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The Selfish Idealist


Freedom has been on everybody’s lips for decades, actually a century and more, and changes in the way of life have been going on for the better. 

But we are not completely peaceful beings, and increased freedom calls for responsible behaviour. There is violence and violent reactions to it, and increasing oppression going on and on its way, I believe in all countries, and right now ought to be a time for thinking and talking rather than rash action.

Summer evening...Oslo.

Think and talk…instead of planning wars

Uncategorised Posted on 14 May, 2022 13:02

Vladimir Putin said in an interview that USA has the idea of the individual, Russia the idea of the collective.

Those two concepts need to be specified, put into a context, to work in real life, in society, the world.

He says more than this, but to many this is almost what politics is about – they see it as a choice between individual freedom and collective restrictions or dictatorship.

The choice between individual freedom and collective restrictions of different kinds can’t be made 100%.

There always has to be a balance.

Putin also says something about the (Russian) idea, I think, which goes into spiritual matters, into matters of our Creator.

He is a Christian, I tend to forget this because he looks and sounds much like a Soviet leader.

Complete individual freedom, this is my experience, you rarely experience, but in moments I feel really free and happy. You have to adjust to other people, more and less, their habits, society, depending on the situation.

I don’t really believe that any society restricts the movements of their citizens 100%, but if they did, it would of course be the perfect dictatorship.

Of course, not only legal restrictions is an issue, also social restrictions, which occur in all types of society, run by all types of government.

To experience collective freedom you need to feel at one with a group. The moment someone acts or speaks against the common spirit or habits, the common feeling goes, at least partly.

If you see either an idea of the collective wellbeing or the individual freedom as a mystery or an omnipresent fact, which you own or manage on behalf of God or on behalf of general ideas that everyone agrees to, you are walking on a dangerous path, because…who knows the exact meaning of those concepts, and who knows exactly how they should be made into government or to life, by an individual or by a group of people?

I don’t think you can tell once and for all, it has to be sorted out and changed from time to time. Freedom, restraint and social control form of itself patterns among us which are not eternal, but which works for a certain time, in a certain historical period, a certain area, in a certain group of people.

The ways of life, all our habits and ways of dealing with love, work, nature…all this, culture, is very different in the different parts of the world, and determines to a certain extent what is experienced as freedom and what as restraint.

If you believe that your version of society, and of freedom or of people’s welfare – is the only one possible or the only right one, you’re pretty much blind.

Then you are maybe ready for war, which will destroy the possibilities of developing our lives in peaceful ways, through having conversations and talks and forming friendships which affect our lives – not shooting at each other.

No society is perfect.

The role of national cultures in times of migration

Uncategorised Posted on 03 May, 2022 02:56

There is right now unrest based on culture, and some are very much into protecting their national culture, the French, the Danish, Norwegian, etc.

Those cultures were established in Europe roughly in the 19th century. I recently read, actually in a book about Azerbaijani music, that there were intentions back then of internationalism, communication across borders, etc., and this is acually a very interesting point.

One problematic side of the voices eager to protect their own culture today, is the idea that a national culture is 100% itself, homogenous and impossible to mix with other cultures without destroying it.

Discussions about this has been too one-sided.

The cultures of course exist, in a more or less modern fashion, but the point is not…100% right. Some impact from other places is always visible, and usually digested in some way, and more important, there should still be room for this today.

In the 19th Century the need to establish the cultures firmly made them a little over-solid in some ways. At the time you could say it was a problematic, but necessary thing, but today we ought to be safe enough to accept other cultures into our own, as long as we don’t disappear.

As everyone should know the chauvinism then in some ways reached into the wars that came.

Still, we need some of this culture.

But not as a monument or a massive block, not 100% in all respects.

I also don’t need to bow my head to a flag to feel my Norwegianness…it is there anyway.

I ought to bow my head to people of all kinds, and without losing myself in a negative way. 

I believe that actually all cultures are under pressure today, also the national European ones.

Not so far into the past there was talk about American commercial culture as a threat, and this is in my opinion still the case. The most common focus is on music and language, I believe, and this is at least true as a part of this problem.

