember, another to know.”
– Seneca, letters to the boy who would become Emperor Nero
In these times of a never ending stream of memes and quotes, a quote worth considering.…
Uriah Heeps, everywhere
“Always be particularly careful and sceptical with things that appear to confirm your beliefs.”
Sea anchors and diversity
“Complex issues rarely have simple solutions, and differing perspectives are commonly needed to examine them fully. Consequently, you will not find the tools for solving the issues of society in a single political ideology, and while uniformity of thought, through its consistency, can make it temporarily strong, its singlemindedness also makes it very vulnerable to wandering astray, deep into authoritarianism and oppression which can only be maintained through thought control and violence. Diversity, on the other hand, can act as a sea anchor, allowing the society to explore issues from different angles of view, while at the same time, acting as a conservative force that stops it from going too far too quickly. This is particularly important in troubled times.”
Two different seeds for the same giant tree
“A crude form of communism often arises naturally in tribal context, and can be seen in many native cultures around the world, with a sharing of resources, and a concern for each other, even the weakest. These societies are not built around trade, even if it is part of it, and often lives in chime with nature. A strong sense of honour and decency often permeats such small societies, but there is also a strict perception of what is allowed behaviour, as change can equal threat, meaning a certain conservatism is seen as vital. However, adapting such communism to large scale societies is problematic, as the scale of things do not fit, at the same time as it gives enough room for exploitation, from above or below.
Neither does it work well with free enterprise and business, and will certainly be fought against by the same established controlling forces, thus requiring violent revolution to be implemented, and a new, strict authoritarian government in order to be maintained. So, the knight finally turns into a dragon.
Contrarily, the often perceived as polar opposite of fascism, fits quite well with commerce, as it commonly does not affect it in any negative way. Quite the opposite, it gives it more free reigns to handle its resources, i.e. people and nature. At the same time, it too also inevitably evolves into an authoritarian society that does not care for its weak, stripping away rights and benefits from minorities and the lower stratas of society. Here too, honour and decency is regarded as important, but seemingly more commonly used to judge others by, especially those perceived as below oneself.
On the deviousness of propaganda
“The most devious thing about good propaganda, is that you want to hear it, so much so that validation of truthfulness will become less important.”
Straw men and compliance
“While there are people who exaggerate the number of fascists and racists and who see them where there aren’t any, the number of those people is also greatly exaggerated, and used to claim that the odd example is significant for the majority.
This also doesn’t mean there aren’t quite a few people with fascist and racist views who aren’t fully avowed and self-identified fascists. They don’t need to be though, for the buiilding of a fascist society. They just need to be compliant, while others build it.”
Taste and submission
“When someone uses ‘good taste’ as a class mark of their own superiority, then it is instantly stripped of both values, no longer being actual taste, nor a marker of ‘class’, outside of real or desired social class, that is, and just becomes an extension of politics and ego. The popular perception of ‘good taste’ is very easy to fulfill. It is just a question of money and willingness to conform. And, as it is predefined by others, it lacks soul and is nothing but a mark of submission. Truly good taste is individual, independent, unique and has little concern for the opinions of others, and through this becomes rich in soul and value. And it takes conscious effort, as it can’t develop without commitment and emotion. This is true for art, music, literature, movies, fashion and all such forms of culture. And it has has made our culture rich, spurring its growth. Still, the requirement for, and association with wealth commonly causes a confusion of ‘good taste’ with wealth itself, thus also consolidating the politics and ego too. Or to put it all more simply: Good taste can only come from inside, built brick by brick, not bought whole from someone else.
This, however, does not mean to suggest that appreciating classical culture in whatever form is a sign of lacking taste, commitment or emotion, quite the contrary. But neither does it separate it from appreciation of any other form of culture.”
Fanaticism, air castles and end times
Seeing issues and wanting to find solutions for them is important and vital for a healthy society, but belief in that a certain ideology can solve those issues seemingly more and more leads to a dangerous and harmful desire to see that ideology implemented regardless of cost. So much so, that grave issues are both seen where they really aren’t, while others are magnified or distorted, all to fit the proofs to the agenda rather than the other way around. It is ostrich-with-its-head-in-the-sand behaviour, only at the polar opposite, seeing nothing but problems instead of none. Fanaticism, and both toxic and contagious.
And more disturbingly, and more than a little contradictory; hard societal collapse is not only feared but also *longed for* with a certain degree of tingling excitement, as that will finally proove the desired politics and beliefs to be right and necessary.
Likewise, admitting that the issues either do not exist or are not as serious or far-reaching as believed, thus becomes incredibly difficult, as that would mean that the desired politics is not the true answer to all things, or worse yet; that others are better.
Finally, there is also seemingly a certain degree of elitism and deep need for self-aggrandizing embedded into this, where these fanatics fantasize about, in the end, being proven as uniquely clear sighted, as prophets who see things the dumb and blind majority can’t. And thus great big air castles are built. This is also why the societal collapse is longed for.
