vendredi 24 décembre 2010

Life without Savisaar?

First of all: I think Edgar Savisaar should now leave his posts as the chairman of the Centre Party and mayor of Tallinn. At least until he has taken his case to court and the scandal about him has been cleaned up. Certainly, Estonian politics would be much less interesting and colourful without him, and the neoliberals and nationalists must find another enemy. I doubt whether finding this enemy is very easy. But as to the scandal itself, I have read the compte-rendu of our secret police about it, and have some serious questions left unanswered. It has been told that the director general of Russian railways, Mr. Yakunin (hope have not misspelt the name) has been a high-ranking KGB officer. How can such an experienced man and some of his entourage acted so naively, giving our police the chance to record his conversation with Savisaar? Athough he talks about the need of conspiracy, he seems not to be a good conspirator. Now, did the Russians who reportedly offered some money to the Centre Party really want to do it in secrecy? Is our police really able to record conversations between important people in Moscow? Were they given the materials by some other intelligence agency? Was there an agent of our police among the persons accompanying Savisaar? Couldn't some people in Russia simply want to get rid of Savisaar and leak the information to our police? The scandal has an international dimension, and so far the only person who has paid attention to this is our former prime minister Siim Kallas, now EU commissioner for transport. Here, one of the main questions remains: cui prodest?

jeudi 23 décembre 2010


Dicitur Deus natus esse. Dicitur Deus mortuus esse. De natis mortuisque nil nisi bene. Omnibus lectoribus amicis inimicisque
tranquillum tempus Nativitatis felicemque annum novum voveo.

mardi 14 décembre 2010

More on stupidity

We are discussing over choices, often ideological choices, we are either rightist or leftist, liberal or conservative, we want a stronger or weaker state, we are for family values or for personal freedom, we are Catholics or Protestants, Jews or Muslims. But in all these choices, there is a hidden dimension, something that often is more important than the choice itself. To say it in simple words: everything or nearly everything can be done in an intelligent or stupid way. And being leftist or rightist, Catholic or Protestant, pro-choice or pro-life does often not matter so much if it is not seasoned with a minimal amount of intelligence. And perhaps it is important to add, that intelligence itself cannot be fully functional without one of its basic ingredients -- sense of humour. Intelligence paired with humour is something we can call wisdom. Let's think of Buddha's smile and Zhuangzi's laughter. And of Jewish anecdotes.

vendredi 10 décembre 2010

Goodbye my Estonian

Some people have been irritated by the fact that I don't use Estonian in my blog. I am sorry, but I have some reasons not to do it. First of all, I have written and published poems, essays and articles in Estonian for more or less fifty years, that is, for half of a century. Isn't it enough? And for about thirty years, I have written about the problems of contemporary Estonian language. Often polemicizing with people who have the authority to say how one should write and speak Estonian, what words and forms we are allowed to use in press and in books. I have different, sometimes radically different ideas about this. I want to use my own breed of Estonian. I have had a lot of controversies with people who think they know better -- editors and specialists in language policy and language maintenance (keelekorraldus). I haven't found much understanding, and even now, editors change the words and forms I use calling their changes amendments and generously giving me the right not to agree with such "amendments". I certainly accept real corrections of my typos and other mistakes -- errare humanum est; I think every writer needs an intelligent and attentive "first reader". But to a writer with fifty years of experience and a background of linguistics being able to read texts in about dozen languages, to see his text, his style changed, his words replaced with different ones, is an insult. But my attitude towards the official Estonian is not just a purely personal matter. I feel deeply sorry about the fact that the language that, according to my deep conviction, should be our common property, should belong to the people who have created and are using it, has become a property of a group of specialists (and, in fact non-specialists too) who have usurped the right to tell us what is right and what is wrong, and to many amateurs who enthusiastically try to invent new words to replace the old ones. I cannot agree with such a situation: I don't think anybody has the right to tell Estonian people what words they should use or not. And nobody has the right to change the language according to his or her ideas, but the people, the speakers and owners of the language. This simple fact is ignored both by our authorities and institutions whose task is to maintain and develop our language. Our linguistic policies are authoritarian, and it seems to me that this authoritarianism has increased in recent years. Now, even our president has intervened in our language policies telling to us what words we should use and what words not. Even if his command of Estonian and knowledge of linguistics were perfect (what is not the case) no president has the authority to teach people how to speak or write. Now, our State Broadcasting authority has, in a hurry, replaced the loanword "infrastruktuur" with a newly formed word "taristu", and all the reporters are obediently using the new word. In my opinion, this neologism is a failure for several reasons. I could explain my opinion in detail, but here I mention only the fact that it makes little sense to replace one compound with the word "struktuur" instead of finding a purely Estonian word for "structure". And for most Estonians, the root "tari" has only the meaning of cluster of berries. But the authority of our president has most probably helped to replace a well-established international word with a strange neologism. In my opinion, such instances are a proof or the absence of democracy in our language policies. It is the result of some ideological stereotypes our language authorities and amateur neologists have inherited from the futuristic ideas of the early XXth century, and the passive attitude of our common language users who have given away their rights, their proprietorship of their language. I has led and is leading to creeping alienation of our people from their language, of the standard Estonian becoming more and more an artificially standardized and maintained language. While most people seem to silently agree with this, I cannot. I feel I have been too intimate with my language, I have tried to do my best in using it intelligently and creatively. I have tried to defend it from excessive normativeness and excessive fondness for neologisms. Now I feel that my efforts have had no results. I have lost my battle. I have nothing left than to resign. I don't want to read Estonian press, to listen to our radio or TV. The modernized language hurts me. I have to abandon writing in Estonian, and try to write in Võru keel, English and Russian. Certainly my command of these languages is not perfect, but I can without resentment accept editors correcting my texts written in English or Russian. And I cannot accept editors "correcting" my Estonian texts. Thus I feel I have been an Estonian writer for half of a century, but I am no more an Estonian writer.

dimanche 5 décembre 2010

Neeger -- Negro -- Preto

In the name of political correctness now in Estonia too the word 'neeger' has become a
no-word, instead, people most often use 'mustanahaline'. This is quite odd because 'mustanahaline' means either 'black-skinned' or 'dirty-skinned', and the word 'must' was often used in Soviet times as a derogatory word for black-haired people from Central Asia or Caucasus. All this fuss is the result of primitive understanding of the meanings of words and correspondences between words in different languages. It is naively presumed that the English 'negro' is the same as the Estonian 'neeger'. But it is not so. As is proven by the fact that in Portuguese, the word that was used for Blacks, used to be 'preto'. Nowadays it too has become a politically incorrect word, and instead of 'preto', one must use 'negro'... The morals is that every word belongs to a web of connotations, is connected with other words in its language. In some cases, especially in second class languages as Estonian, these connotations tend to include also words in first class languages, in our case English. And often our language is reinterpreted in the light of such interlingual correspondences. And remodelled to fit better into the patterns established by (American) English. The result is a language using Estonian-sounding words, but having the structure of English. Every word in this hybrid language corresponds to a word in English.

samedi 4 décembre 2010

Är tsurkva mu keele

Lui Sirbist president Ilvese kõnet vahtside sõnnu tegemise võistluse kotsile. Mu jaoss saiva selges paar asja. Edimäne asi om tuu, et mi president ole-i peris “native speaker”, timä eesti keele tundmisest jääs veedü puudu. Timäle om eesti kiil ütsi opit kiil ja tuuperäst om tal rasse vaihet tetä, mis om uma, mis om võõras. Nii tä kasutas ummamuudu eesti kiilt ja paistus mõtlevat, et nii piätki olema: tiit keele säändses kui tahat. Tõne asi om tuu, et timä tiidmise keelest üleüldse omma ka veedü puudulidse. Tuu, et inglise keeleh om kats sõnna – “politics” ja “policy” ei tähendä viil toda, et eesti keeleh piässi sammamuudu olema. Eesti kiil võissi olla midägi muud, ku üts hulk sõnnu, minkäs inglise või muud Standard Average European'it tõlgitasse. Mi keeleh om olnu ja om viil põrõhõllaki veedü tõne miil, mõttit saa vällä üteldä hoobis tõistmuudu ja mõtte eski võiva olla tõistsugutse. Tuud es mõista presidendi suur iihkujo Aavik ka. Ja sõna ei saisa keeleh ütsindä, sõna ole-i saare, nimä omma köüdüssih muide sõnnuga. Ku mõteldas vällä vahtsene sõna infrastuktuuri jaos – “taristu” vai mis timä olli, sis võissi iks mõtelda, mis tetä tõisi sõnnuga, koh oma tõne sõna sammamuudu “struktuur”: “allstruktuur, superstruktuur, süvastruktuur, pindstruktuur, ...” Nii lüvväs üts sõna muist lahku, aatas keele struktuur segämini. Ja kas iks om sündsä tuu, et president, kiä ole-i keeletiidläne ega peris native speaker, nakkas rahvast oppama, määne piät eesti kiil olema. Nõuka-aigu olli sääne hää sõna ku “isetegevus”, mis võro keeleh võinu olla “esitegemine”. Nüit sis tule jälki vällä, et eesti kiil om esitegijide kätte sattunu. Ja või küssü, kas Eesti riik ole-i viimäte ka ütse esitegeline riik. Är tsurkva mu keele. Olessi nooremb, nakkassi tõtesti muuh keeleh kirotama, a põrõhõlla om joba rasse. A pruumi iks võit...

