The Western Divide of Mentality

Regarding academic philosophy and modern political history the rich Western world of European descent seems to be geographically divided in two.

The divide runs roughly along the English Channel, through the Netherlands and northern Germany, and across the Baltic Sea. On one side—lets call it the ‘English Side’—lie the British Isles, the Nordic countries, Anglo-America, and Oceania. On the other side—lets call it the ‘Continental Side’—lies a band of contiguous countries from the Iberian Peninsula in the Southwest to the Baltic states in the Northeast.

On the English Side academic philosophy is analytic; on the Continental Side it’s not. Analytic philosophy is dominated by argumentative clarity, details, and subordination to natural science; continental philosophy is dominated by idiosyncratic language, system-building, and historicism.

On the English Side modern political history is free from popular support for totalitarian military rule; on the Continental Side it’s not. From Portugal and Spain in the Southwest, through France to some extent, and widely in Italy, Austria, Hungary, Slovakia, Germany, and Poland, to the Baltic states in the Northeast fascist, national socialist, communist, or other de facto militaristic dictatorships saw substantial popular support in the middle of the twentieth century. In the United Kingdom, Ireland, Sweden, Finland, Iceland, Canada, the United States, Australia, and New Zealand, on the other hand, there was nothing of the kind.

Other differences worth noting are that on the English Side the inhabitants mostly enjoy more freedom and welfare, and are more Protestant and secular, while on the Continental Side the inhabitants are mostly less content and rich, and more Catholic and religious.

What might be the cause of this divide? My guess is the difference in mentality, on the one hand, in the Germanic culture as opposed to the Romance and Balto-Slavic cultures, and, on the other hand, in Protestantism as opposed to Catholicism.

What is clear, though, is that culture matters.



Darwin Day 2017

Today is Darwin Day, a global day to pay homage to Darwinism and its creative force natural selection. The ultimate understanding of why organic life, including humanity, is the way it is and has the properties it has, is of utmost importance for the survival and reproduction, and therefore the fitness, of us all. Of less importance, but nonetheless apparent, is that the enjoyment of the observation of wild plants and animals in the wilderness also is highly brightened by the insights offered by Darwinism. In nature, as well as in culture, both individual plants and animals struggle to survive and reproduce at the expense of the fitness of other individuals. In this strife there is grandeur and beauty.

Birch trees close to the tree line, where their survival is barely possible and where some of them push boundaries and some of them perish. Photograph by Filosofimaskinen in Sarek National Park in Sweden 31 March 2016
A fly scavenging on the carcass of a young bird, whose premature death by no means is meaningless to other individuals. Photograph by Filosofimaskinen in Sarek National Park 23 July 2016
A spider spinning its web, which won’t be worth while without the coming bad fortune of another individual. Photograph by Filosofimaskinen in Sarek National Park 23 July 2016
Illustrating sexual selection, an impressively horned female reindeer, with its calf, is followed by a protective male reindeer with smaller horns. Photograph by Filosofimaskinen in Sarek National Park 4 September 2016
Birch trees in their preferred habitat, where the struggle against the harsh conditions of the tree line is less frequent, but the struggle against other individuals is closer at hand. Photograph by Filosofimaskinen in Sarek National Park 10 September 2016
The tools and equipment of a lone great ape far away from his species’ original habitat in the tropics. Photograph by Filosofimaskinen in Stora Sjöfallet National Park in Sweden 27 March 2016



Vad innebär att ”Alla som kan jobba, ska jobba”?

Vi här i Sverige förfasas över den förljugna och förvillande politiska retorik som Vladimir Putin och Donald Trump använder sig av, men har blivit hemmablinda för den uppenbart falska retorik som kommer från vår egen Stefan Löfven. Även här i Sverige har vi blivit fullkomligt vana vid att varken det politiskt sagda eller skrivna kan tolkas i närheten av ordagrant.

Den 25 januari sade Sveriges statsminister i en debatt mot Anna Kinberg Batra i Sveriges Television att: ”Alla som kan jobba, ska jobba. Det är mitt motto […]”. Samma dag twittrade Socialdemokraterna: ”’Alla som kan jobba, ska jobba. Det är mitt motto’”. På socialdemokraterna.se finns rubriken ”Alla som kan jobba ska jobba”. Men vad betyder det egentligen?

Att alla som kan förvärvsarbeta även ska förvärvsarbeta innebär egentligen inte bara att multimiljonärer som försörjer sig på sin avkastning ska tvingas att börja arbeta, utan även att alla arbetsföra läkar- och juriststudenter ska tvingas att arbeta istället för att studera! Socialdemokraterna säger egentligen att pensionsåldern inte bara ska höjas, utan faktiskt helt avskaffas, eftersom alla arbetsföra pensionärer, oavsett ålder, ska börja arbeta igen. De som inte är arbetsföra i denna nya tid av socialistisk arbetsplikt à la Röda khmererna blir rimligtvis tillfälligt sjukskrivna, inte permanent pensionerade. Alla kärnfriska ungdomar på våra gymnasie- och högskolor ska ut i arbetslivet innan de är klara med sina studier. Barnarbete ska uppenbarligen legaliseras, och arbetsläger kan mycket väl komma att behöva byggas!

Hur gick det till när vi alla lärde oss att inte läsa innantill? Hur blev det galenskap att tro att det sagda och skrivna gäller? Tänk om inte bara Rysslands och Förenta staternas presidenter, utan även Sveriges statsminister och Socialdemokraterna, kunde mena vad de säger, och säga vad de menar!

Överlevnadsmaskinen och Filosofimaskinen