Enkla men svåra sanningar

Börjar vakna för visdomen i korta (svenska) sentenser.

De ger hopp på något sätt. Att vi hört dem så ofta betyder att de är “parkerade” i vår hjärna; de finns redan där, nu gäller det bara att vrida om nyckeln och starta motorn. (Och förstås höra dessa gamla fraser med nya öron.)

Några exempel.

En i taget (suveränt råd mot sjukan multi-tasking och multi-scattering)

Man kan om man vill (bot mot tron tvärtom: Man vill om man kan)

Det är som det är (svårt att säga mot, EXTREMT lätt att göra emot)

Man får ta det onda med det goda (samma kommentar)

Med mera, med mera. Ett sista exempel:

Det enkla är det svåra.

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Vilar + KLF = True

Just discovered a stunning parallel to the also stunning Esther Vilar quote in my text about SEO/MEO, the match coming from an old favorite now being re-read.

Here is the Vilar quote again.

“Take a man like Samuel Beckett. For twenty years he has produced a
series of Godot replicas – and surely not for pleasure. After all, he is an intelligent man. He avoids risk the way an alcoholic avoids a cure. Yet if only he could free himself from his conditioned behavior, he would probably do something quite different. Perhaps he might design planes – the reliable construction of his plays hints at a scientific talent – or grow rare plants. He might even, perhaps, just once, write a comedy. Surely so much success is bound to drive away the depths of despair. It might even turn out to he a success with the public. But no, the risk is too great for a carefully manipulated man. Better go on writing plays about the absurdity of the vital instinct – then, at least, he can be certain of praise.

Actually it is two quotes.

“Once a particular field of work has brought a man success and financial security, it is rare for him to test his abilities in another sphere, attempting to satisfy his curiosity. His supply of praise may be dangerously reduced. Like Miro with his dots-and-lines technique, Johann Strauss with his waltzes, and Tennessee Williams with his plays about psychotic women, he will stick firmly to his successful technique. The risk of attempting to be the measure of his own success is too great for him to take.” (Both quotes from “The manipulated man”)

The parallel might be surprising. It comes form the fantastic “Manual” by KLF. A very very important book that I will return to.

The KLF quote is not about playwrights but musical artists / acts. The insight is basically the same, the tone possible even more acerbic than Vilar´s

“Once or twice a decade an act will burst through with a Number One that hits a national nerve and the public’s appetite for the sound and packaging will not be satisfied with the one record. The formula will be untampered with and the success will be repeated a second, a third and sometimes even a fourth time. The prison is then complete; either the artist will be destroyed in their attempt to prove to the world that there are other facets to their creativity or they succumb willingly and spend the rest of their lives as a traveling freak show, peddling a nostalgia for those now far off, carefree days. These are the lucky few. Most never have the chance of a repeat performance and slide ungracefully into years of unpaid tax, desperately delaying all attempts to come to terms with the only rational thing to do – get a nine to five job.”

“The prison is then complete…” Ah, great minds think alike sometimes. KLF, however, do not only write about men building their prisons, as Vilar does.

PS: I hate giving advice here but if you are a reader — not just a browser or spammer — I suggest that you read these quotes carefully. They are worth it.

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Svenska med svenska ord!

Klara – färdiga – språk! På alla Collindrar.

Den svenske utopisten Björn Collinder (1894-1983) menade att vi borde använda svenska ord när vi pratar svenska. Vilken tok! Vad är det för fel på I speak Swedish-modellen?

Redan 1968 utfärdade han en varning: DET VÄLLER IN ÅBÄKLIGA FRÄMLINGSORD. Men han gnällde inte bara utan gjorde något åt saken. Gav oss nya ord: både för att ersätta de åbäkliga nya och för att skapa kontakt med vårt förflutna. Snacka om hopplöst projekt…

Se här en liten katalog:

Acceleration: fortning
Afterski: Brasafton
Applådera: klappa i händerna
AVTD (audiovideoteledatasytem) är ett slags undervisningsautomat för utvecklingsstörda. Man spar sju stavelser om man skriver fjärrhörseskola eller fjärrsehörskola.”
Barbarisk: vildmänsklig
Beach-party: Strandfest
Beatnik: Kafévilde
Black-out: medvetenhetsglapp
Bowling: kägelspel med fingerhålsklot
Bungalow är ett hindi-ord, som egentligen betyder ”bengalisk”. Ordet bör ej nyttjas om europeiska stugor och hyddor. Frösö resebyrå hyr ut bungalows i Spanien och Jugoslavien.”

Visst är det underbart med känsliga själar som bryr sig om smånyanser.

Flera fina ord:

Centrifug: Vridslungare
Centripetal: mittpunktsträvande
Clown bör stavas klaun” [Och scout skaut?]
Cocktail party: drinkträff
Eau de cologne: Kölnvatten
Eau de Vie: Folkkonjak
Fiction är en icke önskvärd främling. Skriv: romaner och noveller.”
Global: Klotomfattande, alljordisk
Pessimist: mörkskådare
Pluralis majestatis: kungsvi
Ready-made: flasktorkskonst
Sandwich: varvsmörgås
Schlager: Topplåt, kassapjäs
Soft-ware: mjukgods
Stresstolerans: påkänningstålighet
Stupid: naturdum
Talangscout: Begåvningsletare
Uppdatera: Nuföra

Utopiskt och fint det där. Hoppsan, sa jag “utopiskt”?