jeudi 2 décembre 2010

Worst Mistakes US Made

I agree with people who call the US "the unwilling empire". US could have been able to rule the world, to become not only the single superpower, but the one effective ruling power in the world using the military and economic means at its disposal. For various reasons it has not chosen this way. America has more or less successfully avoided the emergency of existential threats to its security, intervening only in situations it considered very critical. Some of these interventions ended with fiasco, as in Vietnam or in stalemate as in Korea. The Americans have tried to find counterbalances to nations they considered too powerful as the USSR or India (thanks to the special relationship between New Dehli and Moscow) and a menace to their interests. Thus the US has supported Pakistan against India and the Afghan islamist guerillas against the Russians. I think these were Washington's worst mistakes. Despite everything, the Russians, and of course the Indians, are pragmatic and would never launch into too dangerous adventures. They are not fanatics. Unfortunately, many people in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran are fanatics who are capable of destroying the world in the name of their God or religion. Now, thanks to the US politics, these forces have become more powerful, and as the result the world is becoming a more dangerous place. The stalemate established in Korea, the existence of the failed state with its crazy and desperate rulers is helping the fanatics in South Asia to strengthen their positions. And they get some support from quasi-moderate rulers in other Asian countries as Turkey. To cut it short: the USSR and India, or nowadays Russia are not apocalyptic nations ready to launch an Armageddon. Iran and one day Pakistan are capable of doing it when they get the necessary means. But the US seems not to be capable of preventing them to do it. Democracy means compromises, negotiations and hesitation. Religious and quasi-religious dictatorships can do without it, and for a short period of time, they are capable of mobilizing all their resources and put aside all hesitation to achieve their goals. In a world with nuclear arms it means that the democracies are becoming dangerously vulnerable.

samedi 27 novembre 2010

Breaking taboos

Breaking taboos, breaking taboos... But culture is a system of taboos. Do we have a culture that wants to destroy itself? Is it an intrinsic feature of every culture? Or only of some cultures? Only of the so-called Western culture? Thoughts that make me feel uneasy.

vendredi 26 novembre 2010

Prokuröri ja ahukaadi

Ku kaet televusserit, koh näid juriste iks näüdätäs, sis paistus nii, et 90% prokuröre omma Eestih noorepoolitse naise, 90% ahukaate jälki mehe. Tiiä-i, kas prokuröre valitas vällänägemise perrä (vällänägemise üle ole-i põhjust nuriseda) määndselgi iludusvõistlemisel või om asalugu kudagi tõisilde. A nii timä om.

Knowledge ruins its object

There are many reasons to be optimistic about the future of mankind and of our planet. Human beings are quite smart, and so far have been able to find a way out of severe crises, be it ecological, social or economical. Coal mines saved the forests from over-exploitation, mineral fertilizers saved us from hunger, antibiotics saved us from many infectious diseases. But there is something that may put this optimism into question. This is something I would call “stupidity factor”. If we are able to find a positive solution to a problem, we can sometimes express it with a positive number. Be it rise of standard of living, survival rates of cancer patients, productivity of crops, e.t.c. But this positive number must always be multiplied by another number that is necessarily smaller than 1. This positive number s: 0 < s < 1 is the stupidity factor. We must take it into account in all our predictions connected with human activity, human decision-making. Predicting that the GNP of a nation rises for about 10% in next decade, we must multiply it with s. The result is less than 10%. More information does not always mean more knowledge, the s comes in here too.

The s is not something that can be avoided, it is an intrinsic part of the human condition, and certainly of the most fundamental laws of the universe we inhabit. It is a corollary of the law of increase of entropy that is valid in the universe as well as in our brain, a micro-model of this universe, a microcosm simulating the processes of the macrocosm. The principle of increase of entropy means that the value of s must be less than 1, it has a negative influence on our productivity, on the results we want to achieve. It introduces mistakes into our texts, faults into our ethnology, into our theories, economies... In principle, these mistakes can be corrected, faults faulted. Our brain is not a closed system, we can put into it some information, some negative entropy harvested from outside. But this comes at a price, the price means that something in a bigger system must be changed, degraded, some of its positive measures (as e.g. its complexity) must be multiplied by s. We can learn, diminish our stupidity by reading books, surfing in the internet, listening to wiser people, thinking, trying to find solutions to our problems. But we cannot be sure that what we learn is free of mistakes, whether we want it or not, we take over some of other people's faults. And unavoidably we introduce some more “mistakes” into our environment. Having more books means destroying more trees, surfing in the internet means wasting more energy, increasing the entropy on our planet. And as ourselves, our civilization, our culture and any ecosystem can survive and thrive only in limited conditions, in a limited interval of temperature, moisture, pressure, the degradation of our environment means that we are diminishing the chances of our own survival in future. Our knowledge is always infected with stupidity, the s is present in everything we think and do. Constructing something, we deconstruct it or something else. Our actions have always some negative results. Our knowledge ruins its object.

samedi 13 novembre 2010

Olessi nigu peris luuletaja

Üle tükü ao löüse üte luuletuse, mis mulle miildü. Veronika Kivisilla luuletus Sirbi viimätsel lehekülel. Hää luuletus ja intelligentne ka. Ku nuur inemine tiid, kiä olli Hildegard von Bingen ja misasi olli ordoviitsium, sis tege iks hääd miilt küll!

dimanche 7 novembre 2010

Where autocracy comes from?

We men-women are not adapted to the life in big societies. Our normal social environment is small groups, be it families, peer groups, kins or small tribes. In these groups there is no need for formal regulation of social relations, no need for strict etiquette, law and law enforcement. In big societies we need a lot of formal rules, otherwise these societies cannot function properly. In fact, they fall apart, become just loose assemblies of such smaller groups. Often people tend to look on the society as if it were a small group. Sometimes a small group can effectively seize power in a society, sometimes its leader becomes the leader of a big tribe, of a nation. He cannot rule just by himself, he needs the support of his close entourage, his own small group. Here, the relations are not formal. Stalin, Hitler nor Saddam Hussein had their own kins, peer groups, politbureaus and used these to seize power and secure their hold of it. And they tried to rule a nation, a country as a small group, ignoring formalities, ignoring the existence of different views, interests and personalities. There are many types of autocrats from paternalistic father-figures like the Estonian president Päts to paranoid dictators as Stalin or Saddam. But, in my opinion, their common feature is a kind of atavistic tendency not to accept the real complexity of a society, but to try to rule it as if it were simply an extended family or a tribe. The secret of their success seems at least partly to be due to our inborn, instinctive disposition to assume a role in a small group, most often the role of a subject, of somebody who obeys the alpha-individual, sometimes even the role of a slave. But some of us are well ready to assume the role of a leader, of an alpha-male. Which is analogous to the role of a father in many traditional families or the role of the leader in a male peer group. In my childhood, our ruler was a man often called Father, Leader or Teacher. Thus, comrade Stalin assumed a couple of age-old traditional roles, in fact degrading the whole Soviet society to the role of his descendants, his children, subordinate members of his peer group or his pupils.

samedi 6 novembre 2010

Genetic and memetic drift in small populations

Genetic drift is a statistical phenomenon: especially in a small population, some genotypes become more frequent, sometimes even dominant by pure chance, without any connection with their survival value. In the same way, some genotypes can be eliminated, when, for example, a storm destroys some nests of a tiny and isolated colony of birds. Such gene drift interferes with natural selection. Natural selection, as a force based on stochastic mutations, can do its work in a orderly manner in a big population where random changes balance one another.

