dimanche 27 février 2011

Taha-i vanur olla

Ku küsütäs, et mille ma inäp ei saa kirotada eesti keeleh, sis vastus om peris prostoi: eesti keeleh võidas minno kutsu vanuris, võro keeleh säänest sõnna ole-i ja loota om, et ei tule kah. Ma või olla vanamiis, vanataat, vanapapi, a vanur ma küll olla ei taha ja olla ei saa.

samedi 26 février 2011

Prisoner of one's own past

These last years I feel often quite desperate: I got many invitations to come and read my poetry or talk to some audience about my work or about Estonian history and culture. But all this means I have to take the role of a certain J.K., Estonian writer and ex-politician. It means I have to be what I was ten, twenty, thirty years ago. I have difficulties saying "Thanks, no" to people who invite me, but feel that I simply cannot play the role of this J.K. any more. I have some years left, my brain is still capable of thinking and formulating some ideas, I want to use the time and energy left to think about some problems that interest me, to write something about language and philosophy of language, about the human condition, about Drake's equation... I don't want to be a prisoner of my own past, of my poems, of my renommée. I want to be what I really am: somebody else, un autre, kiäki muu. And to have a better understanding of this somebody and something else.

mercredi 23 février 2011

Birthday present

A most extraordinary present I got on my 70th birthday:


Some demonological observations

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

Gods as parasites

Gods and similar beings are among the most successful parasites of our mind, our memosphere. They are most often not violent, but can become very dangerous both to the person infected and other people. They realize their aims in manipulating us, taking control of our actions. Probably they are relatively new parasites, thus a stable, in ideal mutualistic relationship has not yet evolved, although it is not guaranteed that such a mutually beneficial relationship could ever emerge. It is quite possible that either of both, gods or humans will kill the other. It would certainly be better if we could get rid of the gods or God and their consorts, but so far the attempts to achieve such a godless state have not been very successful. Instead of one God or gods, other, often quite dangerous beings creep into our minds and do a lot of harm. Still, a dictator whose aim is only to secure his own power, not to build a God's realm on Earth, is usually better for his subjects and us all than one who thinks he fulfills God's plans, is an instrument in the hands of Providence. As thought Hitler and some of his entourage.

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.

A dice-throwing God?

As we can read on the Science Daily website on January 6, The Pope Benedict XVI has said that “the universe is not the result of chance, as some would want to make us believe." But what if the God whose “infinite creativity” he appraises in his sermon, is also a dice-throwing God, a God who is free to use stochastic rules? Why do we think of God as a god as a creator of exclusively strictly deterministic systems? Can we prescribe him what logic he uses?