Utopisk: Ingenstansländsk

Jag menade förstås ingenstansländskt och fint det där.

Svenskt äpple från Nya Zeeland.

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Reading and its dangers

I have a somewhat double attitude towards books. I used to love them, now I try to keep a safe distance.

What about reading? There is something very strange about words. They make an imprint on our mind and psyche, but the whole thing is like a chalkboard. You write on it, then you erase what you have written.

Words somehow both write (on the paper that are us) and erase (the words just written). The mind seems to be a mini blackboard, with very limited space. The reading in a quotation book shows this; read ten great thoughts and try to remember the first one. Gone, erased, it has left room for new, later quotes.

This seems to lead to the conclusion that if we really want to GET something we should sit with it, stay with it, don’t go anywhere else.

I suppose this is what is called “meditation”. It can also be medication against all the centrifugal, restless thinking and thought-chewing that many of us are occupied with

One thought at a time — enough. Watch out for the dangers of quantity.

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Tolerance and the fear of not seeming

Ah, the BIG difficulties we get ourselves into by not nothing small differences. Actually they are not small at all, but you have to stop yourself and reflect to see that.

Take tolerance for example. It means being open to differences, accepting that others are not like you, don´t think or feel like you. Tolerance is encapsulated in the old saying “live and let live”. Urbanity is another term that covers more or less the same thing.

There are many aspects and shading of this term that one could and should go into, like “Should we tolerate anything?”,  “What not?” and “Why not?”. But breakfast is waiting for me. So only one aspect, but an essential one.

Fear of not seeming tolerant ≠[does not equal] tolerance.

This is an immensely important thing to consider in a world where appearance and image (and image management) are so central.

“Esse non videri” means to be and not seem to be. However the actual case is more often “videri non esse” — seem to be, not be. This is the predominant logic of our world. Therefore it is not strange that we should confuse tolerance with fear of not seeming tolerant. Not strange, but still not excusable if we aim to live some kind of philosophical life.

Enough, breakfast is waiting. And yes, I AM hungry, is not just my image.

PS: It is supposedly something bad or ridiculous to be a wannabe. No, it´s great to want to BE, and act accordingly. Again we are missing a nuance; we should criticize the wanna-be-seen-as.

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The true life of Salamon Ödön

The view of Samuel Butler starts to take hold. Today I had a most enjoyable hour together with Salamon Ödön. He died in 1903 but is living his “true life” now, sometimes with me.

We met in a bookshop, where I picked up (for 390 FT) a slim volume called “Minden jóra fordul, de későn” (Everything turns out for the best, but belatedly),

A book of aphorisms, of course. Aphorisms very easily lead to satiety. Imagine a jar filled with magic peas. The magical thing: each of them can expand so as to fill the entire jar, if not burst it. Now imagine eating five or ten of these peas. You will be more than full.

I opened the book from time to time, took out a few magically expanding morsels and saw that they were good. Once I took out a morsel that was so good I almost threw up. The goodness about it was almost — lethal. Moving in the land of “Gloomy Sunday”, that supposedly suicidal song, — no, it doesn´t kill itself, but those who hear it, if you believe it, and I don´t; it is regularly played in the cafés of Budapest, and if it leads to suicide it is of the delayed kind that cannot be distinguished from ordinary death — I have come to believe in the lethal powers of, as I said, not songs but certain sentences.

One of them was contained in this slim volume.

It was not just an expanding pea but more like a fish-bone that gets stuck in your throat and wipes you out by cutting off your air supply. Clearly there was MUCH power in that small book!

Today I picked it out again and tried to find the dangerous aphorism. (I usually bend the top of pages that contain something special but there was no clue.) Finally I found it, but didn´t read it. I read many other aphorisms, though, too many for my digestion but I couldn´t resist them, they were so good. How good? So good that several times they brought a broad sunshine smile, beyond Duchenne, to my face. Now that´s a sign of being in good company.

I will not share the dangerous aphorism with you, but here are a few others. Before that I should say a few things about the author. I know little, and am content with little. I mean, when you have a really good time with someone, the first thing you do after parting is not looking him up on Google. That´s how I see it. But I know that he lived a relatively short life, 39 years. He spent some time in Paris and worked as a journalist. I think that is enough really.

Now for some expanding (exploding) peas.

Hátunk mögött semmi, előttünk minden: ez legyen minden nagyra törekvő jelszava.

Angyalok sem szoktak soha beleizzadni a munkába.

A mai versenyvilágban a szerénység halálos mérge a tehetségnek.

Meg akarod tudni a jövődet? Add össze múltadat a jelennel, vond le ebből a konzekvenciákat, és előtted áll a jövőd.

Már sok óvatos ember járt úgy, hogy a veszélyt mindig elkerülve, oly hosszu utat választott, amelyet kijárni nem tudott.

Néha, hogy életban maradhassunk, új életet is kell kezdenünk.