But more important, the way of giving priority to business before politics, and companies before customers, and the New Public Management as a pattern, system, for public administration, are all clearly imported from less nice parts of American culture.

There are many other sides of American culture that I love, and in any case, as long as it comes as impact, not invasion, most things are ok.

The way those things, the NPM etc, are implemented in society are often, in practice, hidden from public information and comment, the press.

The issue of culture mostly addressed by people on the far right and others, is the perceived problem of, in general, what is not seen as national.

I certainly don’t want Denmark to lose all its Danishness, I love it and love to be a tourist, a guest, physically or mentally, in Denmark and Danish cuture, experiencing its people, music, landscape and cities.

One point is that no culture is 100% itself, we are all a mix in some ways even if the basic pattern can be recognisable.

I can still recognise a Dane and a Norwegian.

I don’t believe any culture has the capacity of solving every problem totally in its own way, I believe every country, every person, even, every subculture of any kind, needs both to protect itself, but also to communicate and let itself be influenced by others. 

To be in touch with other thoughts and use them for one’s own and common purposes.

On the European continent this must in some places and in some ways have been a pretty obvious fact – if we exclude wars for a moment, and only consider the close contact between say Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, for instance, Denmark also – in normal, civil life…it is very easy to move between places, especially in modern times, you don’t have to travel very far to cross a border.

In Norway isolation has been more of an obvious fact, also because of geography, and we have had to adjust pretty fast to changing times of today. The opening up of the Russian border in the north was a boost for cultural exchange when it happened.

Still, reactions to the impact from outside today, by some, are panicky.

To solve this knot, the first thing to consider is the way to think about national culture in general. I agree that there is a certain pressure from immigrants’ culture, but much of the impact can be tackled through close contact between “hosts” and “guests”. 

It takes some time and some effort, but basic social contact, over the fence, at work and in cafés, is a really important key to avoiding social conflict between different cultures in a society, in the city or anywhere. Misunderstanding the neighbour’s habits and ways of thinking can only be eradicated by simple questions and relevant answers, so that in the end anxiety gives way to a more relaxed attitude and in the end…humour.

This process normally takes some time, but I guess if you know that this is possible, it is easier to avoid problems even if the time is short.

Meaning, many problems can be solved in the minds rather than with physical action or physical precautions in society.

There is, of course, a limit to how many newcomers a country can absorb, but it is also partly depending on how you do it, what attitudes and thoughts about the whole thing which are in play.

Another issue which should be addressed is the causes of immigration and the reasons for the great number of refugees today.

If you advocate war as a means to solving problems, in general…a war produces refugees.

This is not a very complicated point.

When it comes to poverty I don’t really have an overview, but the climate changes and COVID has an impact, and again, to argue in favour of cuts in emergency or development aid seems to me not very wise.

If you have no reference to poverty, ask someone what it means and how deep it goes. I am also absolutely not against helping local businesses etc, to fight poverty – in addition to direct help.

To those who don’t believe that the climate problems exist I don’t know anymore what to say. I believe you are really obstructing the solving of a huge problem.

This problem has an impact on the living conditions of many people in the world today.

But to go back to the issue of national cultures, I believe in protecting them, nurturing the arts etc in all possible ways, in order to being able to encounter, meet, any other culture and utilize whatever points those cultures may contribute to one’s own culture, and of course, protect things that you need to protect. This can be a mutual agreement, both parts may have a positive effect of this, as long as there is mutual respect and a certain amount of mental space, and time, which gives room for thought, for finding the positive sides of each other, and room for finding solutions to whatever problems that may occur.

The oversensitivity towards others which can be seen many places today, is a problem, and it comes very often out of not knowing the “others” very well, often the knowledge comes from reading about them or by superficial personal contact.

The lack of knowledge can go both ways in a society of today, obviously, so by all means, the people who come also have to think and adjust themselves. This is an obvious point. 

But the “hosts” have to be active too.

How the question of national culture works in other parts of the world than Europe I don’t know much about, the role of this may be very different. The question of regional cultures splitting up countries I also don’t have much knowledge about. 

