mardi 27 décembre 2011
samedi 24 décembre 2011
dimanche 11 décembre 2011
mardi 6 décembre 2011
lundi 28 novembre 2011
I believe that most, maybe even more than 90% of what people tell and write about their dreams is not authentic. Dreams cannot often be described in our common language, in our common conceptual system. Why? Because our language, our semantics are "Aristotelian" -- everything is what it is: A = A. A dog is a dog, no a cat, a cloud or a chair. Of course, not everything can be described and defined in the strictly Aristotelian way. There are fuzzy things that need a fuzzy language, a fuzzy logic too. There can be chairs that are to some degree, e.g. 40% tables or sofas. But even such a fuzzy thing, even a changing cloud or a waning wave is itself, is identical to itself in its fuzziness. However, in dreams, things are often not identical to themselves, they can be 100% A and 100% B, and the person dreaming of them doesn't often see 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: these buildings were at the same time bookshelves in the room. It is very difficult, nearly impossible to talk about such objects, our language is not made for such a purpose. Perhaps it would make sense to think about a language or a logic more fit for describing dreams.
dimanche 27 novembre 2011
Recently I had a remarkably philosophical dream. I had discovered that the indeterminacy principle of quantum mechanics can be applied in many other fields. Of course, I didn't invent any formulas nor used
them. One of my dreamt-of ideas was that God's existence can interpreted as having some inbuilt indeterminacy in it, too. We can say of God that it exists: in this case we cannot say anything definite of it. Or we can say something about God, describe its attributes, but then we cannot say anything definite about its existence.
Most often such dreams give us nothing: waking up we discover that the revelations we got are worth very little. But sometimes, very rarely, the revelation can give us something, perhaps some lines of verse, perhaps
some strange associations, perhaps some real understanding. I don't know whether my dreamt-of idea about God's existence can explain us something...
What reminds me of Paul Valéry:
Honneur des hommes, saint langage,
Discours prophétique et paré...
Eh bien, nous y sommes... And, of course, from the glotto-ecclesiastic point of view I am a dangerous heretic who does not recognize the authority of the Church, obstinately refusing to use the established language. Maybe I am even considered a heresiarch.
lundi 21 novembre 2011
vendredi 11 novembre 2011
vendredi 4 novembre 2011
samedi 29 octobre 2011
mardi 25 octobre 2011
The real problem is not the ratio of people working and people retired but the rising cost of taking care of the elderly that is rising with the rise of average age. No easy solutions here. The aim must be to find ways to find efficient ways of keeping aged men and women healthy, to fight such deseases as Alzheimer, Parkinson's disease, etc. This is a difficult task, but not a mission impossible.
samedi 22 octobre 2011
vendredi 21 octobre 2011
jeudi 20 octobre 2011
"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?
vendredi 14 octobre 2011
I have little personal experience of modern Russia, but returning from St. Petersburg on coach I could see with my own eyes that the area between St. Petersburg and the Estonian border that in Soviet times was partly abandoned, where there were only destitute villages with miserable huts, is now quite similar to what we see on the Estonian side of the border: a lot of new buildings, new roads, a lot of construction work, old houses refurbished, painted, small townships looking much better and cleaner, people better clad. As to the freedom of expression, I can every day read critical articles about developments in Russia on RIAN, Lenta, NG and other websites. I read a long review of a book written by the former Guardian correspondent in Moscow on a Russian website. And there is a lot of talk about the recent events, especially the sacking of the finance minister Kudrin and Putin and Medvedev changing their roles. And regularly we can read about Khodorkovsky, his opinions are quoted and retold. We can make an experiment, taking for example the titles of articles from the semi-official website RIAN.ru and calculate which ones of them could have been published in a Soviet paper. The result is niggardly, maybe 10%-20%. This could be a measure of the situation with freedom of expression in Russia.
vendredi 23 septembre 2011
samedi 17 septembre 2011
jeudi 1 septembre 2011
vendredi 29 juillet 2011
nearly impossible, the weakening of Western secularism can lead us toward new crusades. The mass murder committed by the man calling for such a crusade is a clear warning sign of such a possibility.
