I believe that the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.
I believe all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of kinship, love and tolerance.
I don't believe in distinction of any kind, such as
- race, colour, ethnicity, nationality
- sex, gender identity
- sexual orientation
- language, culture
- religion, spirituality
- political opinion
- any opinion
- origin (social, national or any other kind)
- age
- weight, size
- looks, beauty or lack of it
- disability or illness, visible or invisible, of mind or body
- property, wealth
- birth
- other status or identity

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Independence Day

I fully admit, I'm a nationalist and a patriot. I love my country, passionately.
I am Finnish and I will never be ashamed of being Finnish, I will never apologize for being Finnish, I will never try to hide the fact and I am dang proud of Finland and being Finnish.
Wouldn't want it any other way.

I don't think Finland is flawless. It's not.
No country is.

I don't always agree with the decisions of the Finnish government, and there are things about Finland, the politics, the situation, the legislation etc. that I am ashamed of, that I would want to change.
To me, this is as it should be.
Because Finland is not perfect. It's a good country, but it can be better, in many ways.

I think there are things Finland should apologize for, and when it does, I'm proud of it.

I'm not chauvinist.
I don't think being Finnish is the best thing in the world. It's one of the best things - FOR ME.
I fully expect you to love your country just as much as I love mine, and think your flag is the most beautiful flag in the world, and all that. After all, I love my flag and I think it is the most beautiful flag in the world, absolutely perfect. Everything about it is perfect, and I pity the other nations for not having as perfect flag as we do :-D
But I don't expect you to agree with me in that.

Now - there are USonians who do...

They really, truly, sincerely get OFFENDED AND UPSET if someone doesn't have the same relationship to THEIR flag as they do!
They really, truly, sincerely don't understand that their flag doesn't mean the same thing to the rest of the world it does for them!

To me it's not about freedom, but quite the contrary. It's about oppression, bullying, arrogance and ignorance, it's about belligerence and inconsideration, it's about being so used to get one's way through brutal force and blackmail, one doesn't even consider diplomacy. It's about "winning is the most important in the world". Shit co-operation. You do as I say, or you do as I say and cry while doing it.

So - it's hard to see the USonian "patriotic" Pinterest boards, that speak about all the things the USonian patriots associate with their flag... especially, when it's accompanied with idolizing the USonian military, which is the main reason to why the flag has all those associations for the rest of the world.
You are not defenders of freedom and liberty.
You are not defenders of peace, honor, good values or anything that is worthy in this world.
You are not the "land of the free" or "home of the brave".

It is like with the stupid "US wipes the floor in Olympics, and they say USonians are fat and lazy!" Yeah... Olympic athletes are the norm, you think?

There are brave, courageous people in USA, but their bravery doesn't rub off on the bullies and cowards, those people who are ready to use the military might of USA against any enemy weak enough to not cause much trouble - like Iraq and Afghanistan - when they get scared by finding out that USA is not untouchable.
I mean... there hasn't been war on US soil since the civil war.
No, Pearl Harbor doesn't count. A military base on the other side of an ocean doesn't count, even if it is theoretically "US soil". Frankly, USA annexed Hawaii illegally over 100 years ago, so Pearl Harbor isn't legally even USonian.

Uh. I'm sick and tired and full of the USonian version of patriotism.

Military, guns and god, "real American" BS; suspicious, belligerent, hostile, obstinate, cantankerous, grouchy - the bad national self confidence.

And they never learn, because it's always someone else's fault, and every problem will be solved by brutal force or money, or both, but never with kindness, understanding and diplomacy.

I hate the imperialistic, chauvinist, supremacist attitude and the hogging of words and values... like with Christianity... the people who complain about a non-Christian using words like "family values", "faith" and "God". It's the same as with the flag. People who are so conditioned to associate words like "freedom" with "USA" they get offended, when other people don't agree.

As I said, the association is not automatic. YOU HAVE TO EARN IT.

