Why were the Vikings more openminded?
The image of Vikings are in the west that they were berserks, that is not what is teached in the schools in the East, there they learn that the Vikings were skilled trademens. The truth is somewhere between but with the main focus at Vikings as skilled trademens. The cause is the attacked monk we robbed on gold could write, and since these were tragical events they wrote about it of course. However in the East less was written about us because there we didn't rob but instead trade peacefully, that is not that much worth to write about. (BTW, because of the trading culture every viking could read, not bad to be for thousends year ago?!) But why this difference? First we did not spending all our time robbing monks on gold in the west, we maked trade and settled down peacefully there also, not much worth meantion that either, but the real cause was that people in the west was poorly organizated, it was easier for the vikings to quickly land the ships from open water, ride in and swing the swords and take the gold like from sitting birds. However in the East there was a much stronger and heavier built defense, some few vikings didn't had a chance if they come in misdeed, so the only thing was to stick peacefully to trading. We even maked trade with caravans coming from China.
So with that in mind it seems that the Vikings knocked down more west-european than Orientals. That is pretty much against the common opinion about Vikings.
One could also say that within this time Vikings trade all over Europe and the East but today when we are within EU we raise customs against countries outside EU. That's why the headline about the Vikings were more openminded!
Why did the Viking era eventually die?
The Vikings trade merchandise from the west Europa to East where they got paid with silver. Most of the bigger silver mines was located in the East. Mostly all silver treasures found in Sweden from Viking Age are silver coins and stuff from the East. Dugged down in the soil during times of violence and then forgotten. And then found thousends year later, much found on Gotland. However the silver mines run short and new silver mines was found in the middle Europe, then the trading the Vikings did between got meaningsless. Simply.
At same time the Vikings maked the last unfortunately raid, called the Ingvar's march (?), ended up with thousends dead men died of some disease deep down away in the East. This event is the final point ending the era of Viking Age. Then disturbances within Svitjod during early Middle Ages in the progress of making Sweden united maked everyone enough occupied with those internal contentions to have time to even think on making more tradings or robbing abroad. Of course later on we got involved into long severe wars with other european countries. But that's another chapter.
Why does every English-speaker actually speaks Swedish?
Yes, if we stretch the truth a tiny tiny little bit we could say every English-speaker actual speaks a late version of swedish, I can almost hear you ask why and how! This is how, before Viking Age in England there lived Celts, they got partly conquered by Romans, during Viking Ages Saxons from south-west Denmark (vikings) and Anglor from north German/Netherlands (half germans and vikings) settled down in south England, these become Anglo-Saxons, which in short gave the name England. Also Juts from Jutland in Denmark settled down here. During this time also other Vikings settled down pretty much everywhere on the islands. 1066 in Hastings the Anglo-Saxons got defeated by the Normands from Normandie with its leader William the Conqueror. Those Normands was as I told before in the Splash-intro actually old vikings that had settled down in Normandie = Land of the man from North. Though at this time they speaked more French than Swedish. So all those folks were actually formerly vikings blending in with the locals and then fighting each other again, and again! The Normands then stood unbeaten ever since then though the somewhat faulty name England didn't changed and the Normands blended in with the rest of the locals. Or something like that.
During Viking Age a dialect of swedish was told in this area just as in the North and Iceland, but during Middle Ages the Englishmen blended together with the French and became a mix of Teuton and Roman, and Swedish become influenced by German and later on in the 19th century also by French and even later by English again. The most truthfully swedish are today actually speaken on Iceland - where mostly Norwegian and Swedes Vikings settled down - but is called Icelandic. To be fair I should mention that this time Danes and Swedes spoked roughly the same language and it was then called Danish because Denmark was slightly stronger. (Did you know that the Danish flag are the first flag in the world? And the second flag in the world very soon became the Swedish?) So if I was Danish I should say Danish instead of Swedish but... it's almost the same thing, we say swedish today since Sweden later grew bigger and stronger.
So English and Swedish has many similarities but not enough so I can write english perfectly, but anyway, some modern words we've recently got from English like scanner and layout, a little older words we got from France and German but even older words English instead inherit from Swedish, like bread (bröd) and soup (soppa) and knife (kniv) or house (hus), in the splash-intro I wrote about Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday that comes from our ancient aesir Gods: Tyr, Oden, Tor and Frej, or Frigg, maybe not everyone are thinking on that those very common words comes from swedish Aesir cult!
But the older common things the more similar words we share, like (I put the Swedish word inside brackets, please note that the english copied swedish): Head (huvud), hair (hår), eye (öga), nose (näsa), ear (öra), mouth (mun), tounge (tunga), teeth (tand), breast (bröst), arm (arm), hand (hand), finger (finger), thumb (tumme), knee (knä), foot (fot), toe (tå), blood (blod). Knife (kniv), (fork has no similarity since it didn't exist then), hammer (hammare), axe (yxa), house (hus), home (hem). door (dörr), tree (träd), bush (buske), grass (gräs), sea (sjö), boat (båt), starboard (styrbord) – simply the side where the helmsman stood, sail (segel), mast (mast), row (ro), live (leva), life (liv), die (dö), cat (katt), cow (ko), horse (häst), goat (get), swine (svin), elk (älg), stone (sten), etc, you see common words abot the human body and navigation mainly.
Words like father (fader), plough (plog) comes from our even earlier common Indo-European inheritance. But you easily see why I can say englishmen talks a late version of swedish.
One exception to the rule is the word window, here has englishmen kept the Viking word for window: vindöga, that means wind-eye, but we have paradoxically lost the connection and says fönster, earlier fenster, that comes from Germany.
In almost the same way the word unknown comes from the swedish okunnig, however in swedish we say today okänd instead.
By the way, in the same manner the meat that was prepared by the lowerclass vikings was called calf (kalv) or swine (svin), or sheep, but when finally served on fine dishes for the upperclass they were instead called in french: veal, pork and mutton.
...so therefore I say every English-speaker talks a late version of Swedish, to some part, but take a look at the Erik's chronicle in the Castle-area here, there we can trace some similarity between English and old Swedish but we can also easily see that spoken Swedish hasn't changed that much.