There is a clear analogy to the gene drift in the cultural changes in human societies. Some such changes, some memes have a positive value, help the society to function in a more efficient and smooth way, minimizing the possibility of harm to its members, enhancing their happiness, creativity, etc. Some changes are harmful. In a big society, there are more changes, more innovations, but each of such innovations has a smaller effect on the society as a whole. In a small society some innovations can influence the behaviour of the society as a whole. It means also that single persons can more easily become influential in a small society. The culture of a small nation can more easily be influenced by a strong personality. I think we can find good examples of such influential personalities in Estonian culture. I can mention the “language engineer” Johannes Aavik who introduced into the standard Estonian several dozen memes, new words of his own creation and some grammatical forms. There are other examples. Some scientists have had an exceptionally great influence on the development of biology, physics or philology here. Botanical studies in Estonia on the second half of the Xxth century wouldn't have been what they were without the works of the great botanist, one of the great figures of plant sociology, professor Teodor Lippmaa. The fenno-ugric studies developed under the aegis of Paul Ariste, our oriental studies have been shaped by the influence of two major scholars – Linnart Mäll and Rein Raud. The problem is that such leader figures in their respective fields can be broad-minded and tolerant, but sometimes this is not the case. Then, their authority can become an obstacle, they become gurus, their students become their disciples more or less blindly accepting their ideas and attitudes. There are simply no other persons of similar authority, no good colleagues, no rivals, no adequate criticism of their achievements.

Could we also find analogies of such a situation in Estonian politics? I hesitate to answer, but my tentative answer is no. Despite all the fuss and noise around politics, it still has a definite survival value, and no politician is capable of monopolizing the scene here. However, in politics too, some ideas, some memes can become influential more by chance than by their real value, and as such, shape to a significant degree, the life of our society. One such idea is the neo-liberalist ideology imported and spread in Estonia by some active supporters of Milton Friedman, although these people had little understanding of Friedman's work in economics. But thanks to the activity of our Friedmanian politicians, Estonia is now a kind of an experiment in neo-liberal economy and politics. So far this experiment has been successful, despite some very serious problems on the horizon. But as such, the Estonian experiment can serve as a good or bad example for other nations, even for the bigger ones where different views and their proponents to a much greater degree balance one another, creating a society more based on the aurea mediocritas.

jeudi 4 novembre 2010

Our non-Aristotelian dreams

I believe that most, maybe even more than 90% of what people tell and write about their (and other people's) dreams is not authentic. Dreams cannot often be described in our common language, common conceptual system. Why? Because our language, our semantics is "Aristotelian", based on presumption that everything is what it is, is identical with itself. A = A. A dog is a dog, a rose is a rose is a rose. A dog is not a cat, a cloud or a chair, at least not at the same time. Of course, not everything can be described and defined in such Aristotelian way. There are things that demand we use a kind of a "fuzzy" logic to describe them. There are chairs that are also to some degree, e.g. 40% tables. But even such a fuzzy thing, even a mythological chimaera, even a cloud or a wave are themselves, are identical to themselves in their definiteness or fuzziness. But in dreams things are sometimes not identical to themselves, they can be 100% A and 100% B at the same time. Oddly enough, the person dreaming doesn't usually notice any contradiction, any absurdity here. I remember having dreamed of a place that was both a room in a house with bookshelves standing at the walls, and a town square surrounded by high buildings. How to describe such a scene? How to call these shelves that are also buildings? To describe dreams we should invent a different language, use words in an unconventional way. But as a rule, dreams are not meant to be communicated extensively and exactly. Nobody can check whether the description of a dream is correct or not. Dreams belong to our private world, not to the world we share with others. And when we want or to have to share it with others, it is difficult, sometimes even impossible. But can these difficulties, these problems have a sign of our need of something really private, of our need to isolate ourselves from communication, to live in a world that does belong only to us? Can the dreams also be a means to escape from the inexorable Aristotelian logic of our everyday world where we everything has to be itself, where we too have to be ourselves, having no chance to escape from our identity that is largely imposed on us?

mardi 26 octobre 2010

Hümn sai veidi parandedus

Vana papa Janseni hümni on rummal laulda ja luke. Om aast ja arust. Vahtset ole-i vast vaija, a vanna võissi parembas tetä küll. Ma kõrra pruumse, panni eski aolehte, a vastakaija es ole joht. Mõtli, et ku inemise lugeva mu blogikest, sis peräkõrd om näid, kink meelest vast sünnüssi säänest teksti lauldaki. Ma pallo ümbre es tii, veedü inne kohendi.

Mu isamaa, mu õnn ja rõõm,
mu vanemate maa!
Ei sinust kaunimat küll eal
või leida laia ilma peal
ei armsamat kui oled sa
mu kallis isamaa!

Sa oled mind ju sünnitand
ja suureks kasvatand:
mul püsid meeles alati,
ma jään su lapseks surmani,
mul kurb on olla sinuta,
mu kallis isamaa!

Su üle taevas valvaku,
mu armas isamaa!
Ja päevapaiste hoidku sind,
mu sünnimaa, mu kodupind,
jää kestma sa, jää vabaks sa,
mu kallis isamaa!

vendredi 22 octobre 2010

Suomalaisittain Sofi Oksasesta

En minä ole suinkaan ainoa enkä hyökkävin Sofi Oksasen Puhdistus-kirjan arvostelija. Ystäväni, filosofian tohtori Suomesta kirjoitti minulle seuraavaa. Hänen luvallaan siteeraan:

Kun olin lukenut Puhdistuksen, minua alkoi vaivata kummallinen ajatus. Se ei tietenkään ole kirjaimellisesti tosi, mutta päässäni pyöri: S.O. ei ole itse kirjoittanut tuota kirjaa, vaan sen on pistänyt kasaan joukko viihdeteollisuuden huippuammattilaisia. Hehän osaavat kaikki kikat ja tehokeinot: kuinka rakennetaan vetävä juoni (uusi, mutta kuitenkin kliseinen ja sopivasti ennakoitava), vetäviä henkilöhahmoja (uusia, mutta kuitenkin ikivanhojen arkkityyppien toisintoja) ? ja kuinka päälle päätteeksi kirjailijasta itsestäänkin luodaan ?selvästi erottuva brändi?. Koko komeuden pitää tietenkin uida myös poliittisen valtavirran suuntaisesti (mutta kuitenkin niin, että se näyttää kapinalliselta, vastavirtaan pyristelyltä).

Näin mieleni silmin myös, kuinka tuo koneisto ahmii kitaansa aineksia virolaisten elämästä ja muokkaa ne säälittä kulttuuriteollisuuden standardoiruiksi tuotteiksi. Jonkinlaista PUHDISTUSTA lienee sekin. Siinä on myös ryöstön tai hyväksikäytön maku.

Mutta ehkä tuo kuvitelmani ei ole täysin väärä. Ehkä kulttuuriteollisuuden koneisto on siepannut Sofi ?paran mielen vähän samalla tapaa, kuin ne varasohjelmat, joita taitavat tietokonerikolliset yrittävät istuttaa meidänkin läppäreihimme.

mercredi 20 octobre 2010

Samoan and Estonian

In his book "Linguistic Ecology: Language Change and Linguistic Imperialism in the Pacific Rim", Peter Mühlhäusler writes:

The grammatical adjustment that is encountered in most Pacific languages that have come under the influence of expatriate missions and education systems is that a number of apparently viable languages (in terms of numbers of speakers and social institutionalization), such as Fijian or Samoan, have nevertheless disappeared, in the sense that what has remained is primarily their formal properties and what has gone is their semantic and pragmatic aspects. The continuation of mere lexical forms of earlier languages raises the question of identity of linguistic systems over time, external pressure(s) having introduced a degree of discontinuity and restructuring that renders the notion of historical continuity useless.

Hasn't the same happened to the Estonian language that has been and is being intensively restructured by foreign influences, these influences having been successfully internalized and sometimes taken to extremes by our own literati? Has the old Estonian disappeared, being replaced by a euro-language that has lost most of its "semantic and pragmatic aspects"? Isn't, paradoxically, the Russian language, at present downgraded and driven out of use a potential counterweight to the overwhelming Euro-American influence on Estonian?