The concept of freedom is clear.
You either have it or you don't. If you don't, you don't have it, how much you ever say you do. It really is as simple as that.

Anyway... one thing USonians are good at, are parties. I do have party envy. The 4th of July traditions are pretty amazing, and I wish I had the same.

We Finns are not much of party people. I mean... the wildest thing we do on our Independence Day is to burn candles. Two.
Fly the flag.
Watch the President's Independence Day Reception and Independence Day Military Parade on television.
There might be some blue-and-white pastry.
There might be singing of Maamme, Porilaisten marssi and Finlandia, but most likely just listening. If that.
And perhaps some fireworks.
It's very sober, focusing on military and state, the gratitude we have to our veterans, who actually did fight to keep Finland independent, on a war on our soil, against an aggressor huge compared to our size. And we didn't lose the independence, even though we lost the war.
WE have a reason to be grateful to our veterans and military.
WE do owe our freedom and independence to our military.
WE don't send our military overseas to attack other nations.
WE don't use our military to bully others to do our bidding.
WE don't go forcibly ripping off other people's peace, liberties and right to self-determination because we want their oil or what ever else it is they have.

Nevertheless, I do envy the 4th of July and 17th of May and all the others who do celebrate their independence and nationhood properly :-)
Yes, if it is one of the most important things to me, I should also honor that, and show my love, gratitude and appreciation with the most amazing party ever.
(Even when it means I'm considered weird and my zealousy is considered uncomfortable and disturbing by a lot of people, and disrespectful, making fool of serious issues and ostentious... Yes, it bothers me a bit.)

So - I go to the masters to learn...
and I am met with the attitude ranted about above.

Or the "we will never forget" whining about 9/11...
Really... what is it they will never forget? That USA is not untouchable and should perhaps show a little more consideration when dealing with the rest of the world?
That a small group of people managed to strike fear so deep in the WHOLE USONIAN PEOPLE that they still tremble with fear after 11 years?
That... what? What is it you'll never forget?

Or ugly and badly made decoration.
Sure, you do your best, but... OTHER people pinning your ugly "patriotic craft" that looks like your 4 years old niece did it... No. How is that honoring and respecting the country?

I can ignore all that. It just makes me annoyed.
What is worst is disrespect of the flag. People sitting on the flag, people wearing the flag, people using the flag as something else, people making secular things of old flags, people dragging the flag on the ground, people jumping on the flag, trampling on the flag, wiping their feet on the flag... MY patriotic soul screams of pain!

Sure, there is a difference of whether the item is a real flag, a true depiction of the flag, or just something to that effect, but to me - and many Veterans - it's enough that it's red-white-and-blue and has stars and stripes. The intention doesn't matter. I will not sit on my flag. I will not stand on my flag. I will not put my flag on the floor. I will not wipe my feet on a flag. Even when it's "just a symbolic" flag. The flag IS a symbol in itself. You can use the colors - have a red chair with white and blue cushions. Have a red and white striped skirt and blue top with stars. Have red-white-blue striped banners, red, white and blue ribbons... but do not have anything that even remotely resembles the flag anywhere lower than your knees and nowhere where people might sit on it, or use it as a cover of something else, like a tablecloth or placemat.
The only "patriotic feelings" that is expressing is despice.

And misunderstanding things...
"United we stand, divided we fall"... how can they not understand that hating the president simply because he belongs to "wrong" party is DIVISION!!! Not being united! HOW???
And "Keep calm and wave on"? Huh? Does it even mean anything? What ever. Be a flag waving idiot.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

A couple of notes about USA

1) I never realized that they have even WORSE national self confidence than we Finns do. That's the biggest reason behind the tiresome self-boosting going on all the time. They don't really believe USA is that great, so they have to scream as high as they can that it is, and get aggressively defensive, if anyone criticises USA, whether the criticism is warranted or not. It's a golden statue on mud feet.

2) "I love rooms decorated with touches of Americana, or just her colors. It reminds us that, in the words of John Philip Sousa, "The red and white and starry blue is freedom's shield and hope."

