Monday, January 20, 2020

The river keeps keeping its name

I recently visited a place once very significant and warm, a fountain of great friendship and of so much laughter. And yes, the steps and the voices did echo, memories did flood, the bird did urge speed etc. But there was something else in that experience too, in a place so intimately recalled: something less sweet and more real. It is not that nostalgia should be automatically bad, just that it is automatically inaccurate. The sharpness, the vividness of experience, of the moment, is forgotten, that feeling of living poised on top of a great roaring wave of time with always the fear of crashing down, of drowning. Yes, those good things were true, they did happen, but that is just a part of that experience, at the time it was no fountain, it was life.

Monday, December 30, 2019

A lower and even more dishonest decade

The previous decade seemed bad enough: a decadent, cynical war of choice - the late empire gathering good ratings for homeland. And then that lame interlude did not seem so lame at first. But now these garish colours: reckless, compromised late empire, the stench of decay. Corruption, spite and ignorance. Conservatives forgetting all conservatism, forgetting history, getting easily bought. Liberals only semi-convinced of anything, only half-heartedly offering some feeble defence for half-forgotten positions.

Admittedly, only local, fleeting issues - these questions will be resolved, become utterly irrelevant soon enough in the longer perspective, and that longer perspective in itself only a moment. But we are here and now, and can only so be. So this is the moment and the place to engage: our absurdly short moment. The only time we have.

Monday, December 16, 2019

Cultural fugue

We don't live by bread only. A certain addition to this retro-30's (lite) era is another central theme of this blog: the increasing decline of christian-humanist values - and the concequent emptying of liberalism into a shallow official creed not understood, not believed in, but practiced as a handy way to increase various concentrations of capital. We are consumers, not citizens. Yes, this has been said before and by very doubtful people, like Heidegger, like Nietzsche. They had little understanding of liberalism, little understanding of history. But here we now are in the West, rich but with no convictions or ever vanishing convictions. Faith is not by far the only thing necessary to keep a civilization going, to keep a society coing, but it is the minimum requirement, the base. We are losing our memory, we are forgetting our beliefs, our convictions.

Friday, November 15, 2019

Slaves of defunct economists

This article says it all brilliantly and succintly: Against Economics

We live in an age of corruption and unreason - and nothing excemplifies it better than the mainstream economic orthodoxy shared by both financial and political elites, ever shortsighted and irrational. And that madness in turn is slowly killing civil societies and the post-war liberal Western order. What more disasters are needed to weed the idiocy out? Or will nothing be enough in this age of defeat and retreat?

Friday, October 11, 2019

Liberalism is not nice

I don't get this niceness aspect that is so often associated with liberalism. Well, to be exact, with the real existing liberalism - unlike pretty much all the other ideologies, liberalism is seen as  actual, specific practice, not as an abstract ideology, and as an actual existing practice in this hopelessly fallen world it is then compared with the pure ideologies, with those countless ideal laboratory cases of our rich human imagination, with unreality, in other words.

But in any case liberalism is not nice: it's hard, it's nonsentimental, it's detached, empirical, unemotional, even inhumane. Liberty is an empty thing, an emptiness, just a preliminary tiny first step away from outright barbarism. And even that tiny step has been paid for with blood - it has been taken from unimaginable hardships and brutalities and injustices. Not for capital, not for the highest return for investment, but for the primitive ignorance and brutality of human history to be one day totally ended.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Kus on Konstantin Pätsi haud? Kus on Jaan Tõnissoni haud? Kus on kindral Laidoneri haud?

Meditating on that wave of liberation and emancipation, the late 80's, the falling of the wall. The liberal Europe, its seiren song, the mostly pragmatic, rational US (at least in the West). And then, what happened? - further relaxation of the capital controls, robber capitalism, the explosion of private debt and public corruption. Not what was supposed to happen at all. And now in 2019, the former bastions of the liberal order, the US and Britain are mad and chaotic, capital ever gaining on work, the finance sector casually buying politicians, the centre not holding at all. History is merciless, it doesn't give respite, triumphs fade and are forgotten, ideals crumble.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Short span

Obviously we should understand that our moment here is absurdly brief and that we attach comically too much attention to our immediate past and our immediate future. The planet is billions of years old and billions of years are still coming (though any chance of developed life will have disappeared much before). All those vistas. But nevertheless, being here, having our existence, our consciousness, we should focus laser like to our moment, to our one chance. For us, being grass, there is no long term, there is only here and now.

Friday, July 12, 2019

Remembrance of things past

A vignette that has stayed on my mind: September 1987, our Pietist student hostel, passionate arguments - me declaring not praying for my loved ones as they would be entitled to justice, not for mercy. Not that I would still that much disagree about that, yes, they would be ever so entitled, but having been lucky, having found people, living in this world - no shred of that immature pride left, just, please, let them be safe, and well knowing that there are no guarantees here, nothing whatsoever, it's empty, it's cold here. But I did grow up.

Monday, June 24, 2019

Alo Mattiisen in memoriam

I guess it is justified to think that history simply grabs any random people to ride the wave, and probably it often does so. But what happened with Estonia in the late 1980's was so richly deserved, so ridiculously just which obviously almost never happens in this world, and no, no random person he then. Obviously too pure for this world, or too imperfect (no doubt probably often not that nice or wise either), you take your pick, but so right for that moment, for history, for justice.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

To our coy lovers

There is remarkably little to say about Andrew Marvell himself - one suspects that most of the relevant facts are carefully hidden. But the poems left do richly compensate: an ease, a tolerance, a sentiment not sugary but of genuine human understanding of this world, tough but not dead to feeling. Such a joy in these latter days of increasing greed and aggression.