mardi 19 octobre 2010

Кнут и пряник

Что лучше, что хуже -- кнут или пряник? На такие вопросы нельзя ответить без уточнения. Лучше вообще или хуже вообще не имеют смысла. Надо спросить для кого, для чего что-то хорошo или плохo. Мое поколение жило главным образом под кнутом партии и зависящих от нее органов. Кнут может ударить больно, и в каком-то смысле боль более реальна, чем ее противоположность, по крайней мере сладость. Одной из причин сокрушения советского строя была его неспособность дать людям пряники, которые своей сладостью могли бы соревноваться с болью, причиняемою властью. Нам сильно недоставало сладости, наслаждения, всего, что вызывает позитивные эмоции. Это конечно плохо в эмоциональном плане и наверно имеет негативное влияние на психику вообще. Мы жили под постоянным, хотя изменяющимся в интенсивности стрессом. Стресс сильно снизился после смерти Сталина. Но о стрессе мы знаем, что стресс иногда полезен для нас, иногда нет. Стресс мобилизует организм, стимулирует иммунную систему, подготавливает нас для активных действий. И вполне нормально спросить, не был ли кнут советской жизни, советского строя иногда именно таким стимулирующим кнутом. Тогда следует и спросить, не может ли пряник, жизнь в обществе благополучия тоже иметь некоторое негативное влияние на нашу психофизиологию, иногда даже более вредную, чем боль, страдание. Вопросы те сложны и я не могу на них ответить ни сейчас ни наверняка вообще. Но иногда мне кажется, что для более полного развития творческого потенциала человека ему нужно вырасти, жить в не очень благоприятной среде, иметь опыт не только пряника, но и кнута. Конечно, кнута не до серьезно травмирующей, сокрушающей степени. Но может быть, что именно кнут, не только авторитарность и строгость режима, но и его неспособность дать нам многие элементарные блага, была именно тем источником умеренного стресса, мобилизующего наш интеллект, наши творческие способности. Доказать это непросто, но на то возможно указывают научные и артистические достижения людей, выросших под этим советским кнутом-стрессом. Иногда они могли проявляться и в советской среде, как например семиотика или эстонская поэзия шестидесятых-семидесятых годов прошлого века. Иногда они проявляются в полной мере лишь в более открытой, свободной среде, где люди, выросшие под кнутом, в неблагоприятных условиях, нередко достигают вершин в многих областях, как например в точных науках, особенно в физике и в математике. Бывшие советские ученые имеют невероятно большой успех на Западе.

Интересно то, что в искусстве кнут намного сильнее пряника. В пряничных западных обществах художники и писатели создают все более агрессивные, шокирующие книги, картины, фильмы, как будто идя навстречу нашей потребности в кнуте. В эту категорию попадает и популярный триллер финской писательницы Софи Оксанен, которая почерпнула материал для своего horor-story в недавней истории Эстонии. Если читать книгу как триллер, книга неплохая, написанная по давним правилам такой литературы. Но ее книгу никак невозможно принять за реалистическое описание жизни в Эстонии во второй половине ХХ столетия. Как и романы лауреатов Сталинской премии, иногда очень хорошо написанные, нельзя принять за реалистические описания советской действительности.

Удивляются, почему я не пишу в моем блоге по-эстонски. Об этом я уже коротко писал тут же. Я человек без настоящего родного языка, родной язык моей семьи -- выруский -- был подавлен и отчасти уничтожен языковой политикой эстонских властей, а официальный эстонский слишком далек и от того эстонского, на котором говорили у нас дома. И нынешние тенденции развития эстонского языка превращают его все больше в некий евро-эсторанто, которое мне совершенно чуждо. Официальный эстонский развивался под сильным влиянием нашего варианта русского футуризма, идеологии, провозглашающей изжившими свой век народные языки, которые следует коренным образом перестроить в цивилизованные. Такой перестройкой моего родного языка и занимались несколько поколений различных деятелей, часто самоучек, и результатом их деятельности стало это евро-эсторанто. Поэтому я все чаще пытаюсь пользоваться языками, не перестроенными лингвистами-футуристами, языками, которыми неплохо, но к сожалению и не в совершенстве, владею.

lundi 18 octobre 2010

Machine-inventing Man

Human beings are machine-inventors. Instead of doing something, we try to find a machine, an instrument that does it. Nowadays these machines are real machines, be it calculators, computers or washing machines. But in a way, ideologies, religions, world views, life styles, trends, fashions, art movements are also machines who do some of our intellectual work for us, help us to achieve thought economy. To some degree it's unavoidable, but there's also a danger in giving away too much of our intellectual sovereignty to an impersonal system of views and values.

We are never entirely ourselves, a part of us is borrowed, taken over from others, from the "collective mind". Our individuality is an outgrowth of a bigger identity, we are partly dissolved in this collective mind. Our conscious life is always a compromise between the collective and the individual parts of our mind. It's a dynamic compromise, sometimes we let the collective stream of consciousness to carry us, sometimes we strive to swim in a different direction, sometimes even counter the current. But we are never entirely successful, the current is always there. The current that carries us, and the machines that do our work for us. And often dictate us what is the work that has to be done, what is the life we must live.

vendredi 8 octobre 2010

Книги, книжонки...

Читаю с интересом, скорее всего интересом языковеда роман Натана Дубовицкого Околоноля, который по неофициальным данным принадлежит перу серого кардинала Кремля -- Владислава Суркова. Там нашел прекрасный пример вариативности русского языка:

Порожнего времени получалось много и расходилось оно на подруг, друзей и вот ещё — в метро, перед сном, за едой, до и после секса, по мере распития вин и водок — на чтение, чтение, чтение книжищ, книжиц, книжек, книжонок и просто книг, сначала без разбора, с тем же насмешливым любопытством, а потом всё избирательнее, точнее.

Думаю, что русские со своим языком близки к финноуграм: и те и другие недовольны обычными способами выражения своих мыслей и всегда пытаются найти, испробовать иные возможности, иные слова и обороты. Русский язык очен вариативен, как язык он неготов, всегда в движении. По-моему, для русских язык не средство мышления, а средство выражения своих мыслей, существующих до их выражения в неком доязыковом коде, до-языке, mentalese'е.

Поэты и прозаики

Самые талантливые и интересные эстонские прозаики ныне вне сомнения Andrus Kivirähk и Indrek Hargla. Из старшего поколения конечно Madis Kõiv. Но он уж слишком непростая фигура, чтобы его в твиттерском стиле как-нибудь охарактеризовать. Kivirähk'a и Hargla можно считать писателями-фантастами: особенно необузданная и игривая, наслаждающаяся своим собственным эланом, фантазия торжествует в творчестве Kivirähk'а. Hargla склоняется к более традиционным формам фантастики, будь то science fiction или fantasy. Интересно то, что в то время, как наши прозаики увлекаются фантастикой, альтернативными мирами, древними мифами, мистикой, алхимией, людьми, превращающимися в медведей, наши поэты пишут об обыденных делах, о малых происшествиях повседневной жизни. Иногда мне кажется, что у нас поэты и прозаики обменялись местами, прозаики пишут как поэты, поэты – как прозаики. Интересно, почему это так.

samedi 28 août 2010

Я враг народа...

Российское инфоагентство Regnum цитирует нашего министра просвещения Тыниса Лукаса, который как будто сказал, что те, кто противятся эстонскоязычному обучению в русских гимназиях, враги Эстонии. Так ли он сказал или не совсем так, но такие взгляды довольно типичны для тех эстонских политиков, в число которых входит Лукас. Мне грустно на это смотреть. Советские власти дали эстонцам учиться на эстонском языке в течение всего периода аннексии (и не оккупации, как любят говорить наши патриоты). В тартуском университете я должен был слушать лишь несколько курсов на русском языке. Могли бы мы иметь хоть чуточку великодушия и не проводить эстонификацию намного усерднее чем Москва проводила русификацию. И что мне совсем непонятно и даже противно, это кампания проводимая нашей языковой инспекцией, которая проверяет знание эстонского языка преподавателей русских школ: какого черта учителям, преподающим по-русски, нужно знание эстонского языка на таком высоком уровне? По-моему это все просто малодушная месть и придирательство. Несмотря на все оккупации и аннексии я не уверен, имеет ли одна община, имеют ли говорящие по-эстонски (или по-русски) моральное право принудить другую общину перейти на другой язык, будь то в школе, на улице или дома. И конечно, в нашей языковой политике много просто откровенной глупости включая тенденцию принудить всех к использованию довольно жестко регламентированного государственного языка. Об этом я немало писал в эстонской прессе.