Er... it should remind you of that "the red, white and starry blue SHOULD BE freedom's shield and hope". It's not something that follow automatically. Just because you are used to associate USA with things like "freedom" and "leader of the free world", doesn't make you so. You have to EARN it. You have WORK for it, you have to FIGHT for it, you have to RESPECT, HONOR AND PROTECT it. It isn't just words.

"Oh, yes, we think exactly like the Nazis in Germany in the 30's but we are not Nazis, because we are USonian."
"Oh, yes, we desire the same level of religious freedom as they have in Iran, but it wouldn't be in any way oppressive, because we are USA, so if we have it, it's freedom."
"Oh, yes, if THEY did it to US, it would be torture, but we are USA, we don't torture anyone, per definition."
I can't stop thinking "I don't think the word means what you think it means". 

At the moment, and for a very long time back in history, more than 100 years, USA has not been "freedom's shield and hope". You have been using your economical and military power to enslave other people of the world, invade land, force others to do as you tell them to, and it has somehow stuck... You are too big and too rich and too strong to need to consider other people, to respect other people, to learn to use such civilized methods of co-existance like diplomacy and peaceful negotiations. And it shows. You have become the heir of the Roman Empire, imperialistic, chauvinistic, supremacist bullies. 
Nobody likes bullies. Nobody likes people who look down on everyone else. We are supposed to be your friends and allies, not your servants, slaves, obedient minions, your entourage and fans. Learn to treat us as friends, and you will see that is what we are. Because, even though you don't believe us, because we are not doing what you tell us to do, and kissing the ground in front of you, we like you. You are our little brother. You have plenty of good qualities - and economical and military power are not part of the list - and we would like to be your friend, but it's damn hard when you are walking around with your nose in the air pretending to be better than anyone else.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Female polymaths

Why are there so few renaissance women?

People have been misogynists and claimed that "the ration of male and female geniuses is 8:1". There are several men with high IQ compared to women with high IQ. All the main scientists are men. All the polymaths anyone has ever heard of are men.
Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Galileo Galilei, Nicolaus Copernicus, Francis Bacon, Leon Battista Alberti, Aristotle, Avicenna, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Isaac Newton, Benjamin Franklin, Mikhail Lomonosov, Thomas Jefferson... The Wikipedia "list of people who have been called polymaths" include only a couple of women. Hypatia and Hildegard...

I think it’s more because of the idea of a “renaissance man” being someone like Da Vinci – a scientist and an inventor.

Queen Margrethe of Denmark is a polymath – speaking fluently several languages, being an artist, designer, illustrator, writing, translating books, and having other skills and interests she excels – and being a great queen with all the knowledge of social science; anthropology and history; economics, law, politics, even military science, like strategy and military history.

A lot of women are very good in many areas of life, that don’t count. 

Take an ordinary housewife. Housekeeping is an art greatly unappreciated. People seem to believe everyone can do that. Well… everyone can read, too. There are actually VERY few people who are GOOD at housekeeping. And an ordinary housewife also needs to take care of children, cook and bake, take care of the family economy (and some times that is as demanding as balancing the state economy :-D ), take care of the garden and house plants, even medicine and education… And many SAHMs and housewives are also masterly organizers, from parties to events to time managing and planning. As if this wasn't enough, we have the housewives, who have time and interest for other things too. We have housewives who craft – sew, knit, make cards or scrapbooks, (the art so demeaningly called "pottering"), we have housewives who are excellent photographers - but because they just photograph children and "women's issues", no-one cares. We have housewives who write, we have housewives who engage in social issues, we have housewives who have started a home business... there's an ocean of excellent bloggers who are also housewives. None of this is considered when it comes to thinking who is a polymath. Because none of these skills is appreciated or valued, and all of them are heavily underestimated.

Then there are the women who are beautiful.

