lundi 28 novembre 2011

Dream Logic?

Sorry if I have already published these ideas in some form...

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

Quantum God

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...

Language as a Religious Affair

An Estonian political scientist has said that nationalism is our main religion. I think it is more or less true, and we can analyze this religion, find out its main elements or components. I believe such a very important component of our national religion is the language. There is so much attention paid to it, there is so much discussion about it, and there is a nearly devotional attitude to it. Instead of typically religious discourse, we have a kind of pseudo-theological discourse about language. We have some elevated ideas about what the ideal Estonian must be, and there are legions of teachers, editors, proof readers, clerks and simply activists working with the language, making it more pure, more similar to the divine ideal. There, as in any religion or theology, are many inherent contradictions. The language, the mother tongue must be kept pure, it must be used in most correct way, uncorrupt by foreign loans and vulgar colloquial forms. But at the same time the language must be modern, it must be refurbished, remodelled continually, made more fit for the needs of the modern world, more close to the ideal. We have even a language police who must guarantee that only (uncorrupt) Estonian is used in public discourse. But at the same time Estonia wishes to be a 150% Western nation, and English is considered a most important feature in our Western identity. But, as in any religious discourse, the contradictions are either ignored or swept aside by either very banal or very sophisticated explanations. Our language as religion has also its prophets and high priests and, as I wrote, lots of mullahs or preachers who teach people how to use the language. Sometimes the high priests change their views or simply invent some new things that people must adopt, the old things should be abandoned (as info instead of teave). And, of course, the prophet, the platonically inspired person who, according to the semi-official doctrine, gave us the modern, Western-style Estonian language, is Johannes Aavik. Nowadays even our president has become one of the high priests of the sacred language, lecturing people about how the language must be used and refurbished. Here we see that our national(ist) religion is well organized, our state is also a kind of a church that guards the language from pernicious influences and regulates its use. Common people must observe its regulations, you are not supposed to write or speak as you will, but according to the rules and dogmas established by the Church.
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

It could be Worse

There is a kind of a law of nature: everything or nearly everything bad could be even worse... When I see one more ironic or angry reportage or analysis of the political situation in Russia, I cannot but think of this law. Yes, the tzarist Russia was in many respects a lousy country, corrupt, more autocratic and theocratic than democratic... But Bolshevist Russia was much much worse. It would have been better for Russians and probably for Estonians, Latvians and others too, if Russia had remained more or less what it was. Now, the present-day Russia reminds me strongly of the Russia of the last tzar, there are many similarities between them including the cult of the autocratic father figure, be it tzar or president. The duma has a limited rule nowadays as it had a hundred years ago. But ... it could be worse. In no way is the present Russia the Stalinist empire recreated, it is an autocratic, but not a totalitarian state. But there are forces in it that would very much like to change it into a totalitarian state. The neo-Stalinist, chauvinist forces are there, and they are quite strong. In their view, in their propaganda, the present rulers of Russia are puppets of the West, henchmen of the Jews, Zionists or Freemasons (Zhidomasony). Their hero is Stalin, their ideal is the strong militarized state, strong order, suppression of any dissent, abolition of any real autonomy of the minorities. I have read of some coup schemes by dissatisfied military. Such a coup is most probably doomed to fail. But if someting goes terribly wrong in Russia, the neo-Stalinists are ready to seize power. Thus, in our interest and in the interest of world peace and stability is not to encourage, inspire or support them in any way. Even by waging a propaganda war against the present rulers of Russia, although in some cases, they can gain some points by being subject to Western criticism. In any case, Yedinaya Rossiya is most probably the least of possible evils in Russia. All the real alternatives are much worse. Liberals like Nemtsov or Illarionov have practically no popular support. We should keep this in mind and perhaps even give some discrete help to Putin and his clan if they are in serious trouble.