In my opinion, the European Englightenment was greatly influenced by the Chinese Confucianism. Reading the Jesuit reports on life and culture in China, some European intellectuals realized that a great society can exist without any religious fundament, on a purely humanist basis, relegating religion completely to private sphere. They discovered that non-religious ethics is fully possible and can serve as a basis of a state that has withstood many historical vicissitudes and troubles. In many ways,
the Chinese society has also been able to survive the perpetual civil and non-civil wars and the cultural revolution of the twentieth century, and the Confucian heritage is still a force to be reckoned with in China. Perhaps we in the West should turn once our eyes upon the Confucian tradition, perhaps there is still something to be learned from it. Perhaps the Chinese and Western intellectuals should make a bigger effort to join their forces to combat the erosion of non-religous humanism in the present-day world.
dimanche 24 juillet 2011
I translated hurriedly a paragraph from my "Titanic" into English with some unavoidable mistakes. But I hope the content is understandable and can give readers something to think about.
My head was full of other thoughts on my way to Finland. I had just read an article in an Estonian newspaper. The author, who calls himself historian, writes that the mafia of international capital has resorted to a number of actions aimed at the destruction of the multi-ethnic European Christian culture. In order to achieve this, he claims, they make use of false ideology, initiate wars. In Germany the same financial mafia helped Hitler to power, to let him start a war and destroy the bases of European spirituality. Now it has unleashed wars in Vietnam, in Iraqi Kurdistan and the Balkans. These wars are not fought in order to find a military solution to some conflicts, but to drive on the move large numbers of refugees invading Europe, taking advantage of the masonic understanding of human rights forced upon the Europeans, the idea that everyone has the right to live in any country, and there he/she must at once have all the rights. These refugees bringing with them their alien culture will finally ruin the European culture. There is a war between races going on in the world. The financial capital wants to change the whole mankind into what he calls "infantile Homo americanus consumens" interested only in consumption and in whom, in his view, there is nothing human left.
In another article he says that our effeminate young men need more virility, more Viking and knight spirit.
Of course, there is a long distance from thoughts to deeds, but once the thoughts are there,
I have always thought that Norwegians have often been the first in many fields, as explorers, rulers (in Middle Ages rulers in several European countries from England to Sicily and Russia) were of Viking origin, scientists, writers. Now a Norwegian has emerged as a first euro-terrorist, perhaps heralding the rebirth of something its adepts call the New Templar Order, and an attempt to restart something we can call the New Crusades. Of course,
these guys are not original. They have been inspired by Al-Qaida and other Salafists with their vehement "anti-crusader" rhetoric.
In many ways, war is theatre. It's even suggested by the expression "theatre of war". There is a lot of histrionics in war, in militarism, parades, even warfare itself. As in theatre, there are actors and spectators, although sometimes the borderline between them becomes fuzzy. There are total wars, totale Mobilmachung, there are attempts to stage total theatre, to force the spectators to become actors. But in any case, we need theatre, and we have reason to ask ourselves whether we need war, theatre of war too. Here, most of us prefer to be only spectators, but nilly-willy we are there to listen, to applaud, to approve or disapprove. We are an important element in the war games staged by neo-Vikings, neo-Templars, Salafists and others. They cannot play their games without us, without us publishing their speeches, printing their portraits, raising interest for their ideas.
The Norwegian B. (I refuse to quote his full name or to include his photo!) is a talented
actor. The play goes on. After the two first acts comes a third: the court where he can
give a speech, propagate his ideas, launch his call to arms. And I am afraid the Norwegian
liberal democracy gives him ample chances to do precisely this. And I am sure this fair-haired Viking-looking young man will have many admirers, and possibly imitators too.
vendredi 22 juillet 2011
enough. Allah seems to be less sadistic, but he is a megalomaniac who does not get tired of praising and glorifying himself in a way that is often quite tasteless and vain.
jeudi 14 juillet 2011
samedi 2 juillet 2011
На каком языке говорить с русскими? В социальной сети Facebook появилась группа "Говорим с русскими в Эстонии по-эстонски" (Räägime venelastega Eestimaal eesti keeles). Основатели группы уверены в том, что русские, живущие в Эстонии, не говорят по-эстонски только потому, что сами эстонцы при малейшей возможности переходят на русский язык и не дают русскоязычным говорить с ними на государственном языке. "Задумывались ли вы о том, почему русские в Эстонии не говорят с вами на эстонском языке? Потому что мы сами говорим с ними по-русски", - гласит заглавное сообщение на странице группы, - Давайте будем в своей стране говорить на своем языке! Так мы сможем и другим задать верное направление".
mardi 21 juin 2011
dimanche 22 mai 2011
lundi 9 mai 2011
Now, we may ask whether this is true also of our "animal-like" characteristics, of the features we have in common with chimps, bonobos, gorillas, orangutans. Are we nowadays more similar to the big apes than in the past? We have indeed more sexual freedom, more freedom to play, to socialize, to chat and to have bodily contact with other people. We spend a lot of time boasting, competing, our aggression is canalized into entertainment and sports. Our inquisitive, explorative behavior finds a more or less free outlet in science and technology, as well as in tourism. These are but some of the parallels between the modern Homo sapiens and his/her primate cousins.