But the way I think, in general – you need integrity to meet other people in a civilised fashion.

Songs from Russia and N.America

Uncategorised Posted on 27 Apr, 2022 01:44

A prelude by Sergei Rachmaninoff (D major, op. 23 no. 4) played by Lazar Berman.

Jean Ritchie, one of the greatest American folk singers.

Some of this is very much related in style to the Rumanian singing that was kind of famous here in the 80s-90s. At least we certainly noticed it when I was a music student in Tromsø.

Destroying The Machine

Uncategorised Posted on 07 Apr, 2022 17:25

I took a hammer the other day and crashed an old phone, and found some pleasure in it. The computer business speaks its own language and in general have too little knowledge of normal language. They end up creating quite a bit of trouble because everyone has to think like their solutions tell us to, often there are technical solutions to grammar or language problems, I think it is right to say, the logic of electronics extending its impact even into politics because practical, not analytical thinking becomes the norm.

From loneliness to connecting

Uncategorised Posted on 03 Apr, 2022 23:51

I truly believe that many, hopefully most, Norwegians do their utmost to welcome foreigners of all colours and creeds and from all countries when they come here. 

The extra welcoming of Ukrainians is perhaps felt as a provocation by some, and I have personally realised how much our treatment of refugees is connected to our own politics and very often, to politicians’ personal or political sympathies towards specific groups of people in other countries. The attitude and behaviour of some politicians right now makes this very visible.

But Norwegian culture has not been a ruler’s culture, not since viking times, and those times are too far away to be a normal or relevant source of political attitudes. Thank God for that…  We have had our rulers, you can also say, Denmark and Sweden, but they both left the country with no war, no military intervention of any kind, and no one has seriously hard feelings against them. We are friends, and the only unkind words are jokes that are typical for any neighbouring countries or people, belonging in the entertainment department.

I have some Scottish friends, and to one of them I once expressed my bad conscience or feeling about the fact that actually Norse vikings did violent things to her country, even if it was long ago. She replied with a laugh that Norwegians were in fact kind of popular in Scotland, and that “if you hadn’t done it, someone else would have”.

Nice way to see it.

The times were like that…

But we have in some ways been the little brother in Scandinavia, this is at least a feeling. I certainly don’t want our country to become unpleasantly great or in any way thread on others, I sincerely want the tolerant part of our culture to guide our attitudes towards others. But a little more sense of ourselves could perhaps be ok. It is not necessary to push anyone away for this to happen.

Consider also that we were in many ways alone, a sparsely populated country and with often a meagre interest from abroad, left to our own business, which you could say we attended to.

This has left us, I believe, as a people, in some ways in difficulties both in fighting for ourselves when necessary, and in some trouble sometimes when it comes to meeting with other cultures. Especially after the war this must have been a very strong part of us, the occupation of Nazi Germany left us, I think, culturally flat in many ways.

Today this is changing, the world is here, but the big world is in some ways pretty unstable, problems make people both flee and move for reasons connected with political or cultural persecution and climate problems, just to mention two reasons for international migration.

I sometimes feel that people arrive here with a lot of luggage, not least politically, which is actually not always relevant in a Norwegian setting. It is not true that Norwegian government has been traditionally corrupt, and even if politics of course is trouble everywhere sometimes, the conflicts have not been worse here than in other countries, perhaps less so. The Labour party ruled for many years after the war, and there has been a consensus that even I sometimes found deafening, even if I sympathize with much of what was done during the 70s when it comes to gender problems, for instance, and of course the equalling out of economic differences which happened at least to a pretty large extent, which you could say was the biggest political theme after the war.

But today Norway is in many ways a different country culturally speaking, different from hm…the rest of the world? 

I sound naive, maybe I am, but I am generally used to, I think we are…that talking to each other to solve problems is possible and also accepted, even across cultural and political borders or conflicts. 