The only way to learn and truly understand
…“Never trust the words of anyone else, not even the words spoken here. Too much of what is spoken is biased, flawed or outright propaganda. So, it is vital that we all strive to find stuff out for ourself, even if it takes a lot of work and time. It is also the only way to learn and truly understand.Likewise, we must always be extremely careful in spreading the words of others, and strive to never do it before having had them validated outside of our own bias. Without this we make ourselves weak, allowing ourselves to be manipulated and exploited, while at the same time aiding the speaker in doing the same to others.”
Drops of water, falling on their own, have the power
“For anything that is hammered by a blow, day after day
However softly struck, at length is conquered and gives way.
Haven’t you seen how drops of water falling on their own
Have the power, over time, to wear their way through stone?”
– Lucretius, On the Nature of Things, 50BC
This is quite fundamental for life and the importance of persistance, individually and for society. Many small changes together, over time, create large, important ones. And in this lies hope, but also great danger.
“So, transgenders and homosexuality have existed in many, many cultures throughout history, and even animals exhibit such behaviour, but accepting them is a “social experiment” that threaten the fabric of society? Come on. This is all about not wanting our own narrow perceptions and identity shaken or questioned, demanding that everyone lives in accordance with the limits we set on things, because anything else makes us uncomfortable, having our set ideas disturbed.
Maybe it is about damn time that we rise above the old self-centred “morals” and the mistreatment of others that come with it, recognizing it for what it is, a not chosen life, just as for the rest of us. Acceptance of others is never a threat. Not accepting them, however, always is, and has led to some horrible crimes, half-heartedly motivated by “morals” and false logic, built on ignoring the reality of things.
Or in short; leave people the fuck alone to lead their lives as they want and have to. It will rarely affect your life in any tangible or important way. That is a choice we can make, quite unlike being born transgender or gay.”
New loyalty entangled with old prejudices
“Differences of national character and patriotic sentiment were not the most fundamental distinctions between men at this time. Although in each nation a common tradition or cultural environment imposed a certain uniformity on all its members, yet in each nation every mental type of character was present, though in different proportions. The most significant of all cultural differences between men, namely, the difference between the tribalists and the cosmopolitans, traversed the national boundaries. For throughout the world something like a new, cosmopolitan ‘nation’ with a new all-embracing patriotism was beginning to appear. In every land there was by now a salting of awakened minds who, whatever their temperament and politics of formal faith, were at one in respect of their allegiance to the humanity as a race or as an adventuring spirit.
Unfortunately this new loyalty was still entangled with old prejudices. In some minds the defence of the human spirit was sincerely identified with the defence of a particular nation, conceived as the home of all enlightenment. In others, social injustice kindled a militant proletarian loyalty, which though at heart cosmopolitan, infected alike its champions and its enemies with sectarian passions.”
– Olaf Stapledon, Last and First Men, 1930
Marionettes and sleight of hand
“Like a thrown bottle, a more loud and noisy evil can serve as a distraction, as cover to mask more severe and insidious acts that then pass by unnoticed, seemingly no longer as harmful or large. The former is a tool for the latter, and absolutely necessary for certain radical change when the majority doesn’t agree with it and when they can’t be persuaded through painting the opposite or the affected minorities as evil. Of course, both these methods can be used in combination, for even greater impact. Keep an eye on the flanks and shadows.”
Gods, Flesh and Spirit
“If you possess a firm grasp of these tenets, you will see
That Nature, rid of harsh taskmasters, all at once is free,
And everything she does, does on her own, so that gods play
No part. For by the holy hearts of gods, who while away
Their tranquil immortality in peace! – Who can hold sway
Over their measureless universe? Who is there who can keep
Hold of the reins that curb the power of the fathomless deep?
– – –
Flesh and spirit both are mortal that much is decided,
since both can be cut into many pieces and divided.
– – –
Thus I repeat, you must admit that spirits cannot be
Without beginnings, nor are they immune from Death’s decree.”
– Lucretius, On The Nature Of Things, 50BC
“While political and social concern can be an essential positive force, it also makes us vulnerable to manipulation and exploitation. All political powers and news media, not least alt-news, feed off of drama and stirred emotion. And where there is none it needs to be created, pitting people against each other, picking out and emphasizing minority extremes, claiming that their views are significant for all of the opposition, thus building a dynamic polarization for them to leech off of, and thereby gaining both power and strength.
This is often true also for individuals with a political interest, and therethrough the individual agendas connect to various news channels in a vampiric cross-feeding of this unholy trinity.”
To weave the cloth of mighty things
“Since empty space is limitless on all sides and the amount
Of atoms meandering in the measureless universe past count,
All flitting about in many different ways, endlessly hurled
In restless motion, it is most unlikely that this world,
This sky and rondure of the earth, was made the only one.
