Sunday, October 06, 2013

where are all of the dannede people?

danish has this great word, dannelse. google translate tells me it's formation in english, but it's more than that. it's a combination of education (the danish word for that being uddannelse), being widely read (at least partly in philosophy), having travel experience (slow travel of the kind favored in another age) and displaying good table manners. kirkegaard was a dannede man. erudite, gracious and a deep thinker.

the dannede person is capable of synthesizing complex thoughts and having a coherent overview of complex situations, further s/he is able to articulate real arguments with a basis in logical thinking.  s/he dresses well and can equally well dine with royals or with a table full of smoking intellectuals at the algonquin. s/he probably writes - essays, novels, fairytales, poetry or perhaps even the constitution. s/he commands respect because when s/he says something, it's thought-through and erudite.

we are sorely lacking such people in the world today. and i'm not sure how it happened. husband's theory is that it all went sorely wrong when the masses got money. once we no longer needed to be particularly educated in order to succeed financially, people stopped seeking education. eventually these people, who lack any basic training in how to form logical arguments and systematic ways of thinking about the problems facing the world, end up in places like the congress of the united states. and it all goes horribly, horribly wrong.

they have a lack of respect for the principles of a democratic process they don't understand - instead behaving like naughty children who throw a temper tantrum and stand and stomp their feet when they don't get their way. they don't understand the bigger picture or the tradition into which they've fallen - that when a bill is passed by a majority and signed into law, you cannot later tack it onto some other bill which has nothing to do with it and hold a whole country hostage. that's not how democracy works.

what seems to be the saddest part of the kindergarten that is now the american house of representatives (and i'm being sorely unfair to kindergartens here) is that there doesn't seem to be any adult supervisors. i have read time and again over the past week that this is a handful of extremists with a new and decidedly not dannede stranglehold on the repugnant party. there was a time when there were smart republicans out there, but they seem to be curiously powerless and silent and not doing a damn thing to rein these clowns in.

how on earth can the united states go around the world, forcing democracy down on the heads of afghanis and iraqis when they can't even get their heads around how it works at home?

i shake my head and feel grateful to be observing it from afar.

* * *

please help gwen get stories to her students.


Spilling Ink said...

I think it happened not when the masses got money but when greedy people realized they could capitalize on that fact.

With that came the era of sell, sell, sell and instant gratification, being told what to think by TV and lives so full of distractions that no one has to think anymore, or has time to. The few people that still want to think are pressured to work harder and achieve more and so on and blah, blah, blah.

Kirkegaard must have stopped, contemplated the stars and wondered. He took time and didn't run around like some crazed individual trying to meet targets and KPOs.

That's my theory or part of it anyway. We need time to think. I need time to think. The kindie like politicians in the US need brains with common sense to think with.

will said...

Ignorance has always been part of the human landscape … war, religious conversions, inquisitions, expansionism, imperialism, fascism, communism, sexism, racism, etc., etc., etc.

What has changed is the organized use of money from the uber rich and assorted corporations to fund such things as religious zealotry and political extremism.

For examples, perhaps there were a few wingnuts boozing it up at some bar and also complaining about how the government is rotten. That’s no big deal but what happens if a few dudes who are rightwing, filthy rich and also wanting to change the direction of government.

What has changed is the organized use of money from the right wing uber rich and from assorted corporations that now fund such things as religious zealotry and political extremism in order to force change in society.

Another kind of subversion: The “universities” that Jerry Farwell-Pat Robertson either started or fund … they have a mission statement - Graduate people w/ degrees that are ideal for jobs in the D.C. bureaucracy.

Clever, those zealots … make change from within the government – it’s not in the bright lights of elections and it rather anonymous.

I further contend the entertainment media, whether by intention or not, have pandered to rightwing stories. Oh, you say? I then say, “How many blockbuster movies and popular TV shows use violence, conspiracies, confrontations, guns and fights as major elements of their stories? How many spies, cops and robbers, assassins, ninjas, super heroes, etc. are the subjects of movies and TVs?

And one more factor … here in the States, universities have gotten so expensive the schools have changed themselves in order to survive. Degree programs are increasingly geared to specific jobs (computers, business). Liberal arts, that is, art, history, English, sociology, etc. are being minimized. Also, gone are the days of taking 5-6 years to earn a degree… it’s now do it in four or else.

Sammi said...

I was careful what I posted on your facebook. But I just can't.

How on earth they can get away with shutting down the US without legitimate reason is beyond all logical thinking. It's kind of like treason. They should be imprisoned for it in my opinion because they are betraying their country, and they are, from my understanding, a minority!