mardi 24 août 2010

Sofi Oksanen and the Stalin Award

The immense success of Sofi Oksanen's novel "Purge" (Puhdistus) astonishes me. But recalling books I read in my childhood I think I understand it to some degree. In the early fifties of the XX century I had not many books to read in Estonian, and after having read nearly all children's books published in the independent Estonia that were accessible to me I began to read Soviet literature, mostly books for grown-ups. Among those translated were a couple of dozen books by laureates of the Stalin award. I remember some of them that were really well written as Peter the First by Aleksei Tolstoy or In the Trenches of Stalingrad by Viktor Nekrasov. Most of everything else has become something anonymous, a fuzzy whole of half-mythological stories with sadistic Germans and their collaborators as anti-heroes and brave patriotic Partisans as heroes. But nevertheless, these books had a certain appeal, the fitted into some of our deep psychological needs, to our needs for fairy tales, for tales of heroes and villains. Oksanen's book falls into the same category as the Stalinist books of my childhood, only the heroes and anti-heroes have exchanged their role. It's a skillfully written horror story with many corpses. Let it be. My only, but very serious objection to the book is that it pretends to be a realistic story about life in Soviet Estonia in the second half of the XXth century, and seems to have been accepted as such by the public in Europe and America. S. O. who has no direct experience of the time and events she describes has taken parts of our life, sewing them together according to some age-old rules of ideological-mythological literature, and is now selling it in the West. She is selling something that pretends to be our life, but isn't. Our life in the Soviet Union was not a horror story! Of course, there were many horrific episodes, years of terror and counter-terror, but as a whole, we lived a life that was often quite interesting and funny. I cannot approve the idea that my life, the life of my parents, my friends, my colleagues was not a life worth living, that we felt we were prisoners in a large prison camp. The USSR after the death of Stalin was not a prison camp. It was a lousy country, but there were and there are many much more lousy countries in the world. One of my basic convictions is that there is no Devil (probably no God either, but here it's not important). Soviet Union was not a diabolical country. And the lives we lived in the second half of the XXth century in this country were not lived according to some diabolical rules and supervised by the Devil or his henchmen. I don't want anybody to take my life away from me and sell an adulterated version of it to unknowing people abroad. Dixi.

jeudi 19 août 2010

Väikokodanlus malaka iist

Jälki kirotedas väikokodanlikkusest. Seo kõrd saa mööda kaala Jaan Tätte, inäp viil timä austaja. Väikokodanlikkuse vasta lastas kultuurifilosuufia raskesuurtükke tsitaatega, abis omma Lotman, Barthes... Mulle tule miilde üts lugu. Vilniusen om Eesti saatkund, kinkäle ehitedi vahtsene maja. Maja om väega imelik, saadiku pere magamistaren om lõunapuult sain uma neli miitrit korge, sainakappe ole-i oleman. Saalin, kon om koonolekide ja konverentse kotus, ei paistu aknast muud katuse pääl oleva ventilatsiuunivärgi vai muu sääne kraam. Hoovi pääl om maa-alone garaaž, kohe päses mulgust. Mulgu ümbre es ole määnestki aida vai tõket, nii istutiva saatkunna inemise taha puhma, et latse es sattassi alla. Arhitekt olli käünü umma tüüd kaeman ja ütelnü puhmidest, et neo ollev väikokodanligu...

Psühholuug Steven Pinker om kirotanu säändsist asjust peris targaste. Timä näütäs, et modernismin om ettekujotus, et inemise esteetilise väärtusegi omma puhta kasvatuse vili. Et se, mis om illos vai ei, om kotun vai koolin opit. Niimuudu sis tahtva modernisti inemist ümbre kasvatada, opata tõistmuudu ilo kritiiriumme, pästä inemise är väikokodanluse diskriitsest võlust. Kui muu avita-i, piät šokiirmä, inemiisi raputama, tsuskima, ärritämä... Piät nüütämä, kui hirmus om tegelikult seo väikokodanlik hääolemine, kui hirmus om ilo, kui hirmsa omma inemise. Kui rummal om traditsiooniline kunst, arhitektuur... Kui inemise lahti saava raputedus ummist väikokodanlikest nägemisist, saa maailm parembas. Kunstniku, arhitekti ja kultuuriteoreetiku tahtva maailma pästä Umwertung aller Werte läbi. Üts asi om subjektiivne, tuu, et mulle om väikokodanlikkusel uma võlu ja taha-i ma tuust valla saia. Tõne asi om tuu, et suure osa kunsti- ja kultuurieliidi tiidmise inemisest ja timä psühholuugiast omma häbemädä sandi, et näide ilmanägemine om peri koskilt XX sajandi edimätsist aastist, timän om viil naiiv-futurismi jälekeisi nigu usk, et kõkke esi kujonenut saa ümbre tetä, parembas tetä ja nii piätki tegemä. Revolutsiuun om pagenu uulitsilt, barrikaadelt kunstivällänäütusile ja kuntiteoreetikide tekste sisse. A timä ideoluugia om jäänü samas. Iks piät vana är lahkma, vanale vasta hakkama, sis tule uus ja parep.

Traditsiuuniline maastikumaal ei lövvä moderniste ja avangardiste silmin küll määnestki tunnustust, seo om puru-väikokodanlik... A tegelikult näütäs seo maastikumaal, olko Lääne vai Hiina oma ütte ja tõist inemiisin geneetiliselt olevist miildimuisist. Inemine, kiä om kujonenu Aafrika savannen, peläten lõvve ja leoparde, taht olla ümbrusen, koh selä takan om puhm vai sain, mis and kindluse tunde, et kiäki takast kallale ei karga, iihn aga piät olema lake väli vai viikogo. Säänest pilti kaien om inemisel parep tunne ku kaien pilti, koh nii ole-i. Ja inemisel, nigu om ruumipsühholuugia näüdänü, om ka parep olla pargin vai muial, kon pengi takan om puhm ja iinpuul om lagedat. Ku sis tahami inemist ümbre kasvatadaja panemi timä ümbruste, mis ei vast timä vajaduisile, om tulemus inne tuu, et inemisel om ebämukav ja timä püüd muiale minnä. Kui seo ümbrus om pilt vai installatsiuun vai performance vai mis neo kõk omma, timä lihtsalt ignoriir säänest kunsti vaid mis seo kõk om ja kunstnikel ja kunstiteoreetikidel jää-i muud ku kiruda, et inemise omma väikokodanliku ja pruumi viil kangembit šokiteraapia võttid. Tulemus: inemise hoitva avangardist viil kavvembahe. Asi om sandim, ku inemiisile tetäs peris ümbrus, kon timä piät elämä ja tüüd tegemä. Ja õnnetuses om osa arhitekte ka säänest inemiisi ümbrekasvatamise usku vai lihtsalt tahtva uma tsunfti sisen luurberit lõiku. Ja teevä sis maiju ja muud liinaümbrust, kon väikokodanlik inemine hinnäst sitaste tund, mis ei vasta inemise sisse programmiirit vajaduisile. Mul om küll tunne (ja või üteldä, et ka lootus), et säändside pretensiuunega kunst (incl. arhitektuur) kooles vällä ja inemise loomust nakatas tõtitselt arvestama ja seo perrä timä jaos kunsti ja eluümbrust tegemä. Inemine om üts väega vana elläi ja kand hindä sisen miljonide aastide aolukku. Toda ei saa väega kavva ignoriiri.

Нужен ли нам русский язык?

Каарел Таранд пишет, что учиться русскому языку не имеет смысла, русский язык не имеет будущего и нам больше не нужен. Не знаю, нужен ли он нам или нет, но мне русский язык просто нравится, нравится даже больше чем официальный эстонский. Мне жаль, что не владею русским языком в такой степени, чтобы свободно на нем выражать все свои мысли и чувства и действительно стать и русским писателем. Хотя кое-что по-русски и написал и надеюсь писать и в будущем. Русский язык гораздо более естественен чем усердно модернизированный и регламентированный официальный эстонский, и по некоторым характеристикам более близок к коренным финно-угорским языкам чем нынешний эстонский, который мне все труднее считать родным языком.

jeudi 24 juin 2010


My intuition tells me a war in Middle East is quite probable, maybe even imminent. Tensions are rising, and diplomacy seems to be incompetent and impotent in its attempts to defuse them. And possible the leaders of some countries think the sooner the better. I don't think President Obama is a dovish person. Quite the opposite. Can he accept the waning of America's influence in the whole world and the rise of extremist forces. Maybe he draws some parallels with the situation in Europe in the late thirties and thinks that the war wouldn't have been so devastating if the British, French and their allies were determined enough to attack Germany before it became too well prepared and equipped.

samedi 19 juin 2010

Monarchy is democratic!

Some politically incorrect thoughts I had looking the royal wedding of Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden and Daniel Westling

Isn't monarchy more democratic than elected government? Why must we prefer some special persons, why shouldn't we trust simple, ordinary people? And members of royal families are just such ordinary people who have no special genes or talents. In away, this is true of aristocracy in general. You are either born into nobility or you are ennobled for some reason. In general, this amounts more or less to random selection, the nobility is a more or less good sample of the general population. Why should we think persons we elect to become deputies and ministers are more able to do their job, to govern, take difficult decisions? If we want competence, we should give our future rulers proper education, they should have a competence in political science, economics, sociology, psychology, ecology. As a minimum, this would mean a couple of years of specialized graduate studies. Very few of our parlamentarians or members of government can boast of such preparedness for their job. Wouldn't it be better to choose the rulers at random and to give them the necessary education from the very beginning?