And all those atoms outside of our world get nothing done;
Especially since this world is the product of Nature, the happenstance
Of the seeds of things colliding into each other by pure chance
In every possible way, no aim in view, at random, blind,
Till sooner or later certain atoms suddenly combined
So that they lay the warp to weave the cloth of mighty things
Of earth, of sea, of sky, of all the species of living beings.
That’s why I say you must admit that there are other cases
Of congregations of matter that exist in other places
Like this one here of ours the aether ardently embraces.
Besides, when matter is available in great supply
Where there is space at hand, and nothing to be hindered by,
Things must happen and come to pass. That is a certainty.
And if there are so many atoms now no one could count,
In all the time Life has existed for, the full amount,
If the same Force and the same Nature abide everywhere
To throw together atoms just as they’re united here
You must confess that there are other worlds with other races
Of people and other kinds of animals in other places.”
– Lucretius, On the Nature of Things, ca 50BC.
“Nostalgia for a time you never lived in is by nature bound to be quite false. And, as it was experienced by a different you, even the times you lived through will in memory be quite different to actual reality, in memory filtered through later emotions and selectively noted in an ephemeral book limited by its pages. As such, nostalgia will always tell you more about the current than the past.”
Honour to control
“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.”
Disregarding its own logical universe
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.
Feeling unfairly excluded and disregarded really is a disturbing experience, which is why so many feel so provoked when they get a whiff of it, while others yet live their whole lives with a constant series of events soaked in this.…
Phrases dyed a shade of purple
“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 of purple.”
-Lucretius, On the Nature of Things, ca 50BC.
What is lost at any given moment we can’t say
“… 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.
For the sake of each other
“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. I don’t think that is how nature works, but he differentiates between animals and humans in this. We don’t have the same nature, so to speak, and responding emotionally is ‘beastly’. In a way, I feel that he actually argues for acting unnaturally, against our nature, but he seems to think it is about releasing a different aspect of our nature, not distracted by the material.
That, of course, doesn’t relate much to the above quote, but more to the philosophy expressed in his “meditations”.
As a sidenote, being a journal, some of the passages I like the most, are where his flaws and humanity shines through, with contempt for others and grim darkness taking over, like when he writes:
“Just as you see your bath – all soap, sweat, grime, greasy water, the whole thing disgusting – so is every part of life and every object in it.”
Like the early Christians
“… 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
“One great difference in our ways is that, like the early Christians, the Indian was a Socialist. The tribe owned the ground, the rivers and the game; only personal property was owned by the individual, and even that, it was considered a shame to greatly increase. For they held that greed grew into crime, and much property made men forget the poor.
… The price of a very rich man is many poor ones, and peace of mind is worth more than railways and skyscrapers. In the Indian life there was no great wealth, so also poverty and starvation were unknown, excepting under the blight of national disaster, against which no system can insure.
Missing Dirty Dicks
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. A similar sentiment can maybe be traced in the ultimate betrayal of mankind, not recognizing the Son of Man, neither his divinity, nor his humanity. The outcome is of course different, as the sacrifice of the latter also saves mankind, while the former story is less hopeful. Both, however, revolve around people who unknowingly treat the important and divine badly, in a way they would never have, had they realized who they faced, thus exposing the hypocrisy of it all. Divinity can hide itself under the cover of rags and filth, catching us naked in our false kindness which we only extend to our peers and those above us. True kindness is extended to everyone, expecting nothing in return, not even satisfaction.…
Weighing your soul
“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.
“As Antoninus, my city and country is Rome: as a human being, it is the world”.
– Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
The greatest seducer
“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
Truth and authority
“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
Something commonplace and benign, similar to you
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.…
The best revenge…
“The best revenge is to not be like your enemy.”
– Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
Who stands to gain?
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.
“Ladies and gentlemen,” one feels like saying about all these phrases mouthed by patriots, so-called. “Put no faith in phrase-mongering, it is better to see who stands to gain!”
A short while ago the renowned British firm Armstrong, Whitworth & Co. published its annual balance-sheet. The firm is engaged mainly in the manufacture of armaments of various kinds. A profit was shown of £ 877,000, about 8 million rubles, and a dividend of 12.5 per cent was declared! About 900,000 rubles were set aside as reserve capital, and so on and so forth.
How you are being manipulated
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. The same soundless clip is here on YouTube with “funny” music added to it.
The number of police has been criticized, but it seems like this happened fast and was over in minutes, and happened quite central, close to the police station less than 1.8km away, so a lot of cops went out to make sure he couldn’t escape and hurt civilians. Initially we see 10 cops at the scene of an attempted break in that probably has lasted for a bunch of minutes. The police had chased the perpetrator from a nearby garden to this location.
And a bit later, even more cops, unclear when they arrived, join in. At least one car appears to arrive during the incident.…
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.…
Never making yourself slave or tyrant to any man
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
The ever ephemeral present
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.…
Benefactors and values
On the importance of role models
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.…
Eat it, or leave it in peace
– 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……
The destruction of history and whom not to blame
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.…
Value that could have been
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.