Why do we say the civilizations cradle stood in the East, Orient, Greece etc?
And why does many depreciate the importance of the Vikings and why are the image of Vikings in the west that they were only berserks? Why were we savages and the Christians from east the civilized? Etc, etc...
You maybe already have got the point, all this viking stuff on these pages are here to try to reflect the new facts we got about the Vikings and transmit a more balanced view on Vikings. As I have wrote before it is the the robbed monks and priests that wrote about theirs terrifying experience of the Vikings, but those who we trade peacefully with didn't write much at all, health remains silent as we say. The Vikings themselves didn't write that much either since we didn't had papyrus but only stones to carve in, we did actually carv much in wood but wood burns and get easily rotten, so much that could be told about are not longer existing. (Actually all vikings could read and write, the few wooden items found shows example on short letter messages like we meet down the harbour when sun goes down and also some love poem, something like this: My love to you is hotter than all fires together) Also our houses was made of wood and grass to hold the cold outside and also those houses burns down or rotten easily. We does not have the easy sandstone to build with either but just hard granite. The Vikings and all them before was also a people of sailors, with all the large impenetrable woods everywhere in North all transports had to be made on water, even more easily on the ice during winter. So there was not meaningsful to build big houses and citys that can tell us about earlier grandiose civilizations. So just because there is not much left written about us and not much old houses found it is rather unfair to say we shouldn't be civilized, not? Are the only cultures that built big houses civilized?
One can also say that they who conquer tells the story. Christian Spanish that killed Indians thought they were savages, in some way did the Christians from south regard our belief and way of living to be uncivilized, and neglected the good stuff we did or maybe just didn't see it. The conquerer acts with superiorety over the worsted, just like happendes much even today. In fact we were not just savages doing nothing before the civilized Christians comes with ideas from south-east, Stonehenge, a giant astronomical calendar, was raised 2000 year before Christ, before or at same time as the pyramids, the shipscraftsmanship stand highest in the North, the art of goldsmith was also the highest in the world, poets and musicians stood high in esteem, democracy, the wide and complex Aesir cult same or even more complex as the Greek mythology can't be invented by just savages, we maked trade with west and east, the Orient and even China and built cities in Russia and we even gave it its name; Rus, as in people from Roslagen or Rurik the Viking, the art of metallurgi was not that high as in the Orient but not that much behind. The Splash-intro showed you some good reasons to not look upon our ancestor as wild backward uncivilized but equals and perhaps just slightly a little different. We didn't just sit and wait for the "civilization" to come, but then the so called "civilization" come from south and new ideas blended in and formed simply what we are today.
Read an interesting theory yesterday in the newspaper, when we were hunter and collectors in small societies smaller than let's say 100 individuals it was gossip and social control between humans that controlled everyone so not anyone could escape ones obligations. When the community grew and gossip couldn't alone control everyone religion took control over the humans, and priests made norms of how to behave and look and even think and etc, this happends all over the world. And then even later when communities grew even bigger we built the society with laws, police and politicians that tells us how to behave to fit in and not be a burden, simply a bigger control system than gossip
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Sweden has the best working democracy in the world, not? Yes, I believe we have, it is not perfect but still the best example in the world of a working democracy, not America, nor any country in EU is close (possible besides Switzerland and Norway, Denmark, Finland and Iceland, however to make this somewhat easier for me I regard all nordic countries as Swedish just for the moment, they have all been Swedish from a historical point of view and we are all the same people with same history since long ago so
), but how can I say so you might wonder... I shall try to explain but before that I shall remind you that politics really are not one of my strongest skills, the thoughts that are coming are also only my own personal thoughts and shall not be regarded as the fully truth, however this pages are not paid buy anyone else but me and I am unpolitical so I dare to say that I at least tries my best to give you an independent point of view, or at least my own view. Read this with this in mind and perhaps take this only as something you can start to discuss from or start your own investigations from. If you encounter anything that you feel are wrong you are welcome to write to me: jochum(at)illustrata(dot)com . With all that said let's start.
Since Viking Age and most possibly from Iron Age or even much longer before that, we had democracy here in Sweden, or the Nordic, not really as we thinking of democracy today but anyway a sort of democracy. The word democracy comes from Greece and Athen where all free men had a vote already for more than 2 000 years ago. The same we had also here but our word for it are not known, if we had a word, we might have taken it for granted, the closest I can think of is maybe the word ting, that means the place and time for where and when we voted. However, every free, not convicted man, but no slaves and no women had then a vote each, during Viking Age and before. Exactly as in Greece. (Slavery was by the way forbidden here already during the 14th century. (USA as late as 1865)) The kings on this time was kings over much smaller territories so when having tings 100% of the free men could come and vote. Even a better democracy than of today! It was also so that if a king didn't do as the men wanted he could be thrown of the throne.
A tale tells that during a raid on the coast of England or somewhere the enemies send out a patrol to negotiate about making peace, they called out that they wanted to meet the king or the chief of the band whereby they got the answer: Here we are all kings, you have to speak to us all.
However, during Middle Ages three smaller areas with each one king at the throne in Sweden become united under one king, it was these tree areas: West- and East Götaland (folkungar and erikar), and Svealand (sverker). The unified king was Birger Jarl and the new country was named Svea Rike [Svea Kingdom], soon later and more easier spoken: Sverige [that's Sweden in swedish]. However the Kings power was sent from God and everyone had to do what the King decided, many fought though to become the new King and many thousends swedes have died in combats against many of our kings that followed, with blood was Sweden shaped into one united country. King Vasa (Gustav I Vasa Eriksson 14961560) was one of the most important kings that unified Sweden, that's the good side he is remembered for, but not everyone remembers the thousends swedish opponents that died in combats against him, to defend theirs freedom and land, but that is as most often like life is, everything good have a reverse side of the medal, and the contrary. One shall not forget also that a king also defend his kingdom and its inhabitants against threats from other kings abroad, however they who hold the weapons was most often peasants' sons and not the Kings. However most Kings accepted our old thinking of freedom and as long they got their tenth in taxes they leaved many local decisions to the locals. Often the Kings also sought for the support from the important farmers to combat the nobility so this is like a tradition we still can see remains of in our local way of democracy, our local municipal council have almost the most power but also obligation toward us. The taxes I pay goes for an example mostly to my local municipality, to child-care, schools, eldercare, hospital, fire brigade, sports and culture, water, public cleansing and other local expenses, not much at all to the State.