Трубочист на цыпочках

Пока не ознакомился с творчеством скульптора Тауно Кангро, думал, что он просто один из заурядных, не выдающихся ничем особым наших скульпторов. После того, как видел его статуи целующих на Musumägi и особенно, когда видел его статую трубочиста, почему-то стоящего на цыпочках, понял, что Кангро даже не посредственный художник. Его скромный талант скульптора не идет ни на какое сравнение с его талантом пиарщика. Очень боюсь, что он еще осчастливит наш столичный город огромной статуей Kalevipoeg'а. Эстония сильно страдает от безвкусицы и потери чувства меры на государственном уровне.

mercredi 9 juin 2010

On the Background of the Israeli Attack on the Turkish Ship

The Israeli leaders have made a big blunder. Sending special troops to take over the blockade-bustering ship led to the bloody clash, and a major diplomatic disaster for Israel and particularly its present government. It would have been better to send to the ship a police force with real experience of dealing with violent crowd without making use of live ammunition. But I doubt very much that the present pre-cold-war relations between Turkey and Israel are mainly the result of actions taken by the present and previous Israeli governments that certainly irritated Ankara. I am inclined to think that there is more theatre than sound political talk in the angry rhetoric of the PM Erdogan. He wants to gain more votes for his party and more sympathy from the street in the Near East. But most probably the rift between Israel and Turkey would have opened sooner or later. Distancing himself from Israel is just one step in agenda aiming at islamization of Turkey and asserting Turkey's role as a regional superpower. I wouldn't be astonished if the incident weren't even pre-arranged. It helped Erdogan to achieve one of his aims: to neutralize the military who were his main adversaries. After the clash on Mavi Marmara it would be nearly impossible for the Turkish generals to stage a coup or even put much pressure on the ruling Islamists. Erdogan and his entourage have already clashed with the military arresting several generals who are accused of subversion, of preparing a coup against the ruling party. Thus, the fight between the Israeli special troops and the would-to-be martyrs was also a fight between the Turkish military and Islamists. The process of islamization of Turkey goes on for many years already, and has resulted in introducing some changes in the society: more segregation between men and women, more Islamic propaganda, more agitation in favour of Muslim brethren in other countries, and redefining the national interests of Turkey taking less into account those of the US or other Western countries. It has also resulted in creating more tensions between the majority Sunni Muslims and minority Alevis, Christians and secularist intellectuals. One result of this tension is the recent murder of a Catholic bishop in Turkey, an act that has not raised much protest in the West. The incident on the "humanitarian" ship was Erdogan's spectacular PR victory, and certainly helped him to move on with both his Islamic and nationalist agenda. But it put him on a collision course with Iran who is fearing to lose his monopoly as the Big Brother or the oppressed and humiliated Muslims in the region. This is not necessarily good news for Israel: the competition between the two would-to-be Big Brothers certainly means there will be more attacks and provocations against Israel in next months and years, maybe even some small-scale wars between Israelis and Iranian proxies on the other side of the border. But I am more or less sure that neither Turkey or Iran will be careful enough not to burn their own fingers in the flames they are fanning.

lundi 7 juin 2010

The most famous Muslim not a Muslim...

The most famous Muslim scientist in the XXth century is undoubtedly the Pakistani physicist Abdus Salam. The irony is that while he was a deeply devout person with firm belief in God and the Quran, he belonged to the Ahmadiyya spiritual movement that has always been loathed and persecuted by the mainstream Muslims in Pakistan. Nowadays, thanks to an amendment to the Pakistani Constitution, no devout Ahmadis can call themselves Muslims. Recently there were terrorist attacks in Lahore against worshippers in two Ahmadi mosques (they are not allowed to call their temples mosques) where about 70 people were gunned down. If Dr. Salam were there (he spent some time in Lahore) he would have been murdered too. However, he was fortunate enought to die peacefully at his home in Oxford. For some Muslims it is a luck to live in a non-Muslim country...

lundi 24 mai 2010

Russia -- less USSR and more Russian Empire

Our image of Russia is heavily influenced by the recent past, we see Russia as an extension, alter ego of the USSR. In fact, we should see Russia in a longer historical perspective. The USSR is a relatively short-lived phenomenon in Russian history, and its behaviour and ideology are somewhat atypical. The Russian Empire has never wanted confrontation with the West (in the past this meant Britain, France, Germany and the Austro-Hungarian Empire) as a whole. It tried always to find allies in the West, and often succeeded in finding them. Russia has had a special relationship both with France and Germany, and it seems that these special relationships are now firmly reestablished. In relations with Russia it is useful to learn from its imperial history. The USSR of Stalin didn't have any allies, the Russian Empire had. It is a fact of particular importance.

samedi 22 mai 2010

Taha-i suvandeid

Ei saa arva, mille mul ütekõrraga Google'i Chrome läts eestikiilses. Vai õigep om üteldä, et tulliva säändse imeliku
sõna ku suvand ja vaikebrauser ja muu säändse, minkast mul om rasse arvo saia. Ole joba aastit harinenu inglis-
kiilside sõnnuga, taha-i näid kunstlikke sõnnu. Ja minno vihastas tuu, et ilma küsümäldä lätt brauser "eesti"kiilses.
Mu meelest om seo lihtsalt rummal, ku paar aastaka perän tuud, ku programmi tuleva inglise keelen, tetäs kuigimuudu
eestikiilses ja tuu kiil om väega imelik ka. Parep olessi võtta inglise sõna eesti kiilde. Et ei olessi suvand, olessi
optsioon vai optsio. Parep oppi veedü ladina kiilt ku punnitada puul-eestikiilsit IT-sõnnu tetä. Olko ik üts rahvus-
vaheline kiil nigu keskaol olli ladina kiil.

Võrdõiguslikkus ja psühholuugia

Sotsiaalministiirium on käümä pandnu kampaania "stereotüüpe vasta". Idee om seo, et arvosaamine tuust, et
omma oleman mehi ja naisi tüü, om üts stereotüüp. Paar miljonit kruuni pandas tuu pääle, et latskeisile selges
tetä, et nimä võissiva kasvõi sepätüüd tetä ja poiskeisile, et näile sobissi latsiaidniku tüü... Inne ku säänest asja
tetä, võissiva ametnigu luke Simon Baron-Coheni raamatut "The Essential Difference" ja näütüses ka Steven
Pinkeri "The Blank Slate". Ja võrdõiguslikkuse volinik Margit Sarv võissi inne näid raamatid luke ku timä kirotas
kurje kirju muusiumele, kon tetäs poiskeisi mänge päivi. Arvosaamine, et naise omma rumala ja nõrgakese, om
aost maaha jäänü. A prõlla või üteldä, et XX aastasaa arvosaamine, et mehe ja naise erinevuse omma kasvatuse
tulemus, om ka võlsis osutunu. Egäüts, kinkäl om olnud poigi ja tütrit, tiid eski, et näil omma esimuudu huvi
ja tahtmise. Iisraeli kibutsen proomiti latsi õkva üttemuudu kasvatada: poiskese ja latskese opseva üttemuudu
ravvatüüd ja nõglatüüd, püssülaskmist ja söögitegemist. A viimäte lätsiva mehe iks rohkep insineres ku naise ja
naise rohkep oppajis ja meditsiini ja sotsiaaltüü pääle kui mehe.

mercredi 19 mai 2010

Kas tule viil Masingu-usk?

Lue Sommeri-poisi Masingu-luku ja mõtle, et peräkõrd om aig nii kavveh, et Masingule tule uma Paulus nigu Jeesusele tulli. Paulus, kiä es tunne Jeesust, es ole timägä konagi kokko saanu. Jeesuse veli Jakobus toimet tassa Jeruusaleman, timä ümbre olli väiko salgakene inemiisi, es ole vahtse religiuuni tegemises jaksu, es ole päälehakkamist. Inne ku tulli Paulus ja nakse sekeldama, Jeesusele PR-i tegemä, kogouisi luuma. Neo inemise, kiä Masingut tunseva, tiidsevä inemist; tuu inemine es ole paljalt prohvet vai üliinemine, vaihel olli veedu nallakas ja veidergi. Olli sääne inemine, kinkä nimega saa-i minna lunastust ja vahtset ello kuulutama. Nooremba, kiä ole-i Masinguga tutva olnu, lueva timä kirätöid ja näile om timä prohvet, imeinemine. Näist või tulla Masingu-usu apostli. Masingu armulugu olli ammuaigu teedä, huvitav om tuu, kuis tuu lugu muutus kiräniku käen ummamuudu religiuusses luus. Ole-i inäp asi tollen, et vana miis taht noore latskesega sängü minnä, om hoobis üts salaperäne kosmiline draama, kon üts tõselt galaktikalt peri inemine ots tõist. Ja ku löüd, sis piät midägi sündümä, viimäte eski inemisesugu lunastedus saama. Egäpääväne, banaalne saa müstilise tähendüse, nii et või saada Masingu evangeeliumi ütes päätükis. Vaia viil Pauluse kirju ja sis om nätä, mis edesi saa... Tule üts kristluse muudu new age'i sekt, kon om Magellani pilve, reinkarnatsiuun, kon Darwin om kurat ja Bernard Shaw ja mõni tõne omma pühämehe.