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. Nor can I be angry with my kinsman or hate him. We were born for cooperation, like feet, like hands, like eyelids, like the rows of upper and lower teeth. So to work in opposition to one another is against nature: and anger or rejection is opposition.
Self-harm, my soul, you are doing self-harm: and you will have no more opportunity for self-respect. Life for each of us is a mere moment, and this life of yours is nearly over, while you still show yourself no honour, but let your own welfare depend on other people’s souls.
– Meditations, Marcus Aurelius
Stand for something, or fall for anything
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.
And worse, promoting this image of half-emptiness will also nurture a certain kind of semi-paranoid sociopathic behavior with people who deem the current system broken beyond fixing, hoping for, and seeking, a complete violent breakdown of society so it can be rebooted with only the strong and pure, free from corruption and disease. We see these people everywhere around us now, waiting excitedly for the Ragnarök and a new dawn of man. And not just waiting, but acting to further the rapid breakdown of society, in a twisted attempt at conserving it.…
Conservation, preservation and reconstruction
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
Water will smooth a rock
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. And hope. Hope that change and improvement is possible, because not believing in this makes us extremely vulnerable and exploitable to false prophets. Devious lies will always be sexier than the truth.…
What mighty power there is in a drop of water
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
Well-being and its two sides
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.…
Isms and the chimera
On Rulers and the ruled
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
The leash and the range of freedom
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.…
Terrorism and Japan
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. Mass murder is not a rare thing in Japan, despite the low numbers of muslims.…
National pride and diversity
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. Conformity eats itself like a cancer. The division stays the same, only the scale changes. And sooner or later many of those who are currently doing the kicking will find themselves at the bottom, receiving the kicking. True acceptance of and appreciation for diversity builds strength and adaptability.…
On the percentage of immigrants in Sweden
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. Obviously though, asylum seekers by far outnumber work migrants in the Middle-Eastern and African groups.
According to this out of the 16.5% that are born in another country, the division is like this:
2.5% of our total population are born in Scandinavia outside of Sweden
5% of our total population are born in Europe
3.9% of our total population are born in the “Middle-East”; e.g United-Arab Emirates, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Jemen, Kuwait, Lebanon, Palestine, Gaza, Afganistan or Turkey
2% of our total population are born in Asia, not counting countries that are commonly regarded as “Middle-Eastern (see above)
1.7% of our total population are born in Africa
0.3% of our total population are born in North America
0.7% of our total population are born in South America
Breakdown of biggest nationalities above 10 000 people.…
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.…
Kindness and hope
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. We need that hope, or we are truly lost.…
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.
A big part of the problem, regardless of system, is numbers. Number of people, which has grown madly over the last 150 years, in a way that is beyond any comparison in history. And this combined with how good, decent people, with a strong sense of duty, stay calm as long as life is “good enough” and seemingly largely undisturbed by those in power, means that those in power, who are ultimately rather few, can work and exploit the great numbers of people just a little each, literally feeding them sugared shit and surrounding them with crap so profit can be maximized, with no pride in anything but profit, something which with large numbers of people will add up to insane amounts, and yet leaves most people largely undisturbed, not realizing what is happening.
Assessing a state’s strength
“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.
On monarchy with public support
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.
A man who becomes king with the support of the people, then, must keep those people on his side. This is easy enough since all they want is to be free from oppression.
-Niccoló Machiavelli on monarchy with public support
On States won by the new ruler’s own forces and abilities
…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.
…on top of everything else we must remember that it is easy to convince people of something, but hard to keep them convinced. So when they stop believing in you, you must be in a position to force them to believe.”
-Niccoló Machiavelli on States won by the new ruler’s own forces and abilities
On establishing new monarchies in territories with different language and culture
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
On new monarchies
…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
In the company of ghosts
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
Politics and disconnect
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…
Despise no man of low birth, nor of small stature
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. Suche one so wel manered is worthy to be loved of prynces and kynges. And thou ought for to do nothynge without councell. And I pray the dere sone that thou love hym that loveth trouthe & that counceleth the faythfully & somtyme contrary to thyn opynyon. For suche a man is stedfast of courage, faythfull & Just to the & thy subgectes. And the councel of such a man is good to the governayle of the kynge & of his realme.”
– Aristotle to Alexander the Great, Kitab Sirr al-Asrar, 10th cent. (in modern and 1528 translation)
Do not break your trust
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.
Above all thynge (dere sone) beware that thou breke not thy faythe and othe that thou hast made. For it is belongynge to strompettes, and also to people that kepe not, nor do not care for theyre faythe and othe. Wherfore kepe thy faythe that thou hast promysed, for and yf that thou do otherwyse, it wyll come to an evyll ende at the last.
