Saturday, September 27, 2008

The most beautiful sea

I came across this poem by Nazim Hikmet, which got me thinking. (And I'm sure a lot of people out there will be saying "what, you didn't see this poem yet?" to which I may answer "the most beautiful poem I have not written -uh- read yet." Similarly, an equally sized bunch of people is going to ask "Nazim who?") The poem goes:
    The most beautiful sea hasn't been crossed yet.
    The most beautiful child hasn't grown up yet.
    The most beautiful days we haven't seen yet.
    And the most beautiful words I wanted to tell you
    I haven't said yet...
My first thought was along the lines of subjectivity. Not about difference in taste, but that of memory. The momentarily most beautiful is typically that which has already been experienced, because we can not truly appreciate the beauty which we have not experienced yet.

So I asked myself, what is (literally) the most beautiful sea within my memory which I have not crossed. Truly, oceans are usually boring, so we need to stick to smaller seas, which brings me to lakes. And I have crossed a few lakes in Sweden that were really beautiful. I am sure other lakes I have seen could be just as beautiful, and it dawns on me that my own interaction with the lake played a great role in the beauty I experienced from it.

This rings true in other settings as well. A friend in the US brought me to a mountain near her home town. We parked at the top, looked at the city below, and she suddenly said that, "strange.. it doesn't look so great now as it did last time I was here." She paused before she continues. "Must have been the guy I was with."

That comment made me a little jealous, but I have had similar experiences myself. There's a similar mountain where I went to college, and there are two ways to get there. You can climb 400 steps up the hill, or you can take a car. Every time I climbed the steps, the view was wonderful. But if I cheated and took the car, I didn't enjoy the view nearly as much.

My most beautiful trips are the ones by bicycle, not by car. Or better yet, by foot or by skis. So the beauty lies in the interaction, and how things, places and most of all people become part of us through these interactions.

Returning to the quote, what about all the beauty that are in the future? How does the interaction apply to these? How can I interact with something that I have not yet seen?

The answer is self evident. You can interact with beauty by planning interaction with it. This is some of what a lot of couples do when they meet. They lay plans together, and then embark on a long journey trying to fulfill these plans. The effort put into this not only makes the result spectacular, but the journey towards their goals become part of the beauty they experience.

Similarly, the bicycle trip I have been planning since 2001 (I just never had time to do it yet) will be the most beautiful bicycle trip ever when i finally get to do it, because I have so much energy stored into the idea of doing it and the research of the places I wish to visit.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Norwegian TV on Finland

After the massacre in Kauhajoki, Norwegian TV2 is IMHO trying to sensationalize the story by bringing up old stereotypes and trying to prove them true. This happened in what seems like a parody of the news. Sadly, it really was the news.

A random person was interviewed whilst still sitting in their car. "What's that?" the reporter asked. "Is it a knife?" "Yes." "Why do you bring a knife with you?"

You know, I have a knife in the car, too. It has been standard inventory for my car for many years. There's always need for a knife. I may need to cut a branch somewhere, cut a rope or cut through some plastic wrap. I occationally use it to spread butter, cut cheese and apples, but mostly sheep sausages. And of course, it's good to have handy if I should accidentally run over a reindeer.

The Finn's knife was tiny compared to mine.

The report went on to a couple of teenagers. It seemed like the reporter was just running around town, looking for anything to make the town look like Hillbillyville. "Look! Skinheads! Are you a skinhead?" "Yes!" "Are there many skinheads in this town?" "Little." I'm sure there are more skinheads in Oslo than in Kauhajoki.

I wasn't sure if I was going to laugh at this terrible piece of news-turned-comedy, or plain weap at bad journalism. Because surely, this is not the kind of story a serious news channel should be focusing on a substory that isn't there. Rather, it would have been a perfect opportunity to instill some humanity in us all.

...and TV2 trolled even me...