Ole arvo saanu, et ole inemine ilma imäkeeleta... Vanaimä-vanaesä es kõnela eesti kiilt häste, võro ja saksa sõnno ja vorme tulli iks sisse. Imä olli käünü vinne koolin suuremba osa aost, sis elänu ja opnu Saksan ja Prantsusen. Kui olli viil koolipoiskene, naksi imä tõlketöid lugema ja kohendama, timä es ole kinmä uma keelele. Nii es ole imä mu keeleoppaja, ma olli imä oppaja. Raamatuist ja koolist, rohkep küll tõisilt latsilt ku oppajilt sai tuu eesti kiil opitus. Ja nüit, ku lue näütüses haridusministiiriumi suurt ja vägevät plaani, kuis toda eesti keele oppamist-arendamist tävvendädä, tõhustada, parendada jne, siis tuu tekst om kirotet küll säändsen keelen, kumba kuigimuudu imäkeeles ei saa pitä. Mis imäkiil või olla üts kroonukiil?

lundi 17 mai 2010

Europe without Borders

I have several times written and spoken about Europe as a continent without borders. Now, here in Czech republic, I said several times I am a European. Well, I thought that for me, Europe doesn't end on the Irish shores or in the Urals. My Europe extends to Canada and to some degree also to the New England, to Vermont, to Maine... I think I will find it also in New Zealand.

Aryans in Europe

The only groups of people speaking a language called Aryan by linguists are Gypsies -- Roma, Sinti, Kelderash... It is a macabre irony of history that these people were among the ones destined to be exterminated by Nazis as non-Aryan.

mercredi 28 avril 2010


Mi puul muku kõneldas ja kirotedas, kas saami euro vai ei. Viimätsel aol om jutt iks nii, et saami. A ku kaia, mis Euruupan sünnüs, sis piät nakkama küsümä, kas euro jääs pidämä vai ei. Ku Krееka, Portugal ja Hispaania pankrotti jäävä, sis on euro tulevaig peris tume.

jeudi 25 mars 2010

An Awkward Correlation

I strongly suspect that the amount of sports news in printed press and TV is correlated with the amount of overweight people... In the past, when overweight wasn't yet a problem, sports news occupied quite a modest place among other news. Nowadays when about a quarter of news is dedicated to sports, obesity has become a huge problem. Virtual sports, following sports events in TV is certainly one of many causes of obesity. Should we cut drastically the media coverage of sports to fight it?

lundi 22 mars 2010

Vinnemaast kõneldas...

Viimätsel aol omma Eesti poliitiku tulnu vagurambas. Vinne-vastast retoorikat on vähämb; aolehin iks om vannamuudu, a ministri kõnelase joba, et piät iks Vinnemaaga asju aama ja suhtit hoitma. President ütel, et Eesti ei saa umma jonni aada ütsindä, ku kõk muu eurooplase mõtlese ja toimetase tõisilde. Üts analüütikus kutsut provva ütel, et Vinnemaa om prõlla mõõdukamb ku olli. Mi hädä om tuu, et õiget analüütikat ole-i oleman. Analüütika piässi arutama toda, mis neo ütlemise ja tegemise õigehe tähendäse. Mis president mõtel, ku ütel, et piät Moskvahe minemä. Ja mis tuu analüütikus kutsut provva mõtel, ku ütel, et Vinnemaa om mõõdukamb. Ja toda võissi ka analüüsi, et ku üts konverents vai mis tä olli, Tallinan peetüs sai, kon üts Vinnemaa raudtii suur asjamiis ka olli, sis mi ministri võtiva ja kõneliva vinne kiilt. Konkotsil omma mi analüütiku, kiä rahvale neo asja är seletässi ja ümbre panessi? Ma esi mõtle, et ole-i Vinnemaa mõõdukamb joht, a vägevämb om küll. Gruusia sõda näüdäs toda väega häste ja toda ka, et õdagu puult tule-i avitust, piät inne uma mõistusele ja jõule luutma. Ja vast sis tuuperäst kõk neo jutu ja toimetamise. Ja õigehe om mul hää miil, et Vinnemaast kõneldas nigu ammu olessi võinu kõnelda: ole-i ma konagi mõtelnud, et Vinnemaa om põrgu vöörüs ja vinne poliitiku õkva vanakuradi sulase. Hää om kaia ja kullelda, ku mõistus kodo nakas tulema.

vendredi 19 mars 2010

In defence of Richard Dawkins

I've read Richard Dawkins' book "The God Delusion", and many comments about the book and its author. Quite often Dawkins is labelled an extremist, a kind of an militant atheist preacher, and in this way, several authors explicitly distance themselves from him as from a bad-mannered youngster. In good company you don't spit on floor, don't use slang words and speak reverently about God and religion.

I don't wholly agree. I think there should be some parity between religious discourse and discourse critical of religion. If we compare Dawkins with most priests, pastors, preachers, ayatollahs, imams, mullahs etc, he seems extremely mild and polite. He doesn't incite people to burn churches, to kill believers, he doesn't want to prohibit religion, he doesn't say religions are work of Satan and must be fought against with all available means, he doesn't want to ostracize religious people, doesn't want to punish church-goers, doesn't think celibacy, homosexuality, heterosexuality, abortion, contraception, test-tube babies and cartoons depicting Jesus or Muhammad are crimes. What he wants is abolition of various privileges churches and other religious organizations still possess. He wants atheists and agnostics to have similar chances to speak about their views and to propagate them. He doesn't do what so many religious people do every day. He doesn't think that he can speak with divine authority, that he cannot be mistaken, as so many preachers, pastors and imams who have no respect for people who have different beliefs or non-beliefs. I cannot but remember a phrase from a finnish orthodox journal where it was stated that the Mari (Cheremis) native religion had "absolutely no value" and, accordingly, the Maris should be converted to Christianity, preferably to the best variety of it, i.e. to Orthodoxy.

My own views are somehow different. I would like to see the deep psychological knowledge, the age-old wisdom about human life, suffering, joy and freedom to be liberated from the supervision of all breeds of ayatollahs and theologians, and to be translated into a different language that is not a language of belief, where there must not be a God as supreme arbiter and authority. I want us human beings to accept the fact that we live in a world where there is no absolute certainty. I believe it is perfectly possible and even unavoidable, if we want to survive on this planet (or maybe somewhere else). My God plays dice, and I think we can well enjoy playing dice with him. Or without him. No difference.

mercredi 10 mars 2010

No Words at the End of the World

There are things I avoid describing and speaking about. I cannot and dont't want to say anything about the redwood trees I saw on the coast of Oregon and northern California. I don't want to tell anything about what I felt and thought looking at them and walking under their shade. I don't want to say much about my emotions and thoughts at the Cabo de Sao Vicente in Portugal. This cape is the extreme soutwestern point of the European continent, and until the Portuguese discovery of the Acores and Madeira, and before the discovery of America it was considered the end of the world. The Romans called it Promontorium Sacrum -- the Sacred Promontory. I have no proper words to describe the redwood trees and the cape at the end of the world. But somehow I feel there are things we should not try to describe, things that should remain nameless, undescribable, ineffable. In the past such things were considered sacred. Perhaps they still are. We should understand our limitations and the limitations of our language and thought.

vendredi 5 mars 2010

Religion for Egoistic Male Genes

Yesterday I read a shocking story told by an Estonian serviceman in Afghanistan. A young girl escaping from a rapist had climbed over the wall of the NATO military camp. She escaped the rapist, but was later shot by her father: he thought too many faithless men had seen her daughter unveiled, it was a shame for him... I am more and more convinced that religion, especially the big monotheistic religions, and especially the Islam among them, are well engineered devices that help human males to guarantee the survival and successful and exclusive transmission of their genes. Religion gives men control over their wives, makes it very difficult for the females to get inseminated by other males except the men who possess (I think it's the right word) them. A girl is strictly controlled by her father, then handed over to her husband (and his kin). Any chance of her even meeting other males is made virtually impossible by the religious law and custom. In Saudi Arabia, flirting is a crime, religious police persecuting young people seen chatting and laughing in public places... In Christianity too, free sex was and is considered a grave sin, and in some traditionalist societies women's sexual behaviour was very strictly regulated, and having an extramarital child was one of the most shameful things that could happen to a girl. In the past, admonishing such girls was a favourite pastime of Lutheran pastors, although our ancestors didn't consider sex the mother of all sins, and in some places unmarried mothers were not ostracized by village people at all. What we see in places like southern Afghanistan or Aceh, is male control of female sexuality run amoc, become an obsession. Shared by the Salafiyah ideology in general. I remember that for Sayyed al-Qutb, one of the most influential ideologues of the Salafiyah Islam, seeing young people dancing and flirting in America was a shock experience, a vivid example of the moral degradation of the West. For me, al-Qutb's indignation at young people expressing their erotic feelings, is a sign of the sexual paranoia inherent in some forms of Islam. A paranoia that can well be explained by the theories of evolutionary psychology. On the ethical level, I cannot but quote my friend Gary Snyder who told that the world would need several thousands of years to overcome the bad karma created by the monotheistic religions. But I'm afraid that we don't have so much time to turn our attention from sexophobia, homophobia and misogynia to real dangers facing ourselves and our planet.