And yf thou breke thy fayth thou shalt be reputed of every man as a chylde or a brute beest than beware therof.
And yf thou wylt wyte what was the destruccyon of Nubye, and of the assyryens. I certyfye the that theyr kynge made othes gylefully, to deceyve the men and cytezens next by. And brake his alyaunces and promysses that he had made, bycause they were profytable to his realme.
Think and inquire oftentimes about your poor subjects
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. And it shall be saufegarde to thy realme, and gladnesse of the and thy people.
– Aristotle to Alexander the Great, Kitab Sirr al-Asrar, 10th cent, (and 1528 translation)
Covet not always worldy things, for they are corruptible
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. Beleve not lyghtly al thynge that is tolde to thee
– Aristotle to Alexander the Great, Kitab Sirr al-Asrar, 10th century, (and 1528 translation)
When the king speaks but little
Sweet son Alexander it is a good thing precious, and honourable when the 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).
A piece of advice more than a few rulers could learn from today…
Cause all your people to learn their children letters
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
Give as your power will to them that have need
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
But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.
– Galatians 5:15
On free speech
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.…
The perfect polarity of black skies
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.…
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.…
The childish and savage taste of men and women
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.
Of course there is fashion in tattoos too, so it is not that simple. And there are fashionable people who don’t care neither for established traditions, nor what others wear, and Thoreau would also have been part of some form of fashion, even if it was traditionally conservative and he thus didn’t consider it as such. It’s all in the why and the how. Both are a social message and/or a message to oneself, so it depends on what the message is and why it is sent. Neither can be neutral and message-free.
On modern and classical art
Acquiring knowledge in the current age
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.
Inevitably this disconnect leads to a belief that the self-collected “knowledge” is as valid as formal research, because the data is there, “available” to everyone, and also to conflicts and even a, in places, growing disregard for science and academia. In fact self-collected knowledge is even considered *better*, as the education received at school and university is seen as rooted in political indoctrination, whilst the personal views are “objective” and untainted.
Those magical moments of solitude
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.…
Compromises are important, but can also lead to accepting evil, hoping it will lead to something better. Commonly though, it does not.…
A fart curse
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. Which leads to no one but a rare few checking up on that homeless person lying on the ground in near subzero temperatures.
To be clear, I am not taking any moral highground here. I do this too. It is impossible to care all the time, but it is also easy to take the easy way out.
And I find it striking how insensitivized we unknowingly are and how different it can be. I remember watching a documentary, some years ago, showing a travelling bus cinema where the owner travelled between rural villages in India to show Bollywood action movies, and in recluse villages people were actually completely shocked and very naseous from the fairly “harmless” violence on display; the odd fist fights, some shooting, but no blood or bruising and mixed with dancing and singing.…
What if you are wrong?
Regarding honour and society
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.
In 1667, George Mackenzie wrote that the world was becoming old as “in this twilight of its declining age, it too frequently mistakes the colours of good and evil” and argued that by far the most dangerous of these conflations concerned honour. Daniel Defoe argued that duels were fought over “mistaken point of honour” and a later anonymous 18th cent writer declared that “the Notion of Honour is certainly very corrupt.. more in fault than our Duelling, which is chiefly occasioned through its falsehood”. All these regarded this as false perceptions of honour, kept by vain and proud people, as mere masquerade and shadow appearance, not being actual true honour, which according to 17th cent writer William Darrell was based on conscience.
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.…
The fascist game can be played in many forms
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. This revelation, according to the traditionalist mystique, had remained for a long time concealed under the veil of forgotten languages—in Egyptian hieroglyphs, in the Celtic runes, in the scrolls of the little known religions of Asia.
This new culture had to be syncretistic. Syncretism is not only, as the dictionary says, “the combination of different forms of belief or practice”; such a combination must tolerate contradictions. Each of the original messages contains a sliver of wisdom, and whenever they seem to say different or incompatible things it is only because all are alluding, allegorically, to the same primeval truth.
As a consequence, there can be no advancement of learning. Truth has been already spelled out once and for all, and we can only keep interpreting its obscure message.…
How fascism grows in a nation
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.
On the Aegishjalmur and the Vegvisir
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.
On historical overview
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.…
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.…
Are you racist?
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. It doesn’t necessarily make the individual racist though. Many of us fall into this category since xenophobia is a very human tribal characteristic.
Racism can also exist in individuals without a formal system, but instead creating an informal one.
We also all have a degree of responsibility in educating ourselves about our society and the world, and that complicates things. Claiming ignorance as equaling innocence doesn’t always work, as is clear with crime and law. This is also true for social issues like racism. And if we don’t we also have to suffer the consequences of our chosen ignorance.
Related to this topic is also the issue of freedom of speech, where it is often argued that even racists must be allowed to speak freely, but this question isn’t quite as easy as it may seem.…
Quotes on kindness to strangers
“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.