For many moralists, especially religious ones, re-emergence of our primate-like features is a clear sign of our degeneration, and points to the urgent need of returning to the traditional way of life, to "family values", to God-given rules, etc. However, the fact is that in our modern "decadent", "immoral" societies, there is much less violent crime and much less theft too than there was and is in more traditionalist, religious ones. And often the perpetrators of violent crime are precisely the moralists, traditionalists, fundamentalists. In some countries, it's a crime for a widowed woman to have sex with a man, but it is not a crime to stone her to death. One of many horrific paradoxes of the modern world.
mercredi 27 avril 2011
mercredi 13 avril 2011
samedi 9 avril 2011
lundi 21 mars 2011
mercredi 9 mars 2011
lundi 7 mars 2011
mercredi 2 mars 2011
About thirty years ago I wrote in an essay that our technology is a kind of an amplifying system, a booster that transforms the biocurrents in our brain measured in milliwatts into much more powerful currents and processes: here we can speak about megawatts, gigawatts and terawatts. Technological progress means more amplification, but does not change the basic fact: everything we create, every process we unleash, begins in our brain. This means that our mistakes, our erroneous thoughts are boosted, made more powerful and more dangerous too. This is something that should be taken into account in our discussions and disputes on the use of nuclear energy, e.g. when we must decide whether to build a nuclear power plant in Estonia or not. Such a plant doesn't exist by itself, it too is a part in a complex man-technology system. It cannot but amplify processes, thoughts, images, emotions in our brains. Thus, to calculate the risks of any such project, any plant or mechanism, we must take into account these mental processes. It is not enough to know the tehnological components of the system. We must know ourselves, otherwise we don't know how risky a technological project can be. A simple way of assessing these risks is to look back at our recent history. If a nuclear plant is designed and built to be operational for several decades and its waste remains dangerous for millennia or even for tens of thousands of years, then such looking back may well serve as a warning. Can we be sure that during the next decades, not to speak of millennia, there will not be people determined to use our technology to fulfill their destructive impulses, and capable of finding ways to do it? We should not be afraid of the nuclear, we should be afraid of ourselves, of our destructive, aggressive instincts, our lust for power and simply our stupidity, our avidya. As there is probably no way for us to radically change our brains, our mind that the evolution has given us, we should at least be very careful in getting in our hands (and in the hands of our descendants for many generations) the powerful instruments we have invented and constructed. We cannot be sure how they will be exploited in future. And, of course, we should make a huge attempt to understand ourselves, to study our psychology, our brains, our emotions, to see more clearly what we want and what we need. If we want to survive we must find a way not to think dangerous. I don't know whether this is possible.