Two Estonias

If the "Via Baltica" railway will be built as planned, it will connect Tallinn to Riga via Pärnu, that is, it will be a coastal railway, leaving the eastern and southeastern part of the country out of its scope. This means that this region, the "continental" Estonia will become more isolated from "maritime" Estonia. Even now, the bigger Tallinn is largely a place apart from other regions of Estonia. Tallinn has better connections with Helsinki, the two together form a twin city we may call Talsinki. In the past, the railway connection from Tallinn to Riga passed through Tartu and Valga, helping to connect Tallinn with the South and Southeast. Now this link will probably be neglected, and Tallinn will be even more the smaller partner in Talsinki, a half-Finnish city and even less an integral part of Estonia. The imaginary line dividing Estonia into two runs roughly from Narva to Pärnu and is well known to geographers and botanists. Now it acquires also a economic and political dimension. It is interesting that in the Middle Ages the situation was different: then there existed a waterway from Pärnu to the lake Peipsi via Tartu, making use of small rivers that have by now vanished, become just tiny streams due to the neotectonic rise of the western and northern parts of the country. Thus, geology is also helping to tear Estonia apart. Does this division have a geopolitical meaning? Do people living in continental Estonia feel alienated from people in Tallinn and elsewhere in maritime Estonia? Will they feel they have more in common with Russians, our eastern, continental neighbours than with the well-to-do and self-centered inhabitants of Tallinn and perhaps Pärnu too?

vendredi 11 novembre 2011

Jää ja Titanic

Vahel saava vana kirotuse jälki aktuaalsis. Nigu Titanicu lugu nüit, ku EL ja euroga omma asja sandisti. Paar tsitaadikeist.
Ka Titanic oli laev, millest paljud inimesed lootsid pääsmist. Ta pidi nad viima uude maailma, teispoole merd, mis Jungi sümbolismis märgib surma. Sõit Ameerikasse oli surm ja uuestisünd. Vana elu, vana kodu, vana mina jäi maha, nendega tehti lõpparve ja mindi alustama uut elu. Sõit Ameerikasse oli natuke nagu enesetapp, üks neist väikestest surmadest, millega meil tuleb kokku puutuda enne suurt surma. Mõned põgenesid sinna vaesuse, mõned sassi läinud pereelu, mõned lähedasi tabanud õnnetuste, mõned politsei, mõned sandarmite, mõned omaste, mõned naabrite eest. Mõned põgenesid üksindusest, mõned üksindusse.

Me oleme kõige kiiremad, kõige turvalisemad, me pakume reisijatele kõige paremaid tingimusi, kõige suuremat komforti kõige mõõ­dukama tasu eest, me hoolitseme kõigi, nii suurte kui väikeste, nii rikaste kui vaeste eest.
Viiepäevane viisavaba reis
reisilaeval „Titanic“
reisi hind alates 5430 kroonist
Hinna sisse kuulub:
edasi-tagasi sõit kajutis, hommikusöök,
Kuni 6-aastastele lastele tasuta
kuni 12-aastastele lastele hinnaalandus 50%
Meie aitame teil teha teie elu kõige olulisema otsuse, me aitame teil alustada uut elu. Tulge meie pardale, kes te koormatud ja vaevatud olete, me viime teid teie unistuste maale.
Pühapäev, 14. aprill algas laeval jumalateenistusega. Esimese klassi reisijatele pidas seda kapten Smith ise, teise klassi reisijatele laeva kassiir. Kui pärast jumalateenistust mindi laevalaele jalutama, panid mõned reisijad tähele, et õhk on läinud väga külmaks. See oli märk sellest, et läheduses oli palju jääd. Ilm jäi külmaks ja selgeks terve päeva ega muutunud öösekski. Külma tundsid laeva ohvitseridki, kes teadsid ka selle põhjust. Ometi ei võetud ette midagi peale selle, et esimene tüürimees Murdoch palus meest, kelle ülesanne oli hoolitseda lampide eest, et ta suleks esimese ventiili: sellest paistev kuma segaks tüürimeest ja mastikorvis olevaid vaatlejaid märka­mast valgust, mis tõenäolikult helgib vastu lähenevalt jäämäelt.

vendredi 4 novembre 2011

Titanicu pardale

Küll sai Eesti rahval vaiva nättüs ja tüüd tettüs, et pästa sakste manu Titanicu pardale!