Though all Northerners are noted for their hospitality, our Swedes are supreme. To them worse than any infamy is to deny hospitality to travellers, so there is rivalry or competition as to which of them shall have the honour of entertaining a guest. To him they extend all the humane courtesies for as many days as he wants to remain there, and they take him to their friends in their various homes. Good things like this are part of their customs.
They have kings of ancient family. Their power, however, is dependent on the will of the people – what everyone has approved by common agreement the king must confirm…”
– Adam of Bremen on the Swedes, Gesta Hammarburgensis, ca1073AD
But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother have need, and shuts up his heart of compassion from him, how dwells the love of God in him?
A nation drunk as fuck
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.…
Quotes on hospitality
“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
…”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!
My cloak is singed though I hold it high;
sparks fly against the fur.
Eight nights I sat bound between these fires
denied all food and drink
til Agnar come— and he alone,
Geirrod’s son, shall rule the Goths.
You’ll live happy Agnar; Odin, lord of men,
will grant you all good fortune.
You won’t again for just one drink
receive so great a reward.
My name is Grim, my name is Gangleri,
Herjan and Hjalmberi,
Thekk and Thridi, Thund and Ud,
Helblindi and Har.
Sath and Svipal and Sanngetal,
Herteit and Hnikar-
I’ve never been known by one name only
since I have wandered the world.
Too much ale, Geirrod, muddles your mind,
trusted friends betray you;
I can see the sword you carry,
with its blade all wet with blood.
A taliban calling someone else a fanatic
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. In my case, four generations behind me, who were all socialists. They are/were very far from the image you paint of the left, not caught up in debates on pc, gender and safe spaces, (a claimed “leftist” issue that to me seem very exaggerated by the conservative right and more of right-wing propaganda). Instead they talked about fairness and a better society where people had a chance at education, of good long-lasting health and a decent chance in life, no matter what families they were born in. This is the kind of socialism I grew up with, a quite sound variant that focused on some basic human core values that you can equally well find in the Bible.
The socialism my ancestors confessed to was born out of utter despair, living in a very conservative, hierarchical and brutal society with a powerful micro-minority who gave fuck all about their lives as long as they could work hard for a few years before they were broken and replaced with others who also led equally poor and miserable lives.…
The party told you
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
They had all things in common
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
One great difference in our ways is that, like the early Christians, the Indian was a Socialist. The tribe owned the ground, the rivers and the game; only personal property was owned by the individual, and even that, it was considered a shame to greatly increase. For they held that greed grew into crime, and much property made men forget the poor. …The price of a very rich man is many poor ones, and peace of mind is worth more than railways and skyscrapers. In the Indian life there was no great wealth, so also poverty and starvation were unknown, excepting under the blight of national disaster, against which no system can insure.
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.
The Fall of Western Civilization, or just a bump in the road
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.
The distance travelled, the starting point and the reason for the journey musn’t be forgotten though. Anything else is both a betrayal to ourselves and a great disrespect to our forefathers who fought for the ideals we today greatly benefit from.
This is true for both individual perspective and for society.
Now, some argue that we are at the brink of catastrophy and societal collapse, that things used to be so much better at some unspecified point in time, but generally before our own.…
Quotes on hypocrites
“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
“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? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.”
– Matthew 7:1-7:5
“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.”
– Matthew 23:27
“When you see them, their outward form appeals to you, and if they speak you listen to what they say. But they are like propped-up planks of wood. They imagine every cry to be against them. They are the enemy, so beware of them. May Allah destroy them!
Let’s keep art and literature all that it can be
So, here’s some good news
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. Drug use is especially common in the Stockholm region and Skåne, with distinctly lower numbers for the rest of the country, differing from 17% to 12.5%, and especially low in the north, dropping to 9-7% for 18-year-olds, all of it of course a lot lower for the 15-year-olds, for them halving those numbers or more.
As a result kids less commonly do stupid things out of reduced judgement. They more seldom end up brawling and fighting, they more seldom end up with unwanted pregnancies and they more seldom end up vandalizing stuff. Smoking is still high though, and a few years later, getting close to 18 years old, both smoking and drinking is common, but still dropping steadily and quickly.
Causes for the growth of organized crime in Sweden
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.
Drug business was of course the root of all this, commonly sold in the suburbs by these biker gangs. Soon a few unorganized smalltime criminals in these neighbourhoods decided to organize themselves and kick out these biker gangs, and take over the business done in their own areas, and new fronts were added to these wars. The new gangs mimicked the biker gangs, minus the bikes, and initially even wore vests. The hierarchical brotherhood structure was the same, with a president, Sergeant at arms, oaths of loyalty etc, etc.
Over time the wars for control over the drug trade have fluctuated, sometimes calmer, sometimes worse, but generally, the violence inbetween the gangs have gotten worse.…
Understanding the conflict in Afghanistan
Not so much spoken about but hugely important to understand the conflict in Afghanistan and why people still try to flee.