Well, in a monarchy controlled by a king, is not really what we can call a true democracy... (By the way, Sweden is the oldest monarchy in the world! Yes, and we still are a monarchy but at same time a democracy, since our King has not the legal political rights left to decide anything political) however farmers that owned their square of land could feel anyway great freedom over theirs life... During 19th century the King was dethroned and we got the four estates: the nobility (adel), burgher (borgare), the clergy (prästerna) and the farmers (bönder) that maked all the major decisions in the State. Again the farmers was represented here as a heritage from our Viking past. Even a few women, widows after dead farmers husband had a vote.
Whith the entrance of the industries a new class was born, the workers. Workers had not any land to harvest, no sea to fish in, they could strictly only work in the factories and got salary to buy food for, they had no influence or any rights in the society, not even allowed to vote. They gathered often in unhealthy conditions in the cities near the factories. The dissatisfaction grew and they formed trade unions to speak for them: one person are no one but thousends are a power to count! It says the first Swedish demonstration or strike occured at the Nyköping's square amongst workers at the shipyard, that's another story though. Other movements was also formed, temperance movement and liberal nonconformist movements, (John Locke, englishman, father of liberalism 16321704) these and other, like some intellectual leaders and leading personality in the field of culture begun to demand for equality amongst all people, 1842 public schools for everyone helped the situation, in order to be able to have general elections people must first learn to read and write to understand the society and why and what they shall vote. Of course the Church had long before begin to learn people to read so they could read the Bible. General elections was introduced slowly thanks to much work and struggle by all the movements but without much violence, no revolutions or wars, at most five workers was shot down during a demonstration in Ådalen 1931. Sweden was not alone in this, many other countries had much harder fights for freedom, like France for an example. However Sweden was one of the latest countries in Europe with women's suffrage, 1921 also all women could vote for the first time in general elections. Today however, many Swedes are not thinking of all centuries of struggling to achieve our freedom to choose our representant and does not vote at all in the last voting, 1998, was only 81% of Sweden's all adult population voting. This election 2002 it was down to 79%. Most often it is they who does not have much power otherwise that should have most use of it that doesn't vote. Strange, isn't?
Speaking about women, many thinks women were oppressed and there was no equality before in history since they got suffrage as late as in modern time, and women was oppressed but just in the nineteenths, before that in the dark ages the situation was actual much more equal than you could imagine, of course they seldom had a vote in a political way but they had the responsibility of the home or farm, and these days the farm was a big place with many employees and much work to do, the work were splitted equal betwen the sexes, the men worked with the heavier duties and the women with all other duties and they were quite many in a farm these days. All women was much needed, later on with all wars it got more women than men but then when the vanful was headed into the cities during the 19th the surplus of useless women increased, all women couldn't find a man to marry and they was not of same use in the factories as the men, comparatively to the country before where every women was needed. And you know things that are needed gets more value and gets more precious. Also already these days if the man died the wife inherit everything and most often also their vote.
Additionally when a man and women should get married in the Middle Ages, and before, the woman's parents should give a large amount money or silver to hers new husband, that you maybe have heard of, but the day after the marriage the man also gave his wife a gift of dawn most often a jewellery or a farm or something with exact the same value as hers present the day before. This gift was solely the women's and if the man should make something wrong like beating her she had the choice to leave him and take hers gift of dawn with her for her support, so this was a guarantee that she should be good treated by her husband, this also gave her a sort of independent style of life and I think it is also quite romantic tradition. From these days we also have the tradition of the hen party, though here we doesn't call women hens but maids. But the question of equality maybe are not only similair with the question of suffrage
It is interesting how the view at women could vary because of outer factors, for an example in the very north where the men could spend months away from home hunting or with reindeer keeping and in the west where the men spent many months out fishing and selling the fish, as far away as England, the women had to do everything needed at home, they should harvest and trade and make food for the children and heat and repair the house and etcetera and especially during times of wars when as much of 50% of all swedish men were killed the women had to do the men's work also. This maked the women strong and indenpendent, and the men had to depend on the women because otherwise they could not leave home.
But in areas where the men worked in the fields nearby, often even so close they could see home and watch what the women did and they could come home every day the men had the women under full control, under such circumstances the women never got as much freedom and responsibility and not as much equality as the other women. If we expand this theory to include women from other older cultivation areas like the middle east you see how long the absurd backside of the men's need of control over women has gone, they are often locked indoors, not allowed to do a common job and must wear clothes so they can't even be seen by other men, the control is total and the freedom for the women is most often pretty close zero. Of course here we also talk also about a major impact of religion, but we could perhaps explain the view the religion got from such outer issues as simply in this countries for long time the women was not needed otherwise than to give birth to children.
To connect to the beginning, why should we have the best democracy then, we were not the first? Okey, I am very proud to present the fact that Sweden like many other modern countries has protected by our constitutional laws freedom of speech and of opinion; we have further also rights to demonstrate, and we have the right to gather together for political meetings everywhere, actually if I'm correct informed this is still not the case in USA, where demonstrants must walk all the time!? I'm not sure of this. We also have freedom of the press so we can guard the politicians, inform us what's happen and express our opinions and we have freedom of religion. But what I'm most proud of is our principle of publicity, (though it is not a constitutional law) don't know if this is the right word but what I mean is that we pay and vote for our politicians to represent us, what they then do must be perfectly transparent, visible to us who they represent and pay them, no secret classified documents, (except military secrets of course). Swedish politicians have also the freedom of report everything in their jobs to everyone, including the press. This sounds pretty obvious but it is not, I believe Sweden are the only country within EU that have this principle but we tries to introduce this thinking to the whole EU, that is of some strange reason very difficult, but why? If theirs politicians doesn't have something to hide they shouldn't be so anxious, right? This have also been a source for conflicts with EU since some swedish delegates used with our free thinking takes secrets classified material home and share here openly for discussion! I believe EU thinks that everything is secret unless it comes from the official organs?
