Laws vs. rules of thumb: Vikings vs. Swedes vs. Iranians

Before they were exposed to the ten commandments, the pagan Norse had a set of rules they lived by.  They even wrote them down.  One of them was: don’t go outside at night except to whizz.  Actually they used a different term, but you know what I mean.  I often violate that rule just because I like to look at the night sky.  armadillo at MC oct 5 2015Maybe that’s why the Norse got conquered by the Christians.  If they’d just gone outside at night and watched the stars, they might have learned enough to sail the seas and become a great people.

Actually, I guess they did sail the seas and discovered Iceland, Greenland, Vinland.  They even came through the Mediterranean and Black Seas and up the Dneipur to Kiev where they became the Rus.  Today we live with the results.

The sarcastic, cynical, and sardonic, but very civilized Scandinavians have rich societies, but are they resilient?  Some say Sweden would be a very nice country, if it weren’t for the Swedes.  The sarcastic, cynical, and sardonic, but very uncivilized Russians have a lot less money (especially of late with low oil prices), but may be more resilient.  Except neither society is high in redudancy, they aren’t having enough children.

As a descendant of Norwegians, I have an innate bias against Swedes.  They were militaristic colonizers when Norway was weak and my ancestors fled to the US.

Now Norway is rich and has many more rules than in the days of the Vikings.

Near Meadowcreek, Norway Ranch is a thousand or so acres where Norwegians come to escape their country now and then.  You should hear them talk about all the rules they must obey and the cameras which insure they do.

Stone County is dry, but Gravity Brewworks is just past Timbo and Big Flat in Baxter County.  The Norwegians sometimes hang out there.  I don’t envy them their rich lives.  Though lord knows we could put some of their money to good use at Meadowcreek.

I was thinking about the differences between Norwegians and Russians sitting on the porch of the Resilience House yesterday.  A fat armadillo rummaging in the compost pile reminded me of some of the pea-brained resilient types you find in Russia.  The armadillo was not at all worried about me.  Armadillos are so well armored, they just curl up in a ball and no non-human can harm them.  Ordinarily humans have a great defense against armadillos–its called a sharp axe or a gun.  At Meadowcreek, we don’t harm the wildlife so the most I can do is shoo it away and it maybe even knows that.

Kinda like Putin not paying any attention to our beloved leader.  Armadillo Putin just keeps doing what he wants to do in Ukraine and Syria and who knows where next.  Meanwhile armadillo Xi and his buddies destroy the ecology of Africa in pursuit of its mineral wealth.  And we can only raise feeble protests.

Not that anyone else could do much better than our boy wonder.  Leadership can only go as far as the country’s resources, especially human resources, permits. Americans have grown fat, lazy, drug addicted, and politically correct.  Americans won’t stand up to anyone these days.

Oh, wait a minute, we can stand up to those evil white people, especially those white male cops.  Now there is something we can all agree on.  We can’t?  Guess there’s no hope for progress in a polarized society.  No one is searching for common ground because they are all sure they are absolutely right.  And they are stuck for awhile.  Stuck in what holistic systems folk call a wicked problem.

We have plenty of time to read Horst and Rittel and other wicked problem theorists since there’s no TV reception at Meadowcreek.  One guy had a dish once, but he didn’t fit in too well.  Nobody does anymore.  So we can’t get distracted by MSNBC or football or even rugby except if someone has Sirius radio.  Instead we watch whatever we can download for free on my Amazon Prime.

That means we mainly watch obscure movies.  I used to like Russian movies, but they are so dour and mean.  Lately it’s been Iranian, though maybe we should say Persian, in Farsi.  Iranian movies reflect a little different aspect of their country than the ayahtollahs or Fox News present.  i’m still looking for a good Iranian movie on the Zoroastrian plight, but haven’t found one yet.  Probably couldn’t get past the censors anyway.

I don’t know Farsi–don’t even know their alphabet–so I’m sure I’m missing something.  I bet even the Farsi movie titles are more interesting than their English versions. Fish Fall in Love, Border Cafe, Modest Reception, About 111 Girls, The Suitors are my favorites so far.  I like how they always leave questions at the end.  Nothing is wrapped up neatly as in most American movies.

Not that I don’t like neatly tied endings.  I like a story that has a message.  A story that has a moral.  The Iranian stories seem to be pretty amoral.  “Life is rough and maybe a little absurd, but you keep going” is the closest they get to a platitude.

Iranians have lots of rules they have to follow.  And such leads inevitably to the attitudes in their movies and to a desire to escape.  The Iranians I know in the US are a different breed. Some think we have too few rules in the US and that’s what causes our problems.  Maybe.

Or maybe we have some unresilient rules/assumptions.  I’m OK, you’re OK. Don’t you want to be popular?  You will pay for your sins and your father’s sins and your father’s father’s sins.  Drugs can cure what ails you.

As the motto of the Resilience House says, time will tell.  One thing I’m really sure of: the moon just came up over the ridge and its a beautiful fall night at Meadowcreek.


One thought on “Laws vs. rules of thumb: Vikings vs. Swedes vs. Iranians

  1. Interesting post. Thanks!

    In particular I found your words on Iranian cinema interesting.
    If you are interested about Iranian cinema, please also check my posts related to Iranian cinema:

    On my blog I have of course much more non cinema related stuff about Iran, that also might be interesting.
    Take a look, you will find some surprises. Hope you enjoy the posts.


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