A dangerous paradox
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. Or like in the picture attached, with an old relative of mine, looking sharp in his suit, but wearing it when working as a log driver because it was the only clothes he had, with a couple of shirts to change with.
And we constantly hear how bad things are, causing us to lose hope for the future, while at the same time, globaly and historically looking, things are actually a whole lot better now in terms of poverty, healthcare, child/birth mortality, literacy and education, democracy, and for most people we live in utter luxury compared to our grandparents, both in material aspect, but also in the possibilities we have in life.
The 13 Tricks of the Devil
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.
The fifth trick of the Devil is to convince you that belief is always as good as, or even more important than, knowledge, since it is truer on a deeper, larger and more profound level, and factual truth is thus made inferior to believed plausible truths. That way his ambitious and agenda driven beliefs are established as truths and always treated as such.
The sixth trick of the Devil is to exploit our fundamental need for hope, which requires belief, by leading us to believe that there is hope only as long as we share his beliefs, making us more and more confuse belief with hope itself.…
There is hope too, in our children
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. Cities and large congregations of people are, as has been argued ever since antiquity, and this was greatly magnified with industrialization and international trade, as the cities and consumption culture grew exponentially and very quick, with population growing 10 or 20-fold in just decades, and a few people knowing to exploit this, like small packs of wolves around large flocks of unaware sheep. George Washington Sears expressed the same sentiment in 1884.
“For brick and mortar breed filth and crime,
With a pulse of evil that throbs and beats;
And men are whithered before their prime
By the curse paved in with the lanes and streets.
And lungs are poisoned and shoulders bowed,
In the smothering reek of mill and mine;
And death stalks in on the struggling crowd — But he shuns the shadow of the oak and pine”
Today is no different, and while extremes of dictatorship, full monarchy, socialism, liberalism, libertarianism and capitalism always lead to extreme problems in various ways, more moderate examples can all work in smaller scale, as cohesion, connection and adaptation to realities will always be more direct.…
Data mining and your role in it
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…
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. Currently many of our beggars come from eastern Europe, there living under rather horrible circumstances. And yes, they are primarily the responsibility of those countries, but as noted earlier, such political reasoning does litte to help these people now, or ever. As such though, they usually have no issues with alcohol or drugs. They are just very poor, uneducated and unemployed. Let’s be decent here.…
The Einstein Intersection
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. Some people walk under the sun and accept that change, others close their eyes, clap their hands to their ears, and deny the world with their tongues. Most snicker, giggle, jeer, and point when they think no one else is looking – that’s how the humans acted throughout their history. We have taken over their abandoned world, and something new is happening to the fragments, something we can’t even define with mankind’s left-over vocabulary. You must take its importance exactly as that: it is indefinable; you are involved in it; it is wonderful; fearful, deep, ineffable to your explanations, opaque to your efforts to see through it; yet it demands you take journeys, defines your stopping and starting points, can propel you with love and hate, even to seek death for Kid Death – ”
“-or make me make music,” I finished for him.…
Travelling market traders
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. They are hardly even regarded as business owners.…
Striking the 2nd line
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.…
The easiest person to fool
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself — and you are the easiest person to fool.
– Richard Feynman
The universal golden rule
“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.”
“Do to others what you would want them to do to you. Love your neighbor as you love yourself. ”
“Do to no one what you yourself dislike.”
“Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”
“None of you [truly] believes until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself. That which you want for yourself, seek for mankind.”
– The Hadith
The kids are alright
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.…
Real life role models
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. She died shortly after that which has been an odd sort of disconnected guilt ever since.
My grandparents on my mother’s side were also a huge influence on me. They were extremely poor, but worked hard in a society that had little care for the very poor, first as child labour, never getting any education, but scraping up enough money to build their own house themselves with granddad even pulling rocks out of the ground by horse. They were to a large degree self-sufficient with a full garden with potatoes, beets, carrots, raddish, cabbage, apples, strawberries and raspberries.…
She washes in the Lake
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.”…
A pillar of wisdom and a comfort to wise men
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
Historical population of Scandinavian countries
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.…
Gods can and will die
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.
It’s a fantastic mix of ideas created by quite few people and many distinct cultures, over a very long period of time and spread out over a very large area. That exchange is really very fascinating.
Likewise the deeper ideas embedded into the systems are really fascinating and I regret that no teachers of religion at school ever bothered to even approach the subject with any degree of seriousness, instead just turning it into weird fairy tales with no deeper meaning and little value, completely missing out on the complex ideas and the intentional naming of things.…
Why I love my neighbourhood
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. And our kids are quite comfortable in their very Swedish cultural identity, with parents who are pro-immigration, who are suckers for tradition *and* change, and a father who wears a Thor’s hammer and is covered in Norse tattoos.
Same floor storage
Every third flat has same floor storage, meaning elders and people with various disabilities easily can access things they have stored away. Again, this normalizes the mix of people.