Victoria Silvstedt will never be considered a polymath, because she is “just a playboy bunny”.  
Modeling is considered to be a worthless skill, and all these models who act, sing, design fashion and present – does any of that even demand any skills?
If you think it doesn't, I challenge you to do it.
(Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so if you don't think she's beautiful, you don't need to. Your personal opinion has nothing to do with the point I'm making.  
A woman considered an object will not be also considered a polymath.)

(I would like to point out that Victoria is a bit more than "just a playboy bunny". She is very good at three things: 1) modeling/singing/acting/presenting/etc. - 2) athletism (competing on national level isn't "just a hobby") - 3) languages (most people know only one or two languages. Victoria speaks Swedish, English, French and Italian well.)

Hildegard von Bingen is an example of a female polymath. She was a theologian, writer, poet, composer, artist, medical researcher, botanist, linguist AND at the same time she was being a medieval woman with all the necessary skills expected AND an abbess.

But - how many remember her when talking about renaissance people?
And if we forget HER, how many others are we forgetting?
I mean... take the French revolution, for example.
There's Olympe de Gouges.
No-one's ever even heard of her, have you? Why?
Because the "equality, liberty and brotherhood" was not extended to women.
Women were considered BIOLOGICALLY different from men, people were discussing if a woman even had a soul, the idea of women's rights was ridiculous. You could be asking for rights for Jews, slaves, protestants, peasants, the poor, but women? Women's place was to take care of the home and children, feed their families, and keep their mouths shut. Women were not to speak in public, women were not to own anything, women were not to be educated... not even taught to read and write. Women were good for one thing, and that was breeding. If a woman was unable to breed, the pitiful, worthless piece of crap could be of some use as housekeeper or a whore. Or both.
And this was the situation some 2000 years in the written history of mankind.  

Some 2000 years when a woman was not given any possibilities to get any basic education, any books to read, any paper to jot down notes and sketches.

What women thought of or invented, no-one knows. Unless this woman was to have a man in their lives, who actually listened to her... but if these ideas or inventions were made public, the credit was given fully to the man, and he was not about to tell anyone about the woman's part in it.

It is really a miracle that we know of Hildegard. I suppose the volume of her creation is too huge to be ignored or brushed aside as insignificant.

Just think about Hypatia.  Sure, be intelligent, be genius, be a mathematician and a philosopher with large crowd... be that. And we will see you won't.

But, the world has changed since, hasn't it? We have equality now, women are considered as equal human beings, equal to same achievements as men, equally talented, capable, intelligent?
Are they...?

Hunting modern polymaths: 20 living examples
All men.

And how is people like George Foreman on the list? Yeah... he was a boxer and then became a minister. Er...? 99% of all athletes of the world are then polymaths according to the idiots who created the list. First they have their professional sports career, and then they have another career when they get older and aren't that good at sports anymore. Oh, but he's a "grill mogul" as well! Yeah... he allowed his name to be used to sell grills, and even appeared in ads. Wow.

Or Michael Frayn. He has "four strings" in his repertoir. He's a writer, a writer, a writer AND a writer! Phenomenal! Such multitalented person! Such renaissance man, excelling in multitude of areas! Now, mark you that I am in no way criticising Michale Frayn. He is a wonderful writer, and it's truly admirable to be able to write several different... styles? But this is not a list of exceptional, inspirational, talented people. This is a list of polymaths. People who excel in several different areas of interest. Writing - how many different styles you ever write - is yet only one.

Or Umberto Eco. I adore Umberto Eco. I absolutely love him. But... "novelist, medievalist, semiotician, critic"... You could add sociologist to the list too. But it's all one field. He writes about what he is interested in, and he is interested in one subject - "the undercurrents of human mind as expressed in the sociological behavior of humans as a mass". It IS very fascinating. But if he is a polymath, so is every member of SCA and every other society of historical enactment.
And... even though that is sort of true, it makes being a polymath a vastly common phenomenon.  And I kind of don't think it is. I expect a little bit more... no, I expect a HELL LOT more of a person before I'm ready to classify him/her as a polymath.