One sidenote, I heard that our Riksbanken: the Bank of Sweden, (which are the oldest bank in Europe) it takes them two weeks to reveal any information you want, but for the European monetary unions bank it takes twenty years! Correct me if I'm wrong.
One fun difference that Sweden also are unique about is a law that prohibits anyone to be forced to reveal somebodys name, if the police suspect I know the name of a murderer or something they cannot force me to reveal his name against my will, you know like a common american detective TV-serie where they often with mildly violence force someone to point out somebody else, that can't be done here, because we doesn't belive such a coerce make any speak the truth, at least it doesn't stand through the court. You know how the police coerce confession in old dictatorships, after enough violence everyone confess anything, not necessarily the truth. So in the end after some violence I should point out a murder even if I didnt know who it was. Then the misery only got double. One good thing we should export to other nations.
One rather odd side effect of this is that a couple of Swedes are the only ones in the world that have recorded the only actual true car chase made on film, at Stockholm night streets, Getaway Stockholm, perfectly illegal of course with real police hunting them, however the authors claim these movies should be impossible to do in any other country simply because of this, as long they trust their friends of course... or the police takes them.
One thing Sweden got widely known for in the 193040 was what was called the Swedish model, in the times of depression after the crash in the twenties every nation tried to wait for the bad times to go over. Though in Sweden the swedish prime minister Hjalmar Branting made something completely opposite, he put money of the government into projects where people got work, he gave allowances to unemployed, when people got work and money they could buy food and clothes and that made more job opportunities to farmers and etceteras. And the wheels come into rolling, and we showed the world how to do.
Sweden have for long time guarded about the poor. Our widely known high taxes, too high in many eyes, have in the past ensured that every Swede had an decent ground level of security, when I grew up Sweden was in fact an utopia in the world, the word utopia means in fact something that doesn't exist, but that the utopia Sweden existed is a fact. Sweden was in the 6090 a fully working real utopia where noone had to starve or be without shelter, schooling or healthcare. That is something really fantastic and we shall not forget that something like that is not impossible, just very hard to achieve. One cause to this is shall we not forget was our policy of neutrality in the Second World War that gave us a good start, but that is only one reason. Other reasons were our traditions for school, equality and democracy. For one example everyone had the right to an equal and extensive and free school that no country has yet come close too. Not even Sweden today since politicians have teared much down and replaced it to parts with private alternatives. (Why we know so much about king Karl XII wars is because of the thousends letters the educated soldiers wrote home, already in the beginning of the 18th century! An heritage from our reading vikings?!) Every kid and adult had free health service and dental care, kids still have but for adults the costs has raised so much that not many in the lower classes afford going to the dentist.
Lower class I wrote, everyone belonged to the middle class, there were a few higher but they were few and paid the taxes for a while. Almost every ordinairy family did afford a brand new Volvo if they wanted. Everyone could get a well payed job. Sweden were in time of prosperity in a way that came everyone to part.
Of reasons that could be discussed, and I am not the man to explain this, these times of prosperity got a huge dent in the beginning of the ninetieth. (To dispute what caused this is a real good way to kill a party... or if you have nothing to say you can always start a debate about who to blame, then you get hundreds reason why, the fun thing is both sides have almost equal right, or wrong, I am satisfied to say it went simply into worser times, leaving the causes out.) Sweden are though still a nation of hard working men and women, here comes some facts:
Sweden are the 13 or 15th biggest exporter in the world, this is though we are only 8.5 million inhabitants.
Sweden are the 20th to 22th biggest economy in total GNP, though we are so very few.
Counted per capita we have the fourth best GNP.
Within OECD (30 of the major industrial economics) we came on split second/third place in productivity.
Regarded in return of invested capital Sweden comes on fourth place, after China, USA and Singapore.
Swedish crown (SEK) are the eight most used currency in the world, though we are so few.
Sweden are the second best in the world on the Human Development Index (HDI) ranking that measures economy, health, education etc.
Sweden is the best country to give birth to a child in. We have also the lowest amount of infant mortality and also we live longest in the world.
In WISP (Weighted Index of Social Development) that is something similair HDI but has much wider and more criterions, much social, we are actually on first place followed by the other nordic countries and then followed by central Europe and south Europe and last USA before the rest of the world.
And this is a guess I throw in, I have no chance to check it but I think I've heard it sometime, counted per capita we are number one in terms of amount of Nobel-prizes, that is a good measure of how good education and other factors are in a nation. If you hear about something new discovery in medicine it surprisingly often comes from swedish scientists.
Counted per capita we have made most inventions in the world. (BTW, did you know it was a swede that first invented the electric lamp-bulb? Though his application of patent was delayed a year so Newton got the credit!)
Though we are so much fewer than the bigger nations in Europe we produce one of the four European fighter aircrafts, to develop such a system is the most expensive thing you can do, actually we are the first in the world that has the fourth generation aircraft in daily readiness for action, not even USA with all theirs power beats our technology. (It is such a threat to them that Powell have made threats toward the Czechs to prevent them to buy our aircraft instead of the americans, that is not a very clean way of doing business, not?) And also swedish submarines outperform americans, they are not bigger but they are invisible, that's much better if you are a submarine that you can't be detected and become a target. A few examples of that 30 times bigger are not necessary better.
A second guess is also that we per capita are the greatest nation within sports: skiing, ice-hockey, football, tennis, table-tennis, swimming, horses, athletics, golf etc etc, though we are so very few... tell me if I'm wrong!
A third guess that is not at all wild is that we not only believe in every humans equality, we also believe in humane treatment of animals. We are the country with the most and best laws that shall protect any animal from suffering. Until theirs death of course. This wiew we are trying to impose on all European countries. We know that animal have feelings and can feel pain, I think it's obvious but it is not at all obvious out there in the rest of the world. This view we have much to thank our dear author Astrid Lindgren for and hers descriptions of a idyllic past when we lived closer our friends.