Elevators, ramps & electric door openers
Despite the buildings being only three or four floors, and for the same reason as above, all buildings have elevators, ramps and door openers, making it easy to access the building.
Every second building has an environment station where garbage is recycled.…
The children now love luxury; they have bad manners
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. with the Russian Apaches.
Or look at the Glasgow razor gangs with e.g. the fascist Billy Boys. Or the Peaky Blinders of Birmingham who made a habit of recruiting children to carry their weapons. Or the Mohocks of London who had fun disfiguring innocent people at random using knives and swords. Or the High Rip Gang of Liverpool who the police often didn’t dare intervene with, due to their brutality and habit of always being armed. Or the Deansgate Mob of Liverpool, and so on.
Some of them were even part criminal/part political gangs, like the Billy Boys or the Know-Nothing Gang who under threat of violence forced people to vote in certain ways, or with violence tried to stop the immigration of Catholics. It is believed that Edgar Allan Poe may have been one of the victims of the Know-Nothing Gang and that he died shortly after having been kidnapped, drugged and locked up, in an attempt to force him to support their political agenda.…
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.…
Things I thought my grandparents were crazy with
… 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.…
The Syrian confusion
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. It is a hellhole.
To me this seems to be the current focal point of what in effect is World War 3, but a war very different to WW2 and WW1, as there is no clear enemy and the many alliances of backers and proxy troops shift by the day. I believe it will get a whole lot worse and it will affect us more and more on our own soil as we all sooner or later will have to make a stand and join in military capacity, all the while we also work on diplomatic and financial solutions. And I say this as someone who was strongly opposed to the wars in Iraq and Afganistan.…
Gods. rituals and philosophies
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.…
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.…
Stájnak, the transgender reindeer
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.…
For brick and mortar breed filth and crime
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.
Ernest Thompson Seton writes
Woodcraft is the first of all sciences. It was Woodcraft that made man out of brutish material, and woodcraft in its highest form may save him from decay.
For over 25 years I have been giving the talks and demonstrations that are gathered together in this book…
All are merely parts of a scheme I have always considered my life’s work, namely, the development or revival of woodcraft as a school for Manhood.
These men felt similar concerns to how we do today, concerns about an increasing disconnect with nature, about society’s impact on it and all the problems that come with big cities and modern life.…
A small step away
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.…
Really not a uniquely Islamic problem
These are very difficult times and I really need to comment on the recent horrors in France as they relate to other things and growingly serious developments around the world. I will not respond to any comments to this post and ask you to refrain from commenting, be it to support or argue against it. I may well remove any such.
First of all my deep and sincere sympathies with everyone in France! It is amazing to see how you come together though. Stay strong and keep defending your belief in democracy and free speech.
Times are bad in so many ways. Good people who are against racism at the same time act and speak in a way that unintentionally nurtures it, believing that they need to speak a necessary truth that others in their eyes are too naive and apologetic about. It is a dangerous tunnel vision that puts us on a very dangerous path. And all sides are quoting how important it is to not remain silent against the acts of evil men… proving how messed up all this is. Most muslims living in the western world are very scared and concerned right now, for very good reasons, and have no sympathy for terrorism, and feel no sense of identification with such radicalism.
Truth is this is really not a uniquely Islamic problem but a geopolitical one, centuries old and deeply rooted in the Western world defeating the Ottoman Empire, letting Christian, communist and democratic empires and nations exploit and divide the middle east into random and useful divisions that suited these nations at the time. This exploitation has caused suffering of huge proportions that has been the perfect breeding ground for religious radicalism, in this case islam, of course, since we are speaking of the remains of the Ottoman Empire.…
On propaganda and banging on war drums
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.
Now, I do not oppose military action against the ISIS, but I feel quite suspicious as to the validity of these stories and it is really depressing to see how some put it all in the lap of all muslims, not least with the other bullshit that has been circulating lately.…
Obscuring the issues
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.…
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”.…
Emancipate yourself from mental slavery
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.
Have no fear for atomic energy,
‘Cause none of them can stop the time.
How long shall dey 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 had,
All I ever had,
These songs of freedom
Songs of freedom…
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.
Everybody’s born with some different thing at the core of their existence
“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
The Bloody White Baron
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…
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.
The revolution, seemingly spontaneous, was really controlled by the Jews and intellectuals; it was ‘the horrible harvest of the seed sowed by revolutionaries’. He dismissed any suggestion that the revolts might have arisen out of genuine social grievance, believing that ‘in their hearts, the people remained loyal to Tsar, Faith and Fatherland’, but had been led astray by the intelligentsia.
– From The Bloody White Baron about Roman von Ungern-Sternberg by James Palmer
The Sweden Democrats in 2007 and 1995
The Sweden Democrats, the year after their current leader, Jimmie Åkesson joined the party. A party that just 10 years ago, according to him, had an agenda quite close to the very first one.