Why isn't Marilyn vos Savant on that list? She's a writer and a mathematician. (According to the article's way of counting, she's a columnist, author, lecturer, playwright, philosopher, mathematician, economist and entrepreneur... and also a very beautiful woman.)

Added 28th of April, 2015
Other female polymaths mentioned in the comments or otherwhere

Mae Carol Jemison

 Maya Angelou
Mayim Bialik - neuroscientist, actress, at least bilingual

Gwyneth Paltrow - actress, singer, cook/food writer

Michelle Obama  well... I don't know enough of her. She is a lawyer, was in gifted class in school, is very active in promoting healthy life style, is married to the President and does her presentation job well... but is that enough? I don't think so.

Maggie Aderin-Pocock, engineer and space scientist - enough? I don't know. She's clearly a very intelligent and talented woman, seems like a nice person, and has achieved a lot in her life. A true ideal and role model. Polymath? I can't say.

Lucy Worsley "She is a British ( English ) Historian, Curator, Author, Television Presenter, and Cross Country Runner". Well... yes, that she is. I count her "historian/curator/author/television presenter" as being one talent, and being interested in cross country running... well... that's just a hobby, I think.

Tina Fey  - well... another one of those "it's practically the same thing". Actress, comedian, writer, different jobs within film entertainment industry...

 Maria Gaetana Agnesi

Dorothy Dunnett
Here's a very passionate presentation and argumentation of why she should be mentioned

Monday, September 3, 2012

Why I love my country

This is a school project. The kids brainstormed with the teacher about why they love USA.

"We have a special flag". Oh. You love USA because you have a special flag? Nice. Then you must love every other country in the world, because every country in the world has a special flag.

"We don't have slaves". Oh. That can be said of most countries in the world.

"We are free" - "We vote for our leaders" - "We have the things we need" - "There are neat places to visit" - that too goes for every modern democracy.

"We have people that keep us safe (police men, fire fighters)" 
If that's a reason why you love USA, keep paying taxes. But - that too goes for every modern democracy.

"We honor the people who have died for us." 
Er... how, precisely? Giving them a nice funeral, a memorial and a memorial day. While at the same time dishonoring people who had the bad taste of NOT dying. Vietnam veterans are classified as drug addicts, veterans speaking up against the despicable acts of USonian military, torture and illegal wars are classified as traitors and anti-American, and... yeah... military is being paid with tax funds too... So - refuse to pay taxes, refuse a veteran his pension. What the heck, he didn't die, so he can go and work, like all the decent people and stop leeching!

"Our country is BIG!"
Oh, yeah... You'd love Russia or China even more!
"You can see mountains, beaches, jungles and more in the USA". 
That is something unique for USA. But on the other hand, if your country didn't have "mountains, beaches, jungles and more", would you not love it?


I love Finland because it's mine. It is the country I was born in. I love Finland because I'm Finnish. Because I love Finland, the sky is higher there than anywhere else... Because I love it, it's the most beautiful country in the world, even though it's small and doesn't have all kinds of amazing places. It has nice places to visit, though, beautiful places, amazing places, places worth seeing. Maybe I'm partial, but - I don't think I am. Every country has that. :-)

I love Finland, because I know Finland. I feel at home there. I feel accepted. I feel I belong. Finland is my mother. Finland is my home. Finland is the soil where my roots are. Finland is my origin.

There are all the other people who love Finland too, and I can share my love with them, the pride of achievements... and even though Finland is a small country with only few citizens, we have achieved a lot.
We made Finland independent and we have kept it independent for almost a century now. And we kept Finland independent against Russia... and as USA was fighting on their side, against USA too. No f-ing yankees in MY home country, and THAT is something to be proud of in today's world!

I love Finland, because Finland is a country one can be proud of. Of course we are not perfect, but there's more to be proud of than to be ashamed of. And most other people think Finland is a good place too.

Finns are creative, artistic, inventive, intelligent people. Hard-working people, fair, honest, courageous... Independent and ethical. You know the tree by its fruit and the country by its citizens.