A forth guess is that we are also amongst the top best within environmental protection, we believe that the less chemicals and pollution in the circulation of nature the more the forests, seas, animals and us the top predator of everything are staying healthy.
The two last ratings are example on things Sweden have been forced to lower its standard to aclimatize us to Europes lower standards when we entered EU, luckily EU have also in many areas tried to raise theirs level to meet up. A final guess is also you are pretty fed up on me now.
But that is not bad for a nation of crude Vikings. In history swedes have had a great impact on the development of the world, within inventions, science, literature, design, music and arts or whatever, and most often only in a good positive way, we have not ever been a colonial power even if we have tried a little. As I wrote before in the Splash-intro Vikings helped to build cities in Russia, trade peacefully with the Orients, discovered continents, our driving force can't come from nothing! That's why I dare to say that the Vikings were people to admire. I hope I can have changed someones delusion of the crude violent dumb Vikings?
But. Though it goes so well for Sweden, all swedes doesn't get equal much of theirs share of the progress today, slowly a lower class are growing in numbers, especially amongst immigrants, unemployed, sick people, older. We are still on a decent level, actually the highest level in the world, but the tendency are there if one look and you don't have to look very carefully. It manifest itself in for an example slighter higher amount of criminality. The more unfairness in society increase the more envy and crimes grow, when everyone had prosper and was happy there was no need to make crimes. So simply the only way to effectively defeat crime is to give everyone a place in society and a goal with his life. That goes also for more widely issues the world over. I'm thinking on terrorism as well. Well, that's not an easy task, but anyway... One odd side-effect of this that I read about is on the otherwise very low numbers Sweden have in dead people in traffic, increasing security in cars and on the roads have made Sweden to the safest country regarding traffic, however with the increasing numbers of criminals and drug addicts and these groups you can easily understand are not very receptive of any tips whatsoever in how to increase the traffic safety the goal of 0 dead in traffic the government had are not ever going to happen. And this is only one of all effects, the human suffering and costs increase for everyone in many ways when one begin to allowe more criminality.
So, shall Sweden lower itself to the standard of the rest of Europe or the world, or could we - though we got the highest rate in WISP of all countries in the world - find ways to somehow come back to the tremendous utopia the community folkhemmet (the Home for the common Folks which was what the utopia was called) we once were part of when I grew up? Why does not the parties debate this interesting question rather than quarrel on each other? Can we ourself as citizens do something to lead the direction? That are good questions. I have no answere for the first questions, for the third I am not a good model myself, the ship has already left the harbour for my part to make any impact or change, but for young people I strongly recommend to read many books, that is a good ground to stand on in many aspects of the life, get a good solid and high education, stay curious, don't bother to try to be cool, it's easy to act cool, it's just to shut up, but to be intelligent is much harder. Don't believe in evening papers when they pay tribute to murderers and criminals, they should instead write about all people that makes something good, no one writes about them. Don't believe what advertisment and commercials try to fool you with, the life is not about who looks best and is most slim, or dress most expensive, or who is most popular or famous, that is a pseudo-world they try to impose on you to make you buy more things. Life is about knowledge, sympathy, love and care, make good things and many other things you can came up with better than I. Learn to read and write excellent and doing maths etc are not only essential for job-opportunities later on but it is also the only way to not let anyone, including society, step on you.
Can't help to say some words about the WISP index, it clearly points out that Sweden and the other Nordic countries has succeeded in a social politic that are human and fair and comes to everyone's part. For an example USA got the highest GNP [BNP] index but only the richest can enjoy it, USA has one of the most unfair welfare injustice and though they could higher prosperity for everyone they only do it for the richest, and they got instead a huge part poor people, such an old fashioned politic view has we luckily not seen here during most of 20ths. My believe is that could be partly because of the poor people in USA doesn't vote, if they had they would have voted for politicians that could go for a more fair welfare policy. One cause of this if I shall continue to believe is that the poor class is uneducated, educated people tends to vote more. Educated people are a threat to the leading politicians because they can understand the unjustice and they can write and make a opinion that got power to make changes. That's why in many non-democratic countries the leader will not make any efforts to higher the knowledge level of the people because then they get people that sees the unjustices and could write loud and strong protest manifesto or gather to a revolt. In Sweden, as an example of the opposite, the liberal politician early saw that in a fair democracy education is the most importent thing considering of all, actually democracy demands education and enlightenments to work. Another cause if I shall continue believing could be the strong belief the americans have of the one man's success, yes it's true in america one man can from practically nothing make success and become something whatever that earn millions bucks a month, this belief supported by movies etc makes them though to forget of the other many more millions persons that doesn't get success and fame. So is it really better that one get success and all the many and millions stay poor or that everyone can split the money? And, is importent to remember, a system with justice doesn't prevent anyone to get success either.
A few thinks swedes have lived in a cocoon of self-satisfying and a will to exclude the outside world that burst in the arrival of the depression in beginning of 90s, but I would put it like if you have got something good it is only natural that you want to keep it and defend it.
Don't know where I shall put this, but I try here: Have you ever heard of Skandia? Maybe Enron? OK, it's almost the same thing. The few top directors of Skandia gave each other all higher salaries, and all higher bonus on the result, however though the result gone down for Skandia their bonus kept raising and the men in the top of the boarder of Skandia could collect million and millions of Swedish crones each. They earned more money than the Swedish prime minister or the King and could live happily in luxury in their big castles, like a newborn aristocracy.
However when the classic aristocracy in the past often had a slight interest of peoples welfare (don't believe in everything you see in the movies, aristocracy quite often really had also an responsibility for the society) these newborn aristocracy of the business world has none so ever responsibility, they have just one thing in common and only one interest in their mind: greed.
The first sign of the fall of the great moral power nation that Sweden was begun with Asea Brown Boweri's Percy Barnevik who almost got a whole billion when leaving ABB, and then many men should follow. It reached its peak here 2003 with the insurance company Skandia and with Enron in USA. A few men thinking theirs intelligence actually are worth so much money. But it is not about intelligence, it's just about greed. A matter of a matrix of self-deception. The company should had evolved quite good if not better without theirs help. However to call them the new aristocracy is way to kind, I want to call them the new garistocracy, or gre-aristocracy, or greestocracy. (in swedish "garistokrater") If you got a better name write me.