The problems of women, as they were described during women’s lib, differ greatly here – between generations, not least, and between subcultures in society, but still the situation of women…it really seems that it cannot be compared to the US, to South America absolutely not, with Asia I must really guess, but so many places seem to have come shorter in many ways both when it comes to formal rights and prevalent attitudes in society. The situation when it comes to personal freedom, however, for everyone, has been a real problem here, I believe social pressure is as high as you can imagine almost anywhere. Oslo used to be a refuge for “different” people of all kinds, creating for instance an art scene with usually an abundance of interesting experiments in many genres. It didn’t happen all here, of course, other places too, perhaps all Norwegian “cities” functioned a little like this. I don’t know, really.

Even if there are still issues here connected to women’s situation in society, the development when it comes to personal economy, especially after divorce, and in other connections, has in some ways secured women’s rights to an extent that men’s situation ought to be considered in the same way as women’s was. I am certainly not arguing in favour of removing any of the rights for women, but it is not always necessary or right to deprive one group of people of rights to help another group out into the light. 

In business life women seem to have remained in an old, rather fixed position of partly subservience and admiration towards men, judging from some of the voices coming out of it, but I hardly know the inside of it at all today, so I can’t really tell. My father worked in shipping when I grew up, but he left his job for becoming a writer at around 50, and this was in the middle of the “radical” times in my part of Norway, and I can’t really tell what is going on in similar workplaces now.

Political reality has been, I think, in some ways worse elsewhere, one of our main problems have perhaps been indifference and a certain ignorance, both politically and between people on a certain level. This has been a problem, not only towards foreigners, even if this is also the case, it is a feature of the culture itself. Between Norwegians there has been a mix of common attitudes on the surface, which has not always been negative, even if the understanding have also covered up conflicts, but there was sometimes a real feeling of solidarity on one level, and selfishness on other levels. “Mind your own business” must partly have been a reaction to a society with extreme social control if you go back decades or centuries, partly it is in a way a selfish scheme, but of course you also need to be selfish, the question is just to what extent. Balance…

In many ways you were left to yourself in Norwegian society, the fate of not being welcomed to town is also not reserved for foreigners, it can happen to us too. The positive side of loneliness used to be creative freedom in many jobs for competent or active minds, especially if you also took care of common matters in your work.

Regional cultures have always been strong, and cooperation between them not always easy. I hope for my part that all our cultures, because there are actually in some ways many, can be turned into a resource even more, in the future. I don’t see it as a problem to be patriotic on behalf of the place you live, as long as it is not exaggerated and certainly not turned into violence, if anyone should think of that. We are not used to anything like that, conflicts in politics, at least, are mainly played out in newspapers and in private conversations, and through the work of numerous organisations on many levels, private or public.

Of course much has happened backstage, but newspapers were many. Today it is a problem that fewer owners than before have taken over many smaller papers.

I actually believe that class differences, even if they of course existed here too, were less crass than in many other countries. Things like geographical isolation and the slow and not really dramatic development towards democracy during the 19th century, made us in the end, or maybe from the start, fairly sure that we could actually fix things ourselves, that democracy could actually work, and rules of democracy were at least up to recent times for a great part respected. Abuse of power existed, of course, as in any country, but mostly backstage, so to speak, meaning that if such abuse were made visible in the press, people behind it could get into trouble and discussions would routinely begin. No system functions 100%, but in many ways we had a democracy and we had from the 60s onwards a welfare state which also functioned at least fairly well.

There is of course, I guess always, larger secrets in a society, structures of power that are hidden behind official truths, etc. But even here there was done research during the 80s, I believe, and probably later, and it is at least fair to say that if you were interested in politics you were not totally ignorant of such things. Fairness existed, of course not everywhere, but if you knew your rights, you had a fair chance of getting whatever your reasonable claim could be, at least on some levels and in many connections.

As I said, informal patterns of power and conflict existed also here, the fight between districts and towns, of course between centre and perifery, sometimes harsh private quarrels between neighbours over the use of land etc, in society the power of the industry or the money, the power of central politics. Some normal issues in society, you could say.