A Beneficial Disaster?

I have believed that a "moderate" ecological disaster would be good, it would push people toward a more sustainable way of life, help us to put brakes to our wasteful consumerism. But reading about developments in the Indonesian Atjeh (Aceh) province, I am beginning to doubt whether such a disaster would really help us. Atjeh that lost more than two hundred thousand people killed by the huge tsunami has now adopted a very rigid form of fundamentalist Islam, favoured by the idea that the tsunami was sent by Allah as punishment for people's sins. Such ideas can easily gain ground in the USA as the rhetoric of some influential evangelical preachers after the catastrophic flood in New Orleans has shown. Thus, an ecological disaster can be followed by an ideological disaster that can make things worse not better. Instead of fighting against big cars and big houses preachers will fight against homo-marriages and sex education...

vendredi 26 février 2010

Sofi Oksasen "Puhdistuksesta"

Sofi Oksasen kirja "Puhdistus" oli minulle pettymys. Ehkä olen tullut kaunokirjallisuuden suhteen liian kriittiseksi... Mutta minusta kirja antaa liian dramaattisen, muutamassa yksityisasiassa jopa väärän kuvan Viron elämästä neuvosto-aikana. Kirjailija käyttää taitavasti hyväkseen romanttisen kirjallisuuden keinoja ja konsteja, kirjottaen romaanin, jossa poliittinen kauhutarina on itse asiassa kohtalokkaan rakkaustarinan palveluksessa, antaen sille värikkään taustan ja lisää traagisuutta . Oksanen uudelleenkirjoittaa antiikista tutun arketyyppisen tarinan. Päähenkilö Adele on tavallaan nykyajan Medea ja idea rakkauden tuhoisasta voimasta, surmaavasta Eroksestakin on peräisin siitä. Paralleelit Aino Kallaksen kanssa ansaitsisivat tutkijan työtä. Kuten mainitsin, on yksityiskohtia, jotka Virossa asuneelle tuntuvat selvästi outoina, liioiteltuina. Uskallan väittää, että yhden päähenkilön Martinin kaltaisia fanaattisia kommunisteja oli Virossa hyvin vähän, suuri osa puolueen jäsenistä ei taistellut jouluja vastaan, useimmilla oli jopa kotona joulukuusi, vaikka virallisesti jouluista ei puhuttu ja koulunopettaja, joka vei oppilaansa joulukirkkoon katselemaan, mitä merkitsee jumalanpalvelus, sai potkut. Mutta ideologia ei ollut meillä koskaan näin tärkeä ja aitoja kiihko-kommunisteja oli vain kourallinen. Elämämme oli silti paljon enemmän kuin vain kauhutarina, elämä neuvosto-Virossakin oli elämä. Eihän äskein itsenäistynyt Virokaan ollut täysin villi länsi, jossa pimpit voisivat vapaasti saalistaa ja surmata uhreitaan. Yhteenvetona: taitavasti kirjoitettu action-romaani, jossa on rakkausta, kidutusta, jännitystä, raakaa seksiä, takaanajoa, neljä ruumista ja happy end. Haluaisin kiistelemättä lahjakkaalta kirjailijalta enemmän huomiota elämän monenlaisiin ulottuvuuksiin.

Sex, its parallels and metaphors

A good work of literature, be it a novel, a short story, an essay or a poem has some striking structural or compositional similarities with sexual act. In literature too, we have a foreplay, then action which leads to mounting tension and finally orgasm or, in case of literature, to a kind of a solution, katharsis, be it happy end or not. And finally, there is a rest, a peace, absence of urge or conflict. I suppose evolutionary pshychology and ethology have something to say about this. Literature, poetry is somehow similar to birds' singing or tomcats miaouing and fighting. And in the same time it's mimesis, a representation of such, often demonstratively, pugnacious behaviour. Troubadour is a kind of a songbird, but often a songbird singing about its life and its song.

Have the other arts also parallels and perhaps origins in our sexual behaviour? In classical music or in indian ragas, we have similar composition, often mounting intensity and tension, and finally -- the powerful, energetic orgastic finale. And of course: in music as in sex we have rhythm. That connects sex and music with poetry and dance. But similarities between dance and sexual act have been obvious for people for many generations. Not so obvious are the parallels between sex and war, the most intense and fatal conflict that sooner or later is solved, followed by peace. I have found fighting and warmaking as metaphors for lovemaking both in antique Roman and old Chinese novels.

samedi 30 janvier 2010


Lui uudisist, et inglase lammutase Bournemouthi vabaao keskuse, mis pidada olema Inglismaa kõge vihatum ehitus. Kai tolle keskuse pilti ja löüse, et mi puul on sändsit ehituisi üts jago. Om näid Talinan ja Tartun. Olessi hää neo ka är lammutada. Ma võtassi lammutamise nimekirja: Tartu keskliina kaubamaja, Tasku, Talina Solarise, Ühispanga maja, paar vahtset hotelli ja muidoki Vabadussõa samba. Olessi tüüd lahkji ja arhitekel, kiä võissiva sis midägi parembat projektiiri. Kaege esi: om õkva ku Eesti viimätse ao suure keskuse.

mardi 5 janvier 2010

Family values -- human values

There has been a lot of talk, sometimes nostalgic, sometimes even aggressive talk about "family values". I think we have some confusion here. Family is an important thing for us, human beings, men and women. We need it. But at the same time, family is not a person, it has no feelings, no wishes, it doesn't suffer. We do. And I don't think it is fair if a man or woman, a child or a grown-up person suffers for the sake of family. What counts, is not family, but other persons, their feelings, their security, their well-being. Strictly speaking, there is no such a thing as the well-being of a family. We speak of the family as a kind of a super-person. Language is often illogical, we tend to find short expressions for complex things, use metaphors. Sometimes these metaphors begin to live a life of their own. Family, marriage, honour, love become things that seem to have an intrinsic value, independantly of our feelings, of our well-being, our happiness or suffering. Sometimes these values help us, we get some support from thoughts about family, honour, love... But sometimes they turn against us, can even become destructive. In the Christian and especially Islamic tradition, adultery is not, first of all, a sin because it makes another person suffer because of jealousy, because a person feels abandoned, abused, insulted... This is a human tragedy. But for the tradition, adultery is a sin, because it is directed against an institution that is considered sacred or nearly sacred, not because it causes suffering. Adultery is a sin in itself, an abomination regardless of what the persons whom it directly touches feel and think. I feel this is wrong. What matters is not the institutions, but us humans, our happiness or suffering. Family is just an instrument that should increase our happiness, give us more security, more ways of live a good life. Family should be for us, not us for the family. As is often the case in traditional societies. After all, nobody can kill a family (I don't mean family members, humans), but sometimes men and women are killed in the name of family. Or family values.

lundi 4 janvier 2010

Nordic Christmas-kitsch

As you see on this photo I took on the second week of December 2009 in Tavira, a small town at the Atlantic coast in Southern Portugal, even here the Christmas icons are snowflakes and fir or spruce trees. You can also see figures Santas in their winter coats, and even reindeer. At the same time, there is no real winter in Tavira. A local inhabitant told me her grandmother had once seen snow there, and the temperature never falls below zero. There are no fir or spruce trees in Algarve, thus the Christmas light girlands are decorating palms. In fact, the nature here is much more similar to the nature in Galilee where Jesus was born and grew up. In Galilee there are no firs or spruces, no reindeer, no real winter. In Galilee you can see palms and camels. Why then is Christmas celebrated as a Nordic festival, why do we have all these Nordic kitschy reindeer with their sledges, snowflakes and imitations of fir trees made of neon lights? Why do we not celebrate Christmas in Northern Europe and North America with Mediterranean icons as camels, donkeys and palm trees?


Kõigeparemad soovid 2010ks!
Kõgõparemba soovi 2010s!
Best wishes for the 2010!