One another english or german reporter I saw on telly said regarding the murder of Anna Lindh and the debacle about Skandia that this year had Sweden lost not only its lead as a pioneer nation but also its innocence and now we Swedes must face the reality like everyone else,
sorry, he added. Exactly as I wrote in the chapter before this the reporter was sad of this progress in wrong direction, it was not Sweden that should adopt down to the sad reality everyone else lives in but it should had been the rest of the world that should had increased theirs level of sanity! Instead of putting our labour in building a better society we must now face reality that there are people, even among swedes, that instead wants to tear everything down with murder and ripping off us all our money just of selfish reasons. Greed works. Greed is one of the three worsest sins and greed is not just about money, a person that is greedy also doesn't care about other beings. How could he, it's the other guy's money he want! So greediness also shows those persons' lack of humaneness and care for other. Is it that's why we are put on earth, to maneuver out and put our heels into other people? NO! We are here for in an feeling of love and understanding build a good society for everyone to live in and to put new citizens to earth to follow this. Do you think we are successful doing that? Do you think those businessleaders in Skandia - or Enron or whatever - that only wants more millions in their own pockets makes this world not even a tiny little bit better to live in? Don't think so, they are just leaders of a pack that are not much better than sequence-murderers or spy because they have effectively from inside demolished good human values that makes humans human and a nation a nation. Now we are just as everyone else.
If we had little of our Viking blood still in our veins we should as the Vikings did throw these men down from their thrones. Just mine opinion
There are a few interesting philosophic aspects in the movie The Matrix where the principal character get the choice to take a red pill and learn about the truth or choose to not take the pill and live happily on inside the matrix without the knowledge that his body lies in a bathtub function as a energy resource for the machines. I think that the red pill is what learning is about. To gather information and wisdom and learn things about society, oneself and others, where the school is only a small but the first contributor, IS the red pill. The pill that opens your eyes and let you see and understand the truth, then you can act after your wishes and you can influence your daily life and future or work for the justice of others and its the only way to give you power to not let anyone or anything step on you, they will anyway try but you have at least a chance to defend yourself. Because there are only two types of people that Hitler and Stalin and etceteras could gather in theirs armies, they who want to gain power over others and they who are ignorant (uneducated). Do you really want to live in a bathtub for ever? Its your own choice.
A science-fiction that claims to be of top quality must be credible, like Bladerunner or even 2001 a Space Odyssey, the latter maybe not that probable but it is at least not unlogical. If we look at Matrix so could the basic idea with a computer simulated world, the matrix, where human brains live their lives inside, much possible be true in about a thousends years or so, but I think it is illogical and not at all possible that the robots would invent such a thing. It would have been more credible if the authors said that the robots had the humans as hostages because they wanted to cultivate brain tissue or something biologic stuff they could use to their computer brains, or whatever, but NOT to get energy, because to feed human bodies to get the energy the bodies then produce is to waste more energy than they get out, completely illogical
and therefore not probable.
Furthermore I dont think that robots will ever fight for their lives, they could be programmed to fight to survive or to mend themselves but they have no real apprehension of their own existense and that it is to end someday, because a robot can live forever, one have to have a measured life to understand what living is.
Besides the machines had already won, the non-beaten humans hid far down in the earth and was not a threat anymore, so why should a machine continue a useless campaign of extermination? Maybe only if they could feel hate, and that will a machine never feel. So here I belive the story slips slightly again.
The best idea of Matrix is the idea that we already live inside a computer generated matrix, we really cant prove that we dont, or? However I feel regarding to my objections above we could assume we do not
Other matrix I already mentioned is the consumer matrix that manufacturers and advertisment, commercials, movies and magazines try to fool you to be caught in, the need for luxury, need of self-reward and arrogance they want to catch you in and form your life style just only because to earn more money. When you are trapped you spend your money on expensive clothes with cool logos on, even if the quality of them are worser than the clothes without logos, they doesn't sell products but brands. If you are a young girl you will spend enormous amount money on fancy clothes and make-up, just to give yourselves a little self-esteem and for the believe it's the only way to catch a guy. Actually when you have grew up a little more you will encounter that you only had been fooled, I can tell you already here the truth if you want, your beautiful ego or soul does not exists in your clothes (clothes are only textiles), or in your makeup, or in a well rehearsed tough attitude, your beauty is only valued of whom you are and how you think and acts. I know it is hard to leave this matrix because it is everywhere, not only hard to leave for kids but for older too, but if you want the truth, try to view it from outside and put your valueable time and money on better things, like education is only one example. Buying things doesn't replace life. It's a parallell matrix you can get the grip on if you take the red pill! I don't mean you shall entirely stop buying nice clothes if that is yours interest, people must consume to keep the jobs and the wheels rolling on, I mean only that you shall reflect on the cost and time you spend and think if it is really that you want to do or if it exist more importent values within the real life.
The commercial and consumer matrix was already known for thousends year ago, already the old thinker Epikuros said that to consume is a fraud to life, to consume cannot replace the real value of friends and love, basic human needs. He warned of the result if we continue buy things instead of think of what is a actual major concern to us. One hundred year later Diogenes built around the square in the small town Ocioanda (or something like that) a huge wall with the messages to the people to be careful to buy too much things, the first advertisement in the world were then anti-consuming! You didnt know, huh?!
This impact all advertisment and commercials has on us to fool us that it is importent to be the coolest, slimmest, richest and most admired person changing clothes every year to adopt us to the latest trends stress or pressure us and our identity and prohibit us to form our own personal identity. All different superiour identities are thrown at us every day and we shall adopt everyone and that say for itself that teenages growing up in this inferno cannot find their own identity under such circumstances. And if you can't get your own identity you can't feel secure and you cannot become a fully whole individual. And then you will spend more time and money to keep continue buying your fake-identities and become the obedient consumer the industry want you to become. But you only got more and more depressed.