Some really large matters were more or less resolved, the biggest being the economic liberation of the working class as far as one could say it happened – and the establishment of a social security net during the 60s and onwards, and some were not, some environmental issues ended as lost cases, for instance the building of the Alta dam, which of course had a huge impact of the nature in the canyon up there. Still, this conflict gave the Sami people a voice and a new consciousness, and the establishment of their parliament was partly a consequence of this conflict. 

Still, and even more the last years, Norway has not been a society totally locked in all ways, the possibility of change was there even if there were conflicts and even if you might have to fight for your cause. Today the emergence of populism and other developments have turned quite a few things upside down, and left society open to change perhaps too much. A few decades ago, and say 50 years back, change moved slowly, both because economic reality was something very different from today, and for cultural and political reasons.

All this is talk about the times up to modern populism hit us like it hit I guess everybody else, from there the story will have to be partly retold.

We used to mind our own business in many ways, and “modern” attitudes here tend to demand us to follow rules that are often far too strict to be the backbone of a democratic society. Some rules have racist motivation and functions racist directly or through the way they are managed, other things have come as a result of an un-educated attitude to systems in general.

The attitude towards problems has always been practical, and also I believe often improvisatonal, too much sometimes, but also a part of our thinking that has worked pretty well in many connections. In some ways slow, especially in the forming of larger political lines, in others quick,  quicker than competitors, for instance, in business.

Simplifying everything is also a general feature of thinking, sometimes beyond the point of stupidity, but also often a clarifying feature, a habit that helps to see problems clearly, as long as you are able to fill in with other types of knowledge, empirical etc.

Be, as a foreigner on the way in or already inside – a source of impact, but take care not to crush us with your own problems – they may exist here, too, but maybe not always in the same ways and as serious as in the country you or your family came from.

Just think about it.

Norwegian culture used to be in some ways extremely open, which explains some really crass reactions because some have very few means of defending themselves.

This doesn’t mean hat they don’t have a life, a mind and a soul.

Edited after publishing.

A little more cultural guiding into Norway

Uncategorised Posted on 26 Feb, 2022 18:06

I still believe it is a difficult task to compare cultures, because one phenomenon, like food, or sweet foods, or coffee, or politeness, does not necessarily fill the same function in different parts of the world.

For me politeness is sometimes necessary, and I sometimes expect it, but most of the time, i my culture, it is not very interesting. But in some cultures, if you get into a really polite conversation, you should pay attention, because the other person is really giving you something. Sometimes a letter you get from someone feels like a work of art, and you feel totally in awe that someone is able to pay you such an amount of respect and put so much work into trying to make friends with you or at least make your feelings or attitude friendly towards the writer.

To generalise about these things and speak about “Norwegians” or “Swedes” or whatever nationality or region, is of course always inaccurate, even if one may have a point, even an important point sometimes, you can never find out one person completely through sociology, hobby- or professional. Every person has a certain possibility of relating and reacting to his or her own culture, not only following all the rules, and there are always subcultures and competing cultures and a lot of other exceptions to the rules within what is conceived as one culture.

One should keep this in mind, but the two examples above I have experienced myself.

As I said, in my world, respect is normally not shown through a lot of politeness, even if I was brought up to expect a little, maybe in the beginning of a conversation, but through friendliness, which to me is a much simpler and more spontaneous way of behaving. The polite phrases comes inbetween or as a quick start, maybe, when you meet, maybe even among friends, but then you move on to the real thing, the things you really want to talk about.

In general, or in my generation, the politeness-thing also does not really have a fixed shape, I think, almost any comment can do sometimes, depending on where you are, with whom etc. Asking about relatives’ well-being is I guess a habit of my parents’ generation, and I feel it is ok as long as you don’t turn it into a science, which some older people do. Even worse when it is connected to disease which may hit one or the other. To me asking about work is normally not a dumb place to start, mainly because I am interested in my own work and usually curious about what friends are into right now. It is for me also a way of pushing myself a little, because if I tell friends about my own plans and activities, the next time we meet they will probably ask how those things are going, and I have created momentum for myself.

