Monday, October 30, 2006
Saturday, October 28, 2006
So, I do see literature, poetry especially, as the most serious form of human thought even when including the theory of natural science or ancient and modern philosophy, and even religion. Or, rather, I see art, literature, as the place where these majestic traditions and languages come together, fuse in the most meaningful way possible to humankind. Esthetics for us is the most direct route of expressing our otherhood, of being on this strange pilgrimage that we are being on. And so we continue wondering whether the fault is with the soul and its sovereigns or perhaps then with the lions. And if so, let us by all means send them back to Monsieur Dufy's Hamburg.
Thursday, October 19, 2006
Sunday, October 15, 2006
Of course for us Finns there is this special bond of linguistic closeness - I'm listening at the moment to Justament's "Petseri tsura ja Hiitola ätt", you basically physically feel how the languages are situated so near to mutual intelligibility:
Mis on salmide sisu, mis on jutu moraal.
Igaühel on isu meist surra isade maal.
Las see eestlane aasib, las see soomlane neab,
et poliitilist fraasi “loll” laulu sisuks vaid seab.
Minge elage nädal või paar parem Laadoga rannal.
Minge Petserimaale ja tehke seal tilluke tiir.
Ja siis küsige endalt miks igatsus koju on kallal,
ja siis pärige poistelt kust kohalt küll jooksma peaks piir.
And yes, there also are some common, very bitter historical experiences... "Läevad tunnid ja päevad ja kuud aga rahu ei anna, et üks naaber võib olla nii kuradi sitt ja nii sant!"
But we are also divided by this closeness as it hides the differences: whereas Finland still enjoying the long period of post-war peace and stability looks towards Scandinavia, many of the structures of the deeply wounded Estonian culture are more Central European. There is also much too little understanding in Finland of the cruel trials and traumas of recent Estonian history, and too much easy Nordic arrogance that comes with this profound lack of imagination and knowledge. Still, the bonds easily are far more significant than these temporary discords. Our solutions might differ but the geopolitical challenge is quite the same - an archaic, still very militarized and territorial great power next door. This is not to say anything about the great Russian nation and its brilliant cultural tradition - but the state that rapes Chechnya in the way it has raped Chechnya, the state that lets Anna Politkovskaja be slaughtered at her own doorstep, the state that makes mockery of liberal democracy will remain deeply corrupt and immoral, deeply unpredictable, a perpetual problem for all its small, civilized and Western neighbours.
Thursday, October 12, 2006
Had I been born in any other context, I would surely have adopted a troublefree, unquestioning materialist-atheist position. (Unless my parents would have been militant materialist atheists on the make for new converts...) But I happened to be born in the middle of quiet, unproselytyzing, universal tones of Finnish Pietism. As a concequence I have never been able to totally dismiss religion - especially as our secular culture so stubbornly refuses to infuse our inexclicable experience in the world with any mystical dimension. This is really not to say anything about any literal interpretation of any religious tradition. Those truly are opium for people - and tools of power and aggression for the random elites and organizations. There is no way that we can talk meaningfully about our human experience within those traditions. For the fundamentalists we are not autonomous human beings but obedient "children" in a self-evidently "empirical" context. No matter that this "empirism" is totally based on scared, wishful thinking, on fiction. But to say this does not dispose of religion, not even close.
Strange that without my personal exposure to a mystical local Christian tradition, I would probably never had realized this. Religion begins where primitive fundamentalism ends. Not to posit anything about an empirical, pre-existing God (a concept I find very esoteric and non-essential). We lack a proper language to talk about these issues: religious dogma does more harm than good in its attempt to do so (being anyway coincidental to temporal power struggles). At some level I would no doubt like to fuse art, philosophy and religion into one universal world view. Surely our experience of being in the world does require such a universal vision - the only problem being that we lack the words, the wisdom to have one... So, I am constantly disgusted by almost all actual religious practice and thought but still can't dismiss religion as one of the most serious, if not the most serious, attempt to formulate a worthwhile response to this astonishing fact of our being in existence, to our being in the world. "Käy isänmaataan kohti ain..."