dimanche 27 février 2011
samedi 26 février 2011
mercredi 23 février 2011
We like to live in stories. We admire fictional figures more than real people. Our heroes are such semi-fictional persons, we prefer them to real people, and they use this our predilection for their own ends. They let us create them, transform them into heroes from epics, legends or fairy tales, ancient and modern. And sometimes we bring to life mythological figures, spirits, gods, devils. Thus these non-existent creatures become real figures, although they still behave like their fictional prototypes. One of our most popular figures is certainly the Devil with his legion of avatars, servants and impersonators. I have met him (them). One of his avatars, one of the many devils I happen to know is the Missionary. A little devil travelling in exotic places fishing or hunting for souls. I heard from a friend of mine that this type of devil is an especially common species in the black Africa. In some Ghanean villages people have learnt to play an original game with the devil: they change their denomination, go from one church to another. Of course inspired by some material benefits the devil promises or gives them. In this way he demonstrates his ability to go on with his job in our buy-and-sell world. But in fact, as we know from our old folk tales, this is not a real innovation: even in good old times the Devil could pay quite a huge price for somebody's soul. Thus, the Devil can well be a Businessman too. In this way this classical Devil is a close relative to the very modern one. To the devil who is always busy flying, driving and speaking with his mobile phone at the same time. But even this modern devil has an old prototype. In an Estonian tale we encounter a man whom the Devil befriended (nothing human is alien to the Devil!) and once took flying, carrying him piggyback. The Devil flew with such a speed that the hat of his friend was swept from his head by the wind. He shouted to the Devil to stop so that he could look for it, but the Devil said that they are already tens of miles from the spot where the hat had fallen. This devil is a real precursor of the people we meet in business class lounges in airports around the world, to people who fly around the world once per month. They are the same type of personality they play the same role as the medieval Devil from the folk tale. Although the scope of their business interests is wider: they buy and sell many other things besides human souls. Certainly the Devil is not the personification of Absolute Evil as some Missionaries and philosophers try to convince us. The Devil and his friends and servants are neither better nor worse than most of us. They have read something of Adam Smith, and they can quote Milton Friedman and Margaret Thatcher. They probably believe that there is no such thing as society, there are only inidividuals, and the more easily each individual can follow his/her interests, the better for us all. They believe that they deserve some privileges, they have earned the business class seats and tax cuts because they have really worked very hard to maximise their profits.
jeudi 3 février 2011
Stanislaw Lem has a little story about a plant on an exoplanet that grows and blooms if insulted and cursed. I think that perhaps the God/gods are somewhat similar: they can grow stronger if attacked, they become more entrenched and can take more dangerous, sometimes hardly recognizable forms, if we try to cast them out. Thus, I think the best chance to get rid of them is to ignore them, being neutral to their lure and their menaces can step by step turn them into harmless mythological beings or literary heroes. As such, they can even serve us well.
I think that sooner or later gods, in our case God (Allah, IHWH, …) will, with the help of men he has successfully turned into his slaves, get in his hands weapons of mass destruction, and unleash an Armageddon. And unfortunately I don't see the world leaders taking decisive steps to stop such potentially dangerous development. Our leaders too seem to be to some degree manipulated by their godly parasites. Still, these parasites are not absolutely evil as some of them have made us believe of their rivals. Thus, there is some hope that they will not made a well-aimed effort to destroy the world. This is most probably not their aim, but they can achieve it unwillingly, just neutralizing some of our vital instincts, including the instinct of self-preservation. One of their ploys is suggesting us that our instincts, our human nature is nothing but evil and only following their instructions, obeying their will, can we do good and live a good life. They want us to believe that they have given us our moral code, without them we would either not exist or exist as savages without any ethics, any moral rules. A widespread belief that is definitely not true: all human beings have rules regulating their behaviour, and even most mammals and birds, first of all primates seem to make a difference between what is just and what is not.
Thus, paraphrasing the famous maxim of Confucius, the best way of dealing with God/gods is to keep away from them, avoiding fighting against them too.
dimanche 23 janvier 2011
По Чарльзу Дарвину маори Новой Зеландии были самой воинственной народностью мира. И сейчас, по-видимому, Новая Зеландия является, если не воинственной, то по крайней мере довольно мужественной страной, как видно по фотографиям. Для владеющих русским и эстонским языками комментарии излишни.
dimanche 2 janvier 2011
ScienceDaily (Dec. 31, 2010) — An influx of invasive species can stop the dominant natural process of new species formation and trigger mass extinction events, according to research results published December 29 in the journal PLoS ONE. The study of the collapse of Earth's marine life 378 to 375 million years ago suggests that the planet's current ecosystems, which are struggling with biodiversity loss, could meet a similar fate.
It's us, humans who are the foremost invasive species at present! Together with some of our commensals and parasites as rats, cats, opossums, some viruses and bacteria. But they are not the most important ones, their expansion is a result of our expansion. Will the result be similar to the result of the big collapse described in this article?
Extinctions are most probably quite sudden events measured on the geological time scale. The biosphere as most if not all ecosystems are non-linear systems, and are stable only in certain limits. There are thresholds, tipping points and other such things that our linear thinking most usually doesn't like to accept. We think as somebody recovered from a serious illness who thinks that he will certainly not die: he as recovered several times, and all the sinister prognoses are simply inventions of paranoid pessimists. There is no death despite so many dismal talk about it: we have lots of examples of people recovering after an illness called fatal.