The trend of young women cutting themselves seems to increase in the westworld, the explanations of this behaviour differs but what must be true is that they of different causes doesn't like themselves, feels unsure and have questions about theirs identity, quite often they comes from homes without one of the parents and a part of them have even been abused. But I think the pressure these girls get from advertisment, TV and movies, magazines, porno, and persons around them to be slim, beautiful, sexy, (of some reasons seldom smart?!), rich, cool, trendy, whatever, under this bombards they got all time every day they can't get the time to form their own identity and the pressure creates ticking bombs ready to explode. They also feels very inadequate by this competition of supermodels, faked improved pictures, and artists. It is not very hard to see that this must create problems and one way of this is to cut themselves to let it out. Boys have it easier, we can choose to be like a footballplayer or a computergeek but we also doesn't have the role to play the one who take care of us boys and be good and at same time must be sexy, we have to be tough but that is almost all we have to be and not many can fulfill that with pimples and no muscles, but if we doesn't succeed in school it doesn't matter much, we can become something anyway.
And on top of this I ponder if a girl goes on diet to become slim and sexy she also gets less vitamines and etceteras, this making her mind less functional in an age when all other problems comes by nature, this on top of the pressure from media described before it is only a question of how many girls that will begin to hurt themselves. Solution? I have none, but one small thing to do could be to eat more correctly. However I really think the problem are more complicated and much of the problem lies in the society and its pressure. Let girls grow up in less hurry and with less demands. How to achieve this you could ponder on. If someone with these problems happendes to read this, I only want to say: relax, you are fine and enough beautiful as you are, try to see through the messages you get from everywhere, they comes from an industry that wants to earn bucks on you, don't believe everything, use your mind and think for yourselves, think constructive, relax, everything will become better when you get a little older
About consumption and commersialism I saw something interesting on telly, it was a women representing advertising agencies that said about commersialism that it is not their fault, everyone has the right to advertise their message, it is only that today it is only commercial forces that advertise, all the values religion and usages, moral and the government stay silent and advertising just sells stuff, not values. And in a time when the government and the church doesn't provide moral, traditions, ethical and importent values we only got the messages from them who want to sell us stuff. She said also that youngsters nowadays doesn't want to get knowledge from different sources, they have not time nor interest, they became instead more and more interested to buy a ready kit of a lifestyle, for an example if you are a skater you dress yourself in the right skater brands and you listen on skatermusic and acts like a skater and party as a skater and you also think and vote as a skater, the whole kit. Kids are not interested to spend time to build their own view on the world with reading a lots of books and articles or whatever, they only want to fast get a cool slim look in the simpliest way. Politic goes trendy. But when people doesn't build their own values and knowledge they will get mature much later, or perhaps never. And if they doesn't make their own opinion they can vote as the trend is that day, or worser, they just maybe will vote for those who got most money and makes the best and coolest advertising campaign. If people gets so easy to mislead it is easier for someone new person like Hitler to take the control. One could also add that these trends becomes more and more like religions. Harder to tell the difference, and it is not a good way of development, I would rather seen the knowledge increase instead.
One another example of a matrix many desires to enter is just as good lie as the glamour-matrix above, the drug-matrix, people earn money on other peoples drug-addicts, that is actually the only big truth and the only reason, when you take a pill or anything it is purely and solely only a result of a few peoples eager to get more money. Why does every drug abuser take the risks just to leave this reality to another unreality? It is much more beautiful to instead try to make ones life and others to the better. Children in Africa that fights for theirs life every day should not believe if you told them that there are people in the rich countries that at same time tries the best to actually shorten their lifes. A more effectively way and safer way to leave your reality if it's boring for a moment is to read books. Do I sound boring? You have maybe not found the right books. And for you that anyway will continue experimenting with drugs there are two easy rules, don't mix alcohol and pills, don't drink alcohol you don't know for sure where it comes from, two easy rules if you want to stay alive longer. If no adult have informed you yet you should know that every form of narcotic, especially ecstacy, can mess with your brain already from the first pill, if you not die you can become a vegetable in various degree.
About alcohol, youngsters have a need for testing what they believe adults are doing. However alcohol is very hazardous for the young body. I saw on TV a interview with a very young man that defended himself after a very wet night with the words that everyone else adult boozes so he only wanted to do the same. I must say, adults doesn't booze at all that much youngsters think, I understand that when they meet a drunken guy that are threee-four older they believe he is adult, but he isn't, it's just another young immature kid, 99 % of the real adults are not out every friday and drink their heads off. The few very adults you see out is that one percent that is always out drinking. That's the truth. So don't blame others for what is really only your own responsible.
As for young girls and alcohol I only want to say: don't! Girls have much less tolerance of alcohol and if you not dies in your vomits directly caused of the alcohol there are men out there waiting for to take advantages on you and then your only hope if you doesn' immediately get maltreated is to hope for that that man doesn't carry Aids or other bad diseases. No, it is much wiser to act adult in the first place.
Another thing I came up with when driving today that could be another matrix is the traffic, some people behave without sense and drives as I heard someone described it, as if they had an pineapple in theirs arse. People tends to change personality like Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde as soon they get behind the steering wheel, nothing becomes more importent than to win two seconds just to arrive first to the red light. One could wonder why two seconds of their lifes becomes so much of importance so they could risk their whole life to gain those few seconds?! What is it for mighty force that can change a young mother or father of many children to a possible assassin behind the wheel? Maybe it is as they who believe in the matrix-theory thinks, they who made up our matrix couldn't predict how we should react in a fast little metal vehicle so we acts like if we stand outside the matrix?! We can't be controlled from outside the metal shield!
A very importent benefit with driving more carefully is that you save gas, and therefore makes less pollution and the planet and we all can live longer. The higher speed or bigger car, the more and brutal accidents and more pollutions, that's the facts! And you have the chance to make a difference!
Another matrix we happened to discuss in school is the development of the news media-industry. News tends to all over the world change into more of big flaming headlines with less content and objectivity but more of scandalous wallow in scandals and others failures. Maybe because of economics reason we gets more of less news, but necessarely not with more deep. Even political aspects as who own the news company and do they have influence on which news they will let us see or read comes into play. A piece of news with higher entertainment value goes around the world instead of a news with a importent content.