Az ember regénye ma a kiadás és bevétel közti külömbségből áll.

Tavasszal jobban hiszünk barátainkban.

Mennyi balsorson kell átesnünk, hogy a boldogságot megbecsüljük.

A művelt férfiak kesztyűben és frakkban teszik egymást tönkre.

Csodálatos sajátossága a pénznek, hogy éppen a zsenilális emberek zsebébe unatkozik legjobban.

Ugyan ki törődik azokal a patkányokkal, amelyek a süllyedő hajót nem hagyják el!

Gyermektelen szülők figyelmébe ajánlom azt a körülményt, hogy legtöbb kisgyermeket a tengerparti vidéken láttam.


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Favorite thinker: Ashleigh Brilliant

Usually when we say “thinker” we mean writer, probably someone who has written books of at least medium if not interminable length. One more example of our blindness for the values of the miniature.

Small might be beautiful, but short is just, well, short.

However, saying things with few words is a higher art than expounding and pounding your readers.

A favorite thinker of mine who manages to say it with 17 words or less is Ashleigh Brilliant. He is known to me for making small postcards with a picture and a sentence. That´s all.

But what sentences! Brilliant has an eye for the human condition and the ear and brains to formulate his observations. This one for example has a decidedly Swedish, Bergmanesque flavor.

go out
Here are some of my Brilliant favorites, but BE WARNED: A maxim is a like an inflatable air-bag; when it makes contact with an open and ready mind it expands remarkably. A few words well chosen can fill us up entirely. However, read many at once and nothing happens. None of them are given a chance to really expand since while one of them starts to swell, another one comes along, then another. This mental crowding will not make you illuminated, just satiated.

That said, I will still give several examples. If you are wise and diet-conscious you will only read one, and return another day for a new one.

I waited and waited, and when no message came, I knew it must be from you.

I happened to see you passing through my life, so I thought I’d love you.

When all else fails, eat!

Why don’t you write, and give me a chance not to reply?

I don’t have any solution, but I certainly admire the problem.

Please don’t tell me to relax – it’s only my tension that’s holding me together.

Your smile is one of the great sights of the world.

Never resist a mad impulse to do something nice for me.

If God had approved of the metric system, he’d have given us ten fingers.

Anybody who thinks I am strange ought to meet you.

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Detta är ett intressant ord. Som hälsningsfras tycks det vara en förkortning av “ödmjuke tjänare”. Av vilket det bildats diverse kortformer: tjänare, tjäna, tjenis, tjenis p*nis, samt den kanske roligaste, mjukis.

Saken handlar också om kronor. “Vad tjänar du?” eller “Hur mycket tjänar du?” Bägge dessa frågor fokuserar på lön och pengar.

Men — man kan besvara den frågan lateralt, kanske med “Mammon”. Eller “Konsten”. Eller “Det sköna”. Då handlar det inte om pengar utan om att tjäna något.

I det första fallet handlar det om vad som kommer till oss, “inkomst”. I det andra om vad vi sätter över oss — ett ideal eller högre princip — och hur vi blir tjänare till denna ovanför oss liggande realitet. (I Mammons fall lite tveksamt med “ovanför”.)

Man kan som sagt göra en syntes av de två aspekterna. “Vad tjänar du på att tjäna konsten?”

Svar: I kronor räknat ganska lite just nu, men jag börjar blir en smula rik på ödmjukhet, och Musan kastar vänliga blickar mot mig ibland…


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I write, therefore I am

Contradicting what my extraterrestrials friends from the Groovy Galaxy told me the other day, I DO think that writing matters, that it changes something, that is has some small value at least — the value of digestion.

Impressions can be raw, un-chewed, can pass right through your system without any nourishment being taken up. Or they can be reflected upon, considered, pondered, digested. That end product, digested experience, is somehow what I bring to the world (apart from my music, which is on another plane).

But how is this digested product of value to the world? I don´t know, but I guess by being read and heard by others, who thereby carry it in THEIR consciousness, who somehow make it part of their being.

This is rather clear to me when it comes to music. If it has touched me deeply it leaves a mark, gets to have a special place in my heart. A great photograph (or painting) can have the same effect. It “impresses” (itself on) me, I am touched, I remember it and carry it with(in) me.

Thoughts I am less sure about. You read a book, sure, it can make a big impression on you. but even then you might forget it in a week. Poems can be stronger in this respect. Many a poem helps to establish and keep alive national identity, insights about different subjects, can create contact with elevated energies, feelings of thankfulness, humility, love or pride.

My own ditty “All you need is broadband” might have had some such effect. (Many people don´t even know that I wrote it, which gives the whole thing an old-fashioned Anon-feeling.)

Anyway, I am a scribe and think, and definitely hope, that my reflections on life, myself, you and the universe are somehow of some value to humanity. If not humanity, then the Cosmos (“no energy, be it ever so mental or aristocratic, is ever lost”).

Postscript: I can definitely say that being a scribe is a gift to myself: while writing, at least my own energies are vivified and strengthened. Presently I find it very hard to imagine life without the possibility to write down my thoughts.

I write, therefore I am
Me Scribe, you Jane


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