Anyway, I think one should be fairly open when one meet socially, with anyone, too much of a fixed agenda limits the scope and the free breathing of socialising. Addison and Steele, two English writers who ran a very interesting periodical for some years, in London in the 1700s, had an article which treated the question “Do you listen or talk most in a conversation?” 

I don’t remember the answer, but to consider the question can be useful, and interesting.

Sitting in a café or “chatting” as some call it, can be related to work. In the internet, too, of course.

I really don’t care much abut bragging about my work, but I am also used to an appreciative approach from the time I studied, I think we used to comment on each other with the intention of pushing friends ad colleagues up, not down, and from an actual, positive interest in the project, too. This way you don’t have to work so hard to get some positive attention…

Another feat you may often meet in a social setting in Norway, at least in my generation (I am 58) is to start a conversation in a very modest way, toning down your own person and whatever subject you may be touching upon, including work. 

I don’t think this is the only attitude here in Norway either, regional cultures at least used to make the country very different from place to place and town to town, and it was not easy to get a real overview of the whole culture.

Sometimes a loud voice can be really sympathetic in spite of the volume. Of course personalities differ too. 

But still, the ideal of modesty used to be here, and the other attitudes connected to equality, meaning that if you as a foreigner expected a brilliant overture which stated one’s own brilliance in one’s field or the fantastic results in the latest research work or whatever other work one did, you would probably be disappointed, because what you would customarily get was a comment that could sound stupid to you, daft, not made from a professional viewpoint, too mundane or simply from an everyday setting, not a professional one.

Even people with really a lot of knowledge would often behave like that, and if you as a foreigner would be stupid enough to end the conversation after a start like that, because you thought he or she was really stupid,  you could miss basically everything, interesting conversations also on a high level. Creativity and improvisation also used to be sitting completely in our bones, creating sometimes very interesting results. The right way of doing things very often used to be the least interesting way, and you could find the really interesting ideas basically anywhere, sometimes only not where you would expect to find them.

Just to brag…just a little.

You could also be losing a possible friend if you dismissed someone in this way, because feeling high up and being condescending used to be the one thing which would normally or very easily place you outside of a crowd for good. 

I say this half way in the present tense and half way into some form of past, because things change, especially now, social patterns are not quite easy to understand or even find these days, they are changing quickly and in many directions, it seems, for many reasons.

An everyday comment on an everyday issue, as a starting point for talking, this may be a road into really interesting stuff, on any level of society, any level of economy, any level of education and with persons of every type of background.

You still don’t know what you get until you are past this modest introduction, I think.

Social differences do exist, of course, relating to all sorts of things, but I would say that they are not carved into our minds like the ten commandments on a tablet, on the contrary, in principle everybody has and had the right to speak and be part of the common discussion.  This is also a key to understanding the Norwegian brand of democracy. Today it may go too far, but I still very much believe in this principle.

So if you don’t notice these things, but believe that someone who stutters or is a little shy in stating things very clearly is also not capable of thinking or doing things, professionally or not, and if you believe that the people who talk loudest and with most confidence are the real experts, what you will have in return is annoyance, and a lot of it, and I feel sometimes with a good reason, because the really interesting things in society used to be kind of hidden.

So take one step back, listen for a while before you conclude, in, well, many matters, and we’ll love you for taking a little care of us.

The state of thinking

Uncategorised Posted on 18 Feb, 2022 02:03

It’s strange and almost scary to hear Mr Biden talk. He seems almost as confused as Donald Trump in some awkward moments.

There is still a…fight, quarrel, going on, between many groups and people in today’s pretty new and changed public life. It’s of course a new thing that I can sit here in Norway and comment on world politics with so much information at hand. This access to media for everyone of course makes way for new voices, which often have not enough knowledge about the things they comment on. There is a lot of shitty commenting going on, too.

But at the same time, it becomes very visible how different our thinking is, people from top to bottom of society and across a lot of borders among people. Not all new comments or commentators are stupid, or not stupid all the way, and the attitudes of people as opposed to establishment had always been, I think, basically against war. I kind of relaxed after Donald Trump was not re-elected, and Joe Biden may have been good for the US so far in certain matters, maybe many. I don’t follow all the news. But the fact hat the US once again pretty fast got tangled up in conflict abroad makes me of course uneasy, since this happens not that far from where I live, but also…what’s the English word, resigned? Do you actually think you have the solution to how a society should be run, across the globe of so many diffferent cultures?