So if we get more news that are controlled and perhaps adjusted we get also a distorted realistic-apprehension of the same world we live in! That is really a matrix, we live in the reality but at same time we live in the distorted reality the news conwey though it should be the same reality! If we are not aware of this we will suddenly also vote on wrong leaders. We must be able to form us a free opinion of the world to gonna be able to make the right decision who we shall vote for.
Okey, that's all for today, close your school-desk, (many moral lectures it became in the end!), (but you will encounter just the same thing when you grow up, I promise!). Please bear in mind this is only my personal thoughts and beliefs that's springs into my mind that I print here, I'm not expert or anything on politics or its history or anything else written on this page. Though I hope all facts presented are true and what I really wants most of all is that you start to investigate things yourself and start think for yourself.
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More or less famous Swedes I shall try to collect here. If I should start with musicians? What is life without music
If you want to learn more and to really get acquainted to the swedish disposition and pretty much meet the guy who started everything you can't neglect Carl Michael Bellman, poet and musician 17401795. Much could be sayed about him and his music and his consideration about the swedes and the society but I am not the right man to do it. If you want to hear three CD's with interpretations of Bellman you can buy the very excellent, if not the most, CD by Cornelis Vreeswijk (Spring mot Ulla, spring) a modern interpretation, he has also made Movitz! Movitz! together with Ulf G Åhslund, and then we have Fred Åkerström (Till Carl Michael) a slightly more traditionell interpretation. I guess there are many more than hundreds more CDs that interpret Bellman. Even by foreign artists all over the world. His music feels still today fresh. Or you can buy books with his lyrics or about his life as Ernst Brunner's Fukta din aska [Moisten your ashes?], it will soon be translated into english so please just only wait. Bellman is so much a human so you can't nothing else than love him.
Another Swede you can't came around is the already mentioned: Cornelis Vreeswijk, troubadour and blues singer and much more. Actually he is the most Swede ever and he loved the Swedes though he never actually became a Swede! He came originally as a youth from Holland and learned to master Swedish better than any else Swede, but he never aquired Swedish citizenship! Though if I must name one Swede that are more Swede of all it must be Cornelis. Every Swedish musician walks in his footsteps. So this is the ultimate guy, or what shall I say!
Another guy is the pianist Jan Johansson you already heard a small part of in the Splash-intro. He took the old Swedish folk music and jazzed it up. A few year even together with Stan Getz. Not much things so differently suits so well together than Swedish folk music and jazz. Too bad Jan Johansson died too early by a car accident.
Another already mentioned artist is Fred Åkerström, famous Bellman interpreter.
Jenny Lind, Hugo Alfvén, Wilhelm Stenhammar, Wilhelm Peterson-Berger, Joe Hill, Jussi Björling, Birgitta Nilsson, Evert Taube, Monica Zetterlund, Barbara Hendrix, ABBA, Ulf Lundell and then we come to todays date, it is impossible to write down every famous artist of today. My favourites is Kent, Cardigans, Bo Kaspers orkester, Per Texas Johnssons trio and Esbjörn Svenssons Trio (more known abroad as EST). The Hives, The Soundtrack of our lifes (or something like that) are also some new swedish bands of today.
Swedish authors? Here is a few old ones: Esaias Tegnér (17821846, rewrote Frithiof's saga and attacked already in the 17th century its superficial materialism!), Erik Gustaf Geijer (17831847), Erik Johan Stagnelius (17931823), Johan Ludvig Runeberg (18041877), August Strindberg (18491912, his debute the Red Room is actually a very fun satire, don't be afraid to read it!), Gustaf Fröding (18601911), Hjalmar Bergman (18831931), Jan Fridegård (18971968), Selma Lagerlöf (18581940, Nils Holgersson's wonderful journey through Sweden.), Hjalmar Söderberg (18691941), Pär Lagerkvist (18911940), Viktor Rydberg (192595), Nils Ferlin, Stig Dagerman, Dan Andersson, Moa & Harry Martinsson, Ivar Lo-Johansson, Wilhelm Moberg (1898?, the Emigrants, the Immigrants and the Settler.), Sven Delblanc, Karin Boye, Per Anders Fogelström, Astrid Lindgren, Tomas Tranströmer, Torgny Lindgren and this is only few of mostly dead authors!
Though for they who are interested in Swedish history I could also mention Olaus Magnus (1493-1552, the History about Nordic people), Olof Rudbeck (16301702, wrote Atlantica where he tries to prove that Sweden were the lost Atlantis! Actually he were not totally wrong, many million years ago before or after Pangea I can't remember Sweden and Finland were a small continental plate that drifted around for itself until it connected to what's Russia today, though we can safely say there didn't exist any humans in this early stage of earth's history.
Jan Fridegård (about people at Iron Age to Viking Age), Frans G Bengtsson (Röde Orm = the Red Snake, a racy story about the viking Röde Orm), Alf Henriksson, P. A. Fogelström (descriptions of a few families lifes in 18th and 19th century in Stockholm), Maja Hagerman (Viking Age: Tusenårsresan, and about St Birgitta), Jan Guillou (several books about Arn the knight in the early Middle Age, very nice reading), Herman Lindqvist, Dick Harrison and Peter Englund (Middle Age and the time of Great Power and much more), and Ernst Brunner's Fukta din aska (Moisten your ashes).!
I'm not sure but I think we have the most Nobelprizes in literature in the world and some thinks it's because we give out the prize but actually it is a big drawback for swedish authors, most believe we should have even more Nobelprize-winners if we didn't been the host for it.
Artists? Not all are famous outside Sweden but anyway: D. K. Ehrenstrahl, Carl Gustav Pilo, Elias Martin, Alexander Roslin, Tobias Sergel, Gustaf Cederström, Ivar Arosenius, Isaac Grünewald, Ernst Josephson, Bruno Liljefors, August Strindberg (yes he was also!), Richard Bergh, Karl Nordström, Nils Kreuger, Prins (Prince) Eugen, Carl Milles, Marcus Larsson, Edward Bergh, Axel Fridell, Anders Zorn, Carl Larsson, Carl Kylberg, Ragnar Sandberg, Bror Hjorth, Sven X-et Erixson
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