I have never been to the US, actually I have hardly been out of Europe, but these days any city is an international one, at least Oslo is and I think many Norwegian towns and places you can meet people from all over the world. I have been curious, some times even too much, but I’m learning things. Freedom is certainly not a US speciality more than a German one, Azerbaijani, Italian, Chinese. There are problems relating to freedom everywhere, and there is space to breathe, to meet friends, to relate to family. Cultures grow, they have grown differently across the world always, and today we all meet, in person because people move or flee from trouble, or on the Internet, which boils like a million pots of soup every day, nice things, crazy things, lies and truth.

It is not possible today to claim the ownership of truth, one has to be careful not to upset too many, whenever you say something you pour it actually not in a pot, but a sieve, you have absolutely no idea where it ends up. And for the same reason one should think again, not rush to the joystick and shoot, and one should be as true and as calm as possible. Truth and good will spread as easily as lies and aggression, and may create solutions instead of problems.

I love Americans, normally because of sponaneity and enthusiasm, friendliness, of course, the easy access to talking wth them, positive curiosity and when you actually meet in person, the ability to listen. I don’t like all the export goods that come along, McDonald’s burgers, too much business thinking and business life’s obsession with money, and of course I don’t like the “World Police” badge which your government – or some of you? have put on.

There is, of course, not only McDonald’s coming from over there, there is creole food, jazz of a thousand kinds, I even understood the American symphonic music at last, there is pancakes for breakfast, great beer, actually the idea of good burgers, there is real taco from the southwest, bluegrass music, fiddle and banjo which I just love, there is Rachel Harrington (check her out if you haven’t), 2 mill. singer-songwriters, poisining pidgeons in the park and these are only some of my favourites.

There is probably a power balance in the world which I don’t know everything about, but it seems more and more to belong in an old world which has nothing to do with new generations’ ways of thinking, mostly people younger than me (I’m 58), but I believe many here, and there must be many in the States too, who just enjoy friendship and relations across any human border, at least as a principle, and totally opposed to attitudes that sometimes seep out here too, that “well, selfishness is not easy to avoid, y’know”, coming usually from safe quarters of people who have employed a certain selfishness themselves, one may think. I mean moneywise.

What I mean to say is, make that balance not military, but political.

That is, I think, a cry from the new generation.

And from me.

In the meantime…I’ll listen to Rachmaninoff again, Mussorgskij, Tchaikovskij, I’ll practice some of it too, maybe I’ll make a borstsj one day, it’s a long time since a friend made a big pot for a big party, blinis were not bad even in my kitchen, as I recall it, some folk songs have reached us, also through a fantastic Swedish jazz musician, Jan Johansson, that’s really old recordings, but fantastic stuff. I love Russians for their generosity and love towards artists and musicians (and of course, towards music and art), their knowledge and education, and because they sometimes know more about art from my own country than I do.

They are beautiful people. I can see when I write that I know less about Russian culture and art than I thought, of course we had things like babusjka figures (inside one another), the beautiful scarves for women…touristic, sure, but still… The sound of Russia is in my mind, the seriousness of the music, the deep voice from the bottom of the soul, coming out as beauty.

Every culture has its shitty moments or ways, but I’m not going to mention that in the middle of war preparations on both sides. We need friendliness, negotiations, when it is necessary in politics, and time is essential when it comes to matters of peace, that must be right. Try making friends with someone, it takes some time, usually. Try to hit someone, or yell, it takes seconds and destroys your relationship with the other person for a long time.

I have some experience with that last thing too, and I’m not proud.

Peace, not war

Uncategorised Posted on 31 Jan, 2022 02:25

Worth spending 15 minutes to listen to this interview with the Norwegian PM about the situation in Ukraine and the talks in Oslo between Taliban, other Afghan representatives, and rescue organisations working in Afghanistan.

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